Auto Retro Barcelona – December 2015

There has been a huge increase in the number of car-related events in recent years, capitalising on an undiminished interest from a fan base of all ages, and viable as the internet and social media has made publicising them so much easier than it used to be. Among the panapoly of different themes and venues are a few events which have been going for a very long time. The one under review is one such, having been held every year for more than 30 years now. Billed as the largest classic car event in Spain – although the locals would tell you that it is actually in Cataluyna, rather than Spain! – the Auto Retro Classico takes place in early December at the Firra complex in the Montjuic area of Barcelona. I’ve been a few times now, as the opportunity to see an array of classics, many of which you would not see in Britain no matter how many events you attended, combined with a weekend in what is one of my favourite European cities, and the prospect of some winter sunshine has proved irresistible every time. 2015 was to be no exception, and I took advantage of a cheap flight, and rental car, and an affordable deal at the Hilton on the Avenida Diagonal to repeat the experience of previous years. Although this may be the biggest classic car show in Spain, it is nothing like the size of the larger ones in the UK, France or Germany, so one day is more than ample to see it all. Having reviewed the weather forecast, I picked the day where the sun was likely to be hiding to visit the show, saving the better day for a trip out in the rental car. Taking advantage of Barcelona’s efficient (and cheap) metro system, I did not even move the rented Volvo the day I attended, and I was at the show less than 30 minutes after walking out of my hotel.  Here is what I found.

THE INDOOR SHOW>/h2>

There was one significant change from previous years. The Firra comprises a collection of buildings, on either side of a public road, the Avenida de la Reina Maria Cristina. Rather than occupying three interconnected halls on the east side of the road, as has been the case in previous years, this time, the show was relocated to one larger hall on the west side of the street. Without comparing floor area of the two different halls, it is hard to be sure, but it felt like there was less display space this time than previously, but that may well be an illusion caused by the fact that everything was in one large hall, with an annex out the back, as there were over 300 stands, and more than 600 cars and bikes on show. The displays comprise a mix of very large stands, with manufacturer support, slightly smaller ones for some of the larger Car Clubs, a sizeable autojumble area, and several displays of classics that are offered for sale by dealers, most of them Spanish based. It means that there is plenty of variety.

ALFA ROMEO

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for Alfa Romeo in Spain, and in previous years, the Owners Clubs of the nation have put on some very impressive displays of all sorts of classic models from the marque, but this year there was no such stand, so the Alfa models present were all single cars on a variety of different club stands. Oldest, and most valuable of these was a Giulietta Sprint Speciale. The Sprint Speciale was first shown at the 1957 Turin Show as a prototype. Production cars were launched at the Monza circuit in June 1959. The SS boasted the lowest drag coefficient ever seen in a production car, with a cd of just 0.28, a figure which was not surpassed for 20 years. In 1963, it was updated, taking the Giulia name, when a larger 1600cc engine was put under the bonnet, giving it a top speed of 120 mph, an astonishing figure at the time. It did not come cheap, though, costing a lot more than the Giulia GT that was also first shown in 1963. 1,366 of the earlier Giulietta Sprint Speciale and 1,400 of the later Giulia Sprint Speciale were produced before production ceased in 1963. Just 25 cars were converted to right hand drive by RuddSpeed. You don’t see these cars very often, and of the ones I recall seeing in the past few years, they have all been Giulia versions, so it was a pleasant surprise to come across this Giulietta version.

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At least as pretty, to my eyes, at least, was the open topped model in the range, and this 1959 Giulietta Spider was a lovely example.

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Alfa followed the 101 Series Giulietta cars with a larger design to plug the gape to the 2000/2600 102 Series cars, with the Giulia range. First up in the 105 Series was the Berlina model launched in 1962. Between then and the end of production in 1978 there were a bewildering array of similar models, which even the marque enthusiast can find hard to untangle. The styling was quite straight forward, but great attention was paid to detail. The engine bay, cabin and boot were all square shaped. But the grille, the rooflines and details on the bonnet and boot made for an integrated design from bumper to bumper. Thanks to Alfa Romeo using a wind tunnel during its development, the Giulia was very aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of Cd=0.34, which was particularly low for a saloon of the era and not a bad figure even for cars of today. Couple that with the fact that Alfa Romeo was one of the first manufacturers to put a powerful engine in a light-weight car (it weighed about 1,000 kilograms) and thanks to an array of light alloy twin overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, similar to that of the earlier Giulietta models range, the car had a lively performance which bettered that of many sports cars of the day. The Tipo 105.14 was the first model introduced in 1962. with a 1,570 cc Twin Cam engine with single down-draft carburettor generating 91 hp at 6500 rpm. The “TI” nomenclature referred to a class of Italian saloon car racing known as “Turismo Internazionale”, and had previously been applied to higher-performance versions of the 1900 and Giulietta saloons in the 1950s. However, for the Giulia saloon, the Ti was at first the only version available, and later, with the introduction of the TI Super and Super, the TI became the base version for the 1,600 cc engine class. The steering column gearchange (the only one in the Giulia range) was replaced with a floor change for 1964 (Tipo 105.08). Right hand drive cars, available from 1964, only ever had a floor change (Tipo 105.09). Brakes were by drums all around at first. Discs were introduced later, first at the front, and later all around. A brake servo was not fitted at first, but was introduced in later cars. The steering wheel featured the only horn ring ever in the Giulia range. The dashboard with a strip speedo is a notable feature, as is the steering wheel with a horn ring. The Giulia TI was phased out in 1968 and re-introduced as the austerity model 1600 S.  Tipo 105.16 was a special racing model introduced in 1963. Quadrifoglio Verde (green four-leaf clover) stickers on the front wings were a distinguishing feature. Only 501 were made for homologation and today it is very rare and desirable. The 1,570 cc engine was fitted with two double-choke horizontal Weber 45DCOE carburettors for 110 hp at 6500 rpm. The body was lightened and a floor gearchange was fitted as standard, as were alloy wheels of very similar appearance to the standard steel ones of the TI. The TI’s instrument cluster with its strip speedometer was replaced with a three-instrument binnacle comprising speedometer, tachometer and a multi-gauge instrument (fuel, water temperature, oil temperature and pressure) – these instruments were similar to those fitted to the contemporary Giulia Sprint and Sprint Speciale coupes and Spider convertibles. The steering wheel was a three-spoke item with centre hornpush, also similar to that of the more sporting models. Braking was by discs all around, although the first cars used drums (triple leading shoe on the front) and early disc models lacked a servo which was introduced later. The police cars seen in The Italian Job were of this type. Tipo 105.06 was an austerity model made from 1964 to 1970 with a 1,290 cc single-carburettor engine for 77 hp at 6000 rpm. Four-speed gearbox with floor change fitted as standard (the 1300 was the only Giulia model not fitted with a five-speed gearbox). Though the engine was given a 105 series type number, it was basically the engine from the 101 series Giulietta Ti. This model appears not to have been exported to many markets outside Italy, if at all. Braking was by discs all around, without a servo at first, later with a servo. Tipo 105.26 was introduced in 1965. It transferred the technology from the racing TI Super to a road car, to make the most successful Giulia saloon. 1,570 cc engine with two double-choke Weber 40DCOE carburettors for a milder, but torquier tune than the TI Super – 97 hp at 5500 rpm. There was a new dashboard with two large round instruments (speedo and tacho) and clock, a sportier steering wheel with three aluminium spokes and centre horn push, similar to that of the Ti Super, later changed for one with the horn pushes in the spokes. All-around disc brakes with servo were fitted as standard from the outset. The serpent crest of the Sforza family appears in a badge on the C-pillar and is a distinguishing feature of the Super. For 1968, there was a suspension update, including revised geometry and a rear anti-roll bar. The wheels were changed from 155/15 to 165/14. For 1970, updates included dual-circuit brakes, centre-mounted handbrake lever to replace under-dash “umbrella handle”, larger external doorhandles, and top-hinged pedals (the latter in left hand drive models only; right hand drive continued with bottom-hinged pedals to the end of production). In 1972, Tipo 105.26 was rationalised into the Giulia 1.3 – Giulia 1.6 range. Tipo 105.39 built from 1965 to 1972. Right hand drive model replaced in 1970 by the 1300 Super. 1,290 cc engine with single down-draft carburettor for 81 hp at 6000 rpm. Unlike the re-deployed 101-series Giulietta engine of the austerity-model 1300, the 1300 ti motor was a 105 series engine, basically that of the sportier GT1300 Junior coupe with different camshaft timing (but the same camshafts) and induction system. Five-speed gearbox. Three-spoke bakelite steering wheel with plastic horn push covering the centre and spokes. Dashboard initially with strip speedo like that of the TI. For 1968, updates included a dashboard based on that of the Super, but with a simpler instrument binnacle, still featuring two large round instruments (speedo and tacho) and a separate fuel gauge, and the same suspension, wheel and tire updates applied to the Giulia Super in the same year. For 1970, updates included dual-circuit brakes, centre handbrake, larger external doorhandles and top-hinged pedals (on left hand drive cars only), again as applied to the Super for that year. Tipo 105.85 was basically a Giulia TI re-introduced in 1968 as a lower-level model to come between the 1300 and 1300 ti on one hand, and the Super on the other. It had a re-interpretation of the 1,570 cc single-carburettor engine for 94 hp at 5500 rpm and similar trim to the 1300 ti. Replaced in 1970 by the 1300 Super (see below) which offered similar performance in a lower tax bracket. The last cars from 1970 featured the top-hinged pedals, centre handbrake and dual-circuit brakes as for the Super and 1300 ti. Tipo 115.09 was introduced in 1970. It was basically a 1300 ti fitted with the engine from the GT 1300 Junior coupe that featured two double-choke horizontal carburettors; the engine actually had the GT 1300 Junior type number. This model was rationalised into the Giulia Super 1.3 – Giulia Super 1.6 range in 1972. In 1972 a rationalisation of the Giulia range saw the Super 1300 (Tipo 115.09) and the Super (Tipo 105.26) re-released as the Super 1.3 and Super 1.6. The two models featured the same equipment, interior and exterior trim, differing only in engine size (1,290 cc and 1,570 cc) and final drive ratio. The 1300 ti was dropped. A small Alfa Romeo badge on the C-pillar is a distinguishing feature, as are hubcaps with exposed wheel nuts. In December 1972 Alfa-Romeo South Africa released the 1600 Rallye. This locally developed more powerful 1600 cc version of the 1300 Super, using the 1300’s single-headlight body shell. The car was largely ready for competition and was only planned to be built in limited numbers, and was fitted with racing-style rear-view mirrors, rally lamps, fully adjustable seats, and a limited-slip differential. Claimed power was 125 hp. The Giulia Super range was re-released in 1974 as the Nuova Super range, including the Giulia Nuova Super 1300 and 1600 This and featured a new black plastic front grille and a flat boot lid without the characteristic centre spine. Otherwise the cars differed little from their Giulia Super predecessors and bore the same Tipo numbers with an S suffix. A Nuova Super fitted with a Perkins 1,760 cc diesel with 54 hp at 4000 rpm, the firm’s first attempt at diesel power. The same Perkins diesel was used also in Alfa Romeo F12 van. The diesel version was slow, 138 km/h (86 mph), and the engine somehow unsuitable for a sport sedan so it was not big seller, only around 6500 examples were made in 1976 and the car was not sold in the UK. Production of the Giulia ceased in 1977. The car seen here is a Nuova Giulia from 1976.

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Final Alfa model here was an Alfetta GTV, the very pretty Coupe version of the 116 Series Alfetta Berlina. Styled by Giugiaro, this car, initially called the GT, and premiered in the autumn of 1974,   looked completely unlike the saloon on which it was based. The first cars had 1.8 litre four cylinder engines and then in 1976 the range was expanded both up and down with a 1.6 and a 2.0 model, the latter adopting the legendary GTV name. In 1981, with the 2.5 litre V6 engine that had been developed for the ill-fated Alfa 6 luxury saloon available, Alfa was able to create a true rival for the 2.8 litre Capri with the GTV6. A facelift modernised the look of the car with plastic bumpers front and rear and a new interior looked rather better as well as being more ergonomically logical.

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AMILCAR

This is a 1926 Amilcar CGSS. Amilcar was founded in July 1921 by Joseph Lamy and Emile Akar. The name “Amilcar” was an imperfect anagram of the partners’ names. The original Amilcar was a small cyclecar. Designed by Jules Salomon and Edmond Moyet, it bore a striking resemblance to the pre-war Le Zèbre. The vehicle was first exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in October 1921. The business was a leading beneficiary of a cyclecar boom, prompted by a government initiative which held out the promise of a reduced rate of annual car tax, fixed at 100 francs per year, for powered vehicles weighing no more than 350 kg (dry weight, without fuel or water or such extras as a spare tyre/wheel), providing seating for no more than two people and powered by an engine of not more than 1100cc. Once a vehicle exceeded these limits it ceased to be a cyclecar and was instead officially designated a voiturette. The 4-cylinder 903cc Amilcar CC appeared in 1922, with a wheelbase of just 2,320 mm (91 in). The CC subsequently became available in two further versions; the Amilcar C4 was a slightly longer sports car, while the CS, introduced in 1924, was a brisker sports version with the engine size increased to 1004 cc. The side-valve engine had splash lubrication, and came with a three-speed gearbox. The most famous model of all was the CGS “Grand Sport” of 1924; this featured a 1074 cc engine and four-wheel brakes. This in turn evolved into the more sporty CGSS “Grand Sport Surbaissé”. These models were built under license in Germany (as the Pluto) and in Austria (as the Grofri) and in Italy (as Amilcar Italiana). The marque entered automobile racing in the mid-1920s with a batch of supercharged dohc 1100cc six-cylinder cars that used a roller bearing crankshaft in the full racing version; these vehicles were also available with plain bearings, driven by famous race driver André Morel. From 1928 the company offered a light touring car; called the “M-Type”, it featured a side-valve 1200 cc engine and was launched in 1928. It was followed by the M2, M3, and M4 versions. The M-type and its successors continued to be produced through the ensuing years of financial difficulty, offered for sale till 1935, though production probably ended in 1934. 1928 saw the introduction of a straight eight, which was built with an ohc 2.3-liter engine. This, the C8, proved unreliable, and soon disappeared with only a few hundred produced. At the end of August 1934, still faced with disappointing sales volumes, the factory at Saint-Denis closed for the last time, as management struggled to save the business. A new model was clearly needed and in October 1934 the company presented the new 2-litre (12CV) Amilcar Pégase powered by a 4-cylinder ohv 2150 cc engine supplied by Delahaye.] There was also a competition version of the Pégase with a 2490 cc (14CV) engine. By October 1935, the smaller Amilcar models having been discontinued, the Pégase, produced under much reduced circumstances at premises in Boulogne-Billancourt, was the only Amilcar model listed. These cars remain popular in historic motor sport events.

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ASTON MARTIN

Sole Aston Martin here was a DB2/4, the first new post-war Aston, and the first car to adopt the now legendary DB naming convention, reflecting the fact that in 1947 David Brown had bought the Aston Martin and Lagonda companies and incorporated them as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.  Lagonda’s 2.6 litre dual overhead cam, straight-six engine, more powerful than the pushrod 1.9 litre unit in the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, was the main objective in Brown’s acquisition of the company. W. O. Bentley had supervised the engine’s design, which was largely by William (Willie) Watson, an engineer with the pre-war Invicta company who had collaborated on Lagonda’s pre-war V12 and also designed the short-lived post-war version. Work then started on producing a new car, which was called the DB2. This new model would utilise a version of the Lagonda engine in a shortened version of the tube-frame chassis designed by Claude Hill for the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, with a fastback coupé body designed by Frank Feeley. Three pre-production cars were entered for the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. One, which would become the development car for the production DB2, had the Lagonda straight-6, while the four-cylinder Aston Martin 2-litre unit powered the other two. After six laps the Lagonda-powered car, driven by Leslie Johnson, retired with overheating caused by failure of the water pump. One of the 2-litre cars was in 4th place and running without brakes when it crashed two hours short of the finish, fatally injuring driver Pierre Maréchal. The other finished 7th, crewed by Arthur Jones and Nick Haines. A month later, the larger-engined car, driven by Leslie Johnson and Charles Brackenbury, finished 3rd in the Spa 24-hour race, where one of the 2-litre cars was driven to 5th by Nick Haines and Lance Macklin. For 1950 all three factory team cars were equipped with the Lagonda engine. At the 1950 Le Mans race the one driven by George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished 5th, with Brackenbury and Reg Parnell bringing another home 6th, which won Aston Martin 1st and 2nd in the 3-litre class. Across the Atlantic, Briggs Cunningham drove his DB2 to 2nd in its class at the inaugural Sebring race meeting in December 1950. The factory team cars continued racing in Europe throughout 1951, including at Le Mans, where Macklin and Eric Thompson took 3rd overall, with Abecassis and Brian Shawe-Taylor 5th. David Brown soon embarked on a series of Aston Martins designed specifically for competition use, starting with the DB3. Meanwhile, the production DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950 and continued in production until April 1953, by which time 411 had been made. The first 49 had a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts, and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings. Subsequent cars had a one-piece grille with horizontal chrome slats, and no side vents. The single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front. At the rear of the fixed-head coupé (FHC) a small top-hinged lid gave access to the spare wheel, and luggage space was behind the front seats, accessible only from inside the car. Later in 1950, a Drophead Coupé (DHC) variant was introduced. At least 102 were built. In April 1950, an engine with larger carburettors, inlet camshaft the same as the exhaust (for increased duration), and higher compression ratio pistons (8.16:1) was made available. Aston Martin’s first Vantage upgrade option offered 125 hp. Initially the higher compression ratio made the engine unsuitable for the British market, as the postwar austerity measures of the early 1950s restricted UK vehicles to 72 octane “Pool petrol”. The first DB2 Vantage, LML 50/21, was delivered to, and raced by, Briggs Cunningham in the United States. A revised version of the DB2 was launched in 1953, called the DB2/4. It was available as a 2+2 hatchback, marketed as a Saloon, as a Drophead Coupé (DHC) and as a 2-seat Fixed Head Coupe. A small number of Bertone bodied spiders were commissioned by private buyers. A further update in 1957 created the Mark III, and this was produced until the launch of the DB4 in 1958.

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AUDI

There were a couple of examples of the “urQuattro” here, on both road car and rally guises. The idea for a high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed by Audi’s chassis engineer, Jörg Bensinger, in 1977, when he found that the Volkswagen Iltis could outperform any other vehicle in snow, no matter how powerful. Bensinger’s idea was to start developing an Audi 80 variant in co-operation with Walter Treser, Director of Pre-Development.. Following an unveiling on 1st March 1980, Audi released the original Quattro to European customers in late 1980, with the car featuring Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system (hence its name), and the first to mate four-wheel drive with a turbocharged engine. The original engine was the 2,144 cc  in-line-5-cylinder 10 valve SOHC, with a turbocharger and intercooler. It produced 197 bhp propelling the Quattro from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds, and reaching a top speed of over 220 km/h (137 mph). The engine was eventually modified to a 2,226 cc  inline-5 10 valve, still producing 197 bhp, but with peak torque lower in the rev-range. In 1989, it was then changed to a 2,226 cc inline-5 20v DOHC setup producing 217 bhp, now with a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) Audi Quattros are referred to among owners and enthusiasts by their engine codes, to differentiate between the earlier and later versions: the earliest  2144 cc 10v being the “WR” engine, the 2226 cc 10v being the “MB” engine, and the later 20v being the “RR” engine. Hence, Quattro models may be referred to as either the WR Quattro, MB Quattro, and RR or “20v” Quattro, respectively. Quattro car production was 11,452 vehicles over the period 1980–1991,and through this 11 year production span, despite some touch-ups, there were no major changes in the visual design of the vehicle. For the 1983 model year, the dash was switched from an analogue instrument cluster, to a green digital LCD electronic instrument cluster. This was later changed in 1988 to an orange LCD electronic instrument cluster. The interior was redesigned in 1984, and featured a whole new dash layout, new steering wheel design, and new centre console design, the switches around the instrument panel were also redesigned at this time. In 1985 the dash changed slightly with harder foam and lost a diagonal stripe, the dash switches were varied slightly and the diff lock pull knob gave way to a two-position turning knob with volt and oil temp digital readouts. External styling received very little modification during its production run. Originally, the car had a flat fronted grille featuring four separate headlamp lenses, one for each of the low and high beam units. This was altered for the 1983 model year, and replaced with combined units featuring a single lens, but housing twin reflectors. This was changed again, for the 1985 model year, in what has become known as the ‘facelift model’ and included such alterations as a new sloping front grille, headlights, and trim and badging changes. Max speed was 124 mph. The RR 20v Quattro also featured a new three spoke steering wheel design, leather covering for door arm rests, gloveboxes, centre console and door pockets. There was also a full length leather-wrapped centre console running all the way to the rear seats. The 20v was also the first Ur-Q to have “quattro” script interior with partial leather seats. The floor on the drivers side had a bulge due to dual catalytic exhaust setup. The different models may be distinguished by the emblems on their boot lids: the WR had a vinyl ‘quattro’ decal or a brushed aluminium effect plastic emblem, the MB had chrome plated ‘audi’, ‘audi rings’ and ‘quattro’ emblems, whilst the RR had only chrome plated ‘audi rings’. The rear suspension was altered early on with geometry changes and removal of the rear anti-roll bar to reduce a tendency for lift-off oversteer. For the 1984 facelift, the wheel size went from 6×15-inch with 205/60-15 tyres to 8×15-inch wheels with 215/50-15 tyres. At the same time the suspension was lowered 20 mm with slightly stiffer springs for improved handling. For 1987, the Torsen centre differential was used for the first time, replacing the manual centre differential lock. The last original Audi Quattro was produced on 17 May 1991, more than two years after the first models of the new Audi Coupe range (based on the 1986 Audi 80) had been produced.

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AUSTIN HEALEY

The vast majority of “Big Healeys” were sold to the American market when new, with most of the rest being bought locally in the UK, so it is always quite a surprise to see these cars on European soil, but every time I’ve been to this event, there have always been examples of the model on show, either as display cars or presented by one or more of the dealers, offered for sale. 2015 was no exception. Donald Healey had been producing a range of expensive sports cars from the 1940s, cars such as the Silverstone, the Abbott and the Farnham. For the 1952 London Motor Show, he produced a new design, which was called the Healey Hundred, based on Austin A90 mechanicals, which he intended to produce in-house at his small car company in Warwick. It was one of the stars of the 1952 Show, and it so impressed Leonard Lord, the Managing Director of Austin, who was looking for a replacement to the unsuccessful A90. that Lord struck a deal with Healey on the spot, to build it in quantity. Bodies made by Jensen Motors would be given Austin mechanical components at Austin’s Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100, in reference to the fact that the car had a top speed of 100 mph. Production got under way in 1953, with Austin-Healey 100s being finished at Austin’s Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich—in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports. By early 1956, production was running at 200 cars a month, 150 of which were being sold in California. Between 1953 and 1956, 14,634 Austin-Healey 100s were produced, the vast majority of them, as was the case for most cars in this post war era, going for export. The car was replaced by an updated model in 1956, called the 100-6. It had a longer wheelbase,  redesigned bodywork with an oval shaped grille, a fixed windscreen and two occasional seats added (which in 1958 became an option with the introduction of the two-seat BN6 produced in parallel with the 2+2 BN4), and the engine was replaced by one based on the six-cylinder BMC C-Series engine. In 1959, the engine capacity was increased from 2.6 to 2.9 litres and the car renamed the Austin-Healey 3000. Both 2-seat and 2+2 variants were offered. It continued in this form until production ceased in late 1967. The Big Healey, as the car became known after the 1958 launch of the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite, is a popular classic now.

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BISCUTER

I’ve only ever seen examples of the Biscuter Zapatilla at this show, and when you look at it, perhaps it is not hard to see why, as this diminutive micro-car would only ever had a very limited appeal. Like other cars of its genre, Raw material shortages and general economic difficulties in Europe following the Second World War made very small, economical cars popular in many countries. In Spain, following the Spanish Civil War and the embargo declared by the United Nations against General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, the situation was even worse. The combination of relative underdevelopment, war devastation and an international trade embargo meant that the country operated at a much lower economic level than the rest of Western Europe for nearly two decades and was forced to develop domestic substitutes for hard-to-get imported products and technologies. The Biscúter, tiny, simple, and cheap even by microcar standards, was a product of this economic environment and was well suited to its time and market. The car had its origins in France in the late 1940s, where aircraft and car designer and manufacturer Gabriel Voisin had designed a minimal car called the Biscooter for Avions Voisin. The playful name implied that it was about the size of two motorscooters, or a scooter with four wheels. The design drew no interest from either manufacturers or consumers there, however, and he eventually licensed it to Spanish firm Autonacional S.A. of Barcelona. By the time it was introduced in 1953, the marque had been hispanicised to Biscúter. The first car had no formal model name and was called simply the Series 100, but it soon became known as the Zapatilla, or little shoe (clog), after a low-heeled peasant slipper popular at the time. The Zapatilla was minimal indeed, with no doors or windows or reverse gear. The 1 cylinder, 197 cc, two-stroke motor produced 9 horsepower, had a crank starter, and drove only the right front wheel. Braking was by an unusual three-point system involving the transmission and cable ties to the two rear wheels. One genuinely advanced feature was an all-aluminium body, although steel was later used. Biscúter flourished for about ten years and the cars became a common sight on Spanish roads, as well as a part of popular culture. (“Ugly as a Biscúter” was a common joke.) Amenities such as doors and windows did eventually appear, and several different bodystyles were produced, including trucks, an elegant woodie station wagon, and a toy-like sports car called the Pegasín (little Pegaso). In 1950 the Spanish auto maker SEAT was set up as the country’s national car manufacturer, but at first even the most inexpensive of its designs were considered luxury cars, out of reach of the average Spanish consumer. As time went on and a greater degree of prosperity developed, though, SEATs began to take more of the market and crowd out the cheaper marques. In 1957 the company attempted to produce a sports car, the Biscuter Pegasin in an attempt to attract the wealthier buyers. The styling was similar to the Pegaso Z-102, but it didn’t help much. By the early 60s, Biscúter sales and production stopped, after a total production run of about 12,000. It is thought that almost all of the cars were eventually scrapped.

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CADILLAC

The 1959 Cadillac is remembered for its huge sharp tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, two distinctive rooflines and roof pillar configurations, new jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck lid beauty panels. In 1959 the Series 62 had become the Series 6200. De Villes and 2-door Eldorados were moved from the Series 62 to their own series, the Series 6300 and Series 6400 respectively, though they all, including the 4-door Eldorado Brougham (which was moved from the Series 70 to Series 6900), shared the same 130 in wheelbase. New mechanical items were a “scientifically engineered” drainage system and new shock absorbers.  All Eldorados were characterised by a three-deck, jewelled, rear grille insert, but other trim and equipment features varied. The Seville and Biarritz models had the Eldorado name spelled out behind the front wheel opening and featured broad, full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the upper beltline region. Engine output was an even 345 hp from the 390 cu in (6.4 litre) engine. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, back-up lamps, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control deck lid, radio and antenna with rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks and license frames. The Eldorado Brougham also came with air conditioning, automatic headlight dimmer, and a cruise control standard on the Seville and Biarritz trim lines. For 1960, the year that this Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible was made, the styling was toned down a little. General changes included a full-width grille, the elimination of pointed front bumper guards, increased restraint in the application of chrome trim, lower tailfins with oval shaped nacelles and front fender mounted directional indicator lamps. External variations on the Seville two-door hardtop and Biarritz convertible took the form of bright body sill highlights that extended across the lower edge of fender skirts and Eldorado lettering on the sides of the front fenders, just behind the headlamps. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, dual back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six-way power seats, heater, fog lamps, Eldorado engine, remote control trunk lock, radio with antenna and rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks, license frames, and five whitewall tyres. Technical highlights were finned rear drums and an X-frame construction. Interiors were done in Chadwick cloth or optional Cambray cloth and leather combinations. The last Eldorado Seville was built in 1960. ’59 and 60 Cadillacs attract lots of interest from collectors, so this one should not struggle to find a new owner.

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CHEVROLET

Another popular American classic is the Camaro, especially in its early first generation guise, as seen here. Concerned with the runaway success of the Ford Mustang, launched in April 1964, Chevrolet executives realised that their compact sporty car, the Corvair, would not be able to generate the sales volume of the Mustang due to its rear-engine design, as well as declining sales, partly due to the negative publicity from Ralph Nader’s book, Unsafe at Any Speed, GM realised that a new car was needed. It took until September 1966 to get their rival to market. At launch. the Camaro was touted as having the same conventional rear-drive, front-engine configuration as the Mustang and Chevy II Nova. In addition, the Camaro was designed to fit a variety of power plants in the engine bay. The car sat on a new rear-wheel drive GM F-body platform was available as a two-door coupé or convertible with 2+2 seating, and a choice of 230 cu in (3.8 litre), 250 cu in (4.1 litre) inline-6 or 302 cu in (4.9 litre), 307 cu in (5.0 litre), 327 cu in (5.4 litre), 350 cu in (5.7 litre), 396 cu in (6.5 litre), 427 cu in (7.0 litre) V8 powerplants. The first-generation offered a standard, Super Sport, and Rally Sport editions. In 1967, the Z/28 model was added featuring stripes on the bonnet and boot, styled rally road wheels, and a 302 cu in (4.9 litre) V8 engine.  The first-generation Camaro lasted until the 1969 model year and eventually inspired the design of the new retro fifth-generation Camaro.

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CITROEN

The local Moritz brewery always seems to have a large presence here, and as well as an area selling their beer, they have several historic cars and vans painted in their very distinctive and colourful livery. First of them to illustrate here was a Traction Avant.

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There was a nice example of the H Van here. Known as the Type H, H-Type or HY, this panel van was produced between 1947 and 1981. It was developed as a simple front wheel driven van after World War II. A total of 473,289 were produced in 34 years in factories in France and Belgium. In France, this van is known as “Nez de Cochon” (“Pig Nose”). When used by the police, it was called “panier à salade” (“salad basket”). The basic design changed very little from 1947 to 1981. Vehicles left the Citroën factory with only three body styles: the standard enclosed van, a pick-up version, and a stripped-down body which went to non-Citroën coach-builders and formed the basis for the cattle-truck and other variants. The basic version had an overall length of 4.26m, but vehicles were also available in a LWB version with an overall length of 5.24m. In September 1963 the earlier style rear window – a narrow vertical window with curved corners – was replaced with a square window the same height but wider, 45 cm on each side. The bonnet was modified to give two additional rectangular air intakes at the lower edges, one for a heater, the other a dummy for symmetry. In early 1964, the split windscreen used since 1947 was replaced with a single windscreen, while in late 1964 the chevrons on the radiator grille, previously narrow aluminium strips similar to those on the Traction Avant, were replaced with the shorter, pointed style of chevrons as used on most Citroen vehicles in the last decades of the twentieth century. In November 1969 the small parking lights were discontinued, the front indicators were recessed into the wings, and the shape of the rear wings was changed from semi-circular to rectangular. Rear hinged ‘Suicide’ cab doors were used until the end of production in 1981, except on vehicles manufactured for the Dutch market where conventionally hinged doors were available from 1968.

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I was pleased to come across this example of the Mehari. Much like the way the 1959 Mini became the 1964 Mini Moke, this small Citroen was based on an existing model, in this case, the 2CV/Dyane. 144,953 Méharis were built between the car’s French launch in May 1968 and 1988 when production ceased. A méhari is a type of fast-running dromedary camel, which can be used for racing or transport. A méhariste was a French Armée d’Afrique and Army of the Levant cavalryman that used these camels. The Méhari was based on the Citroën Dyane 6, and had a body made of ABS plastic with a soft-top. It also employed the 602 cc flat twin engine shared with the 2CV6 and Citroën Ami and because the standard Méhari weighed just 535 kg (1,179 lb), performance was respectable though very far from brisk. The vehicle also had the interconnected fully independent long-travel 2CV suspension used by all of the Citroën ‘A-Series’ vehicles. The colour was integrated into the ABS plastic material in production, and as a utilitarian vehicle, the options chart was quite limited. Only the Vert Montana remained in the catalogue for all the 18 years of production. Except for Azur blue, the official names of colours all refer to desert regions. Ultraviolet rays from the Sun impact the colourfastness of ABS plastic, so unrestored cars have a faded appearance. New bodies for restorations are only supplied in white colour, and now require painting on top of a specialist primer. .A four-wheel drive version of the Méhari was produced from 1980 to 1983 and had excellent off-road qualities, due to the lightness of the vehicle. Unlike the earlier four wheel drive 2CV Sahara, which had two engines, this car only had one. Only 1300 were produced and so these cars are now both rare and highly sought after. The Méhari was sold in the United States in 1969 and 1970, where the vehicle was classified as a truck. As trucks had far more lenient National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety standards than passenger cars in the US, the Méhari did not have seat belts. The Mehari did have limited sales success. Budget Rent-A-Car bought a number of them and offered them as rentals in Hawaii. Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California, used them as groundskeeper cars. The cars had some differences from those sold elsewhere, with an altered front panel with larger 7″ sealed-beam headlamps being the most obvious.

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Representing the gorgeous DS range was this fabulous DS21 Cabrio.

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DELAHAYE

This is a 1939 135M with a Chapron body, The Delahaye 135, also known as “Coupe des Alpes” after its success in the Alpine Rally, was first presented in 1935 and signified Delahaye’s decision to build sportier cars than before. The list of independent body suppliers offering to clothe the 135 chassis is the list of France’s top coachbuilders of the time, including Figoni & Falaschi, Letourneur et Marchand, Guilloré, Marcel Pourtout, Frères Dubois, J Saoutchik, Franay, Antem and Henri Chapron, and many of their efforts are among the most dramatic and beautiful cars not just of the 30s, but of all time. The 3.2-litre overhead valve straight-six with four-bearing crankshaft was derived from one of Delahaye’s truck engines and was also used in the more sedate, longer wheelbase Delahaye 138. Power was 95 hp  in twin carburettor form, but 110 hp were available in a version with three downdraught Solex carbs, offering a 92 mph top speed. The 135 featured independent, leaf-sprung front suspension, a live rear axle, and cable operated Bendix brakes. 17-inch spoked wheels were also standard. Transmission was either a partially synchronized four-speed manual or four-speed Cotal pre-selector transmission. A larger-displacement 3,557 cc 135M was introduced in 1936. Largely the same as the regular 135, the new engine offered 90, 105, or 115 hp with either one, two, or three carburettors. As with the 135/138, a less sporty, longer wheelbase version was also built, called the “148”. The 148 had a 3,150 mm wheelbase, or 3,350 mm in a seven-seater version. On the two shorter wheelbases, a 134N was also available, with a 2,150 cc four-cylinder version of the 3.2-litre six from the 135. Along with a brief return of the 134, production of 148, 135M, and 135MS models was resumed after the end of the war. The 135 and 148 were then joined by the larger engined 175, 178, and 180 derivatives. The 135M continued to be available alongside the newer 235 until the demise of Delahaye in 1954. An even sportier version, the 135MS, soon followed; 120–145 hp were available, with competition versions offering over 160 hp. The 135MS was the version most commonly seen in competition, and continued to be available until 1954, when new owners Hotchkiss finally called a halt. The MS had the 2.95 m wheelbase, but competition models sat on a shortened 2.70 m chassis. The 135 was successful as racing car during the late 1930s, winning the Monte Carlo rally 1937 and 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1938. The Le Mans victory, with Chaboud and Trémoulet at the wheel, was decisive, with two more Delahayes coming in second and fourth. A regular 135 came seventh at the 1935 Le Mans, and in 1937 135MS came in second and third. Appearing again in 1939, two 135MS made it to sixth and eighth place, and again after the war the now venerable 135MS finished in 5th, 9th, and 10th.

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FERRARI

All the Ferrari models on display were being shown by dealers, and were for sale. Most valuable (ie expensive!) of them was a 365 GTB/4 Daytona. First seen at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, the 365 GTB/4 is the last of the classic front engined V12 Ferrari models. Almost immediately the 365 GTB/4 gained its ‘Daytona’ moniker from Ferrari’s 1-2-3 result in the 1967 24-hour race of the same name. The Daytona’s engine and handling certainly didn’t undermine its racing nomenclature. The 4.4-litre, 4-cam V12 produced an astonishing 352bhp and, despite its 1,633kg bulk, the Daytona was billed as the fastest road car in the world. Not only was 174mph more than brisk, but crucially, it was faster than the Miura. The 5-speed gearbox was mounted at the rear for a more optimal weight distribution, and helped give the Daytona its predictable handling and solid road-holding. Like so many Ferraris of the period, the Daytona’s beautiful bodywork was designed by Pininfarina with the car built by Scaglietti. The delicate front was cleanly cut with both pop-up and Plexiglas headlight varieties. The rear slope was suggestively rakish and a Kamm tail provided further clues as to the performance of the car. The wheel arch flares, although elegant in proportion, are the only real overt notion that this car has significant pace, until you drive one!  A number of them had their roof removed in the 1980s when people wanted the far rarer GTS Spider version, but values of the cars are such now that I would hope no-one would even contemplate such an act of sacrilege again!

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A couple of  generations on, the top model in Ferrari’s range were the Testarossa models, which went through three distinct iterations over a 12 year period. The one seen here is the middle of the trio, a 512 TR. Replacing the BB512i, the Testarossa was launched at the Paris Show in October 1984. The Pininfarina-designed car was produced until 1991, with the same basic design then going through two model revisions, with the  512 TR and later F512 M which were produced from 1992 to 1996 before the model was replaced by the front-engined 550 Maranello. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most-produced Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. The Testarossa followed the same concept as the BB512, but was intended to fix some of the criticisms of the earlier car, such as a cabin that got increasingly hot from the indoor plumbing that ran between the front-mounted radiator and the midships-mounted engine and a lack of luggage space. This resulted in a car that was larger, and at 1,976 millimetres (78 in) wide the Testarossa was half a foot wider than the Boxer and immediately condemned for being too wide, though these days it does not appear anything like as wide as it did when new. This resulted in an increased wheelbase that stretched about 64 mm (2.5 in) to 2,550 mm (100 in) which was used to accommodate luggage in a carpeted storage space under the front forward-opening lid. The increase in length created extra storage space behind the seats in the cabin. Headroom was also increased with a roofline half an inch taller than the Boxer. The design came from Pininfarina with a team of designers led by design chief Leonardo Fioravanti, the designer of many contemporary Ferraris. The design was originated by Nicosia, but the guidance of Fioravanti was equally important. Being a trained aerodynamicist, Fioravanti applied his know-how to set the aerodynamics layout of the car. This meant the large side intakes were not only a statement of style but actually functional – they drew clean air to cool the side radiators and then went upward and left the car through the ventilation holes located at the engine lid and the tail. As a result, the Testarossa did not need a rear spoiler like Lamborghini’s Countach yet produced zero lift at its rear axle. The aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36 was also significantly better than the Lamborghini’s 0.42. Pininfarina’s body was a departure from the curvaceous boxer—one which caused some controversy. The side strakes sometimes referred to as “cheese graters” or “egg slicers,” that spanned from the doors to the rear wings were needed for rules in several countries outlawing large openings on cars. The Testarossa had twin radiators in the back with the engine instead of a single radiator up-front.  In conjunction the strakes provided cool air to the rear-mounted side radiators, thus keeping the engine from overheating. The strakes also made the Testarossa wider at the rear than in the front, thus increasing stability and handling. One last unique addition to the new design was a single high mounted rear view mirror on the driver’s side. On US based cars, the mirror was lowered to a more normal placement in 1987 and quickly joined by a passenger side rear view mirror for the driver to be able to make safe easy lane changes. Like its predecessor, the Testarossa used double wishbone front and rear suspension systems. Ferrari improved traction by adding 10-inch-wide alloy rear wheels. The Testarossa drivetrain was also an evolution of the BB 512i. Its engine used near identical displacement and compression ratio, but unlike the BB 512i had four-valve cylinder heads that were finished in red. The capacity was 4,943 cc, in a flat-12 engine mid mounted. Each cylinder had four valves,  lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 9.20:1. These combined to provide a maximum torque of 490 Nm (361 lb/ft) at 4500 rpm and a maximum power of 390 hp at 6300 rpm. That was enough to allow the Testarossa to accelerate from 0–60 mph in 5.2 seconds and on to 100 mph. The original Testarossa was re-engineered for 1992 and released as the 512 TR, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, effectively as a completely new car, with an improved weight distribution of 41% front: 59% rear. The F512 M was introduced at the 1994 Paris Auto Show, with the M standing for “modificata”.  That car is easy to spot as it lost the pop-up headlights and gained awkward glazed in units.

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It was with the 360 Modena that sales of Ferrari models really took off, with unprecedented volumes of the car being sold. The 360 Modena was launched in 1999,  named after the town of Modena, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. A major innovation in this all new model came from Ferrari’s partnership with Alcoa which resulted in an entirely new all-aluminium space-frame chassis that was 40% stiffer than the F355 which had utilised steel. The design was 28% lighter despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions. Along with a lightweight frame the new Pininfarina body styling deviated from traditions of the previous decade’s sharp angles and flip-up headlights. The new V8 engine, common to all versions, was of 3.6 litre capacity with a flat plane crankshaft, titanium connecting rods and generates 400 bhp  Despite what looks like on paper modest gains in reality the power to weight ratio was significantly improved on over the F355, this was due to the combination of both a lighter car and more power. The 0 to 100 km/h acceleration performance improved from 4.6 to 4.3 seconds. The first model to be rolled out was the 360 Modena, available as a manual, or an F1 electrohydraulic manual. Next up was an open car. The 360 was designed with a Spider variant in mind; since removing the roof of a coupe reduces the torsional rigidity, the 360 was built for strength in other areas. Ferrari designers strengthened the sills, stiffened the front of the floorpan and redesigned the windscreen frame. The rear bulkhead had to be stiffened to cut out engine noise from the cabin. The convertible’s necessary dynamic rigidity is provided by additional side reinforcements and a cross brace in front of the engine. Passenger safety is ensured by a strengthened windscreen frame and roll bars. The 360 Spider displays a curvilinear waistline. The fairings imply the start of a roof, and stable roll bars are embedded in these elevations. Due to use of light aluminium construction throughout, the Spider weighs in only 60 kg heavier than the coupé. As with the Modena version, its 3.6 litre V8 with 400 bhp is on display under a glass cover. The engine — confined in space by the convertible’s top’s storage area — acquires additional air supply through especially large side grills. The intake manifolds were moved toward the center of the engine between the air supply conduits in the Spider engine compartment, as opposed to lying apart as with the Modena. In terms of performance, the 0-60 mph time was slightly slower at 4.4 seconds due to the slight weight increase, and the top speed was reduced from 189 to 180 mph. Despite the car’s mid-mounted V8 engine, the electrically operated top is able to stow into the compartment when not in use. The convertible top was available in black, blue, grey and beige. The transformation from a closed top to an open-air convertible is a two-stage folding-action that has been dubbed “a stunning 20 second mechanical symphony”. The interior of the Spider is identical to that of the coupé. The car seen here was a Coupe.

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Final Ferrari offered for sale was a 308 GT4 Dino. Not long ago, these cars were worth very little scorned by the market, but those days have now gone, and prices have rocketed, as they have with almost all old Ferrari cars. The Dino 308 GT4 was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1973. It only gained the “Prancing Horse” badge in May 1976, which replaced the Dino badges on the front, wheels, rear panel and the steering wheel. This has caused major confusion over the years by owners, enthusiasts and judges. During the energy crisis at that time many prospective owners were hesitant to buy such an expensive automobile not badged “Ferrari” being confused at the significance of the Dino name. The GT4 was a groundbreaking model for Ferrari in several ways: it was the first production Ferrari to feature the mid-engined V8 layout that would become the bulk of the company’s business in the succeeding decades, and was the first production Ferrari with Bertone (rather than Pininfarina) designed bodywork. Pininfarina was upset by the decision to give cross-town rival Bertone the design, considering all they had done for Ferrari. The styling featured angular lines entirely different from its curvaceous 2-seater brother, the Dino 246, and was controversial at the time. Some journalists compared it to the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Urraco, also penned by Marcello Gandini. From the cockpit the driver sees only the road. It has perfect 360 degree visibility, no blind spots, upright and comfortable seating position, a real boot, a back seat for soft luggage, and very easy engine access. Enzo Ferrari himself took a major role in its design, even having a mock-up made where he could sit in the car to test different steering, pedals and cockpit seating positioning. The chassis was a tubular spaceframe based on the Dino 246, but was stretched for a 115.2 in wheelbase to make room for the second row of seats. The suspension was fully independent, with double wishbones, anti-roll bars, coaxial telescopic shock absorbers and coil springs on both axles. Niki Lauda helped set up the chassis. The 2927 cc V8 was mounted transversally integrally joined with the 5-speed transaxle gearbox. The engine had an aluminium alloy block and heads, 16-valves and dual overhead camshafts driven by toothed belts; it produced 255 hp in the European version and 240 hp in the American. The induction system used four Weber 40 DCNF carburettors. The GT4 was replaced by the Mondial 8 in 1980 after a production run of 2,826 308s and 840 208s.

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ISO

These two examples of the Iso Isetta are far more significant than many show-goers would realise, as without these cars, the modern BMW company simply would not exist. However, the car originated with the Italian firm of Iso SpA, and it is two of those models which were to be seen here. In the early 1950s the company was building refrigerators, motor scooters and small three-wheeled trucks. Iso’s owner, Renzo Rivolta, decided he would like to build a small car for mass distribution. By 1952 the engineers Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi had designed a small car that used the motorcycle engine of the Iso Moto 200 and named it Isetta—an Italian diminutive meaning little ISO. The Isetta caused a sensation when it was introduced to the motoring press in Turin in November 1953, it was unlike anything seen before. Small (only 7.5 ft long by 4.5 ft wide) and egg-shaped, with bubble-type windows, the entire front end of the car hinged outwards to allow entry. In the event of a crash, the driver and passenger were to exit through the canvas sunroof. The steering wheel and instrument panel swung out with the single door, as this made access to the single bench seat simpler. The seat provided reasonable comfort for two occupants, and perhaps a small child. Behind the seat was a large parcel shelf with a spare wheel located below. A heater was optional, and ventilation was provided by opening the fabric sunroof. Power came from a 236 cc 9.5 hp split-single two-stroke motorcycle engine.  The engine was started by a combination generator-starter known as Dynastart. A manual gearbox provided four forward speeds and reverse. A chain drive connected the gearbox to a solid rear axle with a pair of closely spaced 25 cm (10 in) rear wheels. The first prototypes had one wheel at the rear, but having a single rear wheel made the car prone to roll-overs,[citation needed] so the rear wheel layout was changed to two wheels set 19 in apart from each other. This narrow track eliminated the need for a differential. The front axle was a modified version of a Dubonnet independent front suspension. The Isetta took over 30 seconds to reach 50 km/h (31 mph) from rest. Top speed was only about 75 km/h (47 mph). The fuel tank held only 13 litres. However, the Isetta would get somewhere between 50 and 70 mpg depending on how it was driven. In 1954, Iso entered several Isettas in the legendary Mille Miglia where they took the top three spots in the economy classification. Over a distance of 1,600 km (1,000 mi) the drivers achieved an average speed of over 70 km/h (43 mph). In view of its maximum speed, which was just 15 km/h (9 mph) higher, this was an almost incredible figure. However, despite its initial success, the Isetta was beginning to slip in popularity at home. This was mainly due to renewed competition from Fiat with its 500C model. Renzo Rivolta wanted to concentrate on his new Iso Rivolta sports car, and was extremely interested in doing licensing deals. Plants in Spain and Belgium were already assembling Isettas and Autocarros using Italian made Iso components. BMW began talking with Rivolta in mid-1954 and bought not just a license but the complete Isetta body tooling as well. Rivolta did not stop with licensing the Isetta to BMW. He negotiated similar deals with companies in France and Brazil. After constructing some 1,000 units, production of the Italian built cars ceased in 1955, although Iso continued to build the Isetta in Spain until 1958. In addition to the Turismo, Iso in Spain also built the Autocarro, a commercial version with full-width rear axle. The Autocarro was offered in several body styles, a flatbed pickup, enclosed truck, a tilt-bed, or even a fire engine, although some of these might not have been sold. The Autocarro was an extremely popular type of vehicle in Italy, and numerous manufacturers produced some variant of the type. Iso had previously produced a motorcycle-type Isocarro. The Iso Autocarro was larger than most, with its four-wheel layout, conventional rear axle with differential and leaf springs, and a large tubular frame. It could carry a 500 kg load. It is thought that more than 4,000 Autocarros were built and there was one of those here as well as the more often seen Turismo.

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JAGUAR

Oldest of the Jaguar cars here was a 1938 SS100 2.5 litre. The first of the line of open two-seater sports cars came in March 1935 with the SS 90, so called because of its claimed 90 mph top speed. This car used the 2½-litre side-valve, six-cylinder engine in a short-chassis “cut and shut” SS 1 brought down to an SS 2’s wheelbase. Just 23 were made. It was the precursor to one of the finest pre-war sports car ever made, the SS100. That car benefitted from some significant engine development work that was led by Harry Westlake, who was asked to redesign the 2½-litre 70 bhp side-valve engine to achieve 90 bhp. His answer was an overhead-valve design that produced 102 bhp and it was this engine that launched the new SS Jaguar sports and saloon cars in 1936. Shown first in the SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon, the new car caused a sensation when it was launched at a trade luncheon for dealers and press at London’s Mayfair Hotel on 21 September 1935. The show car was in fact a prototype. Luncheon guests were asked to write down the UK price for which they thought the car would be sold and the average of their answers was £765. Even in that deflationary period, the actual price at just £395 would have been a pleasant surprise for many customers, something which characterised Jaguars for many decades to come. Whilst the new Jaguar saloon could now compete with the brand new MG SA, it was the next application of the engine that stunned everyone even more, with the launch of the legendary SS100. Named because it was a genuine 100 mph car, this open topped sports car looked as good as it was to drive. Only 198 of the 2½-litre and 116 of the 3½-litre models were made and survivors are highly prized and priced on the rare occasions when they come on the market. Such is their desirability that a number of replica models have been made over the years, with those made by Suffolk Engineering being perhaps the best known, and which are indeed hard to tell apart from an original 1930s car at a glance. This is not one of those, and indeed a quick glance will tell you that it clearly is not an original, but even so it clearly brings its own plenty of pleasure.

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This is a 1951 3.5 litre Mark V Coupe/Cabrio. The origin of the Mark V name is somewhat mysterious as there had been no Mk I to IV Jaguars and the MK IV designation was only given to its predecessor after the launch of the Mk V. It was perhaps a nod to Bentley who built 11 advanced Mark V saloons in 1939, resuming with the Mark VI in 1946-52 and who then dropped the “Mark” naming thereafter, while Jaguars continued with the Mark VII to X. The Mark V was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show at the same time as the XK120, with which it shared a stand. However, the Mark V vastly outsold the XK120 by roughly 5,000 cars per year as compared to 2,000 per year for the XK120. While the XK120 had a new overhead-camshaft XK engine, the Mark V retained the 1936 driveline including the “Jaguar” overhead-valve pushrod straight-6,  2½ litre and 3½ litre units for which the company was renamed after the war. No 1½ litre version was offered. Claimed power output in this application was 104 bhp for the 2664 cc Mark V and 126 bhp for its more popular 3486 cc sibling. The chassis was new with independent front suspension by double wishbones and torsion bar, an arrangement that would be used by Jaguar for many future vehicles. It also had hydraulic brakes, which Jaguar had been slow to adopt compared to other manufacturers, and an all pressed steel body. The styling of the car followed prewar SS-Jaguar lines with upright chrome grille and the leaping Jaguar radiator cap mascot became available as an option. There is a distinct hint of the recently modernised Bentley look in the style of the front grille. The wheels were 16-inch steel-disc type, significantly smaller than the 18-inch ones on the MK IV. From the side, a distinctive styling touch was a “tuck in” curve at the base of the rear window following the curved profile of the side glass. Rear-wheel spats (fender skirts) were standard. Production ran through to 1951, and although the majority of Mark Vs were Saloon models, around 1000 Drophead Coupés were made as well, and these are now highly sought after.

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There were examples of two of the three iterations of the first post-war Jaguar sports car here. First of the series was the XK120. Launched in open two-seater form at the 1948 London Motor Show, the car was a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The roadster caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production. Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. Production switched to the 112 lb heavier all-steel in early 1950. The “120” in the name referred to the aluminium car’s 120 mph top speed, which was faster with the windscreen removed. This made it the world’s fastest production car at the time of its launch. Indeed, on 30 May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aeroscreen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week. Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying. The first production roadster, chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable in 1949. The XK120 was ultimately available in two open versions, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as the roadster (and designated OTS, for open two-seater, in America), and from 1953 as a drophead coupé (DHC); as well as a closed, or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951.  A smaller-engined version with 2-litres and 4 cylinders, intended for the UK market, was cancelled prior to production. The car seen here is a gorgeous open two seater.

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Although bearing a family resemblance to the earlier XK120 and XK140, the XK150 was radically revised. A one-piece windscreen replaced the split screen, and the wing line no longer dropped so deeply at the doors. The widened bonnet opened down to the wings, and on the Roadster the windscreen frame was moved back 4 inches to make the bonnet longer. The XK140’s walnut dashboard was replaced by one trimmed in leather. On the early Drophead Coupés, the aluminium centre dash panel, which was discontinued after June 1958, had an X pattern engraving similar to the early 3.8 E-Type. Thinner doors gave more interior space. On the front parking lights, which were located atop the wings, a little red light reminded the driver the lights were on. Suspension and chassis were very similar to the XK140, and steering was by rack and pinion; power steering was not offered. The standard engine, the similar to the XK140, but with an new “B” type cylinder head, was the 3.4 litre DOHC Jaguar straight-6 rated at 180 SAE bhp at 5750 rpm but most cars were fitted with the SE engine whose modified cylinder head (B type) and larger exhaust valves boosted the power to 210 SAE bhp at 5500 rpm. Twin 1.75-inch (44 mm) SU HD6 carburettors were fitted. While the first XK150s were slower than their predecessors, the deficit was corrected in the spring of 1958 with a 3.4-litre “S” engine whose three 2-inch SU HD8 carburettors and straight-port cylinder head increased power to a claimed 250 SAE bhp. For 1960, the 3.4 litre engine was bored to 3.8 litres, rating this option at 220 hp in standard tune or 265 hp in “S” form. A 3.8 litre 150S could top 135 mph and go from 0–60 mph in around 7.0 seconds. Fuel economy was 18mpg. Four-wheel Dunlop 12 in disc brakes appeared for the first time although it was theoretically possible to order a car with drums. When leaving the factory the car originally fitted either 6.00 × 16 inch Dunlop Road Speed tyres as standard, or you could specify 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 as a radial option on either 16 × 5K½ solid wheels (basic models) or 16 × 5K wire wheels. Production ended in October 1960, and totalled 2265 Roadsters, 4445 Fixed Head Coupés and 2672 Drophead Coupés.

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Replacement for the XK models came in 1961 with the E Type, and it stunned the world at its premier at the 1961 Geneva Show. Considered by many to be Sir William Lyons’ greatest achievement, not only did the car have stop-you-in-your-tracks gorgeous styling, but it had explosive performance (even if the 150 mph that was achieved in The Autocar’s Road Test is now known to have been with a little “help”), but it was the price that amazed people more than anything else. Whilst out of reach for most people, who could barely afford any new car, it was massively cheaper than contemporary Aston Martins and Ferraris, its market rivals. It was not perfect, though, and over the coming years, Jaguar made constant improvements. A 2+2 model joined the initial range of Roadster and Coupe, and more powerful and larger engines came when the 3.8 litre was enlarged to 4.2 litres, before more significant styling changes came with the 1967 Series 2 and the 1971 Series 3, where new front end treatments and lights were a consequence of legislative demands of the E Type’s most important market, America. There were a couple of examples of the Series 1.5 Roadster models here

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Final Jaguar in here was an example of the Mark 2 Saloon. One of the most loved Jaguars of all time, both when it was new, and still now, many will tell you that it is not the 3 Series BMW that “invented” the “compact sports saloon” car class, but this model, which dates back to 1959. A thorough revision of the small Jaguar saloon that had joined the range in 1955, the Mark 2 was notable in that it was the first car to use the Arabic numeral in its name, as opposed to the Roman numerals of the larger Jaguar models. At launch, the earlier model which had hitherto been known by its engine size was christened the Mark 1. Although clearly based on that car, the updated car looked significantly different, with an increase of 18% in cabin glass area greatly improving visibility. The car was re-engineered above the waistline. Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen and the rear window almost wrapped around to the enlarged side windows now with the familiar Jaguar D-shape above the back door and fully chromed frames for all the side windows. The radiator grille was amended and larger side, tail and fog lamps repositioned. Inside a new heating system was fitted and ducted to the rear compartment (although still notoriously ineffective). There was an improved instrument layout that became standard for all Jaguar cars until the XJ Series II of 1973. As well as the familiar 2.4 and 3.4 litre engines, what made this car particularly special was that it was also offered with the potent 220 bhp 3.8 litre unit that was fitted to the XK150 and which would later see service in the E Type. This gave the car a 0 – 60 time of around 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. No wonder that the Mark 2 became popular as a get-away car for the criminal fraternity, and to keep up with and catch them, many police forces bought the car as well. With revised suspension and standard four wheel disc brakes, the car was effective on the track, taking plenty of class wins when new, and it is still popular in historic racing circles today. The quickest and most successful private entries came from John Coombs, a man with significant race experience who operated a large Jaguar dealership in Guildford. Coombs would undertake modifications to meet the demands of his customers, so not all the cars that he worked on are the same. Jaguar replaced the Mark 2 with simplified and slightly more cheaply finished 240 and 340 models, as an interim measure until an all-new model was ready to take over from them. The 3.8 litre disappeared from the range at this time, but in the 7 years it had been in production, it had been the best seller of the range, with around 30,000 cars produced, as compared to 28,666 of the 3.4 litre and 25,741 of the 2.4 litre model. Seen here was a nice of example of the 3.8 model.

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LAMBORGHINI

Sole Lamborghini here was a dealer-offered 400GT, essentially an update to the older 350GT,  featuring an enlarged, 3929 cc V12 engine, with a power output of 320 bhp and recognised by the change to twin circular headlights from rectangular units. Twenty-three of these cars were built, with three featuring aluminium bodywork, and then at the 1966 Geneva Show, Lamborghini presented a revised version, called the 400 GT 2+2, which had a different roofline, and minor sheetmetal changes compared to the earlier cars, still with the Carrozzeria Touring bodywork. The larger body shape enabled the +2 seating to be installed in the rear, where the 350GT only had room for luggage or +1 seating, without changing the wheelbase. The 400 GT 2+2 also had a Lamborghini designed gearbox, with Porsche style synchromesh on all gears, which greatly improved the drivetrain.  224 examples of the 400 GT 2+2 were built from 1966 to 1968, when it was replaced with the Islero.

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LINCOLN

There two examples of the Lincoln-Zephyr here, a Drophead and a Coupe. Lincoln-Zephyr was conceived as a marque name for the lower-priced mid-size luxury cars in the Lincoln line from 1936 until 1940. Lincoln-Zephyr and Mercury, introduced in 1939, bridged the wide gap between Ford’s V-8 De Luxe line and the exclusive Lincoln K-series cars. This served a purpose similar to Cadillac’s smaller LaSalle “companion car”, the Chrysler Airstream, and Packard’s smallest offering, the Packard One-Twenty. The car was conceived by Edsel Ford and designed by Eugene Turenne Gregorie. The Zephyr was unique in this class having a V-12, while the LaSalle had a V8 engine, and the Chrysler and Packard has straight 8 engines. Introduced on November 2, 1935, as a 1936 model, the Lincoln-Zephyr was extremely modern with a low raked windscreen, integrated wings, and streamlined aerodynamic design, which influenced the name “zephyr”, derived from the Greek word zephyrus, or the god of the west wind. It was one of the first successful streamlined cars after the Chrysler Airflow’s market resistance. In fact, the Lincoln-Zephyr actually had a lower coefficient of drag than the Airflow, due in part to the prow-like front end on the Zephyr. The Lincoln-Zephyr succeeded in reigniting sales at Lincoln dealerships in the late 1930s, and from 1941 model year, all Lincolns were Zephyr-based[4] and the Lincoln-Zephyr marque was discontinued. Annual production for any year model was not large, but accounted for a large portion of the Lincoln brand’s sales. In its first year, 15,000 were sold, accounting for 80% of Lincoln’s total sales.

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MASERATI

There was just one Maserati here too, a Khamsin. This car was conceived to take over from the Ghibli. First seen on the Bertone stand at the November 1972 Turin Auto Show, it was designed by Marcello Gandini, and was Bertone’s first work for Maserati. In March 1973 the production model was shown at the Paris Motor Show. Regular production of the vehicle finally started a year later, in 1974. The Khamsin was developed under the Citroën ownership for the clientele that demanded a front-engined grand tourer on the lines of the previous Ghibli, more conventional than the mid-engined Bora. In 1977 a mild facelift added three horizontal slots on the Khamsin’s nose to aid cooling. Inside it brought a restyled dashboard and a new padded steering wheel. One Khamsin was delivered to Luciano Benetton in 1981. Despite the many improvements over its predecessor, the Khamsin didn’t replicate its success; partly due to the concurrent fuel crisis that decreased demand for big V8 grand tourers. Production ended in 1982, with 435 vehicles made, a mere third of the Ghibli’s 1274 examples production run. 155 of whose had been exported to the United States.

