Friday, December 23, 2011

Tatra MTX V8

A supercar from behind the old iron curtain in the early 1990’s, just one of the many companies entering the supercar market. Unfortunately with only 220bhp and a top speed of 153mph from its bespoke mid-mounted air-cooled V8, its was a little underpowered in the world of the 200mph hypercars that were already on the way. By 1993, 2 years after its introduction a reported 4 cars had been built before the plug was pulled. it’s a shame because it had the looks, I suppose you say it was all fur coat and no knickers.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ford Gyron

In 1961 Ford released this show/concept car, in the home of the car Detroit, as a possible look at the future. It was never meant for production but more for publicity. Looking like a large motorcycle with 2 side by side seats like a car, it used gyroscopes to keep the car upright. When stationary additional small wheels popped out of the side to stabilise the car. The Achilles heel of this car though was those gyroscopes, they would take 3 minutes to spin up to speed before you could drive away.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bradley GT

This is another example of how versatile the VW Beetle chassis and running gear truly was. This time just like the Nova, being a 2 seater coupe, but unlike the Nova its fitted with gullwing doors. Which in 1971 Would have been a novelty. As with most Beetle based cars, it was sold as a kit coming in various levels of completeness. In all over its 6 year life over 6000 kits were sold. Although some cars and parts do date back to 1969. Even Liberance owned one, in gold of cause. As you can probably guess no 2 are the same being customised as the cars were built, just google it to see the variety.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Argyll Turbo GT

 First introduced as a working concept featuring a turbo Rover unit mid-mounted behind the 2+2 cockpit in 1976, this elongated GT car never really changed in the looks departed up till its official launch in 1983. The only significant change was the interior that was described as sparse in the concept, this was reworked to be more luxurious with the addition of Scottish sourced leather. The interior design was always to be bespoke to each customer. The production cars were expensive by the standards costing between £25-30,000, by comparison a Lotus Esprit was only just shy of £19,000!!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Boschet B300 Gullwing

So what do you do when as a yuppie in the late 1980’s you wanted to stand out in the company car park while demonstrating how much money you earned? Buy a Mercedes 300CE I hear you say. No I said show how much money you earn, surely a bespoke tuned Mercedes 300CE, and Boschet could sell you one of the most memorable. Harking back to the original 300SL with its gullwing doors, Boschet would taka a standard 300 move the c-pillar forward 25cm, then graft these doors too it and sell it to you as the Boschet B300. The car was actually sold in both normal and gullwing variants, most sold being the conventional tuned doored version. But a small number of the good ones were built from 1989.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Peugeot Oxia

The terms Peugeot and Supercar are not likely bedfellows, but in 1988 Peugeot debuted its Oxia concept car at the Paris Auto Show. The difference with the very modern looking concept was its actually worked!!! Powered by a twin turbo mid mounted V6 producing 670bhp powering all 4 wheels, all this in what turns out is a Supercar looking GT cruiser , but when its teased would keep going upto 187mph. It even had 4 wheel steering, a early satellite navigation system, a built in phone and even CD player!!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fiat City Car (X1/23)

This 1972 concept car is well ahead of its time, small and powered by an electric motor. Unfortunately back in the 1970’s battery technology want what it is today and 166kgs of batteries were squeezed into the diminutive dimensions of the prototype. Fiat claimed a top speed of 50mph and a range of 45 miles, but a a weight of 820kgs this may have been optimistic. These weren’t the only potential problems the side windows were so low that couldn’t be opened all the way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BMW C1

Seeing a market for a scooter that would get commuters in congested cities out of their cars BMW came up with the C1. From the outset safety was paramount with the bike being crash tested and fairing as well as many contemporary small city cars. The inclusion of ABS, seat belt and side protection bars meant that in many countries (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Israel and Spain) exceptions for the need to wear a helmet were made specifically for the C1.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Midnight Rider

Conceived in the mid 80’s before finally being given the go ahead in 1997 and taking 7 years to build this is the worlds heaviest Limousine, weighting in at 25tonnes. The idea behind the Midnight Rider was to be able to take a large number of passengers back to a time of the railroad. Which is why the interior harks back to those old railway carriages. Capable of holding 40 people and staffed by 5, it come complete with full bar, and 3 lounges one with panoramic views.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ghia Action

