This week, Mr. Cropley has been admiring BMW's latest concept car, catching up on his reading list, and celebrating the official release of the Autocar digital archive...


Truly momentous week. Today we unveiled the new, digitised, 125-year Autocar archive to a full house of loyal readers in the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, an organisation with early motoring connections every bit as distinguished as our own. Our event helped kick off the RAC’s annual London Motor Week, whose climax is always the Brighton Run for pre-1905 cars, the world’s oldest motoring event. 

The indefatigable Pete Boswell, who led our archive project, talked about the sheer enormity of scanning 1.1 million pages – at two seconds a page – without damaging the original magazines. The joy for those of us who operate the mag today was being surrounded both by the people who created it (we were joined by no fewer than five former Autocar editors) and those for whom it has been done. It was another affirmation that this old mag isn’t just a venerable piece of media: it’s a thriving community. 

Tuesday AM

More Motor Week: back to Pall Mall for the announcement of the winners of the RAC’s Dewar Trophy, the country’s premier award for British transport technology. It was awarded (again) to the remarkable JCB Group and its far-sighted leader, Lord Bamford, this time for their hydrogen-fuelled ICE engine, heading at dizzying speed for a production future in earth-movers. It has, as Lord B stressed, the huge advantage of drawing on more than two centuries of know-how, and has an existing supply chain, yet it adds no CO2 to the atmosphere. Lord Bamford is convinced his engine’s core principles can have great relevance to other transport. 

The Dewar committee’s retiring chairman, John Wood (amusingly dubbed ‘the Sherlock Holmes of technology’ for his diligent annual search) tellingly pointed out that the world’s first internal combustion engine, built in 1802, was hydrogen fuelled.

Tuesday PM