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MERCEDES-BENZ

First Mercedes that we think of as the S Class was the W116, which was launched in 1972. Development began in 1966, which was only a year after the launch of the W108/09. This was the first Mercedes saloon to feature the brand new corporate styling theme which was to be continued until 1993 when the 190 was discontinued. The design, finalised in December 1969 was a dramatic leap forward, with more masculine lines that combined to create an elegant and sporty character. The basic design concept carried through the themes originally introduced on the R107 SL-Class roadster, especially the front and rear lights.  As for the SL, the W116 received the ridged lamp covers which kept dirt accumulation at bay; this was to remain a Mercedes-Benz design theme into the 21st century. The W116 was Friedrich Geiger’s last design for Mercedes-Benz; his career had started with the Mercedes-Benz 500K in 1933. The car was presented in September 1972. The model range initially included two versions of the M110 straight-six with 2746 cc — the 280 S (using a Solex carburetor) and the 280 SE (using Bosch D-Jetronic injection), plus the 350 SE, powered by the M116 engine (V8 with 3499). After the 1973 Fuel Crisis, a long-wheelbase version of the 280 was added to the lineup. Six month later, two new models powered by the M117 engine (V8 with 4520 cc) were added to the range—the 450 SE and the 450 SEL (with a 100 mm longer body). The 450 had 225 PS in most markets, federalised cars offered 190 hp  while Swedish market cars had an EGR-valve and 200 PS until 1976. The 450s received a plusher interior as well, with velour or leather seats rather than the checkered cloth of the lesser models. The door insides were also of a different design, being pulled up around the windows. The most notable W116 was the high-performance, limited-production 450 SEL 6.9, which was introduced in 1975. This model boasted by far the largest engine installed in a post-war Mercedes-Benz (and any non-American production automobile) up to that time, and also featured self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension. The 450 SE was named the European Car of the Year in 1974, even though the W116 range was first introduced at the Paris Motor Show in the autumn 1972..  The W116 range became the first production car to use an electronic four-wheel multi-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) from Bosch as an option from 1978 on. Production reached 473,035 units. The W116 was succeeded by the W126 S-Class in 1979.

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There were Hardtop and Cabrio versions of the W121 model known as the 190SL. Produced between May 1955 and February 1963, having first been seen in prototype at the 1954 New York Auto Show,  this was designed as a more affordable sports car than the exclusive and rather pricey 300SL, sharing its basic styling, engineering, detailing, and fully independent suspension. While both cars had double wishbones in front and swing axles at the rear, the 190 SL did not use the 300 SL’s purpose-built W198 tubular spaceframe. Instead, it was built on a shortened monocoque R121 platform modified from the W120 saloon. The 190 SL was powered by a new, slightly oversquare 105 PS Type M121  1.9 litre four cylinder engine. Based on the 300 SL’s straight six, it had an unchanged 85 mm bore and 4.3 mm reduced 83.6 mm stroke, was fitted with twin-choke dual Solex carburetors, and produced 120 gross hp.  In detuned form, it was later used in the W120 180 and W121 190 models. Both the 190 SL and the 300 SL were replaced by the Mercedes-Benz 230SL in 1963.

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There were a couple of examples of the classic L319 van here, one in Moritz brewery livery. These were built between 1955 and 1967. Larger than a standard delivery van, but smaller than a conventional light truck of the period, it was the manufacturer’s first model in this class. The vehicle was offered with a range of van and truck bodies, special application and minibus (O 319) variants were also available. By 1955 Daimler-Benz was well represented in the passenger car market, and also offered commercial operators an extensive range of conventional trucks. The smallest of the trucks, offered in its then current form since 1945, was the Mercedes-Benz L 3500 range. As regards smaller commercial vehicles, during the war, Mercedes was compelled by government imposed rationalisation to manufacture the Opel Blitz truck of its leading competitor, but the company had featured no commercial vehicle of its own below the 3 tonne level since before the war. However, during the early 1950s the success of the Volkswagen panel van and rejuvenated Opel Blitz persuaded Mercedes-Benz that the category was too important to be ignored. The van that premiered at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1955 had a gross weight of 3.6 tonnes and a maximum load capacity of 1.6 or 1.8 tonnes according to version. A wide range of body permutations included a panel van, a standard level light truck, a low level light flat-bed truck and various increasingly diverse and elaborate types of minibus. Mercedes did not follow the Volkswagen rear-engined configuration, but the van nevertheless featured a modern “cab over cabin”, without the sort of protruding front bonnet/hood characteristic of the Opel Blitz and larger Mercedes commercial vehicles of the time. Placing the driver at the front of the vehicle ensured a good view out and gave the vehicle a contemporary look as well as maximising load space. But the retention of the forward mounted engine left the driver sharing his cabin with the engine which occupied the floor space between the drive and his passenger, and the body designers also had to take account of a drive-shaft which connected to the rear wheels. Leaf springing and rigid axles had the merit of simplicity and development costs were also kept down by using engines directly from the company’s passenger car range. The original L319s shared the 43 hp engine of the Mercedes-Benz 180D. Subsequently slightly more powerful diesel alternatives were offered along with petrol engined variants. Initially the vans were assembled at the company’s Sindelfingen plant. However, in 1958 the company acquired Auto Union in a package of assets that included the Düsseldorf plant where that company had built cars following the loss of its original Zwickau plant to the Soviet occupation zone of Germany in 1945. Mercedes progressively transferred Auto Union car production to a new plant at Ingolstadt and the Düsseldorf facility became (and remains) a plant for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle production. The van was also assembled at Vitoria in Spain and in Port Melbourne Australia from CKD kits.

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MG

There would be a lot of MGs outside, but in the display hall all I came across were a couple of MGA cars. The MGA replaced the long running T Series sports cars and presented a complete styling break from MG’s earlier sports cars. Announced on 26 September 1955, the car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A total of 101,081 units were sold through the end of production in July 1962, the vast majority of the 58.750 cars made were exported. Only 5869 cars were sold on the home market, the lowest percentage of any British car. It was replaced by the MGB. The MGA design dates back to 1951, when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips’ TD Le Mans car. The problem with this car was the high seating position of the driver because of the limitations of using the TD chassis. A new chassis was designed with the side members further apart and the floor attached to the bottom rather than the top of the frame sections. A prototype was built and shown to the BMC chairman Leonard Lord. He turned down the idea of producing the new car as he had just signed a deal with Donald Healey to produce Austin-Healey cars two weeks before. Falling sales of the traditional MG models caused a change of heart, and the car, initially to be called the UA-series, was brought back. As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the “first of a new line” to quote the contemporary advertising. There was also a new engine available, therefore the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC corporate B-Series type allowing a lower bonnet line. The MGA convertible had no exterior door handles, however the coupe did. It was a body-on-frame design and used the straight-4 1489cc “B series” engine from the MG Magnette saloon driving the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox. Suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones at the front and a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Steering was by rack and pinion. The car was available with either wire-spoked or steel-disc road wheels. The 1489 cc engine fitted with twin H4 type SU Carburettors produced 68 hp at first, but was soon uprated to 72 hp. Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes were used on all wheels. A high-performance Twin-Cam model was added for 1958. It used a high-compression (9.9:1 later 8.3:1) DOHC aluminium cylinder head version of the B-Series engine producing 108 hp. Due to detonation problems, a 100 bhp low-compression version was introduced later. Four-wheel disc brakes by Dunlop were fitted, along with Dunlop peg drive knock-off steel wheels similar to wheels used on racing Jaguars, unique to the Twin-Cam and “DeLuxe” MGA 1600 and 1600 MkII roadsters. These wheels and chassis upgrades were used on a small number of the “DeLuxe” models built after Twin-Cam production came to a halt. Aside from the wheels, the only outside identifier was a “Twin-Cam” logo near the vent aside the bonnet. A careful look at the rear wheel vents would also reveal another feature unique to Twin-Cam and DeLuxe: those 4 wheel Dunlop disc brakes . The temperamental engine was notorious for warranty problems during the course of production, and sales dropped quickly. The engine suffered from detonation and burnt oil.  Most of the problems with the Twin-Cam engine were rectified with the low-compression version, but by then the damage had been done. Many restored Twin-Cams are running more reliably today than they ever did during production. The Twin-Cam was dropped in 1960 after 2,111 had been produced. Production ended in April 1960, but had slowed to a trickle long before. In May 1959 the standard cars also received an updated engine, now at 1588 cc producing 79.5 bhp . At the front disc brakes were fitted, but drums remained in the rear. Externally the car was very similar to the 1500 with differences including: amber or white (depending on market) front turn indicators shared with white parking lamps, separate stop/tail and turn lamps in the rear, and 1600 badging on the boot and the cowl. 31,501 of these were produced in less than three years. A number of 1600 De Luxe versions were produced with leftover special wheels and four-wheel disc brakes of the departed Twin-Cam, or using complete modified Twincam chassis left redundant by the discontinuance of that model. Seventy roadsters and 12 coupés were built. The engine size was increased again to 1622 cc by increasing the bore from 75.4 mm to 76.2 mm for the 1961 Mark II MGA. The cylinder head was also revised with larger valves and re-engineered combustion chambers. Horsepower increased to 90 bhp. It also had a higher ratio 4:1 rear axle, which made for more relaxed high-speed driving. An inset grille and Morris Mini tail lamps appearing horizontally below the deck lid were the most obvious visual changes. 8,198 Mark II roadsters and 521 coupés were built. As with the 1600 De Luxe, there were also some Mark II De Luxe versions; 290 roadsters and 23 coupés were produced.

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MINI

There were three examples of the classic Issigonis styled Mini, lined up, looking like the trio of  cars that starred in the still popular film, The Italian Job. However, the three cars here were far from identical, as they comprised an original 1960s Cooper, an Innocenti 1300 and one of the Cooper models from the 1990s.

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There was another Innocenti car among the auto-jumble.  Innocenti was an Italian machinery works originally established by Ferdinando Innocenti in 1920. Over the years they produced Lambretta scooters as well as a range of cars, most of them with  British Leyland origins. After World War II, the company was famous for many years for Lambretta scooters models. From 1961 to 1976 Innocenti built under licence the BMC (later the British Leyland Motor Corporation, or BLMC for short) Mini, with 998 cc and 1,275 cc engines, followed by other models, including the Regent (Allegro), with engines up to 1,485 cc. The company of this era is commonly called Leyland Innocenti. The Innocenti Spyder (1961–70) was a rebodied version of the Austin-Healey MKII Sprite (styling by Ghia). The car was produced by OSI, near Milan. In 1972 BLMC took over control of the company in a £3 million deal involving the purchase of the company’s land, buildings and equipment.  BLMC  had high hopes for its newly acquired subsidiary at a time when, they reported to the UK press, Italian Innocenti sales were second only to those of Fiat, and ahead of Volkswagen and Renault. There was talk of further increasing annual production from 56,452 in 1971 to 100,000. However, the peak production under BLMC was 62,834 in 1972, in spite of exports increasing from one car in 1971 to more than 17,000 in 1974. Demonstrating their ambitions, the British company installed as Managing Director one of their youngest UK based senior executives, the then 32-year-old former Financial Controller Geoffrey Robinson. Three years later BLMC ran out of money and was nationalised by the UK government. In February 1976, the company passed to Alejandro de Tomaso and was reorganised by the De Tomaso Group under the name Nuova Innocenti. Benelli had a share and British Leyland retained five percent, with De Tomaso owning forty-four percent with the aid of a rescue plan from GEPI (an Italian public agency intended to provide investment for troubled corporations). Management was entirely De Tomaso’s responsibility, however, and later in 1976 GEPI and De Tomaso combined their 95% of Innocenti (and all of Maserati) into one new holding company. However, with the loss of the original Mini, the Austin I5, and the (admittedly slow-selling) Regent, sales were in freefall. Production was nearly halved in 1975 and was down to about a fifth of the 1974 levels in 1976. After this crisis, however, the new Bertone-bodied Mini began selling more strongly and production climbed to a steady 40,000 per annum by the end of the ’70s. The first model had Bertone-designed five-seater bodywork and was available with Leyland’s 998 cc and 1275 cc engines. Exports, which had been carried out mainly by British Leyland’s local concessionaires, began drying up in the early eighties as BL did not want to see internal competition from the Innocenti Mini. Sales to France (Innocenti’s biggest export market) ended in 1980, with German sales coming to a halt in 1982.  Around the same time, the engine deal with Leyland ended, and production soon dropped into the low twenty thousands. Later models, from model year 1983 on, used 993 cc three-cylinder engines made by Daihatsu of Japan. De Tomaso developed a turbocharged version of this engine for Daihatsu which found use in both Innocenti’s and Daihatsu’s cars. Fiat bought the company in 1990, and the last Innocenti models were versions of the Uno-based Fiat Duna Saloon and Estate, which were badged Elba. The brand was retired in 1996. The car seen here was badged Cooper 1300, and these cars had lots of little differences compared to the Longbridge and Cowley made models. Innocenti had been assembling Minis since 1965, creating finished cars from CKD kits, the first cars called Innocenti 850. In 1971, they started to produce the Innocenti Cooper 1300, following the demise of the model in the UK, which had been replaced by the 1275GT, and it continued until 1975 when all the Issigonis Minis were deleted, to be replaced by the hatchback Bertone Mini 90 and 120 cars

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PEGASO

Although the Pegaso is a local car, they are so rare that seeing one even on home turf must count as unusual, In fact, there were two  of the Z102 model here. Pegaso came about thanks to a man called Wilfredo Ricart, who had been the technical director at Alfa Romeo from 1936 to 1945. During that time, he took a profound dislike to Enzo Ferrari, who was still racing Alfa models through his own Scuderia Ferrari team. When Ricart’s contract at Alfa ran out, he went to Spain, a country which had suffered not just the ill-effects of the War, but also under civil conflict following the rising of General Franco prior to that. Spain needed to mobilise itself, literally to stand any chance of economic growth. So in 1946, when ENASA was formed to produce Pegaso lorries, Ricart was engaged as the technical director. The new company was based in Barcelona, in the former Hispano Suiza works, and indeed the first models used a Hispano chassis. It was not long before Ricart was working not just on the lorries and buses for which Pegaso was initially known, but also on a luxury sports car, with which he intended to compete against Ferrari. The first prototypes were revealed in 1951, called the Z-102. There were two: a coupe and a drophead, powered by an all alloy quad cam 2.5 litre V8 engine which generated 165 hp with a five speed transaxle, mounted behind the diff for better weight distribution. The coupe and convertible had dumpy steel bodies, and weight was an issue to the extent that Pegaso made the decision to revert to alloy for the coachwork. Coachbuilder Touring then ‘beautified’ the design, replacing the grille with a two-piece cross, lowering the car, repositioning the foglights, and simplifying various details to give it a clean profile, similar to the contemporary Aston-Martin DB2 and Lancia Aurelia. The Z-102 employed racing-car technology in its chassis and alloy body. Everything was produced in-house, with the exception of the external coachwork, with bodies made by Touring, Saoutchik or Serra, although the very early Z-102 cars do have Pegaso-made bodies. The first Z-102s had an all alloy 4 cam 2.5 litre engine as used in the prototypes, though later there were variants with 2.8 and 3.2 DOHC 32 valve V8s, with multiple carburettors and the option of a optional supercharger. Power output ranged from 175 to 360 bhp. and there was a five-speed gearbox. The fastest could reach 155 mph, making it the world’s fastest production car at the time. The base model had an 120 mph (192 km/h) top speed. However, the cars were heavy and brutish to drive and competition success was virtually non-existent. Because the cars were built on a cost-no-object basis, this caused financial difficulty in the company. A simplified and cheaper version, the Z-103 with 3.9, 4.5 and 4.7 litre engines, was put into production, but to no avail, and the Z-102 was discontinued after 1958. Just 86 of the Z-102 cars were produced, and out of these, only a handful of cabriolets were built, and there were a further 26 Z-103 models, a grand total of 112 Pegaso models.

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PEUGEOT

A legend of rallying, this is a 205 T16, the car produced to compete against the Audi Quattro and Lancia Delta of the mid 80s. To homologate the 205 T16 (“Turbo 16”) Group B rally car, Peugeot had to produce 200 road-going examples. According to the Group B regulations, these had to be based on a current production road car. Peugeot decided to base the Group B rally car on the two door version of the 205. The engine was based on the cast iron block of the Diesel version of the then new XU engine family, albeit with a specially developed 16-valve head. The gearbox came from the Citroen SM but was mounted transversely. The car had all wheel drive. The body was built by Heuliez, where standard three door bodyshells from the production line were delivered and heavily modified. Heuliez cut off the complete rear of the car and welded in a transverse firewall between the B-posts. The rear frame was then built in a mixture of sheet steel profiles and tubes. The front was modified in a similar way with a tube frame carrying the front suspension. The completed bodies were delivered to Simca (Talbot) for the 200-series production cars and to Peugeot Talbot Sport for the competition versions. All street versions (VINs P1 to P200) were left hand drive and identically kitted out in dark grey colour, except the first (VIN P1) that was painted white and carried all the competition cars’ decoration for demonstration purposes. The competition cars of the first evolution series (VIN C1 to C20) were built at the sport department Peugeot Talbot Sport and presented to the public at the same day as the standard street version. Later competition vehicles of the Evolution 2 series (VIN C201 to C220) were built differently as the rear spaceframe had no more sheet steel profiles in it but was completely made from tubes only. Apart from the appearance, the road variants had practically nothing in common with the regular production model and shared the transverse mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout of the rally car, but had less than half the power; at around 200 PS. The T was for Turbo; the 16 stands for 16 valves. Outwardly similar to a normal 205, the T16 had wider wheel arches, and the whole rear section lifted up to give access to the engine. Underneath, the complex drivetrain from the rally car was kept to abide by the Group B rules In addition to the Group B model, the lesser 205 GTI was also FIA approved for competition in the Group N and Group A categories. Peugeot Talbot Sport’s factory 205 T16s under Jean Todt were the most successful cars to compete in the last two years of the World Rally Championship’s Group B era, winning the 1985 and 1986 Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles with Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen respectively against such notable competition from Audi, Lancia and Ford, with an Evolution 2 model being introduced for the latter of those two seasons.

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In complete contrast was what was probably the oldest car here, this 1900 Quadricycle, which had a 350cc engine to propel it.

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PORSCHE

There were several classic Porsche models on display inside, including a i944 Turbo Cup and a road car, 911s including a Targa, a mid 70s 911S and an earlier car as well as a 356 Cabrio and several earlier Coupes.

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PTV

Another Spanish microcar, this is a prototype for the 1960 PTV 400. PTV was a trademark of Automóviles Utilitarios S. A. a microcar manufacturer based in Manresa, near Barcelona, and at one time the second biggest volume microcar sold in Spain, beaten only by the Biscúter, compared to which it was more luxurious, offering proper doors, two-tone paint, chrome trim and 12 inch wheels. The story begins with vehicles that the brothers Tachó developed in 1950 La Ballena (The Whale) and in 1953 The Coca that were both marketed under the Tachó brand name. Guillem and Antoni Tachó were joined by Maurici Josep Vila Perramón and together they founded the company Automóviles Utilitarios, S.A. on May 4, 1956. The trade-mark PTV comes From Tachó-Perramón vehículo plus a distinctive number. The PTV 250 was the first model produced. in 1956. It was an attractive 2-seater convertible (2 + 1 according to the advertising brochure) with a rear-mounted in-house developed 250 cc single-cylinder,11 hp and capable of speeds up to 75 km/h (about 45 mph). There were two versions: either with or without doors. Later a more powerful 350cc version was produced. However, when Fiat licensed the Fiat 600 construction in Spain as SEAT 600 sales dropped and the company reformed as AUSA Center SA, a constructor and supplier of industrial machinery and light vehicles, with branches in Spain, France, England, Germany, Canada and China. A total of 1100 units were produced up to 1961, which ranks as the fourth (by volume) micro-car sold in Spain, after the Biscúter, the Goggomobil and Isetta. Prices ranged between 44,500 and 55,000 Ptas. They were mostly marketed in Spain with some units exported to Portugal.

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RENAULT

Oldest Renault on show  was this rather splendid 1908 11CV. It has belonged to the city of Barcelona since 1968, and since 1978 has participated in a number of vintage car rallies as well as other cultural and civic events. It had the affectionate name of  “La Genoveva”  which comes from the title of the 1963 British comedy “Genevieve,” directed by Henry Cornelius which narrates the adventures of a vehicle during a similar vintage car rally, though the eponymous star of that film was smehwat smaller than this rather imposing machine. This car was a 2120cc 4 cylinder engine which generations 11HP, giving it a top speed of 55 km/h.

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A couple of examples of the 4CVv were on display. There seem to be several different accounts surrounding the conception of the car, one being that  it was originally conceived and designed covertly by Renault engineers during the World War II German occupation of France, when the manufacturer was under strict orders to design and produce only commercial and military vehicles, in defiance of the direction of the boss, Louis Renault, whereas another version says that in 1940, he had directed his engineering team to “make him a car like the Germans’. Regardless, the truth is that work did go on during the war, with the occupying Germans who were keeping a watch on the company turning a blind eye to what came to be known as Project 106E. Certainly those working on the project were looking closely at the Volkswagen and their new  car had a similar  overall architecture to that,  while recalling the modern designs of the fashionable front-engined passenger cars produced in Detroit during the earlier 1940s. The first prototype had only two doors and was completed in 1942, and two more prototypes were produced in the following three yearsAn important part of the 4CV’s success was due to the new methodologies used in its manufacture, pioneered by Pierre Bézier, who had begun his 42-year tenure at Renault as a tool setter, moving up to tool designer and then becoming head of the Tool Design Office. As Director of Production Engineering in 1949, he designed the transfer lines (or transfer machines) producing most of the mechanical parts for the 4CV. The transfer machines were high-performance work tools designed to machine engine blocks. While imprisoned during World War II, Bézier developed and improved on the automatic machine principle, introduced before the war by GM. The new transfer station with multiple workstations and electromagnetic heads (antecedents to robots), enabled different operations on a single part to be consecutively performed by transferring the part from one station to another. The 4CV was ultimately presented to the public and media at the 1946 Paris Motor Show and went on sale a year later. Volume production was said to have commenced at the company’s Billancourt plant a few weeks before the Paris Motor Show of October 1947, although the cars were in very short supply for the next year or so. Renault’s advertising highlighted the hundreds of machine-tools installed and processes adopted for the assembly of the first high volume car to be produced since the war, boasting that the little car was now no longer a prototype but a reality. On the 4CV’s launch, it was nicknamed “La motte de beurre” (the lump of butter); this was due to the combination of its shape and the fact that early deliveries all used surplus paint from the German Army vehicles of Rommel’s Afrika Korps, which were a sand-yellow colour. Later it was known affectionately as the “quatre pattes”, “four paws”.The 4CV was initially powered by a 760 cc rear-mounted four-cylinder engine coupled to a three-speed manual transmission. In 1950, the 760 cc unit was replaced by a 747 cc version of the “Ventoux” engine producing 17 hp. Despite an initial period of uncertainty and poor sales due to the ravaged state of the French economy, the 4CV had sold 37,000 units by mid-1949 and was the most popular car in France. Across the Rhine 1,760 4CVs were sold in West Germany in 1950, accounting for 23% of that country’s imported cars, and ranking second only to the Fiat 500 on the list. The car remained in production for more than another decade. Claimed power output increased subsequently to 21 hp as increased fuel octanes allowed for higher compression ratios, which along with the relatively low weight of the car (620 kg) enabled the manufacturers to report a 0–90 km/h (0–56 mph) time of 38 seconds and a top speed barely under 100 km/h (62 mph) The engine was notable also for its elasticity, the second and top gear both being usable for speeds between 5 and 100 km/h (3 and 62 mph); the absence of synchromesh on first gear would presumably have discouraged use of the bottom gear except when starting from rest. The rear mounting of the engine meant that the steering could be highly geared while remaining relatively light; in the early cars, only 2¼ turns were needed from lock to lock. The unusually direct steering no doubt delighted some keen drivers, but road tests of the time nonetheless included warnings to take great care with the car’s handling on wet roads. In due course, the manufacturers switched from one extreme to the other, and on later cars 4½ turns were needed to turn the steering wheel from lock to lock. Early in 1953, Renault launched a stripped-down version of the 4CV bereft of anything which might be considered a luxury. Tyre width was reduced, and the dummy grille was removed from the front of the car along with the chrome headlamp surrounds. The seats were simplified and the number of bars incorporated in the steering wheel reduced from three to two. The only colour offered was grey. The car achieved its objective of retailing for less than 400,000 Francs. With the Dauphine already at an advanced stage of development it may have made sense to try and expand the 4CV’s own market coverage downwards in order to open up a clearer gap between the two models which would be produced in parallel for several years, but reaction to the down-market 4 CV, branded as the “Renault 4CV Service”, must have disappointed Renault as this version disappeared from the Renault showrooms after less than a year. The poor sales performance may have been linked to the growing popularity of the Citroën 2CV: although at this stage powered by an engine of just 375 cc and offering sclerotic performance, the 2CV was bigger than the Renault and in 1952 came with a starting price of just 341,870 francs.  The 4CV’s direct replacement was the Dauphine, launched in 1956, but the 4CV in fact remained in production until 1961. The 4CV was replaced by the Renault 4 which used the same engine as the 4CV and sold for a similar price.

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Contrasting nicely with the Peugeot 205 T16 was this R5 Turbo 2. Launched at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1980, the car was primarily designed for rallying, as a response to Lancia’s rallying success with the mid-engined Stratos, Renault’s Jean Terramorsi, vice-president of production, asked Bertone’s Marc Deschamps to design a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine supermini. The distinctive new rear bodywork was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Although the standard Renault 5 has a front-mounted engine, the 5 Turbo featured a mid-mounted 1397 cc Cléon-Fonte turbocharged engine placed behind the driver in mid-body in a modified Renault 5 chassis. In standard form, the engine developed 160 PS. At the time of its launch it was the most powerful production French car. The first 400 production 5 Turbos were made to comply with Group 4 homologation to allow the car to compete in international rallies, and were manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe. Once the homologation models were produced, a second version named Turbo 2 was introduced using more stock Renault 5 parts replacing many of light alloy components in the original 5 Turbo version. The Turbo 2 was less expensive, but had nearly the same levels of performance, top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph) and 0–100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. A total of 3576 R5 Turbos were manufactured during a four-year production run.

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SEAT

On the way into the main display hall were a trio of SEAT cars in Rally guise: a 127, a 124 and a first generation Ibiza. Rallying has long been popular in Spain – perhaps not a surprise when you think of the world class drivers that came from the country – and taking your affordable family car and adapting it for rallying is at least as popular in Spain as it is in the UK. With SEAT as the local manufacturer, it is no surprise that these are the cars which got used more than any other.

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Once inside the main hall, there was a huge SEAT stand, to either side of the main walkway. On the left hand side were a series of concept cars from Seat’s historic collection, and to the right were four production models, also from the collection. SEAT is a local marque, with the main plant at Martorell, just outside Barcelona, and the firm has a vast collection of historic cars, which sadly are not on permanent display to the public, so seeing a few of them here has to count as the next best thing. Oldest of them was a 124, a mid-sized family car produced by SEAT in its Barcelona Zona Franca and Landaben Pamplona plants between 1968 and 1980. The car was very successful in Spain having sold 896,136 units, and was produced in both the 4-door and station wagon (Familiar) versions under various engines and trim levels. The SEAT 124 was derived from the Italian Fiat 124 and represented a great step forward for the automotive era in Spain when it was introduced. The four-cylinder twin-barrel carburetted 1197 cc motor originally delivered 60hp, however in 1973 a new model was launched, the 124 LS which offered 65hp. The variants equipped with the Twin Cam motor, victorious for decades in all-type competition, were known as FL which had been the internal code name used by the brand. This engine soon became famous for its success in motor sport and as a race car, the 124 won numerous competitions and trophies driven by pilots like Salvador Cañellas and Antonio Zanini amid others. Modified for this purpose in order to be used in rallies, its engine displacement was raised to reach as much as 2090 cc. In the 1977 Monte Carlo Rally, where Zanini finished third, the 124s were fitted with the same 1.8-litre 16-valve engine as the Fiat 131 Abarths. More Sport versions were made with 1600 cc (1970–72), 1800 cc (1972–75) and 2000 cc (1978–79) engines. The 124 carried on even after the introduction of the new 131 model,  and in 1975 the car received a facelift by Giorgetto Giugiaro; the circular front headlights were replaced by rectangular ones and its rear was altered amid several modifications, while the SEAT 124 and SEAT 1430 ranges were unified under a single model officially named SEAT 124D versión 75. The car’s initial production in Zona Franca was transferred in 1976 to the Landaben – newly acquired from Authi – plant in Pamplona, resulting in the elimination of the ‘124 Familiar’ station wagon 5-door versions. Production finally ceased in 1980.

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Replacement for the 124, just as was the case at Fiat, was the 131, and the example seen here is the very first one off the line. Adapted to the needs and the specificities of the Spanish market. the SEAT 131 made its debut at the 1975 Barcelona Motor Show, and it went on to achieve considerable success, with 412,948 units produced in a nine year life. Initially two saloon versions were offered: the SEAT 131 L, featuring rectangular front lamps, 1,438 cc OHC engine and four-speed gearbox, and the SEAT 131 E which featured four round headlamps, a 1,592 cc DOHC engine, and a five-speed gearbox. The range grew up in the spring of 1976 with the SEAT 131 5 puertas unofficially known as the SEAT 131 Familiar, which was the estate version offered with both engines. In 1977 the 131 Automatico (Automatic gearbox) was released and the following year a very short production of the SEAT 131 CLX 1800 was offered. Spain was the only place where the estate 131 was built, but in the export these were labelled Fiat 131 Familiare. In 1978, the SEAT 131 evolved into the SEAT 131 Mirafiori/Supermirafiori (Panorama for the estate versions), with the same changes as seen on its Italian cousin. The engines remained largely the same, but a 1.8 litre Diesel Perkins 4.108 engine was available in 1979. In 1981, the Diesel version was developed with a new Sofim engine. This 2,500 cc engine was much more powerful than the Perkins version (72 hp against only 49 hp) and was one of the most successful taxis in early ’80s Spain. A new CLX edition was launched in 1980. Available only in metallic silver or metallic bronze colours, this 131 CLX had a 1,919 cc engine, developing 114 PS. In 1982, the SEAT 131 changed again, gathering all the body changes seen on the Fiat 131 series 3. The 131 was now available in CL, Supermirafiori and Diplomatic versions. The Diplomatic was the top of the range, with a 1,995 cc engine and features such as power steering, power windows or air conditioning. The Panorama versions were the cars chosen by the “Cuerpo Nacional de Policia” (Spanish Police force) as patrol cars. In 1984, the whole SEAT 131 range was phased out, without a direct substitute. The brand new Fiat Regata-based SEAT Málaga took its place in 1985.

