The Harvard group's leader, Col. Charles "Tex" Thornton, told Henry Ford II the young men could improve cost efficiency at Ford just as they had in the Air Force. The meeting gave Miller an early preview of the some of lax cost controls at the company.
Just as Ford execs were tugging at their Gordon Gekko braces and supping the Bollinger of success, Vauxhall unveiled the Cavalier Mk3 in 1988. Boom – with its sleek, swoopy lines, boy, it cut a dash – and promptly pooped on Ford's party.
It’s hard not to notice the striking new looks compared to bubble-shaped cars that went before. Regardless of whether you like its styling or not, the Micra remained a head-turner during its stint with us, helped by its optional Power Blue metallic paint job.
It’s stomping the major routes that our Vauxhall still shines. On a fast-moving motorway, the Cavalier is surprisingly subdued, with minimal wind or road noise, demonstrating that all those hours in the wind tunnel were fruitful. And this 2.5-litre V6 engine has even more grunt than the 2.0-litre in our test, delivering effortless roll-on performance, despite being paired to a rather sluggish four-speed automatic gearbox. It’s easy to see why 'the Cav' was the repmobile of choice.
Most people people buy their cars on finance these days, but if you like to swap into something new every few years, it can actually be cheaper to take out a personal contract hire agreement.
"I sent it out and had 100 copies made," Miller recalled. "When it was finished, I went proudly in to see Mr. Ford. He looked at it and said, 'I like it. I need five more. My two brothers, my sister, my mother and my grandmother.' I didn't tell him I had 94 copies left."
The first thing you notice about motor homes, apart from their ginormous exterior size, is that they all seem to have aftermarket audio systems controlled by near-microscopic buttons. It takes a long time to figure them out and even longer to get yer fat fingers to hit the right buttons. Another thing I noticed right away was that when I turned on the turn signal, the CD player went mute. Weird.
By their nature, CVTs are easy to despise. Their simple design has an elegance to it, but without the stepped, distinct shifts of a conventional transmission, the engine makes a beeline for its torque peak, where it drones on as speed builds. Fortunately, CVTs work better with modern turbocharged engines like the Honda 1.5T that have broad torque curves so that there’s usually adequate grunt on hand even at lower engine speeds. Honda pushes that advantage even further in the Accord’s CVT by building in virtual gear steps that produce a more natural engine note during acceleration.
However, after years of passing between owners, restoration and spending time on both the circuit and carpet, 1451 GT is once again for sale. Will it be bought for historical racing, road use, or as an investment? Who knows, but what we do know is it is one incredibly good-looking car.