Commissioned by Ford through their European design house in the late 1970’s to get into the wedge supercar market. Unfortunately this is as far as it got , although even at the time it was a little to much show car than Countach competitor. Powered from a F1 derived V8 mid mounted in its enclosed rear end. It was debuted in 1978. Definitely a car that is of its age with all the excess of the angles that made the wedge such a 70’s icon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kaiser Darrin

Now this is an interesting car with a interesting history. Designed by “Dutch” Darrin who was already a respected designer with the Packard Darrin in the 40‘s to name. He had worked for K. F. Corp on a few previous projects but its when asked Henry Kaiser, the K in the company name, to come to his shop to see something he’d built in his own time, things changed. When Henry laid eyes on the sports cars he dismissed it “we don’t build sportscars” but as luck would have it his wife spoke up saying that it was the most wonderful car she had ever seen. With this recommendation production started a year later in 1954. Not only that but Henry had cleared it with the board to co name the car.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

AC 3000ME


In the early 1970’s AC were keen to compete in the relatively new small mid engined sports car market, but with no car currently in the design office the small firm turned its eyes to the Diabolo, a prototype with an Austin Maxi engine and transaxle built by race privateers Peter Bohanna and Robin Stables. After a year of development the prototype way unveiled a year later in 1973 at the London Motor Show with a Ford Essex V6 power plant after BLMC decided that they needed all their engines for their cars and wouldn’t release any.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DAF 600

The DAF 600 in the face if it looks like most small European cars built in the late 1950’s, this one though has a trick up its sleave, one that F1 banned even before it hit the track 35 years later in the 1993 Williams FW15C CVT.
So what innovation was it, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), called the DAF Variomatic. Its basically one single variable gear which allows the engine to run at the optimum efficiency through its rev range.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Shamrock

A sports convertible with a removable hardtop, built in Ireland for export to the State out of fibreglass. Okay that all sounds plausible but in 1959 the hotrod scene was about and the muscle car was on the horizon. The problem the Shamrock was based around the Austin A55 and its 1.5ltr engine with only 51bhp, that was fine for the twisty A and B roads here in Britain but not good for Interstate cruising.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BMW Columbus


Another concept, this time from BMW (ItalDesign) from back in 1992 to commemorate the 500 since the discovery of America. The idea was a mix of people carrier with flexibility of a camper van but the performance and luxury of a sports car. This came from the 300bhp V12!!! I must say I like the central driving position and it looks like it could comfortable seat 7, an ideal candidate for a modern luxury limo or taxi if you ask me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Customising, Culture & Harley-Davidson, MOSI

I had been looking forward to going to this exhibition ever since I found out about it back in February this year, unfortunately for one reason or another I missed it, then a little luck happened reading the Sunday paper I saw it still advertised. Turns out the run had been extended for an additional month so on Sunday morning I headed over to the awesome Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester city centre.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Facebook Page

As you may be aware theres a group set up on facebook to keep you up to dae on new posts etc, I have just set up a Page to replace this, just click on the "like" button to the top left of the, jsut under the search bar, and it will connect you.

This is where any notification of any posts will be put and allow you to provide feedback or leads on cars/bikes you would like me to feature.

Hope to see you there

Heath :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ford Seattle XXI


There are concept cars that look to the future and occasionally get some aspect right, but the Ford Seattle XXI (named after the city it was debuted in at the Worlds Fair of 1963) got more right than you might think. At a time before computers would fit in your pocket, Ford had been thinking about on board computers that would drive the car, drive by wire (no steering wheel here just a console), satellite navigation and fuel cells/battery packs, and this was back in 1962.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tucker Torpedo/Sedan


At the end of WW2 Preston Tucker decided to build an advanced car with added safety features such as independent suspension, disc brakes and rear mounted fuel injected flat 6 engine. The concept built in 1946 went down a storm with the public after a tour of the towns, so much so the company issued shares to build a production version and continue to develop the car. To generate even more revenue Tucker allowed future owners to purchase accessories ahead of the cars production, this would also guarantee then a place on the order list.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jehle Saphier


Now this is an usual car that over its 10 year life span has been constantly developed and “improved”. Built in Liechtenstein original based upon the trusty VW Beetle chassis and running gear when it was first introduced in 1982 with only 54bhp. Later in 1985 is was built around a custom chassis that allowed a more powerful engine to be installed, staying in the VW family with an upgraded GTI engine with 150-200bhp.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Toyota Avalon