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There was an example of the Malaga here, as well. Named after the city of Málaga in Andalucía, southern Spain, it  can be considered a saloon variant of the SEAT Ibiza, although the underpinnings of the Málaga and the Ibiza Mk1, were both based upon those of the SEAT Ronda, a restyled version of the SEAT Ritmo which in its turn was a rebadged version of the Fiat Ritmo. In this sense, the Málaga most closely resembled the Fiat Regata, Fiat’s own saloon version of the Fiat Ritmo hatchback. However, the SEAT Málaga and the Fiat Regata were developed separately, as the two manufacturers had already ended their partnership by the time of the launch of their two saloon models. Production ended in 1992, well after the Volkswagen Group took over SEAT, to be replaced by its successor, the SEAT Córdoba, which was launched at the end of 1993. The Málaga sold relatively well in Spain, but did poorly in export markets, despite sharing the same System Porsche powertrain with the SEAT Ibiza.

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This 1200 Sport – sometimes known by its nickname of “Bocanegra”, Spanish for “black mouth” thanks to its frontal treatment – is significant as it is the first SEAT developed entirely in Spain. It was first shown in December 1975 and sold commercially from February 1976 to September 1979. The sharp-edged body design had a drag coefficient (cd) of 0.37 and was purchased from NSU of Germany, after the German firm had abandoned its plans to launch its own small car, the based on the NSU Prinz rear-engined NSU Nergal model, presented as a prototype in the 1970 Turin Motor Show and designed by the Italian designer Aldo Sessano. It was Antoni Amat, the technical director of Inducar (Industrias de la Carrocería) i.e. an external provider for SEAT, who conceived the idea of proposing the whole project to SEAT with the mediation of Günter Óistrach, after the former’s visit and contacts at the Turin Motor Show, with the Terrassa-based Inducar company undertaking the production of the chassis.   The purchased rights Nergal design had been modified and incorporated elements of another of Sessano’s concept cars,  the OTAS KL112, in order to fit with the underpinnings SEAT planned to used, which were based upon those of the Fiat 127. However most of the original NSU Nergal design was still present in the SEAT production model: the air-vents in the third pillar just above the rear wheel arch were likely indicating the presence of the rear-mounted engine in NSU’s donor design. In fact though SEAT’s engineers first examined the possibility to keep the rear-engine layout in the SEAT 1200 Sport, they made the final choice in favour of a front-engined one. Its boot featured a remote opening through a handle on to driver’s door and had a capacity of 339 litres. When launched it was powered by the bigger 1,197 cc engine of 67 PS carried from the SEAT 124, which in this application was transversely mounted and canted forwards by 16°. This engine through a four-speed gearbox transmission gave the little 2+2 a top speed of 98 mph. Despite its sporting aspirations, power output was limited by a relatively low compression ratio, reflecting the fuel octanes available on its home market.  In 1977 the SEAT 1430 Sport Coupé was introduced, using the same body, but with a retuned version of the engine from the SEAT 1430. In this application the 1,438 cc engine provided a power output of 77 PS and a top speed of 102 mph. The Sport versions were offered mainly in the Spanish market, but also some cars were officially offered in other European countries like Germany, Holland, Belgium or France. Both models, 1200 and 1430 were discontinued in 1979, along with the SEAT 128 the SEAT 133 and the CKD built Lancia Beta and Beta HPE, as part of the important re-structuring of the SEAT range for 1980. A total of 19,332 units were sold in the Spanish market, with 11,619 cars being equipped with the 1200 engine and some 7,713 units with the more powerful 1430 engine.

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On the other side of the main alley way were four Concept SEAT vehicles. Oldest of these, dating from 1999, was the Formula, a rear-wheel-drive mid-engined roadster concept and initially aimed at limited car production. Designed at the Volkswagen Group’s Design Center Europe at Sitges near Barcelona a facility jointly owned by Volkswagen, Audi and SEAT, it was penned by a team directed by Erwin Leo Himmel into which participated the Lotus Elise designer Julian Thomson exposing the design language of the future models of the brand. The name Fórmula itself derives from the brand’s heritage from the past, as a reminding of the creation of the Spanish Fórmula Nacional race tracks back in the 1960s, when SEAT started its implication in motorsport activities. The first concept for the car built by the Turinese company Stola was shown at the 1999 Geneva Salon international de l’ auto, featuring a water-cooled 2-litre 20-valve turbo four-cylinder 240 hp engine which was riding onto an aluminium chassis weighing almost 900 kg. Its 20-inch light alloy wheels were mounted onto an independent suspension system consisting of Formula One-style wishbones in front and horizontally mounted dampers rear system. The combination of the very light chassis with the powerful engine (performing a maximum output of 240 bhp peaking at 5800 rpm and a maximum torque of 295 Nm between 2100 and 4800 rpm) and the six-speed sequential Sportronic electro-hydraulic semi-automatic gearbox, both deriving from SEAT’s rally cars, gave the SEAT Fórmula the ability to reach 0–100 km/h in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 235 km/h. Sadly, it never made production.

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Only a few months later, at the 2000 Geneva Show came the Salsa, as a foretaste of SEAT’s new design line under Walter de’Silva. Featuring a three-door coupé body style, it was powered by a 250 PS 2.8 litre 24 valve V6 engine. The SEAT Salsa was described as a Multi Driving concept car, because its driver could select through a dashboard switch several driving modes (sport, comfort, city) thus modifying not only the engine and the gearbox parameters but also the driving position, the interior lighting or even the layout of the dashboard. Six months after the presentation of the Salsa in Geneva, SEAT revealed the SEAT Salsa Emoción at the 2000 Autosalon Paris. The Salsa Emoción is the evolution of the initial Multi Driving concept car, adding new features in terms of an all road adaptability.

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At the 2001 Frankfurt Show, SEAT showed us the Tango, designed by a team directed by Walter de Silva with the contribution of SEAT’s chief of exterior design, Steve Lewis. Featuring a two-door two-seater roadster body style riding on a cut-down SEAT Ibiza platform, it was powered by a 180 PS version of Volkswagen Group’s 1.8 litre 20VT engine driving the front wheels. While it was an internal concept, it was originally intended to be called the Tanga because of its rear end lines, however that name was turned down by Volkswagen Group’s management as it was found rather provocative. Extensive safety measures were also integrated into the project: in addition to the progressive deformation structure and central passenger cell which help to cushion impact, it was also equipped with twin front airbags, side airbags, Antilock Braking System, Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control systems. The SEAT Tango was for a long time the subject of speculation on whether would become a production model.  Although supported by SEAT’s (and later Volkswagen Group’s) chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder, and an important model in order to boost the brand’s “auto emoción” sporting image and the overwhelming response from the public, the Tango never got the green light for production: SEAT’s integration in the following years in the ‘Audi brand group’ meant that decisions had to be made in consensus with guidance from Audi’s management. However Audi was opposed to making the Tango a real road car at all costs according to Audi board chairman Martin Winterkorn who announced “I am not signing a production contract with blood until I see the right numbers.”  and instead favoured new models in segments that were thought to make more sense in sales terms, like the SEAT Altea MPV which was meant to succeed Audi’s own Audi A2 model.

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More recently, the Tribu was a star at the 2007 Frankfurt Show, suggesting that SEAT have been considering an SUV for some time before the imminent Ateca production model. The Tribu featured 3 doors and 4 bucket seats. The concept SUV was the first project designed entirely by Luc Donckerwolke, the former Lamborghini designer who had been SEAT’s Design Director since 2005. In August 2008, official SEAT designs of a production model were submitted to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and subsequently leaked.  The concept car had suffered radical changes, featuring five doors and a more conventional boot opening. Several car magazines were quick to turn these official gray scale pictures into computer generated images that showed the Tribu in near final form, as a rebadged version of the Volkswagen Tiguan.  The car did not subsequently reach production, due to rough economic conditions at the time.

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Three Cabrio models, based on various mid-sized Fiat models were to be found on the Moto Classico stand. Oldest of them was a 1400 from the mid 50s and there were also a couple of 1600 models from the very end of the 50s.

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There was a sizeable stand for the 124 and 1430 Owners Club, and there were examples of the 124, 124 Sport and 1430 on display. The SEAT 1430 was made from 1969 to 1975. The car was based in the FIAT 124 Special, but the front lights were the square ones from the Fiat 125 instead of round. The interior was almost the same as that car, too. In 1973, a hotter version of the SEAT 1430 was introduced as the 1430 Especial 1600 model, popularly known as “FU”. It was superseded by the SEAT 131, while the donor car, the SEAT 124 continued in its base form until 1980.

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One of the most popular classics in Spain is the SEAT 600, a city car made from May 1957 to August 1973 under licence by Fiat. It helped to start the economic boom, the Spanish miracle (1959–1973), that came at the end of the slow recovery from the Spanish Civil War. It was a relatively inexpensive vehicle (then 60,000 Spanish pesetas) and was the first car that came within the modest but rapidly growing economic means of most Spanish families from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. The vehicle has become an icon of the period. Technically, the car was basic and not very modern. It had a rear-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout, and a 4-cylinder, water-cooled engine initially with a displacement of 633 cc producing 19 hp and later 767 cc, yielding 21.5 hp. There were two initial series: 600 and 600 D 2-door saloon, distinguishable by the use of “suicide doors”. The third series, the 600 E, had conventional doors, bigger headlamps, a different plastic grille and other improvements. The final production run was the 600 L Especial, produced only for a few months in 1973. By the end of production, 797,319 SEAT 600s and 18,000 SEAT 800s had been made. They were exported to Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Finland. The Fiat version enjoyed far less success in its homeland than the Spanish model, probably because the Italian market was more advanced than the Spanish at the time. Among the reasons for ending production were the thin and weak b pillars, which made seat belt installation very difficult. The SEAT 600 was replaced by the far less successful SEAT 133, a modernized derivative of the SEAT 850 designed by SEAT. There were several example of the model on show here, including a number liveried by the local Moritz brewery.

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SMART

Smart introduced a pair of new models, a Coupé and a Roadster in 2003, based on a stretched platform of the Fortwo with a full length of 3427 mm. The two variants were meant to be reminiscent of the British roadster of yore, such as the Triumph Spitfire or the MG B. Both the Roadster and Roadster Coupé came with a removable Targa roof or an electrical softtop. The Roadster wa powered by 61 or 82 PS versions of the turbocharged 698cc 3-cylinder Suprex engine in the rear, whilst the Roadster Coupé only had the more powerful 82 PS engine. A steering wheel with Formula 1-style gearpaddles, to control the semi-automatic sequential transmission, was optional. Weighing as little as 790 kg (he Roadster was meant to provide the emotion of driving a sports car at an affordable cost; still, its price is not very far from that of a Mazda MX-5. Both the Roadster and Roadster Coupé were available in Brabus-tuned versions with power increased to 101 PS.  The Brabus versions had a different twin sports exhaust, lower suspension, polished six-spoke aluminum alloy Monoblock VI 17″ wheels, front spoiler, side skirts and radiator grille. Exclusive Brabus (Xclusive) interior includes leather trimmed dashboard, alloy-effect accent parts, instrument graphics, leather/aluminium gearknob with Brabus labelled starter button, aluminium handbrake handle (which fouls the central armrest), aluminium pedals and Brabus labeled floor mats. The Brabus version also features stronger clamping of the clutch plates and a faster gearchange. The Monoblock wheels are known to be very soft and as a result are very easy to buckle. The lacquer on these wheels is also very poor, and corrosion can occur very early in the life of the wheel. Despite a projected break even of only 8-10,000 units per year, first year sales almost doubled this estimate. However, some Smart Roadsters leaked and production ceased due to the warranty work and other costs reaching an average of €3000 per vehicle. While a critical success, the Smart Roadster was, due to these costs, an economic failure for the company. 43,091 Roadsters were built.

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SUZUKI

Another locally produced car, this is a Suzuki Santana, seen here in rally guise. The SJ40 Jimny 1000 was introduced for 1982 to replace the LJ80 range. Sold as the Suzuki SJ410 in most export markets, the new model used the F10A – a larger 1 litre version of the LJ’s 0.8 litre four-cylinder engine which produced 45 hp and had a top speed of 68 mph. A four-speed manual transmission was standard, as were non-power assisted drum brakes front and rear. The SJ410 came as a half-door convertible, long-wheelbase pickup truck, two-door hardtop (called “Van” in Japan), raised-roof hardtop, and no-glass hardtop (panel van). In Japan, the pickup truck was intended as a bare-bones work vehicle and did not receive fender extensions, and had diagonal tyres on black-painted steel wheels rather than the sportier wheels fitted to the regular Jimny. Later, a covered long-wheelbase version was added for export markets. The SJ410 was produced in Spain by Santana Motors in their Linares, Jaén factory as of March 1985 and was sold as a domestic vehicle in Europe due to its over 60% native parts content, thereby evading limits on imports of Japanese-built automobiles. It was built only on the short wheelbase, as a two-door convertible and commercial, or with the three door wagon or van bodywork. Some later models of the SJ410 would switch to disc brakes in the front depending on the factory they were made at. In March 1990, Santana-built versions received the same chassis developments which turned the SJ413 into the Samurai.

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TRIUMPH

Sole representative of the TR family of Triumph sports cars was this TR2, the first of the line, and a model that was built, it is understood, as a consequence of the fact that Sir John Black, the then boss of the Standard Motor Company, made a bid for the Morgan Motor Company and failed. Standard already made the Triumph Roadster, but it was out-dated and under-powered. Sir John Black wanted an affordable sports car, so he initiated a prototype to be built. The chassis was a shortened version of the Standard Eight’s and the engine was the Standard Vanguard 2-litre, around which a two-seater body was created. Named the 20TS, it was revealed at the 1952 London Motor Show. Black asked BRM development engineer and test driver Ken Richardson to assess the 20TS, and after he declared it to be a “death trap” a project was undertaken to improve on the design.  A year later the production  TR2 was revealed. It had better looks; a simple ladder-type chassis; a longer body; and a bigger boot. It was loved by American buyers, and became the best earner for Triumph. It remained in production until 1957 when an updated model, the TR3 replaced it.

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VOLKSWAGEN

A popular classic, as would be evidenced by the number of them which were parked up outside, is the Type 2 Bus, a nice example of which was on show indoors.

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CLASSICS FOR SALE

In an annex at the back of the main show hall was an area with classics for sale. These were the ones being sold privately, as opposed to the glitzy dealer cars, but among them were some very interesting and rare machines which were just as worthy of display as the cars in the main hall, to my mind. Prices for most of them seemed quite reasonable, too, so apart from the fact that virtually everything was left hand drive, this could be the place to come for a good deal.

ABARTH

This was a nice 1000TC, not a genuine one produced in the 60s, but a modern reproduction.

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AUTO UNION

This is an Auto Union 1000, a far cry from the Audi models of today which are its contemporary successors. The Auto Union 1000 was sold between 1958 and 1965 and was the first (and in many markets the last) model branded as an Auto Union by the manufacturer since the 1930s: it replaced the paradoxically named DKW 3=6, although the latter continued in production, reassuringly now branded as the DKW 900, for another year. The two cars were broadly similar, but the new car had its two-stroke engine enlarged to 981 cc yielding a 10% – 37% (according to model) power increase. Apart from the enlarged engine, which now provided in the base model 44 bhp, the 1000 featured the old four ring Auto Union badge across the air grill along with the ‘Auto Union’ name above it, in place of the ‘DKW’ badge that had adorned the nose of the earlier model. In addition to the two- and four-door saloons, there was a ‘pillarless’ coupé which shared the profile of the saloons apart from the absence of any fixed B pillar. A three-door estate version was also offered, branded as the ‘Universal’, between 1959 and 1962. For the new decade, the saloon was renamed Auto Union 1000S and received, in August 1959, an eye catching wrap around windscreen. Neither the windscreen nor the name changes entirely concealed the fact that at a time when competitor designs employed the modern ponton, three box form, this Auto Union’s body along with most of its technical features descended directly from that of the Zwickau developed DKW F9 prototype of 1938. Fortunately in 1938 the front-wheel-drive DKW design had been an innovative one.

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BMW

There are not many survivors of the 1st generation 7 Series, the E23, and this has to be one of the rarest of them all, a 745i, a model which was never sold in the UK. The 745i was a special high-performance model offered in left-hand-drive European markets between 1979 and 1986. It was originally fitted with a specially prepared 3205cc variant of the M30 six-cylinder gas engine and a KKK K27 turbocharger producing 252 hp at 0.6 bar of boost. This engine was designated with the BMW engine code M102. In 1982 the engine grew to 3.4 litres, changed over from Jetronic engine management to Motronic, and was known as the M106. Due to higher displacement and better engine management, the M106 developed the same power as the M102 at only 0.4 bar boost. These cars were all built with automatic transmissions (although there is documentation supporting how the ECU was modified at the factory to work with Getrag 5 speeds) and could be ordered with exotic options such as heated front and rear power reclining seats, auto-on aux interior gasoline fired heaters, leather covered cellular telephones, rear-armrest radio control, water buffalo hide upholstery, and burl wood trim. The water buffalo interior model was the Executive trim option, while the High Line trim package offered ivory leather interior trim including a leather dash board, sun visors, headliner, and other leather bits not offered on the Executive. BMW designated this particular model as 745i instead of 732i Turbo due to the theoretical assumption that the turbocharged motors have about 1.4 times more power than naturally aspirated engines.

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Contemporary with that car were the E24 6 Series, a car now much admired for its elegance, and now proving enduring in its appeal as a “youngtimer” classic. This was a 635 CSi, the most popular version of the car which was a replacement for the E9 model 3.0 CS and CSL coupés first produced in 1965. The 3.0 CS was almost changed by adding a few centimeters in height to make it easier for customers to get into the car. However, Bob Lutz rebelled against the decision and rough drafted an alternative version that soon became the 6 series. Production started in March 1976 with two models: the 630 CS and 633 CSi. Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to BMW. In July 1978 a more powerful variant, the 635 CSi, was introduced that featured as standard a special close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a single piece black rear spoiler. The bigger bore and shorter stroke facilitated max 218 hp at 5200rpm and a better torque curve. For the first year, the 635 CSi was offered in three colours (Polaris, Henna Red, Graphite), and could also be spotted by the front air dam that did not have attached fog lights. These simple cosmetic changes reportedly worked to reduce uplift on the car at high speeds by almost 15% over the non-spoiler body shape. This early model shared suspension components with the inaugural BMW 5-series, the E12. In 1979 the carburettor 630 CS was replaced with the 628 CSi, with its fuel injected 2.8 litre engine taken from the BMW 528i. In 1980 the 635 CSi gained the central locking system that is also controlled from the boot. Also, the E24 body style converted from L-jetronic injection to a Bosch Motronic DME. In 1982 (Europe) and 1983 (US), the E24 changed slightly in appearance, with an improved interior and slightly modified exterior. At the same time, the 635 CSi received a new engine, a slightly smaller-bored and longer-stroked 3430 cc six to replace the former 3453 cc engine and became available with a wide-ratio 5-speed manual or an automatic. This slight change was in fact a major change as pre-1982 cars were based on the E12 5-series chassis; after mid-1982, E24s shared the improved E28 5-series chassis. The only parts that remained the same were some of the exterior body panels. E24s produced after June 1987 came with new, ellipsoid headlamps which projects beam more directly onto road surface (newly introduced E32 7-series also sporting them). The sleeker European bumpers were also discontinued. Previous cars had either a European-standard bumper or a larger, reinforced bumper to meet the US standard requiring bumpers to withstand impact at 5 mph without damage to safety-related components. 1989 was the last year for the E24 with production stopping in April. The E24 was supplanted by the considerably heavier, more complex, and more exclusive 8 Series. BMW Motorsport introduced the M 635 CSi in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983. It is essentially an E24 powered by the powerplant of the BMW M1 – the M88 with 286 PS. Most of the cars were equipped with special metric 415 mm diameter wheels requiring Michelin TRX tyres. A catalysed, lower compression ratio version of the car with the S38 engine (260 PS ) was introduced in the U.S. in 1987. All M6 cars came standard with a 25% rear limited slip differential. U.S. models included additional comforts that were usually optional on models sold in Europe such as Nappa leather power seats and a dedicated rear A/C unit with a centre beverage chiller.  4,088 M 635 CSi cars were built between 1983 and 1988 with 1,767 U.S. M6 built.

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CADILLAC

This Eldorado Convertible dates from 1976, the last year that Cadillac would produce an open topped car for some years, as everyone had thought that legislation would outlaw the format. In the end, it did not, and convertibles staged something of a come-back some years later.

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CITROEN

Oldest Citroen on offer was this 1925 5CV Torpedo. Launched in 1922, the car was originally called the Type C but was updated to the C2 in 1924 which was in turn superseded by the slightly longer C3 in 1925. The Type C was, and still is, also well known as the 5CV due to its French fiscal rating of its engine for taxation purposes. More colloquial sobriquets, referring to the tapered rear of the little car’s body, were ‘cul-de-poule’ (hen’s bottom) and ‘boat deck Citroën’. The four-cylinder, 856 cc engine had a bore of 55 mm and stroke of 90 mm, generating an output of 11 bhp. There was a single Solex carburettor and magneto ignition. An electric starter was standard, allowing the car to be advertised as especially suitable for lady drivers. There were two types of chassis: the C, which was also used for the C2, and the C3. They varied in length with the original Type C/C2 measuring 7 ft 5 inches in length, and the 1925 C3 measuring 7 ft 9 in. The suspension used inverted quarter elliptic springs at the front and rear, braking was on the rear wheels only, controlled by a hand lever, and on the transmission by the foot brake. The maximum speed was 60 km/h (37 mph) with a fuel consumption of 5 l/100 km. Only open bodies were made with the original Type C, often nicknamed the “Petit Citron” (little lemon), due to it only being available in yellow at first, as one of the more popular variants. The C2 tourer was a two-seat version but the C3 was a three-seat “Trèfle” (Cloverleaf) three-seat model with room for a single passenger in the rear. There were also C2 and C3 Cabriolets made. There was also a wide range of C2 and C3 commercial models with 32,567 being built. Although a great success, the car was not profitable, and Citroën decided to end “Type C” production in May 1926.

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Not quite as old as you might imagine, was this 1953 11CV Traction Avant. Although the model was first introduced in 1934, production continued until the mid 50s, when the radical DS took over

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you really don’t see the Dyane very often these days.  Launched on its home market in August 1967, it was, of course, a development of the Citroën 2CV, and was intended as an answer to the increasingly popular Renault 4, which after its introduction in 1961 had affected 2CV sales. The Renault 4 incorporated many ideas copied from the Citroën Traction Avant, but on a smaller scale. Like the Renault 4, the Dyane was designed from the outset as a hatchback with some other styling differences, such as conventional round headlamps set into the front wings with a squared stainless steel trim ring – as opposed to the old-fashioned separate units found on the 2CV – and stainless steel wheel embellishments as standard. It was often asserted that the Dyane was intended to replace the 2CV, and although this had been the original idea, by the time the car was launched it was positioned to fill a small niche between the manufacturer’s 2CV and Ami models. The 2CV had been developed and, in 1948, launched at a time of austerity and low wages. More than twenty years later, with the much more modern Renault 4 selling strongly against the Citroën offerings, it was thought that buyers must be ready for a less aggressively basic approach. During the years since 1948 production technology had become more streamlined, as auto-industry wages grew ahead of the overall growth in the French economy, and production of the 2CV was, by the standard of more recent models, a very labour-intensive process. At the time of the Dyane’s development, the Citroën design department was busy on updates of the key DS and Ami models: design of the Dyane was therefore initially subcontracted to the Panhard design department, Panhard’s non-military business having in 1965 been absorbed into Citroën’s car business. The Panhard team under Louis Bioner (who had designed every Panhard model introduced between the late 1920s and the mid 1960s) produced a proposal that at a detailed level proved controversial with Citroën’s design chief, Robert Opron: the car was significantly reworked ahead of launch. The Dyane’s Panhard associations are also reflected in its name, Panhard having registered a copyright on the name Dyane along with Dyna, Dynavia and Dynamic. At launch the car was offered with two levels of equipment and trim: The Basic “Luxe” and the slightly better equipped “Confort”. The “Confort” version was differentiated from the outside through the inclusion of hub-caps on the wheels.  The spare wheel and jack were mounted in a special cradle under the bonnet rather than both simply being placed loose on the floor of the luggage area at the back. The interior of the “Confort” was slightly less basic, with plastic moulded door panels rather than flat, vinyl covered hardboard. The steering wheel was less “rustic” than that which the less expensive “Luxe” version of the Dyane shared with the Citroën 2CV.  The extra 615 francs in the 1967 domestic market listed price for the Dyane “Confort” represented a supplement of just over 10% when compared to the list price for the more basic “Luxe”. As with the 2CV, the engine was air-cooled, with a hemispherical combustion chamber and flat-topped pistons. and for the first five months only the 2CV’s 425cc engine was fitted. The “Dyane 6” was announced at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1968, fitted with the Ami’s 602cc M4 engine. This came with an advertised maximum output of 28 bhp, supporting a claimed top speed of 71 mph, which was a useful improvement over the 21 bhp of power and the claimed top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) with which the Dyane had been launched. The 602cc engined Dyane did not replace the original 425cc engined car.  However, two months later, in March 1968, the 425cc unit was replaced, in a car now described as the “Dyane 4”, by an improved 435cc engine providing 26 bhp. The extra power came from changes including not merely the slightly claimed cylinder dimensions, as well as an extra 2 mm of carburettor diameter and a raised compression ratio. Although there was a price to be paid in terms of higher fuel consumption, the listed top speed went up to 105 km/h (66 mph) and acceleration was measurably less anæmic. In September 1968 the M4 was replaced by an improved 602cc engine featuring higher compression pistons and forced induction from the engine fan giving slightly more power. As with the 2CV and Ami, cooling air was ducted straight to the heater, giving excellent demisting and heating. Mechanical contact-breakers were mounted at the front of the camshaft and located behind the cooling fan. The Fan was mounted on a tapered shaft and secured with a bolt at the bottom of a deep tube (the top of which engaged the starter handle). As the location of the points was not obvious to the uninformed, there were often neglected. The Coil fired both cylinders simultaneously (wasting one spark) and the spark plug wear was faster than it ought to have been; 6000 miles was not uncommon for a spark plug. Cylinder heads were held on with three studs and barrels slipped over the pistons. No cylinder-head gasket was used, and since the wings unbolted in a few minutes, it was possible to remove the cylinder heads and barrels, change the pistons or piston-rings and reassemble the top end very quickly, using only a few tools. The Dyane was based on the same platform chassis as the 2CV, sharing its advanced independent front to rear interconnected suspension. This comprised a central springing unit, running fore-and-aft in a tube on each side; each suspension arm on that side was linked to the spring, by a tie-rod and a ‘knife-edge’ pivot-pin. Early cars did not have conventional shock absorbers. The squeak you hear from most 2CVs and Dyanes as they go by over bumps is due to lack of lubrication either inside the spring tubes or to the ‘knife-edges’. The front hubs kingpins need to be greased every 600 miles. Since this is often overlooked, the king-pins can be prone to wear, although some movement is acceptable. During the Dyane’s first full year of production, supported by the interest and marketing activity generated by new-car launch, 98,769 Dyanes were produced which meant that it was indeed produced, even at this stage, in greater volumes than the 2CV with just 57,473 cars produced. In 1969 the Dyane was again produced at a higher rate, this time with 95,434 units as against 72,044 for the older car. However, the 2CV refused to die, and with 121,096 2CVs produced in 1970, the older car was back in front. The Dyane soldiered on, with French production rates remaining more than respectable, for more than another decade. However, the Dyane’s annual volumes would never again beat those of the 2CV and the car was deleted in 1980, several years before its older brother ended production. Few further changes were made, though from 1969, the Dyane 6 did gain a third side window, and a new grille was fitted from 1976. Minor trim updates were made, but the car remained resolutely utilitarian, and even the limited edition models such as the Code D’Azur of 1978 could not get away from the fact, not that enthusiastic owners really wanted anything else. 1,443,583 examples were made, but survival rates are low, and this car is far rarer than the 2CV.

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Most recent of the classic Citroens offered for sale was a CX 25GTi Turbo, the most powerful version of the legendary CX that Citroen sold. The first sporting CX had been the 128 bhp fuel injected GTi that was launched in 1977, then in 1984, a more potent true of the top of the range joined it, adopting the then very popular expedient of strapping a turbocharger to the 2500cc engine which upped the power to 168 bhp. A larger rear spoiler was fitted to aid high speed stability.

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FIAT

This “Topolino” 500 dates from 1939. Known for being the car which really put Italy on wheels, the Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production. Launched in 1937, three versions were produced until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. It was equipped with a 569 cc four-cylinder, side-valve, water-cooled engine mounted in front of the front axle, which meant that it was a full-scale car rather than a cyclecar. The radiator was located behind the engine which made possible a lowered aerodynamic nose profile at a time when competitors had a flat, nearly vertical grille. The shape of the car’s front allowed exceptional forward visibility. The rear suspension initially used quarter-elliptic rear springs, but buyers frequently squeezed four or five people into the nominally two-seater car, and in later models the chassis was extended at the rear to allow for more robust semi-elliptic springs. With horsepower of about 13 bhp,its top speed was about 53 mph and it could achieve about 48 mpg. The target price given when the car was planned was 5,000 lire. In the event the price at launch was 9,750 lire, though the decade was one of falling prices in several part of Europe and later in the 1930s the Topolino was sold for about 8,900 lire. Despite being more expensive than first envisioned, the car was competitively priced and nearly 520,000 were sold. Nowadays the car seen here is known as the 500A, and this shares its body with the later 500 Model B, but the later car had more power, a heady 16 hp. It was made between 1948 and 1949. The Model A was offered as a 2-door coupé, 2-door cabriolet and a 2-door van, while the Model B also introduced a 3-door estate under the name 500 B Giardinetta (“estate car”). The Model C was introduced in 1949 with a restyled body and the same engine as Model B, and was offered in 2-door coupé, 2-door cabriolet, 3-door estate and 2-door van  versions. In 1952, the Giardinetta was renamed the  Belvedere (“A turret or other raised structure offering a pleasant view of the surrounding area”, referring to its sunroof). The Model C was produced until 1955 and there was one of these on show as well, though maddeningly, I don’t seem to have taken its photo.

