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British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 by [Cowin, Christopher]
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British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Length: 201 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Chris Cowin has extensive experience of the European motor industry, having worked for Lex Automotive and Volvo in the United Kingdom, and later for General Motors Europe. During his time at General Motors, Chris was involved in European marketing strategy and the planning of new products. Like most "car guys" with an interest in British Leyland, Chris has been a proud (if sometimes frustrated) owner of several of their products over the years, including a Mini Clubman, Riley Kestrel, Triumph Spitfire 1500 and MGB. His qualifications include an MBA from London Business School and BA in Geography from the University of Oxford (Mansfield College).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2884 KB
  • Print Length: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Cowin; 2 edition (27 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007EQKECW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,262 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a well informed and well written book. Knowing people who worked for Triumph and the stories they told confirms the author did his homework. It is a tale of woe from pretty much beginning to end, poor management who seemed to be only interested in their small part of the empire, militant unions hell bent on destruction and polititions trying to run an industry they knew nothing about and everybody seeming to only listen to what they wanted to hear.
The book is well laid out a year at a time and model by model and is full of facts and figures which can be hard going especially if reading late at night. As someone with a big interest in the British car industry I found the content of this book excellent if somewhat depressing and a lesson to all those in the industry and how not to run it.
I only have one criticism and that is the production quality. This book was obviously produced down to a price which I can understand as it is of limited interest however the few photographs in the book are quite poor quality which as they are incidental doesn't really matter but the cover is very poor being on thin card and laminated which makes it curl. By the time I was halfway through the book the laminate was starting to peel off which does spoil it.

This book ought to be publicised through the classic car magazines and the owners club of the various BL marques and I am sure it would sell very well, I came across it by accident while looking for another title, but please put a better cover on it even if you have to put the price up a bit.
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Format: Paperback
I downloaded this as a Kindle freebie and whilst I might have otherwise passed it by, with hindsight I would definitely pay for this book.
The author has managed to cover a wide-ranging topic in a well structured way. In general it is presented chronologically; detailing the internal and external decisions that impacted on the company that was formed by the merger of BMC and Leyland Motors. There are also additional sections giving more information about specific, and now iconic, models such as the Allegro and Marina. He has also include quotes from the media at the time of the launches; the Marina being 'What happens when Britain's best engineers set out to build a beautiful car'.
The view presented appears to be completely objective with regards to the reasons for the failure and eventual collapse of BL. The disruption caused by the strikes prevalent in the 70s is quantified, the decisions made by management relating to the design and production of the models as well as the quality control is critically analysed and the role of the various governments and their stance on interference in industry discussed. The fortunes of BL are also compared and contrasted with those of other major car makers of the time.
The conclusion that is drawn seems to indicate that the collapse may have been avoidable, but there were so many contributing factors that it was unlikely to remain afloat.
I have to qualify this review by stating that I am not a car nut; I have a passing interest in Wheeler Dealers and I found a trip to the Coventry Transport Museum fascinating, but, although it was heavy going in places, I loved this book. I never realised how many strands and inter-relationships there were in the British motor industry, but they were all pulled together brilliantly in this book.
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By Duncurin VINE VOICE on 14 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is almost an allegory of the British car industry itself. Its large format, glossy cover, which looks great at first glance, belies some pretty poor editing and dreadful page formatting within. Paragraph spacing is denoted by a blank line; the page numbers have no mirroring, and I dread to think what they've done with the margins. I see this is published by Amazon, and they are going to have to do better than this if they are going to become a force within publishing, as is clearly their intention.
This being said, the text itself is simply amazing in parts and mostly it's a wonderful read with an array of information that is informative, impactful and at times distressing for those, like me, who have always bought British cars - until they disappeared. I would have liked more pictures, in colour if possible, and certainly much larger than the postage-stamp-sized ones that one has to squint at in order to recognise. There is quite a lot of repetition and at times the text duplicates what has already been discussed either a bit further along, or in another section.
All in all, however, people like me, of a certain age who grew up with what I considered to be amazing cars will be able to see the wonder contained within the book's pages. For sure, many errors were made by management, by politicians and by bloody-minded unions; who must have surely assumed that the business was too big to fail. Notwithstanding all this, though, were some simply amazing engineers creating world-beating ideas and products that had they had the resources and the investment and more co-operation would still be leading the field today.
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