I believe that the motor car is the most significant cultural artefact of the Twentieth century and that its beauty and utility have been badly overlooked. I aim to put this right.

So who am I?

Graham Hoyland standing beside a yellow and black Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Graham Hoyland: ex-BBC producer, Everest climber, author and appreciator of anything with engines, wheels or wings.

My books include “Merlin: The Power Behind the Spitfire, Mosquito and Lancaster“, published by HarperCollins, and others about jet engines and piston engines. I’ve owned and rebuilt around 60 cars, including Ferraris, Porsches and Minis.

So what’s the idea?

“Cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals; I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object.”- Roland Barthes

It is hard to overstate the significance of the motor car, a machine that attracted mass worship from humanity and in return granted us our freedom. Roland Barthes’ remark in 1957 touched on the symbolism of the object, but without the car where would we have been for the last century?

Henry Ford remembered the suffocating tedium of life in rural communities, and freedom to travel for city dwellers was restricted to trams and railways. Before the car, we lived in a dark age of isolation, lack of mobility and hopelessness. But now we are overrun with cars and overwhelmed with jammed shopping malls, motorways and cities. How on earth did we get here?

The car now stands at a crossroads of history. General Motors has announced that it will stop building conventional petroleum-burning cars by 2035. Other manufacturers are following suit and the result will be a seismic shift in a multi-billion-dollar industry. Everything will be turned upside down. What’s coming next?

The car has been the supreme consumer product and yet remarkably little has been written about it. Apart from the effusions of the enthusiast’s magazines and websites, there hasn’t been a serious study of the car for a generation.

This website aims to explain the thinking behind cars.