In the car industry “surprise and delight” is key, just think of the cup holder in the Audi A3 that with the slightest touch effortlessly deploys from the dash. The Avalon’s “surprise and delight” is its roof which totally folds back. Totally impractical, just think about if it rained, but it give the rest of the car that low sleek look, as well as adding that 4 door convertable option. Built as a concept in 1991, it looks like it was just “wow” styling exercise, and it does do its job very well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pangolina 444GT


This Russian one off built in the early 80’s by Alexander Kulygin has appeared in a few films a TV shows over the years as well as having a resent change of look. But I think you’ll agree the original concept was the best with its huge opening roof that no only gave access for the occupants but also to the engine once the dash had been pivoted up!!!! Yes that’s it, from a VAZ 2101, up front, even if the car looks like it should be mid mounted. It even had a periscope for rear visibility. This is one of those “marmite” cars a definite one for splitting opinion, personally I think it’s great, full of 70’s/80’s angular excess.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Jeep XJ002 “Bolide”



Hot on the heals of the XJ001 concept Jeep built an equally forward thinking Bolide concept (Bolide meaning “a large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere”). Built on a Commando V6 truck chassis with a fibreglass body, it even had additional bumps in the roof line for heads of the driver and passenger!!!! It was first debuted at the New York City car show in 1970, and described in the literature as “the first four wheel drive Jeep Sports Car and All Purpose Utility Vehicle”.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mega Monte Carlo


After building the very rare Track, Mega followed it up in 1996 at the Geneva Motor Show with the Monte Carlo. A result of Mega both joining a small group of exclusive supercar builders and the acquisition of Monte-Carlo Automobile Ltd which included plans to build an exclusive super sports car for both the road and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The birth of the Mega Monte Carlo was set, based around a car that had originally been built 6 years before.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keeble K3

From one half of the partnership that produced the awesin Gordon Keeble in the 1960’s, Jim Keeble kept in the sutomotive industry designing and testing cars through to the 1980’s. At this time he built this prototype the K3. A small engine 3 wheeled car that by all accounts was very fast and would carry on going up to 125mph!!!! Meant for a production run of 40 cars it never made it into production, it’s a real shame because it has that mad look about it that all 3 wheeled cars should have.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Osi Silver Fox


Looking more like a catamaran than a car the Silver Fox is unique. It was built in 1967 to compete in Le Man’s and debuted in the Turin Motor Show of the same year. However due to the financial situation Osi found its self in this dream was never realised. Instead we’re left with unique car.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Renault 900

Not so much information on this one, it’s a prototype from Renault built in 1959, from what I gather it was fitted with a V8 (built from 2 more conventional V4’s bolted together from another of Renaults models) slung out the back. Yes that is the back and not the bonnet. Its unconventional, looking awkward, almost like it’s backwards and about to tip forward. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Confederate P120 Fighter

Confederate Motorcycles have to be one of the coolest production bike builders in the world. The P120 Fighter is one of their current offerings and I think you’ll agree it looks like nothing else on the road, looking for custom than production. Powered by a 2ltr twin with 160bhp, there’s power to back up the looks. The over engineered frame and bespoke no-nonsense details make this bike so purposeful and aggressive looking.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Star Streak

If you had the skills at hand and wanted a camper van you would surely build something extra special, so when Lt Colonel Paul Jones from Florida decided to build one that’s exactly what he did. Using aircraft construction techniques he built the Star Streak on top of an Oldsmobile Tornedo chassis and running gear using aluminium. The windows are also bullet proof to resist scratches. It’s no half-done job either, fitted with an interior that can be switched to provide 2 beds, AC/DC/Gas appliances, TV and hot and cold running water from its own reservoir.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ford Saxon


There are some people out there that love to build a replica of a rare car, be it a Quattro or a RS Cosworth, then there are the people who build dreams, a replica of a car that wasn’t even put into production. A car that has a reported single photo available of the original and that been taken from the rear!!!!! Colin is such a man. Taking that single photo and his experience building and rebuilding Ford Cortina’s he set about cutting one up and creating this masterpiece.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Xeno 3, Personal Concept

When Nick Pugh decided to create a concept car that could not only be driven but would also act as technology bridge for vehicle design, the result after 10 years was the Xeno 3. Powered by a 500bhp gas driven engine to reduce emissions, the majority of the car is gold plated. Resulting in a racer but with the design and some of the refinement of a luxury car, placing the concept between the 2 extremes. Some of the details are awe-inspiring such as the rear lights. The whole car has a Victorian engineered feel about it. Definitely a car that is both rare and unusual.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Isdera Imperator 108i


