The Thinker's Garage Pondering Automotive History, Design and Culture

The Thinker's Garage
The Porsche 911 – all things to all people
The Porsche 911 - all things to all people

The Porsche 911. It appears in almost every ‘greatest car ever’ article. A 911 is a popular culture icon, and could be a motorsport enthusiast’s race car of choice, a blue chip classic car or maybe a seriously nice new one. They can have all sorts of meanings to people of all types – Porsche enthusiasts and the ways they […]

Meet the Fiat Cinquecento’s crazy family
Meet the Fiat Cinquecento's crazy family

The Fiat Cinquecento, launched in 1991, was a modern yet utilitarian small car designed for European cities. Thanks to its combination of the joie de vivre small Fiats are renowned for, practical yet small size and keen pricing, it was a sales success. Thanks to Fiat’s willingness to innovate throughout the 90s, it also spawned […]

Capri – The beginning of the end for Ford Australia?
Capri - The beginning of the end for Ford Australia?

Much has been made recently of the seeming demise of Australian volume car manufacturing, with Ford and Holden leaving and a Toyota decision due in a few months. While many column inches have been devoted to the current product being offered by these companies, it’s also interesting to look back at some of the missteps which […]

The Fiat Multipla – challenging but thoughtful
The Fiat Multipla - challenging but thoughtful

It’s one of the more popular list style articles that publications tend to run on slow news days – the list of the world’s ugliest cars. And almost as certain the inanity of the article is the presence of the Fiat Multipla on the list. The thing is though the Multipla’s styling is certainly unconventional, […]

The fascinating world of Matra road cars
The fascinating world of Matra road cars

It’s amazing how marketing and press can alter the way history is perceived. Some of the older car brands still trade in some ways off their pre-war successes, and many still make a point of making sure we remember racing success achieved through the 60s and 70s. But there are lots of amazing stories one […]

Cars and our senses
Cars and our senses

While there are indeed people who view cars as no more than transport and want them to be as unnoticeable as possible, there are also a number of people who lament the lack of ‘personality’ of most modern cars. One of the reasons people fall in love with cars is the overwhelming sensory experience they can […]

On brand diversification
On brand diversification

With a product as emotional as a car, brand loyalty among niche manufacturers can be extremely high. Enthusiasts take the decisions of ‘their’ brands personally so when a brand famous for its niche products like Porsche or MINI diversifies, some hardcore fans will inevitably cry foul about the brand’s apparent selling out. But as much […]

The development of Alfa’s 916 GTV & Spider
The development of Alfa's 916 GTV & Spider

The Alfa Romeo 916 Series GTV and Spider encapsulated Alfa Romeo’s 1990s renaissance. To many people, the design of these twins took classic cues and core values from Alfa Romeo coupes past and brought them squarely and emphatically back into avant-garde relevance. From the quad projector headlamps which recalled the classic 105 and 116 series […]

Peter Schreyer & Kia – Proving the power of design
Peter Schreyer & Kia - Proving the power of design

I’m often asked to recommend cars to people who aren’t particularly knowledgeable about them and almost every time I bring up Kia they turn up their noses. This is usually around the time I wonder why they bothered asking my advice at all, because Kias these days aren’t what they used to be. Another time: The Kia […]

Merry Christmas from The Thinker’s Garage
Merry Christmas from The Thinker's Garage

Thanks everyone for your support so far.   “It is obvious that the new Citroen has fallen from the sky inasmuch as it appears at first sight as a superlative object. We must not forget that an object is the best messenger of a world above that of nature: one can easily see in an […]

Gallery – Ercole Spada
Gallery - Ercole Spada

When people talk of the great Italian car designers of the 20th century, there are a number of names that repeatedly come up – Giugiaro, Gandini, Bertone, Pininfarina. Ercole Spada is often overlooked by these lists. His influence on the last 50 years of car design, however, is undeniable. He took his first design job […]

Some thoughts on General Motors
Some thoughts on General Motors

I have been asked a lot recently to give my opinion on the impending end of Holden’s manufacturing operations. While it is understandable that so many people are disappointed to lose another local icon to overseas production, we have to put our emotions to one side for a moment and remember that Holden was always […]