Welcome, dear e-reader, to this special antique-style copy of NeutronCar.
It is offered to mark our 50th celebrations instead of the usual holographic 3-D interactive module of that is lovingly fusion-beamed into your living room throughout the year.
Nothing beats a good old retro sit down with a caffeine infusion and a real-life “magazine” to flip through – so do enjoy.
And nothing puts you quite so convincingly in touch with the quaint, old-fashioned world of such legendary figures as John Kendall, Sue Baker, Victor Harman and the rest of their test driving cohort.
1. Test driving, you exclaim? Yes, as you can see from the pages we’ve reproduced that humans were actually still individually in charge of cars as late as 2013, even if the front-running elements of auto design were already trialling Pilot-Free Transport (PFT).
Back in 2013, UK road accident statistics had seen a recent rise as a combined result of traffic volume and the fact that every moving vehicle on the road was actually still being operated – crazy as it now sounds – by a human being, most of whom were too busy phoning, texting and abusively gesticulating to keep even one eye on the road ahead.
2. The thin black line of fatalities and serious injuries did not, as any student knows, abruptly nosedive to little more than zero until PFTs became compulsory throughout Europe in 2029, the year veteran entertainer Jeremy Clarkson famously euthanized himself and his colleagues.
The small remaining percentage of accidents we still contend with are, sadly, an inevitability as long as computer hacking remains a pastime of the lower levels of our society.
3. Pictures from DieselCar in 2013 show we still arranged our vehicles to travel on the left; of course, pan-Europasian software for PFT integration banished that charming eccentricity overnight on January 1 2030.
The only memorable incident that followed was a rally of classic-car driving enthusiasts who appeared to have had a late night.
They took to the road oblivious to the change and in the ensuing chaos the world’s last Renault Laguna was damaged beyond repair.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Entertainment said the loss was devastating – the Renault hit an old phone box.
4. The last drop of diesel, along with all petroleum derivatives, ran out, as we all know, just two years later and you’re probably old enough to remember the hoo-ha that little problem provoked, with our change of name to reflect a new allegiance to the latest form of forward-thinking automotive technology, the trusty neutron.
You might also recall the small side effects of economic implosion of the Middle East, widespread riots across the USA and a rather ugly stampede for investment in nations that were least dependent on the combustion engine.
Hence the shake-up of the G8 which meant that it was now being led by India, China and the Channel Island of Sark.
5. It is also fascinating to note the brands of 2013 and nostalgic to contemplate their success, oblivious as many were to the fate that awaited them.
Those that had staked their fortunes in the passing fad for hybrid technology, by and large, were the same brands we see today fiercely competing in the neutron market – hence Toyota, Honda and Peugeot et al.
Meanwhile, the US giants were snoozing to extinction. The 4×4 sector was the least likely to draw its pension, yet our increasingly dire winters would ensure such brands as Land Rover and Subaru are very much going concerns today.
At the time though, flood-busting technology was but a twinkle in the eye of such makers. Good job it was though, otherwise most of our readers living under 50 metres above sea level would find this a soggy read.
6. Speaking of design that could float, it’s hilarious to note how many cars – just about all of them – back in 2013 were made of ponderous and unmorphable steel and aluminium.
Having moved on to the modern delights of biopolymer, with all the shape-shifting, self-repairing and cleaning abilities we take for granted, it seems unthinkable to contemplate the energy demands of vehicles that sometimes weighed as much as two tonnes.
To put it all in perspective, it would take a stack of ten 2038 MINIs to equal the weight of just one built in 2013, and that’s despite the fact that a MINI is now, when in school-run mode, eight metres long.
Such, as they say, is progress. See you in 2063.