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126 Personal was the name used in Europe for the version of Fiat’s smallest car that we knew as the de Ville. Launched in 1977, the car featured a slightly more powerful 652cc engine, large rubberised bumpers all round, with sizeable door mouldings, and slightly less basic trim. The car here dates from 1979.

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LADA

You don’t see a Niva very often these days. The VAZ-2121, as it was initially called, was described by its designers as a “Renault 5 put on a Land Rover chassis.”  Development began in 1971, when a team of VAZ designers under Vladimir Solovyev began work on a “civilised” four-wheel drive vehicle. It was inspired in part by the IZh-14 prototype of 1974, and was VAZ’s first non-Fiat based model. Much of its mechanicals were carried over from the earlier Fiat 124-based Lada models, though the body, four-wheel drive system, and front suspension were designed by VAZ. The first prototypes appeared in 1971 and 1972, but were rejected as too utilitarian, so doors and hardtop were added; this version debuted in 1973. This took inspiration from the VAZ-1101, and was created by designer Valery Pavlovitch. The engine was changed to a 1,568 cc from the VAZ-2106, with permanent four-wheel drive and locking differentials. On trials during 1973 and 1974, it showed it could climb a 58° slope or ford 24 in of water or 39 in of snow. It was approved for production in 1977 as the Niva. In basic form, the Niva has a carburettor 1.6-litre overhead cam four-cylinder petrol engine producing 72 hp and 93 lb·ft, a four- or five-speed manual transmission, and full-time four-wheel drive. The four-wheel drive system employs three differentials (centre, front and rear). The transfer case involves a high/low range selector lever and a central differential lock lever. Low range can be selected with the centre differential locked or unlocked. The original Niva had a maximum speed of 81 mph while consuming petrol at 34.2 mpg. Its towing capacity is rated for up to 860 kg (1900 lb). It debuted in Western Europe at the 1978 Paris Motor Salon, and rapidly captured forty percent of Europe’s market for four-wheel drive vehicles, making it Lada’s top-selling export. Because of export demand, and higher priority for exports, domestic customers faced long waiting lists. The car changed little in the following years. A 1.7-litre petrol engine was introduced later in production, as was single-point fuel injection supplied initially by General Motors. Around this time the rear hatch was revised to have a lower opening. Multi-point fuel injection designed by Bosch has been used since 2004. A soft top version appeared in 1983, bodied by French coachbuilder Wassermann;this was known as the Niva Plein Soleil. During the 1980s local Lada importers in various markets made their own upgrades to help compete with more modern SUVs.

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MERCEDES-BENZ

Two Mercedes models from the back catalogue were here, a W140 S500 Coupe and the Cosworth-powered 190E 2.3-16.

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MINI

Representing the long-lived original Mini design was this 1980s Mayfair model.

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PEUGEOT

This is a 203 Berline, the first new model that Peugeot would launch after World War II. The car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in 1947, but by then had already been under development for more than five years. Volume manufacturing was initially hampered by strikes and shortages of materials,  but production got under way late in 1948, with buyers taking delivery of 203s from early 1949. During its twelve-year production run nearly 700,000 203s of all variants rolled off the assembly line in Sochaux, France. Between the demise of the 202 in 1949 and the launch of the 403 in 1955, the 203 was the only model produced by Peugeot. The 203 was the first monocoque bodied production Peugeot. The car was eye catchingly modern and bore a marked resemblance to the American Chevrolet Fleetline fastback, although its wind cheating profile also reflected the streamlining trend apparent in some of Europe’s more modern designs, including some of Peugeot’s own 402 model, from the 1930s. The 4-door saloon was the major seller, but from 1950 a commodious 4-door version (Commerciale) and a 6-seat (Familiale), with three rows of seats, were also offered on a wheelbase lengthened by 7.9 in to 109. By taking the trouble to extend the wheelbase for the estate and family versions, the company set a pattern which they would follow with several succeeding generations of large family Peugeot estates such as the 404 and 504 Along with improvements to the existing cars, Peugeot introduced a 2-door 203 coupé at the end of 1952, although this was not as successful as hoped and it quietly disappeared from the brochures a year later.  There were several low volume cabriolet and coupé conversions produced by outside specialists in collaboration with Peugeot available during the 203’s production run, though removing the roof from an early monocoque design necessitated extensive body strengthening which added to the car’s weight and reduced the performance. The 1290 cc four-cylinder engine was unusual in its ‘oversquare’ cylinder dimensions, and was noted for the hemispherical form of the combustion chambers included in the light metal cylinder heads. At launch, a power output of 42 PS  was claimed, which was increased in 1952 to 45 PS for the October 1952 Paris Motor Show. Peugeot advertising pointed out that the increase in power came without any penalty in terms of fuel economy or car tax (which was a function of the unchanged cylinder capacity). Reference was made to a change in cylinder design but there was no change in the compression ratio which remained at 6.8:1. Advertised top speed increased, in 1952, from 115 km/h (71 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph): the longer estate versions were significantly slower. 0-60 time was 20 seconds, and fuel consumption was 20-35mpg. The column-mounted gear change controlled a four-speed manual gear box: power was delivered to the rear wheels using a propeller shaft driving through a worm-and-wheel gearset at the differential. Possibly the most significant upgrade occurred in March 1954 with a new the four speed gear box featuring synchromesh on all forward speeds. Cars delivered between 1949 and 1954 came without synchromesh on the bottom ratio. The 203 was a massive hit in France. In a move which under some conditions might be expected to have encouraged discounting of the predecessor model, the 203 was already depicted and advertised vigorously on the final page of the sales brochure distributed to potential purchasers of the Peugeot 202 in October 1947, nearly a year before the 203 could be offered for sale. There seems to have been a good deal of pent-up demand by the time the 203 was actually launched, and the practicality, price and reliability of the car wooed many motorists. 200 were coming off the production line each day by 1950, and that year the 203 achieved 34,012 domestic sales, commanding 19.5% of the French auto-market, where it was second only to the (far smaller and cheaper) Renault 4CV in terms of unit sales. Six years into its production run a growing body of data on second-hand sales became available. In early 1954 it was noted that in France the 203 lost value more slowly than any other French car generally available, thanks to a combination of virtues including a reliable, economical engine, well judged equipment levels including the sun roof, good manoeuvrability helped by an unusually tight turning circle (possible because of its “old-fashioned” rear-wheel drive lay-out), and not withstanding a rather unfriendly gear box which during the summer of 1954 would be replaced by Peugeot’s new all-synchromesh “C2” transmission. The strongest domestic manufacturers in the 1950s were Citroën and Renault who in the ten years after 1945 concentrated on executive cars and superminis, respectively. The success of the 203 was therefore a tribute both to the excellence of the product and to the absence from its sector, in its early years, of mainstream competitors. A powerful mainstream competitor appeared in 1951 with the launch of the Simca Aronde, but with the post-war economy finally beginning to experience useful growth there seems to have been ample capacity in the market for both cars. By 1955 when Panhard gained access to the Citroën dealership network, the 203 was well established in the market place and Peugeot themselves had moved beyond their one model policy. The 203 nevertheless continued to sell well till the end of the decade. The final Peugeot 203 rolled off the production line at the Peugeot Sochaux plant on 25 February 1960.

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RENAULT

Several Renaults were offered for sale including examples of the R4 and R4 Van, the Spanish-built R8S, a rare surviving R12 Estate and a R19 16S, the naming used on the continent for the cars we knew as the 16V.

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SEAT

Not surprisingly, there were several SEAT models in this section, including the Spanish-only 800 and a 1969 850 Especial 4 door as well as the more familiar 850 Spider and 127. More information on these models follows later in this report.

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TOYOTA

Toyota first used the Supra name on a car also known as the Celica XX, which was launched in 1978. Looking very much like the regular Celica Liftback of the time, it was actually 7.6 inches longer, which provided enough space to accommodate the in-line 6 2.8 litre engine instead of the 4 cylinder units of the regular Celica and was sold as a competitor to the successful Nissan 280Z. When the 4 cylinder car was updated in 1982, a new Supra appeared a few weeks alter, once again, looking very similar to the cheaper car. But in 1986, Toyota produced a completely different duo of sports coupes. The Celica changed to front-wheel drive, while the Supra kept its rear-wheel-drive platform. The engine was updated to a more powerful 3.0 200 hp in-line 6. Although only available in naturally aspirated trim in 1986, a turbocharged version of the engine was introduced in the 1987 model year. The Supra was now related mechanically to the Toyota Soarer for the Japanese market. The third-generation Supra introduced a great deal of new technology. In 1986, options available for the Supra included 3-channel ABS and TEMS which gave the driver 2 settings which affected the damper rates; a third was automatically activated at WOT, hard braking, and high speed maneuvering. HKS also made a “TEMS Controller” to hack the system and activate it on the fly, though the controllers are now nearly impossible to find. ACIS (Acoustic Control Induction System), a method of controlling air compression pulses inside the intake piping to increase power, was also a part of the 7M-GE’s technological arsenal. All models were fitted with double wishbone suspension front and rear. A targa top was offered in all years along with a metal power sliding sunroof. The car sold well, and it is estimated that around 241,500 examples were produced.

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TRIUMPH

I was slightly surprised to find that this was the car which represented Triumph, as one of the popular sports car would have been a more likely candidate. A replacement for the long running Standard Vanguard, the Triumph 2000 appeared at the same time as the Rover 2000 an was the more sporting of the duo, with a subtly different appeal from the Rover. Between them, the cars defined a new market sector in the UK, promising levels of comfort and luxury hitherto associated with larger Rover and Jaguar models, but with usefully lower running costs and purchase prices, all in a modern package. Both added more powerful models to their range, with Rover going down the twin carburettor route, whilst in 1967, Triumph installed a larger 2.5 litre engine and the then relatively new fuel injection system, creating the 2.5PI, which is what was to be seen here. This Lucas system was not renowned for its reliability in the early days, but it did make the car rapid and refined. A facelift in 1969 brought new styling front and rear, which turned out to be a taster for a new grand tourer model which would emerge a few months later, and in this Mark 2 guise, the car was sold until 1977, in both saloon and estate guises. A mid range model, with twin carburettors but the larger engine, the 2500TC was introduced in 1974 and the 2500S arrived in 1975 with more power but also carb fed, to replace the troublesome and thirsty PI. The car seen here was an early 2000 Saloon.

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VOLKSWAGEN

First of a couple of Beetle Cabrios that would be seen here was this 1303 Cabrio

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VOLVO

Although the regular 240 series Volvo will be familiar to many, this is a version which was not offered in the UK. Marrying the two door body with a more powerful 2.3 litre created the 242GT, which was offered in the 1970s until it was replaced by the GLT, a version which we did see, albeit only in 4 door guise.

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THE OUTDOOR SHOW

The road that bisects the Firra site was closed off for the duration of the show, which meant that there was a large area to park an impressive and very diverse array of classics. Access to this part of the event was free, and was a wonderful diversion for many passers-by who happened to be out for a stroll, so it did get quite busy with lots of people spotting cars many of which had once been a common sight on local roads but which had long since all but disappeared. Spain is a country where a car keeps its licence plate for life, and until the late 1990s used a system where the first letter or two of the plate identified the Province where the car was first registered. That meant you could tell from the older cars here where they started out life. Many were local, from Barcelona and surrounding area, but plenty had clearly moved around the country over the years.

ABARTH

Spain is still well supplied with the 600 model which was the basis for a series of ever wilder 850 and 1000TC models produced by the famous Abarth concern in the 1960s, Original cars are relatively rare, but plenty of people have created a modern replica, often using Abarth parts to produce something like this 1000TC. It looked a lot of fun.

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ALFA ROMEO

Needing little in the way of introduction was this gorgeous 1750 GTV, the version of the popular 105 series Coupe which many will tell you is the sweetest of them all.

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By the time the 105 Series Spider S3 seen here was ready for market, the car was principally being sold in the US, so it was launched there. It was previewed for the 1982 model year with the introduction of 2.0 litre Bosch electronic fuel injection to replace the SPICA mechanical injection. The Spider underwent a major styling revamp in 1983, which saw the introduction of black rubber front and rear bumpers. The front bumper incorporated the grille and a small soft rubber spoiler was added to the trunk lid. The change altered the exterior appearance of the car considerably and was not universally praised by enthusiasts. Various other minor mechanical and aesthetic modifications were also made, and the 1600 car (never available in North America) dropped the “Junior” name. The Quadrifoglio Verde (Green Cloverleaf) model was introduced in 1986, with many aesthetic tweaks, including sideskirts, mirrors, new front and rear spoilers, hard rubber boot mounted spoilers with integral 3rd stoplight, unique 15″ alloys and optional removable hardtop. Different interior trim included blood red carpets and grey leather seats with red stitching. The QV was offered in only 3 colours: red, silver and black. It was otherwise mechanically identical to the standard Spider Veloce model, with a 1962 cc double overhead cam, four-cylinder engine (twin two-barrel carburettors in Europe; North American models retained the Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection introduced for the 1982 model year except that the VVT mechanism was now L-Jet activated) and five-speed manual transmission. The interior was revised with a new centre console, lower dash panels (to meet U.S. regulations) and a single monopod gauge cluster (with electronic gauges). For the North American market a model dubbed the Graduate was added in tribute to the car’s famous appearance in the 1967 film, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman. The Graduate was intended as a less expensive “entry-level” Alfa. While it had the same engine and transmission as the Quadrifoglio and Veloce, it lacked the alloy wheels and luxury features of the other two models. The Graduate model had manual windows, basic vinyl seats, a vinyl top, and steel wheels as standard. Air conditioning and a dealer-installed radio were the only options. It first appeared in 1985 in North America and continued until 1990. Minor changes occurred from 1986 to 89, including new paint colours, a centre high brake lamp midway through 1986 for North American models, a move away from the fade-prone brown carpet and new turn signal levers. Some 1988 models featured automatic seatbelts that extended from a large device between the front seats. The S3 is generally viewed as the least attractive of the 4 generations, thanks to its clumsy plastic add-ons.

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There was a much longer wait for a Coupe version of the AlfaSud than there had been for the larger Alfetta, the Alfasud Sprint finally being presented to the press in September 1976 in Baia Domizia and shown at the Turin Motor Show in November some five years after the launch of the saloon. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro like the AlfaSud, whose mechanicals it was based on, it had a lower, more angular design, featuring a hatchback, although there were no folding rear seats. The AlfaSud Sprint was assembled together with the AlfaSud in the Pomigliano d’Arco plant, located in southern Italy—hence the original “Sud” moniker. Under the Alfasud Sprint’s bonnet there was a new version of the AlfaSud’s 1186 cc four-cylinder boxer engine, stroked to displace 1,286 cc, fed by a twin-choke carburettor and developing 75 hp at 6,000 rpm. Mated to the flat-four was a five-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox. The interior was upholstered in dark brown Texalfa leatherette and tartan cloth. Options were limited to alloy wheels, a quartz clock and metallic paint. In May 1978 the AlfaSud Sprint underwent its first updates, both cosmetic and technical. Engine choice was enlarged to two boxers, shared with the renewed AlfaSud ti, a 78 hp 1.3 (1,350 cc) and a 84 hp 1.5 (1,490 cc); the earlier 1286 cc unit was not offered anymore, remaining exclusive to the AlfaSud. Outside many exterior details were changed from chrome to matte black stainless steel or plastic, such as the wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments; the B-pillar also received a black finish, the side repeaters changed position and became square, and the front turn signals switched from white to amber lenses. In the cabin the seats had more pronounced bolsters and were upholstered in a new camel-coloured fabric. Just one year later, in June 1979, another engine update arrived and the AlfaSud Sprint became the AlfaSud Sprint Veloce. Thanks to double twin-choke carburettors (each choke feeding a single cylinder) and a higher compression ratio engine output increased to 85 hp and 94 hp, respectively for the 1.3 and 1.5. In February 1983 Alfa Romeo updated all of its sports cars; the Sprint received a major facelift. Thereafter the AlfaSud prefix and Veloce suffix were abandoned, and the car was known as Alfa Romeo Sprint; this also in view of the release of the Alfa Romeo 33, which a few months later replaced the AlfaSud family hatchback. The Sprint also received a platform upgrade, which was now the same as that of the Alfa Romeo 33; this entailed modified front suspension, brakes mounted in the wheels instead of inboard like on the AlfaSud, and drum brakes at the rear end. Three models made up the Sprint range: 1.3 and 1.5, with engines and performance unchanged from the AlfaSud Sprint Veloce, and the new 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde—1.5 Cloverleaf in the UK. A multitude of changes were involved in the stylistic refresh; there were a new grille, headlamps, wing mirrors, window surrounds and C-pillar ornaments. Bumpers went from chrome to plastic, and large plastic protective strips were added to the body sides; both sported coloured piping, which was grey for 1.3 cars, red for the 1.5 and green for the 1.5 Quadrifoglio. At the rear new trapezoidal tail light assemblies were pieced together with the license plate holder by a black plastic fascia, topped by an Alfa Romeo badge—never present on the AlfaSud Sprint. In the cabin there were new seats with cloth seating surfaces and Texalfa backs, a new steering wheel and changes to elements of the dashboard and door panels. Sprint 1.3 and 1.5 came with steel wheels with black hubcaps from the AlfaSud ti. The newly introduced 1.5 Quadrifoglio Verde sport variant was shown at the March 1983 Geneva Motor Show. Its engine was the 1,490 cc boxer, revised to put out 104 hp at 6,000 rpm; front brake discs were vented and the gearing shorter. In addition to the green bumper piping, also specific to the Quadrifoglio were a green instead of chrome scudetto in the front grille, a rear spoiler and 8-hole grey painted alloy wheels with metric Michelin TRX 190/55 tyres. Inside a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, green carpets and sport seats in black cloth with green embroidery. In November 1987 the Sprint was updated for the last time; the 1.3 variant was carried over, while the 1.5 engine was phased out and the 1.5 QV was superseded by the 116 hp Sprint 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde. The 1,286 cc engine was directly derived from the 33 1.7 Quadrifoglio Verde, and could propel the Sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.3 seconds; to cope with the increased engine power, the 1.7 QV adopted vented brake discs upfront. the coloured piping and side plastic strips were deleted, and the Quadrifoglio had alloy wheels of a new design. A fuel injected and 3-way Catalytic converter-equipped 1.7 variant, with an engine again derived from a 33, was added later for sale in specific markets. There were a total of 116,552 Sprints produced during its lifespan, which lasted from 1976 to 1989. 15 of these formed the basis of the Australian-built Giocattolo sports car, which used a mid-mounted Holden 5.0 group A V8 engine. The Sprint had no direct predecessor or successor.

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BMW

This is a 1600 Coupe, first of the renowned “02” series of models. The 1600-2, as the first “02 Series” BMW was designated, was an entry-level BMW, and was smaller, less expensive, and less well-appointed than the New Class Sedan on which it was based. BMW’s design director Wilhelm Hofmeister assigned the two-door project to staff designers Georg Bertram and Manfred Rennen. The 9.1 in shorter length and wheelbase and lighter weight of the two-door sedan made it more suitable than the original New Class sedan for sporting applications. As a result, the two door sedan became the basis of the sporting 02 Series. The 1600-2 (the “-2” meaning “2-door”) made its debut at the Geneva auto show in March 1966 and was sold through 1975, with the designation being simplified to “1602” in 1971. The 1.6 litre M10 engine produced 84 hp at 5,700 rpm and 96 lb·ft. A high performance version, the 1600 TI, was introduced in September 1967. With a compression ratio of 9.5:1 and the dual Solex PHH side-draft carburettor system from the 1800 TI, the 1600 TI produced 110 hp at 6,000 rpm. Also introduced in September 1967 was a limited-production cabriolet, which would be produced by Baur from 1967 through 1971. A hatchback 1600 Touring model was introduced in 1971 but was discontinued in 1972. It was what came next which was more significant. Helmut Werner Bönsch, BMW’s director of product planning, and Alex von Falkenhausen, designer of the M10 engine, each had a two litre engine installed in a 1600-2 for their respective personal use. When they realised they had both made the same modification to their own cars, they prepared a joint proposal to BMW’s board to manufacture a two litre version of the 1600-2. At the same time, American importer Max Hoffman was asking BMW for a sporting version of the 02 series that could be sold in the United States. As per the larger coupe and 4-door saloon models, the 2.0 engine was sold in two states of tune: the base single-carburettor 2002 producing 101 hp and the dual-carburettor high compression 2002 ti producing 119 hp.In 1971, the Baur cabriolet was switched from the 1.6 litre engine to the 2.0 litre engine to become the 2002 cabriolet, the Touring hatchback version of the 02 Series became available with all engine sizes available in the 02 Series at the time and the 2002 tii was introduced as the replacement for the 2002 ti. The 2002 tii used the fuel-injected 130 hp engine from the 2000 tii, which resulted in a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). A 2002 tii Touring model was available throughout the run of the tii engine and the Touring body, both of which ended production in 1974. The 2002 Turbo was launched at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show. This was BMW’s first turbocharged production car and the first turbocharged car since General Motors’ brief offerings in the early 1960s. It produced 170 hp. The 2002 Turbo used the 2002 tii engine with a KKK turbocharger and a compression ratio of 6.9:1 in order to prevent engine knocking. Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection was used, with a sliding throttle plate instead of the usual throttle butterfly. The 2002 Turbo was introduced just before the 1973 oil crisis, therefore only 1,672 were built. The 1802 was introduced in 1971 and was available with either the original 2-door sedan body or the 3-door Touring hatchback introduced that year. Production of the Touring model continued until 1974, with the 1802 sedan ending production the following year. The 1502, an economy model with an engine displacement of 1573 cc was introduced in 1975. This engine had a lower compression ratio of 8.0:1, therefore standard-octane petrol could be used. While the rest of the 02 Series was replaced in 1975 by the E21 3 Series, the 1502 was continued until 1977.

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There was another E24 model out here, this one the more potent M635CSi

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Final BMW was an E30 M3.

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CHRYSLER

In the UK we knew this car as the Chrysler Alpine, and in France it was the Simca 1307 and 1308, but for the Spanish market, it was badged Chrysler 150, making a clear linkage with the larger 160 and 180 saloons that had been the last all new Chrysler Europe cars to be launched, some 5 years before this one made its debut. When this car appeared, in mid 1975, it seemed to be just what was needed, with a modern looking five door hatchback and plenty of space and when the car went on to win the Car of the Year award, it seemed as if Simca/Chrysler could be poised to take on the might of the Big Players in Europe. Sadly, though, the funds had not been there to develop new engines, and these cars were saddled with the old, rattly and unrefined Simca units which undermined their credentials in the face of the all new Golf and Passat from VW, and the fact that they were front wheel drive was still a significant obstacle to breaking into the all important and ever so conservative British fleet market which was not even solved when Chrysler started to build the cars in Coventry as well as Poissy. The car achieved moderate sales success, though it faded fairly quickly, as more competitors arrived on the scene. A couple of facelifts and the launch of the three-box Solara helped a bit, but this car never achieved its potential. It was deleted in 1986.

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CITROEN

The Citroën Acadiane is a small commercial vehicle derived from the Dyane which was only available in left-hand drive, produced from 1977 to 1987. Production totalled 253,393 before it was replaced by the the Visa-based C15 van. Citroen had already used the prefix AK for its light commercials, so it was an obvious pun to name the AK Dyane “Acadiane”. There was no connection beyond the pun with the French-speaking region of Louisiana that is home to Cajun (Acadiane) cooking. The Acadiane differed from the Dyane on which it was based in having heavier-duty suspension, a slightly altered chassis and a rear-brake limiter whose action was dependent on the load. The Acadiane was also fitted with wind-down windows in the driver’s and passenger’s doors. The Dyane car had horizontally-sliding windows. The payload was approximately 500 kg (1,100 lb), but handling was impaired when fully loaded. The Acadiane was available in commercial (two-seater) form or as a “Mixte”, with sliding rear windows and a removable rear bench seat. Citroen and many other manufacturers continue to this day (Berlingo et al.) with the option of rear seats in a vehicle clearly designed as a commercial. The Mixte version also had a passenger sun visor, missing in the more basic commercial version. In line with many Citroen light commercials, the roof of the rear bodywork was corrugated to add extra rigidity at little cost. The Acadiane cruised on the flat comfortably and economically at 55 mph (89 km/h). Top gear in the four-speed box was usually referred to as overdrive. This had been so since the earliest days of the 2CV. In most circumstances it was best used as such. Progress could be maintained in top, but further acceleration was unlikely. As the motor thrived on revs, third made a perfectly good gear to get up to 80 km/h (50 mph). Like all vans, the survival rate is low.

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There was another example of the Traction Avant here.

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DODGE

From 1965 to 1970 a Spanish version of the Dodge Dart based on the original from the United States was manufactured in the Barreiros Villaverde factory in Madrid. In March 1971 a new version, using the same 111 in wheelbase but with different sheet metal, the Dodge 3700 was produced until 1977 when the Spanish automotive taxation system was changed.  The 3700 actually received the sheet metal from the Argentinian Dart, with certain modifications for the Spanish market.  The rear wheel openings were larger and round, the grille and all lights were different, as was the instrumentation. The 3700 also came as standard with front disc brakes and power steering. A total of 17,589 units of the earlier car were manufactured in Spain, they were produced as a SKD due to the protectionist Spanish regulations of those years. 9,959 Dodge 3700s were built until 1977, although the last new 3700 was only first registered in 1980. The Dart and the 3700 were the biggest national production car available in Spain during all production years. It was an expensive luxury car with very low fuel economy by Spanish standards. Nonetheless, it was considered an economic car for its size in those few markets to which it was exported.  In Switzerland, for instance, it was priced exactly the same as a V8-engined American-built four-door Dodge Dart Custom and had only slightly less power, but was taxed considerably less. The Spanish Dodges never met sales goals and was an expensive failure for the Barreiros concern. The break-even point was 5,000 cars per year, a goal which was only surpassed once, in 1966. The Barreiros brothers were forced to sell off the company which was reorganized as Chrysler España, S.A. The Dodge Dart GL was a luxury model, while the GT was the sporty version. The base version has a three-speed manual transmission, while the GT came with either a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic – this was the same unit as the one mounted in the Chrysler 2 litre. The petrol  Darts had the biggest engine ever mounted into a mass-produced car in Spain, the 3.7 litre Chrysler slant-six engine. No other six-cylinder engine car has been produced as much in Spain. A diesel Dart (named “Barreiros diesel”) was also produced. These models, mainly intended for taxi use, were very basic and very slow. They have 7-inch round headlamps rather than the large oblong units on fancier Spanish Darts, and use the round taillights from the first generation Simca 1000 The engine was the Barreiros C65, a 2,007 cc inline-four with 65 PS. Top speed was claimed to be 124 km/h (77 mph). Production of Spanish Dodges stopped in 1977. Peugeot bought the Villaverde factory, as Chrysler was divesting their European operations in Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

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FIAT

Passengers in one of these would have been in little doubt as its identity as the model name was written out in full, in Italian on the dash in front of them: millecinquecento, or 1500 Saloon in English. Along with the less powerful, 1300, these family sized cars  were manufactured from 1961 to 1967, replacing the Fiat 1200. The 1300 and 1500 were essentially identical except for their engine displacement, as indicated by their model names. They were available as a saloon and estate, and as convertible and coupé models which shared little mechanically with the other body styles except the 1500 engine. The car’s 75 hp engine combined with its lightweight construction was unusual for the time, especially when considering the price. Front wheels were equipped with disc brakes with four-pot calipers while rear brakes were alloy drums. The 1300/1500 and their derivatives were also assembled by Yugoslavia’s Zastava and Fiat’s German subsidiary, Neckar Automobil AG, as well as in South Africa. The floorpan of the 1500 C was used as a basis for the 1500s replacement, the Fiat 125, while another model, the Polski Fiat 125p, made by the Polish FSO, was created by mating the body of 125 and mechanicals (engines, gearbox, transmission, suspension) of 1300/1500. In the Italian range, the 1300 was replaced by the Fiat 124 in 1966, and the 1500 by the Fiat 125 a year later. In total, 1,900,000 units were produced worldwide.

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The production X1/9  model followed a 1969 show concept car called the Autobianchi Runabout, with styling by Bertone under chief designer Marcello Gandini. The Runabout was powered by the same engine as the Autobianchi A112. Designed around the all-new 128 SOHC engine and with the gearbox (transmission) from the front wheel drive Fiat 128, the X1/9 relocated the transverse drive train and suspension assembly from the front of the 128 to the rear of the passenger cabin, directly in front of the rear axle, giving a mid-engined layout. The layout also located the fuel tank and spare wheel side by side ahead of the engine, directly behind the seats — optimising the proportion of the car’s weight falling within its wheelbase for more effective handling and also enabling cargo areas front and rear. Unlike Fiat’s marketing nomenclature at the time which used a numerical system (e.g., 127, 128, 124, 131) denoting relative position in the model range, the X1/9 retained its prototype code as its marketing name. Fiat’s prototype coding used X0 for engines, X1 for passenger vehicles and X2 for commercial vehicles. The X1/9 was thus the ninth passenger car developed using the nomenclature. The prototype car featured a distinctive wedge shape and took many styling cues from contemporary power-boat design. Though the more extreme features of the Runabout such as the C pillar mounted headlights and the small wind-deflector windscreen were lost for the production car, many aesthetic features of the Autobianchi Runabout are readily identifiable on the X1/9. The long flat bonnet with central indentation, the large front overhang, the wedge shape with prominent C pillar roll-over hoop and the car-length indented plimsoll-line all made the successful transition to the X1/9, giving it a highly distinctive appearance. Once developed for production, the two-seater featured sharp-edged styling with a wedge shape, pop-up headlights and a removable hard top roof panel (targa top). The removable hardtop stores in the front luggage compartment, below the front hood, only slightly reducing the space available for cargo. An aftermarket company offered a top made of lightweight clear-smoked polycarbonate. The car was developed for release for European sales in 1972 to replace the 850 spider by Bertone. It was not intended as a replacement for the 124 Sport spider and production of the 124 spider and X1/9 continued in parallel for much of the X1/9’s life. The car’s monocoque body was produced at the Bertone factory in Torino and then transported to the Fiat’s Lingotto factory for final assembly. In 1982, shortly after the introduction of the 1500 model, complete production was assumed by Bertone with models subsequently badged as the “Bertone” X1/9. Bertone models featured revised footwells redesigned to enhance legroom and sitting comfort for persons taller than the original design’s target. The first models featured a 75 bhp 1290 cc single overhead cam engine with an aluminium head. In 1978 the more powerful 85bhp 1500cc unit found its way into the engine bay which necessitated a raised engine cover to provide the clearance. Larger bumpers were fitted at this time. Fiat made few other changes for many years, as if they lost interest in the car. The last production models were named the Gran Finale and sold over the 1989/1990 period. They were a dealer modification of the special edition (commonly abbreviated to SE) of 1988/1989, with the addition of a rear spoiler and “gran finale” badges.

