2018 Review of SMITHS News and Blogs

2018 Review of SMITHS News and Blogs

The classic car scene has never been more vibrant.  2018 saw birthday celebrations for some iconic vehicles including the Austin Healey Sprite (60th), the Jaguar XK (70th) and Land Rover (70th).  Our news and blogs reviewed some of the world's most iconic and loved classic cars.  We look back over 2018 and see what stories hit our headlines.


Our first blog of 2018 celebrated 70 years since Colin Chapman designed his first Mk1 Lotus.  We looked back at the origin of the now iconic British sports car manufacturer and their long association with SMITHS.


The month started with a review of the 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 sports car.  The DB2/4 featured three bespoke SMITHS gauges, including one triple gauge.

Our next article reviewed how the AC Cobra sports car is a great example of successful UK and USA engineering collaboration.  The car was originally imagined by American automotive designer and accomplished racer, Carroll Shelby.  His sole objective was to design a racing car to beat the Corvette.  And the AC Cobra was born.

Our final blog of February touched on how classic cars are used in the world of television.  In 1987, Detective Inspector Endeavour Morse appeared on British television for the first time and drove a very British Jaguar Mark II.  The popular detective series attracted a whole new generation of Jaguar car fans.


Another classic Aston Martin provided the basis for our first article in March.  One of the nineteen DB4 GT Zagato sports cars built between 1960 and 1963 was sold for £10 million at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2017.  Each one featured SMITHS gauges in the dashboard.

Rock music provided the backdrop for our next blog.  The Jaguar XJ6 celebrates 50 years in 2019 and one of the car's biggest fans is Nicko McBrain, the drummer of legendary rock group Iron Maiden.  He commissioned Jaguar Classic to produce a special 1984 XJ6 featuring the classic 80s styling (including SMITHS gauges) but updated with technology from 2018. 

In 1948, Land Rover launched a prototype 4x4 at the Amsterdam Motor Show.  At the time, nobody realised that Land Rover would become the most popular off-road vehicle on the planet. 

Our final blog in March went back to 1976 when a famous appearance in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me introduced Lotus cars and the Esprit S1 to whole new audience.  This is a classic example of the strong and positive link between car manufacturers and the TV and movie industry.


After Jaguar Classic announced that they were going to build 25 'new original' Jaguar D-Types, we looked back at a racing car that won the Le Mans 24 hr endurance race three consecutive times between 1955 and 1957.  As with many of the classic Jaguar cars, the original D-Type featured gauges designed and manufactured by SMITHS Instruments.


The MG sports car has evolved over the years and in our article we travelled back to the early 1920s origin of this famous brand.  Although the famous MG logo refers to Morris Garages, it was Cecil Kimber who identified the niche for faster and sportier cars.

There are many associations between James Bond and classic cars.  Prior to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bonhams announced that they would be auctioning a 1965 Aston Martin DB5.  What made this DB5 extra special was its starring role alongside Pierce Brosnan in the movie Goldeneye.


We celebrated the 70 year anniversary of the Jaguar XK.  At the car's launch at the 1948 London Motor Show, the XK120 was only the showcase for the XK engine, but proved to be a huge success for Jaguar.

As racing enthusiasts prepared for the 2018 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race, we reviewed how Jaguar dominated the race in the 1950s.

The next Lotus-related blog reviewed how the Lotus Elan became regarded as one of the best sports cars from the 1960s.  Car and Driver Magazine actually stated that the Elan was a 'Formula car designed for ordinary street use'.

Classic car anniversaries continued with the 60th birthday of the Austin Healey Sprite.  Known popularly amongst enthusiasts as the 'Frogeye', the open-top sports car was produced for 13 years between 1958 and 1971.


To celebrate the Le Mans Classic, we reviewed the five constructors who have won the 24 hours of Le Mans race the most times.  Without giving away who has won the most, the top constructor has won the title 18 times.


At the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, we launched the new SMITHS 'British Jaeger' Speedometer for the classic Series I Land Rover.

Despite a difficult beginning, the Triumph Stag has since become a very popular classic sports car.  Our blog goes back to the 1970s origins of the car and also shows the wonderful dashboard layout featuring SMITHS gauges.

Cars and James Bond seem to go together like strawberries and cream.  Arguably the most classic era was in the 1960s.  In this article we review every 007 film of the 1960s and pick out the real stars of the movies:  the classic cars!


CAI has an excellent working relationship with Ginetta Cars for decades.  This started in 1967, when Ginetta launched the G15 sports car, their first approved for road use.  SMITHS gauges were in the G15 dashboard.

The hugely popular Land Rover Defender featured in our second blog of the month.  The Land Rover Defender is one of the most popular four-wheel drive vehicles ever produced.  The vehicle had a reputation of being able to survive in any environment, hot or cold, wet or dry and was used by emergency services all around the world.

Unless you are a Mini or rallying enthusiast or are above the age of 40, you may not be aware that the simple and small Mini Cooper dominated rallying between 1960 and 1972.  The Mini Cooper won 32 rallies in all, included 3 wins at Monte Carlo.  A wonderful motoring story.


We followed one sports car enthusiast as he drove an AC Cobra around the country roads of the Yorkshire Dales.  The mud splatter on the side of the car was a clear indication of a truly fun drive.

In an article on their website, Classic and Sports Car reviewed the 50 most expensive auctioned classic cars.  Of the 50, 8 had SMITHS gauges in their dashboards.  These included a Ford GT40 and 1955 Jaguar D Type.  We reviewed all 8 classic cars.


Our first classic motorcycle feature of 2018 was about the Norton Commando 750.  At a time when the British motorcycling industry was under increasing threat from their Japanese rivals, the Norton Commando was their response.  Sadly, from the moment the motorcycle was launched, it was already outdated.

One of our most popular stories in 2018 was about 80 year-old Peter Fears and his red MGA sports car.  Peter recounted the early sixties and the second love of his life.  Even though the photographs are in black and white, Peter's red MGA sports car was clearly something very special.

The name 'Aston Martin' will always be synonymous with 'DB'.  We go back in time to April 1950 when Aston Martin used 'DB' for the very first time.  At the New York Motor Show, Aston Martin introduced the DB2.  The rest is history.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our news and blogs in 2018.  With our rich SMITHS history we have plenty of stories to tell in 2019.  In the meantime, if you are interested in receiving further information on any of the articles or details on new or classic gauges, please contact us on:

Via the website

Phone: +44 1639 732200

Email:  [email protected]

You can also follow us on social media including Facebook (@caigauge) and Twitter (@caigauge) for regular news and technical features.


Posted by on

Tags: AC Cobra, Aston Martin, Aston Martin DB2, Aston Martin DB2-4, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, Aston Martin DB5, Austin Healey, Austin Healey Sprite, Ginetta, Ginetta G15, Inspector Morse, Jaguar D-Type, Jaguar Mark II, Jaguar XJ6, Jaguar XK120, James Bond, Land Rover, Land Rover Defender, Le Mans, Le Mans 24, Le Mans 24 hr, Le Mans Classic, Lotus, Lotus Elan, Lotus Esprit, MG, MGA, Mini Cooper, Norton Commando

Categories: News and Events

Related Blogs