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Anyone see the new issue of Classic Cars (www.classiccarsmagazine.co.uk)? I only got to look for a couple of minutes at the bookstore. The 240Z is up against a few other cars but I dont' know exactly what the contest was. Whatever it was the Z won. I did notice that Goertz was credited for giving the Z its sex appeal... ANyway if anyone has more info on what it was about please post it here. I wont' be back to the bookstore for awhile and anyway I'm not dishing out $9 for a magazine.


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Yes, I'm afraid its another magazine article that makes lots of old mistakes.

Its in the January 2005 issue of CLASSIC CARS Magazine. Entitled "Style on Trial", it pitches four "Seventies sporting coupes" against eachother in a bid to find "....which car epitomises the Seventies best."

Cars involved are Jon Newlyn's gorgeous ( very early ) 1970 HS30 '240Z', a 1973 BMW 2002 Tii, a 1981 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV 2.0 and a 1975 Ford Capri II 3.0 GTS.

The article is written by Glen Waddington, with some really nice photos by Charlie Magee. Waddington puts the Z as the 'winner' of the group test, saying; "The Z couldn't possibly offer as much as it looks like it could deliver. The fact that it only comes quite close is what makes it a real Seventies icon. It's slick, stylish and just tacky enough to pull the trick off."

The style of the article is something that is customary for classic car magazines such as this, and of course they can be entertaining and fun. They do however also need to be factually correct, and this is where Mr Waddington falls out of bed:

"The Datsun has the German styling consultant Count Albrecht von Goertz to thank for its sex appeal."

Now I'm sure Jon Newlyn would have set him straight had Mr Waddington mentioned that he was going to write this, so I have to conclude that he went away and referenced all the other books and magazine articles that have credited Goertz over the years. Same old same old.........

He comes up with a couple of other chestnuts too:

"...power comes from a 2.4 litre, overhead cam straight-six that Datsun inherited from the Prince Motor Company, which it took over in 1966. It's basically a Japanese copy of a Mercedes-Benz engine, and the design of the block lived on and evolved into the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R....."

That's nonsense. First of all, the Nissan - not "Datsun" - L20 debuted in 1965, in the Cedric Special Six, a full year before PMC was merged with Nissan. The L20 six might well have shared some design features with Prince's G7 engine, and the G7 used some Mercedes-Benz patented design features licensed to Prince - but its not as simple as Merc, Prince, Nissan, one, two, three. And why is it that when Japanese companies pay to license patented designs its called "copying", but when anyone else does it its not?

The L-series six isn't even really IN the family tree of the RB engines that were fitted to umpteen different models of Nissan before the RB26 DETT got as far as the R34 GT-R ( the third GT-R that the RB26 DETT was fitted to ). The RB-series debuted in the 1984 Nissan Laurel, and it was another five years before the RB26DETT was introduced.

The RB engines might be seen as Nissan's straight six successor for the L-gata ( whilst Nissan's top brass would have preferred the V6 ) but the DNA of the RB essentially came from the Prince GR-8, which sired the S20 twin cam - design details and DNA of which were carried through into the FJ20 and its derivatives, and on into the RB. That's where Nissan says the RB series genes came from - not the L-series.

Last, and perhaps expectedly for a 'British' classic car mag, Mr Waddington displays a sniff of that old antipathy towards Japanese machinery that we have come to expect:

"How could the Japanese, famous for the uninspiring Sunny and Corolla, manage to produce a car that could convince the uninitiated it's a Ferrari?"

Now, I understand that this is stylistically written from the perspective of the "man on the Clapham Omnibus" circa 1970, but Mr Waddington doesn't go anywhere with it. It's like he is confirming the 'fact' that the Japanese didn't design the thing. In which case he is proving that nothing has changed since 1970, and even automotive journalists - who really ought to be able to do some research on the subject - don't know any more about Twentieth Century Japanese industrial design or styling in 2004 than they did in 1970.

In between all this nonsense he actually writes some quite complimentary things about the car. For me, the article is spoiled by the same old mistakes - but he even makes some new ones up to go along with them.

It might sound churlish to take apart an article that essentially praises the Z, but if the journalist had made that many mistakes about the other cars in the article then there would probably be a fair few letters of complaint written. Mind you, he might not have made any mistakes with the other cars as their history is well documented.

Anyway, letters of complaint and facts-correction have already been sent to Classic Cars magazine - but I doubt they'll be taken all that seriously.

Pseuds Corner over and out.........

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It's that same antipathy you mention that leads to the opinionated and misinformed comments we hear on the Barrett-Jackson broadcasts. Some of the reasoning they use to explain why the Z or other Japaneese cars are not as collectable as it should be is completely contradicted by the fact that the Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes were produced in larger numbers and still command insane prices. But they can tell you all you would ever want to know about Mustangs, Camaros, etc. And then they always have Alain D. to inform the public about the Euro cars. Letters of complaint have already been sent to Barrett-Jackson also but I'm afraid the result will be about the same as you state.

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