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FORD

Although the Mark 1 Capri is very familiar to the UK, what is perhaps less well known is that the models sold in Continental Europe were slightly different., Built at Ford’s Cologne plant, they used the German Ford engines of the period, with 1.3, 1.5 and 1,.7 litre V4 units from the Taunus powering the lower-end cars and the 2 litre V6 unit being the initial top of the range until the launch in 1970 of the 2300GT, which is the car seen here.

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JAGUAR

There were a couple of examples of the E Type Coupe to complement the open topped cars that had been seen inside.

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LANCIA

Lancia introduced the front wheel drive Fulvia in the autumn of 1963, as a replacement for the Appia, initially in Berlina form. The Fulvia Coupé followed in 1965. Like the saloon it was designed in-house by Piero Castagnero, but it used used a 5.9 inch shorter wheelbase. Three distinct generations were offered, with a wide range of different engines ranging form the original 1216cc 4 cylinder unit to 1600cc units. The styling changed only in detail, with the S3 cars easiest to identify as the outer headlights were raised up into the wings. The Coupe was the last Fulvia model to be discontinued, being replaced only in 1977 by a 1.3-litre version of the Beta Coupé. Seen here is a Fulvia Coupe S2.

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Second Lancia here was an example of the much loved Delta Integrale. Although the Integrale versions of the Lancia Delta only ever achieved a small number of sales relative to the less potent models in the range, these are the ones that everyone thinks of and that you tend to see these days, today being no exception. The car that would become the Delta during its development went by the project codename Y 5, and it was conceived as an upmarket front-wheel drive small family car positioned below the larger Beta; an offering around four metres in length had been absent from Lancia’s lineup since the demise of the Fulvia Berlina in 1973. Design was by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign. Its platform put together MacPherson suspension developed for the Beta with four-cylinder, SOHC engines derived from the Fiat Ritmo. The Fiat engines were revised by Lancia engineers with a Weber twin-choke carburettor, a new inlet manifold, exhaust system and ignition. To achieve its market positioning the Delta offered features uncommon in the segment, as fully independent suspension, air conditioning, optional split-folding rear seat, adjustable steering wheel, and three-piece body-coloured bumpers made from polyester resin sheet moulding compound, which Lancia claimed were a first in the industry. The Delta was unveiled to the public at the September 1979 Frankfurt Motor Show, At launch three models were offered: the base Delta 1300 4-speed, with a 1301 cc 75 PS engine and simplified equipment, Delta 1300 5-speed, which added more features and an overdrive fifth gear for cruising, and Delta 1500, with a 1498 cc 85 PS engine and a 5-speed gearbox. The Delta was met with a warm reception at the Frankfurt unveiling by the Italian press and in December it was awarded the Car of the Year 1980 recognition by a jury of 53 automotive journalists from 16 European countries. Sales started in October 1979; 43,000 were sold in 1980, and by the end of 1981 production had exceeded 100,000.  At the beginning of 1982 as an automatic transmission option was added, the 1500 Automatica; its 3-speed was built by Lancia in the Verrone plant and was already being installed on Betas. In March the top-of-the-line 1500 LX trim level joined the lineup; it featured extended convenience equipment, metallic paint, 14-inch alloy wheels penned by Giugiaro and wool cloth upholstery in a chequered fabric specially designed by Italian fashion house Zegna. Two months after the trim level was extended to the 1.3-litre engine too, which simultaneously increased its output to 78 PS thanks to a raised compression ratio and electronic ignition. November 1982 brought the first facelift. The bumpers were changed from three-piece sheet moulded compound to one-piece thermoplastic polymer, the front one was redesigned with a more prominent lower spoiler; another aerodynamic addition was a flat body-colour spoiler applied to the rear part of the roof. Other changes included the deletion of the anodised fascia between the rear tail lights and a 40 kg weight reduction on all models. Inside there were new seats and, on the range topping models, an optional digital trip computer. Concurrently the Delta GT 1600 was launched, the car’s first sporting variant. It was powered by a 1585 cc, 105 PS twin-cam engine with Marelli Digiplex ignition; lower profile tyres, retuned suspensions and disk brakes on all four wheels completed the package. Standard equipment was the richest available and some optionals like air conditioning were exclusive to the GT; the cabin was upholstered in Zegna cloth. Outside details like a “GT” badge on the right side of the grille and matte black door handles and window trim distinguished it from other Deltas. As the 5-speed 1500, 4-speed 1300 an LX versions were dropped—the latter only to be reintroduced in April 1984 on the 1300 LX, with revised equipment—the range was now composed of three models. On 9 March 1984 the 200,000th Delta left the Chivasso factory. The first performance Delta was the Delta HF, which was introduced in July 1983 and went on sale in September after a first appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The HF acronym—last used on the Stratos—stood for “High Fidelity”, and had been used on performance version of Lancia cars since the 1960s. It was front-wheel drive and powered by a turbocharged version of the 1.6-litre engine from the Delta GT; the system used a Garrett T3 turbocharger with wastegate valve, an air-to-air heat exchanger, a blow-through twin-choke Weber carburettor and Marelli Microplex ignition with pre-ignition control. To withstand the additional stress deriving from turbocharging upgrades were made to the oil system, with increased capacity and an oil cooler, and to the heads with sodium-filled valves. The gearbox was a ZF 5-speed unit. Dampers, springs and steering were retuned, and the tyres were wide 175/65 Michelin TRX on R 340 alloy wheels. In true Lancia tradition the exterior of the HF was relatively understated: changes were limited to silver “HF” badging on the grille, a deeper chin spoiler, black trim, new unpainted side skirts with small silver “turbo” badges in front of the rear wheels, the ’82 roof spoiler painted in black, air intake cowls on the bonnet grilles, bronze-tinted athermic glass and 8-spoke alloy wheels. The cabin featured a leather-covered steering wheel and supplementary digital instrumentation with bar indicators; the upholstery material was the usual Zegna fabric and Recaro sport seats in the same cloth were optional. About ten thousand Delta HF were made, in a two-year production period. A special limited edition of the HF, named HF Martini, was launched at the March 1984 Geneva Motor Show.  To celebrate the rally victories of the Lancia-Martini Rally 037 it was painted white with a Martini stripe on the side; Recaro seats were standard. In October 1985 Lancia unveiled alongside the road-going Delta S4 a new version of the HF, renamed Delta HF Turbo. To address some criticisms the car was given less subdued styling features and more generous equipment to differentiate it from the other Deltas; namely red “HF turbo” script on the grille, the side skirts and the rear hatch, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, dual wing mirrors, a two-colour pinstripe along the mid-bodyside character line and Pirelli P6 tyres on 14-inch Cromodora alloy wheels with a new 8-hole design. Price, technical specifications and performance remained mostly unchanged. When the more powerful, four-wheel-drive HF models were introduced in the later years the HF turbo remained on sale alongside them.

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MASERATI

Maserati dusted off the Ghibli name for the first time in 1992, at the Turin Motor Show for a revised version of the BiTurbo Coupe. The Ghibli 2 was powered by updated 24-valve Biturbo engines: a 2.0-litre V6 coupled to a six-speed manual transmission for the Italian market, and a 2.8-litre V6 for export, at first with a 5-speed manual, then from 1995 with the 6-speed. A 4-speed automatic was optional. The coupé was built for luxury as well as performance, and its interior featured Connolly leather upholstery and burl elm trim. The car looked very much like its predecessors. At the 1994 Geneva Motor Show, Maserati launched the updated Model Year 1994 Ghibli. A refreshed interior, new wing mirrors, wider and larger 17″ alloy wheels of a new design, fully adjustable electronic suspension and ABS brakes were added. The Ghibli Open Cup single-make racing car was announced in late 1994. Two sport versions were introduced in 1995. The first was the Ghibli Kit Sportivo,[9] whose namesake handling kit included wider tyres on OZ “Futura III” split-rim wheels, specific springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. The second was the limited edition Ghibli Cup, which brought some features of the Open Cup racer into a road-going model; it debuted at the December 1995 Bologna Motor Show. it mounted a 2-litre engine upgraded to 330 PS.At the time the Ghibli Cup had the highest ever per litre power output of any street legal car, surpassing the Bugatti EB110 and Jaguar XJ220. Chassis upgrades included tweaked suspension and Brembo brakes. Visually the Cup was recognizable from its 5-spoke split-rim Speedline wheels and badges on the doors. Only four paint colours were available: red, white, yellow and French blue. The sporty theme continued in the Cup’s cabin with black leather, carbon fibre trim, aluminium pedals and a MOMO steering wheel. A second round of improvements resulted in the Ghibli GT in 1996. It was fitted with 7-spoked 17″ alloy wheels, black headlight housings, and had suspension and transmission modifications. Production of the second generation Ghibli ended in summer 1998.when it was replaced in the Maserati range by the 3200 GT.

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MERCEDES-BENZ

Oldest of the classic Mercedes out here was a W111 “FinTail”, the staple of the Benz range through the early 1960s. Mercedes-Benz had emerged from World War II in the early 1950s with the expensive 300 Adenauers and the exclusive 300SL grand tourers that gained it fame, but it was the simple unibody Pontons which comprised the bulk of the company’s revenues. Work on replacing these cars began in 1956 with a design focused on passenger comfort and safety. The basic Ponton cabin was widened and squared off, with a large glass greenhouse improving driver visibility. A milestone in car design were front and rear crumple zones for absorbing kinetic energy on impact. The automaker also patented retractable seatbelts. Series production of the first of the new cars, the W111 4-door sedan began in August 1959, with the car making its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in autumn. Initially the series consisted of the 220b, 220Sb, and 220SEb. These replaced the 219 W105, the 220S W180 and the 220SE W128 Ponton sedans respectively. The 220b was an entry-level version with little chrome trim, simple hubcaps, and basic interior trim that lacked pockets on doors. Prices were DM16,750, 18,500 and 20,500, with a rough sales ratio of 1:2:1. All modes shared the 2195 cc straight-six engine carried over from the previous generation, producing 95 hp and capable of accelerating the heavy car to 160 km/h. The 220Sb featured twin carburettors and produced 110 hp raising top speed to 103 mph and improving 0–100 km/h acceleration to 15 seconds. The top range 220SEb featured Bosch fuel injection producing 120 hp at 4800 rpm, with top speed of 107 mph and a 0–100 km/h in 14 seconds. In 1961, the W111 chassis and body were shared with the even more basic 4-cylinder W110 and a luxury version built on the W111 chassis with its body and the 3-litre M189 big block 6-cylinder engine, many standard power features, and a high level of interior and exterior trim, was designated the W112. A 2-door coupe/cabriolet version of the W111/W112 was also produced. In summer 1965, the new Mercedes-Benz W108 sedan was launched and production of the first generation of W111’s was ended. Totals were: 220b – 69,691, 220Sb – 161,119, and 220SEb – 65,886. Earlier that year, Mercedes-Benz gave its budget-range W110 series a major facelift, opting to continue producing the W111 as a new model 230S. The previously 4-cylinder W110 received a 6-cylinder, practically identical in terms of chassis and drivetrain. In 1965 the W110 was equipped with a six-cylinder engine, creating the model 230. The 230S, became a flagship model of the Mercedes passenger cars (predecessors to today’s S-class). The 230S was visually identical to the 220S, with a modernised 2306 cc M180 engine with twin Zenith carburettors producing 120 hp.In this final configuration a total of 41,107 cars were built up to January 1968, when the last of 4-door fintails left the production line. Between 1959 and 1968 a total of 337,803 W111s were built.

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Skip forward two generations and you get to the W123 range, a 300D example of which was to be seen here. Mercedes-Benz introduced the W123, as a  four-door saloon, on 29 January 1976. While there were some technical similarities to their W114/115 predecessors, the new models were larger in wheelbase and exterior dimensions. Initially, all models except 280/280E featured quad unequal-size round headlights and the latter large rectangular units. When facelifted, these units became standard across the range. All W115 engines were carried over, with the 3 litre 5-cylinder diesel model being renamed from “240D 3.0” to “300D”. The only new engine was the 250’s 2,525 cc inline-six that replaced the old 2,496 cc Type M114 “six”. In the spring of 1976, a coupé version was introduced on a shorter wheelbase than the saloon, available as a 230C (later 230CE) and as a 280C/CE. From August 1976, long-wheelbase versions. These were available as 7/8 seater saloons with works bodies or as a chassis with complete front body clip, the latter serving as the base for ambulance and hearse bodies by external suppliers like Binz or Miesen. These “Lang” versions could be ordered as 240D, 300D and 250 models. At the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, 1977 the W123T estate was introduced; the T in the model designation stood for “Touring and Transport”. All engines derivative except “200TD” were available in the range. T production began in March, 1978 in Mercedes’ Bremen factory. It was the first factory-built Mercedes-Benz estate, previous estates had been custom-built by external coachbuilders, such as Binz. In early 1979, the diesel models’ power output was increased; power rose from 55 PS to 60 PS in the 200D, from 65 PS to 72 PS in the 240D and from 80 PS to 88 PS in the 300D; at the same time, the 220D went out of production. The first Mercedes turbo diesel production W123 appeared in September, 1979. This was the 300 TD Turbodiesel, available with automatic transmission only. In most markets, the turbocharged 5-cylinder 3 litre diesel engine was offered only in the T body style, while in North America it was also available in saloon and coupé guises. June 1980 saw the introduction of new four-cylinder petrol engines (Type M102). A new 2 litre four with shorter stroke replaced the old M115, a fuel-injected 2.3 litre version of this engine (in 230E/TE/CE) the old carburettor 230. Both engines were more powerful than their predecessors. In September 1982, all models received a mild facelift. The rectangular headlights, previously fitted only to the 280/280E, were standardised across the board, as was power steering. Since February 1982, an optional five-speed manual transmission was available in all models (except the automatic-only 300 turbodiesel). W123 production ended in January, 1986 with 63 final T-models rolling out. Most popular single models were the 240D (455,000 built), the 230E (442,000 built), and the 200D (378,000 built). These cars are particularly popular in Germany, where large numbers survive, but elsewhere there are relatively few of them left, may having been exported to Africa for a new second life there.

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There were a couple of more sporting Mercedes models here as well, the popular and long running R107 280SL and a W126 380SEC, Mercedes’ luxury GT Coupe from the 1980s.

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MG

There was a sizeable gathering of MG models, parked up in a long line. Most numerous were the MGB models, with several of this evergreen classic from early production cars to several of the rubber-bumpered  cars. Launched in October 1962, this car was produced for the next 18 years and it went on to become Britain’s best selling sports car and these days it has to be one of the most popular classics there is with UK enthusiasts, so it is always nice to see the following that it had elsewhere as well.  When first announced, the MGB was an innovative, modern design, with a monocoque structure instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on both the MGA and MG T-types and the MGB’s rival, the Triumph TR series, though components such as the brakes and suspension were developments of the earlier 1955 MGA and the B-Series engine had its origins back in 1947. The lightweight design reduced manufacturing costs while adding to overall vehicle strength, and with a 95hp 3-bearing 1798cc engine under the bonnet, performance was quite respectable with a 0–60 mph time of just over 11 seconds. The car was rather more civilised than its predecessor, with wind-up windows now fitted as standard, and a comfortable driver’s compartment offered plenty of legroom. The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while being 3 inches shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. The four-speed gearbox was an uprated version of the one used in the MGA with an optional (electrically activated) overdrive transmission. A five-bearing engine was introduced in 1964 and a number of other modifications crept into the specification. In late 1967, sufficient changes were introduced for the factory to define a Mark II model. Alterations included synchromesh on all 4 gears with revised ratios, an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox, a new rear axle, and an alternator in place of the dynamo with a change to a negative earth system. To accommodate the new gearboxes there were significant changes to the sheet metal in the floorpan, and a new flat-topped transmission tunnel. US market cars got a new safety padded dashboard, but the steel item continued for the rest of the world. Rostyle wheels were introduced to replace the previous pressed steel versions in 1969 and reclining seats were standardised. 1970 also saw a new front grille, recessed, in black aluminium. The more traditional-looking polished grille returned in 1973 with a black “honeycomb” insert. Further changes in 1972 were to the interior with a new fascia. To meet impact regulations, in late 1974, the chrome bumpers were replaced with new, steel-reinforced black rubber bumpers, the one at the front incorporating the grille area as well, giving a major restyling to the B’s nose, and a matching rear bumper completed the change. New US headlight height regulations also meant that the headlamps were now too low. Rather than redesign the front of the car, British Leyland raised the car’s suspension by 1-inch. This, in combination with the new, far heavier bumpers resulted in significantly poorer handling. For the 1975 model year only, the front anti-roll bar was deleted as a cost-saving measure (though still available as an option). The damage done by the British Leyland response to US legislation was partially alleviated by revisions to the suspension geometry in 1977, when a rear anti-roll bar was made standard equipment on all models. US emissions regulations also reduced horsepower. In March 1979 British Leyland started the production of black painted limited edition MGB roadsters for the US market, meant for a total of 500 examples. Due to a high demand of the limited edition model, production ended with 6682 examples. The United Kingdom received bronze painted roadsters and a silver GT model limited editions. The production run of homemarket limited edition MGBs was split between 421 roadsters and 579 GTs. Meanwhile, the fixed-roof MGB GT had been introduced in October 1965, and production continued until 1980, although export to the US ceased in 1974. The MGB GT sported a ground-breaking greenhouse designed by Pininfarina and launched the sporty “hatchback” style. By combining the sloping rear window with the rear deck lid, the B GT offered the utility of a station wagon while retaining the style and shape of a coupe. This new configuration was a 2+2 design with a right-angled rear bench seat and far more luggage space than in the roadster. Relatively few components differed, although the MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen which was more easily and inexpensively serviceable. Although acceleration of the GT was slightly slower than that of the roadster, owing to its increased weight, top speed improved by 5 mph to 105 mph because of better aerodynamics. 523,826 examples of the MGB of all model types were built, and although many of these were initially sold new in North America, a lot have been repatriated here.  There were several Roadsters and MGB GT models here.

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Sitting alongside the MGB in the MG range was the smaller Midget, and there was a rubber-bumpered example of  these cars here. The 1961 Midget resurrected the name that was used by MG for their smallest car, the M Type, in the late 20s, and was essentially a slightly more expensive badge-engineered version of the MkII Austin-Healey Sprite. The original ‘Frogeye’ Sprite had been introduced specifically to fill the gap in the market left by the end of production of the MG T-type Midget as its replacement, the MGA had been a significantly larger and more expensive car with greater performance. Many existing MG enthusiast and buyers turned to the Sprite to provide a modern low-cost sports car and so a badge-engineered MG version reusing the Midget name made sense. The new Midget differed from the Sprite only in its grille design, badging, colour options and having both leather seats and more external chrome trim as standard to justify its higher purchase price. Mechanically the car was identical to its Austin-Healey counterpart, retaining the rear suspension using quarter-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms from the ‘Frogeye’. The engine was initially a 948 cc A-Series with twin SU carburettors producing 46 hp at 5500 rpm and 53 lb/ft at 3000 rpm. Brakes were 7″ drums all round. A hard top, heater, radio and luggage rack were available as factory-fitted extras. In October 1962 the engine was increased to 1098 cc, raising the output to 56 hp at 5500 rpm and 62 lb/ft at 3250 rpm, and disc brakes replaced the drums at the front. Wire spoked wheels became available. The doors had no external handles or locks and the windows were sliding Perspex side-screens. A heater was still an optional extra. The car sold well, with 16,080 of the small-engined version and 9601 of the 1098 being made before the arrival in 1964 of the Mark II. Externally the main changes were to the doors, which gained wind-up windows, swivelling quarter lights, external handles and separate locks. The windscreen also gained a slight curvature and was retained in a more substantial frame. The hood, though modified, continued to have a removable frame that had to be erected before the cover was put on. The rear springs were replaced by more conventional semi-elliptic types which gave a better ride. The engine block was strengthened and larger main bearings were fitted, increasing the power to 59 hp at 5750 rpm and torque to 65 lbf·ft at 3500 rpm. A total of 26,601 were made. 1967 saw the arrival of the Mark III. The engine now grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini-Cooper ‘S’. Enthusiasts were disappointed that this was a detuned version of the 76-bhp Cooper ‘S’ engine, giving only 65 hp at 6000 rpm and 72 lbf·ft  at 3000 rpm. A reduced compression ratio of 8.8:1 was used instead of the 9.75:1 employed on the Cooper S engine. The Midget used the 12G940 cylinder head casting that was common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper ‘S’ had a special head with not only larger inlet, but also larger exhaust valves; however, these exhaust valves caused many ‘S’ heads to fail through cracking between the valve seats. The detuned engine was used for reasons of model range placement – with the Cooper ‘S’ spec engine, the Midget would have been faster than the more expensive MGB. The hydraulic system gained a separate master cylinder for the clutch. The hood was now permanently attached to the car, with an improved mechanism making it much easier to use. Minor facelift changes were made to the body trim in late 1969 with the sills painted black, a revised recessed black grille, and squared off taillights as on the MGB. The 13″ “Rostyle” wheels were standardised, but wire-spoked ones remained an option. The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972 and later that year a Triumph steering rack was fitted, giving a gearing that was somewhat lower than earlier Midgets. A second exhaust silencer was also added in 1972. Alternators were fitted instead of dynamos from 1973 onwards. Many consider the round-arch Midgets with chrome bumpers produced for model years 1972 and 1974 to be the most desirable. These round-arch cars started leaving the Abingdon factory in late 1971. Between 1966 and the 1969 face lift, 22,415 were made, and a further 77,831 up to 1974.

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There were also some more MGA models in this line-up.

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MINI

Two “classic” Mini models were here, a 1000LS – badging which was used for continental European models in the 1970s which was not applied to UK spec models – and a 1980s model.

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NISSAN/DATSUN

Although not many of the Datsun 240Z were sold in the Europe, this car proved phenomenally popular in the US, and was really the beginning of the end for the British sports cars which American buyers had been buying in large quantities throughout the 1960s. Known internally as the Nissan S30, and sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z, the car we call the the Datsun 240Z, and the later 260Z and 280Z was the first generation of Z GT two-seat coupe, produced by Nissan from 1969 to 1978. It was designed by a team led by Yoshihiko Matsuo, the head of Nissan’s Sports Car Styling Studio. With strong performance from the 2.4 litre engine, and excellent ride and handling from the four-wheel independent suspension, the car was good to drive, In the United States, Datsun priced the 240Z within $200 of the MGB-GT, and dealers soon had long waiting lists for the “Z”. Its modern design, relatively low price, and growing dealer network compared to other imported sports cars of the time (Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, etc.), made it a major success for the Nissan Motor Corporation, which at the time sold cars in North America under the name Datsun. As a “halo” car, the 240Z broadened the image of Japanese car-makers beyond their econobox success. The car was updated to the 260Z in late 1973, with the first cars reaching Europe the following year. Although little appeared to have changed, apart from some new rear light clusters, there were plenty of other differences, ranging from wider tyres and a smaller steering wheel, stiffened front springs and revised gear ratios, as well as the most fundamental one, a larger 2.6 litre engine. A longer wheelbase 2+2 then joined the range, and the car then continued almost unchanged for another 4 years, by which time 622,649 S30s of all times, over 460,000 of them the 260Z had been sold.

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OPEL

First of three “performance” Opel models was this Kadett GSi, a car that is more familiar to those in the UK as the second generation Astra. A sporting 115 bhp model, powered by the 1.8 litre Family 2 engine had come out in the summer of 1983, in the previous bodyshell, late in that model’s life, but when the new more aerodynamic car was launched in September 1984, there was a GTE or GSi right from the word go. The combination of power and aerodynamics made it the fastest car in its class for a while, though this was the boom era for the hot hatch and new rivals appeared every few weeks, or so it seemed. To regain a place at the table, GM added 16 valves to the engine in 1988. The car never found the same success as the Golf GTi or fast Ford Escorts and survivors are quite rare these days.

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There were two distinct generations of Manta, the car that Opel conceived to compete against the Ford Capri. The second, the Manta B, in Opel speak lasted far longer than the first. It was launched in August 1975.  This two-door “three-box” car was mechanically based directly on the then newly redesigned Opel Ascona, but the overall design was influenced by the 1975 Chevrolet Monza. The Manta had more “sporty” styling, including a droop-snoot nose not seen on the Ascona, which was similar to the UK equivalent, the Cavalier Mk1. Engines were available ranging from the small 1.2-litre OHV engine, the 1.6-litre CIH and the 1.9-litre CIH. Also in 1976 the GT/E engine from the Manta A series was adapted into the Manta B programme spawning the GT/E Manta B series. In 1979 the GT/E had the engine replaced with the new 2.0 litre CIH and with a new designed Bosch L injection system. Power output was now 108 hp. The 1.9-litre engine gave way to the 2.0 litre S engine which was aspirated by a Varajet II carburettor. This engine was the most used engine by Opel at the time, and was to be found in several Opel Rekord cars. In 1978, a three-door hatchback version appeared to complement the existing two-door booted car. This shape was also not unique, being available on the Vauxhall Cavalier Sports Hatch variant. Both Manta versions received a facelift in 1982, which included a plastic front spoiler, sideskirts for the GT/E and GSi models, a small wing at the rear and quadruple air intakes on the grille. Also the 1.2-, 1.6- and 1.9-litre engines were discontinued and replaced by the 1.3-litre OHC engine, the 1.8-litre OHC and the 2.0-litre S and E CIH engines (although the 75 PS 1.9N continued to be available in a few markets).[5] The GT/E was renamed and was called the GSi from 1983 (except in the UK where the GT/E name continued). Production of the Manta continued well after the equivalent Ascona and Cavalier were replaced by a front-wheel-drive model “Ascona C”. The Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 Sportshatch and Coupe did not continue past 1981, and there were no coupe versions the MK2 Cavalier range. In 1982 the 1.8-litre Opel Family II engine from the Ascona C was fitted in the Manta B (replacing the CIH unit) making a more economical Manta B to drive. It could run 14 km per litre and use unleaded fuel. The 1.8 was very popular and was in production for 5 years (1982–1987). The 2.0S models where discontinued in 1984 and only the GSi was available with the “large” engine (GT/E in the UK). In 1986 Opel released the last Manta B model the Exclusive (1987 in the UK), giving it all of the best in equipment. Recaro seats with red cloth, grey leather like interior and the full bodypack known from the i200 models. This consisted of twin round headlights in a plastic cover, front spoiler and rear lower spoiler from Irmscher, sideskirts and the known 3 split rear spoiler of the Manta 400 (producing 80 kg (176 lb) of weight on the rear at 200 km/h). In the UK, the Exclusive GT/E models were available in colours such as Dolphin Grey with matching dark grey cloth seats with red piping. These also had the quad headlights, front spoiler but a rear bumper which housed the number plate, coupled with a black plastic strip between the rear light clusters. The rear spoiler was similar to the standard GT/E. Opel finally ceased the production of the Manta B in 1988, only producing the GSi version after 1986 (it was sold as the GT/E in the UK). Its successor, the Calibra – sold as a Vauxhall in Britain, and as an Opel everywhere else – was launched in 1989.

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Big brother to the Manta was the Monza, seen here in top spec GS/E guise. The Monza was planned as a successor for the Commodore Coupé. Whilst the Commodore had been little more than a six cylinder Rekord, and indeed would continue to be so throughout the 80s, Opel planned a larger model to sit above it in the range, to replace the old Admrial and Diplomat saloons. The result was the large Senator saloon and Monza coupe, first seen in the autumn of 1977. The Monza would allow Opel to compete, so they thought with the Mercedes W126 coupé and the BMW 6 series. But what Opel hadn’t realised was that the old ways were too old. The car was big without being hugely luxurious. This did not mean that the Monza was not comfortable. There was plenty of space inside the car, and the enormous seats left you with a feeling of sitting in a much more upmarket brand than Opel. But the internals consisted of parts mainly borrowed from the Rekord, which meant cloth seats, and lots and lots of plastic on the dashboard and inner doors. Even the rev counter and the tachometer was taken directly from the Rekord E models, so that when you sat in one, the feeling was not that you drove a Monza, but more that you where driving a Rekord. If that wasn’t enough trouble for Opel, they also experienced gearbox problems. The engine range for the Monza A1 was the 3.0S, the 2.8S, the newly developed 3.0E and later the 2.5E (the 3.0 had 180 bhp and 248 Nm with fuel injection). The 3-speed Borg Warner automatic transmission from the Commodore range needed to be modified to cope with the new and improved power outputs. Opel’s own 4-speed manual gearboxes were not up to the job and, instead of putting in a more modern 5-speed manual gearbox, Opel turned to gearbox and transmission producer Getrag, and installed the Getrag 264 4-speed manual gearbox in the early Monzas. But when people bought a big, luxurious coupé they wanted modern products as well, and Opel obliged, as soon the Getrag 5-speed manual gearboxes, replaced the old 4-speed gearbox. The Monza, however, was good to drive.  It handled quite well, thanks to the newly developed MacPherson strut system for the front of the car, as used on the Rekord E1 and E2, and the new independent rear suspension gave the car soft, yet firm and capable, driving characteristics and excellent stability for such a big car. When Opel realised that the public disliked the Rekord interior, they introduced the “C” package. The “C” cars where fitted with extra instruments (oil pressure, voltmeter etc.) and the interior was either red, dark blue, green, or brown. As all parts of the interior were coloured, it seemed more luxurious than it did previously. The A1 also came with a sports package or “S” package. The cars all where marked as “S” models on the front wings, and came with 15-inch Ronal alloy wheels, a 45% limited slip differential. In 1982, the Monza, Rekord and Senator all got a face-lift and was named the A2 (E2 for the Rekord). The A2 looked similar to the A1 overall but with some changes to the front end. The headlights increased in size, and the front looked more streamlined than that of the A1. Also the chrome parts like bumpers were changed to a matt black finish, or with plastic parts. The bumpers were now made of plastic and made the Monza take look less like the Manta, despite the huge size difference. The rear lights were the same and the orange front indicators was now with white glass, giving a much more modern look to the car. Overall the update was regarded as successful although retrospectively some of the purity of the lines of the early car were lost. At a time of rising fuel prices, the need for fuel efficiency was becoming paramount, and Opel decided to change the engine specifications of the Monza. This meant introducing both the straight 4 cylinder CIH 2.0E and the 2.2E engines from the Rekord E2. However, as the Monza weighed almost 1400 kg, and the 115 bhp of the two engines, the cars were underpowered and thus unpopular. The 2.5E was given a new Bosch injection system so between 136 and 140 bhp was available. The 2.8S was taken out of production. The 3.0E engine stayed the top of the range. The 3.0E was given an upgraded Bosch fuel injection and gained a small improvement in consumption. The last incarnation of the Monza was the GSE edition in 1983; basically the A2 car, but a high-specification model which had Recaro sports seats, digital LCD instruments, and an enhanced all-black interior. It also featured a large rear spoiler on the boot. Also GS/E models are equipped with a 40% limited slip differential, an addition that had to be ordered separately on earlier 3,0E cars when purchasing. By the time the Senator was updated to the new Senator B, in 1987 and the Monza cancelled, 43,812 Monzas had been built. There was no direct replacement.