What happens when a Mercedes design engineer who produced some of the most iconic concept and development cars, had his project cancelled? Well if it was Eberhard Schulz who was responsible for the development of the C111 concepts through the 70’s and early 80’s he set up his own company, Isdera, and with Mercedes cooperation took the C111 and in 1984 turned it into a roadworthy production car and sold it as the Imperator 108i.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scripps-Booth, Bi Autogo


This vehicle has the priviledge of being the first V8 powered vehicle to be built in Detroit. Built in 1913 by self-taught James Scripps-Booth, an heir of the Scripps publishing fortune, it was a motorbike with stabilising wheels that could be lowered by the driver at slow speeds. It had many innovative features not yet seen on production cars of the day, hidden door hinges, folding armrests and a horn mounted in the middle of the steering wheel.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Disappearing doors!!!!

Getting into a car usually involves opening a door and climbing in then leaning over and closing it, and as we know how doors open varies from car to car from the conventional way to suicide, roof hinged and scissor. Jaytech California LLC decided that it had found a niche in the market by making disappearing doors. Which they claim mean a driver can park in ever tighter parking spaces as you won’t need the additional space to open the door and make the car safer. They even fitted the system to a few cars and demonstrated this. At first glance it’s an awesome idea, but on a practical side maybe not, but still its most certainly innovative and unusual.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keinath GT(R)


In the mid 90’s a new type of convertible came onto the general market, the hard top type that stowed in the boot. Leading the way was the little Mercedes SLK in 1996 and then Peugeot sold it to the masses in its 206CC in 2000. But a little known company, Keinath Automobilbia in Germany, had its own version that may have piped the Mercedes to the post. The GTR was let loose on the public in 1996 till 2000 in limited numbers, approximately 38 were built.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jeep XJ001


Back in 1969 with the off roading movement growing Kaiser Jeep (the current owners) built s concept based on the 81-inch-wheelbase CJ-5 Universal Jeep chassis but with a sporting fibreglass body and interior. This was meant to be both a 4x4 and hold its own on the tarmac, a crossover vehicle if you will. It was certainly daring in its looks and with Jeep underpinnings could do the job.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Covini C6W

Getting into the supercar market isn’t easy, you need that x factor, something different from the rest, for Zonda it was an outrageous body, Audi bullet proof reliability but making your car stand out from the crowd these days isn’t easy. So how does another set of front wheels!!!!! Taking its cue from the Tyrell P34 Formula 1 car it has 4 steering front wheels. This is sold by adding added safety ie twice the traction, twice the braking and more stability in the event of a tyre blow out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

VWNW, Tatton Park, Cheshire


Another weekend another car show, the difference this time was I was participating with my car on a club stand, the Scirocco Register no less. This allowed me to spend the whole day at this huge VW event taking in everything at my leisure. From the autojumble (there were bargains to be had, I should know I had a few) to the other club stands, the traders section and show and shine, for a 1 day show there’s a lot to cram in. The variety of cars is huge from all out custom beetles and vans (one with a t-bar roof set up and mid engined) to low and loud modern metal there was something for every part of the VW community.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mega Track


400 bhp V12 from a Mercedes engine, 4 wheel drive and adjustable suspension, not what you’d expect from a company that traditionally made cars that can be driven on a bike licence, not only that but its French!!!!! This was the first car built by them for full licence use, well almost built only 5 were delivered in 1995.

Monday, August 1, 2011

2011 Scirocco Register National Meet

Well with my Mk2 clean I headed down to the National Meet, with a hop skip and jump through various service station meeting up and enlarging the convoy of Wolfsburg’s finest. The final meet point was Telford Services for the usual mass convoy to RAF Cosford. it’s a great chance to put faces to names and catch up with fellow owners from all over the UK and even Europe. The variety of cars from concours standard to modified monsters was amazing and even included a very rare drop top in viper green, giving all the participants food for thought on the next thing on the to do list. A great day helped out by the sun shining, awesome organising and a great bunch of people. Only 12 months till next year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cyclops, The Big Bus

