Scotland led motor industry

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I read this week about a new family car which costs £108,795 to purchase.

It has a top speed of 186 mph, acceleration of 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and a fuel economy of 28.2 mpg.

Staggering is it not?

But first consider that the fastest you can go on a public road in this country is 70mph and I suppose if you could afford £108,795 to purchase the car you can afford the high fuel consumption figures.

But it would mean either having a very large fuel tank or constantly stopping to re-fuel. Acceleration is always useful to get out of trouble or at least to pass dawdlers, but 3.8 seconds from 0 to 60mph seems to me to be a little excessive as I wonder if my mind could keep up with that pace of acceleration.

Is all this necessary remembering that this is a family limousine and not a racing car or even a sports car? But stop to appreciate that it is not all that long ago when motorised vehicles had to have a man walking in front of them with a red flag to warn pedestrians that a car was coming at a speed faster than most vehicles of the day.

I was about to say that the roads are much better these days but when you note the number of potholes there are you begin to wonder. By the way the car mentioned is a German car proving how far Europe has gone since Scotland was leading the way in the motorised car industry.

Yes, you may find that a little surprising, but Alexandria, Dunbartonshire had the first purpose built car factory in Britain and the largest car production plant in Europe with the opening of the Argyll Motor Works in 1906.

The large sandstone building with ornamental gates and large dome is still in evidence in Alexandria and should be maintained as proof of Scotland’s dominance in the early years of the motor car industry. It must also be remembered that the Argyll was the first car in the world to have four wheel brakes and their single seater broke a number of speed and endurance records at Brooklands.

However Argyll Motors went out of business in 1914 so it is hardly likely that the speed records broken were anything like the aforementioned German car’s top speed of 186mph.

The Argyll factory in Alexandria has gone through many phases since 1914 but all its opulence including the grand Italian marble staircase is still intact.

If you are ever up that way it is well worth a visit and is easily accessible currently being used as the Lomond Factory outlets with a number of retail units, a restaurant and naturally a motor museum. See you next week.