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PACKARD

A small number of these Packard Custom Coupe models were built in the early 1980s by Bayliff Coachbiulding works, based on the contemporary Cadillac Eldorado Coupe.

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PEUGEOT

This is a 404 Berline, Peugeot’s large family car which was built from 1960 to 1975, though the commercial pick-up versions continued until 1988, and under licence, it was manufactured in various African countries until 1991. Styled by Pininfarina, the 404 was offered initially as a saloon, estate, and pickup. A convertible was added in 1962, and a coupé in 1963. The 404 was fitted with a 1.6 litre petrol engine, with either a Solex carburetor or Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection or a 1.9 litre diesel engine available as options. Introduced at the Paris Motor Show as an option was the inclusion of a 3-speed ZF automatic transmission, similar to the unit already offered on certain BMW models, as an alternative to the standard column-mounted manual unit. Popular as a taxicab, the 404 enjoyed a reputation for durability and value. Peugeot’s French production run of 1,847,568 404s ended in 1975. A total of 2,885,374 units had been produced worldwide at the end of production.

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The 404 was replaced by the 504 in Peugeot’s range, though the two continued in parallel for some time, since the 504 was larger and more costly. Just as with the 404, a number of body styles, all penned by Pininfarina were added to the range. The Coupe, as seen here, came at the 1969 Geneva Show, six months after the launch of the Saloon. Mechnically it was the same as the saloon, but it looked very different. Later it would gain the Douvrin V6 engine which gave it more refinement, if not that much more performance. The car was never sold in the UK, though a few have found their way to the country, but in Europe it proved popular despite its ambitious price tag.

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This rare 505 is actually the first Peugeot model to bear the legendary GTi badging that would become so popular on the car presented below this one in this report, and it is a very different sort of GTi. Peugeot presented the 505 on 16 May 1979, as the eventual replacement for the 504 with which it shared many of its underpinnings. The styling, a collaboration between Pininfarina and Peugeot’s internal styling department, is very similar to that of its smaller brother the 305. The original interior was designed by Paul Bracq, generally more well known for his work for Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Initially sold only as a saloon, with the estate model not appearing until the 1982 Geneva Show, the car was available with the 2 litre carburettor engines from the 504, the 2 litre injected Douvrin unts seen in the rival Renault R20 and Peugeot’s 2.1 and 2.3 diesels. The 505 was praised by contemporary journalists for its ride and handling, especially on rough and unmade roads; perhaps one reason for its popularity in less developed countries. The car changed little for several years, with the sporting GTi, which arrived in 1986 being the first significant move upmarket, a direction which continued when the Douvrin V6 unit was put under the bonnet, to create a replacement for the slow-selling 604. The range was given a facelift, including an all new interior, in 1986, but European Peugeot 505 production began to wind down following the launch of the smaller Peugeot 405 at the end of 1987. Saloon production came to a halt in 1989, when Peugeot launched its new flagship 605 saloon, while the estate remained in production until 1992. There was already a 405 estate by this stage, but plans for a 605 estate never materialised. In some countries such as France and Germany, the 505 estate was used as an ambulance, a funeral car, police car, military vehicle and as a road maintenance vehicle. There were prototypes of 505 coupés and 505 trucks, and in France many people have modified 505s into pickup trucks themselves. 1.3 million examples were built, but few remain in Europe.

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Second Peugeot to bear the iconic GTi name, and the one that everyone remembers now is the 205 GTi and there was an example of this on display. Peugeot launched their new “supermini”, the 205 in January 1983, just one day after Fiat had presented the Uno, one of the car’s principal rivals. It was an immediate hit, with smart styling and a range of engines which combined with sharp handling made it good to drive. Mindful of the success of the Golf GTi, in the class above, and how a small car with good handling could take more power, as the Mini Cooper had proved, Peugeot came up with the GTi in early 1984. The first models had a 1.6 litre  XU5J engine, producing 105 PS, which was uprated in 1987 with a cylinder head with larger valves thus becoming XU5JA, which took the power output up to 115 bhp. Visually the car retained the good looks of the 3 door version of the regular models, but it featured plastic wheel arch extensions and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances and judicious use of red badging and trim. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels , and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked anti-roll bar. Red was a dominant colour inside. The car was an instant hit. At the end of 1986, Peugeot followed up with a more potent model, the 1.9 GTi, whose XU9JA engine produced 128 PS.  Internally the engine of this car and the 1.6 model are very similar, the main differences on 1.9 litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6 litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9 litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTi and the 1.9 GTi are half-leather seats on the 1.9 GTi  vs. cloth seats  and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTi) vs. at the front only; as well as the 14-inch Speedline SL201 wheels on the 1.6 GTi  vs. 15 inch Speedline SL299 alloys on the 1.9 GTi. The 205 is still often treated as a benchmark in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although they came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306.

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PLYMOUTH

A twin of the Dodge Aspen, this is a Volare Station Wagon, a compact car produced by the Chrysler Corporation during the 1976 to the 1980 model years. At the time, it was the only range in its class which included a four-door wagon, which its Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant predecessors had cut from both their line ups, from ten years earlier, during the end of the 1966 model year). There was also a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe. By the end of their production run, the Aspen and Volaré would be considered intermediate cars. The cars were collectively named Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” for 1976. They were the successors to the A-body — Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant/Plymouth Duster, which concurrently were sold along with Aspen and Volaré during the early part of the 1976 model year until they both were discontinued. The Aspen and Volaré both were replaced by the smaller front-wheel-drive K-cars — 1981 Dodge Aries/Plymouth Reliant, 1982 Dodge 400/Chrysler LeBaron and the M-body — 1982 Dodge Diplomat/Plymouth Gran Fury four-door sedans, which were very similar in structure, size, and engineering to the F-body Aspen and Volaré.

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PORSCHE

There was a couple of nice early 911 models out here.

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Second Porsche here was a 944, the evolution of the first front-engined model the firm had produced, the 924. Whilst the 924 received largely positive reviews, it was criticised by many including Porsche enthusiasts for its Audi-sourced engine and whilst the Turbo model had increased performance, this model carried a high price, which caused Porsche to decide to develop the 924, as they had with generations of the 911. They re-worked the platform and a new all-alloy 2.5 litre inline-four engine, that was, in essence, half of the 928’s 5.0 litre V8, although very few parts were actually interchangeable. Not typical in luxury sports cars, the four-cylinder engine was chosen for fuel efficiency and size, because it had to be fitted from below on the Neckarsulm production line. To overcome roughness caused by the unbalanced secondary forces that are typical of four-cylinder engines, Porsche included two counter-rotating balance shafts running at twice engine speed. Invented in 1904 by British engineer Frederick Lanchester, and further developed and patented in 1975 by Mitsubishi Motors, balance shafts carry eccentric weights which produce inertial forces that balance out the unbalanced secondary forces, making a four-cylinder engine feel as smooth as a six-cylinder. The engine was factory-rated at 150 hp in its U.S. configuration. Revised bodywork with wider wheel arches, similar to that of the 924 Carrera GT, a fresh interior and upgrades to the braking and suspension systems rounded out the major changes and Porsche introduced the car as the  944 in 1982. It was slightly faster (despite having a poorer drag co-efficient than the 924), the 944 was better equipped and more refined than the 924; it had better handling and stopping power, and was more comfortable to drive. The factory-claimed 0-60 mph time of less than 9 seconds and a top speed of  130 mph which turned out to be somewhat pessimistic,  In mid-1985, the 944 underwent its first significant changes. These included : a new dash and door panels, embedded radio antenna, upgraded alternator, increased oil sump capacity, new front and rear cast alloy control arms and semi-trailing arms, larger fuel tank, optional heated and powered seats, Porsche HiFi sound system, and revisions in the mounting of the transaxle to reduce noise and vibration. The “cookie cutter” style wheels used in the early 944s were upgraded to new “phone dial” style wheels (Fuchs wheels remained an option). 1985 model year cars incorporating these changes are sometimes referred to as “1985B”, “85.5” or “1985½” cars. For the 1987 model year, the 944 Motronic DME was updated, and newly incorporated anti-lock braking and air bags. Because of the ABS system, the wheel offset changed and Fuchs wheels were no longer an option. In early 1989 before the release of the 944S2, Porsche upgraded the 944 from the 2.5 to a 2.7 litre engine, with a rated 162 hp and a significant increase in torque. For the 1985 model year, Porsche introduced the 944 Turbo, known internally as the 951. This had a turbocharged and intercooled version of the standard car’s engine that produced 220 PS at 6000 rpm. In 1987, Car and Driver tested the 944 Turbo and achieved a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds. The Turbo was the first car using a ceramic port liner to retain exhaust gas temperature and new forged pistons and was also the first vehicle to produce identical power output with or without a catalytic converter. The Turbo also featured several other changes, such as improved aerodynamics, notably an integrated front bumper. This featured the widest turn signals (indicators) fitted to any production car, a strengthened gearbox with a different final drive ratio, standard external oil coolers for both the engine and transmission, standard 16 inch wheels (optional forged Fuchs wheels), and a slightly stiffer suspension (progressive springs) to handle the extra weight. The Turbo’s front and rear brakes were borrowed from the Porsche 911, with Brembo 4-piston fixed calipers and 12-inch discs as ABS also came standard. Engine component revisions, more than thirty in all, were made to the 951 to compensate for increased internal loads and heat. Changes occurred for the 1987 model year. On the interior, the 1987 944 Turbo for North America became the first production car in the world to be equipped with driver and passenger side air bags as standard equipment. A low oil level light was added to the dash as well as a 180 mph (290 km/h) speedometer as opposed to the 170 mph speedometer on the 1986 model Turbos. Also included is the deletion of the transmission oil cooler, and a change in suspension control arms to reduce the car’s scrub radius. The engine remained the same M44/51 as in the 1986 model. In 1988, Porsche introduced the Turbo S. The 944 Turbo S had a more powerful engine (designation number M44/52) with 250 hp and 258 lb·ft torque (standard 944 Turbo 220 hp and 243 lb·ft. This higher output was achieved by using a larger K26-8 turbine housing and revised engine mapping which allowed maintaining maximum boost until 5800 rpm, compared to the standard 944 Turbo the boost would decrease from 1.75 bar at 3000 rpm to 1.52 bar at 5800 rpm. Top speed was factory rated at 162 mph. The 944 Turbo S’s suspension had the “M030” option consisting of Koni adjustable shocks front and rear, with ride height adjusting threaded collars on the front struts, progressive rate springs, larger hollow rear anti-roll/torsion bars, harder durometer suspension bushings, larger hollow anti-roll/torsion bars at the front, and chassis stiffening brackets in the front frame rails. The air conditioning dryer lines are routed so as to clear the front frame brace on the driver’s side. The 944 Turbo S wheels, known as the Club Sport design, were 16-inch Fuchs forged and flat-dished, similar to the Design 90 wheel. Wheel widths were 7 inches in the front, and 9 inches in the rear with 2.047 in offset; sizes of the Z-rated tyres were 225/50 in the front and 245/45 in the rear. The front and rear fender edges were rolled to accommodate the larger wheels. The manual transmission (case code designation: AOR) featured a higher friction clutch disc setup, an external cooler, and a limited slip differential with a 40% lockup setting. The Turbo S front brakes were borrowed from the Porsche 928 S4, with larger Brembo GT 4-piston fixed calipers and 12-inch discs; rear Brembo brakes remained the same as a standard Turbo. ABS also came standard. The 944 Turbo S interior featured power seats for both driver and passenger, where the majority of the factory-built Turbo S models sported a “Burgundy plaid” (Silver Rose edition) but other interior/exterior colours were available. A 10-speaker sound system and equalizer + amp was a common option with the Turbo S and S/SE prototypes. Only the earlier 1986, 250 bhp prototypes featured a “special wishes custom interior” options package. In 1989 and later production, the ‘S’ designation was dropped from the 944 Turbo S, and all 944 Turbos featured the Turbo S enhancements as standard, however the “M030” suspension and the Club Sport wheels were not part of that standard. The 944 Turbo S was the fastest production four cylinder car of its time. For the 1987 model year, the 944S “Super” was introduced. The 944S featured a high performance normally aspirated, dual-overhead-cam 16-valve 190 PS version of the 2.5 litre engine (M44/40) featuring a self-adjusting timing belt tensioner. This marked the first use of four-valve-per-cylinder heads and DOHC in the 944 series, derived from the 928 S4 featuring a redesigned camshaft drive, a magnesium intake tract/passages, magnesium valve cover, larger capacity oil sump, and revised exhaust system. The alternator capacity was 115 amps. The wheel bearings were also strengthened and the brake servo action was made more powerful. Floating 944 calipers were standard, but the rear wheel brake circuit pressure regulator from the 944 turbo was used. Small ’16 Ventiler’ script badges were added on the sides in front of the body protection mouldings. Performance was quoted as 0 – 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and a 144 mph top speed due to a 2857 lb weight. It also featured an improved programmed Bosch Digital Motronic 2 Computer/DME with dual knock sensors for improved fuel performance for the higher 10.9:1 compression ratio cylinder head. Like the 944 Turbo, the 944S received progressive springs for greater handling, Larger front and rear anti-roll bars, revised transmission and gearing to better suit the 2.5 litre DOHC higher 6800 rpm rev limit. Dual safety air bags, limited-slip differential, and ABS braking system were optional on the 944S. A Club Sport touring package (M637) was available as was the lightweight 16 inch CS/Sport Fuch 16×7 and 16×9 forged alloy wheels. This SC version car was raced in Canada, Europe and in the U.S. IMSA Firehawk Cup Series. Production was only during 1987 and 1988. It was superseded in 1989 by the ‘S2’ 944 edition. The 1987 944S power-to-weight ratio was such that it was able to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds thus matching the acceleration of its newer larger displacement 3.0 litre 944 S2 sibling. In 1989 the 944S2 was introduced, powered by a 211 PS normally aspirated, dual-overhead-cam 16-valve 3.0 litre version of the 944S engine, the largest production 4-cylinder engine of its time. The 944S2 also received a revised transmission and gearing to better suit the 3.0 litre M44/41 powerplant. The 944S2 had the same rounded nose and a rear valance found on the Turbo model. This was the first example of the use of an integrated front bumper, where the fender and hood profiles would merge smoothly with the bumper, a design feature that has only now seen widespread adoption on the 1990 onward production cars. Performance was quoted as 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds with a top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph) via manual transmission. A Club Sport touring package (M637) was also available. Dual air bags (left hand drive models), limited-slip differential and ABS were optional. Series 90 16-inch cast alloy wheels were standard equipment. In 1989, Porsche released the 944 S2 Cabriolet, a first for the 944 line that featured the cabriolet body built by ASC-American Sunroof Company at Weinsberg Germany. The first year of production included sixteen 944 S2 Cabriolet for the U.S. market. For the 1990 model year, Porsche produced 3,938 944 S2 Cabriolets for all markets including right-hand drive units for the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. This car was raced, including the British championship that was called the Porsche Motorsport Championship. Production was during 1989, 1990, and 1991. The 944 S2 power-to-weight ratio was such that it was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. In February 1991, Porsche released the 944 Turbo Cabriolet, which combined the Turbo S’s 250 hp engine with the cabriolet body built by ASC-American Sunroof Company at Weinsberg Germany. Porsche initially announced that 600 would be made; ultimately 625 were built, 100 of which were right-hand drive for the United Kingdom, Japanese, Australian, and South African market. None were imported to the U.S. and The Americas. In early 1990, Porsche engineers began working on what they had intended to be the third evolution of the 944, the S3. As they progressed with the development process, they realised that so many parts were being changed that they had produced an almost entirely new vehicle. Porsche consequently shifted development from the 944 S/S2 to the car that would replace the 944 entirely, the 968. The 944’s final year of production was 1991. A grand total 163,192 cars in the 944 family were produced between 1982 and 1991. This made it the most successful car line in Porsche’s history until the introductions of the Boxster and 997 Carrera.

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RENAULT

Oldest Renault here was a Dauphine. This was one of the models built locally in Spain by FASA-Renault between 1958-1967, during which time 125,912 units were produced. The Dauphine) was huge success for Renault globally, with over two million of them being produced between 1956 and 1967, all of them in a single body style – a three-box, 4-door saloon – as the successor to the Renault 4CV. All the cars looked the same, though there were variants, such as the sport model, the Gordini, a luxury version, the Ondine, and the 1093 factory racing model, and the car formed the basis for the Caravelle/Floride, a Dauphine-based two-door coupé and two-door convertible. The car’s predecessor, the 4CV had been a success for Renault, too,  with over 500,000 produced by 1954. The Dauphine was born during a conversation with Lefaucheux and engineer Fernand Picard. The two agreed the 4CV was appropriate in its postwar context, but that French consumers would soon need a car appropriate for their increasing standard of living. Internally known as “Project 109” the Dauphine’s engineering began in 1949 with engineers Fernand Picard, Robert Barthaud and Jacques Ousset managing the project. A 1951 survey conducted by Renault indicated design parameters of a car with a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), seating for four passengers and fuel consumption of less than 7 L/100 km(40 mpg). The survey indicated that women held stronger opinions about a car’s colours than about the car itself. Engineers spent the next five years developing the Dauphine.  Within the first year, designers had created a ⅛th-scale clay model, studied the model’s aerodynamics, built a full-scale clay model, studied wood interior mockups of the seating, instrument panel, and steering column – and built the first prototype in metal. Having largely finalised the exterior design, testing of the prototype began at Renault’s facilities at Lardy by secrecy of night, on July 24, 1952. Using new laboratories and new specially designed tracks,engineers measured maximum speed, acceleration, braking and fuel consumption as well as handling, heating and ventilation, ride, noise levels and parts durability. Engineers tested parts by subjecting them to twisting and vibration stresses, and then redesigning the parts for manufacture. By August 1953 head engineer Picard had an almond-green prototype delivered to Madrid for dry condition testing, ultimately experiencing only five flat tyres and a generator failure after 2,200 km.  Subsequently, Lefaucheux ordered engineers to test a Dauphine prototype directly against a Volkswagen Beetle. The engineers determined that noise levels were too high, interior ventilation and door sealing were inadequate and most importantly, the engine capacity was insufficient at only 4 CV (748 cc). The four-cylinder engine was redesigned to increase its capacity to 845 cc by increasing the bore to 58 mm, giving the car a new informal designation, the 5CV. By 1954 a second series of prototypes incorporated updates, using the older prototypes for crash testing. Lefaucheux followed the testing carefully, often meeting with his engineers for night testing to ensure secrecy, but did not live to see the Dauphine enter production. He was killed in an accident on February 11, 1955, when he lost control of his Renault Frégate on an icy road and was struck on the head by his unsecured luggage as the car rolled over. The Flins factory was renamed in his honour, and he was succeeded on the project by Pierre Dreyfus. By the end of testing, drivers had road tested prototypes in everyday conditions including dry weather and dusty condition testing in Madrid, engine testing in Bayonne, cold testing at the Arctic Circle in Norway, suspension testing in Sicily, weatherseal testing in then-Yugoslavia – a total of more than two million kilometres of road and track testing.In December 1955, Pierre Bonin (director of the Flins Renault Factory) and Fernand Picard presented the first example to leave the factory to Pierre Dreyfus, who had taken over the project after Lefaucheux’s death. Renault officially revealed the model’s existence to the press through L’Auto Journal and L’Action Automobile et Touristique in November 1955, referring to it simply by its unofficial model designation “the 5CV”. Advance press preview testing began on February 4, 1956, under the direction of Renault press secretary Robert Sicot, with six Dauphines shipped to Corsica. Journalists were free to drive anywhere on the island, while under contract not to release publication before the embargo date of March 1, 1956. The Dauphine debuted on March 6, 1956 at Paris’ Palais de Chaillot with over twenty thousand people attending, two days before its official introduction at the 1956 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva. Renault considered the name Corvette for its new model, but to avoid a conflict with the recently launched Chevrolet Corvette instead chose a name that reinforced the importance of the project’s predecessor, the 4CV, to France’s postwar industrial rebirth. At introduction, the Dauphine was positioned in the marketplace between the concurrently manufactured 4CV, and the much larger Frégate. The new model followed the 4CV’s rear-engine, four-door three-box sedan format, while providing greater room and power and pioneering a new focus for Renault on interior and exterior color and design.The Dauphine used a version of the 4CV’s water-cooled Ventoux engine with capacity increased from 760 cc to 845 cc, and power increased from 19–32 hp. Engine cooling was facilitated by air intakes behind each rear door and a vented rear fascia. The Dauphine had a front-hinged boot lid, which housed the headlights and opened to a seven-cubic-foot boot. The spare tyre was carried horizontally under the front of the car, behind an operable panel below the bumper. The interior featured adjustable front bucket seats and a rear bench seat, a heater, painted dash matching the exterior, twin courtesy lamps, a white steering wheel, rear bypassing (vs. roll down) windows, twin horns (town and country) selectable by the driver and twin open bins on the dashboard in lieu of gloveboxes. Exterior finishes included a range of pastel colours. The Gordini version was offered with a 4-speed transmission, four-wheel disc brakes from 1964 and increased horsepower, performance tuned by Amédée Gordini to 37 hp. The 1093 was a factory racing model limited edition of 2,140 homologated, which were tuned to 55 hp and featured a twin-barrel carburettor, rear track rods, four-speed manual transmission and tachometer, had a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph), and were produced in 1962 and 1963. All were painted white with two thin blue stripes running front to back along the hood, roof and boot. The Dauphine was made under licence in a number of countries around the world.

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There were some more R4 models out here, with one of the last of the variants, a Clan, joined by a car liveried for service by the city of Barcelona.

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As well as the R8S seen inside, there was an R8 Gordini outside.  The R8 was first launched in the autumn of 1962, as a replacement for the Dauphine, still rear engined, but featuring a boxier and roomier body and an all new 956cc engine that developed 43 bhp. A more powerful model, the 8 Major, was released in 1964, featuring an 1108 cc engine developing 49 hp. A still more powerful version, the R8 Gordini, was also released that year, with a tuned engine of the same capacity but developing 89 hp. The extra power was obtained by a cross-flow head and twin dual-choke 40mm side-draft Solex carburettors. A four-speed close ratio manual transmission, dual rear shock absorbers and uprated springs were fitted. The Gordini was originally available only in blue, with two stick-on white stripes. It was also distinguishable from the 8 Major by the bigger 200mm headlamp units. In 1965, the Renault 10 Major, a more luxurious version of the 8 with different front and rear styling, was released, replacing the 8 Major. In 1967, the R8 Gordini received a facelift including two additional headlights (in effect Cibie Oscar driving lights), and its engine was upgraded to a 1255cc unit rated at 99 hp. The original Gordini cross-flow head design was retained, and twin dual-choke 40mm Weber side-draft carburettors. Both the R8 and the R10 were heavily revised for 1969, with some of the R10’s features being incorporated in the R8, resulting in a new R8 Major which replaced the basic model. The changes also saw the addition of the R8S, a sportier model with a 1108cc engine rated at 59 hp. The R8 Gordini continued largely unchanged until production ceased in 1972, by which time over 11,000 units had been built. The vast majority of surviving R8s are now presented as Gordinis, though many of them are recreations that started out as a more humble model, much as has happened with Mark 1 Escorts and Lotus Cortinas.

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Renault launched the R10, or R10 Major (and branded in some markets as the Renault 1100) in September 1965, replacing the Renault 8 Major. This was a lengthened version of the Renault 8 with an increased front overhang and a much enlarged front luggage compartment, its capacity increased from 240 to 315 litres. The dimensions of the central passenger cabin were unchanged, however. The 1,108 cc engine, which for some markets had already appeared in top of the range versions of the Renault 8, came from the Renault Caravelle. In the French market the Renault 10 found itself struggling to compete with the successful Peugeot 204 introduced in the same year. Early R10 models had round headlights, but just two years after launch the R10  was facelifted with rectangular headlights now further differentiating it from the Renault 8. A larger 1289 cc engine from the new Renault 12, was fitted to the Renault 10 for the Motor Show in October 1970, giving birth to the Renault 10-1300. Although the engine mounted at the back of the Renault 10-1300 was in most respects identical to that fitted at the front of the Renault 12, the unit in the older car was effectively detuned, with a lowered compression ratio and a listed maximum output of 48 PS whereas the unit in the Renault 12 was advertised as providing 54 PS. In effect this placed Renault in the bizarre position of offering two competing models in the same market category, but the older rear engined design came with a listed price 1,000 francs (approximately 10%) lower and a top speed of 135 km/h (84 mph) as against 145 km/h (90 mph) for the entry level Renault 12. The 1108cc version of the engine was also offered for 1970, but only when combined with the Jaeger “button operated” semi-automatic transmission which had been offered in earlier versions of the car since 1963. French production of the Renault 10 ceased at the end of summer 1971.

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It was nice to see the original R5 here, in both the “cooking” versions and the high performance Alpine, the name that was used everywhere apart from the UK where trademark reasons meant Renault had to use the Gordini name instead. The Renault R5 was styled by Michel Boué,  who designed the car in his spare time, outside of his normal duties.  When Renault executives learned of Boué’s work, they were so impressed by his concept they immediately authorized a formal development programme. The R5 was launched in January 1972, going on sale in Europe that year, but not reaching the UK until 1973. It was well received and narrowly missed out on the 1973 European Car of the Year award, which was instead given to the Audi 80. The R5 borrowed mechanicals from the similarly popular Renault 4, using a longitudinally-mounted engine driving the front wheels with torsion bar suspension. OHV engines were borrowed from the Renault 4 and larger Renault 8: there was a choice, at launch, between 782 cc and 956 cc according to price level. A “5TS/5LS” with the 1,289 cc engine from the Renault 12 was added from April 1974. As on the Renault 4, entry level Renault 5s had their engine sizes increased to 845 cc in 1976 and at the top of the range later models had the engine sizes expanded to 1,397 cc. It was one of the first modern superminis, which capitalised on the new hatchback design, developed by Renault in the mid 1960s on its larger R16. It was launched a year after the booted version of the Fiat 127, and during the same year that the 127 became available with a hatchback. Within five years, a number of rival manufacturers – namely Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen – had launched a similar car. The Renault 5 was targeted at cost conscious customers, and the entry level “L” version came with the same 782 cc power plant as the cheaper Renault 4 and drum brakes on all four wheels. In 1972 it was priced in France at below 10,000 francs. However, for many export markets the entry level version was excluded from the range and front wheel disc brakes were offered on the more powerful 956 cc “Renault 5TL” along with such attractions under the bonnet and an alternator, and in the cabin reclining back rests for the front seats. From outside the “TL” was differentiated from the “L” by a thin chrome strip below the doors. The early production R5 used a dashboard-mounted gearshift, linked by a rod which ran over the top of the engine to a single bend where the rod turned downwards and linked into the gearbox, which was positioned directly in front of the engine. A floor-mounted lever employing a cable linkage replaced this arrangement in 1973. An automatic version, with the larger 1,289 cc engine, was added in early 1978. At the time, the automatic usually represented just under five percent of overall Renault 5 production.  Door handles were formed by a cut-out in the door panel and B-pillar. The R5 was one of the first cars produced with plastic (polyester and glass fibre) bumpers, which came from a specialist Renault factory at Dreux. These covered a larger area of potential contact than conventional car bumpers of the time and survived low speed parking shunts without permanently distorting.  This helped the car gain a reputation as an “outstanding city car”, and bumpers of this type subsequently became an industry standard. The R5’s engine was set well back in the engine bay, behind the gearbox, allowing the stowage of the spare wheel under the bonnet/hood, an arrangement that freed more space for passengers and luggage within the cabin. The GTL version, added in 1976, featured a 1,289cc engine tuned for economy rather than performance and was distinguished from earlier versions by thick polyester protection panels along the sides.  A five-door R5 was added to the range in 1979, making it one of the first cars of its size to feature four passenger doors. The three-speed Automatic, which received equipment similar to the R5 GTL but with a 1,289 cc 55 bhp engine, a vinyl roof, and the TS’ front seats, also became available with five-door bodywork. In March 1981 the automatic received a somewhat more powerful 1.4 litre engine, which paradoxically increased both performance and fuel economy at all speeds.

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The Renault 5 Alpine was one of the first hot-hatches, launched in 1976 – going on sale around the same time as the original Volkswagen Golf GTI. In the UK, the car was sold as the Renault 5 Gordini because Chrysler Europe already had the rights to the name “Alpine” in the UK and it had just been introduced on the Chrysler Alpine at the time. Use of the name Gordini was from Amédée Gordini, who was a French tuner with strong links with Renault and previous sporting models such as the Renault 8. This (and the later Alpine Turbo models) were assembled at Alpine’s Dieppe plant, beginning in 1975. The 1397 cc engine, mated to a five-speed gearbox, was based on the Renault “Sierra” pushrod engine, but having a crossflow cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers and developed 93 PS, twice as much as a standard 1.1 litre Renault R5. The larger engine and its various performance parts meant that the spare tyre could no longer fit there and was relocated to the boot.  The Alpine could be identified by special alloy wheels and front fog lights and was equipped with stiffened suspension, but still retaining the torsion bar all round. The car was upgraded in 1982 when a Turbo version was introduced.