At the height of the disaster movie rule the spoof of the disaster movie was born. The first (before Airplane) in 1976 was The Big Bus, simply a nuclear powered double decker, bendy luxury bus that could go from New York to Denver non-stop. Equipped with everything that could be needed, bowling alley, piano bar, pool, moving tyre replacement function etc the usual hi jinks happens, sabotage, milk carton fight, pickup being attached to the side!!!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

North Wales Classic Car Show, Bodelwyddan Castle, Rhyl

You know a car show is going to be good when as your queuing to get in a Noble M12 drives past and parks up next to a convertible Lamborghini Gallardo. Not only that but for a donation to charity you can be in the passenger seat for a short drive.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Panther Solo

British built mid engined supercar, with pop up lights and built in exclusive numbers, Jaguar XJ220 is what your thinking hey, but a small manufacturer was also at it. Panther in Waybridge England, then owned by a Korean businessman, produced this 2 seat coupe, later the series 2 was a 2+2, between 1989-90. The Series 1 was powered by a 1.6ltr Ford engine from the XR2 running through the permanent 4 wheel drive system.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nissan MID4

In the mid 1980’s Nissan looked at the supercar market and decided to throw its hat in the ring, in 1985 it debuted its first MID4 at the Frankfurt Autoshow. With sleek looks and powered by a mid-mounted 3ltr V6 with 226 bhp with four wheel drive, it would have at that time sat behind the 300ZX twin turbo in the Nissan line-up. By 1987 Nissan decided to lift its profile by installing a much more powerful twin turbo V6 giving it 325 bhp, with more refinement and at the Tokyo Motor Show the MID4 II was debuted.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Metro Saloon

When anyone from the UK goes to Europe one of the things that you notice straight away are the strange car variants that our European counterparts have. I not talking about the steering wheel being on the wrong side but the strange bulge that’s hangs of the back of conventional hatchbacks. I talking about small runabouts with boots!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mercedes VRC

In 1995 at the Geneva Motor Show Mercedes introduced the world to its VRC (versatile automotive concepts) concept. A car that could be anything and do everything for everyone. The 2 part car encompasses a standard base part that holds the running gear, seats, doors and windscreen, basically everything from the waist down. Added to the top of this was a variety of bodies from people carriers, pick-up to convertible and coupe. These were held in place with electric magnets and rear power connection which also lets the base know what car it is for each body. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monica 560

Monica was intended as a luxury brand to rival Citroen’s SM, created by Jean Tastevin, a French industrialist and named after his wife in the early 1970’s. In reality the only French thing about the car was where it was built. The concept/prototype car was designed and produced by Chris Lawrence at C.J. Lawrence Consultants of  Hammersmith, London, England. Even the engine in the later prototypes was a Chrysler 5.6 l (340 in³) V8 engine. Through a manual gearbox.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stars and Stripes, Tatton Park

With fantastic weather assured I headed once again to Tatton Park on the first morning of the Stars and Stripes American Car Show. I really do like this show because you just don’t know what will be new. This year it was hot rods, there may have only been a few when I was there but they made my day

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gordon Keeble

I saw this car recently at a classic car show in Lancashire I was taken by its simple lines and toggle switches. It’s obviously been built primarily as a sports/GT car. I also knew the Keeble name was rare, I didn’t appreciate how rare, this is one of only 99 built by the factory between 1963-66, although one more was built out of spare parts. Over its short life this car had a troubled one, with strikes affecting parts supply therefore stopping production, both Jim Keeble and John Gordon resigning, the company going to the brink of bankruptcy/ changing hands a few times and being built in 2 factories it’s amazing to think so many were actually built.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lancashire Classic Car and Bike Show, Houghton Tower, Preston

Arriving at the very long and impressive drive up to Houghton Tower I didn’t know what to expect. After parking up I followed the simple sign down a rough track, at the end a you at the top end of a big filed that overlooks the whole car show with the cars lined up in single rows for ease of viewing. This is how all show should start. Money paid the next few hours were spent wandering around a round a variety of cars.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Colani Sea Ranger

So you’re the outdoors that like fishing type that needs a vehicle that can do it all, well the Sea Ranger is for you. Part camper van part boat this has to be one of the most unusual amphibious vehicles. Styled and built by Luigi Colani to his Biodesign design methodology, I believe it’s was a one off concept in 1979. Based on Unimog running gear, but with this body added and of cause it’s amphibious. Looking at it at the time it would have looked a little old fashioned, the styling seems more 70’s sci-fi than brash 80’s hardlines that were being developed at the time.