This week, Steve reflects on the significance Autocar's decision to digitalise its archive and ponders how to dispose of his trusty Fiat 500 Twinair - and what he should replace it with.


Most people would have called it an ordinary day. There was certainly no outward sign of a great moment in global car history as an anonymous white van reversed into our office’s loading bay to begin loading 700,000 pages – several tonnes – of ancient bound volumes. But this was the entire 126 years of weekly Autocar magazines departing its home to be digitised at the higher-tech address of a new partner, Archive Digital Limited.

In just a few months’ time, every single page of this weekly magazine, which has chronicled the entire history of the motor car since 1895, will be easily available and searchable online. To find out more, please register your interest by emailing

As a result of this historic move, we believe that millions of long-obscured facts will re-emerge and that much previously unviable research will be enabled.

It’s a heart-swelling moment for those of us whose job is to add to the story and, we hope, for our readers, who are the reason it’s worth doing.


No matter how much you reckon you know about cars, there’s no ducking the mild panic that you feel when you realise it’s suddenly time to buy a new one. Our family’s 84,000-mile 2015 Fiat 500 Twinair is coming to the end of its viable life with us: the local spanner man has diagnosed a soft clutch (£400-£500), gremlins behind the dashboard (£250-£300), a couple of new front shocks (£300-£400) and the potential for new front brakes and tyres (£500). On top of that, I keep wondering how much longer the presently perfect little two-cylinder turbo engine can last.