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I was delighted to find an example of the R7, or Siete, as it was badged. This model was sold in Spain by Renault’s subsidiary, FASA-Renault from 1974 to 1984. It was very similar to the R5 hatchback which had been launched two years earlier, and identical mechanically, but offered with a smaller range of engines. The R7 had four doors and a saloon-style boot in place of the original car’s three, which was achieved by extending the wheelbase by just under 6 cm (2 2⁄5 in) though it retained the wheelbase difference between left and right sides, characteristic of several Renault models, resulting from the use of full-width torsion bars placed one behind the other, ahead of the rear wheels. Another difference between the Renault R7 and the R5 was the use, on the R7, of ‘conventional’ chromed metal bumpers instead of off-body colour plastic ones, giving the car a more refined appearance. Initially powered by a 1037 cc engine, it was mostly sold in Spain. The R7 was given a modest restyle in 1979, followed by an engine upgrade to 1108 cc in 1980. Its production ended in 1982, when the brand-new R9 entered the worldwide market. A five-door version of the R5 was launched in 1980 using the door pattern of the Spanish R7. By 1985, the R5 had been substantially redesigned and R7 sales did not justify the investment necessary to renew the tooling for the R7.  A total of 159.533 units were produced. Its success outside its home market was limited because Renault offered the larger Renault 12 for a small price premium. I’ve only ever seen them in Spain, and even there, the car is now quite rare.

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There was another example of the R5 Turbo 2 out here.

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Very rare these days, since as well as rust taking hold, a number of these Fuego cars lived up to their name and burst into flames, this stylish car replaced the Renault 15 and 17 coupés of the 1970s. It was marketed in the United States by American Motors Corporation (AMC), and was also assembled in several countries in South America. The Fuego’s exterior was designed by Michel Jardin, working under Robert Opron (who previously designed the Citroën SM, Citroën GS, Citroën CX in the 1970s, and then followed with the Renault 25 in 1984). It was heavily based on the Renault 18, sharing its floorpan and drivetrain, but featuring a new front suspension design developed from the larger Renault 20/30. The design kept the familiar double wishbone layout common with the Renault 18 but no parts were interchangeable and the design incorporated negative scrub radius geometry. The new suspension design would later be introduced in the facelifted Renault 18, and with minor refinements (larger bushings, etc.), it was used in the Renault 25. In 1984, the Fuego dashboard was added to the facelifted R18. European production continued into 1986 (to 1985 in France and 1986 in Spain), while Renault Argentina produced the Fuego from 1982 until finally ending production in 1995 with the 2.2 litre “GTA Max” (the final phase III facelift introduced in 1990). It was the first mass-produced four-seat sports model to be designed in a wind tunnel. The resulting drag coefficient (Cd) factor of 0.32-0.35 depending on model and year. In October 1982, the Turbo Diesel model was classified as the then-fastest diesel car in the world with a top speed of 180 km/h. The Fuego was the first car to have a remote keyless system with central locking that was available from October 1982. The system was invented by Frenchman Paul Lipschutz (hence the name PLIP remote which is still used in Europe), and later introduced on other Renault models. The Fuego was also the first car to have steering wheel mounted satellite controls for the audio system. This feature became popularised on the new 1984 model Renault 25. A number of different engines and trims were offered which in Europe initially comprised the 1.4 litre TL, GTL; 1.6 litre TS, GTS; 2.0 litre TX, and GTX.,  A 2.1 litre Turbo Diesel was also produced for LHD European markets in the 1982-84 period. The Fuego Turbo, launched in 1983  included a new front grille, bumpers, wheel design, interior trim and a revised dashboard on LHD models. The Fuego became the number one selling coupé in Europe during the years 1980 through 1982. The official Renault website states that a total of 265,367 Fuegos were produced. In France (thus, excluding Argentina and Spain) the number produced from 1980 to 1985 was 226,583.

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Replacing the first generation R5 was another model with the same name, but sometimes referred to as the “Supercinq”. It appeared in the autumn of 1984, with RHD models going on sale in February 1985. Its launch came within 18 months of Ford, General Motors, Peugeot, Fiat and Nissan all launching new competitors in the supermini sector. Although the bodyshell and chassis were completely new (the platform was based on that of the larger Renault 9 and 11), familiar 5 styling trademarks were retained; with the new styling being the work of Marcello Gandini. The new body was wider and longer featuring 20 percent more glass area and more interior space, with a lower drag coefficient (0.35), as well as 68.9 mpg at 56 mph in the economy models. The biggest change was the adoption of a transversely-mounted powertrain taken directly from the 9 and 11, plus a less sophisticated suspension design, which used MacPherson struts. When launched, it had the following ranges: TC, TL, GTL, Automatic forms. The entry-level TC had the 956 cc engine rated at 42 bhp, while the TL had the 1108 cc engine rated at 47 bhp, and the GTL, Automatic, TS and TSE had the 1397 cc engine rated at 59 hp for the GTL, 67 hp for the Automatic, and 71 hp for the TS and TSE). The TC and TL had a four-speed manual gearbox, while the GTL, TS and TSE had a five-speed manual gearbox (which was optional on the TL), and the Automatic had a three-speed automatic gearbox. 1987 saw the introduction of the 1721 cc F2N engine in the GTX, GTE (F3N) and Baccara (Monaco in some markets, notably the United Kingdom). Renault decided to use the naturally aspirated 1.7 litre from the Renault 9/11, which utilised multipoint fuel injection, in addition to the sports orientated 1.4 litre turbo. Under the name GTE, it produced 94 hp. Although not as fast as the turbo model, it featured the same interior and exterior appearance, as well as identical suspension and brakes. The Baccara and GTX versions also used the 1.7 engine – the former sporting a full leather interior, power steering, electric windows, sunroof, high specification audio equipment and as extras air-conditioning and On-Board Computer. The latter was effectively the same but the leather interior was an option and there were other detail changes. As with the previous generation, the 5 Turbo was again assembled at the Alpine plant in Dieppe, where forty cars per day were constructed in 1985. The model was starting to show its age by 1990, when it was effectively replaced by the Clio, which was a sales success across Europe. Production of the R5 was transferred to the Revoz factory in Slovenia when the Clio was launched. It remained on sale with only 1.1 and 1.4 litre petrol and 1.6 litre naturally aspirated diesel engines, as a minimally equipped budget choice called the Campus. until the car’s production run finally came to an end in 1996. A number of limited edition models were offered throughout the model’s life. These tended to be market specific.

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There were a number of examples of the R9 and R11 here, the family-sized Renault models of the 1980s. First to appear was the R9, in September 1981 as a 4-door saloon while the 11 arrived in 1983 as a 3 or 5-door hatchback. Both had been developed under the Renault code name L42 and were designed by Robert Opron. Renault had begun the conception of the Renault 9 in 1977, as a “four metre” model (referring to its length) to fit between the Renault 5 and the Renault 14. Opron conceived a traditional three-box design to appeal to the traditional customer and avoid the poor reception that had met the Renault 14’s styling. Exhaustive consumer studies suggested that buyers rejected innovation, resulting in a rather nondescript design, albeit of modest elegance. By the time the models entered production, Renault had assigned more than 500 people to the project, logging 14,500,000 hours of study and testing, constructing 44 prototypes, testing 130 engines, and test-driving prototypes more than 2.2 million km. Both cars were also more conservatively engineered, although they retained front-wheel drive, Renault abandoned the Douvrin transmission-in-sump engine which it had shared with Peugeot-Citroen in the Renault 14, in favour of its in-house power unit – the venerable C-type “Cléon” engine with an end-on mounted transmission. This mechanical layout, along with the 9/11’s suspension design, was to become the basis of all small Renaults for the next 15 years or so. The Renault 9 was awarded the 1982 European Car of the Year, while the Alliance appeared on Car and Driver’s Ten Best list for 1983, and was the 1983 Motor Trend Car of the Year. Although the 9 and 11 cars had different names and body styles, they were identical under the skin, and were intended to jointly replace the older Renault 14. The 11 was also distinguishable from the 9 by its front end, which featured square twin headlights, which had been introduced on the North American Alliance. The 9 also received this new front end in 1985 and both models were face-lifted for a final time with matching nose and interior upgrades for the 1987 model year. A version of the 9 was manufactured and marketed by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in the United States as the Renault Alliance and bearing a small AMC badge. With 623,573 examples manufactured for model years 1982–1987, AMC offered the Alliance as a two or four-door sedan and as a convertible, beginning in 1984. The Renault 9 and 11 continued in production in France until 1989, a year after the launch of the Renault 19. However, production continued in other countries, with the end finally coming after nearly 20 years when production in Turkey was discontinued in 2000. At launch, both cars used Renault’s ageing Cléon-Fonte engine overhead valve engines in either 1.1  or 1.4 litre format, and a basic suspension design which won few plaudits for the driving experience. The exceptions were the 9 Turbo and the 11 Turbo hot hatch, which used the turbocharged engine from the Renault 5. The 11 Turbo was introduced first, and originally only with three-door bodywork. Unlike the 5 Turbo or the 205 GTi, the 11 Turbo had a more comfort-oriented focus. Although the cars were heavier than the Renault 5, the increased power in later models was enough to ensure higher performance, thanks to its 113 hp. The rally-tuned version was impressively fast, producing about 217 hp. The newer F-type engine which had been developed in collaboration with Volvo appeared from late 1983 on in twin-carburettor 1,721 cc guise (F2N), powering the upmarket GTX, GTE, TXE, and TXE Electronic (Electronique in France) versions. These larger-engined versions were specifically developed with American needs in mind, although they also happened to be well-suited for a changing European market

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SEAT

There were lots of classic SEATs outside, as you might expect. Most numerous were the 600s, with an array of these much loved classics in all the different versions from the initial 600, to the 600E and L Especial.

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There were also a couple of the 800 model here. This was a  slightly longer 4-door saloon version of the 600, launched in September 1963 and built up to 1968. It had front “suicide doors” and rear conventional doors. This car was only built in Spain.

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The SEAT 850 was launched in 1966, based upon the Fiat 850. Originally only available with the same 2-door sedan body as used in Italy, two different 4-door versions also appeared in 1967. The very rare corto (short) used the bodywork developed by Francis Lombardi for the Fiat 850 “Lucciola”, while the largo (long) version used a floorpan lengthened by 15 cm and bodywork developed specifically by SEAT. The car was produced in Spain from April 1966 to 1974 and it was quite popular during that time. At the 1971 Paris Motor Salon, the 850 Especial Lujo (Special deLuxe) was presented, only available with the 4-door largo body. Production ended in late 1974, having been replaced by the SEAT 133, essentially an 850 rebodied in the style of the 127. Sedans and the standard coupé received 843 cc four-cylinder engines with either 37 or 47 PS. After Fiat 850 production ceased in Italy in 1972, the SEAT version was sold in European countries through Fiat dealers for a couple of years. These cars had a Fiat badge which had “costruzione SEAT” underneath it. There were a number of the 4 door Especial versions here, models which we never saw in the UK.

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The 850 Sport Coupé and Spider versions were also built in Spain, although they were never exported. They were equipped with a 51 hp 903 cc engine as opposed to the lower powered, 843 cc standard cars. There was an example of the Sport Coupe here.

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There were a number more 124 Saloons, 124 Coupes and 1430 Saloons here to complement the ones on show inside.

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Similarly, there was a 131 here, in  “Rally” guise.

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SEAT introduced their version of the Fiat 127 supermini in the spring of 1972. The car was very similar to the Italian models, differing initially just in its badging. However, a four-door variant of the car, initially without a hatchback, in spite of the fastback roofline was added to the lineup in 1973, something which Fiat never produced for themselves. While usually fitted with the same 903 cc engine as in the Fiat 127, SEAT also produced a unique variant of the 127 OHV engine. This had 1010 cc instead of 903 cc and produced 52 PS rather than the 43 or 45 PS of the smaller unit.. The SEAT 127 underwent the same styling modifications as did the Fiat 127 (new grille, taillights, bumpers) for the Series 2, of January 1980. At the same time, a full five-door hatchback bodywork also became available. SEAT produced 1,238,166 units of the 127 between 1972 and 1982. There were several examples of the model, showing its evolution, on show here.

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Once the license to the 127 expired, SEAT was forced to develop a new version with a new name, which was introduced in late 1981 for the 1982 model year, which they called the Fura It was available in three and five-door hatchback body styles. The two and four-door sedan versions of the Fiat 127 were discontinued. The Fura was never available with the larger 1,010 cc unit seen in the SEAT 127, but did receive a five-speed manual transmission as standard. After a 1983 facelift, the SEAT Fura Dos (two) was introduced: it didn’t differ much from its predecessor, mainly through smaller headlights and turn signals. The launch of the SEAT Ibiza MK1 in 1984 made the car largely redundant. For a little more than a year these two compact hatches competed internally, but the somewhat outmoded Fura was discontinued in 1986. A hot hatch called the Fura Crono was introduced early in 1983. Fitted with spoilers front and rear, as well as twin foglights up front and unique 13″ alloy wheels, it was powered by a 75 hp 1,438 cc four-cylinder. The twin-carb engine, the same as used in the Fiat/SEAT 124, provided a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) and the 100 km/h sprint was managed in 10.8 seconds.

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SIMCA

This is a nice example of the Simca 1000, a once popular small family car. Simca had started out producing Fiat models under licence in the 1930s, and then during the 1950s had bought out Ford’s French operations, which meant that they had a legacy of French for models before they begun producing cars of their own designs. In 1958, the American car manufacturer Chrysler Corporation, which wanted to enter the European car market, bought the 15% of the Simca stocks that Ford had retained from the 1954 buy-out, in a deal which Henry Ford II was later reported as having publicly regretted. At this stage, however, the dominant shareholder remained Fiat, and their influence is apparent in the engineering and design of Simcas of the early 1960s. The Suez Crisis struck at the end of 1956, and the resulting fuel shortages placed the emphasis back on very small cars. Sales of the V8 Simcas recovered a little by the end of the decade, but production volumes never again approached those of 1956. Simca responded rapidly by adding to their range the Simca Ariane which was a big car with a small engine, also produced in Poissy, which during the ensuing six years clocked up over 160,0000 sales. However, by now the large car market in France was increasingly dominated by the Citroen DS which was in a lower car tax bracket than the V8 Simcas and had, after slow start, caught the spirit of the new age. The solution was to build a new small car, and that is what Simca planned. Poissy’s large site had always been underutilised, so there was plenty of capacity to build it, and even with projected volumes of over 100,000 cars a year, it was clear that Simca could build everything they needed and with capacity to spare, so in 1961, Simca sold the plant at Nanterre which they had occupied since 1934 to Citoren. After this Poissy was Simca’s only large scale production facility in France.  Later that year, the brand new small car was launched, the Simca 1000, or the Mille. Following the trend for “bath tub” styling which was evident on the Chevrolet Corvair and NSU Prinz, this was a rear engined saloon car which had been intended to have a flat four engine, but which emerged with a conventional inline four. In fact, the origins of the Mille lie in Italy, a result of the still close relationship between Pigozzi and the Agnelli brothers at Fiat. In the mid 1950s, Fiat started to think about how to replace the popular 600. Something a little larger and more powerful than the current car, reflecting growing prosperity in Italy at the time, was envisaged, and two projects were run in parallel: “Project 119” was for a two door successor, building on the strengths of the current model, while “Project 122” was for a more radically differentiated four door successor. Although this work would have been a closely guarded secret to anyone outside the inner sanctum of Fiat’s Development Department, Pigozzi’s privileged relationship with the Agnellis opened even these doors, and during the late 1950s he took a particular interest in the Department. It became clear that Pigozzi’s intentions to extend the Simca range further down in the small car sector aligned closely with Fiat’s own “Projects 119” and “122”, intended to build a presence upmarket from the Fiat 600. Pigozzi obtained the agreement of the Fiat directors to select one of the six different rather boxy four-door clay models and mock-ups that then comprised the output of “Project 122” to be developed into Simca’s new small car. As he Fiat 600 continued to sell strongly, Fiat felt little sense of urgency about investing to replace it, and management evidently decided that a four door replacement for the 600 would represent too big a jump from the existing car, leaving Project 122, which underwent remarkably few changes once under the control of Pigozzi and Simca. It was not until 1964 when the fruits of “Project 119” became public with the launch of the Fiat 850. The Simca 1000 was launched at the 1961 Paris Motor Show, and Pigozzi got some early publicity by replacing 50 of the Simca Ariane taxis on the streets of Paris with the much smaller 1000 model, thus emphasising the roominess of the car, as well as making it very visible to a lot of people. Over the course of time, the 1000 was sold in a number of versions featuring different equipment levels and variations of the original Type 315 engine. In 1963 the poverty spec Simca 900 arrived; in spite of the name change it also had the 944 cc engine with 36 PS, but the 1000 now gained three more horsepower. In 1966 only the 900C was available, equipped with the more powerful iteration of the 315. In late 1968 the low cost Simca 4 CV (marketed in France as the Simc’4) appeared, powered by a 777 cc unit providing 31 PS, and very competitively priced. Power was later increased somewhat, to 33 PS. The 1000 engine was updated simultaneously, it was now called the type 349. At the top end of the range, the 1118 cc unit from the larger Simca 1100 was added for the 1969 model year (and indeed the Simca 1000 was marketed in the USA as Simca 1118). Finally, the 1294 cc “Poissy engine”, used in the bigger 1300, found its way into the little 1000 in the early 1970s. Apart from the standard manual transmission, some versions could be fitted with a three-speed semiautomatic developed by Ferodo. The car underwent a light facelift first shown at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, with new hubcaps, redesigned bumpers, bigger headlamps, and square taillights. The high-specification versions were offered in the British market with a walnut dashboard decor. In the model’s early years, the Italian tuner Abarth was offering modified versions of the 1000, and later Simca itself began offering a “Rallye” version, which helped boost the model’s popularity in the motorsport community. The Rallye was followed by the Rallye 1, the Rallye 2 and the Rallye 3 and these cars are much prized by collectors these days. In 1977, the model was revised for the last time, gaining the new names of 1005/1006 (depending on the specifications), to put it in line with the newer Simca 1307 and its derivatives. Production stopped in 1978 without a direct replacement

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TALBOT

For a while this car bore Chrysler badging, but following the 1978 sale of their European operation to Peugeot, the marque became Talbot in 1979. This is a Horizon, the late 1977 replacement for the long running 1100. Code-named C2 while under development, this car was designed to meet the needs of customers on both sides of the Atlantic, with Dodge and Plymouth Omni versions offered to American buyers. The Horizon won the Car of the Year award, but like the Alpine of two year earlier, it was also saddled with the same unrefined old engines in Europe (and strangled VW units with a power-sapping automatic box in America, which made them dog slow). The launch of the SX with a more powerful 1.5 litre engine and the new fangled trip computer did little to increase the sales appeal, and with a new front wheel drive Astra/Kadett and Ford Escort as well as VW’s Golf, it struggled even when the excellent 1.9 litre diesel – the best unit on the market at the time – went under the bonnet in 1982. The car sold in reasonable numbers until it was replaced in 1985 by the Peugeot 309, but few have survived.

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TOYOTA

Toyota produced their Celica from 1970 to 2006, and during this time, they updated the car regularly, meaning that there were new models more or less every four years, with a total of seven generations offered. Seen here is a fifth generation car, which was introduced in September 1989. This Celica received new Super Round organic styling, upgraded wheels and tires, more powerful GT-Four (All-Trac Turbo in the US) with better cooling system, and for the Japanese market only, the four-wheel steering (4WS) models. Toyota engineers claimed that the round styling and lack of straight edges increased strength without adding weight. The styling was later copied by other manufacturers. There were lots of different versions, optimised for each market. Trim levels for the European Celica were 1.6 ST-i, 2.0 GT-i 16, and GT-Four. The 2.0 GT-i 16 cabriolet was offered only in certain European countries. Only the 2.0 GT-i 16 liftback and GT-Four were officially sold in the UK.  The Celica convertible was built by American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) in California. It was offered as GT in US with 5S-FE engine, and as Type G in Japan or 2.0 GT-i 16 cabriolet in Europe with 3S-GE engine. The Japanese market convertible also has 4WS. The European Celica cabriolet retained the old style front bumper for 1992, and received the facelift in 1993. The car seen here is a GT-Four.

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VOLKSWAGEN

There were several of the familiar Beetle here, showing how the model evolved very slowly from a 1960s 1200 model to a 1302 of the early 1970s and a 1300 Cabrio

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Contemporary with the Beetles was this Type 14 Karmann Ghia Cabrio. The model debuted at the October 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept created for Ghia by Luigi Segre. In the early 1950s, Volkswagen was producing its economy car, the Type 1 (Beetle), but with an increase in post-war standards of living, executives at Volkswagen proposed adding a halo car to its model range, contracting with German coachbuilder Karmann for its manufacture. Karmann in turn contracted the Italian firm Ghia, who adapted styling themes previously explored for Chrysler and Studebaker to a Beetle floorpan widened by 12 in. Virgil Exner claimed that the design was his, based on the 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance. In contrast to the Beetle’s machine-welded body with bolt-on wings, the Karmann Ghia’s body panels were butt-welded, hand-shaped, and smoothed with English pewter in a time-consuming process commensurate with higher-end manufacturers, resulting in the Karmann Ghia’s higher price. The design and prototype were well received by Volkswagen executives, and in August 1955 the first Type 14 was manufactured in Osnabrück, Germany. Public reaction to the Type 14 exceeded expectations, and more than 10,000 were sold in the first year. The Type 14 was marketed as a practical and stylish 2+2 rather than as a true sports car. As they shared engines, the Type 14’s engine displacement grew concurrently with the Type 1 (Beetle), ultimately arriving at a displacement of 1584 cc, producing 60 hp. In August 1957, Volkswagen introduced a convertible version of the Karmann Ghia. Exterior changes in 1961 included wider and finned front grilles, taller and more rounded rear taillights and headlights relocated to a higher position – with previous models and their lower headlight placement called lowlights. The Italian designer Sergio Sartorelli, designer of the larger Type 34 model, oversaw the various restylings of the Type 14. In 1970, larger taillights integrated the reversing lights and larger wrap-around indicators. Still larger and wider taillights increased side visibility. In 1972, large square-section bumpers replaced the smooth round originals. For the USA model only, 1973 modifications mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) included energy-absorbing bumpers. A carpeted package shelf replaced the rear seat. In late 1974 the car was superseded by the Porsche 914 and the Golf based Scirocco.

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There was a long line of the Type 2 model here, of varying ages, most of them enthusiastically customised or personalised.

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There were a couple of examples of the Golf Cabrio, an early car and one of the later ones with bigger bumpers. The Golf was nearly 5 years old when VW showed the open version, which would be built by Karmann. It was mechanically the same as the hatchback models, and broadly kept pace with the changes to engines during the following years, though when Golf 2 debuted, VW kept this bodystyle in production, it finally being replaced by an open car based on the Golf 3 in 1991.

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VOLVO

This is a nice example of the Volvo 1800ES, a sports car that was manufactured by Volvo Cars between 1961 and 1973. The car was a one-time venture by the usually sober Swedish Volvo, who already had a reputation for building sensible sedans. The project was originally started in 1957 because Volvo wanted a sports car to compete in the US and European markets, despite the fact that their previous attempt, the P1900, had failed to take off with only 68 cars sold. The man behind the project was an engineering consultant to Volvo, Helmer Petterson, who in the 1940s was responsible for the Volvo PV444. The design work was done by Helmer’s son Pelle Petterson, who worked at Pietro Frua at that time. Volvo insisted it was an Italian design by Frua and only officially recognised that it was by Pelle Petterson many years later. The Italian Carrozzeria Pietro Frua design firm (then a recently acquired subsidiary of Ghia) built the first three prototypes between September 1957 and early 1958, later designated by Volvo in September 1958: P958-X1, P958-X2 and P958-X3. In December 1957 Helmer Petterson drove X1, the first hand-built P1800 prototype to Osnabrück, West Germany, headquarters of Karmann. Petterson hoped that Karmann would be able to take on the tooling and building of the P1800. Karmann’s engineers had already been preparing working drawings from the wooden styling buck at Frua. Petterson and Volvo chief engineer Thor Berthelius met there, tested the car and discussed the construction with Karmann. They were ready to build it and this meant that the first cars could hit the market as early as December 1958. But in February, Karmann’s most important customer, Volkswagen forbade Karmann to take on the job, as they feared that the P1800 would compete with the sales of their own cars, and threatened to cancel all their contracts with Karmann if they took on this car. This setback almost caused the project to be abandoned. Other German firms, NSU, Drautz and Hanomag, were contacted but none was chosen because Volvo did not believe they met Volvo’s manufacturing quality-control standards. It began to appear that Volvo might never produce the P1800. This motivated Helmer Petterson to obtain financial backing from two financial firms with the intention of buying the components directly from Volvo and marketing the car himself. At this point Volvo had made no mention of the P1800 and the factory would not comment. Then a press release surfaced with a photo of the car, putting Volvo in a position where they had to acknowledge its existence. These events influenced the company to renew its efforts: the car was presented to the public for the first time at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1960 and Volvo turned to Jensen Motors, whose production lines were under-utilised, and they agreed a contract for 10,000 cars. The Linwood, Scotland, body plant of manufacturer Pressed Steel was in turn sub-contracted by Jensen to create the unibody shells, which were then taken by rail to be assembled at Jensen in West Bromwich. In September 1960, the first production P1800 left Jensen for an eager public. The engine was the B18, an 1800cc petrol engine, with dual SU carburettors, producing 100 hp. This variant (named B18B) had a higher compression ratio than the slightly less powerful twin-carb B18D used in the contemporary Amazon 122S, as well as a different camshaft. The ‘new’ B18 was actually developed from the existing B36 V8 engine used in Volvo trucks at the time. This cut production costs, as well as furnishing the P1800 with a strong engine boasting five main crankshaft bearings. The B18 was matched with the new and more robust M40 manual gearbox through 1963. From 1963 to 1972 the M41 gearbox with electrically actuated overdrive was a popular option. Two overdrive types were used, the D-Type through 1969, and the J-type through 1973. The J-type had a slightly shorter ratio of 0.797:1 as opposed to 0.756:1 for the D-type. The overdrive effectively gave the 1800 series a fifth gear, for improved fuel efficiency and decreased drivetrain wear. Cars without overdrive had a numerically lower-ratio differential, which had the interesting effect of giving them a somewhat higher top speed of just under 120 mph, than the more popular overdrive models. This was because the non-overdrive cars could reach the engine’s redline in top gear, while the overdrive-equipped cars could not, giving them a top speed of roughly 110 mph. As time progressed, Jensen had problems with quality control, so the contract was ended early after 6,000 cars had been built. In 1963 production was moved to Volvo’s Lundby Plant in Gothenburg and the car’s name was changed to 1800S (S standing for Sverige, or in English : Sweden). The engine was improved with an additional 8 hp. In 1966 the four-cylinder engine was updated to 115 PS, which meant the top speed increased to 109 mph. In 1969 the B18 engine was replaced with the 2-litre B20B variant of the B20 giving 118 bhp, though it kept the designation 1800S. For 1970 numerous changes came with the fuel-injected 1800E, which had the B20E engine with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection and a revised camshaft, and produced 130 bhp without sacrificing fuel economy. Top speed was around 118 mph and acceleration from 0–62 took 9.5 seconds. In addition, the 1970 model was the first 1800 with four-wheel disc brakes; till then the 1800 series had front discs and rear drums. Volvo introduced its final P1800 variant, the 1800ES, in 1972 as a two-door station wagon with a frameless, all-glass tailgate. The final design was chosen after two prototypes had been built by Sergio Coggiola and Pietro Frua. Frua’s prototype, Raketen (“the Rocket”), is located in the Volvo Museum. Both Italian prototypes were considered too futuristic, and instead in-house designer Jan Wilsgaard’s proposal was accepted. The ES engine was downgraded to 125 bhp by reducing the compression ratio with a thicker head gasket (engine variant B20F); although maximum power was slightly down the engine was less “peaky” and the car’s on-the-road performance was actually improved. The ES’s rear backrest folded down to create a long flat loading area. As an alternative to the usual four-speed plus overdrive manual transmission, a Borg-Warner three-speed automatic was available in the 1800ES. With stricter American safety and emissions standards looming for 1974, Volvo did not see fit to spend the considerable amount that would be necessary to redesign the small-volume 1800 ES. Only 8,077 examples of the ES were built in its two model years.

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Final car to be depicted here is a Volvo 340 Hatch, a model which was one a common sight on British roads as it regularly featured in the Top Twenty Best Sellers list in the 1980s, after a rather tentative start. The Volvo 343 was introduced in 1976, having had a long gestation, and starting out as a  DAF, conceived as a replacement for the DAF 66. By the time it was ready for market, Volvo had bought out DAF and rebranded the cars, so it arrived as a small Volvo instead. The launch model, called 343, was fitted with a 1.4 litre Renault engine in the front and DAF’s radical Variomatic continuously variable transmission unusually mounted in the rear, helping weight distribution. To add to the appeal of the car and boost sales, Volvo adapted the M45 manual transmission from the 200 series to fit in place of the CVT, and this version was sold alongside the CVT models from 1979. A five-door model, the 345, was added in August 1979 for the 1980 model year. The extra doors added 30 kg (66 lb); other modifications included better brakes, a slightly larger track due to wider rims, and interval wipers. During 1980 larger wrap around bumpers were introduced. 1981 saw the addition of an additional engine option, the Volvo designed B19 2 litre unit, only available with the manual transmission. A revised bonnet, grille and front lamp arrangement and slightly different wings signalled a facelift in summer 1981, which also gave the car a new dashboard and revised interior. The overall length crept up to 4,300 mm (169 in). The third digit designating the number of doors was dropped from model designations in 1983. The more powerful 360 arrived that year with two 2.0 litre engine choices, the 92 bhp B19A and the 115 bhp B19E, also from Volvo. This 2-litre 360 model was available in five-door and three-door hatchback form, with four-door saloon models added in 1984. In 1985, the 300 Series received a major facelift. Amongst other small changes, (optionally body coloured) wrap-around bumpers with the indicator repeaters attached to them were fitted. Instrumentation changed from Smiths units to VDO. The older Volvo redblock engines in the 360 were upgraded to the low friction B200 unit. Capacities and outputs remained much the same. The carburettor version was designated B200K and the Bosch LE-Jet fuel injected version is known as the B200E. The 360 was discontinued in 1990. Production of the 300 series ended in 1991, despite the fact it was supposedly replaced by the Volvo 440 in 1987. The last ever car of the Volvo 300 series (a white Volvo 340) rolled off the production line on 13 March 1991, three years after the launch of the 400 Series model which was designed as its replacement.

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The indoor show itself was a bit disappointing, if I am honest. May be I have got used to much larger displays from some of the other events I attend, but it did seem as if there was less there than in previous years. However, add in the displays of cars for sale and the amazing collection of classics out on the road outside, and this was a good event that would have made the trip to Barcelona worthwhile in its own right. That I was able to spend some time in the city and also have a day out in the countryside was an added bonus. Needless to say, the event is in my 2016 plans. Dates are 24 – 27th November.

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Home Forums Auto Retro Barcelona – December 2015

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    Colin
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    There has been a huge increase in the number of car-related events in recent years, capitalising on an undiminished interest from a fan base of all ag
    [See the full post at: Auto Retro Barcelona – December 2015]

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