Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THE FOLLOWING AUTOMOTIVE tidbits aren’t indicative of important trends, compelling gossip, or breakthrough technology. They’re just things I found interesting in recent issues of Automotive News, the weekly journal of the automotive industry. Each one jogged my memory on one thing or another.

Morgan Quattro Passeggeri? The Morgan Motor Company Ltd. had 110 years of family ownership, but it was announced at the Geneva auto show that Italian investment firm Investindustrial has bought a majority share of this classic English producer of sports cars.

Our Four-Passenger Family Tourer, shown on the 1997 Arizona Copperstate 1000, now resides with a family in Long Beach, California.

Benvenuto! Morgan will be in good company: Automotive News, March 11, 2019, writes that Investindustrial also “has stakes in Aston Martin and motorcycle Ducati.”

Do you suppose there’ll be a Ducati desmodromic V-twin option for the Morgan three-wheeler, à la Mercedes-Benz race cars?

Toyota’s Theft Deterrent. A Toyota patent reported in Automotive News, March 25, 2019, describes fitting an onboard fragrance dispenser, no doubt to prolong that new-car atmosphere.

“Immobilizer” has a specific meaning in Toyota’s patent. This and the following images from Automotive News.

But there’s a grabber: Should an “illegitimate engine start attempt” be made, the Toyota system also has a tear-gas dispenser.

Gotcha! Cough, cough.

Peugeot Returns. After a 28-year hiatus, French automaker Peugeot is returning to the U.S. Automotive News, March 3, 2019, writes in a minihistory that Peugeot dates from an 1810 steel foundry producing, among other things, coffee grinders, umbrella frames, and saw blades.

Peugeot’s Lion logo reared up in the mid-19th century on the company’s saw blades. Its first motor car came along in 1889. Another, unheralded in the Automotive News minihistory, was my own brief fame with the marque.

I drove the Peugeot VERA from Detroit to Knoxville at 91.2 mpg—back in 1982. Image from

VERA, as in Vehicle Econome de Recherche Appliquée, was a mildly modified Peugeot 305 Turbodiesel. Yet, its aerodynamic and other refinements made VERA what I termed back in 1982 “a wonderful example of incremental engineering.”

Bienvenue encore!

Imitation is the Sincerest… Automotive News, April 1, 2019, isn’t fooling when it asks, “Can you spot the major differences?” Automotive News notes, “Neither could the Beijing Chaoyang District Court.”

Above, the Jiangling Motors’ Landwind X7. Below, the Jaguar Range Rover’s Range Rover Evoque.

Also quoted is Michael Dunne, CEO of Hong Kong-based automotive consulting firm ZoZo Go. (Michael is the son of Jim Dunne, renowned spy photographer, not to say legendary palm reader.) Michael notes, “The ruling is highly significant. For years, foreign companies have taken Chinese rivals to court for purloining designs and lost. GM, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, you name it.”

Gee, maybe Toyota could install fragrance gizmos in Chinese design studios? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. Mark W
    May 2, 2019

    Now that Morgan has been purchased by an international conglomerate, can more market oriented models be far behind? I dread the inevitable Morgan SUV, though that vehicle type done with 3 wheels would be interesting….

  2. Christian
    May 3, 2019

    The Morgan reminds me of an R&T article of yours around 1984, “What Is A Sports Car?” It compared a CRX, Fiero, Morgan, maybe a Vette and a 944, six cars in all IIRC. You looked very panache-y in the Morgan.

  3. Michael Rubin
    May 23, 2019

    Peugeot also produces excellent pepper and salt mills, perhaps the best generally available to us regular folk. We’ve wound up with three of them — a black pepper grinder with adjustable grind, a salt grinder (for coarse sea salts), and a white pepper mill, which produces very finely ground white pepper. All are splendid performers. The

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: