Faced with a very grey and drizzly January day when in Brussels, following the time I had spent at the Interclassics Maastricht event, an indoor location seemed to be the order of the day. For the car lover, there is one obvious such indoor destination to choose: Autoworld. This is one of the world’s best car museums, as I knew first hand from a couple of previous visits. The museum’s own website advises that in recent years notably since 2010, the museum has undergone substantial transformations, permanent improvements and the setting-up of new display zones such as “Sport & Competition” (2012), “Belgium at Autoworld” (2014) and the repair workshops (2015). Not only that, but space is allocated for a special display, which is changed several times a year, and pictures on-line showed that any one of these special exhibitions alone would generally make frequent return visits here worthwhile, with plenty that would be new to see.
Autoworld is located inside the Parc du Cinquantenaire, an expansive area in the eastern suburbs of Brussels, and easily accessible by car, metro and other forms of public transport. Even the building itself is impressive and has an interesting history. Léopold II’s (1835-1909) driving ambition was to speed up Belgium’s urban development. He wanted to make Brussels not only a beautiful and prestigious city, but also a wonderful place in which to live, capable of matching the other great European towns. In 1880 the Belgians celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their independence: it was an ideal pretext to organise a National Exhibition. Barely a year before the exhibition Léopold II asked the architect Gédéon Bordiau to trace the main outlines of a huge park on an abandoned military training camp outside the city itself: the plateau of Linthout, which covered 12 hectares. Bordiau designed two buildings for this Exhibition linked by semi-circular colonnades with an Arch of Triumph built in the extension of the Rue de la Loi: an avenue leading to Tervuren was also planned. Needless to say, they were not completed in time for the Exhibition and the colonnades and the Arch of Triumph were made of wood and plaster. After the festivities the authorities had no specific plans for the plot of land although building continued. The park was enlarged by expropriations and purchases to its current size of 30 hectares and was given the name it bears today, the Parc du Cinquantenaire. Autoworld is a private museum which rents this building from the community, and the display comprises more than 400 vehicles which provide a comprehensive and informative illustration of the history of the motorcar.
The last time I had spent some time at Autoworld was in 2009, and I recalled from that visit that although it looks easy enough to find on the map, it never seems that way when you are actually on the roads in the area, with a conspicuous lack of signs to guide you, and the fact there is actually only one entrance to the site. This time with a rental car devoid of satellite navigation, it proved no easier, but eventually I was on site, parked up near the buildings and eager to see what was on show. This is what I found:
Showing the evolution of the motor-car, there are displays largely presented around the edges of the ground floor and then continuing upstairs with cars grouped approximately by decade. In one or tow cases the particular car may actually have been built in a different decade from the group in which it is displayed. There’s quite an eclectic mix here, with some familiar marques and models and some which are little known.
1909 Renault AX: The Renault AX was produced between 1908 and 1914 and was mostly used by cab drivers. The AX had a 2-cylinders straight engine with a displacement of 1,060 cc and a power of 8 kW. Its maximum speed was 34 mph (55 km/h). The vehicle weighed 750 kg.
1906 Lion Peugeot VA: The Lion-Peugeot Type VA is an early motor car produced near Valentigney by the French auto-maker Lion-Peugeot between 1907 and 1908. First presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1905, but not offered for sale until the next year, the Type VA was the first of a succession of models to carry the “Lion-Peugeot” name. The car was propelled using a single cylinder 785 cm³ four stroke engine, mounted ahead of the driver. A maximum of between 6 and 7 hp of power was delivered to the rear wheels, and a top speed of 35 km/h (22 mph) was claimed. The Type VA was 2,850 mm long, with a wheel-base of 2,000 mm. A carriage format Voiturette body provided space for two while the covered carriage Tonneau / Phaeton format body offered space for four. The Peugeot family had a long tradition of manufacturing steel components and mechanisms. The car appears to have featured a simple but efficient design, and the manufacturer was able to price the first Lion-Peugeot competitively. Volumes were, by the standards of the time, correspondingly high, and approximately 1,000 of the cars were produced between 1906 and 1908. This made the Lion-Peugeot Type VA the first car carrying the “Peugeot” name to reach 1,000 units. This also appears to have put the car ahead of Peugeot’s own Peugeot Bébé model at the time, although the Bébé, in a succession of versions, would remain in production until 1916 and ultimately top 3,000 sales.
1903 Oldsmobile Curved Dash: The gasoline-powered Oldsmobile Model R, also known as the Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1903; 425 were produced the first year, 2,500 in 1902, and over 19,000 were built in all. When General Motors assumed operations from Ransom E. Olds on November 12, 1908, GM introduced the Oldsmobile Model 20, which was the 1908 Buick Model 10 with a stretched wheelbase and minor exterior changes. It was a runabout model, could seat two passengers, and sold for US$650. While competitive, due to high volume, and priced below the US$850 two-seat Ford Model C “Doctor’s Car”, it was more expensive than the Western 1905 Gale Model A roadster at US$500. The Black sold for $375, and the Success for US$250. It was built as a city car for short distance driving, while the larger Model S could carry four passengers and could travel longer distances. The flat-mounted, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 5 hp relying on a brass gravity feed carburettor. The transmission was a semiautomatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low-speed forward and reverse gear system is a planetary type (epicyclic). The car weighed 850 lb (390 kg) and used Concord springs. It had a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). The car’s success was partially by accident; in 1901, a fire destroyed a number of other prototypes before they could be approved for production, leaving the Curved Dash as the only one intact. As workers were attempting to move the prototypes out of the burning building, they were only successful at rescuing one prototype, the Model R Curved Dash. In 1904, the Model R was replaced by the Model 6C, which had a larger 1,931 cc engine, drum brakes replaced the band brake. After 2,234 copies, the 6C model was discontinued in December 1904. In 1905, the Model B was introduced with more improvements. The engine received improved cooling and a new flywheel, and the handbrake now worked on the differential instead of the gearbox. The leaf spring suspension were modified so that the reinforced axles were connected to all spring elements. In 1906, the car received celluloid side window curtains. The dashboard was also offered with an upright position, called the Straight Dash, and approximately 6,500 Model B were manufactured, and the Model F was introduced in 1907, again with mechanical improvements. The Model B also saw a limited production Touring Sedan with a novel entry approach called the Side Entrance Touring Sedan where passengers would enter from the middle of the car. The engine was a 4,257 cc two cylinder horizontally opposed engine installed underneath the passenger compartment that powered the rear wheels, and the transmission was a two-speed planetary gearbox. Sales weren’t successful and it was cancelled by 1906.
1906 De Dion Bouton AL
1907 Cadillac Model K: Cadillac’s single-cylinder lineup was consolidated into two models for 1906, the short wheelbase Model K and long wheelbase Model M. Priced at $750 for the Model K or $950 for the Model M, 3,650 units were sold that year. The K and M were essentially similar to the Models E and F from 1905 but with updated bodies. Production and sale of the Models K and M continued in 1907 in both the Tulip and straight lined body styles. The Model M was offered with a delivery body in 1906 and again for the 1907 model year. Three 1907 Model Ks were used in the famous Dewar Trophy test of the Royal Automobile Club in England. They were disassembled, the parts mixed, and then reassembled without problems. This test cemented the Cadillac’s reputation for precision and quality and brought fame to the marque. The Model M continued only as a commercial delivery vehicle for 1908, priced at $950.
1913 Alva C13
1911 Franklin Model D
1911 Le Zebre Type A-4
1913 Bébé Peugeot: This is the small car Peugeot made from 1905 to 1916. Vehicles under this name were known technically within Peugeot as the Type 69 and the Type BP1. The original Bébé was presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1904 and stole the show as a modern and robust creation that was cheap, small, and practical. Its weight was 350 kilograms (770 lb) and length was 2.7 metres (110 in), and these tiny dimensions meant that its small engine could propel it to 40 km/h (25 mph). Though selling price was deliberately kept as low as possible, technologies like rack and pinion steering and a driveshaft instead of a chain were included in the vehicle. Production began in Audincourt in 1905, and the car proved to be popular. Bébé sold 400 units in the first year, or 80% of Peugeot’s production. It was also exported, particularly to Britain. The Type 69 was sold only for the year 1905. The Type BP1 Bébé was a design by Ettore Bugatti, initially for the German car firm Wanderer, then also built under license by Peugeot for the French market. Peugeot displayed it under their marque at the Paris Motor Show in 1912. Production began in 1913 following discontinuation of the Type 69. Wanderer built their car with Bugatti’s own 4-speed transmission, but in order to keep production costs down for the French version, Peugeot fitted a 2-speed gearbox initially, which was then replaced by their own 3-speed. The engine was also Peugeot’s own, a tiny straight-4 that produced 10 bhp at 2000 rpm, which gave the small car a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph). Weight was again below 350 kilograms (770 lb), though the track was wide enough for two to sit abreast. Bébé scored some racing success among small car classes, notably at Mont Ventoux in 1913, where it won in its class. This model ran until 1916. Advertising promoted its qualities as an economy product, in one case highlighting the comparison with more conventional transport in the case of a rural doctor, needing to cover approximately 40 km (25 miles) per day, for whom a Bébé would replace a team of two horses, while costing no more than one of them. With a total of 3,095 produced, and despite the dire economic conditions created by the war, the Bugatti designed Bébé was the first production Peugeot to breach the 3,000 units threshold.
1906 Renault X-1
1913 Chenard & Walcker T-2
1931 Swallow Seven: In 1927, William Lyons, co-founder of the Swallow Sidecar Company, saw the commercial potential of producing a re-bodied Austin 7. Buying a chassis from dealer Parkers of Bolton Lyons commissioned Swallow’s talented employee, coachbuilder Cyril Holland, to produce a distinctive open tourer: the Austin Seven Swallow. Holland (1895- ) who joined Swallow in late 1926 had served his apprenticeship with Lanchester and would become chief body engineer. The height of saloon car fashion of the day was to have the back of the body fully rounded, this was called “dome” shaped. With its bright two-tone colour scheme and a style befitting more expensive cars of the time, together with its low cost (£175), the Swallow proved popular and was followed in 1928 by a saloon version: the Austin Seven Swallow Saloon. Approximately 3,500 bodies of various styles were produced up until 1932, when Lyons started making complete cars under the SS brand. Such was the demand for the Austin Seven Swallows that Lyons was forced to move in 1928 from Blackpool to new premises in Coventry. It was, in part, the success of the Swallows that laid the foundations of what was to become, by 1945, Jaguar Cars.
1928 Dixi DA-1: In 1927, Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, which manufactured automobiles under the Dixi marque, entered a contract with the Austin Motor Company to manufacture the Austin Seven under licence. The first fifty Eisenach-built Sevens were right-hand-drive cars assembled in September 1927 from parts provided by Austin’s factory in Longbridge. By December 1927, Dixi had begun building their version of the Seven, the left-hand-drive Dixi 3/15 PS DA-1, built from parts made by Dixi. The 3/15 designation was derived from a taxable power rating of 3 PS with an actual power output of approximately 15 hp. The DA-1 designation stood for Erste Deutsche Ausführung (First German Version). The main differences between the BMW Dixi 3/15 DA-1 and the contemporary Austin Seven were the addition of Bosch shock absorbers, the placement of the driver’s controls on the left side of the vehicle, and the use of metric fasteners. BMW bought Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach from parent company Gothaer Waggonfabrik in October 1928. As a result, the Dixi 3/15 PS DA-1, when upgraded for 1929 became the BMW Dixi 3/15 DA-2 or, increasingly, simply as the BMW 3/15 DA-2.
1928 Opel 8/40 PS Torpedo: The Opel 7/34 PS is a large but relatively inexpensive six-cylinder-powered car manufactured by Opel, introduced in October 1927. It was replaced in 1928 by the Opel 8/40 PS which was virtually identical except that the cylinder capacity had been increased. Significant changes to the chassis took place in February 1929, after which production of the model continued till September 1930. The 8/40 PS was replaced by the Opel 1.8 Litre in 1931, also a compact six-cylinder car. The name of the car described the engine and followed the widely followed German convention of the time whereby the first number – here “7” or “8” – identified the car’s tax horsepower (Steuer-PS) (effectively, in the case of German cars of the period, a linear function of the engine capacity) and the second represented the manufacturer’s figure for the actual horsepower. The engine at launch was a 6-cylinder side-valve 1,735 cc unit for which the manufacturer quoted a maximum output of 34 PS at 3,600 rpm. This engine has a 62 mm × 95 mm bore and stroke and was derived from the little four-cylinder used in the Opel Laubfrosch. This supported a claimed top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). A year later the engine size was increased to 1,924 cc and claimed maximum output increased to 40 PS, still at 3,600 rpm. The bore and stroke were both increased, to 64 mm × 100 mm. Despite the listed weights of 720 kg in bare chassis form and 1170 kg with a standard “Limousine” (sedan/saloon) body being unchanged, along with the gear ratios, the increase in claimed power was not accompanied by any change in the claimed top speed, which remained at 90 km/h (56 mph). The three-speed manual transmission, controlled using a lever in the middle of the floor, conveyed power to the rear wheels. The footbrake operated on all four wheels via a cable linkage while the handbrake connected directly to the drive shaft. The engineering approach taken by Opel was consciously unadventurous. The least expensive version between 1927 and 1929, the Torpedo bodied “Tourenwagen” was priced at 4,600 Mark throughout these years, which was inexpensive to make it the least expensive six-cylinder-engined car available in Germany. The unadventurous design is also reflected in that it can be very hard to distinguish an 8/40 PS from one of Opel’s “senior” sixes (12/50, 15/60); unless one can compare the wheelbases the easiest way to tell them apart is that the light six uses four rather than five wheel nuts. Opel’s ability to undercut the competition on price stemmed both from the simplicity of the design and from the fact that Opel was the first, and at this time still the only manufacturer in Germany using a Ford-inspired production line system. Under the circumstances it is not hard to see why Opel was an appealing target when General Motors (GM) were contemplating the acquisition of a major German auto-maker. In March 1929 GM purchased a controlling 80% share in the Opel business. In addition to the Torpedo bodied “Tourenwagen” the Opel 7/34 PS was available at launch as a closed 4-door “Limousine” (sedan/saloon) with a listed price of 4,900 Mark or, for a further 500 Mark, as a 4-door “Luxus-Limousine.” They all sat on the same 4,250 mm (167 in) chassis with a 2,880 mm (113 in) wheelbase. The replacement of the original car with the more powerful Opel 8/40 PS was accompanied by a broadening of the range which now also included a two-seater “Roadster,” a two-seater Coupé and a two-seater Cabriolet. The three four-door bodies were offered as before, still using the same 2,880 mm (113 in) wheelbase, but for the new two-seater models Opel used a shorter chassis with a 2,750 mm (108 in) wheelbase. In addition to the standard bodies, some special coachbuilt bodied cars were also produced, notably by Karosseriewerke Otto Kühn [de] of Halle who specialised in producing bodies for Opel, concentrating on styles for which demand was insufficient to justify Opel tooling-up to build the bodies themselves. Kühn also manufactured an 8/40-engined car of their own design, using their own chassis as well as bodywork, until 1929. This car was marketed as the “Kühn 8/40 PS.” The “Limousine”-bodied cars underwent a significant upgrade, with slightly longer bodies (despite the wheelbase being unchanged) early in 1929. The principal change was the switch from a traditional Hochbett (“Overslung”) chassis to a Tiefbett (“Underslung”) chassis. Opel’s principal competitor for this model was probably the Adler Standard 6 which underwent the same change only in 1933. The 7/34 PS and 8/40 PS between them notched up 20,580 units produced during a production run of approximately three years. It took Adler a little more than seven years to produce 21,249 comparably sized Standard 6s. No other German auto-maker of cars this size (or any size) approached Opels’ production volumes in the 1920s.
1923 Talbot Type B 12/32HP
1929 Graham 621
1925 Hanomag 2/10 PS “Kommisbrot”: The Hanomag 2/10 PS was an economy car manufactured by Hanomag from 1924 to 1928. It was one of the first cars with envelope styling.It was affectionately referred to as the Kommissbrot (“Army Bread”) due to its identical shape with the usual loaf of bread used by the German army at the time. “Kommiss” is German slang for “Army”, short for “commissioned. The 2/10 PS (two taxable / ten brake horsepower) had a single-cylinder half litre engine behind the passengers. The rear axle was chain-driven, with no differential. With a fuel consumption of 4.0 l/100 km (71 mpg) it was the world’s most fuel efficient mass-production car between the two World Wars due to the low-friction one-cylinder engine and its very light weight. The fenders, or wings, of the 2/10 PS were integrated into the bodywork of the car, allowing the passenger space to be wider than it would have been with the traditional separate fenders and running board. The compact drivetrain allowed the floor to be lower, removing the need for a running board. The rounded appearance of the 2/10 PS, due to the envelope styling, earned it the nickname Kommissbrot after the inexpensive, flat-sided bread typically used by the military. The 2/10 PS faced competition from the Opel Laubfrosch and the Dixi DA1 variant of the Austin 7. These cars were superior by nearly every measure and cost no more than the little Hanomag; the Kommissbrot was replaced in 1928 by the more conventional 3/16 PS model.
1922 Daimler TS6.30: During the First World War, Daimler continued production of private cars as staff vehicles for the Army, and many chassis were also made for ambulance bodywork. In 1919, Daimler re-entered the civilian market with the well- established 30hp and 45hp six-cylinder models. The 30hp car with a 5-litre engine had been introduced in 1912 and was now available in short wheelbase Light Thirty form, as well as the Standard Thirty with a long wheelbase of 11ft. 9in (3,588 mm), of which this car is an example. All Daimlers of this period featured the Knight sleeve-valve engine which had been used since 1908. The elliptic rear springs and the absence of front wheel brakes still gave this 1922 model a rather Edwardian air. Daimler however had- adopted ‘streamline’ design by which was meant a higher bonnet line, on the same level as the scuttle! The 30hp chassis alone was priced at £1000 while complete cars with Daimler’s own bodywork started at £1,325 for a tourer such as this car. This clearly put the Daimler near the top end of the market, competing, for instance, with the new ‘small’ 20hp Rolls-Royce. By 1922, in addition to the two large six-cylinder cars, Daimler had introduced a smaller 20hp model, which was the last Daimler with only four cylinders. It was however discontinued after one year, and Daimler instead introduced a new range of three smaller six-cylinder cars, the 12hp, 16hp and 21hp models, giving a total of five different engine sizes, and a typically wide range of bodywork was available on all chassis.
1921 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
1922 Ford Model T
1924 Renault 18CV Faux Landaulet
1924 Ford Model TT Motorhome
1928 Packard Model 8
1925 Citroen 5CV C3 Boattail: Citroën made around 81,000 of these light cars between 1922 and 1926. Originally called the Type C, it 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’. 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 “Trefle” (Cloverleaf) model with room for a single passenger in the rear. There were also C2 and C3 Cabriolets made. This particular car is a three seater model.
1935 Hispano Suiza K6 Stadt Coupe: The Hispano-Suiza K6 was introduced at the Paris Auto Salon in 1934. The car was offered with a new 5.184 cc overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine designed by Marc Birkigt. It had shorter 110-millimeter stroke, improved breathing and produced around 120 bhp. Three-speed manual transmission, solid axle suspension with semi-elliptic springs and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes makes from K6 high quality car favoured by many premier French coachbuilders.
1934 Talbot Roadster
1938 Adler Trumpf Junior Cabriolet: The Adler Trumpf Junior is a small family car introduced by the Frankfurt based auto-maker, Adler early in 1934. The Adler Trumpf had by now been available for two years, and the Trumpf Junior was conceived as a similar but smaller car which would broaden the range and claim a share of a growing market which DKW were creating with their F1 model, and its successors, for small inexpensive front wheel drive cars. The Trumpf Junior’s development was a shared responsibility between Hans Gustav Röhr (1895 – 1937) and his colleague and friend, Adler chief engineer Josef Dauben. The engine was a four-cylinder four stroke 995 cc side-valve unit. Claimed maximum power was of 25 hp at 4,000 rpm. This supported a claimed top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). Power was delivered to the front wheels via a four speed manual transmission controlled by means of a column mounted lever. When launched at the start of 1934 the car came with a choice between a small two door “Limousine” (sedan/saloon) with a recommended price of 2,750 Marks and small two door “Cabrio-Limousine” which was effectively a two-door sedan/saloon with a canvas foldable roof, available for only 2,650 Marks. Comparisons with the smaller engined DKW Meisterklasse F4 were unavoidable: DKW’s recommended price for the DKWs was 2,500 Marks and 2,600 Marks respectively for their Limousine and Cabrio-Limousine bodied cars. For 1935 Adler broadened the Trumpf Junior range, now offering in addition to the Limousine and Cabrio-Limousine, two and four seater cabriolets and 2 seater sports models. The range was topped off by a version of sports model with its maximum engine power raised to 25 hp, priced at 4,150 Marks. The bodies on the 1935 cars were of lightweight timber frame construction, covered by a synthetic leather skin. This followed the structural choice still used by DKW for their small front wheel drive DKW Meisterklasse F4. However, the use of synthetic leather skin which had a tendency to rot, attracted adverse comment for both manufacturers and by 1935 buyers of the Adler Trumpf Junior saloon/sedan could pay an extra 200 Marks for a timber frame car covered not by synthetic leather but by sheet steel. At the start of the 1930s timber frame construction would have been a natural choice for small inexpensive cars. It relied on timber based craft skills that had been developed over generations in the carriage building trade and were still readily available. However, all-steel car bodies were already increasingly mainstream in North America where they had been introduced before the First World War, and they offered clear advantages in terms of reduced weight, increased strength, a better view out (because the strength of the steel allowed for larger windows), and a reduced propensity to burn uncontrollably if an engine caught fire, which in the 1930s engines regularly could. Adler’s own Standard 6 model had, in terms of the German auto-industry, pioneered the use of all-steel car bodies from its launch in 1927. Much of the extra expense of producing steel bodied cars arose before a single car had been produced, with a high capital outlay being needed for investment in the heavy presses and dies needed to produce the pressings for the body panels. But with market demand for small cars growing rapidly in the 1930s, economies of scale entered the picture, and if a manufacturer could amortise the initial capital costs for a single model over many tens of thousand of cars, the unit cost of an all-steel body was no longer prohibitive. In 1936 Adler started to produce the Trumpf Junior saloon/sedan with an all-steel body and priced the car at 2,950 Marks, which was exactly the same price that they were now asking for the same car with a timber frame body. Both body types continued to be listed until 1939, but following a 250 Mark price reduction for the steel bodied car in 1937, it was the steel bodied car that came with the lower price. The standard all-steel bodies were provided by Germany’s larger supplier of steel car bodies, Ambi-Budd of Berlin. Slightly unusually for a car-body design, this one had a name, and the steel bodied Trump Juniors were known as the “Jupiter” bodied Trumpf Juniors. However, the name was one which was shared with the slightly larger steel bodied Adler Trumpf which had been available with an all-steel “Jupiter” steel body from Ambi-Budd since 1932. At the start of 1936 the Trumpf Junior (1G) was replaced by the Trumpf Junior (1E). The engine and 2,630 mm (103.5 in) wheel-base were unchanged, but a range of 390 mm (15.4 in) longer and more streamlined of bodies was introduced. From 1936 until production ended in 1941 these standard bodies would be offered without further changes. “Limousine” and “Cabrio-Limousine” bodies for the 1936 cars continued to come from Ambi-Budd while production of the four seater cabriolet bodies was split between Ambi-Budd and Karmann of Osnabrück. The stylish and more costly two seater cabriolet bodies came from various coachbuilders including Wendler of Reutlingen. In August 1939 Adler produced the 100,000th Trumpf Junior which by then had become by far the company’s best selling car to date and, as things later turned out, of all time. 23,013 of the cars produced had been of the 1934-35 (1G) version, and by the time production came to a complete halt in 1941 Adler had added 78,827 of the 1936-41 (1E) version.
1939 Horch 930V Cabriolet
1939 Mercedes-Benz 170V Cabriolet A: Launched in 1936, the 170 soon became Mercedes’ top-selling model, with over 75,000 made by 1939. Enough of the W136’s tooling survived Allied bombing during World War II (or could be recreated post-war) for it to serve as the foundation upon which the company could rebuild. By 1947 the model 170 V had resumed its place as Mercedes’ top-seller, a position it held until 1953. Most of the cars produced, and an even higher proportion of those that survive, were two or four door “Limousine” (saloon) bodied cars, but the range of different body types offered in the 1930s for the 170 V was unusually broad. A four-door “Cabrio-Limousine” combined the four doors of the four door “Limousine” with a full length foldaway canvas roof. Both the foor door bodies were also available adapted for taxi work, with large luggage racks at the back. There was a two-door two seater “Cabriolet A” and a two-door four seater “Cabriolet B” both with luggage storage behind the seats and beneath the storage location of the hood when folded (but without any external lid for accessing the luggage from outside the car). A common feature of the 170 V bodies was external storage of the spare wheel on the car’s rear panel. The two seater roadster featured a large flap behind the two seats with a thinly upholstered rear partition, and which could be used either as substantial luggage platform or as a very uncomfortable bench – the so-called mother-in-law’s seat. In addition to the wide range of passenger far bodied 170 Vs, a small commercial variant was offered, either as a flatbed truck or with a box-body on the back. Special versions of the 170 V were offered, adapted for use as ambulances or by the police, mountain rescue services and military. Production restarted in May 1946. The vehicles produced were versions of the 170 V, but in 1946 only 214 vehicles were produced and they were all light trucks or ambulances. Passenger car production resumed in July 1947, but volumes were still very low, with just 1,045 170 Vs produced that year. There was no return for the various open topped models from the 1930s. Customers for a Mercedes-Benz 170 V passenger car were restricted to the four door “Limousine” sedan/saloon bodied car. Production did ramp up during the next couple of years, and in 1949 170 V production returned to above 10,000 cars. From May 1949 the car, badged in this permutation as the Mercedes-Benz 170D, was offered with an exceptionally economical 38 PS diesel engine. The 170D was the world’s third diesel fuelled passenger car, and the first to be introduced after the war. A number of updates were made in 1950 and 1952, with more modern and more powerful engines among the changes, but with the appearance of the new Ponton bodied Mercedes-Benz 180 in 1953, the 170 models suddenly appeared very old fashioned. The 170 V was delisted in September 1953: in July 1953 the manufacturer had replaced the existing 170 S with the reduced specification 170 S-V. The car that resulted combined the slightly larger body from the 170 S with the less powerful 45 PS engine that had previously powered the 170 V. The vehicle provided reduced performance but at a reduced price, while salesmen steered more prosperous buyers to the new Ponton bodied 180. The diesel powered 170 S continued to be sold, now branded as the 170 S-D. The internal “W191” designation which had distinguished the previous 170 Ss was removed, and the 170 Ss manufactured from 1953 returned to the “W136” works designation that they had shared with the 170 V till the end of 1951. In September 1955 the last Mercedes-Benz W136, the Mercedes-Benz 170 S was withdrawn from production.
1940 BMW 326 4 door cabriolet: The BMW 326 is a medium-sized sedan produced by BMW between 1936 and 1941,and again briefly, under Soviet control, after 1945. The 326 was BMW’s first four-door sedan. It had an innovative design and sold well despite its relatively high price. It also had an unusually involved afterlife. Designed by Fritz Fiedler, the 326 featured a box-section frame that could readily be adapted for derivative models.Also innovative were the torsion bar rear suspension, inspired by the dead axle suspension of the Citroën Traction Avant, and the hydraulic braking system, the first to be used on a BMW car. Styled by Peter Schimanowski, the 326 was offered as a four-door sedan and as a two- or four-door cabriolet. The 326 sedan was the first BMW available with four doors. The BMW 320, BMW 321, BMW 327, and BMW 335 were based on the 326. The streamlined form of the body contrasted with previous relatively upright BMWs: drag was presumably reduced further by including a fixed cover over the spare wheel at the back. The 1971 cc straight 6 engine was a version of the 319’s power plant, with the bore increased from 65 mm to 66 mm and an unchanged stroke of 96 mm giving a displacement of 1,971 cc.In the 326 application, it was fed by twin 26 mm Solex carburetors to produce a claimed maximum output of 50 PS at 3750 rpm. The top speed is 115 km/h (71 mph). The four-speed gear box was supported by freewheeling on the bottom ratios and synchromesh on the top two. The 326 was introduced at the Berlin Motor Show in February 1936, the 326 was offered for sale from May of that year. The 326 was a success. By the time production was suspended in 1941, the Eisenach plant had produced 15,949 of them.
1934 Oldsmobile F-34 Coupe Type B: From 1932-38 the Oldsmobile was available in 2 body sizes; the smaller Series F on the GM-A body with straight 6 cylinder and the larger Series L on the GM-B body with straight 8 cylinder Oldsmobiles were built in Australia from 1923 to 1929 and also from 1934 to 1948 All Holden bodied Oldsmobiles were F34 (6 cyl cars), no L34 8 cyl cars that the US had, all Australian cars did have 2 spare wheels On offer for 1936 was the Sedan and Coupe, very similar to US cars, also the Roadster and Tourer, a bit different to the US cars. The Australian cars got a folding windscreen and missed out on wind up windows.
1938 Delahaye 135M
1934 Citroen Traction Avant Type 7A: 1934 saw the introduction of the Citroen’s revolutionary and mould-shattering front-wheel-drive semi-monocoque Citroën Traction Avant. The Traction endured a troubled and prolonged birth process, however, and was part of an ambitious investment programme which involved, also in 1934, the bankruptcy of the business, and its acquisition by Citroën’s principal creditor. The patron himself died in 1935. In this troubled situation, availability of the larger Rosalies (although re-engined with a turned-around version of the new Traction’s OHV four-cylinder engines) continued till 1938: it is only through the distorting prism of subsequent events that its reputation has been diminished when set against the technical brilliance of its successor. Produced for over 20 years, many different versions were made during that time, all with the same styling outline, but with power outputs ranging from 7 to 15CV, and different wheelbases, as well as some with Coupe and Convertible body styles. There was even one model with a large opening tailgate, the Commerciale. This 7CV version was one of the cheaper models from the range.
1939 LaSalle Model 50
1935 Oldsmobile F35C
1935 Chrysler Airstream
1932 Imperia 1100SS: Impéria was a Belgian automobile manufactured from 1906 until 1948. Products of the Ateliers Piedboeuf of Liège, the first cars were designed by the German Paul Henze. These were four-cylinders of 3, 4.9, and 9.9 litres. The next year, the company moved to Nessonvaux, Trooz municipality, and began production in the old Pieper factory. Impéria produced a monobloc 12 hp in 1909. In 1910, the company merged with Springuel. The Nessonvaux factory began producing Abadals under license as Impéria-Abadals from about 1916. In 1921, it built three ohc 5.6-litre straight-eights. These were quickly replaced by an ephemeral ohc 3-litre 32-valve four-cylinder which had a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h). This was followed by an 1100 cc slide-valve 11/22 hp four designed by Couchard, one of the first cars ever built with a sunroof. Its engine rotated counterclockwise, and its transmission brake also served as a servo for those on the front wheels. In 1927 a six-cylinder of 1624 cc appeared; this had been available in three-carburettor Super Sports form from 1930. In 1925, the company hired Louis de Monge as chief research engineer. Some of his work included torsion bar suspension and automatic transmissions. De Monge left in 1937 to join Bugatti, where he would design the Bugatti 100P racer plane. Around and on top of the factory buildings, there was a test track over 1 km long. The track was built in 1928. The only other rooftop test tracks were on Fiat’s Lingotto plant, opened in 1923, and Palacio Chrysler in Buenos Aires, opened in 1928. Over the course of four years, Impéria took over three other Belgian car manufacturers: Métallurgique (1927), Excelsior (1929), and Nagant (1931). From 1934 until the company folded it built mainly front-wheel-drive Adlers with Belgian-made coachwork. The company merged with Minerva in 1934, but they split in 1939. In addition to its production in Belgium, Impéria made a number of cars in Great Britain; these were assembled at a factory in Maidenhead. From 1947 to 1949 Impéria built its last model, the TA-8, which combined an Adler Trumpf Junior-type chassis with a Hotchkiss engine originally intended for the Amilcar Compound.
1937 Panhard X77 Dynamic: A very daring creation by Bionnier for Panhard & Levassor. Many cars of the time displayed elements of the then popular Art Deco style, but in no other has this been applied as extensively as in this X77 Dynamic. Look at the aerodynamic mudguard skirts which have been placed wide apart to allow adequate room for the wheels to be turned. Also note the headlight grilles which have the same shape as the radiator grille; the three windscreen wipers and the ‘Panoramique’ windscreen with curved corner pieces. Note too that the driver is seated almost centrally in the car, allowing him to make optimal use of the panoramic windows. A slim person can sit on his right and a somewhat plumper person on his left. The Dynamic was Panhard & Levassor’s attempt to uphold their name in an ever-declining market. Although the marque was once progressive, it was now lagging behind. This design represented a break from the older, conservative models. The X77 Dynamic was equipped with a 2.8-litre, six-cylinder, sleeve-valve engine. Some 3,000 of this model were produced from 1936 to 1939.
1938 Ford 81A Sedan: This car has its origins in the V8 models of 1932. A thorough update for 1935 saw the deletion of the 4 cylinder option, so all Fords now came with the V8 engine. The model was known as the Model 48. The styling was made more modern with the grille pushed forward and made more prominent by de-emphasised and more-integrated bumpers. A major advance was a true integrated trunk on “trunkback” sedans, though the traditional “flatback” was also offered. Outdated body styles like the Victoria were also deleted for the year. Two trim lines were offered, standard and DeLuxe, across a number of body styles including a base roadster, five-window coupe, three-window coupe, Tudor and Fordor sedans in flatback or trunkback versions, a convertible sedan, a woody station wagon, and new Model 51 truck. Rumble seats were optional on coupe model. An oil pressure gauge($4) and two windshield wipers were optional. If one got the optional radio, it replaced the ash tray. The changes appealed to the market, and Ford sales pulled well ahead of rival Chevrolet with 820,000 sold. Chevrolet fought back in 1936 and outsold Ford, so it was all change again in 1937, with a new range of cars called Models 73, 74 and 77 in 1937, with a choice of a less potent 2.2 litre V8 as well as the 3.6 litre unit as well as new styling including a new V shaped grille and fared-in headlights. Further changes came on an annual basis every year for the rest of the live of this basic design, with the Models 81A and 82A in 1938, and Models 91A and 92A in 1939.. The 1938 recession hurt sales, as did Ford’s continuing of the 1937 cars, including most body panels. 1938 DeLuxe models were differentiated with a heart-shaped grille, though standard models retained the 1937 look. The fading Slantback sedan design was cancelled for good. Only a V8 was offered, either a 60 hp V8 or an 85 hp V8. A new dash was used, with recessed controls for safety. The 1938 trucks were finally updated, having continued with 1935 looks. Changes included a vertical oval grille and substantial bumpers.
WORLD WAR II
1944 Willys Jeep and 1936 Citroen UB11
VW Kubelwagen: The Volkswagen Kübelwagen (literally, ‘tub’ car), was a light military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military (both Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS). Based heavily on the Volkswagen Beetle, it was prototyped as the Type 62, but eventually became known internally as the Type 82. Kübelwagen is a contraction of Kübelsitzwagen, meaning ‘bucket-seat car’ because all German light military vehicles that had no doors were fitted with bucket seats to prevent passengers from falling out.This body style had first been developed by Karosseriefabrik Nikolaus Trutz [de] in 1923. The first Porsche Type 62 test vehicles had no doors and were therefore fitted with bucket seats as Kübelsitzwagen, that was later shortened to Kübelwagen. Mercedes, Opel and Tatra also built Kübelsitzwagen. With its rolling chassis and mechanics built at Stadt des KdF-Wagens (renamed Wolfsburg after 1945), and its body built by US-owned firm Ambi Budd Presswerke in Berlin, the Kübelwagen was for the Germans what the Jeep and GAZ-67 were for the Allies.
1949 Standard Vanguard: An important car not just for Standard, but also for generating significant export revenue, the Vanguard was launched in 1948, the first all new British design produced after the war. It replaced all the pre-war models, production of which had restarted in 1946. The fastback styling of the first models aped American designs of the era leaving little doubt where it was intended to sell the car. As well as the fastback saloon and estate models, a pick-up was offered for the Australian market. The Phase 2 came along at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1953. Not so much a new model as an extensive re-design, keeping the same front end but with a contemporary Ponton, three-box design “notch-back” design, which provided 50% more luggage space and improved rear visibility. Mechanically there were few changes, and the design was produced for a couple of years, including, from 1954 with the option of a diesel engine, the first British car to do so. The third phase Vanguard, launched in 1955 would be very different.
1951 Moskvitch 400: At war’s end, the Soviet Union deemed the plans and tooling for the 1939 Opel Kadett K38 to be part of the war reparations package, since the tooling in the Rüsselsheim factory was largely intact; residents dismantling the Kadett production tooling and loaded fifty-six freight cars bound for Moscow and the newly built “Stalin Factory” (ZIS). However, according to recent Russian sources, the Kadett plans and tooling were in fact not captured from the factory, because they did not survive there (and what survived was appropriate for producing a two-door model). Development began in 1944, following a prewar plan to produce a domestically built car able to be used and maintained by citizens living outside major cities. The KIM factory was selected to build the car, with the prewar KIM 10-52 (not built due to the Second World War) as a basis, with production approved in May 1945 and prototypes intended to be ready in December; by the end of May, however, these plans had faltered. It was Joseph Stalin who personally chose in June 1945 a four-door Opel Kadett to become the first mass-produced popular Soviet car, so plans and tooling of a four-door version had to be reconstructed with help of German engineers, who worked upon them in a Soviet occupation zone. The Soviet Union was not the only country to adopt the design at that time: the Kadett had impressed Louis Renault and heavily inspired his Renault Juvaquatre produced in 1937-1960. After KIM was renamed MZMA (Moscovskiy Zavod Malolitrazhnyh Avtomobiley, Moscow Factory for Making Small Cars) in August 1945, the new car was ready for production before the end of 1946 (somewhat behind the planned June deadline): the first 400-420 was built 9 December, “400” meant a type of engine, and “420” the (saloon) body style. With unitized construction, independent front suspension, three-speed manual transmission. and hydraulic brakes, it was powered by a 23 hp 1,074 cc inline four (with a compression ratio of 5.6:1). Acceleration 0–50 mph (0–80 km/h) took 55 seconds, and achieved 9 L/100 km (31 mpg) (the best of any Soviet car at that time). With a wheelbase of 2,340 mm (92 in)) and ground clearance of 200 mm (7.9 in)), it measured 3,855 mm (151.8 in) long overall 1,400 mm (55 in) wide, 1,550 mm (61 in) tall. Approved for mass production by the Soviet government on 28 April 1947, 1,501 were built the first year, with 4,808 for 1948 and 19,906 in 1949, the same year a mesh oil filter was introduced.In 1951, synchromesh was introduced on the top two gears, and the gear lever relocated to the steering column. In 1948, a woodie van, the 400-422, with an 800 kg (1,800 lb) payload, went into production but the similar prototype 400-421 estate and a pick-up never did. The 400-420A cabriolet debuted in 1949. The 400 went on sale in Belgium in October 1950, making it a very early Soviet automotive export product, priced at £349: below the Ford Prefect and Anglia, and well below the Morris Minor. Motor praised its engine’s quietness, the calibre of its finish, and the quality of the ride. The 100,000th Moskvich was built in October 1952.
1951 Tatra 600 Tatraplan: this is a rear-engined large family car (D-segment in Europe) produced from 1948 to 1952 by the Czech manufacturer Tatra. The first prototype was finished in 1946. After World War II, Tatra continued its pre-war business of building passenger cars in addition to commercial vehicles and military vehicles. The factory was nationalised in 1946 two years before the Communist takeover. Although production of pre-war models continued, a new model, the Tatra 600 Tatraplan was designed in 1946-47 by Josef Chalupa, Vladimír Popelář, František Kardaus and Hans Ledwinka. The name of the car celebrated the new Communist planned economy but also referred to aeroplane inspiration (‘éroplan’ means aeroplane in colloquial Czech). After two prototypes “Ambrož” (December 1946) and “Josef” (March 1947), the 600 went into mass production in 1948. In 1951, the state planning department decided that the Tatraplan should henceforth be built at the Skoda Auto plant in Mladá Boleslav, leaving Tatra to concentrate on truck assembly. This was quite unpopular with the workforce at both plants: as a result Skoda built Tatraplans for one year only before the model was discontinued in 1952. The Tatraplan had a monocoque streamlined 6-seat fastback saloon body with frontal suicide doors and a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.32. It was powered by an air-cooled flat-4-cylinder 1,952 cc rear-mounted engine. 6,342 were made, 2,100 of them in Mladá Boleslav.
Renault 4CV: 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 years. An 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.
1952 Mercedes 300S Cabriolet A: This was a two-door luxury sports tourer produced between 1951 and 1958. The company’s most expensive and exclusive automobiles, the elegant, hand-built 300 S (1951-1954) and its successor 300 Sc (1955-1958) were the pinnacle of the Mercedes line of their era. The pair’s conservative styling belied their technological advances, sharing numerous design innovations and mechanical components with the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”, including engine, suspension, and chassis. The hand-built two-door 300 S (W188) was Mercedes-Benz’s top-end vehicle on its introduction at the Paris Salon in October 1951. It was available as a 2-seat roadster, 2+2 coupé, and cabriolet (with landau bars, officially Cabriolet A). Although mechanically similar to the contemporary 300 (W186), the additional craftsmanship, visual elegance, and 50% higher price tag elevated the W188 to the apex of its era’s luxury cars. The 300 S was fitted with a high-performance version of the W186’s 2996 cc overhead cam, aluminium head M189 straight-6. Designed to give reliable service under prolonged hard use, the engine featured deep water jackets, an innovative diagonal head-to-block joint that allowed for oversized intake and exhaust valves, thermostatically controlled oil cooling, copper-lead bearings, and a hardened crankshaft. Triple Solex carburettors and 7.8:1 compression and raised maximum output to 150 hp at 5000 rpm. From July 1952 to August 1955, a total of 216 Coupés, 203 Cabriolet As, and 141 Roadsters were produced. The 300 SC appeared in 1955, featuring upgrades to both its engine and suspension. Following the high-performance 300SL Gullwing’s lead a year earlier, the SC’s inline-six received a version of its mechanical direct fuel-injection, which delivered a slightly detuned 173 hp at 5400 rpm. Mercedes-Benz’s “low-pivot” independent suspension was fitted in the rear. Only a pair of chrome strips on either side of the hood visually distinguished it from its precursor. Prices rose to DM 36,500, and 98 Coupés, 49 Cabriolet As, and 53 Roadsters were built through April 1958.
Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Drophead: This was a compact executive car produced and built by Sunbeam-Talbot from 1948 to 1954 and continued as the Sunbeam Mk III from 1954 to 1957. The car was launched in 1948 along with the smaller-engined Sunbeam-Talbot 80 but many features dated back to the pre war Sunbeam-Talbot 2 Litre. The body was completely new and available as a 4-door saloon or 2-door drophead coupe. The saloon featured a “pillarless” join between the glass on the rear door and the rear quarter window. The car went through three versions before the name was changed to Sunbeam Mk III (without “Talbot”) in 1954. The original version had a 64 bhp 1,944 cc side-valve four-cylinder engine derived from a pre-war Humber unit carried over from the Sunbeam-Talbot 2-Litre. The chassis was derived from the Ten model but with wider track and had beam axles front and rear and leaf springs. The brakes were updated to have hydraulic operation. Saloon and Drophead coupé bodies were fitted to the chassis and the rear wheel openings were covered by metal “spats”. 4000 were made. The Mk II got a new chassis with independent front suspension using coil springs. The engine was enlarged to 2267 cc. The increased engine block capacity was shared with the company’s 1950 Humber Hawk, but in the cylinder head the Humber retained (until 1954) the old side-valve arrangement. The Sunbeam’s cylinder head was changed to incorporate overhead valves, giving rise to a claimed power output of 70 bhp compared with only 58 bhp for the Humber. The favourable power-to-weight ratio meant that the Talbot could be “geared quite high” and still provide impressive acceleration where needed for “quick overtaking”.The front of the Talbot 90 body was modified; the headlights were higher and there were air inlet grilles on either side of the radiator. 5493 were made. Clming in 1952, the Mk IIA had a higher compression engine raising output to 77 bhp.To cater for the higher speeds the car was now capable of, the brakes were enlarged and to improve brake cooling the wheels were pierced. The Talbot MkIIA coupe/convertible is regarded as the rarest of the Sunbeam Talbots. The rear wheel spats were no longer fitted. 10,888 were made. From 1954 to 1957 the car continued, but without the Talbot name and was marketed as the Sunbeam MkIII and badged on the radiator shell as Sunbeam Supreme. The drophead coupé was not made after 1955. There were some minor styling changes to the front with enlarged air intakes on each side of the radiator shell and three small portholes just below each side of the bonnet near to the windscreen. Duo-tone paint schemes were also available. Engine power was increased to 80 bhp and overdrive became an option. Approximately 2250 were made.
Peugeot 403: The Peugeot 403, introduced in 1955, approximately thirteen years after the demise of the 402, can be seen as the older car’s natural heir. Immediately after World War II the market demanded smaller cars, and Peugeot acknowledged this by concentrating during the late 1940s and early 1950s on their 202 and 203 models. The 403 made its debut in saloon body style on 20 April 1955 at the Trocadéro Palace in Paris. For several months before it was launched numerous 403s, their badges removed, were circulating on the local roads near the manufacturer’s PSA Sochaux factory, becoming so familiar that the locals no longer noticed them, but still attracting from Paris motoring journalists and photographers to a town that usually was of little interest to the national media. Styled by Pininfarina, the 403 featured ponton, three-box styling incorporating, except on the most basic models, an opening roof panel. The collaboration with Pininfarina marked the start of a partnership which would see the Italian designer producing designs for Peugeot, including those many mainstream volume models, for more than fifty years. Regarding the 403 itself there were persistent rumours that the design was one originally intended for a replacement Fiat 1900 which had been rejected when Turin had decided to defer replacement of the Fiat for another four years. Unusual in Europe at the time, but appreciated by customers, was the way that the rear doors opened wide – to a full 90 degrees. Also unusual were the windows in the rear doors that opened fully into the door frame to the point where they disappeared, despite the intrusion into the door frame of a wheel arch which must have made the fit of the window when opened very marginal. The 403 came with an enlarged version of the Peugeot 203’s 1290 cc petrol engine. Displacing 1468 cc, the straight-four unit employed pushrod-actuated valves and hemispherical combustion chambers and a crossflow cylinder head to produce 65 hp at about 5,000 rpm and 75 lb·ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. An unusual feature at the time was the thermostatically controlled engine fan which cut out when the engine temperature fell to 75°C and re-engaged when the engine temperature increased to 84°C. Claimed advantages included an improvement in fuel consumption of between 5% and 10% according to average speed and the avoidance, under many conditions, of fan noise. Another little noticed but ingenious feature involved a small hot water based heating device for the carburettor linked to the heater for the passenger cabin in such a manner that it operated only when the driver turned on the heater and not when the ambient temperature was high enough for the heater to be left off. The TN3 engine size gave the car a “tax horsepower” of 8 CV (8 hp), which placed it a class below the soon-to-be-replaced 11 CV Citroën Traction, but at least one class above the small cars produced by the principal competitor manufacturers. The 403 came with a manual 4-speed all-synchromesh transmission driving the rear wheels. The gear change lever stuck out from the right side of the steering column. For the Paris Motor Show in October 1957 the manufacture offered, at extra cost, an electro-magnetic Jaeger automatic clutch, activated when changing gear, but this was too costly to find many buyers. The wheelbase was lengthened by 10 inches to create the five door Peugeot 403 “Familiale” and “Commerciale” estate versions. The Familiale provided a third row of seats and was described as a 7/8 seater while the Commerciale offered a more conventional seat configuration for an estate car. The lengthened 403 estate had a solid rear axle fitted to an aluminium differential case. It came with a manual column change gearbox and, in its “Familiale” guise, fully reclinable front seats. Sunroof and steel belted radial tyres were standard. A diesel powered Peugeot 403 estate was introduced in the Autumn of 1958, the first of a long line, followed by a diesel saloon a year later. Although the car was subject to various improvements during the production run, these were mostly very minor in nature. Improvements for 1959 included moving the nozzles for the windscreen washer from the strip of metal between the base of the windscreen and the bonnet/hood a short distance to the rear edge of the bonnet/hood itself, thus presumably improving the angles at which the washer water hit the screen. This was also the year that the semi-circular ring inside the lower half of the diameter of the steering wheel used to operate the horn was replaced by a full circular horn-ring, so that drivers accustomed to holding the upper half of the steering wheel did not need to loosen their grip in order to sound the horn. Upon the 203’s discontinuation in 1960, a 47 hp version of its 1290 cc powerplant became available as an option on a reduced specification version of the 403, branded initially as the “403 Sept” (“7”) and soon afterwards as the “403 Berline Luxe”. Car tax in France was based on engine size, and the smaller engined 403 fell within the 7CV taxation class rather than the 8CV of the bigger version. . A two-door cabriolet version of the car was also offered, with a luxurious interior featuring high quality leather upholstery. In 1958 the 403 cabriolet cost 80% more than the entry level “berline grand luxe” 403 sedan, and presumably for this reason the convertible 403 was produced and sold only in very modest numbers. In the spring of 1961 production of the 403 cabriolet came to an end, in anticipation of the launch later that year of the manufacturer’s 404 Cabriolet. 2-door pickup and 3-door van commercial variants of the 403 were also produced. On display here was a regular 403 Berline.
Borgward Isabella Coupe: Originally planned to have been marketed as the Borgward Hansa 1500 but the Isabella name was used on test vehicles and proved popular with engineering staff and media, so the production car was subsequently renamed and only the first few hundred examples were built without Isabella badging, though Hansa badging was also used through to 1957. Despite its aspirational positioning in the marketplace, the Isabella had a smaller engine (and was marginally shorter) than its immediate predecessor, the Borgward Hansa. Late in 1952, the firm had launched their six cylinder Hansa 2400 model. The larger car never found many buyers; but in 1954, it made commercial sense to keep the two models from competing too directly with each other. 11,150 Isabellas were produced in 1954, an early indicator that commercially this would be the most successful Borgward ever. The early cars enjoyed an enthusiastic reception in the market place. Unfortunately, early models were afflicted by teething troubles, reflecting a rushed development schedule, and the marketplace would later prove unforgiving as Borgward’s Stuttgart based rival, Daimler-Benz demonstrated that new models did not have to involve customers experiencing such problems. The advertised launch price of DM 7,265 was higher than that of competitor family sedans from Opel and Ford, but significantly less than Mercedes Benz was asking for their 180 model. In view of the car’s spacious cabin and impressive performance, the pricing was perceived as very competitive. The Isabella was constructed without a separate chassis, applying the monocoque technique which during the 1950s was becoming the norm. Like its predecessor, the car was designed with a modern ponton, three-box design, but the line of the Isabella was more curvaceous than that of the first Hansa, and the car’s body made greater use of chrome trim. Ground clearance was 6.9″. The Isabella featured a swing axle at the back: it was supported by coil springs on all four wheels. The four-cylinder 1493 cc engine had a claimed power output of 60 bhp, and was connected by means of a then innovative hydraulic clutch to the four speed full synchromesh gear box. Gear changes were effected by means of a column mounted lever. A road test at launch reported a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and fuel consumption of 8.4 l/100 km. The testers described the modern structure of the car in some detail: they particularly liked the wide cabin with its large windows, and they commended the effectiveness of the brakes. The inclusion of a cigarette lighter and a clock also attracted favourable mention. Unlike the Mercedes 180 however, (and unlike its predecessor) the Isabella was only delivered with two-doors. A year after presenting the sedan, Borgward presented the Isabella estate version. Also introduced in 1955 was a two door cabriolet, known as the Isabella TS and featuring a more powerful 75 bhp tor. Production of the cabriolet was contracted to the firm Karl Deutsch in Cologne: converting an early monocoque design to a cabriolet necessitated considerable modification in order to achieve the necessary structural rigidity, and the resulting cost was reflected in a much higher selling price for this version. Initial sales volumes were not maintained. Responding to a sales decline of almost a third in 1955 and 1956, Carl Borgward decided to produce a more beautiful Isabella with a shortened roof line. The Borgward Isabella Coupé was developed, and the four hand built prototypes were well received by the press. Borgward gave one of these prototypes to his wife, Elisabeth, who would continue to drive it into the 1980s. Commercial production of the coupé, powered by the more powerful TS version of the engine first seen in the cabriolet, commenced in January 1957. The coupe appears to have achieved its marketing objective of further distancing the Isabella’s image from similarly sized competitors from Opel and Ford. By 1958, the more powerful 75 bhp TS motor had also found its way into the more upmarket Isabella sedan and estate versions. At the time of Borgward’s controversial bankruptcy in 1961, the firm carried a substantial stock of unsold Isabellas. Nevertheless, the model’s production at the Bremen plant continued until 1962, suggesting that overstocking had not been restricted to finished vehicles. By the end, 202,862 Isabellas had rolled off the Borgward production line which was nevertheless an impressive volume in the 1950s: overall, and despite being hit by falling demand in the economic slump that briefly hit Germany in the early 1960s, the car is believed to have been the firm’s most lucrative model by a very considerable margin. Borgward enjoyed a brief afterlife: the production line was sold and shipped to Mexico where later during the 1960s the P100 (Big Six) was produced. The Isabella was never produced in Mexico. Back in the German market, BMW’s stylish new 1500, launched by the Bavarians in 1961, convincingly filled the niche vacated by the Isabella, and was credited by at least one commentator with having rescued BMW itself from insolvency. In Argentina, the Isabella was manufactured from 1960 to 1963 by Dinborg, a local subsidiary of Borgward. 999 Isabellas were made in Buenos Aires.
1964 Scootacar: Scootacar was a British three-wheeled microcar built in Hunslet, Leeds by Scootacars Ltd a division of the railway locomotive builder, the Hunslet Engine Company between 1957 and 1964. It was allegedly built because the wife of one of the directors wanted something easier to park than her Jaguar. The shape of the car was designed by Henry Brown, previously responsible for the Rodley, who did it by sitting on a Villiers engine and then having an assistant draw an outline around him. The body was built in glass fibre and was very tall for its size being 60 in (1,524 mm) high, 87 in (2,210 mm) long and only 52 in (1,321 mm) wide. It was nicknamed “the telephone booth”. Two people could be carried with a passenger behind the driver or alternatively just squeezed in alongside. Power came from a rear-mounted Villiers 9E 197 cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine coupled to a four-speed motorcycle-type gearbox and chain drive to the single rear wheel. Steering was by handlebars. The car had independent front suspension using coil springs, and the wheels were 8 in (203 mm), with the spare mounted externally at the rear. The top speed was 50 mph (80 km/h). In 1960 came the De Luxe or Mark 2, with a totally redesigned body with more room and seating for three, but it appeared too late to sell in any great numbers. It had a top speed of 55 mph (89 km/h) and sold for £275/ In 1961 the De Luxe Twin Mark 3 cars appeared fitted with a 324cc Villiers 3T twin, giving a top speed of 68 mph (109 km/h). Production stopped in 1964. Around 1000 were built.
1964 Messerschmitt KR201 Roadster: The Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (Messerschmitt Cabin Scooter) was a series of microcars made by RSM Messerschmitt from 1953 to 1956 and by Fahrzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH, Regensburg (FMR) from 1956 to 1964. All the Messerschmitt and FMR production cars used the Kabinenroller’s monocoque structure, featuring tandem seating and usually a bubble canopy. The Kabinenroller platform was used for four microcars, the three-wheeled Messerschmitt KR175 (1953-1955), Messerschmitt KR200 (1955-1964) and Messerschmitt KR201, and the four-wheeled FMR Tg500 (1957-1961). The platform and all four cars using it were designed by Fritz Fend. The Kabinenroller was designed and developed by Fritz Fend for Messerschmitt AG. Fend had earlier designed and built a series of unpowered and powered invalid carriages, leading up to his Fend Flitzer. Fend noticed that able-bodied people were buying Flitzers for use as personal transport. This led him to believe that a mass-produced two-seat version of the Flitzer would have a ready market. A search for a manufacturer interested in the project led him to Messerschmitt, who had him develop the project for production in their Regensburg factory. The Kabinenroller was designed and developed for production in 1952 and 1953. Production of the original version, the KR175, began in February 1953. 70 modifications had been made to the design by June 1953. The KR200 was developed on the Kabinenroller platform and replaced the KR175 in 1955. Based on the same frame and an evolution of the original suspension, the KR200 had a large number of detail changes. On 29–30 August 1955, a modified KR200 with a tuned engine, revised gear ratios, redundant control cables, a one-off streamlined body, and stock suspension, damping, steering, and brakes, was run at the Hockenheimring for twenty-four hours. During the run, the vehicle set twenty-two closed-circuit speed records for three-wheeled vehicles with displacements up to 250 cc, including the fifty-mile record at 107 km/h (66.5 mph) and the twenty-four-hour record at 103 km/h (64.0 mph). The Kabinenroller was based on a central monocoque tub made from pressed steel sheet and tubular steel. The tub tapered upward from front to rear with a bulkhead at the back. The bulkhead supported a tubular steel subframe and acted as the firewall. The subframe supported the engine and the rear suspension. The engine cover was hinged to the monocoque structure. The fuel tank was in the top of the engine cover and fed the carburettor by gravity.The monocoque tub, with the bulkhead at the back, a nose section at the front, and an access hatch system overhead, formed a passenger compartment for a driver and a passenger sitting in tandem. The base plate on which the hatch was hinged was riveted to the right side of the monocoque tub and the nose section. The hatch was made of a steel sheet base with a glass windshield, a plexiglas bubble canopy, and a framed set of sliding windows on either side of the canopy. The tandem seating allowed the body to be long and narrow, with a low frontal area. This also allowed the body to taper like an aircraft fuselage, within a practical length. Front suspension of the Kr 200 Kabinenroller (the Kr175 had a different arrangement with rubber cones) was by a transverse lower arm sprung by a torsional 3-element rubber spring at the inside end. Front suspension travel was limited by rubber buffers. Rear suspension was by a trailing arm similar to a single-sided motorcycle swingarm which also formed the enclosure for the chain drive to the rear wheel. The trailing arm was suspended by another torsional rubber spring. Hydraulic dampers were added to the design with the introduction of the KR200 in 1955; also the front track was increased at that time. The shaft of the steering control was connected directly to the track rods controlling the front wheels, resulting in approximately one-third of a turn from the left extreme to the right extreme (“lock to lock”). The handlebar-shaped steering control would be operated with small, controlled inputs by swivelling the steering bar about its axis from the horizontal (straight-ahead) position instead of rotating it as with a conventional steering wheel.
The Heinkel Kabine was a microcar designed by Heinkel Flugzeugwerke and built by them from 1956 to 1958. Production was transferred under licence to Dundalk Engineering Company in Ireland in 1958. However, the licence was withdrawn shortly afterwards due to poor quality control. Production restarted in 1960, again under licence, under the Trojan 200 name by Trojan Cars Ltd. in the UK, and continued until 1966. Heinkel Kabines were also assembled under licence by Los Cedros S.A. from 1959 until 1962. As Heinkel in Argentina, they were built alongside Studebaker pickups. The Kabine Model 150 used the 174 cc 9.2 hp single-cylinder four-stroke engine that powered the Heinkel Tourist scooter. In October 1956, Heinkel introduced the Kabine Model 153 (with three wheels) and the Kabine Model 154 (with four wheels), both with 204 cc engines. The engines in these models were later reduced in capacity to 198 cc for insurance purposes. The Kabine had a steel unit body. Access to the interior was by an opening front. In order not to infringe Iso Rivolta’s patent used on the Isetta, the steering wheel did not hinge outwards with the door to ease passenger access. However, it did feature a reverse gear, unlike some other bubble cars. The fabric sun roof served as an emergency escape hatch should the sole door in front become jammed in a collision.
Rover 2200 “P6”: Whilst the 3 litre P5 model may have been thought of as a replacement for the top end of the long running P4 Rovers, it was really this car, the P6 model, first seen in October 1963 which was its true successor. Very different from the long-running 60/75/80/90/95/100/105/110 models, this car took some of its inspiration, it is claimed, from the Citroen DS as well as lessons learned from Rover’s Jet Turbine program of the 1950s and early 60s. It was a “clean sheet” design, carrying nothing over, and was advanced for the time with a de Dion tube suspension at the rear, four-wheel disc brakes (inboard on the rear), and a fully synchromesh transmission. The unibody design featured non-stressed panels bolted to a unit frame. The de Dion set-up was unique in that the “tube” was in two parts that could telescope, thereby avoiding the need for sliding splines in the drive shafts, with consequent stiction under drive or braking torque, while still keeping the wheels vertical and parallel in relation to the body. The Rover 2000 won industry awards for safety when it was introduced and included a carefully designed “safety” interior. One innovative feature was the prism of glass on the top of the front side lights. This allowed the driver to see the front corner of the car in low light conditions, and also confirmed that they were operative. One unique feature of the Rover 2000 was the design of the front suspension system, in which a bell crank (an L-shaped rotating bracket trailing the upper hub carrier joint) conveyed the vertical motion of the wheel to a fore-and-aft-horizontally mounted spring fastened to the rear wall of the engine compartment. A single hydraulically damped arm was mounted on the firewall for the steering. The front suspension was designed to allow as much width for the engine compartment as possible so that Rover’s Gas Turbine engine could be fitted. In the event, the engine was never used for the production vehicle, but the engine compartment width helped the accommodation of the V8 engine adopted years after the car’s initial launch for the 2000. The luggage compartment was limited in terms of usable space, because of the “base unit” construction, complex rear suspension and, in series II vehicles, the battery location. Lack of luggage space (and hence the need to re-locate the spare tyre) led to innovative options for spare tyre provision including boot lid mountings and optional Dunlop Denovo run-flat technology. The car’s primary competitor on the domestic UK market was the Triumph 2000, also released in October 1963, just one week after the Rover, and in continental Europe, it contended in the same sector as the Citroen DS which, like the initial Rover offering, was offered only with a four-cylinder engine – a deficiency which in the Rover was resolved, four years after its launch, when Rover’s compact V8 was engineered to fit into the engine bay. The Rover 2000 interior was not as spacious as those of its Triumph and Citroen rivals, especially in the back, where its sculpted two-person rear seat implied that Rover customers wishing to accommodate three in the back of a Rover should opt for the larger and older Rover 3 Litre. The first P6 used a 1,978 cc engine designed specifically for the car, which put out around 104 bhp. That was not enough to live up to the sports saloon ambitions, so Rover later developed a twin SU carburettor version with a re-designed top end and marketed the revised specification vehicles as the 2000 TC. The 2000 TC was launched in March 1966 for export markets in North America and continental Europe, relenting and making it available to UK buyers later that year. This engine generated around 124 bhp. The standard specification engines continued in production in vehicles designated as 2000 SC models. These featured the original single SU. More performance was to come. Rover saw Buick’s compact 3528 cc V8 unit that they had been looking at developing as the means of differentiating the P6 from its chief rival, the Triumph 2000. They purchased
the rights to the innovative aluminium engine, and, once improved for production by Rover’s own engineers, it became an instant hit. The Rover V8 engine, as it became known, outlived its original host, the P5B, by more than thirty years. The 3500 was introduced in April 1968, one year after the Rover company was purchased by Triumph’s owner, Leyland and continued to be offered until 1977. The light metal V8 engine weighed the same as the four-cylinder unit of the Rover 2000, and the more powerful car’s maximum speed of 114 mph as well as its 10.5-second acceleration time from 0–60 mph were considered impressive, and usefully faster than most of the cars with which, on the UK market, the car competed on price and specifications. It was necessary to modify the under-bonnet space to squeeze the V8 engine into the P6 engine bay: the front suspension cross-member had to be relocated forward, while a more visible change was an extra air intake beneath the front bumper to accommodate the larger radiator. There was no longer space under the bonnet for the car’s battery, which in the 3500 retreated to a position on the right side of the boot. Nevertheless, the overall length and width of the body were unchanged when compared with the smaller-engined original P6. Having invested heavily in the car’s engine and running gear, the manufacturer left most other aspects of the car unchanged. However, the new Rover 3500 could be readily distinguished from the 2000 thanks to various prominent V8 badges on the outside and beneath the radio. The 3500 was also delivered with a black vinyl covering on the C-pillar, although this decoration later appeared also on four-cylinder cars. A 3-speed Borg Warner 35 automatic was the only transmission until the 1971 addition of a four-speed manual 3500S model, fitted with a modified version of the gearbox used in the 2000/2200. The letter “S” did not denote “Sport”, it was chosen because it stood for something specific on those cars: “Synchromesh”. However it is important to note that the 3500S was noticeably quicker than the automatic version of this car with a 0-60mph time of 9 seconds, compared with 10.1 for the standard car. Moreover, due to the fuel-guzzling nature of automatic gearboxes of this era, the manual car’s official cycle was 24mpg compared to the automatic’s 22mpg. The Series II, or Mark II as it was actually named by Rover, was launched in 1970. All variants carried the battery in the boot and had new exterior fixtures such as a plastic front air intake (to replace the alloy version), new bonnet pressings (with V8 blips even for the 4-cylinder-engined cars) and new rear lights. The interior of the 3500 and 2000TC versions was updated with new instrumentation with circular gauges and rotary switches. The old-style instrumentation with a linear speedometer and toggle switches continued on the 2000SC versions. The final changes to the P6 came in the autumn of 1973 when the 2200 SC and 2200 TC replaced the 2000 SC and TC. These cars used an enlarged 2,205 cc version of the 2000 engine, which increased power outputs to 98 and 115 bhp respectively as well as offering improved torque. The P6 was replaced by the SD1 Rover, a completely different sort of car indeed, after 322,302 cars had been built. Seen here was an late model 3500S, a very aspirational car in its day.
Matra 530LX: In 1965 Matra’s CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère decided to develop a sports car that would be more accessible to the ordinary, non-racing public, a voiture des copains (car for chums), as its successor, and the result was the first “true” Matra sports car, (the Djet had been a René Bonnet design) the Matra M530. The car was named after Matra’s R.530 missile, and designed by a former Simca designer called Philippe Guédon. Like its predecessor, the M530 was built on a steel frame with polyester body and had a mid-engine. To accommodate a 2+2, mid-engine layout and a reasonable boot, various engine options were considered. In the end, the running gear came from Ford in Germany: the “high compression” 1699 cc Ford Taunus V4 engine and gearbox from the Taunus 15M TS were chosen. This combination was compact enough to fit between the rear seats and the boot. Other unusual features of the M530 were its targa top roof, pop-up headlights and, most notably, the outstanding avant-garde design. The first 530 (badged Matra Sports M530A) was shown to the public on March 7, 1967 at the Geneva Motor Show. It had a 70 DIN hp Ford 1700 cc V4 engine, which gave the car a top speed of 175 km/h (109 mph). It entered production a month later, incorporating modifications that included the addition of a chrome bumper bar to provide for the front grill much needed protection from parking shunts, a modest reshaping of the dashboard to give the passenger a little more knee room, and the repositioning of the ignition key to facilitate access. In its first two production years, the chassis was built by Carrier in Alençon and assembly was undertaken by French coachbuilder Brissonneau et Lotz at Creil. The engine bay of the early model 530 was accessible by removing the acrylic glass rear window. 1969 saw many changes to the 530. First, the running gear followed the same evolution as the Ford model it was taken from and power increased to 75 DIN hp by using a different carburettor. Secondly, Matra closed a deal with Chrysler Europe, to sell their cars through the Simca dealer network from 1970 onwards and jointly develop the M530’s successor. Finally, the cars were now constructed completely at the Matra Automobiles factory in Romorantin. Introduced at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show was the Matra Simca M530LX, which was a minor redesign of the 530A by Michelotti. The most notable changes were the rear hatch (now made of glass and opens with struts like a hatchback) and the front bumper. A budget version of the 530, the Matra Simca 530SX, was introduced in October 1971. The SX lacked the targa top roof and pop-up headlights; instead, there were four fixed headlights mounted on top of the front. The only available colours were orange and white, and the SX featured black bumpers instead of the LX’s chrome bumpers. M530’s production ceased in 1973, after a total of 9,609 cars (2,062 530A, 4,731 530LX and 1,146 530SX) were built.
1967 Daf 32 Daffodil: The DAF Daffodil is a small family car that was manufactured by DAF from 1961 until 1967. It replaced the DAF 600. At the same time DAF launched the DAF 750 which was essentially the same car but with less luxurious fittings and less chrome trim on the outside. The Daffodil was conceived as an export version of the 750, market response dictated that the 750 ceased production in 1963 while the Daffodil, benefitting from a succession of mild face lifts, remained in production until 1967. The Daffodil was replaced by the very similar but slightly more powerful DAF 33. The Daffodil name worked well in some markets, but in Germany the more luxuriously equipped version of the DAF 750 was known as the DAF 30. Upgrades in 1963 and 1965 were marked by name changes to DAF 31 and DAF 32. In these markets the launch of the DAF 33 in 1967 was merely a continuation of an existing line. The 746 cc four stroke air cooled 2 cylinder Boxer engine had the same stroke as in the 600, but the bore was increased from 76 mm to 85.5 mm. Claimed power output was also increased from 22 bhp to 30 bhp, and a maximum speed of 105 km/h (65 mph) was claimed. The 0-50 mph (80 km/h) time was 29 seconds, as tested by the Consumers Union in the United States. The DAF 600 was the first car to have a continuously variable transmission (CVT) system – the innovative DAF Variomatic., the same system was carried over to the 750 and its variants. The DAF Variomatic employs centrifugal weights to control the drive ratio of the transmission and is enhanced by the engine manifold vacuum. The action of the bob weights and inlet vacuum combined to pull together the cheeks of two, variable diameter, driving pulleys, driven directly from the engine. These were connected, by rubber ‘V’ belts, to two similar driven pulleys, connected to the drive wheels. The cheeks of the driven pulleys were held together by spring tension, which was progressively overcome as the drive pulleys expanded and the tension of the belts increased. The DAF Variomatics were thereby the only cars ever produced which went faster by the simple expedient of gently and gradually releasing the accelerator once top engine speed had been reached, as the increased vacuum took over from the reducing bob weight speed. The Variomatic also permitted increased engine braking by operating a switch on the dashboard which reversed the action of the vacuum on the pulley’s diaphragm, seeking a lower ratio with increased manifold vacuum. Two separate transmissions ran the two driving wheels, eliminating the need for a differential since belt slippage allowed for the different speeds of the inner and outer wheels. The duplication also provided redundancy, if one belt broke the vehicle could still be driven. An incidental feature was that in reverse, at least for earlier examples, the same top speed could be achieved as forwards. Later cars locked the transmission in the lowest ratio when reverse was selected. Between 1961 and 1967 the mechanical aspects of the car were not significantly changed. 1963 marked the withdrawal of the 750 and 30 badges, and the DAF 30 was replaced by the DAF 31. The exterior of the car was modestly reworked with input from Giovanni Michelotti which involved sharpened angles and more prominent fins: the interior was also significantly upgraded. In 1965 the DAF 32 replaced the DAF 31. This upgrade was marked by further limited changes to the body panels, again involving Michelotti whose influence would continue to be seen on DAF passenger cars until the Limburg car assembly business was acquired by Volvo.
BMW 1500 “Neue Klasse”: During the 1950s, the BMW line-up consisted of luxury cars with displacements of two litres or greater, economy cars powered by motorcycle engines, and motorcycles. With their luxury cars becoming increasingly outdated and unprofitable and their motorcycles and economy cars becoming less attractive to an increasingly affluent society, BMW needed a car in the 1.5 to 2 litre class to become competitive. Prototypes powered by a 1.6 L engine based on one bank of the BMW OHV V8 engine were built and evaluated without a convincing result. In 1960, Herbert and Harald Quandt invested heavily in BMW, and gained a controlling interest in the company. That year, the “Neue Klasse” project was begun. Led overall by Fritz Fiedler, the project had Eberhard Wolff in charge of chassis design, Wilhelm Hofmeister in charge of styling and body engineering, and Alex von Falkenhausen in charge of engine design. The team was to produce a new car with a new engine, which BMW had not done since the 303 in 1933. The prototype was introduced in September 1961 at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the BMW 1500 four-door saloon, alongside the BMW 3200 CS, the last BMW with the OHV V8. The term New Class referred to the 1.5–2–litre class from which BMW had been absent since World War II. Introduced in September 1961 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the BMW 1500 entered regular production in October 1962 and was manufactured until December 1964. The M10 4-cylinder engine used oversquare dimensions of 82 mm bore and 71 mm stroke produced 80 hp in the BMW 1500. Contemporary reports praised the all-round visibility and the commanding driving position while recording that it was necessary to lean forward a little to engage first and third gears due to the long travel distance of the gear lever. The large 40 cm tall luggage compartment was also commended. The 1500 could accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in approximately 15 seconds. The performance was at the time considered lively in view of the engine size, and although the engine needed to be worked hard in order to achieve rapid progress, it ran smoothly even at speeds above 6,000 rpm. The firm suspension and correspondingly harsh ride surprised those conditioned by the BMW 501 to anticipate a more comfort-oriented suspension setup. Notable problems that developed with the 1500 included separation of the semi-trailing arm mounts from the body, rear axle failure, and gearbox problems. These were resolved in later versions of the New Class sedan. The 1500 was replaced in 1964 by the 1600, but it was still made available in markets where capacities greater than 1500 cc incurred higher tax rates. Introduced in September 1963, the BMW 1800 was the second member of the New Class family. This model had an M10 engine with a 84 mm bore and 80 mm stroke, giving a displacement of 1,773 cc. It produced 90 hp at 5,250 rpm and 130 Nm (96 lb/ft) at 3,000 rpm. The 1800 TI (Turismo Internazionale) model featured components developed for the 1800 by the tuning company Alpina. The upgrades included dual Solex PHH side-draft carburettors and higher-compression pistons for 110 hp at 5,800 rpm and 136 N⋅m (100 lb⋅ft) at 4,000 rpm. A homologation special, the 1800 TI/SA, was introduced in 1964. The TI/SA’s engine had dual Weber DCOE-45 carburettors and a 10.5:1 compression ratio. This engine produced 130 hp at 6,100 rpm and 144 N⋅m (106 lb⋅ft) at 5,250 rpm. The TI/SA also had a Getrag five-speed gearbox, stronger anti-roll bars, and larger-diameter brake discs than the TI. 200 examples of the TI/SA were built and were only sold to licensed racing and sports drivers. An automatic transmission option was introduced in 1966 and in 1967 the 1800 was generally updated along with the 2000. The updates included interior changes (a modernized dashboard design and simpler door panels) as well as styling changes to the front grilles. In 1968 the 1,773 cc engine used in the 1800 was replaced by an engine with the 89 mm bore of the 2.0 L engine and the original 71 mm (2.8 in) stroke, which resulted in a displacement of 1,766 cc and a stroke/bore ratio of 0.798:1 (compared with the previous 1800 engine’s ratio of 0.952:1) The 1600, introduced as the replacement to the 1500 in 1964, used the 84 mm bore of the 1800 with the 1500s 71 mm stroke, resulting in a displacement of 1,573 cc, a power output of 83 hp at 5,500 rpm and 113 Nm (83 lb/ft) at 3,000 rpm. The 1600 was produced until early 1971. The engines from the 2000C and 2000CS coupes were used in the 4-door sedan body for the 2000 and 2000TI models. The 2000 sedan, released in 1965, used the 101 bhp engine from the 2000 C. The 2000TI sedan, released in 1966, used the 121 hp engine from the 2000 CS with twin Solex PHH side-draft carburettors. Intended as an upscale version of the 1800, the 2000 featured distinct wide taillights, more exterior trim, and unique rectangular headlights. The American market 2000 sedans could not have the rectangular headlights due to government regulations. A different grille with four individual round headlights, similar to the design that BMW later used in the 2500 sedan, was offered in the US. The 2000TI retained the ‘1800’ taillights and headlights. A more luxurious 2000TI-lux (later “tilux”) featured the sporty TI engine with a more high-grade interior and accessories, including a wood dashboard and optional leather seats. In 1969, BMW introduced the 2000tii (‘touring international, injected’), BMW’s first fuel-injected model, featuring Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. The 2000tii produced 130 hp at 5,800 rpm and 178 Nm (131 lb/ft) at 4,500 rpm. 1,952 2000tii cars were built of this final New Class sedan model
Lotus Elan: The original Elan was introduced in 1962 as a roadster, although an optional hardtop was offered in 1963 and a coupé version appeared in 1965, and there were examples of all of these here. The two-seat Lotus Elan replaced the elegant, but unreliable and expensive to produce Lotus Elite. It was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body. At 1,600 lb (726 kg), the Elan embodied the Colin Chapman minimum weight design philosophy. Initial versions of the Elan were also available as a kit to be assembled by the customer. The Elan was technologically advanced with a DOHC 1557 cc engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and 4-wheel independent suspension. Gordon Murray, who designed the spectacular McLaren F1 supercar, reportedly said that his only disappointment with the McLaren F1 was that he couldn’t give it the perfect steering of the Lotus Elan. This generation of the two-seater Elan was famously driven by the character Emma Peel on the 1960s British television series The Avengers. The “Lotus TwinCam” engine was based on Ford Kent Pre-Crossflow 4-cylinder 1498 cc engine, with a Harry Mundy-designed 2 valve alloy chain-driven twin-cam head. The rights to this design was later purchased by Ford, who renamed it to “Lotus-Ford Twin Cam”. It would go on to be used in a number of Ford and Lotus production and racing models.
Jaguar XJ12: The XJ6, using the 2.8-litre and 4.2-litre straight-six cylinder versions of Jaguar’s renowned XK engine, replaced most of Jaguar’s saloons – which, in the 1960s, had expanded to four separate ranges. Apart from the engines, the front and rear suspensions carried over from previous models as well: the widest version of Jaguar’s IRS unit from the Mark X, and the subframe-mounted independent front suspension first seen in the 1955 Mark 1, with new anti-dive geometry. An upmarket version was marketed under the Daimler brand as the Daimler Sovereign, continuing the name from the Daimler version of the Jaguar 420. The car was introduced in September 1968. Power-assisted steering and leather upholstery were standard on the 2.8 L De Luxe and 4.2 L models. Air conditioning was offered as an optional extra on the 4.2 L Daimler versions, which were launched in October 1969 in a series of television advertisements featuring Sir William. In these advertisements, he referred to the car as “the finest Jaguar ever”. An unusual feature inherited from the Mark X and S-Type saloons was the twin fuel tanks, positioned on each side of the boot / trunk, and filled using two separately lockable filler caps: one on the top of each wing above the rear wheel arches. Preliminary reviews of the car were favourable, noting the effective brakes and good ride quality. In March 1970 it was announced that the Borg-Warner Model 8 automatic transmission, which the XJ6 had featured since 1968, would be replaced on the 4.2-litre XJ6 with the Borg-Warner Model 12. The new transmission had three different forward positions accessed via the selector lever, which effectively enabled performance oriented drivers to hold lower ratios at higher revs to achieve better acceleration. “Greatly improved shift quality” was also claimed for the new system. Around this time other, minor changes were made as well, such as moving the rear reflectors from beside to below the rear lights; on the interior the chrome gauge bezels were replaced with black ones, to cut down on distracting reflections. In 1972, the option of a long-wheelbase version, providing a 4-inch increase in leg room for passengers on the rear seats, became available. A high performance version called the XJ12 was announced in July 1972, featuring a simplified grille treatment, and powered by a Jaguar’s 5.3 L V12 engine coupled to the Borg-Warner Model 12 transmission. At the time it was the only mass-produced 12-cylinder, four-door car in the world and, with a top speed of “around” 225 km/h (140 mph), it was the “fastest full four-seater available in the world”. Although it had been the manufacturer’s intention from launch that the XJ would use the 12-cylinder engine its installation was nonetheless a tight fit, and providing adequate cooling had been a challenge for Jaguar’s engineers. Bonnet louvres such as those fitted on the 12-cylinder E Type were rejected and instead the XJ12 featured a complex “cross-flow” radiator divided into two separated horizontal sections supported with coolant feeder tanks at each end. The engine fan was geared to rotate at 1¼ times the speed of the engine, subject to a limiter which cut in at a fan speed of 1,700 rpm. The fuel system incorporated a relief valve that returned fuel to the tank when pressure in the lines to the carburettors exceeded 1.5 psi, to reduce the risk of vapour locks occurring at the high operating temperatures, while the car’s battery had its own thermostatically-controlled cooling fan. The Jaguar XJ12, launched during the summer of 1972, featured a simplified grille. 3,228 Series 1 XJ12s were built. A badge-engineered version, the Daimler Double-Six, was introduced in 1972, reviving the Daimler model name of 1926–1938.
Jaguar Mark 2: One of the most loved Jaguars of all time, both when it was new, and still now, is the Mark 2 saloon. 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.
Auto Union 1000SP: Auto-Union presented the 1000 SP coupe at the 1957 Frankfurt auto show and turned the model into a convertible in 1961. Both body styles wore a shockingly Ford Thunderbird-like design. This was a relatively common and accepted practice at the time; many other companies (including Volvo and DAF) sold models that liberally borrowed styling cues from the cars meandering across America. German coachbuilder Baur manufactured 1000 SP bodies in Stuttgart and shipped them to Ingolstadt, where final assembly took place. Both variants backed up their sporty pretensions with a 980cc three-cylinder, two-stroke engine rated at 55hp. In 1959, 50 models were produced with a 1,280cc two-stroke V6 engine. This 1965 1000 SP Roadster is one of just 1440 roadsters and 5000 coupes that were built over a 6 year period starting in 1958. and this would be last open-topped model until the Audi 80 Cabriolet of 1994.
Volvo Amazon: There’s a complex history to this model, with lots of different numbers applied to the car during a 13 year production run. When introduced, the car was named the Amason (with an ‘s’), deriving from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology, the Amazons. German motorcycle manufacturer Kreidler had already registered the name, and the two companies finally agreed that Volvo could only use the name domestically (i.e., within Sweden), modifying the spelling to Amazon. Subsequently, Volvo began its tri-digit nomenclature and the line became known as the 120 Series. Under prototype designation 1200, following the PV444’s internal designation as the 1100, the Amazon was released in the press in February 1956, with production initially set to begin in July of the same year, and deliveries commenced in August 1956 — under the now modified internal designation 120 series. The Amazon sedan’s ponton genre, three-box styling was inspired by US cars of the early 1950s, strongly resembling the Chrysler New Yorker sedan and the Chrysler 300C hardtop Coupe. According to designer Jan Wilsgaard, the Amazon’s styling was inspired by a Kaiser he saw at the Gothenburg harbour. The Amazon featured strong articulation front to rear, pronounced “shoulders”, and slight but visible tailfins. These features became inspiration for Peter Horbury when reconceiving Volvo’s design direction with the V70 after decades of rectilinear, slab-sided, boxy designs. The Amazon’s bodywork was constructed of phosphate-treated steel (to improve paint adhesion) and with heavy use of undercoating and anti-corrosive oil treatment. The Amazon shared the wheelbase, tall posture and high H-point seating of its predecessor, the PV. In 1959 Volvo became the world’s first manufacturer to provide front seat belts as standard equipment — by providing them on all Amazon models, including the export models — and later becoming the first car featuring three-point seat belts as standard equipment. The Amazon’s handbrake location, outboard of the driver’s seat, was intended to accommodate subsequent bench seat models with column shift transmissions — which never materialised. Buyers began to receive the first cars in February 1957, and initial models were two-tone red and black with light grey roof, light grey with a black roof, followed by a dark blue with grey roof in 1958. Further iterations included the 121, the base model with a single carburettor 66 bhp engine, the 122S introduced in 1958 as a performance model equipped with a dual carburettor 85 bhp engine. The estate version was introduced at the 1962 Stockholm Auto Show, and Volvo manufactured 73,000 examples between 1962 and 1969. The Amazon estate featured a two-piece tailgate, with the lower section folding down to provide a load surface and the upper section that hinged overhead. The vehicle’s rear licence plate, attached to the lower tailgate, could fold “up” such that when the tailgate was lowered and the vehicle in use, the plate was still visible. This idea was used by the original 1959 Mini. In recent years a similar arrangement was used on the tailgate of the Subaru Baja. In 1966 the Volvo PV ended production, replaced by the Amazon Favorit, a less expensive version of the Amazon, without exterior chrome trim, a passenger-side sun visor or cigarette lighter, and with a three-speed rather than four-speed transmission — available in black with red interior and later white or black with red interior. The newer Volvo 140 was becoming the company’s mainstream model, and the last of the four-door 120 saloons were produced in 1967, the year which saw the launch of the 123GT, which was a Model 130 with high-compression four-cylinder B18B engine (from the Volvo P1800), M41 gearbox, fully reclining seats, front fog and driving lights (on some markets), alternator, fender mounted mirrors, special steering wheel, dash with a shelf and tachometer, and other cosmetic upgrades. In 1969 the displacement of the old B18 engine was increased and the engine was called the B20. The last Amaz
on was manufactured on 3 July 1970. By the end of production, 234,653 four-door models, 359,917 two-door models and 73,220 station wagons had been produced, of which 60% were exported; a total of 667,791 vehicles.
The Amphicar Model 770 is an amphibious automobile, the first such vehicle mass-produced for sale to the public, starting in 1961. The German vehicle was designed by Hans Trippel and manufactured by the Quandt Group at Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde, and used Triumph Herald components under its glassfibre body. The name is a portmanteau of “amphibious” and “car”, and it truly could be drive on the road, and then by pulling a lever, converted into a boat. Compared to most boats or cars, its performance was modest, and it was expensive, so it is no surprised that only 4000 were produced by 1965. Most of them were sold in the USA, and most of them have rusted away as once they got wet, well, you can imagine what that did to the metalwork. Nevertheless, it is still among the most successful amphibious civilian autos of all time, and still often prized and preserved as a novelty collectible automobile. This one was in splendid condition.
The Saab 96 was manufactured from 1960 to January 1980, replacing the 93. The 96 featured aerodynamic two-door bodywork, four-passenger seating and at first a two-stroke, three-cylinder engine, later a four-stroke V4. Compared with its predecessor, the Saab 93, the 96 featured greater and more easily accessible storage space and larger rear window. The front end was lengthened for 1965 models, in preparation for a new engine, and the radiator was placed ahead of the engine, rather than above and behind, a leftover from the thermosiphon cooling days. Both front and rear windows were enlarged slightly for 1968 models. The Saab 96 had a longitudinally mounted engine layout. As first designed, it had an 841 cc displacement, 38 PS three-cylinder Saab two-stroke engine. By 1965 this was increased to 40 PS. An optional 52 PS version of the engine, with triple carburettors and oil injection, was used in the Sport and Monte Carlo models. The additional power was obtained from a modified cylinder head and filled crankshaft counterweights offering higher overall compression ratio. For 1966 models, the standard 96 841 cc engine, using pre-mix oil, appeared with a three throat Solex carburettor in which the centre carburettor handled start, idle, and low speed functions, increasing the power to 42 PS. The same carburettor had been used in the Monte Carlo and Sport models. A common throttle shaft minimised carburettor synchronization problems. In 1967, Saab began marketing the 96 V4, with the Ford Taunus V4 engine, a four-stroke 1498 cc V4 engine, originally developed for the 1962 Ford Taunus 15M. Saab’s project to source a four-stroke engine was dubbed ‘Operation Kajsa’. The two-stroke option was offered until 1968. Four-stroke engines had been tested before, between 1962 and 1964 Kjell Knutsson and Ingvar Andersson under Rolf Mellde tested three different engines: a 45 PS Lloyd Arabella of 897 cc; a 33 hp BMC A-Series 848-cc engine and a Lancia Appia engine of 1089cc and 48 hp. However Rolf Mellde’s view that Saab needed to switch to a four-stroke engine was stopped higher up by CEO Tryggve Holm. Mellde then went behind the back of Holm and made contact with Marc Wallenberg, son of Marcus Wallenberg, Saab’s major stockholder. The coup succeeded and testing could begin. The tested engines were Volvo B18, Ford V4, Triumph 1300, Lancia V4 engine, Opel, Volkswagen and Hillman Imp. The B18 was the most reliable, but the Ford V4 was not far behind and was significantly easier to fit into the engine bay of the 96. The testing was done in secrecy. Per Gillbrand took a leave of absence and said he was going to run his father’s paint shop. In reality he went to Desenzano in northern Italy with a 96 V4 prototype for testing. With five months to go before production only seven persons knew about the new engine. To maintain secrecy they rented a house west of Kristinehamn. To keep purchases of V4 specific parts secret they started the company Maskinverktyg AB. The ordinary purchase department at Saab was oblivious to what was going on, something that caused an incident when Rune Ahlberg cancelled the orders for cables for the two-stroke engine and the purchase department called the supplier and sharply told them to keep their deliveries. In the last week of July, just before the summer holidays, information about the new engine was released to further people and they were informed that full-scale production would start in four weeks. To keep secrecy, 40 of the ordinary staff were told to report to work to fix a problem with the disc brakes. Just prior to the official introduction, a journalist noticed a lorry loaded with 96s with V4 stickers on the front bumpers. The ordinary V4 engines produced between 1967 and 1976 had 65 PS. Cars from the first year of production had engines with “Ford Motor Company” stampings. For the Swedish 1976 model year, the car – now known as the 96L – had its power reduced to 62 PS due to new Swedish emission regulations. However, the 1977-1980 models had 68 PS, due to a two-stage Solex 32TDID carburettor. The V4 96 managed 0–100 km/h in 16 seconds. In August 1975 (called “1975B” in Sweden as the less powerful engine was kept for cars marketed after the beginning of the new year, when the new emissions standards took effect), the car received new impact absorbing bumpers similar to those on the 99 and an altered bottom plate which allowed the rear seat to be moved 5 cm (2.0 in) further back. The Saab 96 and its station wagon sibling, the Saab 95, featured column mounted transmission levers. The gearbox originally had three gears, the first unsynchronised. Later, a four-speed option, with synchromesh on first gear, was offered and the three-speed was phased out. An unusual feature of the Saab drivetrain was a ‘freewheel’ (overrunning clutch). This allowed the transmission to run faster than the engine, such as when decelerating, or descending a long hill. Although such freewheels had been provided in other cars before as an economy measure, they were required in the Saab because of the limited lubrication in the two-stroke engine. A petroil-lubricated two-stroke requires lubrication according to its speed, but provides this lubrication according to the amount of its throttle opening. Where the engine operates at high RPM and low throttle (such as when coasting down a long hill), the lubrication provided may be inadequate. With the freewheel, a coasting engine could reduce its speed to idling, thus requiring only the small lubrication available from the closed, coasting, throttle. In certain higher-performance models and in later two-stroke models, direct injection of oil into the engine from a separate reservoir allowed lubrication to be a function of engine RPM and rendered mixing of oil with gasoline unnecessary. Freewheeling was retained in the four-stroke variant, until the end of production and in the Saab 99 with the 1709 cc Triumph engine. A minor drawback to the freewheel, particularly for drivers unfamiliar with the Saab, is that it makes engine braking unavailable although it could be manually engaged or disengaged by a control in the foot-well. Fixed wheel engagement, using the foot, could be difficult, as it involved pulling a ‘T handle’ intended for manual operation. The front suspension used double wishbones and coil springs, while the rear suspension was a trailing U-beam axle with coil springs. Telescopic dampers were used for all four wheels. Up to model year 1967 models had drum brakes all around. Starting 1967, with the coming of the V4 engine, models were fitted with front disc brakes. The Saab 96 was driven most famously by Erik Carlsson, in many international rallies. His most famous successes were first in the 1960, 1961 and 1962 RAC Rallies and first in the 1962 and 1963 Monte Carlo Rallies. It was these successive, top-level victories that put the Saab 96 ‘on the map’ and established its reputation for reliability and toughness. Carlsson also competed in the East African Safari Rally. Famous rallying names such as Simo Lampinen, Per Eklund, Pat Moss-Carlsson, Tom Trana, Stig Blomqvist and Carl Orrenius have also been connected with the Saab 96.
1974 VW Golf: Usually when you come across a Mark 1 Golf, it is a GTi version, so it was nice to see this regular model here. VW had started at looking at producing a replacement for the Beetle as early as 1953 and many one-off prototypes were produced but each venture led nowhere. By the late 60s, though it was clear that a replacement was urgently needed. In 1969 Lotz and Italian Volkswagen importer Gerhard R. Gumpert visited the Turin Auto Show. After selecting their six favourite cars of the show, they discovered that four of the six were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his Italdesign studio. Giugiaro was invited to Wolfsburg in January 1970 to work on development project EA337. The design brief provided by Volkswagen specified a C-segment car with a two-box body in three- and five-door versions. The client also provided Giugiaro with the basic dimensions and the power-train options. Giugiaro produced a design that reflected his signature “origami” or “folded-paper” style, emphasizing sharp corners and flat planes. Giugiaro would come to consider the Mk1 Golf the most important design of his career. Early prototypes included rectangular headlamps and wide tail-lamp assemblies. At least one pre-production car was modified with a sliding side door. During development, candidates for the name of the new car included “Blizzard” and “Caribe”, but these lost out to the final choice of “Golf”. The origin of the name is variously attributed to the game of golf, the Gulf Stream current (German “Golfstrom”) or the name of a horse.The Golf Mk1 received VW model designation Type 17. Production started in March 1974, and sales officially began in May 1974. By this time Giugiaro’s rectangular headlamps and wide tail-lamps had given way to round headlamps and much narrower rear lamps. On these earliest cars the lower horizontal bodyline running under the tail-lamps on the rear hatch dropped down in the location of the rear license plate. This feature has been dubbed “Swallowtail” by some Golf enthusiasts. The surface between the raised sides on the bonnet on early cars also blended smoothly into the leading edge. The Golf was not the first example of Giugiaro’s work for Volkswagen to reach production. His design for the first generation Passat was released in 1973, and the first generation Scirocco, a Giugiaro design prepared concurrently with the Golf, was released months ahead of the Golf. The right-hand drive Golf went on sale in Britain in October 1974. The first cars, with either a three or five door body had the choice of a 1.1 or 1.5 litre engine and a standard four speed gearbox. They were well received, but they were seen as expensive compared to domestic rivals. Even so, for the 1975 sales year it was the 14th best selling car in Britain with more than 19,000 units sold. The 1500cc engine was enlarged to 1600cc in 1976 and equipment levels gradually improved. A five speed gearbox was made available in 1979 and a 1300cc engine joined the range. A minor exterior revision in December 1978 replaced the narrow front and rear bumpers with moulded units that wrapped around the sides of the car. Another minor facelift in 1980 saw the adoption of wider rear lamp clusters and a new dashboard with a more modern-looking instrument display featuring LED warning lights. US versions also received rectangular headlights. This was the last major update before the MK1 was replaced by the MK2 Golf in most markets in September 1983 and in the British market in March 1984. In 1981 the facelifted Golf GTI was voted Car of the Year by What Car? magazine, ahead of all-new models like the Austin Metro and MK3 Ford Escort. In its final sales year of 1983 it sold more than 25,000 units and was Britain’s 14th best selling car despite being almost 10 years oldThe Golf was West Germany’s best selling new car for much of its production life, and was among the most successful cars in the whole of Europe during its nine-year production run.
1972 Citroen SM: This glamorous Sports/GT Coupe still wows people over 45 years since its debut. The Citroën SM was first shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, but work on the car had started way back in 1961, with ‘Project S’, which was envisaged to be a a sports variant of the revolutionary Citroen DS. For the next few years, many running concept vehicles were developed, and these became increasingly complex and upmarket from the DS. In 1968, Citroën purchased Maserati, with the intention of harnessing Maserati’s high-performance engine technology to produce a true Gran Turismo car, which would combine Citroen’s advanced suspension with a V6 Maserati engine. The car was a sensation when revealed, with its distinctive styling, an amazingly low drag coefficient of just 0.26, and as well as the advanced features from the DS such as lights that swivelled with the steering and the advanced hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension there were numerous technical innovations such as variable assistance for the power steering, rain sensitive wipers and the option of lightweight wheels of composite alloys. It was a further six months before customers could get behind the wheel, with the SM finally going on sale in France in September of that year. The origin of the model name ‘SM’ is not clear. The ‘S’ may derive from the Project ‘S’ designation, and the ‘M’ may refers to Maserati, hence SM is often assumed to stand for ‘Sports Maserati’. Another common hypothesis is that SM stood for Série Maserati and others have suggested it is short for ‘Sa Majesté’ (Her Majesty in French), which would aligns with the explanation that the DS model was so called as a contraction of the French word ‘Déesse’ (The Goddess). Regardless of the origins of the name, it attracted lots of attention, and came third in the 1971 Car of the Year competition (behind Citroen’s own revolutionary GS model). For a couple of years, sales were reasonable, but they fell off dramatically in 1973, not just because of the Oil Crisis that struck late that year, but largely because the SM’s technical complexity came with a price tag of some terrible reliability problems, something which owners of rival cars simply did not experience. To compound the owner’s misery, they needed to find and pay for Citroen specialists who understood the hydraulics and a Maserati specialist for the engine. Both categories were kept busy. Citroen declared bankruptcy in 1974 and the company was purchased in May 1975. Thanks to changes in US legislation, sales in that market, which had hitherto been the SM’s largest had ceased, and so with global sales of under 300 SMs in 1974, having divested itself of Maserati, new owner Peugeot took the obvious decision to cease production of the SM almost immediately. During the SM’s 5 year product life, a total of 12,920 cars were produced. With the exception of a handful of conversions for the Australian market, all SMs were made in left hand drive, which is perhaps one reason why UK sales amounted to just 325 cars from that total. Although this is often labelled as one of the 4 “nightmare cars of the apocalypse” (along with the Triumph Stag and Alfa Montreal), the reality is that the surviving cars have largely been “fixed” and they are now not the fearsome ownership proposition that many still assume.
1964 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL “Pagoda“: By 1955, Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Prof. Fritz Nallinger and his team held no illusions regarding the 190 SL’s lack of performance, while the high price tag of the legendary 300 SL supercar kept it elusive for all but the most affluent buyers. Thus Mercedes-Benz started evolving the 190 SL on a new platform, model code W127, with a fuel-injected 2.2 litre M127 inline-six engine, internally denoted as 220SL. Encouraged by positive test results, Nallinger proposed that the 220SL be placed in the Mercedes-Benz program, with production commencing in July 1957. However, while technical difficulties kept postponing the production start of the W127, the emerging new S-Class W112 platform introduced novel body manufacturing technology altogether. So in 1960, Nallinger eventually proposed to develop a completely new 220SL design, based on the “fintail” W 111 sedan platform with its chassis shortened by 11.8 in, and technology from the W112. This led to the W113 platform, with an improved fuel-injected 2.3 litre M127 inline-six engine and the distinctive “pagoda” hardtop roof, designated as 230 SL. The 230 SL made its debut at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in March 1963, where Nallinger introduced it as follows: “It was our aim to create a very safe and fast sports car with high performance, which despite its sports characteristics, provides a very high degree of travelling comfort”. The W113 was the first sports car with a “safety body,” based on Bela Barényi’s extensive work on vehicle safety: It had a rigid passenger cell and designated crumple zones with impact-absorbing front and rear sections built into the vehicle structure. The interior was “rounded,” with all hard corners and edges removed, as in the W111 sedan. Production of the 230 SL commenced in June 1963 and ended on 5 January 1967. Its chassis was based on the W 111 sedan platform, with a reduced wheelbase by 11.8 in, recirculating ball steering (with optional power steering), double wishbone front suspension and an independent single-joint, low-pivot swing rear-axle with transverse compensator spring. The dual-circuit brake system had front disc brakes and power-assisted rear drum brakes. The 230 SL was offered with a 4-speed manual transmission, or an optional, very responsive fluid coupled (no torque converter) 4-speed automatic transmission, which was popular for US models. From May 1966, the ZF S5-20 5-speed manual transmission was available as an additional option, which was particularly popular in Italy. The 2,308 cc M127.II inline-six engine with 150 hp and 145 lb/ft torque was based on Mercedes-Benz’ venerable M180 inline-six with four main bearings and mechanical Bosch multi-port fuel injection. Mercedes-Benz made a number of modifications to boost its power, including increasing displacement from 2,197 cc, and using a completely new cylinder head with a higher compression ratio (9.3 vs. 8.7), enlarged valves and a modified camshaft. A fuel injection pump with six plungers instead of two was fitted, which allowed placing the nozzles in the cylinder head and “shooting” the fuel through the intake manifold and open valves directly into the combustion chambers. An optional oil-water heat exchanger was also available. Of the 19,831 230 SLs produced, less than a quarter were sold in the US. Looking identical, the 250 SL was introduced at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show. Production had already commenced in December 1966 and ended in January 1968. The short one-year production run makes the 250 SL the rarest of the W113 series cars. The 250 SL retained the stiffer suspension and sportier feel of the early SLs, but provided improved agility with a new engine and rear disc brakes. Range also improved with increased fuel tank capacity from 65 litres to 82. Like its predecessor, the 250 SL was offered with a 4-speed automatic transmission, and 4-speed or ZF 5-speed manual transmissions. For the first time, an optional limited slip differential was also available. The main change was the use of the 2,496 cc M129.II engine with a larger stroke, increased valve ports, and seven main bearings instead of four. The nominal maximum power remained unchanged at 150 hp, but torque improved from 145 lb/ft to 159 lb/ft. Resiliency also improved with a new cooling water tank (“round top”) with increased capacity and a standard oil-water heat exchanger. The 250 SL also marked the introduction of a 2+2 body style, the so-called “California Coupé”, which had only the removable hardtop and no soft-top: a small fold-down rear bench seat replaced the soft-top well between passenger compartment and boot. It is estimated that only 10% of the 250SLs that were brought into America were California Coupes. Of the 5,196 250 SLs produced, more than a third were sold in the US.The 280 SL was introduced in December 1967 and continued in production through 23 February 1971, when the W 113 was replaced by its successor, the entirely new and substantially heavier R107 350 SL. The main change was an upgrade to the 2,778 cc M130 engine with 170 hp and 180 lb/ft, which finally gave the W 113 adequate power. The performance improvement was achieved by increasing bore by 4.5 mm (0.2 in), which stretched the limits of the M180 block, and required pairwise cylinder casts without cooling water passages. This mandated an oil-cooler, which was fitted vertically next to the radiator. Each engine was now bench-tested for two hours prior to being fitted, so their power specification was guaranteed at last. The M130 marked the final evolution of Mercedes-Benz’ venerable SOHC M180 inline-six, before it was superseded by the entirely new DOHC M110 inline-six introduced with R107 1974 European 280 SL models. For some time, it was also used in the W 109 300 S-Class, where it retired the expensive 3 litre M189 alloy inline-six. Over the years, the W 113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer, and US models were by then usually equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning. Manual transmission models came with the standard 4-speed or the optional ZF 5-speed, which was ordered only 882 times and thus is a highly sought-after original option today. In Europe, manual transmissions without air conditioning were still the predominant choice. Of the 23,885 280 SLs produced, more than half were sold in the US.
1974 BMW 3.0 CSi: In BMW-speak, these are the E9, a range of two-door coupés built for BMW by Karmann from 1968 to 1975 and were developed from the New Class-based BMW 2000 CS coupé. The first of the E9 coupés, the 2800 CS, replaced the 2000 C and 2000 CS in 1968. The wheelbase and length were increased to allow the engine bay to be long enough to accommodate the new straight-six engine code-named M30, and the front of the car was restyled to resemble the E3 saloon. The rear axle, however, remained the same as that used in the lesser “Neue Klasse” models and the rear brakes were initially drums – meaning that the 2800 saloon was a better performing car, as it was also lighter. The CS’ advantages were thus strictly optical to begin with The 2800 CS used the 2,788 cc version of the engine used in the E3 2800 ssaloon. The engine produced 170 hp.The 2800CS was replaced by the 3.0 CS and 3.0 CSi in 1971. The engine had been bored out to give a displacement of 2,986 cc, and was offered with a 9.0:1 compression ratio, twin carburettors, and 180 hp in the 3.0 CS or a 9.5:1 compression ratio, Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection, and 200 hp in the 3.0 CSi. There was a 4 speed manual and an automatic transmission variant. Introduced in May 1972, the 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built to make the car eligible for racing in the European Touring Car Championship. 1,265 were built. The “L” in the designation meant leicht (light), unlike in other BMW designations, where it meant lang (long). The lightness was achieved by using thinner steel to build the unit body, deleting the trim and soundproofing, using aluminium alloy doors, bonnet, and boot lid, and using Perspex side windows. The five hundred 3.0 CSLs exported to the United Kingdom were not quite as light as the others, as the importer had insisted on retaining the soundproofing, electric windows, and stock E9 bumpers on these cars. Initially using the same engine as the 3.0 CS, the 3.0 CSL was given a very small increase in displacement to 3,003 cc by increasing the engine bore by one quarter of a millimetre. This was done in August 1972 to allow the CSL to be raced in the “over three litre” racing category, allowing for some increase in displacement in the racing cars. In 1973,the engine in the 3.0 CSL was given another, more substantial increase in displacement to 3,153 cc by increasing the stroke to 84 mm. This final version of the 3.0 CSL was homologated in July 1973 along with an aerodynamic package including a large air dam, short fins running along the front fenders, a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof, and a tall rear wing. The rear wings were not installed at the factory, but were left in the boot for installation after purchase. This was done because the wings were illegal for use on German roads. The full aero package earned the racing CSLs the nickname “Batmobile”. In 1973, Toine Hezemans won the European Touring Car Championship in a 3.0 CSL and co-drove a 3.0 CSL with Dieter Quester to a class victory at Le Mans. Hezemans and Quester had driven to second place at the 1973 German Touring Car Grand Prix at Nürburgring, being beaten only by Chris Amon and Hans-Joachim Stuck in another 3.0 CSL 3.0 CSLs would win the European Touring Car Championship again in every year from 1975 to 1979. The 3.0 CSL was raced in the IMSA GT Championship in 1975, with Sam Posey, Brian Redman, and Ronnie Peterson winning races during the season. The first two BMW Art Cars were 3.0 CSLs; the first was painted by Alexander Calder and the second by Frank Stella.
1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GT: In 1979, Porsche unveiled a concept version of the 924 at the Frankfurt Auto show wearing Carrera badges. One year later, in 1980, Porsche released the 924 Carrera GT, making clear their intention to enter the 924 in competition. By adding an intercooler and increasing compression to 8.5:1, as well as various other little changes, Porsche was able to develop the 924 Turbo into the race car they had wanted, dubbing it the “924 Carrera GT”. 406 examples (including prototypes) of the Carrera GT were built to qualify it for Group 4 racing requirements. Of the 400 roadgoing examples, 75 were made in right hand drive for the UK market. In 1981 Porsche released the limited production 924 Carrera GTS. 59 GTS models were built, all in left hand drive, with 15 of the 59 being raced prepped Clubsport versions. Visually, the Carrera GT differed from the standard 924 Turbo in that it had polyurethane plastic front and rear flared guards, a polyurethane plastic front spoiler, a top mounted air scoop for the intercooler, a much larger rubber rear spoiler and a flush mounted front windscreen. It featured Pirelli P6 tires as standard, and Pirelli P7 tires were available as an option along with a limited slip differential. It lost the 924 Turbo’s NACA duct in the hood but retained the air intakes in the badge panel. This more aggressive styling was later used for as motivation for the 944. The later Carrera GTS differed stylistically from the GT with fixed headlamps under Perspex covers (instead of the GT’s pop up units). GTS models were also 59 kg (130 lb) lighter than their GT counterparts at 1,121 kg (2,471 lb), and Clubsport versions were even lighter at 1,060 kg (2,337 lb). In order to comply with the homologation regulations, the 924 Carrera GT and later 924 Carrera GTS were offered as road cars, producing 210 and 245 hp respectively. Clubsport versions of the GTS were also available with 280 hp and factory included Matter roll cage and race seats. 924 Carrera GT variations were known by model numbers 937 (left hand drive) and 938 (right hand drive).
1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500: Based on the chassis and mechanicals of the Triumph Herald, the Spitfire was conceived as a rival to the Austin-Healey Sprite and MG Midget, which were launched a year earlier. The Triumph soon found a strong following, with many preferring it to the BMC cars which in time would become in-house stablemates. Mark II models arrived in 1965 and a more comprehensive facelift in 1967 with the distinctive “bone in mouth” front grille necessitated by US bumper height regulations also brought changes, but it was with the Mark IV that the greatest number of alterations would come about. The Mark IV featured a completely re-designed cut-off rear end, giving a strong family resemblance to the Triumph Stag and Triumph 2000 models, both of which were also Michelotti-designed. The front end was also cleaned up, with a new bonnet pressing losing the weld lines on top of the wings from the older models, and the doors were given recessed handles and squared-off glass in the top rear corner. The interior was much improved: a proper full-width dashboard was provided, putting the instruments ahead of the driver rather than over the centre console. This was initially black plastic however was replaced with wood in 1973. An all-new hardtop was also available, with rear quarter-lights and a flatter rear screen. By far the most significant change, however, was to the rear suspension, which was de-cambered and redesigned to eliminate the unfortunate tendencies of the original swing-axle design. The Triumph GT6 and Triumph Vitesse had already been modified, and the result on all these cars was safe and progressive handling even at the limit. The 75 hp engine was now rated at 63 hp (for UK market employing the 9:1 compression ratio and twin SU HS2 carburettors; the less powerful North American version still used a single Zenith Stromberg carburettor and an 8.5:1 compression ratio) due to the German DIN system; the actual output was the same for the early Mark IV. However, it was slightly slower than the previous Mark III due to carrying more weight, and employing a taller 3.89:1 final drive as opposed to the earlier 4.11:1. The engine continued at 1296 cc, but in 1973 was modified with larger big-end bearings to rationalise production with the TR6 2.5 litre engines, which somewhat decreased its “revvy” nature; there was some detuning, to meet new emissions laws, which resulted in the new car being a little tamer. With the overall weight also increasing to 1,717 lb (779 kg) the performance dropped as a consequence, 0 to 60 mph now being achieved in 15.8 seconds and the top speed reducing to 90 mph. The overall fuel economy also dipped to 32mpg. The gearbox gained synchromesh on its bottom gear. The Mark IV went on sale in the UK at the end of 1970 with a base price of £735. In 1973 in the United States and Canada, and 1975 in the rest of the world, the 1500 engine was used to make the Spitfire 1500. Although in this final incarnation the engine was rather rougher and more prone to failure than the earlier units, torque was greatly increased by increasing the cylinder stroke to 87.5 mm (3.44 in), which made it much more drivable in traffic. While the rest of the world saw 1500s with the compression ratio reduced to 8.0:1, the American market model was fitted with a single Zenith-Stromberg carburettor and a compression ratio reduced to 7.5:1 to allow it to run on lower octane unleaded fuel, and after adding a catalytic converter and exhaust gas recirculating system, the engine only delivered 53 bhp with a slower 0–60 time of 16.3 seconds. The notable exception to this was the 1976 model year, where the compression ratio was raised to 9.1:1. This improvement was short-lived, however, as the ratio was again reduced to 7.5:1 for the remaining years of production. In the UK the 9:1 compression ratio, less restrictive emissions control equipment, and the Type HS2 SU carburettors now being replaced with larger Type HS4 models, led to the most powerful variant to date. The 1500 Spitfire now produced 71hp (DIN) at 5500 rpm, and produced 82 lb/ft of torque at 3000 rpm. Top speed was now at the magical 100 mph mark, and 0 to 60 mph was reached in 13.2 seconds. Fuel economy was reduced to 29mpg. Further improvements to the suspension followed with the 1500 included longer swing axles and a lowered spring mounting point for more negative camber and a wider rear track. The wider, lower stance gave an impressive skid pad result of 0.87g average. This put the Spitfire head and shoulders over its competition in handling. The American market Spitfire 1500 is easily identified by the big plastic over-riders and wing mounted reflectors on the front and back wings. The US specification models up to 1978 still had chrome bumpers, but on the 1979 and 1980 models these were replaced by black rubber bumpers with built-in over-riders. Chassis extensions were also fitted under the boot to support the bumpers. Detail improvements continued to be made throughout the life of the Mark IV, and included reclining seats with “chequered brushed nylon centre panels” and head restraints, introduced for domestic market cars early in 1977 along with a new set of column stalk operated minor controls (as fitted already in the TR7) replacing the old dashboard mounted knobs and switches. Also added for the model’s final years were a wood dash, hazard flashers and an electric screen washer, in place of the previous manual pump operated ones. Options such as the hard top, tonneau cover, map light and overdrive continued to be popular, but wire wheels ceased to be available. The 1980 model was the last and the heaviest of the entire run, weighing 1,875 lb (850.5 kg). Base prices for the 1980 model year was £3,631 in the UK. The last Spitfire, an Inca Yellow UK-market model with hardtop and overdrive, rolled off the assembly line at Canley in August 1980, shortly before the factory closed. It was never sold and is now displayed at the museum at Gaydon.
In 1967, rival NSU had launched a car targetted at the executive sector of the market, the rotary powered Ro80. This featured a 113 bhp, 995 cc twin-rotor Wankel engine driving the front wheels through a semi-automatic transmission with an innovative vacuum operated clutch system. Other technological features of the Ro 80, aside from the powertrain, were the four wheel ATE Dunlop disc brakes, which for some time were generally only featured on expensive sports or luxury saloon cars. The front brakes were mounted inboard, reducing the unsprung weight. The suspension was independent on all four wheels, with MacPherson struts at the front and semi-trailing arm suspension at the rear, both of which are space-saving designs commonly used today. Power assisted ZF rack and pinion steering was used, again foreshadowing more recent designs. The car featured an automatic clutch which was commonly described as a three-speed semi-automatic gearbox: there was no clutch pedal, but instead, touching the gear lever knob operated an internal electric switch that operated a vacuum system which disengaged the clutch. The gear lever itself then could be moved through a standard ‘H pattern’ gate. The styling, by Claus Luthe who was head of design at NSU and later BMW, was considered very modern at the time; the Ro 80 has been part of many gallery exhibits of modern industrial design. The large glass area foreshadowed 1970s designs such as Citroën’s. The shape was also slippery, with a drag coefficient of 0.355 (very good for the era). This allowed for a top speed of 112 mph. The company’s limited resources focused on improving the reliability of the rotary engine, with much attention given to the material used for the three rotor tips (apex seals) for the oval-like epitrochoid-shaped rotor housing that sealed the combustion chambers. A feature of the engine was its willingness to rev quickly and quietly to damagingly high engine speeds, but it was precisely at these high speeds that damage to key engine components occurred: all Ro 80s came with a rev counter, but cars produced after 1971 also came with an “acoustical signal” that warned the driver when the engine was rotating too fast. The Ro 80 remained largely unchanged over its ten year production. From September 1969 the rectangular headlights were replaced with twin halogen units, and air extractor vents appeared on the C-pillar behind the doors. In August 1970 a slightly reshaped plastic grill replaced the metal grill of the early cars, and a minimal facelift in May 1975 saw the final cars getting enlarged rear lights and rubber inserts in the bumpers which increased the car’s overall length by 15 mm to 4795 mm. Series production began in October 1967 and the last examples came off the production line in April 1977. During 1968, the first full year of production, 5,986 cars were produced, increasing to 7,811 in 1969 and falling slightly to 7,200 in 1970. After this output declined, to about 3,000 – 4,000 per year for the next three years. The relative thirst of the rotary engine told against the car after the savage fuel price rises accompanying the oil crisis of 1973, and between 1974 and 1976 annual production came in well below 2,000 units. In total 37,398 Ro80s were produced during the ten-year production run. Ultimately, it was the contrasting success of the similarly sized Audi 100 that sealed both the fate of the Ro80, and the NSU brand as a whole within the Auto Union-NSU combine, as parent company Volkswagen began nurturing Audi as its performance-luxury brand in the late 1970s. After the discontinuation of the Ro80 in 1977, the Neckarsulm plant was switched over entirely to producing Audi’s C- and D- platform vehicles (the 100/200, and later the Audi A6 and A8), and the NSU brand disappeared from the public eye.
VW Scirocco 2: A heavily redesigned variant (internally designated Typ 53B) went on sale in 1981, although it remained on the A1 platform. The second generation Scirocco, still assembled on behalf of Volkswagen by Karmann of Osnabrück (in the same factory as the first generation Scirocco), was first shown at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show in March that year. Designed by Volkswagen’s own internal design team, the new car featured increased front and rear headroom, increased luggage space and a reduction in the coefficient of drag. One feature of the Type 2 was the location of the rear spoiler midway up the glass on the rear hatch. A mid-cycle update occurred in 1984, which included minor changes over the 1982 model: removal of the outlined “SCIROCCO” script from the rear hatch (below the spoiler), a redesigned air conditioning compressor, and a different brake master cylinder with in-line proportioning valves and a brake light switch mounted to the pedal instead of on the master cylinder. Halfway through the 1984 model year, a new space-saver spare wheel was added, that provided room for a larger fuel tank (with a second “transfer” fuel pump). Leather interior, power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, and a manual sunroof were options for all years. The 1984 model year saw the return of two windshield wipers (vs the large single wiper), absent since the 1976 models. Eleven different engines were offered in the Type 2 Scirocco over the production run, although not all engines were available in all markets. These engines included both carburettor and fuel injection engines. Initially all models had eight-valve engines. A 16-valve head was developed by tuner Oettinger in 1981, with the modification adopted by Volkswagen when they showed a multi-valve Scirocco at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show. It went on sale in Germany and a few other markets in July 1985, with a catalysed model arriving in 1986. Displacements ranged from 1.3 litres up to 1.8 litres. Power ranged from 60 PS to 112 PS for the 8 valve engines and either 129 PS or 139 PS for the 16 valve engines. Numerous trim levels existed, depending on the model year and market, and included the L, CL, GL, LS, GLS, GLI, GT, GTI, GTL, GTS, GTX, GT II, Scala, GT 16V and GTX 16V. Special limited edition models including the White Cat (Europe), Tropic (Europe), Storm (UK), Slegato (Canada), and Wolfsburg Edition (USA and Canada) were also produced. These special models typically featured unique interior/exterior colour combinations, special alloy wheels and had special combinations of options such as leather, multi-function trip computer and/or power windows as standard. Scirocco sales continued until 1992 in Germany, the UK, and some other European markets. The Scirocco was briefly joined but effectively replaced by the Corrado in the VW line-up.
Renault R5 GTL: 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.
Launched at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1980, the R5 Turbo 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.
There were only three more recent cars on show. Two VWs dated from 2014 though the reality is they are decades apart. The 2014 VW Golf Bluemotion represents state of the art in every way, whereas the T2 Kombi Final Edition was an example of the very last of this ever popular vehicle that goes back to 1950.
There was also a first generation Toyota Prius, a car which did not make that much impact in Europe when new, back in 1997 but whose technology certainly laid the foundations for so much of what we are seeing now with increasing hybridisation of the world’s car fleets.
Name a Belgian car is probably an even harder quiz question than the hackneyed “name a famous Belgian”. But if you dig back in history, you will find that there were a number of Belgian manufacturers in the early years of motoring, though the names of all bar perhaps one, are pretty much forgotten. Several of them were presented here.
1947 FN Tri-Car
1932 FN Type 42 Prince Baudouin
1929 FN 1400 Cabrio Walsh
1949 Imperia TA8
1934 Minerva M4
1899 Jamais Contente: La Jamais Contente (English: The Never Satisfied) was the first road vehicle to go over 100 km/h (62 mph). It was a Belgian electric vehicle with a light-alloy torpedo-shaped bodywork and batteries. The high position of the driver and the exposed chassis underneath spoiled much of the aerodynamics. The light alloy, called partinium, is an alloy of aluminium, tungsten and magnesium. The land speed record was established on April 29 or May 1, 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France. The vehicle had two direct-drive Postel-Vinay 25 kW motors, running at 200 V and drawing 124 A each, for about 68 hp total, and was equipped with Michelin tires. Chassis number was n°25. The vehicle was driven by the Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy. Camille was the son of Constant Jenatzy, a manufacturer of rubber products (rubber was still a novelty at the time). Camille had studied as an engineer, with an interest in electric-traction automobiles. He became known for his record-breaking speed runs and was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge (“The Red Devil”) for the colour of his beard. He died in 1913, after being shot in a hunting accident. Wishing to carve a place in the then promising Parisian electric carriage market, Jenatzy started a manufacturing plant, which would produce many electric carriages and trucks. He competed fiercely against the carriage-maker Jeantaud in publicity stunts to see which of them made the fastest vehicles. In order to ensure the triumph of his company, Jenatzy built a bullet-shaped prototype, conceived by the carriage-maker Rothschild in partinium (an alloy of laminated aluminium, tungsten and magnesium). Jenatzy reached the speed of 105.882 km/h (65.792 mph), besting the previous record, held by Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat driving a Jeantaud, who had attained 92.78 km/h (57.65 mph) on March 4, 1899. After this exploit the gasoline-fuelled combustion engine would increasingly supplant electric technology for the next century. The Jamais Contente is now on display at the automobile museum in Compiègne, France. This is one is a replica.
1906 Fondu CF
1921 Minerva Vanden Plas
1934 Minerva SP Fire Engine
1924 Minerva SLT Tractor
1930 FN 1400S Sport Coupe
1930 FN 1400S Woodie
1934 Belga Rise BR6
1925 Minerva 16 HP AD Cabrio
1927 Minerva AF
1914 Minerva KK
1923 Nagant 100C Torpedo Sport: Nagant made cars under licence of the French firm Rochet-Schneider. Nagant cars were made from 1900 to 1928. The firm was purchased by Impéria in 1931
1901 FN Phaeton
1919 FN 2700 AT Limousine
1927 Excelsior Albert 1 Sport: The Excelsior company had been founded in 1903 in Brussels by a young engineer, Arthur De Coninck, as an agency for the French-made Aster engines, which De Coninck also used to complete a handful of rather primitive automobiles. De Coninck then built models using larger Aster engines before undertaking the manufacture of his own power units and transmissions from 1907. The purchase of the defunct Belgica company’s factory at Zaventhem near Brussels enabled Excelsior to expand, and in 1910 the firm introduced its first six-cylinder model, an advanced design that caused a sensation. Excelsior’s six-cylinder cars were considered among the best of that era, which was confirmed by their successes in competition. One of Excelsior’s racing sixes, a monster of 9.1 litres, finished 6th in the 1912 French Grand Prix while another set a 50-mile World Speed Record at Brooklands. In 1914 an Excelsior led the Indianapolis 500 with two laps to go, finally finishing in 5th place. By now Excelsior was established as a quality manufacturer in both domestic and export markets, though production remained on a relatively small scale, with only some 250 cars leaving the factory in 1913. Despite having its factory stripped by the occupying German forces in WWI, Excelsior was able to offer a new car in 1919, the Adex A, a six-cylinder model featuring four-wheel brakes and, for 1923, an overhead-camshaft engine of 5.3 litres (Adex B). Not more than 100 of these expensive and exclusive cars were made annually, and the sports version competed successfully in the long-distance events of the day, including Le Mans. In 1926 the firm introduced an improved version of the Adex : the Albert 1er named after the Belgian king (who buyed the first specimen, as the Belgian royal family had been Excelsior customers for many years). Also named Adex C, the chassis was a complicated system of rear suspension guidance with stabilizer bars (this was certainly the first appearance of this system on a tourism car). In 1926 an Albert 1er won the Grand Prix de Lille and the Klausenrennen hill climb (5-8 litres category) while in 1927 a pair finished 1st and 2nd at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours. Reporting on an Albert 1er in its September 1927 edition, Motor Sport magazine found it undoubtedly of high class and unostentatious, ‘yet capable of a performance equal to anything except a racing car.’ Built for only a few years during the late 1920s/early 1930s, the Excelsior Albert 1er was a high quality car ranking alongside those of Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Isotta-Fraschini, Mercedes, Hispano Suiza…
1911 Minerva 24 HP Type X Torpedo
1930 Minerva AL Coupe: In 1928 de Jong created a ‘super-car’ dubbed the Type AL which he introduced to the public a year later at the Paris Salon. It featured a four-speed transmission and a 6.6-litre eight-cylinder engine cast in one block rather than being made up of two separate blocks of four cylinders. With the help of a single Zenit carburettor, it was capable of producing 125 horsepower. Sitting atop a long 152 inch chassis, it would hardly qualify for super-car status by today’s definition. With its long body, it could easily carry many passengers while providing a spacious and luxurious interior. The exceptionally high price limited production to no more than fifty examples.
And finally in this display area was a car which is not actually Belgian by manufacture but which is a car which you would in its day – which would have been the early 50s – have seen on Belgian roads. This is a 1951 Renault 4CV as used by the Touring Secours organisation, a Belgian roadside assistance and breakdown firm.
PRE-WAR SPORT and LUXURY
This group of cars occupied the central area of the ground floor and made for an impressive display.
1923 Ravel Type B12.26
1937 Mercedes-Benz 370S Mannheim Sport: The Mannheim 370 range were produced from 1929 to 1935., and were launched alongside the Mannheim 350. In this form, the car had a straight-six 3689 cc. Output of 75 PS was claimed. The three-speed gear box was offered, at extra cost, with a fourth higher ratio. The maximum speed claimed for the Mannheim 370 was 100 km/h (62 mph) From 1930 the 370K was offered with a wheelbase shortened by 175 mm (7 inches). Only cabriolet bodied versions of the 370K were offered. The reduced size of the car permitted a maximum speed of 105 km/h (65 mph) to be claimed. Shorter still, on a wheelbase of just 2850 mm (112 inches) was the 370S, available only with roadster or sport-cabriolet bodies. The maximum speed on these versions was stated as 115 km/h (71 mph). In 1933 the manufacturers increased the compression ratio from 5.5:1 to 5.75:1 with a corresponding increase in power output to 78 PS at 3400 rpm. In 1933 the Mercedes Benz Mannheim 350/370s were replaced by the Type 290 (W18) and by the Type 380 (W22)
1931 Fiat 514MM: By the end of the 1920s the first mass-production Fiat, the much-loved Tipo 509 was growing a little long in the tooth, and so the company opted to replace it with a new slightly larger car of similar aims, which they designated the ‘514‘ – a tvpe name rather than specific reference to an aspect of the model. This new car did not carry the same appeal as its forebear, possibly more due to the economic climate of the 1930s than the car itself. Offered in saloon, convertible, two door coupe and torpedo forms, these were made in numerous quantities, some 30,000 by NSU in Germany. But while mass-production continued, there remained a highly specialised division devoted to building special versions of the chassis. Surely the most successful applications of the chassis, three variants, were built: a Sport‘S‘, Coppa delle Alpi ‘CA‘ and this, the Mille Miglia MM. To give an idea of how modest the production of these cars was relative to the main business, just 6 MM cars were built in 1930! These sporting variants featured a developed version of the 1,438cc engine, with hotter camshalt and raised compression ratio amongst other tweaks, increasing the bhp by 25 they also sported elegant two seater bodywork which in retrospect looks like the origins of their later Coppa d‘Oro ‘Balilla‘ sportscars.
1933 Lancia Astura
1930 Bugatti Type 49: The Bugatti Type 49 was an enclosed touring car similar to the earlier Type 44. Produced from 1930 through 1934, about 470 examples were built. The Type 49 was the last of the early 8-cylinder Bugatti line which began with the Type 30, though its gearbox would later be reused on the Type 55. The Type 49 featured a straight-8 engine of 3257 cc.
1926 Rolls Royce Phantom I: The Rolls-Royce Phantom was Rolls-Royce’s replacement for the original Silver Ghost. Introduced as the ‘New Phantom’ in 1925, the Phantom had a larger engine than the Silver Ghost and used pushrod-operated overhead valves instead of the Silver Ghost’s side valves. Constructed as two groups of three cylinders with a single detachable head, the engine was described by Rolls-Royce as producing “sufficient” power. The engine used a 107.9 mm bore and undersquare 139.7 mm stroke for a total of 7,668 cc of displacement. In 1928, the cylinder heads were upgraded from cast iron to aluminium; this caused corrosion problems. The separate gearbox connected through a rubberised fabric flexible coupling to the clutch and through a torque tube enclosed drive to the differential at rear, as in the Silver Ghost. The New Phantom used the same frame as the Silver Ghost, with semi-elliptical springs suspending the front axle and cantilever springs suspending the rear axle. 4-wheel brakes with a servo-assistance system licensed from Hispano-Suiza were also specified, though some early US models lacked front brakes. Like the Silver Ghost, the New Phantom was constructed both at Rolls-Royces’ Derby factory in the United Kingdom and at a factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in the United States. The US factory produced New Phantoms from 1926 to 1931. Principal differences between the US and UK models included wheelbases and transmissions. Both versions were specified with the same standard 143½ in (3644.9 mm) wheelbase; the long-wheelbase U.S. model was 146½ in (3721.1 mm) and the UK 150½ (3822.7 mm).Both versions used a single dry-plate clutch, with US models equipped with a centre change 3-speed transmission and UK a 4-speed. Other minor differences include fuel gauge placement, with the UK New Phantom’s at the tank but some US models having one on the dash, and manual central lubrication systems. The UK Phantom employed Enots nipples, some times as many as 50, which required attachment of a special Enots oil pressure gun and needed time-consuming service at 500, 1000 and 2000 mile intervals; the US model used a centralised Bijur system which lubricated all the oiling points with a stroke of a single pump. Only the chassis and mechanical parts were produced by Rolls-Royce. The body was made and fitted by a coachbuilder selected by the owner. Coachbuilders who produced bodies for New Phantom cars included Barker, Park Ward, Thrupp & Maberly, Mulliner, Hooper and the Italian coachbuilder Zagato. American Phantoms could be bought with standardized bodies from Brewster & Co., which was owned by Rolls-Royce, and Fleetwood. The Phantom was replaced by the Phantom II in 1929.
1928 Cadillac Type 341
1929 Voisin C14
1925 Chevrolet Superior: The Superior was launched in 1923, manufactured by Chevrolet for four years with a different series per year. The 1923 model was known as the Series B, the 1924 model was the Series F, for 1925 it was known as the Series K and the 1926 Superior was known as the Series V. It was replaced in 1927 by the Series AA Capitol. All Superior models were powered by a 2.8 litre 4-cylinder engine generating 26 hp @ 2000 rpm, and shared the 103 in wheelbase. The cheapest complete model, which was the Superior Roadster, cost $510 in 1926, while the range-topping model, the Superior Sedan, sold for $825. It was also possible to buy a chassis; the Commercial chassis cost $425, while the Express Truck chassis cost $525. This chassis was shared with other GM products at the time, including Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland and GMC products, introducing the “A-body”, “B-body” and “C-body”. This policy of sharing mechanicals across multiple brand led to the General Motors Companion Make Program in the 1920s. Starting with leadership under Mr. Sloan, GM instituted visual styling changes for each yearly series.
1927 Darmont DS Special: The Darmont was a Morgan built under licence in France. This one was built around an original 1927 Darmont De Course chassis number 52506. It features a dog eared type JAP v twin engine with bronze heads, alloy barrels & crankcases with a racing press fit crankshaft. Twin dirt track carbs & racing magnetos are fitted, it is dry sumped and produces around 95 BHP running on methanol. The chassis has been widened and lowered to improve the handling & BSA A10 type cable brakes are fitted to the front wheels. The Darmont has two speeds and is currently geared for around 80mph in bottom and 100mph plus in top. Access to the rear wheel and sprockets is via the hinged tail. The bevel box has been strengthened with steel side plates and thru bolts and it is fitted with a straight cut crown wheel & pinion set. Numerous other upgrades and modifications have been carried out to the engine, chassis and body.
1927 Ford Model T Speedster
1927 Bugatti Type 44: The Type 44 was the widest-production variant of the 8 cylinder range which started with the Type 30, with 1,095 known to have been built. A larger and sometimes enclosed tourer, it used a new 3-valve SOHC 3 litre (2991 cc) engine derived from the Type 43’s unit. It was built from late 1927 through 1930.
1920 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia: Bugatti capitalised on the racing success of the Type 13 “Brescia” with the full-production postwar Brescia Tourer. It used the multi-valve Brescia engine, and 2,000 examples were built from 1920 through 1926, making it the first full-production multi-valve car ever made.
At the back of the museum, using sets recovered from the “American Dream Cars & Bikes” exhibition – the diner and the service-station – visitors are immersed in the atmosphere of the 50s to the 70s, with the cars from that era from the museum’s permanent collection.
1965 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 396 Turbo-Jet: Launched in 1963, this model introduced us to the name Sting Ray. It continued with fibreglass body panels, and overall, was smaller than the first generation. The car was designed by Larry Shinoda with major inspiration from a previous concept design called the “Q Corvette,” which was created by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell. Earlier, Mitchell had sponsored a car known as the “Mitchell Sting Ray” in 1959 because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and did not give away what the final version of the C2 would look like. The third inspiration was a Mako Shark Mitchell had caught while deep-sea fishing. Production started for the 1963 model year and ended in 1967. The 1963 model was the first year for a Corvette coupé and it featured a distinctive tapering rear deck (a feature that later reappeared on the 1971 “Boattail” Buick Riviera) with, for 1963 only, a split rear window. The Sting Ray featured hidden headlamps, non-functional bonnet vents, and an independent rear suspension. Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov never liked the split rear window because it blocked rear vision, but Mitchell thought it to be a key part of the entire design. Maximum power for 1963 was 360 bhp, raised to 375 bhp in 1964. Options included electronic ignition, the breakerless magnetic pulse-triggered Delcotronic first offered on some 1963 Pontiac models. On 1964 models the decorative bonnet vents were eliminated and Duntov, the Corvette’s chief engineer, got his way with the split rear window changed to a full width window. Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as was a “big block” engine option: the 396 cu in (6.49 litre) V8. Side exhaust pipes were also optionally available in 1965, and continued to be offered through 1967. The introduction of the 425 bhp 396 cu in big block in 1965 spelled the beginning of the end for the Rochester fuel injection system. The 396 cu in option cost $292.70 while the fuel injected 327 cu in (5.36 litre) engine cost $538.00. Few people could justify spending $245.00 more for 50 bhp less, even though FI could deliver over 20 mpg on the highway and would keep delivering fuel despite high G-loading in corners taken at racing speeds. Another rare ’63 and ’64 option was the Z06 competition package, which offered stiffer suspension, bigger, multi-segment lined brakes with finned drums and more, only a couple hundred coupes and ONE convertible were factory-equipped this way in 1963. With only 771 fuel-injected cars built in 1965, Chevrolet discontinued the option at the end of the ’65 production, having introduced a less-expensive big block 396 engine rated at 425 hp in the middle of the production year and selling over 2,000 in just a few months. For 1966, Chevrolet introduced an even larger 427 cu in 7 litre Big Block version. Other options available on the C2 included the Wonderbar auto-tuning AM radio, AM-FM radio (mid-1963), air conditioning (late-1963), a telescopic steering wheel (1965), and headrests (1966). The Sting Ray’s independent rear suspension was successfully adapted for the new-for-1965 Chevrolet Corvair, which solved the quirky handling problems of that unique rear-engine compact. 1967 was the final year for the C2 generation. The 1967 model featured restyled bumper vents, less ornamentation, and back-up lamps which were on the inboard in 1966 were now rectangular and centrally located. The first use of all four taillights in red started in 1961 and was continued thru the C-2 line-up except for the 1966. The 1967 and subsequent models continuing on all Corvettes since. 1967 had the first L88 engine option which was rated at 430 bhp, but unofficial estimates place the actual output at 560 bhp or more. Only twenty such engines were installed at the factory. From 1967 (to 1969), the Holley triple two-barrel carburettor, or Tri-Power, was available on the 427 L89 (a
$368 option, on top of the cost for the high-performance 427). Despite these changes, sales slipped over 15%, to 22,940 – 8,504 coupes and 14,436 convertibles.
There were two examples of what are sometimes referred to as the Tri-Star Chevrolets, a 1955 Chevrolet BelAir Sedan and a Nomad: The story of these cars starts in 1955, when Chevrolet replaced the entire range of cars, producing what are sometimes referred to as the “Tri-Five” range, which would live for three years. Revolutionary in their day, they spawned a cult following that exists in clubs, website and even entire businesses that exclusively cater to the enthusiasts of the Tri Five automobiles. All featured a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. 1955-1957 were watershed years for Chevrolet, who spent a million dollars in 1956 alone for retooling, in order to make their less expensive Bel Air models look more like a Cadillac, culminating in 1957 with their most extravagant tailfins and Cadillac inspired bumper guards. In 1955, Americans purchased 7.1 million new automobiles, including 1.7 million Chevrolets, giving the company fully 44% of the low-price market and surpassing Ford in total unit sales by 250,000. The Bel Air was an instant hit with consumers, with Base One-Fifty models starting under $1600 and featuring a six cylinder engine. The introduction of the new optional 170 hp 265ci V8, coupled with the Powerglide automatic transmission quickly earned the model the nickname “The Hot One”. In the first year of production, the oil filter was considered an option, although not having it led to significantly shorter engine life. With three basic model lines of 150, 210 and Bel Air and a range of body styles from 2 and 4 door Sedans to Coupes, Convertibles and Wagons, there were as many as 19 different Tri-five models available. The 1956 cars saw minor changes to the grille, trim and other accessories. It meant huge gains in sales for Chevrolet, who sold 104,849 Bel Air models, due in part to the new V8 engine introduced a year before. By this time, their 265cid V8 had gained popularity with hot rodders who found the engine easy to modify for horsepower gains. This wasn’t lost on Chevrolet’s engineers, who managed to up the horsepower in 1956 from 170 hp to 225 hp with optional add-ons. The average two door Bel Air in 1956 sold for $2100, which was considered a good value at the time. Prices ranging from $1665 for the 150 sedan with six cylinder engine to $2443 for the V8 equipped convertible, with Nomad models running slightly higher. Bigger changes came for 1957, including the large tailfins, “twin rocket” bonnet design, even more chrome, tri-colour paint and a choice from no less than seven different V8 engines. While in 1957, Ford outsold Chevrolet for the first time in a great while, years later the used 1957 Chevrolets would sell for hundreds more than their Ford counterparts. As the horsepower race continued, Chevrolet introduced a new version of their small block, with 283 cubic inches of displacement and 245 hp. They also introduced a limited number of Rochester fuel injected 283 engines that produced 283 hp, the first production engine to achieve 1 hp per cubic inch. For all intent and purposes, this made the 1957 Bel Air a “hot rod”, right off the production line. It was available with manual transmission only. The base 265cid engine saw an increase from 170 to 185 hp as well. While not as popular as the previous year’s offering, Chevrolet still managed to sell 1.5 million cars in 1957. Today, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air like this one is one of the most sought after collector cars ever produced.
1961 Studebaker Hawk: One of the most elegant American cars of its era, without question, was the Studebaker Hawk, a late 1961 example of which was to be seen here. The Hawk rage was introduced for the 1956 model year, with more versions available from 1957, by which time there were four models: the pillared Flight Hawk and Power Hawk, and the hardtop Sky Hawk and Golden Hawk. These were all offered until 1959. The same basic car was produced for two more years, 1960 and 1961, simply as the Studebaker Hawk. The Hawk were an evolution of the Raymond Loewy styled Champion model which had been introduced in 1953, and the two lower models in the four-model Hawk range in 1956 carried forward the Champion 185 cu. in., six-cylinder 101 hp powerplant whilst the Power Hawk used the Commander’s 4.2 ltire V8. The Silver Hawk came in two differently-engined models with either the Champion six or the 289 cu. in. (4.7 litre) President V8 engine delivering 210 HP from the two-barrel and 225 HP from the four-barrel with dual exhaust. In appearance, the Silver Hawk was somewhat plainer in appearance than the Golden Hawk, the senior of the two Hawk models in 1957–1958. There was a little bit less chrome, no supercharger or bulge in the bonnet, and a simpler two-tone paint scheme was adopted — simply one colour below the chrome belt line and another above, but unlike the Golden Hawk, the lower colour included the fin. Some dealers painted the fin only, and sometimes the boot lid recess and or the left and right “side grills” were painted in a contrasting Studebaker colour. These usually matched the interior, some were Blue, Gold, Red or Black and were actually better looking according to many owners than the factory two-tone paint scheme. In the midst of a financial crisis at Studebaker after a disastrous recession-year performance in 1958, the Golden Hawk was dropped; the Silver Hawk, which had sold somewhat better, was retained in the lineup. For 1959, the Silver Hawk became the only Hawk model in production, largely because Studebaker dealers wanted a glamorous flagship model as a dealership draw. Those customers would more than likely walk out with Studebaker’s last-ditch hope, the new Lark compact. In fact, the Silver Hawk was the only non-Lark model kept. Changes for 1959 included new tailfins, with the “Silver Hawk” script moved to the fins instead of on the boot lid (where new individual block letters spelling out STUDEBAKER were placed), with a new Hawk badge in between the two words. The parking lights moved to the side grilles from the front wings, chrome mouldings around the windows (from the 1953–1954 models) similar to the Golden Hawk were added, and the interior was somewhere in between the two former models’ levels of luxury. Two-tone paint was discontinued for all U.S. orders, though it was still available for export. Under the bonnet, buyers could choose the newly-shrunken (to pre-’55 size) 90 HP 2.8 litre six or the 4.2 litre V8 of 180 or 195 HP (depending on the choice of carburettor). The 289 was no longer available. The 1959 model year was Studebaker’s first profitable year in six years, thanks mostly to the Lark, and the rising tide of sales lifted the Silver Hawk, which sold 7,788 examples. For 1960, Studebaker dropped the Silver part of the name, leaving “just plain” Hawk. Largely unchanged externally from the 1959, internally, the major change was the return of the 289 cubic inch (4.7 litre) V8 last used in 1958. This was the only engine available for U.S. orders in both 1960 and 1961, the last year of the finned Hawk. Some six-cylinder and 259 cu in (4.2 litre) V8 models were built for export markets. The 1961 models saw the limited return of a second paint colour, beige, in a stripe along the base of the fin between the two lower mouldings. Interiors gained the option of wide, comfortable bucket seats; customers could opt to team their 289 V8 with a new four-speed Borg-Warner manual transmission, the same model used in the Chevrolet Corvette. The Hawk was replaced for 1962 by the restyled Gra
n Turismo Hawk.
1950 Buick Roadmaster: The Roadmaster received its first major postwar restyling in 1949. Its wheelbase and overall length were reduced but its weight was actually marginally increased. The biggest change was a much larger two-piece, curved glass windshield that the sales brochure described as like an “observation car.” It was also in 1949 that Buick introduced “VentiPorts.” Four were displayed on each of the Roadmaster’s front fenders, with three on the fenders of the Super, Century, and Special. The sales brochure noted that VentiPorts helped ventilate the engine compartment, and possibly that was true in early 1949, but sometime during the model year they became plugged. The idea for VentiPorts grew out of a modification Buick styling chief Ned Nickles had added to his own 1948 Roadmaster. He had installed four amber lights on each side of his car’s hood wired to the distributor so as to flash on and off as each piston fired simulating the flames from the exhaust stack of a fighter airplane. Combined with the bombsight mascot, VentiPorts put the driver at the controls of an imaginary fighter airplane. Upon seeing this, Buick chief Harlow Curtice was so delighted that he ordered that (non-lighting) VentiPorts be installed on all 1949 Buicks, with the number of VentiPorts (three or four) corresponding to the relative displacement of the straight-eight engine installed. Dynaflow was now standard equipment, and engine horsepower was increased to 150 through a slight increase in the compression ratio. This contributed in conjunction with the now-standard Dynaflow in giving the new Buicks a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h). In the middle of the year, the Riviera joined the body style line-up selling 4,314 units. Featuring power windows as standard equipment, the 2-door Buick Roadmaster Riviera, along with the Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville and the Oldsmobile 98 Holiday, was among the first hardtop coupes produced. The Riviera was also notable for its popular optional “Sweepspear” chrome body side molding, which would soon become a Buick trademark. This chrome-plated strip started above the front wheel, after which it gently curved down nearly to the rocker panel just before the rear wheel, and then curved around the rear wheel in a quarter of a circle to go straight back to the tail-light. The “Riviera trim”, as it was initially called, was also made available on the Roadmaster convertible late in the model year. With a total of 88,130 sold, the all-time annual record for Roadmaster, the model accounted for 27% of all Buick sales, a high proportion in despite its price that was only slightly less than a Cadillac Series 61. The 1950 restyling featured a “toothy” grille. The Sweepspear design was made standard on most body styles at the beginning of the 1950 model year, and on the station wagon and a new long-wheelbase sedan mid-year. The long-wheelbase sedan was lengthened by 4 inches (102 mm)). Like the convertibles, the Riviera and the long-wheelbase sedan came with power windows and power seats as standard equipment. Overall Roadmaster sales fell to 75,034, with Roadmaster’s share of total Buick output plummeting to 12%. In 1951 the long-wheelbase sedan was also called a Riviera although it was not a hardtop. The Sedanet and regular wheelbase sedan were discontinued. Styling changes were minimal in 1951 and 1952. Power steering was added as an option in 1952 and horsepower climbed to 170 primarily to a new four-barrel carburetor. Sales continued to decrease to about 66,000 in 1951 and to 51,000 in 1952. A new V8 engine was introduced for 1953, Buick’s Golden Anniversary year. Although the Nailhead (as it was popularly called) was nearly identical in displacement to the straight-eight Fireball (322 versus 320 cubic inches), it was 13.5 inches (340 mm) shorter, four inches (102 mm) lower, and 180 lb (82 kg) lighter, but with 188 hp (140 kW), it was 11% more powerful. The compression ratio increased from 7.50:1 to 8.50:1 and torque increased from 280 to 300 lb⋅ft (380 to 407 N⋅m). The compact dimensions of the V8 engine enabled Buick to reduce Roadmaster’s wheelbase by 4.75 in (121 mm) across the line, although styling differences behind the engine cowl, apart from new V-8 emblem hubcaps, were largely nonexistent. Buick also introduced a new “Twin-Turbine” Dynaflow as a companion for the V8 engine. Estimated to increase torque at the wheels by 10 percent, the new transmission provided faster and quieter acceleration at reduced engine speeds. Both power steering and power brakes were made standard. Air conditioning was a new option and, years before many other makes, a 12-volt electrical system was adopted. A new body style for 1953 was the Skylark convertible. The Buick Roadmaster Skylark was one of three specialty convertibles produced in 1953 by General Motors, the other two being the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and the Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado. The Skylark featured open wheel wells, a drastically lowered beltline, a four-inch-chop from the standard Roadmaster’s windshield, the absence of VentiPorts, and a new Sweepspear that anticipated Buick’s 1954 styling. Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels and a solid boot cover were standard. At $5,000 only 1,690 units were produced. The following year, and for one year only, it would become its own series built on a Century body. This was the last year for the Roadmaster Estate, and it was the last wood-bodied station wagon mass-produced in the United States. Its body was a product of Ionia Manufacturing that built all Buick station wagon bodies between 1946 and 1964. Priced at $4,031, the Estate was second in price only to the Skylark, with 670 being sold. Overall Roadmaster sales went up to 79,137.
1956 Ford Thunderbird: The Ford Thunderbird began life in February 1953 in direct response to Chevrolet’s new sports car, the Corvette, which was publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month before. Under rapid development, the Thunderbird went from idea to prototype in about a year, being unveiled to the public at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. It was a two-seat design available with a detachable glass-fibre hard top and a folding fabric top. Production of the Thunderbird began later on in 1954 on September 9 with the car beginning sales as a 1955 model on October 22, 1954. Though sharing some design characteristics with other Fords of the time, such as single, circular headlamps and tail lamps and modest tailfins, the Thunderbird was sleeker and more athletic in shape, and had features like a bonnet scoop and a 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer hinting a higher performance nature that other Fords didn’t possess. Mechanically though, the Thunderbird could trace its roots to other mainstream Fords. The Thunderbird’s 102.0 inches wheelbase frame was mostly a shortened version of that used in other Fords while the car’s standard 4.8 litre Y-block V8 came from Ford’s Mercury division. Though inspired by, and positioned directly against, the Corvette, Ford billed the Thunderbird as a personal car, putting a greater emphasis on the car’s comfort and convenience features rather than its inherent sportiness. The Thunderbird sold exceptionally well in its first year. In fact, the Thunderbird outsold the Corvette by more than 23-to-one for 1955 with 16,155 Thunderbirds sold against 700 Corvettes. With the Thunderbird considered a success, few changes were made to the car for 1956. The most notable change was moving the spare tyre to a continental-style rear bumper in order to make more storage room in the boot and a new 12 volt electrical system. The addition of the weight at the rear caused steering issues. Among the few other changes were new paint colours, the addition of circular porthole windows as standard in the fibreglass roof to improve rearward visibility, and a 5.1 litre V8 making 215 hp when mated to a 3-speed manual transmission or 225 hp when mated to a Ford-O-Matic 2-speed automatic transmission; this transmission featured a “low gear”, which was accessible only via the gear selector. When in “Drive”, it was a 2-speed automatic transmission (similar to Chevrolet’s Powerglide). The Thunderbird was revised for 1957 with a reshaped front bumper, a larger grille and tailfins, and larger tail lamps. The instrument panel was heavily re-styled with round gauges in a single pod, and the rear of the car was lengthened, allowing the spare to be positioned back in the boot. The 5.1 litre V8 became the Thunderbird’s standard engine, and now produced 245 hp. Other, even more powerful versions of the V8 were available including one with two four-barrel Holley carburettors and another with a Paxton supercharger delivering 300 hp. Though Ford was pleased to see sales of the Thunderbird rise to a record-breaking 21,380 units for 1957, company executives felt the car could do even better, leading to a substantial redesign of the car for 1958.
1955 de Soto Diplomat Convertible: The DeSoto Diplomat is an automobile produced by DeSoto from 1946 to 1962 for sale in export markets other than the United States and Canada. The export DeSoto based on the Plymouth was first introduced in 1937 and was built in Detroit. Chrysler Corporation of Canada, which before 1947 enjoyed “Imperial Preference” reduced tariff barriers in British empire markets, did not start building export DeSotos until late in the 1939 model year. In 1946, the export DeSoto became the DeSoto Diplomat. They were exported to Europe, South Africa, South America, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia. In 1955, Chrysler of Canada did not export any cars and all 1955 Diplomats came from Detroit. In the late 1950s, some European taxicab drivers preferred to have a Perkins P4C diesel engine in the Diplomat; these diesel engines were installed on a Belgian assembly line. From 1938 to 1956, the export DeSoto used Plymouth bodies with a grille that looked similar to the regular DeSoto but fit the Plymouth grille opening. From 1957 to 1959, the DeSoto Diplomat used the DeSoto Firesweep front clip with Plymouth body. The 1960 and 1961 DeSoto Diplomats were based on the full-size Dodge Dart. Although 1960 was the last year for DeSoto in Canada and 1961 for the United States and export markets, Chrysler South Africa built a number of 1962 DeSoto Diplomats based on the Dodge Dart 440 sedan.
1948 Ford Sportsman Convertible: The final year for the old-style Ford which had started out in 1941 was 1948, with an all-new model launched part way through the year. The wood-sided Sportsman convertible, supplied by the Ford Iron Mountain Plant, ended the year with just 28 built, and the all-wood bodies on the woody station wagons were replaced with steel for the 1949 season.
1958 Cadillac Fleetwood: Cadillac introduced its first production four-door hardtop, the Sedan DeVille, in 1956. When Cadillac redesigned all of its standard models for 1957, the Sixty Special adopted the pillarless design as well. Priced at a hefty $5,539, the 4,761 lb (2,160 kg) Sixty Special production reached an impressive 24,000 units – a sales plateau that the nameplate would never achieve again. The chrome fender louvres, a Sixty Special trademark since 1942, were gone in favour of a giant ribbed metallic panel that occupied the entire lower half of the rear fender. The Sixty Special script was located on the lower half of the front fender, and was relocated to the top of the rear fin for 1958, and the word “Fleetwood” was spelled out in block lettering across the boot lid. Engineering treats included moving the optional air conditioning unit from the boot to a space under the bonnet, and a foot-operated parking brake that released when the car was put in gear. The 365 cu in (5.98 litre) engine introduced last year was now bumped up to 300 bhp. In spite of all-new sheet metal on the 1957 models, much of Cadillac’s attention was focused on the new limited production Eldorado Brougham. This new four-door model did not pose a threat to Sixty Special production, since the new Brougham was a hand-built, limited-production specialty model with a stupendously steep $13,074 price tag – more than double a new Sixty Special. Power windows and brakes were standard. A pre-selector radio was optional. 1958 saw extensive design changes, even though the cars were entirely revamped for 1957. Horsepower from the 365 cu in (5.98 litre) engine was now at 310 bhp. Sparkling “studs” decorated the wide new grille, while the rubber-tipped bumper guards were moved further out towards the edges of the car – leaving a lower, wider look. Four headlights, a style that appeared on last year’s Eldorado Brougham, were adopted for all Cadillacs, including the $6,117 Sixty Special. Full fender skirts practically hid the rear wheels from sight, and the massive ribbed stainless steel trim occupied the lower half of the rear fender. Small vent windows were added to Sixty Special’s rear doors, and newly available power door locks were optional. This marked the last year that the Sixty Special would maintain a stretched GM C-Body until its return in the 1965 model year. The model year 1958 would also be the last that the Sixty Special script would actually appear anywhere on the car. Sales for the 4,930 pound car slid to 12,900 units – nearly half of the previous year’s production.
1965 Lincoln Continental 3
1948 Chrysler New Yorker: After the war, the New Yorker became a separate series. Unlike most car companies, Chrysler did not make major changes with each model year from 1946 through 1948. Thus models for 1946 through 1948 Chryslers have the same basic appearance, noted for their ‘harmonica’ grille, based on the body introduced with the 1941 models. 1947 saw a minor redesign in tires, trim, and instrument panel, while the first 1948s were just 1947s with no visible changes. Postwar Chryslers continued to offer Fluid Drive, with the New Yorker now offering the true four-speed semi-automatic transmission. A new design arrived for 1949.
1976 AMC Pacer: American Motors’ chief stylist Richard A. Teague began work on the Pacer in 1971, anticipating an increase in demand for smaller vehicles through the decade. The new car was designed to offer the interior room and feel of a big car that drivers of traditional domestic automobiles were accustomed to, but in a much smaller, aerodynamic, and purposefully distinctive exterior package The rounded shape and large glass area were unusual compared with the three-box designs of the era. The Pacer’s width was the same as full-sized domestic vehicles at the time, and this unique design feature was promoted by AMC as “the first wide small car.” A number of futuristic ideas were explored by AMC. But the automaker lacked adequate resources to build components from scratch and needed to use outside suppliers or adapt its existing parts and use its production facilities. Unique for a comparatively small car, the Pacer was as wide as a full-size American car of the era. American Motors did not describe it as “cab forward,” but the Pacer’s layout included wheels pushed to the corners (short overhangs), a relatively wide body, and A-pillars moved forward; the windshield was placed over part of the engine compartment. Contrary to myth, The Pacer was not widened six inches to make room for the rear-wheel drive configuration. The width was dictated partly by marketing strategy—US drivers were accustomed to large vehicles and the Pacer’s occupants had the impression of being in a larger car—and partly by the fact that AMC’s assembly lines were already set up for full-size cars. Teague’s low-drag design, which predated the fuel crisis and the flood of small foreign imports into the American market, was highly innovative. Its drag coefficient of 0.43 was relatively low for that time. Teague even eliminated rain gutters, smoothly blending the tops of the doors into the roof—an aerodynamic detail that, although criticised at the time for allowing rain onto the front seat, has become the norm in today’s designs. Also unique was that the passenger door was four inches longer than the driver’s. This made passenger loading easier, particularly from the rear seats; and they would also tend to use the safer curb side in countries that drive on the right. Originally, the car was designed for a Wankel rotary engine. In 1973, AMC signed a licensing agreement with Curtiss-Wright to build Wankels for cars and Jeep-type vehicles. Later, AMC decided instead to purchase the engines from General Motors (GM), who were developing them for use in their own cars. However, GM cancelled development in 1974 for reasons that included durability issues, the fuel crisis, tooling costs (for the engines and also for a new product line designed around the rotary’s ultra-compact dimensions) and the upcoming (late 1970s) US emissions legislation. It was also thought that the high-revving Wankel would not suit Americans accustomed to low revs and high torque. General Motors’s change of plans left the Pacer without an engine. American Motors had little choice but to reconfigure it to accept their existing straight-six engine. This involved a complete redesign of drivetrain and firewall to keep the longer engine within the body dimensions designed for the Wankel, but allowed the Pacer to share many mechanical components with other AMC models. This meant that with standard six-cylinder engines, the car was far thirstier than four cylinder rivals. There were plenty of other innovations, though. The low belt line and window design afforded the driver with outstanding visibility. The Pacer had a laminated windscreen. The articulated front wipers were hidden when in their parked position, and a rear wiper and washer was optional. The Pacer was designed to meet the expected and stringent safety standards that were intended to come in from 1980, until lobbying by the Big Three had these reduced somewhat. Introduced in showrooms on 28 February 1975, the Pacer was designed to attract buyers of traditional large cars to a smaller package during a time when fuel prices were projected to rise dramatically. In its first year of production, the Pacer sold well, with 145,528 units. There was little competition from other American manufacturers, most of whom had been blindsided by the oil crisis. The increased demand for compact, economy vehicles was growing rapidly. However, Pacer sales fell after the first two years, though the car continued to be built through the 1980 model year. Similar to its mid-year introduction, on 3 December 1979, production of the Pacer ended at the Kenosha, Wisconsin assembly plant where it had begun five years earlier. A total of 280,000 cars were built. Increasing competition from the Big Three US automakers and the rapid consumer shift to imported cars during the late 1970s are cited as the reasons for this outcome. Automobile buyers in the U.S. became adjusted to smaller and lighter cars, particularly the imports that offered better fuel economy, the AMC Pacer could not match the German and Japanese cars. Also the large glass areas increased the car’s weight. With 22 mpg, the Pacer was unattractive for customers in the 1979 energy crisis. The Pacer’s unconventional styling was commonly cited in its lack of success. Other concerns included a lack of cargo space when carrying a full load of passengers (because of its short wheelbase). Cargo space could be increased to 29.5 cubic feet by folding down the back of the rear seat to form a flat floor. For increased cargo capacity, a Station Wagon body style was offered from 1977. The Wagon version was only five inches longer and weighed only 76 pounds (34 kg) more than the hatch. It was also a less unusual-looking design with a squared-off back and straight, almost upright, rear side windows. Production ceased at the end of 1979. A small number were brought to the UK, where they were converted – rather crudely – to right hand drive, but the asymmetric door arrangement persisted with what was now the driver’s door the longer of the two. UK press reaction was unfavourable, as encapsulated by the cover headline on Motor magazine: “We test the AMC Pacer and wish we had not”.
This hearse is based on a Chevrolet chassis.
LUXURY and INNOVATION
Among the first cars that I came to upstairs were these, which did not seem to have any particular theme to link them, with an extensive time period spread. Most of there were from the luxury end of the market, so I have categorised them accordingly.
1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible: 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 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. The idea of a large car finished in pink now is simply unthinkable, but the colour goes quite well with the style here. These 59 and 60 Cadillacs attract lots of interest from collectors and the public and this one was no exception.
1939 Delage D8-120
1946 JP Wimille prototype: From 1946 on, in conjunction with stylist Philippe Charbonnea, Wimille created and built cars in Paris under the brand-name Wimille. Their advanced features included three-abreast seating, a Cotal pre-selector gearbox and a mid-mounted engine. Between 1946 and 1950 around eight cars were built, at first with Citroën-engines, later with Ford V8-engines
1929 Packard Eight de luxe Cabriolet
Cord 810: With desperate company executives wondering how they could rescue the Auburn Automobile Company, they contemplated introducing a “baby Duesenberg”. Renowned designer Gordon Buehrig was hired in the summer of 1934 to work on a prototype. As work progressed the concept changed to a technically advanced car with front wheel drive, independent suspension and front wheel drive and a radical new shape. The goal was to launch the car at the New York Auto Show in November 1935, as time was of the essence as the Auburn Automobile Company was on the verge of bankruptcy. The car took the Cord name, and was called the 810, It was a sensation, and orders poured in. Sadly, problems with the car and its manufacture meant that production did not get underway until into 1936 with the result that many customers withdrew their orders. Those who persisted soon fond that they had bought a car with more than a few teething problems For the 1937 model year there was a supercharged engine, which boosted power from 125 bhp to 170, making the car a 100 mph cruiser. The Custom series had a longer wheelbase in response to customer demand for more space, but despite this and other running improvements, sales languished and the last production cars were made in August 1937. Barely 3000 of the 810 and 812 cars had been made. Many of the innovative features of the Cord would reappear in years to come in other cars. These days, these Cord models are well regarded as among the most stunning products of their era and it was good to see the duo of them here.
1948 Bentley Mark VI: Announced in May 1946, as the Mark VI and produced from 1946 to 1952 it was also both the first car from Rolls-Royce with all-steel coachwork and the first complete car assembled and finished at their factory. These very expensive cars were a genuine success, long-term their weakness lay in the inferior steels forced on them by government’s post-war controls. The chassis continued to be supplied to independent coachbuilders. Four-door Saloon, two-door saloon and drophead coupe models with bodies by external companies were listed by Bentley along with the Bentley-bodied saloon. This shorter wheelbase chassis and engine was a variant of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith of 1946 and, with the same standard steel body and a larger boot became the cautiously introduced Silver Dawn of 1949. The same extended-boot modification was made to the Mark VI body in 1952 and the result became known as the R type Bentley. Among the cars here was one of the revered Continental versions.
1972 Citroen DS23: It is hard to imagine just how revolutionary this car must have seemed when it was unveiled at the Paris Show in 1955. 18 years in secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19 stole the show, and within 15 minutes of opening, 743 orders were taken. By the end of the first day, that number had risen to 12,000. Contemporary journalists said the DS pushed the envelope in the ride vs. handling compromise possible in a motor vehicle. To a France still deep in reconstruction after the devastation of World War II, and also building its identity in the post-colonial world, the DS was a symbol of French ingenuity. It also posited the nation’s relevance in the Space Age, during the global race for technology of the Cold War. Structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes, in an essay about the car, said that it looked as if it had “fallen from the sky”. An American advertisement summarised this selling point: “It takes a special person to drive a special car”. Because they were owned by the technologically aggressive tyre manufacturer Michelin, Citroën had designed their cars around the technically superior radial tyre since 1948, and the DS was no exception. The car featured a novel hydropneumatic suspension including an automatic levelling system and variable ground clearance, developed in-house by Paul Magès. This suspension allowed the DS to travel quickly on the poor road surfaces common in France. In addition, the vehicle had power steering and a semi-automatic transmission (the transmission required no clutch pedal, but gears still had to be shifted by hand though the shift lever controlled a powered hydraulic shift mechanism in place of a mechanical linkage, and a fibreglass roof which lowered the centre of gravity and so reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as independent suspension) reduced unsprung weight. Different front and rear track widths and tyre sizes reduced the unequal tyre loading, which is well known to promote understeer, typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars. As with all French cars, the DS design was affected by the tax horsepower system, which effectively mandated very small engines. Unlike the Traction Avant predecessor, there was no top-of-range model with a powerful six-cylinder engine. Citroën had planned an air-cooled flat-6 engine for the car, but did not have the funds to put the prototype engine into production. The 1955 DS19 was 65% more expensive than the car it replaced, the Citroën Traction Avant. This did impact potential sales in a country still recovering economically from World War II, so a cheaper submodel, the Citroën ID, was introduced in 1957. The ID shared the DS’s body but was less powerful and luxurious. Although it shared the engine capacity of the DS engine (at this stage 1,911 cc), the ID provided a maximum power output of only 69 hp compared to the 75 hp claimed for the DS19. Power outputs were further differentiated in 1961 when the DS19 acquired a Weber-32 twin bodied carburettor, and the increasing availability of higher octane fuel enabled the manufacturer to increase the compression ratio from 7.5:1 to 8.5:1. A new DS19 now came with a promised 83 hp of power. The ID19 was also more traditional mechanically: it had no power steering and had conventional transmission and clutch instead of the DS’s hydraulically controlled set-up. Initially the basic ID19 was sold on the French market with a price saving of more than 25% against the DS, although the differential was reduced at the end of 1961 when the manufacturer quietly withdrew the entry level ID19 “Normale” from sale. An estate version was introduced in 1958. It was known by various names in different markets: Break in France, Safari and Estate in the UK, Wagon in the US, and Citroën Australia used the terms Safari and Station-Wagon. It had a steel roof to support the standard roof rack. ‘Familiales’ had a rear seat mounted further back in the cabin, with three folding seats between the front and rear squabs. The standard Break had two s
ide-facing seats in the main load area at the back. During the 20 year production life, improvements were made on an ongoing basis. In September 1962, the DS was restyled with a more aerodynamically efficient nose, better ventilation and other improvements. It retained the open two headlamp appearance, but was available with an optional set of driving lights mounted on the front bumpers. A more luxurious Pallas trim came in for 1965 Named after the Greek goddess Pallas, this included comfort features such as better noise insulation, a more luxurious (and optional leather) upholstery and external trim embellishments. The cars were complex, and not always totally reliable, One of the issues that emerged during long term use was addressed with a change which came in for 1967. The original hydropneumatic system used a vegetable oil liquide hydraulique végétal (LHV), similar to that used in other cars at the time, but later switched to a synthetic fluid liquide hydraulique synthétique (LHS). Both of these had the disadvantage that they are hygroscopic, as is the case with most brake fluids. Disuse allows water to enter the hydraulic components causing deterioration and expensive maintenance work. The difficulty with hygroscopic hydraulic fluid was exacerbated in the DS/ID due to the extreme rise and fall in the fluid level in the reservoir, which went from nearly full to nearly empty when the suspension extended to maximum height and the six accumulators in the system filled with fluid. With every “inhalation” of fresh moisture- (and dust-) laden air, the fluid absorbed more water. For the 1967 model year, Citroën introduced a new mineral oil-based fluid liquide hydraulique minéral (LHM). This fluid was much less harsh on the system. LHM remained in use within Citroën until the Xantia was discontinued in 2001. LHM required completely different materials for the seals. Using either fluid in the incorrect system would completely destroy the hydraulic seals very quickly. To help avoid this problem, Citroën added a bright green dye to the LHM fluid and also painted all hydraulic elements bright green. The former LHS parts were painted black. All models, including the Safari and ID, were upgraded at the same time. The hydraulic fluid changed to the technically superior LHM (Liquide Hydraulique Minéral) in all markets except the US and Canada, where the change did not take place until January 1969, due to local regulations. Rarest and most collectable of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973. The Cabriolet d’Usine (factory convertible) were built by French carrossier Henri Chapron, for the Citroën dealer network. It was an expensive car, so only 1,365 were sold. These DS convertibles used a special frame which was reinforced on the side-members and rear suspension swingarm bearing box, similar to, but not identical to the Break/Safari frame. The cars here included a nice DS23EFi, the top model in the range, which came with a fuel injected 2.3 litre engine, five speed gearbox as well as those iconic swivelling headlights which turned with the steering wheel.
SPORT and COMPETITION
A large part of the upstairs display area was given over to a very diverse collection of cars which could be all categorised under the labels of Sport and Competition.
The Lancia Hyena was a 2-door coupé made in small numbers by Italian coachbuilder Zagato on the basis of the Delta HF Integrale “Evoluzione”. The Hyena was born thanks to the initiative of Dutch classic car restorer and collector Paul V.J. Koot, who desired a coupé version of the multiple World Rally Champion HF Integrale. He turned to Zagato, where Hyena was designed in 1990 by Marco Pedracini. A first prototype was introduced at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1992. Decision was taken to put the Hyena into limited production. Fiat refused to participate in the project supplying bare HF Integrale chassis, which complicated the manufacturing process: the Hyena had to be produced from fully finished HF Integrales, privately purchased at Lancia dealers. Koot’s Lusso Service took care of procuring and stripping the donor cars in the Netherlands; they were then sent to Zagato in Milan to have the new body built and for final assembly. All of this made the Hyena very expensive to build and they were sold for around 140,000 Swiss francs or $75,000 (£49,430). The Zagato bodywork made use of aluminium alloys and composite materials; the interior featured new dashboard, console and door cards made entirely from carbon fibre. Thanks to these weight saving measures the Hyena was 150 kilograms (330 lb) lighter than the original HF Integrale, about 15% of its overall weight. The two-litre turbo engine was upgraded from 205 to 250 PS and the car could accelerate from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.4 seconds. A production run of 75 examples was initially planned, but only 25 Hyenas were completed between 1992 and 1993.
Recent supercars included the first generation Audi R8, BMW 8 Series and Honda NS-X as well as the current Lexus LC500
A number of Porsche models featured here, including an early 911, a 964, a 928 and the 550RS as well as a 911/935 Kremer.
1988 ItalDesign Giugiaro Aztec: The Aztec is a sports car introduced by Italdesign at the 1988 Turin Motor Show, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the firm. The two-seater is unique because the driver and passenger are separated, requiring the two parties to communicate electronically. It incorporates a speedster body style with partial visor sections which are removable and open in a gull-wing arrangement. It was fitted with a turbocharged Audi engine mated to a four-wheel-drive system derived from the Lancia Delta HF Integrale. The Aztec’s Audi-sourced five-cylinder DOHC engine produces 200 PS although the car carried a prominent “250 HP” badge on the flank. Many cars were indeed fitted with boosted engines producing closer to that number. The car incorporated futuristic styling cues with many features ahead of its time. The car had control panels on both sides of the car at the aluminium body panels at the rear and upon entering certain codes into the panel, information and about the car’s performance status along with certain functions of the car (i.e., an extra set of lights, hydraulic jack, removable screw driver, a fire extinguisher, a compressor for inflating tyres and a flashlight) could be accessed via a voice message. Inside of the car, the car was wrapped in a leather interior and there was a separate instrument cluster for the passenger shaped like a steering wheel displaying vital information about the car and containing damper controls and communication controls along with engine timing controls. The car also incorporated a satellite navigation system located in the centre of the dashboard (positioned more towards the driver). The design of the car is inspired by the space technology rather than the organic technologies used in that era while the LeMans inspired wing mirrors gave a nod to the aspects of motorsport. The car incorporated an adequate luggage compartment in order to carry the normal luggage of the occupants while being true to its futuristic theme. A carbon fibre rear wing optimised for downforce and roll-bars for safety of the occupants were also installed. According to most sources only 18 cars were ever built out of a planned production run of 50 (although some sources simply state the production number as “less than 25”).
The Espada, a 4-seat grand touring coupé, arrived in 1968. The car was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Gandini drew inspiration and cues from two of his Bertone show cars from 1967, the Lamborghini Marzal and the Jaguar Piraña. The name “Espada” means “sword” in Spanish, referring to the sword that the Torero uses to kill the bull in the Corrida. During its ten years in production the car underwent some changes, and three different series were produced. These were the S1 (1968–1970), the S2 (1970–1972) and the S3 (1972–1978). Each model featured interior redesigns, while only minor details were changed on the exterior. The Espada was launched at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show. The original design of the dashboard was inspired by the Marzal concept car, and featured octagonal housings for the main instruments, topped by an additional binnacle for the secondary gauges. Wheels were Campagnolo alloys on knock-off hubs, of the same design seen on the Miura. The tail lights were the same units mounted on the first series Fiat 124 Sport Coupé. 186 were made up until January 1970. At the 1970 Brussels Motor Show Lamborghini unveiled the Espada S2. Outside the only change was the deletion of the grille covering the vertical glass tail panel. Inside changes were more radical: all-new dashboard, centre console and steering wheel were installed. The instrument binnacle was of a more conventional rectangular shape, with round gauges. A wood-trimmed fascia extended along the entire width of the dashboard. Power output increased to 350 PS (345 bhp) due to a higher 10.7:1 compression ratio; the brakes were upgraded to vented Girling discs. Power steering was offered as an option. 575 Series II Espada were made, making it the most popular and desirable variant. The Espada S3 was launched in 1972. Its 3.9 litre V12 engine produced 325 PS (321 bhp) With the second redesign the dashboard changed to a aluminium-trimmed cockpit that kept all instruments and most controls (including the radio) within easy reach of the driver. Newly designed wheels on five-stud hubs replaces the earlier knock-off wider wheels fiitted with Pirelli Cinturato 215/70WR15 CN12 tyres, making the Espada S3 instantly recognisable; other exterior changes included the square instead of hexagonal mesh grille and tail lights from the Alfa Romeo 2000 replacing the previous Fiat-sourced ones. In 1974 a Borg Warner automatic transmission became available. From 1975 large impact bumpers had to be installed to meet United States safety requirements; some people consider cars produced with them as a separate fourth series, but Lamborghini did not officially change the model designation. In total, 1217 Espadas were made, making it the most successful Lamborghini model until the expansion of Countach production in the mid-1980s.
Alfa Romeo Montreal: First seen as a concept car in 1967 at Expo 67, the car was initially displayed without any model name, but the public took to calling it the Montreal. It was a 2+2 coupe using the 1.6-litre engine of the Alfa Romeo Giulia TI and the short wheelbase chassis of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT, with a body designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. One of the two concept cars built for Expo 67 is displayed in the Alfa Romeo Historical Museum in Arese, Italy, while the other is in museum storage. Reaction to the concept was sufficiently encouraging that Alfa decided to put the car into production. The result, the Tipo 105.64, was shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and was quite different from the original, using a 2593 cc 90° dry-sump lubricated V8 engine with SPICA (Società Pompe Iniezione Cassani & Affini) fuel injection that produced around 200 PS (197 hp), coupled to a five-speed ZF manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. This engine was derived from the 2-litre V8 used in the 33 Stradale and in the Tipo 33 sports prototype racer; its redline was set at 7,000 rpm, unheard of for a V8 at that time. The chassis and running gear of the production Montreal were taken from the Giulia GTV coupé and comprised double wishbone suspension with coil springs and dampers at the front and a live axle with limited slip differential at the rear.Since the concept car was already unofficially known as The Montreal, Alfa Romeo kept the model name in production. Stylistically, the most eye catching feature was the car’s front end with four headlamps partly covered by unusual “grilles”, that retract when the lights are switched on. Another stylistic element is the NACA duct on the bonnet. The duct is actually blocked off since its purpose is not to draw air into the engine, but to optically hide the power bulge. The slats behind the doors contain the cabin vents, but apart from that only serve cosmetic purposes. Paolo Martin is credited for the prototype instrument cluster. The Montreal was more expensive to buy than the Jaguar E-Type or the Porsche 911. When launched in the UK it was priced at £5,077, rising to £5,549 in August 1972 and to £6,999 by mid-1976. Production was split between the Alfa Romeo plant in Arese and Carrozzeria Bertone’s plants in Caselle and Grugliasco outside Turin. Alfa Romeo produced the chassis and engine and mechanicals and sent the chassis to Caselle where Bertone fitted the body. After body fitment, the car was sent to Grugliasco to be degreased, partly zinc coated, manually spray painted and have the interior fitted. Finally, the car was returned to Arese to have the engine and mechanicals installed. It is worth noting that because of this production method, there is not necessarily any correspondence between chassis number, engine number and production date. The Montreal remained generally unchanged until it was discontinued in 1977. By then, production had long ceased already as Alfa were struggling to sell their remaining stock. The total number built was around 3900. None of them were sold in Montreal, Quebec since Alfa did not develop a North American version to meet the emission control requirements in the United States & Canada. The car was both complex and unreliable which meant that many cars deteriorated to a point where they were uneconomic to restore. That position has changed in the last couple of years, thankfully, with the market deciding that the car deserves better, and prices have risen to you whereas a good one would have been yours for £20,000 only a couple of years ago, you would now likely have to pay more than double that.
1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport Cabriolet: Final evolution of the Alfa Romeo 6C was the 2500 which was announced in 1938. The 2500 had an enlarged engine compared to the predecessor models, with this Vittorio Jano designed double overhead cam engine available with either one or three Weber carburettors. The triple carburettor version was used in the top of line SS (Super Sport) version. The 2443 cc engine was mounted in a steel ladder frame chassis, which was offered with three wheelbase lengths: 3,250 mm (128.0 in) on the Turismo, 3,000 mm (118.1 in) on the Sport and 2,700 mm (106.3 in) on the Super Sport. Although it was clear that World War II was coming and car development would be stopped, Alfa did continue to produce a few hundred 6C 2500s were built from 1940 to 1945 before resuming production, Postwar. The first new Alfa in his period was the 1946 6C 2500 Freccia d’Oro (Golden Arrow), of which 680 were built through 1951, with bodies by Alfa. Various coachbuilders made their own versions of the 2500, with most of the bodies made by Touring of Milan, though this one has a Rigoli Robini Cabriolet style which is rather attractive. The car was sold to wealthy customers like King Farouk, Alì Khan, Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, and Prince Rainier. One was also featured in The Godfather in 1972. The 6C 2500 was one of the most expensive cars available at the time. The last 6C was produced in 1952, when it was replaced by the 1900.
Jaguar stunned the world with the XK120 that was the star of the Earls Court Motor Show in 1948. Seen in open two seater form, the car was a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 670001. It looked almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. 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.
1954 Moretti 750 Gran Sport Berlinetta: In 1925, Giovanni Moretti founded the Moretti Motor Company so he could design and build motorcycles himself, as well as in conjunction with other companies. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Giovanni began to dabble in the design and production of microcars. During World War II, he manufactured various commercial vehicles, most notably a range of small electric trucks. Following the war, in 1946, Moretti moved to the production of conventional cars. The first conventional car built by Moretti Motors was the Cita. Shortly afterwards, Moretti released the 600 and then, in 1953, the 750. These cars were available in various iterations, including taxis, berlinas, coupés, and single-seat race cars.
1938/54 Bugatti Type 57 Brown: This special creation is built on a pre-war chassis-type 57 by sculptor James Brown, the futuristic body for the time is fibreglass (as contemporary Corvette) and allows a reduction of 250 kg; the wheels are 16 inches instead of 18 inches. The sculptor Jacques Brown rebodied the old T57 chassis in a more aerodynamic form using polyester for the body panels, thus saving weight and increasing performance. His vision was highly praised at the time, but probably not so by marque purists more than half a century later. In 1955 it was shown at the Salon de l ‘Automobile in Paris. James Brown made two of them on a Bugatti T57 chassis (#57645 and #57723), hoping to get commissions for more. Unfortunately for him there were no takers. The body remained on the T57 chassis (probably #57723) until the 1980s, but is now replaced with a VW floorpan.
Bizzarrini P538: Bizzarrini’s advanced ideas emerged again with the superb Bizzarrini P538S, P for posteriore, 53 for the 5300 cc Corvette engine, 8 for V8 engine and S for Sportcar. The first V-12 car was ordered by American racer Mike Gammino. This ultra low barchetta raced in the 1966 Le Mans (DNF) and was even entered in 1967, but did not start (DNQ). In 1966, after a spin at the start line, it lasted less than a half an hour and retired due to a cracked oil line. During the short race time, the P538 was clocked as one of the fastest cars on the Mulsanne Straight. In 1968, Giugiaro rebuilt one of the P538 bodies as the famous Bizzarrini Manta. After some years in Sweden, it was dismantled for an extensive restoration. Later featured in various classics car events, it is now in the United States.
Successor to the Jaguar C Type was the D Type. Although it shared many of its mechanical components with the C-Type, including the basic straight-6 XK engine design, initially of 3.4 litres and later enlarged to 3.8 litres in the late fifties, the structure of the car was radically different. The innovative monocoque construction brought aviation industry technology to competition car design, together with an aeronautical understanding of aerodynamic efficiency. The structural design, revolutionary at the time, applied aeronautical technology. The “tub”, or cockpit section, was of monocoque construction, mostly comprising sheets of aluminium alloy. Its elliptical shape and comparatively small cross-section provided torsional rigidity and reduced drag. To the front bulkhead was attached an aluminium tubing subframe for the engine, steering assembly, and front suspension. Rear suspension and final drive were mounted to the rear bulkhead. Fuel was carried in the tail and the designers followed aviation practice by specifying a deformable Marston Aviation Division bag in place of a conventional tank. The aerodynamic bodywork was largely the work of Malcolm Sayer, who had joined Jaguar following a stint with the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the Second World War and later worked on the C-Type. For the D-Type, he insisted on a minimal frontal area. To reduce the XK engine’s height, Jaguar’s chief engineer, William Haynes, and former Bentley engineer, Walter Hassan, developed dry sump lubrication, and it has been said that the car’s frontal area was also a consideration in canting the engine at 8½° from the vertical (which necessitated the offset bonnet bulge). Philip Porter, in his book Jaguar Sports Racing Cars, says that “[a] more likely reason was to provide extra space for the ram pipes feeding the three twin-choke Weber carburettors.” Reducing underbody drag contributed to the car’s high top speed; for the long Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, a fin was mounted behind the driver for aerodynamic stability. For the 1955 season, factory cars were fitted with a longer nose, which lengthened the car by 7½ inches and further increased maximum speed; and the headrest fairing and aerodynamic fin were combined as a single unit that smoothed the aerodynamics and saved weight. Mechanically, many features were shared with the outgoing C-Type. Its front and rear suspension and innovative all-round disc brakes were retained, as was the XK engine. Apart from the new lubrication system, the engine was further revised as development progressed during the D-Type’s competition life. Notably in 1955 larger valves were introduced, together with asymmetrical cylinder heads to accommodate them. Jaguar D-Types fielded by a team under the leadership of Jaguar’s racing manager Lofty England were expected to perform well in their debut at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans race. In the event, the cars were hampered by fuel starvation caused by problems with the fuel filters, necessitating pit stops for their removal, after which the entry driven by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt speeded up to finish less than a lap behind the winning Ferrari. The D-Type’s aerodynamic superiority is evident from its maximum speed of 172.8 mph on the Mulsanne Straight compared with the 4.9 litre Ferrari’s 160.1 mph. For 1955 the cars were modified with long-nose bodywork and engines uprated with larger valves. At Le Mans, they proved competitive with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs, which had been expected to win. Mike Hawthorn’s D-Type had a narrow lead over Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes when another Mercedes team car was involved in the most catastrophic accident in motorsport history.Driver Pierre Levegh and more than 80 spectators lost their lives, while many more were injured. Mercedes withdrew from the race. Jaguar opted to continue, and the D-Type driven by Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb went on to win. Mercedes withdrew from motorsport at the end of the 1955 season, and Jaguar again entered Le Mans in 1956. Although only one of the three factory-entered cars finished, in sixth place, the race was won by a D-Type entered by the small Edinburgh-based team Ecurie Ecosse and driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson, beating works teams from Aston Martin and Scuderia Ferrari. In America, the Cunningham team raced several D-Types. In 1955, for example, a 1954 works car on loan to Cunningham won the Sebring 12 Hours in the hands of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Walters, and in May 1956 the team’s entries for Maryland’s Cumberland national championship sports car race included four D-Types in Cunningham’s white and blue racing colours. Driven by John Fitch, John Gordon Benett, Sherwood Johnston and team owner Briggs Cunningham, they finished fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Although Jaguar withdrew from motorsport at the end of the 1956 season, 1957 proved to be the D-Type’s most successful year. Jaguar D-Types took five of the top six places at Le Mans; Ecurie Ecosse, with considerable support from Jaguar, and a 3.8-litre engine, again took the win, and also second place. This was the best result in the D-Type’s racing history. Rules for the 1958 Le Mans race limited engine sizes to three litres for sports racing cars, which ended the domination of the D-Type with its 3.8-litre XK engine. Jaguar developed a three-litre version to power D-Types in the 1958, 1959 and 1960 Le Mans races but it was unreliable, and by 1960 it no longer produced sufficient power to be competitive. The D-Type’s success waned as support from Jaguar decreased and the cars from rival manufacturers became more competitive. Although it continued to be one of the cars to beat in club racing and national events, the D-Type never again achieved a podium finish at Le Mans. By the early 1960s it was obsolete. Total D-Type production is thought to have included 18 factory team cars, 53 customer cars, and 16 XKSS versions. A 1955 car was sold at Sothebys in 2016 for £19,8 million, making it the most valuable British car ever.
Needing no introduction, even now, over 50 years since its Geneva Show premiere in 1961 is the E Type, and this was represented among the Jaguars on display. stunning the world 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. Many of the cars that were first sold in the US have since been repatriated, so there are plenty of them around now, but even so values continue to rise. Buy while you can still afford one!
AC Cobra: Like many British manufacturers, AC Cars had been using the Bristol straight-6 engine in its small-volume production, including its AC Ace two-seater roadster. This had a hand-built body with a steel tube frame, and aluminium body panels that were made using English wheeling machines. The engine was a pre-World War II design by BMW which by the 1960’s was considered dated. Bristol decided in 1961 to cease production of its engine and instead to use Chrysler 5.1-litre (313 cu in) V8 engines. AC started using the 2.6-litre (159 cu in) Ford Zephyr engine in its cars. In September 1961, American race car driver (retired) and automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to AC asking if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. Bristol engines for the AC Ace two-seater sports car had recently been discontinued. AC agreed, provided a suitable engine could be found. Shelby went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but not wanting to add competition to the Corvette they said no. However, Ford wanted a car that could compete with the Corvette and they happened to have a brand new engine which could be used in this endeavor: the Windsor 3.6-litre (221 cu in) engine – a new lightweight, thin-wall cast small-block V8. Ford provided Shelby with two engines. In January 1962 mechanics at AC Cars in Thames Ditton, Surrey designed the “AC Ace 3.6” prototype with chassis number CSX2000. AC had already made most of the modifications needed for the small-block V8 when they installed the 2.553 cc (156 cu in) inline 6 Ford Zephyr engine, including the extensive rework of the AC Ace’s front end bodywork. The only modification of the front end of the first Cobra from that of the “AC Ace 2.6” was the steering box, which had to be moved outward to clear the wider V8 engine. The most important modification was the fitting of a stronger rear differential to handle the increased engine power. A Salisbury 4HU unit with inboard disc brakes to reduce unsprung weight was chosen instead of the old E.N.V. unit. It was the same unit used on the Jaguar E-Type. After testing and modification, the engine and transmission were removed and the chassis was air-freighted to Shelby in Los Angeles on 2 February 1962, By this time the small-block’s displacement was increased to 4.3 L (260 cu in). Shelby’s team paired this engine along with a transmission into CSX2000, in less than eight hours at Dean Moon’s shop in Santa Fe Springs, California, and began road-testing. A few changes were made to the production version: Inboard brakes were moved outboard to reduce cost; The fuel tank filler was relocated from the fender to the centre of the trunk. The trunk lid had to be shortened to accommodate this change. AC exported completed, painted, and trimmed cars (less engine and gearbox) to Shelby who then finished the cars in his workshop in Los Angeles by installing the engine and gearbox and correcting any bodywork flaws caused by the car’s passage by sea. A small number of cars were also completed on the East Coast of the US by Ed Hugus in Pennsylvania, including the first production car; CSX2001. he first 75 Cobra Mk1 models (including the prototype) were fitted with the 4.3 L (260 cu in). The remaining 51 Mk1 models were fitted with a larger version of the Windsor Ford engine, the 4.7-litre (289 cu in) V8. In late 1962, Alan Turner, AC’s chief engineer completed a major design change of the car’s front end to accommodate rack and pinion steering while still using transverse leaf spring suspension (with the leaf spring doubling as the upper suspension link). The new car entered production in early 1963 and was designated Mark II. The steering rack was borrowed from the MGB while the new steering column came from the VW Beetle. About 528 Mark II Cobras were produced in the summer of 1965 (the last US-bound Mark II was produced in November 1964). In 1963 to keep production focused on producing cars for Shelby American Inc., the Ruddspeed Ace was discontinued. To supply cars to the European market, AC began to
market and sell the Cobra in Europe. Advertisements from the time state that the Cobra was designed to meet the requirements of Shelby American Inc. Shelby experimented with a larger Ford FE engine, of 6.4 L (390 cu in) in chassis number CSX2196. Unfortunately, the car was not able to receive the development it needed, as resources were aimed at taking the crown from Ferrari in the GT class. Ken Miles drove and raced the FE-powered Mark II at Sebring and pronounced the car virtually undrivable, naming it “The Turd”. It failed to finish with the engine expiring due to damper failure. CSX2196 was revised for the showdown at Nassau which allowed a more relaxed class division of racing. This allowed the GT cobras to run with prototype Ford GT, GM Grand Sport Corvettes and Lola Mk6. It was for this event in 1964 that the Fliptop cobra was used. An aluminium 6.4-litre (390 cu in) engine was used. It was extremely fast. By the end of the first lap, it had a lead of the length of the start-finish straight. However, the car failed to finish due to brake problems. A new chassis was required, developed, and designated Mark III. The new car was designed in cooperation with Ford in Detroit. A new chassis was built using 101.6 mm (4 in) main chassis tubes, up from 76.2 mm (3 in) and coil spring suspension all around (an especially significant change up front, where the previously-used transverse leaf spring had done double duty as the top link). The new car also had wide fenders and a larger radiator opening. It was powered by the “side oiler” Ford 7.0 L (427 cu in) FE engine equipped with a single 4-barrel 780 CFM Holley carburettor rated at 425 bhp at 6000 rpm and 651 Nm (480 lb/ft) at 3700 rpm of torque, which provided a top speed of 264 km/h (164 mph) in the standard model. The more powerful tune of 485 bhp with a top speed of 298 km/h (185 mph) in the semi-competition (S/C) model. Cobra Mark III production began on 1 January 1965; two prototypes had been sent to the United States in October 1964. Cars were sent to the US as unpainted rolling chassis, and they were finished in Shelby’s workshop. Unfortunately, The MK III missed homologation for the 1965 racing season and was not raced by the Shelby team. Only 56 of the 100 planned cars were produced. Of those, 31 unsold competition models were detuned and fitted with windscreens for street use. Called S/C for semi-competition, an original example can currently sell for US$1.5 million, making it one of the most valuable Cobra variants. Some Cobra 427s were actually fitted with Ford’s 7-litre (428 cu in) engine, a long stroke, smaller bore, lower cost engine, intended for road use rather than racing. The AC Cobra was a financial failure that led Ford and Carroll Shelby to discontinue importing cars from England in 1967. AC Cars kept producing the coil-spring AC Roadster with narrow fenders and a small block Ford 289. It was built and sold in Europe until late 1969.
The Ferrari 275 GTB is one of those Ferrari models whose price tag generally runs into 7 figures when it is offered for sale these days. The 275 was a series of two-seat front-engined V12-powered models produced in GT, roadster, and spyder form by Ferrari between 1964 and 1968. The first Ferrari to be equipped with a transaxle, the 275 was powered by a 3286 cc Colombo 60° V12 engine that produced 280-300 hp. Pininfarina designed the GT and roadster bodies, Scaglietti the rare NART Spyder, among the most valuable of all Ferraris made. The standard 275 GTB coupe came first. It was produced by Scaglietti and was available with 3 or 6 Weber twin-choke carburettors. It was more of a pure sports car than the GT name suggested. Some cars were built with an aluminium body instead of the standard steel body. A Series Two version with a longer nose appeared in 1965. The 275 GTB/4 debuted in 1966. A much updated 275 GTB, it generated 300 bhp from a substantially reworked 3286 cc Colombo V12 engine, still with two valves per cylinder but now with a four-cam engine and six carburettors as standard. In a departure from previous Ferrari designs, the valve angle was reduced three degrees to 54° for a more-compact head. The dual camshafts also allowed the valves to be aligned perpendicular to the camshaft instead of offset as in SOHC engines. It was a dry-sump design with a huge 17 qt (16 litre) capacity. The transaxle was also redesigned. A torque tube connected the engine and transmission, rather than allowing them to float free on the body as before. This improved handling, noise, and vibration. Porsche synchronizers were also fitted for improved shifting and reliability. The 275 GTB/4 could hit 268 km/h (166.5 mph). With new bodywork, it was the first Ferrari to not be offered with wire wheels. A total of 280 were produced through to 1968 when it was replaced by the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
Alfa Romeo 2600SZ: The 2600, or 106 Series, were an evolution of the model first seen in 1958 as a replacement for the 1900, and called the 2000 and known internally as the 102 Series. This was the time when Alfa was still in transition from being a maker of exclusive coachbuilt and racing cars to one that offered volume production models. The 102 Series were never likely to be big sellers, in a world that was still recovering economically from the ravages of the Second World War, but the range was an important flagship, nonetheless. The 2000 models ran for 4 years, from 1958 to 1962, at which point they were updated, taking on the name of 106 Series, with minor styling changes being accompanied by a larger 2600cc engine under the bonnet. As with the 2000 models, the new 2600 cars were sold in Berlina (Saloon), Sprint (Coupe) and Spider (Convertible) versions, along with a dramatically styled SZ Coupe from Italian styling house Zagato and a rebodied Berlina from OSI, all of them with an inline twin overhead cam six cylinder engine of 2.6 litres, the last Alfas to offer this configuration. Just 6999 of the Sprint models were made and 2255 Spiders, very few of which were sold new in the UK where they were exceedingly expensive thanks to the dreaded Import Duty which made them much more costly than an E Type. Many of the parts were unique to these cars, so owning one now is far harder than the more plentiful 4 cylinder Alfas of the era. Whilst the rather square styling of the Berlina, which won it relatively few friends when new and not a lot more in recent times means that there are few of these versions to be seen, the Sprint and Spider models do appear from time to time, and market interest in the cars is now starting to accelerate, with values rise accordingly. Just 105 of these SZ versions were produced.
1954 Ferrari 250 GT Boano: The early years of Ferrari were focused around racing; only a small number of road vehicles were produced for a select few high profile customers. With the competition costs increasing in the 1950s it was necessary for Ferrari to increase road car production as a means of raising additional funds. In 1954, the Pinin Farina-designed 250 GT Europa debuted in Paris. It was Ferrari’s first true production model and would form the foundation for all future Ferrari 250 models. These included the second series, again designed by Pinin Farina. At the Geneva Show in in March 1956, Ferrari displayed the replacement for the 250 Europa. Pinin Farina were not able to support the demand for the 250 from Ferrari and as a result handed production over to Carrozzeria Boano, headed by one of Pinin Farina’s designers, Mario Felice Boano. In total 74 Ferrari 250 GT Boanos were produced.
2008 Renault R28 F1
1985 Arrows-BMW F1
1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6: The Porsche 906 or Carrera 6 is a street-legal racing car from Porsche. It was announced in January 1966 and 50 examples were subsequently produced, thus meeting the homologation requirements of the FIA’s new Group 4 Sports Car category to the letter. The type would also compete in modified form in the Group 6 Sports Prototype class. Built as a successor to the Porsche 904, and designed under Ferdinand Piëch’s new regime at Porsche R&D, the 906 replaced the boxed steel structure of the 904 which used the fiberglass body for extra structural strength with a tubular space frame and unstressed fibreglass body. The fibreglass itself was laid up by hand, producing consistent results, instead of the uneven spraying technique used on the 904. The result was a car that weighed 580 kg (1,280 lb), approximately 113 kg (250 lb) lighter than the 904/6 (the 6-cylinder 904). The engine regularly fitted was the 901/20 6-cylinder lightweight racing engine with 220 hp and carburettors, although some examples that were raced by the factory team received fuel-injected or 8-cylinder engines, especially in hillclimbing events where Porsche competed with Ferrari Dinos for the European championship. Unlike previous racing Porsches, the 906’s body was tested in a wind tunnel, resulting in a top speed of 280 km/h (170 mph) at Le Mans, quite fast for a 2-litre engine car. At the time it showed a close resemblance to future Porsche racing cars. As in the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, gull-wing doors were fitted, and the mid-ship mounted engine was covered with a large plexiglas cover. In order to save money, spare suspension components produced in advance for a possible new series of Porsche 904 had to be used for the 906, along with big 15-inch wheels. Yet, Formula One used lighter 13-inch wheels, and Porsche had already used Team Lotus suspension parts in earlier years. The wheels were bolted on with 5 nuts as in a road car, which cost time in pitstops compared to a single central nut. To take advantage of the lighter wheels and F1 tyres, the Porsche 910 was developed and entered in mid-season of 1966, starting with the hillclimb from Sierre to Crans-Montana in Switzerland. In its debut in the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona, the Carrera 6 finished 6th overall, and won its class against Ferrari Dino 206 Ps. At the 12 Hours of Sebring, Hans Herrmann/Herbert Müller finished fourth overall and won the class, as at the 1000 km of Monza. 906s recorded class victories at the 1000 km Spa and the 1000 km Nürburgring, and Willy Mairesse/Gerhard Müller, driving a privately entered 906, secured an overall victory at the 1966 Targa Florio when the factory cars failed. At the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 906 placed 4-5-6-7 behind three Ford GT40 Mk IIs, outlasting all of the previously dominant V12-engined Ferrari Ps.
Bugatti Type 35: Well known as a model, indeed many would tell you that this is THE classic Bugatti, is the Type 35 and there were three of these models entered: a pair of Type 35B and a single Type 35C. The Type 35 was phenomenally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti won the Targa Florio for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929, with the Type 35. The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 1991 cc overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 60 mm and stroke was 88 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced. This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes at back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight. A second feature of the Type 35 that was to become a Bugatti trademark was passing the springs through the front axle rather than simply U-bolting them together as was done on their earlier cars. A less expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory’s Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it “Tecla” after a famous maker of imitation jewellery. The Tecla’s engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the Type 35As were sold. The Type 35C featured a Roots supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti’s disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the French Grand Prix at Saint-Gaudens in 1928, and at Pau in 1930. Fifty examples left the factory. The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 litre engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp, and 45 examples were made. A British Racing Green Type 35B driven by William Grover-Williams won the 1929 French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
1929 Omega-Six Series A: Automobiles Oméga-Six was a French automobile manufactured in the Paris region by Gabriel Daubeck between 1922 and 1930. Initially the cars used six-cylinder engines, hence the word “Six” in the company name. Jules Daubeck founded the business in Pantin in north-eastern Paris in 1922. Later, in 1925, the business relocated to the west side of the city, to premises at Boulogne-Billancourt in the Rue de Silly. Production ended in 1930. The cars were designed by Maurice Gadoux, who previously had worked for Hispano-Suiza, and focused on the same “compact luxury” market segment. Approximately 50 cars were produced annually. The first model used a 1996cc overhead camshaft engine that placed it in the 12 HP car tax band and produced a claimed 50 hp of power. Claimed top speed for an open topped sports-bodied car was 120 km/h (75 mph). There was a choice of 3,050 mm (120 in) or 3,300 mm (130 in) wheelbases. Available body styles included a “Touring car”, a “Limousine” (sedan/saloon) and “Coupé de Ville” (town car). For 1924 Solex carburettors were fitted, power increased to 55 hp, and four speed transmission replaced the three speeds with which it had been launched. At the 19th Paris Motor Show in October 1924 the 1996cc overhead camshaft engine had twin carburetors and the wheelbase was increased to 3,250 mm (128 in). It was priced, in bare chassis form, at 60,000 francs. A larger 2660cc engine was available in 1926, and was exhibited alongside the 1996cc model in October 1926 at the 20th Paris Motor Show.In October 1926 the list prices for the base chassis were 65,000 francs (1996cc) and 70,000 francs (2660cc). At the 22nd Paris Motor Show in October 1928 the six cylinder cars were still on display, using the 3,250 mm (128 in) chassis and now priced, in bare chassis form, at 80,000 francs (1996cc) and 85,000 francs (2660cc). There was also a 3-litre 6-cylinder “competition” engine that used twin “Cozette” carburetors and for which 150 hp was claimed. In 1929 the 6-cylinder range was supplemented by two new 8-cylinder engined cars with displacement respectively of 3-litres and 4-litres (17CV and 24CV). The 8-cylinder cars had a 3,600 mm (142 in) wheelbase and were priced at 115,000 francs and 120,000 francs. In 1924 two cars entered the Le Mans 24 Hour race, but both retired and were classified 33rd and 35th. At the 1925 Le Mans 24 hours the three Oméga-Sixes did not start because of problems during practices. They were car no. 25 of Jacques Margueritte and Louis Bonne, car no. 26 of Roland Coty and Albert Clement, and car no. 27 of “Sabipa” and Jacques Achilles Boyriven. At the Circuit des Routes Pavées event in September 1926 J Achilles Boyriven finished 4th, in 1929 he finished 3rd, and in 1930 he finished 7th after completing 507km in the 5 litre class. In 1928 Louis Bonne finished first in the S3.0 class. At the Spa 24 Hours race J Achilles Boyriven finished second in 1928 and third in 1929. In 1929, Boyriven ‘did not arrive’ for the II Grand Prix d’Algèrie in April, but Bayssières finished second at the V Grand Prix de Picardie in June and then did not arrive for the I Grand Prix de Dieppe. In 1929, Oméga-Six recorded its only victory of note when Hellé Nice won the all-female Grand Prix Féminin, a short (50km) handicap race contested by just five cars at the end of the 3rd annual Journée Féminine de l’automobile held on 2 June at Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry.
Peugeot 405 MI-16
1999 Vaillante Grand Defi: Vaillante was in the beginning a French transporting company. They also created their own trucks and cars, and decided to enter the Formula One, with Michel Vaillant, the son of Henri, as their driver. The chief designer of Vaillante is Jean-Pierre, the elder brother of Michel Vaillant. The Vaillante logo is very similar to that of actual French auto maker Matra. There was a complex collection of subsidiary companies and also a surprisingly long list of cars that were produced, though none of them were made in any significant quantity.
Lancia Fulvia Coupe HF: It was with the Fulvia that Lancia went officially back into racing after its withdrawal from Formula 1 in 1955; this time the effort was focused on rallying. In 1965 the company absorbed the HF Squadra Corse, a privateer racing team founded by Lancia enthusiasts which previously received some factory support, which became the works team under the direction of Cesare Fiorio. The same year the Fulvia Coupé made its racing debut at the Tour de Corse, placing 8th overall. Starting with the lightened and more powerful 1965 Rallye HF, special HF version were put on sale to the general public to homologate improvements for the rally cars. In 1967 the larger displacement Rallye 1.3 HF followed. As the V4 engine had reached the limit of its development, an all-new 1.6-litre V4 engine was developed and installed on the 1967 Rallye 1.6 HF. The car raced as a prototype until August 1969, when it received FIA homologation. With the exception of 1970, Fulvias won the Italian Rally Championship every year from 1965 to 1973. The Fulvia’s rallying career reached its zenith in 1972, when Lancia won the International Championship for Manufacturers two rounds in advance. First placements at rallies valid for the Championship were three: included Sandro Munari and Mario Mannucci at the famous Monte Carlo Rally, with a 10′ 50″ margin over the runner up, Larrousse/Perramond on a much more powerful Porsche 911 S, Lampinen/Andreasson at the Rallye du Maroc, and Ballestrieri/Bernacchini at the Rallye Sanremo. In 1973 Lancia did not score any podium finishes valid for that year’s first-ever World Rally Championship season; though at the hands of Munari the Fulvia won its second European Rally Championship, after the 1969 victory by Harry Källström. During the 1974 season the Lancia Stratos HF replaced in rallying the—by then ageing—Fulvia. That year Lancia won its second World Championship, also thanks to points scored by the Fulvia in the first rallies—such as the third place Munari caught in the grueling East African Safari Rally.
1925 FN 1300S Sport
Renault-Alpine A211: The V8-powered A210 (named as A211) was unveiled at the 1967 Paris Motor Show and presented to Charles de Gaulle by Jean Rédélé and Renault’s President, Pierre Dreyfus. The Gordini engine was compact as requested by Alpine, but proved to be unreliable. Alpine engineers also discovered it was impossible to adequately adapt the engine to the car. They adopted a transitional solution, modifying the A210’s rear-end for the engine and adding new wheels, a new 5-speed ZF gearbox and larger rear brakes’ cooling inlets. Its debut was at a non-championship race, the Paris 1000 km in the Montlhéry track, where the car problems became evident.
Down one side of the museum, two automotive workshops are presented side by side. An old repair workshop, which is a reconstruction of Ghislain Mahy’s workshop, and a modern workshop with a fully working ramp fitted with all the equipment presently used in contemporary garages. The latter’s objective is to be able to make use of it during a public workshop.
Final collection was a series of economy and microcars which rather than being displayed at floor level were stacked on a side wall, making them easy to see, but quite hard to photograph. Indeed, there were more of them on show than are depicted here:
Isetta 250: The Isetta is far more significant than many visitors 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,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.
A second example of the Messerschmitt Kabinenroller was to be seen here.
1946 Rovin Voiturette: Rovin was a French auto-maker established in the Paris region, and most active from 1946 until 1959, although after 1953 production slowed to a trickle. The firm was established, initially as a motor-cycle business, in 1921 by the racing driver and motorcycle constructor, Raoul Pegulu, Marquis of Rovin (1896 – 1949). The car was developed by Raoul but in 1946 production became the responsibility of his brother, Robert who continued to run the business after Raoul’s death. In the 1930s Rovin had turned his attention to a sportscar dealership which he established in Paris on the Boulevard Pereire. Although the business was at this stage concentrated on the dealership, Raoul Rovin was already offering a little car of his own design at the 20th Paris Motor Show in October 1926. Powered by a 4CV single cylinder 480cc motor, the offering was baptised by its manufacturer as the “Monocar”, and was listed in two versions, either as a “Monocar Sport” for 19,000 francs or as a “Monocar Record” which was fitted with a compressor (a form of “turbo-charger”) and priced at 22,000 francs. The premises were not suitable for auto-production on the scale foreseen after the war, however, and in 1946 Rovin purchased the plant of Delaunay-Belleville, once famous as a luxury car maker and more recently also a builder of military trucks that had been deprived of customers by the dire state of the postwar economy and the return of peace to France. The plant was now adapted to build small cheap cars more appropriate to the times. The prototype Rovin D1 was presented at the Paris Motor Show towards the end of 1946. The car was a very small cabriolet. It was powered by a single cylinder 260 cc air cooled four stroke engine. The engine’s small size placed the car in the 2CV fiscal horse power category, and actual claimed power was only 6.5 hp. Supported by a three speed gear box, this permitted the manufacturer to claim a top speed of 70 km/h (44 mph). There were no doors, and the focus of sloping front of the car was a single headlight. It is not clear whether the D1 was ever sold in significant numbers, but production of the Rovin D2 started in 1947 at the company’s newly acquired plant at Saint-Denis. The car still qualified (just) for the 2CV fiscal horse power category, but the engine was now a flat twin 423 cc four stroke water cooled unit. Claimed power output was now 10 hp and the car still featured a three speed gear box. Top speed was “between 70 and 80 km/h (44- 50 mph). The body was again very small, at just 2800 mm in length and with a 1700 mm wheelbase, and light-weight construction allowed for an empty weight of just 300 Kg. The vehicle now had two headlights. The engine was still at the back, but a small hatch in the body work right at the front of the car provided access to the battery. Although most sales were in France, the car was also advertised in the francophone western Swiss press and exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show early in 1948. During 1947 and 1948 approximately 700 D2s were produced. The D3 was little changed from the D2 under the skin, but the “skin” was an all new ponton format body with doors. The headlamps still stood out from the body, which presumably was a less costly solution than integrating them to the wings. The extra weight of doors and hinges and additional window did add some penalty and the car now weighted 380 kg. Nevertheless, a maximum speed of 75 km/h (47 mph) was claimed. Between 1948 and 1950 approximately 800 D3s were made. The D4 represented a mild evolution from the D3, with a larger front grille and the (still not integrated) headlights positioned a little higher. The two cylinder engine was enlarged to 462 cc and now developed 13 hp. By now the overall length was 3150 mm on a wheelbase of 1800 mm. The gear box now featured four forward speeds and the top speed had increased to 85 km/h (53 mph). Minor cosmetic changes and suspension improvements were implemented towards the end of 1952. About 1,200 D4s were produced between 1950 and 1953, but in 1953 production had slumped to just 110. Although the model continued to be listed for several more years it is not clear how many, if any, were produced after this.
Vespa 400: The Vespa 400 is a rear-engined microcar, produced by ACMA in Fourchambault, France, from 1957 to 1961 to the designs of the Italian Piaggio company. Three different versions were sold, the “Luxe” , “Tourisme” and “GT”. The car made its high-profile public debut on 26 September 1957 at a press presentation staged in Monaco. The ACMA directors ensured a good attendance from members of the press by also inviting three celebrity racing drivers to the Vespa 400 launch. The 400 was a two seater with room behind the seats to accommodate luggage or two small children on an optional cushion. The front seats were simple tubular metal frames with cloth upholstery on elastic “springs” and between the seats were the handbrake, starter and choke. The gear change was centrally floor mounted. The rear hinged doors were coated on the inside with only a thin plastic lining attached to the metal door panel skin allowing valuable extra internal space. On the early cars the main door windows did not open which attracted criticism, but increased the usable width for the driver and passenger. Instrumentation was very basic with only a speedometer and warning lights for low fuel, main beam, dynamo charging and indicators. The cabriolet fabric roof could be rolled back from the windscreen header rail to the top of the rear engine cover leaving conventional metal sides above the doors. The 12 volt battery was located at the front of the car, behind the dummy front grill, on a shelf that could be slid out. The spare wheel was stowed in a well under the passenger seat. The high-profile launch paid off, with 12,130 cars produced in 1958. That turned out to be the high point, however, and output fell to 8,717 in 1959 despite a price reduction for the entry level 2-seater “normal” coupé from 345,000 francs to 319,500 francs between October 1957 and October 1958. Commentators suggested that the chic image created at the time of the launch was not always matched by the car itself, with its awkward gear change, poor sound-proofing and, especially before a modification to the carburettor specification, high fuel consumption. The car’s origins, developed by a leading world producer of motor scooters, Italy’s Piaggio Company, makers of the Vespa since 1946, was reflected in the installation, in the Vespa 400, of a two stroke (motorbike style) engine which required oil to be added to the petrol/gasoline whenever the car was refuelled. During the summer of 1958 the cars were fitted with a semi-automatic device for adding oil to the fuel, but a fully automatic fuel mixing device was not included until two years later.
1941 Peugeot VLV: This was an electric microcar made by Peugeot in 1942. VLV stood for Voiture Légère de Ville (Light City Car). The car’s announcement, on 1 May 1941, triggered some surprise, since Peugeot was the only one of France’s large automakers to show interest in electric propulsion at this time. It was powered by four 12V batteries placed under the hood giving it a claimed top speed of 36 km/h (22 mph) and a range of 50 miles (80 km). The VLV was built during the war as a way to side-step fuel restrictions imposed on non-military users by the occupying German forces. Yet, it was banned after only 377 examples were built.
1946 Crosley Type 4: Crosley was a small, independent American manufacturer of subcompact cars, bordering on microcars. At first called the Crosley Corporation and later Crosley Motors Incorporated, the Cincinnati, Ohio, firm was active from 1939 to 1952, interrupted by World War II production. Their station wagons were the most popular model, but also offered were sedans, pickups, convertibles, a sports car, and even a tiny jeep-like vehicle. For export, the cars were badged Crosmobile. Crosley introduced several “firsts” in American automotive history, including the first affordable, mass-market car with an overhead camshaft engine in 1946; the first use of the term ‘Sport(s-) Utility’ in 1947, for a 1948 model year convertible wagon; and the first American cars to be fitted with 4-wheel caliper type disc brakes, as well as America’s first post-war sports car, the Hotshot, in the 1949 model year.
PORSCHE at 70 – SPECIAL EXHIBITION
The Special Exhibition at the time of my January 2019 visit was one celebrating the 70th anniversary of Porsche. Most of the contents of this display were in a reserved area on the first floor towards the back of the museum, with a few other cars elsewhere on-site. It was a fantastic display, beautifully presented, with ample opportunity to get to see all around most of the cars, and yet also relatively easy to get photos of them without having to wait very long for other fascinated attendees to move out of the photographer’s shot.
The Porsche story begins with the 356 and there were several examples here. Like its cousin, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche Senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilising unitised pan and body construction. The chassis was a completely new design as was the 356’s body which was designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, while certain mechanical components including the engine case and some suspension components were based on and initially sourced from Volkswagen. Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with the editor of Panorama, the PCA magazine, in September 1972. “….I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. ….By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia (Gmünd)”. The first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948, and was entered in a race in Innsbruck where it won its class. Porsche re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. Fewer and fewer parts were shared between Volkswagen and Porsche as the ’50’s progressed. The early 356 automobile bodies produced at Gmünd were handcrafted in aluminium, but when production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950, models produced there were steel-bodied. Looking back, the aluminium bodied cars from that very small company are what we now would refer to as prototypes. Porsche contracted with Reutter to build the steel bodies and eventually bought the Reutter company in 1963. The Reutter company retained the seat manufacturing part of the business and changed its name to Recaro. Little noticed at its inception, mostly by a small number of auto racing enthusiasts, the first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles. By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. The class win at Le Mans in 1951 was clearly a factor. It was always common for owners to race the car as well as drive them on the streets. They introduced the four-cam racing “Carrera” engine, a totally new design and unique to Porsche sports cars, in late 1954. Increasing success with its racing and road cars brought Porsche orders for over 10,000 units in 1964, and by the time 356 production ended in 1965 approximately 76,000 had been produced. The 356 was built in four distinct series, the original (“pre-A”), followed by the 356 A, 356 B, and then finally the 356 C. To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupés and “cabriolets” (soft-top) built through 1955 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (centre-creased, 1953 to 1955) windscreens. In late 1955 the 356 A appeared, with a curved windshield. The A was the first road going Porsche to offer the Carrera 4 cam engine as an option. In late 1959 the T5 356 B appeared; followed by the redesigned T6 series 356 B in 1962. The final version was the 356 C, little changed from the late T6 B cars but with disc brakes to replace the drums.
The 911 traces its roots to sketches drawn by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche in 1959. The Porsche 911 was developed as a more powerful, larger and a more comfortable replacement for the 356, the company’s first model. The new car made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. The car was developed with the proof-of-concept twin-fan Type 745 flat-six engine, but the car presented at the auto show had a non-operational mockup of the single-fan 901 engine, receiving a working unit in February 1964. It originally was designated as the “Porsche 901” (901 being its internal project number). A total of 82 cars were built as which were badges as 901s. However, French automobile manufacturer Peugeot protested on the grounds that in France it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. Instead of selling the new model with a different name in France, Porsche changed the name to 911. Internally, the cars’ part numbers carried on the prefix 901 for years. Production began in September 1964, with the first 911s exported to the US in February 1965. The first models of the 911 had a rear-mounted 130 hp Type 901/01 flat-6 engine, in the “boxer” configuration like the 356, the engine is air-cooled and displaces 1,991 cc as compared to the 356’s four-cylinder, 1,582 cc unit. The car had four seats although the rear seats were small, thus it is usually called a 2+2 rather than a four-seater (the 356 was also a 2+2). A four or five-speed “Type 901” manual transmission was available. The styling was largely penned by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, son of Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche. Butzi Porsche initially came up with a notchback design with proper space for seating two rear passengers but Ferry Porsche insisted that the 356’s successor was to use its fastback styling. 7 prototypes were built based on Butzi Porsche’s original design and were internally called the Porsche 754 T7. Erwin Komenda, the leader of the Porsche car body construction department who initially objected, was also involved later in the design. In 1966, Porsche introduced the more powerful 911S with Type 901/02 engine having a power output of 160 PS. Forged aluminum alloy wheels from Fuchsfelge, with a 5-spoke design, were offered for the first time. In motorsport at the same time, the engine was developed into the Type 901/20 and was installed in the mid-engine 904 and 906 with an increased power output of 210 PS, as well as fuel injected Type 901/21 installed in later variants of the 906 and 910 with a power output of 220 PS. In August 1967, the A series went into production with dual brake circuits and widened (5.5J-15) wheels still fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 165HR15 CA67 tyres. and the previously standard gasoline-burning heater became optional. The Targa version was introduced. The Targa had a stainless steel-clad roll bar, as automakers believed that proposed rollover safety requirements by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would make it difficult for fully open convertibles to meet regulations for sale in the US, an important market for the 911. The name “Targa” came from the Targa Florio sports car road race in Sicily, Italy in which Porsche had several victories until 1973. The last win in the subsequently discontinued event was scored with a 911 Carrera RS against prototypes entered by Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. The road going Targa was equipped with a removable roof panel and a removable plastic rear window (although a fixed glass version was offered from 1968). The 110 PS 911T was also launched in 1967 with Type 901/03 engine. The 130 PS model was renamed the 911L with Type 901/06 engine and ventilated front disc brakes. The brakes had been introduced on the previous 911S. The 911R with 901/22 engine had a limited production (20 in all), as this was a lightweight racing version with thin fibreglass reinforced plastic doors, a magnesium crankcase, twin overhead camshafts, and a power output of 210 PS. A clutchless semi-automatic Sportomatic model, composed of a torque converter, an automatic clutch, and the four-speed transmission was added in Autumn 1967. It was cancelled after the 1980 model year partly because of the elimination of a forward gear to make it a three-speed. The B series went into production in August 1968, replacing the 911L model with 911E with fuel injection. It remained in production until July 1969. The 911E gained 185/70VR15 Pirelli Cinturato CN36. and 6J-15 wheels. The C series was introduced in August 1969 with an enlarged 2.2-litre engine. The wheelbase for all 911 and 912 models was increased from 2,211–2,268 mm (87.0–89.3 in), to help as a remedy to the car’s nervous handling at the limit. The overall length of the car did not change, but the rear wheels were relocated further back. Fuel injection arrived for the 911S (901/10 engine) and for a new middle model, 911E (901/09 engine). The D series was produced from Aug. 1970 to July 1971. The 2.2-litre 911E (C and D series) had lower power output of the 911/01 engine (155 PS) compared to the 911S’s Type 911/02 (180 PS, but 911E was quicker in acceleration up to 160 km/h. The E series for 1972–1973 model years (August 1971 to July 1972 production) consisted of the same models, but with a new, larger 2,341 cc engine. This is known as the “2.4 L” engine, despite its displacement being closer to 2.3 litres. The 911E (Type 911/52 engine) and 911S (Type 911/53) used Bosch mechanical fuel injection (MFI) in all markets. For 1972 the 911T (Type 911/57) was carbureted, except in the US and some Asian markets where the 911T also came with (MFI) mechanical fuel injection (Type 911/51 engine) with power increase over European models (130 hp) to 140 hp commonly known as a 911T/E. With power and torque increase, the 2.4-litre cars also got a newer, stronger transmission, identified by its Porsche type number 915. Derived from the transmission in the 908 race car, the 915 did away with the 901 transmission’s “dog-leg” style first gear arrangement, opting for a traditional H pattern with first gear up to the left, second gear underneath first, etc. The E series had the unusual oil filler behind the right side door, with the dry sump oil tank relocated from behind the right rear wheel to the front of it in an attempt to move the center of gravity slightly forward for better handling. An extra oil filler/inspection flap was located on the rear wing, for this reason it became known as an “Oil Klapper”, “Ölklappe” or “Vierte Tür (4th door)”. The F series (August 1972 to July 1973 production) moved the oil tank back to the original behind-the-wheel location. This change was in response to complaints that gas-station attendants often filled gasoline into the oil tank. In January 1973, US 911Ts were switched to the new K-Jetronic CIS (Continuous Fuel Injection) system from Bosch on Type 911/91 engine. 911S models also gained a small spoiler under the front bumper to improve high-speed stability. The cars weighed 1,050 kg (2,310 lb). The 911 ST was produced in small numbers for racing (the production run for the ST lasted from 1970 to 1971). The cars were available with engines of either 1,987 cc or 2,404 cc, having a power output of 270 PS at 8,000 rpm. Weight was down to 960 kg (2,120 lb). The cars had success at the Daytona 6 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, the 1000 km Nürburgring, and the Targa Florio. The G Series cars, with revised bodies and larger impact-absorbing bumpers arrived in the autumn of 1973 and would continue in production with few visual changes but plenty of mechanical ones for a further 16 years.
The car continued to evolve throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, though changes initially were quite small. The SC appeared in the autumn of 1977, proving that any earlier plans there had been to replace the car with the front engined 924 and 928 had been shelved. The SC followed on from the Carrera 3.0 of 1967 and 1977. It had the same 3 litre engine, with a lower compression ratio and detuned to provide 180 PS . The “SC” designation was reintroduced by Porsche for the first time since the 356 SC. No Carrera versions were produced though the 930 Turbo remained at the top of the range. Porsche’s engineers felt that the weight of the extra luxury, safety and emissions equipment on these cars was blunting performance compared to the earlier, lighter cars with the same power output, so in non-US cars, power was increased to 188 PS for 1980, then finally to 204 PS. However, cars sold in the US market retained their lower-compression 180 PS engines throughout. This enabled them to be run on lower-octane fuel. In model year 1980, Porsche offered a Weissach special edition version of the 911 SC, named after the town in Germany where Porsche has their research centre. Designated M439, it was offered in two colours with the turbo whale tail & front chin spoiler, body colour-matched Fuchs alloy wheels and other convenience features as standard. 408 cars were built for North America. In 1982, a Ferry Porsche Edition was made and a total of 200 cars were sold with this cosmetic package. SCs sold in the UK could be specified with the Sport Group Package (UK) which added stiffer suspension, the rear spoiler, front rubber lip and black Fuchs wheels. In 1981 a Cabriolet concept car was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Not only was the car a true convertible, but it also featured four-wheel drive, although this was dropped in the production version. The first 911 Cabriolet debuted in late 1982, as a 1983 model. This was Porsche’s first cabriolet since the 356 of the mid-1960s. It proved very popular with 4,214 sold in its introductory year, despite its premium price relative to the open-top targa. Cabriolet versions of the 911 have been offered ever since. 911 SC sales totalled 58,914 cars before the next iteration, the 3.2 Carrera, which was introduced for the 1984 model year. Coupe models outsold the Targa topped cars by a big margin.
Porsche developed the 911 Turbo production model in order to reach performance level responding to the Italian sports cars of the time and also to prepare the base for motorsport FIA Silhouette Group 5 were the Porsche 935 completed an exceptionally successful career both in Europe and North America. The 911 Turbo 3.0 made its debut in 1974, right in the middle of the energy crisis. The boosted power unit featured in this model delivered unbelievable output at the time of 260 bhp at just 5500 rpm. The positive impact of motorsport on series production was indeed rarely as clear as in the development of this turbocharged power unit. Porsche had already gained experience with turbocharged 12-cylinder power units in the 917/10 and 917/30, Porsche prototypes developing more than 1000 bhp dominating the CanAm Series in 1972 and 1973. The 911 Turbo 3.0 was the first production car to offer an increase in output with the help of an exhaust gas turbocharger. Aficionados of sports cars will definitely have wonderful memories of the 911 Carrera RS 2.7, which entered production in autumn 1972. This car was the starting point for a wide range of 911s with outstanding racing attributes such as the Carrera RSR. In 1973 a Porsche Carrera RSR finished fourth overall at Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race. The first Turbo Carrera developing 500 bhp entered the scene in 1974, paving the way for the 934 and 935 specially built for the new Group 4 and Group 5 production sports car category raced as of 1976 according to new international regulations. Porsche has sold several cars to private teams . Large quantities of modifications were introduced to the Porsche 935 along the year not only by the factory but also by private teams. Right from the start, these cars won the Constructor’s World Championship for Porsche, Rolf Stommelen/Manfred Schurti and Jochen Mass/Jacky Ickx bringing home this glorious victory. In 1977 an optimised 935 won three races for the Constructor’s World Championship, private 935s clinching the title for Porsche. And in 1979, finally, a 935 K3 Kremer won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The most extreme racing version of the 911 was “Moby Dick” in 1978. Low, wide and long, this Porsche clearly stood out from all other versions of the 935 at first sight. For the first time in the history of the 911, the engine came with water-cooled cylinder heads featuring four valves per cylinder. Output of the turbocharged 3.2-litre six-cylinder peaked at a staggering 845 bhp In 1980 a Porsche 935 won Daytona 24 Hours. In 1981,again, a Porsche Kremer 935 K3 won Daytona 24 Hours driven by B. Garretson, B. Rahal and B. Redman. In 1984, A Porsche 935 was still second at Daytona behind a March Porsche. The Porsche 962 really took over where the 935 had gained a winner reputation. Still in 1985, a Porsche 935 finished 5th behind Porsche 962. A street version was also proposed within homologation procedure. It is illustrated by metallic red car the only one not bearing racing numbers.
Displayed alongside it was the latest 991 generation Turbo car.
This is one of the legendary Carrera RS 2.7 cars. RS stands for Rennsport in German, meaning race sport. The Carrera name was reintroduced from the 356 Carrera which had itself been named after Porsche’s class victories in the Carrera Panamericana races in Mexico in the 1950s. The RS was developed to meet motorsport homologation requirements. Compared to a standard 911S, the Carrera 2.7 RS had a larger engine (2,687 cc) developing 210 PS with Bosch (Kugelfischer) mechanical fuel injection, revised and stiffened suspension, a “ducktail” rear spoiler, larger brakes, wider rear wheels and rear fenders, to fit 185/70VR15 & 215/60VR15 Pirelli Cinturato CN36 tyres. In RS Touring form it weighed 1,075 kg (2,370 lb), in Sport Lightweight form it was about 100 kg (220 lb) lighter, the saving coming from thin gauge steel used for parts of the body shell and also the use of thinner glass. In total, 1,580 units were made, though a lot have cars have since been converted to “look-a-likes”.
In 1974, Porsche developed the Carrera RS 3.0 with mechanical fuel injection rated at 230 PS. Its price was almost twice that of the 2.7 RS, but it offered racing capability. The chassis was largely similar to that of the 1973 Carrera RSR and the braking system was from the 917 racing car. The use of thinner metal plate panels and a minimalist interior enabled its weight to be reduced to around 900 kg (2,000 lb).
It was only really with the launch in 1989 of the 964 that a truly “new” model would appear. Designed by Benjamin Dimson in 1986, it featured significant styling revisions over previous 911 models, most prominently the more integrated bumpers. The 964 was considered to be 85% new as compared to its predecessor. The first 964s available in 1989 were all wheel drive equipped “Carrera 4” models; Porsche added the rear wheel drive Carrera 2 variant to the range in 1990. Both variants were available as a coupe, Targa or Cabriolet. The 964 Carrera was the last generation sold with the traditional removable Targa roof until the 2011 991. A new naturally aspirated engine called the M64 was used for 964 models, with a flat-6 displacement of 3.6 litres. Porsche substantially revised the suspension, replacing torsion bars with coil springs and shock absorbers. Power steering and ABS brakes were added to the 911 for the first time; both were standard. The exterior bumpers and fog lamps became flush with the car for better aerodynamics. A new electric rear spoiler raised at speeds above 50 mph and lowered down flush with the rear engine lid at lower speeds. A revised interior featured standard dual airbags beginning in 1990 for all North American production cars. A new automatic climate control system provided improved heating and cooling. Revised instrumentation housed a large set of warning lights that were tied into the car’s central warning system, alerting the driver to a possible problem or malfunction. In 1992, Porsche produced a super-lightweight, rear-wheel-drive only version of the 964 dubbed Carrera RS for the European market. It was based on Porsche’s 911 “Carrera Cup” race car and harked back to the 2.7 and 3.0 RS and RSR models. It featured a revised version of the standard engine, titled M64/03 internally, with an increased power output of 260 bhp and lightweight flywheel coupled to the G50/10 transmission with closer ratios, asymmetrical Limited Slip Differential and steel synchromesh. A track-oriented suspension system with 40 mm (1.6 in) lower ride height, stiffer springs, shocks and adjustable stabiliser bars without power steering (RHD UK cars did have power steering). A stripped-out interior devoid of power windows or seats, rear seats, air conditioning, cruise control, sound deadening or a stereo system (optionally fitted) and new racing-bucket front seats were part of the package. The front boot cover was made of aluminium and the chassis was seam welded. Wheels were made of magnesium and the glass was thinner in the doors and rear window. The Carrera RS is approximately 345 pounds (155 kg) lighter than the Carrera 2 model. Also available were a heavier Touring variant (with sound deadening, power seats (optional), undercarriage protection and power windows) and an N/GT racing variant with a stripped, blank metal interior and a roll cage. They also came with optional lights on the visors. The RS was regarded as somewhat challenging to drive, though as time has gone by, everyone seems to have warmed to it. Many were finished in some very bold colours, like this one was.
Next up was the 993 Carrera RS which was a lightweight variant of the Carrera. It features a naturally aspirated 3.8 liter engine generating a maximum power output of 300 PS 1014 were builtachieved by the use of lightweight forged pistons, dual oil coolers, big intake valves, Varioram variable-length intake manifold, a modified Bosch Motronic engine management system and lightened rocker arms. The 6-speed G50/31 manual gearbox with a short shifter used on the Carrera RS had modified gear ratios for the first three gears. The larger 322 mm cross drilled and ventilated discs brakes front and aft with four piston calipers were shared with the 911 Turbo and limited slip differential was included as standard equipment. The exterior is easily distinguishable from a normal Carrera by a large fixed rear wing, small front flaps and 3-piece 18 in aluminium wheels. The headlight washers were deleted for weight saving reasons. A seam welded body shell with an aluminum bonnet supported with a single strut was used along with thinner glass. On the interior, the rear seats were removed, and special racing seats along with spartan door cards were installed. Sound proofing was also reduced to a minimum. The suspension system used Bilstein dampers and the ride height was lowered for improved handling. Adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars and an under-bonnet strut-brace further increased handling. The final weight of the car amounted to be 1,280 kg (2,822 lb). The Carrera RS Clubsport (also referred to as the RSR or RSCS in some countries) was a track-oriented iteration of the Carrera RS with relatively limited road usability. The Clubsport came equipped with a welded roll cage. Certain comfort features such as carpets, power windows, air conditioning and radio were deleted. Exterior wise, it sports a larger rear wing and a deeper chin spoiler than the standard RS. The Carrera RS was produced in model years 1995 and 1996. It was street legal in European and many other countries around the world, but was not approved for export to the United States. Production amounted to 1,014 cars including 213 Clubsport variants.
The 996 platform was used as the basis for two lightweight GT variants called GT2 and the GT3. The GT3 was based on the standard 996 Carrera, but was stripped of a great deal of equipment for weight savings, featuring stiffer, adjustable suspension and upgraded brakes. The GT3 used the bodyshell of the four-wheel-drive Carrera 4, which incorporated additional front-end stiffening. The GT3 was produced in two versions. The first, commonly referred to as the Mk.I GT3, was introduced in 1999 in all markets, except North America. It featured a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre flat-six engine generating a maximum power output of 360 PS. This engine was shared with the 996 Turbo and was a derivative of the engine developed for the 911 GT1 race car. The Mk.II GT3 variant was based on the second generation of the 996, and featured updated aerodynamics, and a more powerful version of the 3.6 L engine from the MK.I, now rated at 381 PS. The Mk.II was the first GT3 marketed in the North America. An Mk.II GT3 was tested in 2004 and accelerated from 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) in 4.0 seconds, and produced 1.03 g on the skidpad, the second highest number ever recorded by a street-legal vehicle at the time. The turbocharged counterpart to the GT3, the GT2, was rear-wheel drive as well, to save weight and to avoid power losses through the transmission (This is primarily due to the fact that the GT2 was built to compete in GT2 class racing, which restricted the use of an all-wheel-drive system). The GT2 received an added group of aerodynamic body parts, and a re-tuned version of the 996 Turbo’s 3.6 litre, twin-turbocharged engine featuring larger turbochargers and intercoolers, a revised intake and exhaust system and re-programmed engine control software. The result was 483 PS at 5,700 rpm and 640 N⋅m (472 lb/ft) at 3,500 to 4,500 rpm, enough to launch the car from 0–60 mph in 3.9 seconds and to a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph). Bigger wheels and tyres along with lightweight ceramic brakes were standard. The GT2’s fixed rear wing (made of CFRP for the post-2003 cars) appears to be a concession to racing rules that usually outlaw adjustable aerodynamic components. The GT2 had no rear seat and no air conditioning and came with a factory installed roll cage. Both the GT3 and GT2 were available only with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Turbo, GT2 and GT3 models use the Aluminum crankcase of the air-cooled 911 with its true dry sump oiling system. The six separate individual Nikasil lined cylinders in this engine are covered with two separately installed water jackets each covering a bank of 3 cylinders on each side of the engine, thus adding water cooling to a crankcase originally designed for air-cooled cylinders (the standard 996 Carrera engine has the cylinders and water jackets cast together with the crankcase).
The 997 GT3 RS was first announced in early 2006 as a homologation version of the GT3 RSR racing car for competition events like Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The drivetrain of the RS is based on the 911 GT3, except for the addition of a lightweight flywheel and closer gear ratios for further improved response under acceleration. Unlike the GT3, the RS is built on the body and chassis of the 911 Carrera 4 and Turbo, and accordingly has a wider rear track for better cornering characteristics on the track. Visually, the RS is distinguished by its distinctive colour scheme – bright orange or green with black accents, which traces its roots to the iconic Carrera RS of 1973. The plastic rear deck lid is topped by a wide carbon-fibre rear wing. The front airdam has been fitted with an aero splitter to improve front downforce and provide more cooling air through the radiator. The European version of the RS is fitted with lightweight plexiglass rear windows and a factory-installed roll cage. Production of the first generation 997 GT3 RS ended in 2009, with worldwide production estimated to be under 2,000 vehicles. In August 2009, Porsche announced the second generation of the 997 GT3 RS with an enlarged 3.8-litre engine having a power output of 450 PS (444 hp), a modified suspension, dynamic engine mounts, new titanium sport exhaust, and modified lightweight bodywork. In April 2011, Porsche announced the third generation of the 997 GT3 RS with an enlarged 4.0-litre engine having a power output of 500 PS (493 hp), Porsche designed the GT3 RS 4.0 using lightweight components such as bucket seats, carbon-fibre bonnet and front wings, and poly carbonate plastic rear windows for weight reduction, while using suspension components from the racing version. Other characteristics include low centre of gravity, a large rear wing and an aerodynamically optimised body. The lateral front air deflection vanes, a first on a production Porsche, increase downforce on the front axle. Aided by a steeply inclined rear wing, aerodynamic forces exert an additional 190 kg, enhancing the 911 GT3 RS 4.0’s grip to the tarmac. The GT3 RS 4.0 weighs 1,360 kg.
The RS version of the 991 GT3 was launched at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, and featured in first drive articles in the press a few weeks later, with cars reaching the UK in the summer and another series of universally positive articles duly appearing. It had very big shoes to fill, as the 997 GT3 RS model was rated by everyone lucky enough to get behind the wheel, where the combination of extra power and reduced weight made it even better to drive than the standard non-RS version of the car. A slightly different approach was taken here, with the result weighing just 10kg less than the GT3. It is based on the extra wide body of the 991 Turbo. Compared to the 991 GT3, the front wings are now equipped with louvres above the wheels and the rear wings now include Turbo-like intakes, rather than an intake below the rear wing. The roof is made from magnesium a bonnet, whilst the front wings, rear deck and rear spoiler all in carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), the rear apron is in a new polyurethane-carbonfibre polymer and polycarbonate glazing is used for the side and rear windows. The wider body allows the RS’s axle tracks to grow, to the point where the rear track is some 72mm wider than that of a standard 3.4-litre Carrera and the tyres are the widest yet to be fitted to a road-going 911. A long-throw crankshaft made of extra-pure tempered steel delivers the 4mm of added piston stroke necessary to take the GT3’s 3.8-litre flat six out to 3996cc . The engine also uses a new induction system, breathing through the lateral air intakes of the Turbo’s body rather than through the rear deck cover like every other 911. This gives more ram-air effect for the engine and makes more power available at high speeds. It results in an output of 500 bhp and 339 lb/ft of torque. A titanium exhaust also saves weight. The suspension has been updated and retuned, with more rigid ball-jointed mountings and helper springs fitted at the rear, while Porsche’s optional carbon-ceramic brakes get a new outer friction layer. Which is to say nothing of the RS’s biggest advancement over any other 911: downforce. The rear wing makes up to 220kg of it, while the front spoiler and body profile generates up to 110kg. In both respects, that’s double the downforce of the old 997 GT3 RS 4.0. The transmission is PDK only. The result is a 0-62 mph time of just 3.3 seconds, some 0.6 seconds quicker than the 997 GT3 RS 4.0 and 0-124 mph (0-200kmh) in 10.9 seconds. The 991 GT3 RS also comes with functions such as declutching by “paddle neutral” — comparable to pressing the clutch with a conventional manual gearbox –- and Pit Speed limiter button. As with the 991 GT3, there is rear-axle steering and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus with fully variable rear axle differential lock. The Nürburgring Nordschleife time is 7 minutes and 20 seconds. The interior includes full bucket seats (based on the carbon seats of the 918 Spyder), carbon-fibre inserts, lightweight door handles and the Club Sport Package as standard (a bolted-on roll cage behind the front seats, preparation for a battery master switch, and a six-point safety harness for the driver and fire extinguisher with mounting bracket). Needless to say, the car was an instant sell out, even at a starting price of £131,296.
Unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto show, the 911 Sport Classic was a limited (250 units- all sold in under 48 hours) version of the 911 Carrera S coupé, inspired by the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7. The engine is rated at 413 PS and features a newly developed resonance intake manifold with 6 vacuum-controlled switching flaps. It includes a 6-speed manual transmission, double-dome roof (informally called double bubble roof), 44 mm (1.7 in) wider rear fenders, SportDesign front apron with a front spoiler and a fixed ‘duck tail’ rear wing (similar to the one found on the Carrera RS 2.7), Porsche Ceramic Composite Braking system (PCCB), 20 mm (0.8 in) lower PASM sports suspension, mechanical rear axle differential, 19-inch black Fuchs wheels, Porsche Exclusive woven leather seats and door panels, dashboard with Espresso Nature natural leather upholstery, and a specially developed Sport Classic Grey body colour. Sales began in January 2010. European models had base MSRP of €169,300.
The 914 was born of a joint need that Porsche had for a replacement for the 912, and Volkswagen’s desire for a new range-topping sports coupe to replace the Karmann Ghia. At the time, the majority of Volkswagen’s developmental work was handled by Porsche, part of a setup that dated back to Porsche’s founding; Volkswagen needed to contract out one last project to Porsche to fulfill the contract, and decided to make this that project. Ferdinand Piëch, who was in charge of research and development at Porsche, was put in charge of the 914 project. Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat four-cylinder engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat six-cylinder engine as a Porsche, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in the American market, and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America. On March 1, 1968, the first 914 prototype was presented. However, development became complicated after the death of Volkswagen’s chairman, Heinz Nordhoff, on April 12, 1968. His successor, Kurt Lotz, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart. In Lotz’s opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model, and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun. As a result, the price of the chassis went up considerably, and the 914/6 ended up costing only a bit less than the 911T, Porsche’s next lowest price car. The 914/6 sold quite poorly while the much less expensive 914/4 became Porsche’s top seller during its model run, outselling the Porsche 911 by a wide margin with over 118,000 units sold worldwide. Volkswagen versions originally featured an 80 PS fuel-injected 1.7 L flat-4 engine based on the Volkswagen air-cooled engine. Porsche’s 914/6 variant featured a carburettor 110 PS 2.0 litre flat-6 engine from the 1969 911T, placed amidships in front of a version of the 1969 911’s “901” gearbox configured for a mid-engine car. Karmann manufactured the rolling chassis at their plant, completing Volkswagen production in-house or delivering versions to Porsche for their final assembly. 914/6 models used lower gear ratios and high brake gearing in order to try to overcome the greater weight of the 6 cylinder engine along with higher power output. Suspension, brakes, and handling were otherwise the same. A Volkswagen-Porsche joint venture, Volkswagen of America, handled export to the U.S., where both versions were badged and sold as Porsches, except in California, where they were sold in Volkswagen dealerships. The four-cylinder cars were sold as Volkswagen-Porsches at European Volkswagen dealerships. Slow sales and rising costs prompted Porsche to discontinue the 914/6 variant in 1972 after producing 3,351 of them; its place in the lineup was filled by a variant powered by a new 100 PS 2.0 litre, fuel-injected version of Volkswagen’s Type 4 engine in 1973. For 1974, the 1.7 L engine was replaced by a 85 PS 1.8 litre, and the new Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system was added to American units to help with emissions control. 914 production ended in 1976. The 2.0 litre flat-4 engine continued to be used in the 912E, which provided an entry-level model until the 924 was introduced.
The 924 was originally another joint project of Volkswagen and Porsche created by the Vertriebsgesellschaft (VG), the joint sales and marketing company funded by Porsche and VW to market and sell sports cars, For Volkswagen, it was intended to be that company’s flagship coupé sports car and was dubbed “Project 425” during its development. For Porsche, it was to be its entry-level sports car replacing the 914. At the time, Volkswagen lacked a significant internal research and design division for developing sports cars; further, Porsche had been doing the bulk of the company’s development work anyway, per a deal that went back to the 1940s. In keeping with this history, Porsche was contracted to develop a new sporting vehicle with the caveat that this vehicle must work with an existing VW/Audi inline-four engine. Porsche chose a rear-wheel drive layout and a rear-mounted transaxle for the design to help provide 48/52 front/rear weight distribution; this slight rear weight bias aided both traction and brake balance. The 1973 oil crisis, a series of automobile-related regulatory changes enacted during the 1970s and a change of directors at Volkswagen made the case for a Volkswagen sports car less striking and the 425 project was put on hold. After serious deliberation at VW, the project was scrapped entirely after a decision was made to move forward with the cheaper, more practical, Golf-based Scirocco model instead. Porsche, which needed a model to replace the 914, made a deal with Volkswagen leadership to buy the design back. The deal specified that the car would be built at the ex-NSU factory in Neckarsulm located north of the Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart, Volkswagen becoming the subcontractor. Hence, Volkswagen employees would do the actual production line work (supervised by Porsche’s own production specialists) and that Porsche would own the design. It became one of Porsche’s best-selling models, and the relative cheapness of building the car made it both profitable and fairly easy for Porsche to finance. The original design used an Audi-sourced four-speed manual transmission from a front wheel drive car but now placed and used as a rear transaxle. It was mated to VW’s EA831 2.0 litre 4 cylinder engine, subsequently used in the Audi 100 and the Volkswagen LT van (common belief is that ‘the engine originated in the LT van’, but it first appeared in the Audi car and in 924 form has a Porsche-designed cylinder head). The 924 engine used Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, producing 125 bhp in European cars, but a rather paltry 95 bhp for the US market models, though this was improved to 110 hp in mid-1977 with the introduction of a catalytic converter, which reduced the need for power-robbing smog equipment. The four-speed manual was the only transmission available for the initial 1976 model, later this was replaced by a five-speed dog-leg unit. An Audi three-speed automatic was offered starting with the 1977.5 model. In 1980 the five-speed transmission was changed to a conventional H-pattern, with reverse now on the right beneath fifth gear. Porsche made small improvements to the 924 each model year between 1977 and 1985, but nothing major was changed on non-turbo cars. Porsche soon recognised the need for a higher-performance version of the 924 that could bridge the gap between the basic 924s and the 911s. Having already found the benefits of turbochargers on several race cars and the 1975 911 turbo, Porsche chose to use this technology for the 924, eventually introducing the 924 turbo as a 1978 model. Porsche started with the same Audi-sourced VW EA831 2.0 litre engine, designed an all new cylinder head (which was hand assembled at Stuttgart), dropped the compression to 7.5:1 and engineered a KKK K-26 turbocharger for it. With 10 psi boost, output increased to 170 hp. The 924 turbo’s engine assembly weighed about 65 lb more, so front spring rates and anti-roll bars were revised. Weight distribution was now 49/51 compared to the original 924 figure of 48/52 front to rear. In order to help make the car more functional, as well as to distinguish it from the naturally aspirated version, Porsche added an NACA duct in the bonnet and air intakes in the badge panel in the nose, 15-inch spoke-style alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with five-stud hubs and a five-speed transmission. Forged 16-inch flat wheels of the style used on the 928 were optional, but fitment specification was that of the 911 which the 924 shared wheel offsets with. Internally, Porsche called it the “931” (left hand drive) and “932” (right hand drive). The turbocharged VW EA831 engine allowed the 924’s performance to come surprisingly close to that of the 911 SC (180 bhp), thanks in part to a lighter curb weight, but it also brought reliability problems.This was in part due to the fact that the general public did not know how to operate, or care for, what is by today’s standards a primitive turbo setup. A turbocharger cooled only by engine oil led to short component life and turbo-related seal and seat problems. To fix the problems, Porsche released a revised 924 turbo series 2 (although badging still read “924 turbo”) in 1979. By using a smaller turbocharger running at increased boost, slightly higher compression of 8:1 and an improved fuel injection system with DITC ignition triggered by the flywheel, reliability improved and power rose to 177 hp. In 1984, VW decided to stop manufacturing the engine blocks used in the 2.0 litre 924, leaving Porsche with a predicament. The 924 was considerably cheaper than its 944 stablemate, and dropping the model left Porsche without an affordable entry-level option. The decision was made to equip the narrower bodied 924 with a slightly detuned version of the 944’s 163 bhp 2.5 litre straight four, upgrading the suspension but retaining the 924’s early interior. The result was 1986’s 150 bhp 924S. In 1988, the 924S’ final year of production, power increased to 160 bhp matching that of the previous year’s Le Mans spec cars and the base model 944, itself detuned by 3 bhp. This was achieved using different pistons which raised the S’ compression ratio from 9.7:1 to 10.2:1, the knock-on effect being an increase in the octane rating, up from 91 RON to 95. This made the 924S slightly faster than the base 944 due to its lighter weight and more aerodynamic body. With unfavourable exchange rates in the late 1980s, Porsche decided to focus its efforts on its more upmarket models, dropping the 924S for 1989 and the base 944 later that same year.
Whilst its precursor, the 924, had received largely positive reviews, it was criticised by many including Porsche enthusiasts for its Audi-sourced engine and although 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 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, featuring 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.
The 968 was launched in 1992, renamed from the 944, as so little of the outgoing S2 remained unaltered. In addition to the numerous mechanical upgrades, the new model also received significantly evolved styling both inside and out, with a more modern, streamlined look and more standard luxury than on the 944. Production was moved from the Audi plant in Neckarsulm to Porsche’s own factory in Zuffenhausen. The 968 was powered by an updated version of the 944’s straight-four engine, now displacing 3.0 L with 104 mm bore, 88 mm stroke and producing 240 PS. Changes to the 968’s powertrain also included the addition of Porsche’s then-new VarioCam variable valve timing system, newly optimized induction and exhaust systems, a dual-mass flywheel, and updated engine management electronics among other more minor revisions. The 968’s engine was the second-largest four-cylinder ever offered in a production car up to that time. A new 6-speed manual transmission replaced the 944’s old 5-speed, and Porsche’s dual-mode Tiptronic automatic became an available option. Both the VarioCam timing system and Tiptronic transmission were very recent developments for Porsche. The Tiptronic transmission had debuted for the first time ever only 3 years prior to the debut of the 968, on the 1989 Type 964 911. The VarioCam timing system was first introduced on the 968 and would later become a feature of the Type 993 air-cooled six-cylinder engine. The 968’s styling was an evolution on that of the outgoing 944, itself styled evolutionarily from the earlier 924, but elements were borrowed from the more expensive 928 model in an attempt to create a “family resemblance” between models, and the swooping headlamp design, inspired by those of the 959, previewed similar units found later on the Type 993 911. Along with the new styling, the 968 featured numerous small equipment and detail upgrades, including a Fuba roof-mounted antenna, updated single lens tail lamps, “Cup” style 16″ alloy wheels, a wider selection of interior and exterior colours, and a slightly updated “B” pillar and rear quarter window to accommodate adhesive installation to replace the older rubber gasket installation. Because some parts are interchangeable between the 968, 944 and 924, some enthusiasts purchase those parts from Porsche parts warehouses as “upgrades” for their older models. Like the 944, the 968 was sold as both a coupe and a convertible. Much of the 968’s chassis was carried over from the 944 S2, which in itself shared many components with the 944 Turbo. Borrowed components include the Brembo-sourced four-piston brake calipers on all four wheels, aluminium semi-trailing arms and aluminium front A-arms, used in a Macpherson strut arrangement. The steel unibody structure was also very similar to that of the previous models. Porsche maintained that 80% of the car was new. From 1993 through 1995, Porsche offered a lighter-weight “Club Sport” version of the 968 designed for enthusiasts seeking increased track performance. Much of the 968’s luxury-oriented equipment was removed or taken off the options list; less sound deadening material was used, electrical windows were replaced with crank-driven units, upgraded stereo systems, A/C and sunroof were still optional as on the standard Coupe and Convertible models. In addition, Porsche installed manually adjustable lightweight Recaro racing seats rather than the standard power-operated leather buckets (also manufactured by Recaro), a revised suspension system optimised and lowered by 20 mm for possible track use, 17-inch wheels rather than the 16-inch and wider tyres, 225 front and 255 rears rather than 205 and 225 respectively. The four-spoke airbag steering wheel was replaced with a thicker-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel with no airbag, heated washer jets were replaced with non heated, vanity covers in the engine bay were deleted, as was the rear wiper. The Club Sport has no rear seats, unlike the 2+2 Coupé. Club Sports were only available in Grand Prix White, black, Speed yellow, Guards red, Riviera blue or Maritime blue. Seat backs were colour-coded to the body. Club Sport decals were standard in either black, red or white but there was a ‘delete’ option. All Club Sports had black interiors with the 944 S2 door cards. Due to the reduction in the number of electrical items the wiring loom was reduced in complexity which saved weight and also the battery was replaced with a smaller one, again reducing weight. With the no frills approach meaning less weight, as well as the optimising of the suspension, Porsche could focus media attention on the Club Sport variants fast road and track abilities. This helped to slightly bolster the flagging sales figures in the mid-1990s. The Club Sport variant achieved a ‘Performance Car Of The Year’ award in 1993 from Performance Car magazine in the UK. Club Sport models were only officially available in the UK, Europe, Japan & Australia, although “grey market” cars found their way elsewhere. The declared weight of the 968 CS is 1320 kg, ~100 kg lighter than the regular 968. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h is 6.3 seconds and a top speed is 260 km/h (160 mph). A UK-only version called “968 Sport”, was offered in 1994 and 1995, and was essentially a Club Sport model (and was produced on the same production line with similar chassis numbers) with electric windows, electric release boot, central locking, cloth comfort seats (different from both the standard and the Club Sport). With the added electrics the larger wiring loom was used. The Sport Variant also got back the two rear seats, again in the cloth material specific to the Sport. At £29,975, the 968 Sport was priced £5,500 lower than the standard 968, but had most of the latter’s desirable “luxuries” and consequently outsold it by a large margin (306 of the 968 Sport models compared to 40 standard 968 coupés). In 1993, Porsche Motorsports at Weissach briefly produced a turbocharged 968 Turbo S, a fairly odd naming choice for Porsche which usually reserves the added “S” moniker for models that have been tuned for more power over a “lesser” counterpart, such as with the 911 Turbo. The 968 Turbo S shared the same body and interior as the Club Sport and visually can be identified by the NACA bonnet hood scoops, adjustable rear wing and deeper front spoiler. Powered by a large 8 valve SOHC cylinder head (944 Turbo S) with 3.0 Litre 944S2 style engine block. Tests conducted in 1993 produced a 0 to 60 mph of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 282 km/h (175 mph), performance comparable to the much newer Type 996 911. It generated 305 bhp at 5600 rpm with a maximum torque of 370 lb/ft) at 3000rpm. Only 16 were produced in total and only for sale in mainland Europe. Between 1992 and 1994, Porsche Motorsports Research and Development built and provided a full “Race” version (stripped out 968 Turbo S) for Porsche’s customer race teams. The 968 Turbo RS was available in two variations; a 337 bhp version using the K27 turbocharger from the Turbo S, which was built to the German ADAC GT specification (ballast added to bring the car up to the 1350 kg minimum weight limit), and an international spec version which used a KKK L41 turbocharger producing 350 bhp and was reduced to 1212 kg in weight. Only 4 were ever produced ; 1 Guards Red, 1 Speed Yellow, 1 Black and 1 White. These are the rarest 968s ever produced.
The first V8 engined Porsche, the 928 was originally conceived to replace the 911, though as we all know, that did not happen, with the two complementing each other in the range during the 18 year life of the 928. By the late 1960s, Porsche had changed significantly as a company, and executives including owner Ferdinand Porsche were toying with the idea of adding a luxury touring car to the line-up. Managing Director Ernst Fuhrmann was also pressuring Ferdinand to approve development of the new model in light of concerns that the current flagship model at the time, the 911, was quickly reaching the limits of its potential. Slumping sales of the 911 seemed to confirm that the model was approaching the end of its economic life cycle. Fuhrmann envisioned the new range-topping model as being the best possible combination of a sports coupe and a luxury sedan, something well equipped and comfortable enough to be easily driven over long distances that also had the power, poise and handling prowess necessary to be driven like a sports car. This set it apart from the 911, which was intended to be an out-and-out sports car. Ordered by Ferdinand Porsche to come up with a production-feasible concept for his new model, Fuhrmann initiated a design study in 1971, eventually taking from the process the final specification for the 928. Several drivetrain layouts were considered during early development, including rear and mid-engined designs, but most were dismissed because of technical and/or legislative difficulties. Having the engine, transmission, catalytic converter(s) and exhaust all cramped into a small rear engine bay made emission and noise control more difficult, something Porsche was already facing problems with on the 911 and wanted to avoid. After deciding that the mid-engine layout didn’t allow enough room in the passenger compartment, a front engine/rear wheel drive layout was chosen. Porsche also may have feared that the U.S. government would soon ban the sale of rear-engined cars in response to the consumer concern over safety problems with the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair. Porsche engineers wanted a large-displacement engine to power the 928, and prototype units were built with a 5-litre V8 producing close to 300 hp. Ferdinand Piëch wanted this car to use a 4.6-litre V10 based upon Audi’s five-cylinder engine. Several members of the Porsche board objected, chiefly because they wished for Porsche AG to maintain some separation from Volkswagen. The first two running prototypes of Porsche’s M28 V8 used one four-barrel carburettor, but this was just for initial testing. The cars were sold with the planned Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system. When increasing concern within the company over the pricing and availability of fuel during the oil crisis of the 1970s became an issue of contention, smaller engines were considered in the interest of fuel economy. A push began for the development of a 3.3 litre 180 hp powerplant they had drawn up designs for, but company engineers balked at this suggestion. Both sides finally settled on a 4.5 litre SOHC per bank 16-valve V8 producing 240 PS which they considered to have an acceptable compromise of performance and fuel economy. The finished car debuted at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show, going on sale later that year. Although it won early acclaim for its comfort and power, sales were slow. Base prices were much higher than that of the 911 model and the 928’s front-engined, water-cooled design put off many Porsche purists, not least because the design marked a major change in direction for Porsche started with the introduction of the Porsche 924 in 1976 which purists found hard to accept. Porsche utilised a transaxle in the 928 to help achieve 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, aiding the car’s balance. Although it weighed more than the difficult-to-handle 911, its more neutral weight balance and higher power output gave it similar performance on the track. The 928 was regarded as the more relaxing car to drive at the time. It came with either a five-speed dog leg manual transmission, or a Mercedes-Benz-derived automatic transmission, originally with three speeds, with four-speed from 1983 in North America and 1984 in other markets. More than 80% had the automatic transmission. Exact percentage of manual gearbox cars for entire production run is not known but it is believed to be between 15 and 20%. The body, styled by Wolfgang Möbius under guidance of Anatole Lapine, was mainly galvanised steel, but the doors, front fenders, and hood were aluminium in order to make the car more lightweight. It had a substantial luggage area accessed via a large hatchback. The new polyurethane elastic bumpers were integrated into the nose and tail and covered in body-coloured plastic; an unusual feature for the time that aided the car visually and reduced its drag. Porsche opted not to offer a convertible variant but several aftermarket modifiers offered convertible conversions, most notably Carelli, based in Orange County, CA. The Carelli conversions were sold as complete cars, with the conversion doubling the price of the car. A reported 12 units were made. The 928 qualified as a 2+2, having two small seats in the rear. Both rear seats could be folded down to enlarge the luggage area, and both the front and rear seats had sun visors for occupants. The rear seats are small (due to the prominent transmission hump) and have very little leg room; they are only suitable for adults on very short trips or children. The 928 was also the first vehicle in which the instrument cluster moved along with the adjustable steering wheel in order to maintain maximum instrument visibility. The 928 included several other innovations such as the “Weissach Axle”, a simple rear-wheel steering system that provides passive rear-wheel steering to increase stability while braking during a turn, and an unsleeved, silicon alloy engine block made of aluminium, which reduced weight and provided a highly durable cylinder bore. Porsche’s design and development efforts paid off during the 1978 European Car of the Year, where the 928 won ahead of the BMW 7 Series, and the Ford Granada. The 928 is the only sports car ever to have won this competition, which is regarded as proof of how advanced the 928 was, compared to its contemporaries. Porsche introduced a refreshed 928 S into the European market in 1980 model year. Externally, the S wore new front and rear spoilers and sported wider wheels and tyres than the older variant, but the main change for the 928 S was under the bonnet where a revised 4.7 litre engine was used. European versions debuted with 300 PS , and were upgraded to 310 PS for 1984, though it is rumoured that they typically made around 330 hp. From 1984 to 1986, the S model was called S2 in UK. These cars used Bosch LH-Jetronic fuel injection and purely electronic Bosch ignition, the same systems used on the later 32-valve cars, though without the pollution controls. North American-spec 1983 and 1984 S models used, among other differences, smaller valves, milder camshafts, smaller diameter intake manifolds, and additional pollution equipment in order to meet emissions regulations, and were limited to 234 hp as a result. Due to low grade fuel 16V low compression S engine was made for Australian market in 1985 model year. It had 9.3:1 compression ratio pistons instead of normal 10.4:1 but used same large intake, high lift cams, large valves etc. of other S engines. In 1982, two special models were available for different markets. 202 “Weissach Edition” cars were sold in North America. Unusual features were champagne gold metallic paint, matching brushed gold flat disc wheels, two-tone leather interior, a plaque containing the production number on the dash and the extremely collectible three-piece Porsche luggage set. It’s believed these cars were not made with S spoilers even though these were available in U.S. during this time period as part of the “Competition Group” option. The “Weissach Edition” option was also available for the US market 911 in 1980 model year and 924 in 1981 model year. 141 special “50th Jubilee
” 928 S models were available outside the U.S. and Canada to celebrate the company’s 50-year existence as a car manufacturer. This model is also sometimes referred to as the “Ferry Porsche Edition” because his signature was embroidered into the front seats. It was painted meteor metallic and fitted with flat disc wheels, wine red leather and special striped fabric seat centres. Similar 911 and 924 specials were also made for world markets. Porsche updated the North American 928 S for 1985, replacing the 4.7 litre SOHC engine with a new 5.0 litre DOHC unit sporting four valves per cylinder and producing 288 hp. Seats were also updated to a new style, these cars are sometimes unofficially called S3 to distinguish them from 16-valve “S” models. European models kept a 4.7 litre engine, which was somewhat more powerful as standard, though lower 9.3:1 compression 32-valve engine together with catalytic converters became an option in some European countries and Australia for 1986. In 1986, revised suspension settings, larger brakes with 4-piston calipers and modified exhaust was installed on the 928S, marking the final changes to old body style cars. These were straight from the 928S4, which was slated to debut a few months later. These changes came starting from VIN 1001, which means that the first thousand ’86’s had the old brakes, but later cars had the later systems. This later 1986 model is sometimes referred to as a 19861⁄2 or 1986.5 because of these changes. The name is a little misleading as more than 3/4 of the 1986 production had these updates. The 928 S4 variant debuted in the second half of 1986 with an updated version of the 5.0 litre V8 producing 320 PS, sporting a new single-disc clutch in manual gearbox cars, larger torque converter in automatics and fairly significant styling updates which gave the car a cleaner, sleeker look. S4 was much closer to being a truly world car than previous models as only major differences for North American models were instrumentation in either kilometers or miles, lighting, front and rear bumper shocks and the availability of catalytic converters in many other markets. The Australian market version was only one with different horsepower rating at 300 PS due to preparation for possible low grade fuel. Even this was achieved without engine changes. A Club Sport variant which was up to 100 kg (220 lb) lighter became available to continental Europe and U.S. in 1988. This model was watered down version of the 1987 factory prototype which had a lightened body. Also in 1987 the factory made four white lightened manual gearbox S4 models for racecar drivers who were on their payroll at the time. These were close to same as later actual Club Sport models and can also be considered prototypes for it. An SE (sometimes called the S4 Sport due to model designation on rear bumper), a sort of halfway point between a normally equipped S4 and the more race-oriented Club Sport, became available to the UK. It’s generally believed these Porsche Motorsport-engined cars have more hp than the S4. They utilise parts which later became known as GT pistons, cams and engine ECU programs. Some of them had stronger, short geared manual gearbox. The automatic gearbox was not available. For the 1989 model year, a visible change inside was digital trip computer in dashboard. At the same time Australian models received the same 320 PS engine management setup as other markets. Porsche debuted the 928 GT in the late winter 1988/89 after dropping the slowly selling CS and SE. In terms of equipment, the GT was like the 928 SE, having more equipment than a Club Sport model but less than a 928 S4 to keep the weight down somewhat. It had the ZF 40% limited-slip differential as standard like the Club Sport and SE before it. Also like the CS and SE, the GT was only available with a manual gearbox. European 1989 CS and GT wheels had an RDK tyre pressure monitoring system as standard, which was also optional for the same year S4. For 1990 model year Porsche made RDK and a 0-100% variable ratio limited-slip called PSD (Porsche SperrDifferential) standard in both GT and S4 models for all markets. This system is much like the one from the 959 and gives the vehicle even more grip. In 1990 the S4 was no longer available with a manual gearbox. The S4 and GT variants were both cut at the end of 1991 model year, making way for the final version of the 928. The 928 GTS came for sale in late 1991. Changed bodywork, larger front brakes and a new, more powerful 5.4 litre 350 PS engine were the big advertised changes; what Porsche wasn’t advertising was the price. Loaded GTS models could eclipse US$100,000 in 1995, making them among the most expensive cars on the road at the time. This severely hampered sales despite the model’s high competency and long standard equipment list. Porsche discontinued the GTS model that year after shipping only 77 of them to the United States. Total worldwide production of 928s over an 18 year period was a little over 61,000 cars. Second-hand models’ value decreased as a result of generally high maintenance costs due largely to spare parts that are expensive to manufacture, with the result that there are fewer survivors than you might expect.
Loaned by the factory museum in Stuttgart, like many of the exhibits here, this one-off 928 was built in 1984 for Ferry Porsche as part of his 75th birthday celebrations.
Just one example of the commercially very significant Boxster and Cayman family was here. Grant Larson’s design, inspired by the 356 Cabriolet, Speedster, and 550 Spyder, stimulated a commercial turnaround for Porsche. Through consultation with Toyota. Porsche began widely sharing parts among models and slashed costs. By October 1991 following a visit to the Tokyo Motor Show, Porsche in dire straits, began to devise solutions to succeed the poor selling 928 and incoming 968 (a heavy update of the 944). In February 1992, Porsche began development of a successor to the 928 (mildly updated for 1992) and recently released 968. By June 1992, out of 4 proposals based on dual collaboration between the 986 and 996 (993 successor) design teams, a proposal by Grant Larson and Pinky Lai was chosen by Harm Lagaay. In August 1992, a decision was made to develop the concept into a show vehicle, in time for the 1993 North American International Auto Show. After garnering widespread acclaim from the press and public upon presentation of the Boxster Concept in January 1993, the final production 986 production exterior design by Larson was frozen in March 1993. However, by the second half of 1993, difficulties arose with fitment of some components, resulting in lengthening of the hood and requiring another design freeze by fourth quarter of that year. Prototypes in 968 bodies were built to test the mid-engine power train of the 986 by the end of 1993, with proper prototypes surfacing in 1994. Pilot production began in the second half of 1995, ahead of series production in mid-1996. The Boxster was released ahead of the 996. The 986 Boxster had the same bonnet, front wings, headlights, interior and engine architecture as the 996. All 986 and 987 Boxsters use the M96, a water-cooled, horizontally opposed (“flat”), six-cylinder engine. It was Porsche’s first water-cooled non-front engine. In the Boxster, it is placed in a mid-engine layout, while in the 911, the classic rear-engine layout was used. The mid-engine layout provides a low center of gravity, a near-perfect weight distribution, and neutral handling. The engines had a number of failures, resulting in cracked or slipped cylinder liners, which were resolved by a minor redesign and better control of the casting process in late 1999. A failure for these early engines was a spate of porous engine blocks, as the manufacturer had difficulty in the casting process. In addition to causing problems with coolant and oil systems mingling fluids, it also resulted in Porsche’s decision to repair faulty engines by boring out the cast sleeves on the cylinders where defects were noted in production and inserting new sleeves rather than scrapping the engine block. Normally, the cylinder walls are cast at the same time as the rest of the engine, this being the reason for adopting the casting technology. The model received a minor facelift in 2002. The plastic rear window was replaced by a smaller glass window. The interior received a glove compartment, new electro-mechanical hood and trunk release mechanism (with an electronic emergency release in the fuse box panel) and an updated steering wheel. Porsche installed a reworked exhaust pipe and air intake. In addition, the front headlight’s amber indicators were replaced with clear indicators. The rear light cluster was also changed with translucent grey turn signals replacing the amber ones. The side marker lights on the front wings were changed as well from amber to clear, except on American market cars where they remained amber. The bumpers were also changed slightly for a more defined, chiselled appearance, and new wheel designs were made available. The second generation of the Boxster debuted at the 2004 Paris Motor Show.
Speedster is a very special word in Porsche circles, with a long history, and a separate display showcased the various different generations of Porsche that have adopted the name, from 356 through an array of 911s.
It all came about when Porsche’s American importer convinced ze Germans there was a market for an open, stripped-out model costing less than $3,000. And so in 1954 the 356 Speedster was born. It had the same body as the Cabriolet model, but a more steeply-raked windscreen and less equipment (less money for less car? Those were the days…). The ultimate version – the 1957 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster – was the first production Porsche to reach over 200km/h, or 124mph.
The first 911 Speedster (option M503) was a low-roof version of the Cabriolet which was evocative of the Porsche 356 Speedster of the 1950s, and was produced in limited numbers (2,104) starting in January 1989 until July 1989 as both a narrow body car and a Turbo-look. The narrow version production total was 171. The Speedster started as a design under Helmuth Bott in 1983 but was not manufactured until six years later. It was a two-seat convertible that featured a low swept windshield. Not particularly well received when new, it is highly prized now.
Based on the 964 model, just 930 of these were built – most with the narrow body. The 964 Speedster had no air conditioning, electric windows or airbags, but it did get specially-trimmed seats from the 911 Carrera RS and a top that was supposed to be easier to operate.
Just one Speedster version of the 993 was built, and there were none at all based on the 996. Only two 997 Speedsters were built, but come the 991, then the model returned finally to the price lists. After months of concepts and teasers, the 991 911 Speedster arrived in 2018. And it costs – um – £211,599. A whole hundred grand more than the 911 GT3 upon which it’s based. The last-ever 991-era 911 is effectively a GT3 Cabrio, with the wailing 4.0-litre six giving over 500bhp and a manual gearbox.
Whilst the Porsche 911 might not seem like the most obvious choice as a Police car, it has been used by the Dutch Rijk’s police for motorway patrol purposes on a number of occasions in the past and there were a couple of such examples presented here, along with the earlier 356 which also saw service.
Inspired by the Porsche 356, and some spyder prototypes built and raced by Walter Glöckler starting in 1951, the factory decided to build a car designed for use in auto racing. The model was introduced at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. The 550 was very low to the ground, in order to be efficient for racing. In fact, former German Formula One racer Hans Herrmann drove it under closed railroad crossing gates during the 1954 Mille Miglia. The first three hand built prototypes came in a coupé with a removable hardtop. The first (550-03) raced as a roadster at the Nurburgring Eifel Race in May 1953 winning its first race. Over the next couple of years, the Werks Porsche team evolved and raced the 550 with outstanding success and was recognized wherever it appeared. The Werks cars were provided with differently painted tail fins to aid recognition from the pits. Hans Herrmann’s particularly famous ‘red-tail’ car No 41 went from victory to victory. Porsche was the first car manufacturer to get race sponsorship which was through Fletcher Aviation, who Porsche was working with to design a light aircraft engine and then later adding Telefunken and Castrol. For such a limited number of 90 prototype and customer builds, the 550 Spyder was always in a winning position, usually finishing in the top three results in its class. The beauty of the 550 was that it could be driven to the track, raced and then driven home, which showed the flexibility of being both a road and track car. Each Spyder was individually designed and customised to be raced and although from the pits it was difficult to identify the sometimes six 550s in the race, the aid of colouring tail spears along the rear wheel fenders, enabled the teams to see their cars. The racing Spyders were predominantly silver in colour, similar to the factory colour of the Mercedes, but there were other splashes of blue, red, yellow and green in the tail spears making up the Porsche palette on the circuit. Each Spyder was assigned a number for the race and had gumballs positioned on doors, front and rear, to be seen from any angle. On some 550s owned by privateers, a crude hand written number scrawled in house paint usually served the purpose. Cars with high numbers assigned such as 351, raced in the 1000 mile Mille Miglia, where the number represented the start time of 3.51am. On most occasions, numbers on each Spyder would change for each race entered, which today helps identify each 550 by chassis number and driver in period black and white photos. The later 1956 evolution version of the model, the 550A, which had a lighter and more rigid spaceframe chassis, gave Porsche its first overall win in a major sports car racing event, the 1956 Targa Florio. Its successor from 1957 onwards, the Porsche 718, commonly known as the RSK was even more successful. The Spyder variations continued through the early 1960s, the RS 60 and RS 61. A descendant of the Porsche 550 is generally considered to be the Porsche Boxster S 550 Spyder; the Spyder name was effectively resurrected with the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype.
The 718 was a development of the successful Porsche 550A with improvements being made to the body work and suspension. The car is a RennSport build with a wheelbase shorter (German ‘Kurz’) than typical of predecessors of the era and this led to the car being referred to as the RSK. It had a mid-engined layout and used the 142 hp 1.5-litre Type 547/3 quad-cam engine introduced in the 550A. The car made its racing debut at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Umberto Maglioli and Edgar Barth. The car failed to finish the race due to an accident. In 1958, the car finished first in class and third overall at Le Mans guided by Jean Behra and Hans Herrmann. Jean Behra also brought one of the cars home second at the Targa Florio. In 1959, the car, driven by Edgar Barth and Wolfgang Seidel, claimed overall victory at the Targa Florio. A 718 also won the European Hill Climb Championship in both 1958 and 1959. In 1961 Masten Gregory and Bob Holbert piloted a 718/4 RS Spyder to a class win at Le Mans. Initially a two-seater 1.5-litre sports car, the 718 was adapted to compete in a number of different formulas and also evolved due to regulation changes. For the 1960 season the FIA made changes to the regulation regarding the windscreen and cockpit size. These rules changes together with a larger (1.6-litre) Type 547/3 engine, developing 160 hp and a new double wishbone rear suspension brought about the RS 60 model. The RS 60 brought Porsche victory at the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring with a car driven by Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien. 1960 also saw Porsche win the Targa Florio with Hans Herrmann being joined on the winner podium by Jo Bonnier and Graham Hill. The RS 60 also ensured that Porsche successfully defended their European Hill Climb Championship for the third year in a row. For 1961 the model name was changed to “RS 61” although it was almost identical to the RS 60. An RS 61 won the European Hill Climb Championship. A two-litre version, the W-RS was developed in 1961. Initially fitted with a 4-cylinder engine, the car was later fitted with an enlarged flat-8 air-cooled engine from the Porsche 804 Formula One car which was developed to produce 240 hp. A W-RS finished 8th at Le Mans in 1963. The W-RS continued Porsche’s success in the European Hill Climb Championship with Edgar Barth claiming the title in 1963. Porsche would go on to win a European Hill Climb Championship every year until 1982, a total of 42 titles. The W-RS continued racing until 1964 when it was replaced by the 904.
This is the little known Porsche Abarth 356B Carrera GTL. In keeping with FIA regulations, Porsche created a new lightweight 356 with help from Abarth. After Porsche had considered numerous Italian companies to manufacture a lightweight 356 body, they settled on Abarth. Franco Scaglione penned the first initial drawings which attempted to reduce frontal area, overall height. Included was an adjustable scoop on the rear deck lid. Made entirely of aluminium, Abarth’s body was smaller than the Reutter 356 in every dimension and reduced drag from 0.398 Cd to 0.365 Cd. This new body also contributed to considerable weight loss, coming in at 1762 lbs, very near the FIA’s minimum 1780 lbs.Delivered from Turin, the first prototypes were delivered in February of 1960. They were somewhat rough, but sporting enough to win the Targa Florio. Paul Sträle bought the second prototype and finished the Targa first in class. he would go on to repeat this feat the following year. Before production began, the rear engine cover was modified with an excess of louvres on both prototypes to avoid hot air reaching the Schubladenmotor’s cooling fan. After the first prototypes had been sent to and tested at Zuffenhausen, Porsche committed to 20 orders for the GTL. Carlo Abarth took advantage of the cottage industry in Turin, outsourcing the aluminium bodies to Rocco Motto. The final version sold for 25,000 deutsche marks or $6,500 USD. There were many detail differences from car to car with regard to body shape, taillights and side windows. The first production GTLs appeared at at the Nürburgring 1000km alongside the factory’s prototype fitted with experimental disc brakes. In 1961, Porsche introduced a stronger version of their Carrera engine called the 692/3a. It featured wider main bearings to allow higher rpm. he top end was also changed, with more aggressive intake camshafts and small flywheels on the end of the camshaft. Carburation reverted back to Solex units but a larger 44PII-4 unit. This provided about 165 bhp when used with the unmuffled Sebring sports exhaust. Following sucess 1960 Targa Florio and Nürburgring 1000km, a sole Porsche GTL appeared at Le Mans The new car could reach 138 mph down the Mulsanne straight. Drivers Linge and Walter finished 10th overall and first in class.The following 1961 and 1962 seasons were contested by both factory and private entrants. Sträle repeated his Targa victory. The factory raced 1013 extensively and won the 1600cc class at the 1962 Sebring 12 hours. Later in the year the same car was joined by 1018, taking class victories at the Nürburgring 1000km and 24 Hours of Le Mans. This pair continued their success in 1963 at the Daytona Continental and Sebring 12 Hours.
Officially we should call this car the GTS, as Porsche had the same naming conflict with Peugeot over this as they did with the 911 (which they had originally planned to call 901, of course), but the reality is that everyone knows this elegant machine as the 904GTS. Although on the rare occasions that you see one, it tends to look like a road car, the 904GTS owes its existence to the race track. After having withdrawn from Formula One at the end of the 1962 season, Porsche focused again on sportscar racing. The 904 debuted late in 1963, for the 1964 racing season, as a successor to the 718, which had been introduced in 1957. Porsche designed the GTS variant to compete in the FIA-GT class at various international racing events. The street-legal version, as seen here, debuted in 1964 in order to comply with Group 3 Appendix J homologation regulations requiring a certain number of road-going variants be sold by the factory. Porsche produced 106 904s at four or five a day with a list price of US$7245. Orders far exceeded the one hundred car requirement to satisfy homologation rules and more cars could readily have been sold. The 904’s mid-engine layout was inherited from the 718 RSK. It was powered by the 1,966 cc Type 587/3,] four-cam flat four-cylinder engine producing 198 hp, “probably the most complex four-cylinder” ever. It drove a five-speed transmission. Begun as the Type 547, its development began in 1953, when the previous VW-based 1,100 cc flat-four, used in the contemporary 356 hit the limit of its potential. Porsche realised it needed something all-new. The brainchild of Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, later Technical Director, it was hoped to achieve an “unheard of” 70 hp per litre, relying on hemispherical combustion chambers and two-choke Weber carburettors to generate 112 hp from the 1,500 cc four-cam engine. The 1.5 litre weighed 310 lb dry, eventually producing 180 hp. A complex design that proved “very taxing” to build and assemble, but very durable, it was used in 34 different models, including 550 Spyders, 356 Carreras, and F2/1s. The 904 was the first Porsche to use a ladder chassis and fibreglass body, appearing more like specialist racing cars than the modified sports cars typical at the time, and was painted white. The fibreglass body was bonded to its steel chassis for extra rigidity, and achieved a drag coefficient of 0.34. While many German race cars had used unpainted aluminium bodies since the famous 1934 Silver Arrows, most 904s were painted silver, the modern German national racing colour. Unusually for Porsche, the two-seater bodies were provided by contractors, which would later become standard practice among race car builders. The 904’s fibreglass body was made by spraying chopped fibreglass into a mould, the amount sprayed often varied in thickness over the shape of the car and as a result the weight of the various cars was somewhat inconsistent; some were heavier than others. Race-prepared four-cylinder 904s weighed in at approximately 1,443 pounds (655 kg) and the low weight gave the 904 the ability to accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in less than six seconds (using the standard rear gear, which would be typical at Sebring) and to reach a top speed of 160 mph. Frontal area was only 14 sq ft. The Porsche 904 rode on coil springs (the first Porsche not to use trailing arm front and swing-axle rear suspension. To satisfy demand, twenty 1965 models were produced, some featuring a variant of the 911’s flat six,. These were known as the 904/6. Porsche also built a few factory race cars with a flat eight-cylinder power plant derived from the 1962 804 F1 car, the 225 hp 1,962 cc Type 771, but these had a “disturbing habit” of making their flywheels explode. These cars were known as the 904/8. A number of modern replica versions have been produced.
The Porsche 917 is a sports prototype race car developed by German manufacturer Porsche. The 917 gave Porsche its first overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971. Powered by the Type 912 flat-12 engine of 4.5, 4.9, or 5 litres, the 917/30 Can-Am variant was capable of a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 2.3 seconds, 0–124 mph (200 km/h) in 5.3 seconds. The long tail Langheck version had a maximum measured top speed of 362 km/h (225 mph). In 1971 the car featured in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans. In 2017 the car driven by McQueen in the film was sold at auction for $14m, a record price for a Porsche. For the 40th anniversary of the 917 in 2009 Porsche held a special celebration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (3–5 July). In an effort to reduce the speeds generated at Le Mans and other fast circuits of the day by the unlimited capacity Group 6 prototypes (such as the seven-litre Ford GT40 Mk.IV and four-litre V12 Ferrari P) the Commission Sportive Internationale (then the independent competition arm of the FIA) announced that the International Championship of Makes would be run for three-litre Group 6 prototypes for four years from 1968 through 1971. This capacity reduction would also serve to entice manufacturers who were already building three-litre Formula One engines to adapt them for endurance racing. Well aware that few manufacturers were ready to take up the challenge immediately, the CSI also allowed the participation of five-litre Group 4 sports cars, of which a minimum of 50 units had to be manufactured. This targeted existing cars like the aging Ford GT40 Mk.I and the newer Lola T70 coupe. In April 1968, facing few entrants in races, the CSI announced that the minimum production figure to compete in the sport category of the International Championship of Makes (later the World Sportscar Championship) was reduced from 50 to 25, starting in 1969 through the planned end of the rules in 1971. With Ferrari absent in 1968, mainly Porsche 908s and Ford P68s were entered there, with the Ford being a total failure. As a result, old 2.2-litre Porsche 907s often won that category, with John Wyer’s 4.7-litre Ford GT40 Mk.I taking wins at faster tracks. Starting in July 1968, Porsche made a surprising and expensive effort to take advantage of this rule. As they were rebuilding race cars with new chassis every race or two anyway, selling the used cars to customers, they decided to conceive, design and build 25 versions of a whole new car with 4.5-litre for the sport category with one underlying goal: to win its first overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on May 14, 1970. In only ten months the Porsche 917 was developed, based on the Porsche 908. When Porsche was first visited by the CSI inspectors only three cars were completed, while 18 were being assembled and seven additional sets of parts were present. Porsche argued that if they assembled the cars they would then have to take them apart again to prepare the cars for racing. The inspectors refused the homologation and asked to see 25 assembled and working cars. On March 12, 1969, a 917 was displayed at the Geneva Motor Show, painted white with a green nose and a black No. 917. Brief literature on the car detailed a cash price of DM 140,000, approximately £16,000 at period exchange rates, or the price of about ten Porsche 911s. This price did not cover the costs of development. On April 20 Porsche’s head of motorsports Ferdinand Piëch displayed 25 917s parked in front of the Porsche factory to the CSI inspectors. Piëch even offered the opportunity to drive any of the cars, which was declined. The car was designed by chief engineer Hans Mezger under the leadership of Ferdinand Piëch and Helmuth Bott. The car was built around a very light spaceframe chassis (42 kg (93 lb)) which was permanently pressurised with gas to detect cracks in the welded structure. Power came from a new 4.5-litre air-cooled engine designed by Mezger, which was a combination of 2 of Porsche’s 2.25L flat-6 engines used in previous racing cars. The ‘Type 912’ engine featured a 180° flat-12 cylinder layout, twin overhead camshafts driven from centrally mounted gears and twin spark plugs fed from two distributors. The large horizontally mounted cooling fan was also driven from centrally mounted gears. The longitudinally mounted gearbox was designed to take a set of four or five gears. To keep the car compact despite the large engine, the driving position was so far forward that the feet of the driver were beyond the front wheel axle. The car had remarkable technology. It was Porsche’s first 12-cylinder engine and used many components made of titanium, magnesium and exotic alloys that had been developed for lightweight “Bergspider” hill climb racers. Other methods of weight reduction were rather simple, such as making the gear shift knob out of birch wood, some methods were not simple, such as using the tubular frame itself as oil piping to the front oil cooler. There are at least eleven variants of the 917. The original version had a removable long tail/medium tail with active rear wing flaps, but had considerable handling problems at high speed because of significant rear lift. The handling problems were investigated at a joint test at the Österreichring by the factory engineers and their new race team partners John Wyer Engineering. After exhaustive experimentation by both groups, a shorter, more upswept tail was found to give the car more aerodynamic stability at speed. The changes were quickly adopted into the 917K for Kurzheck, or “short-tail”. In 1971, a variant of the 917K appeared with a less upswept tail and vertical fins, and featured the concave rear deck that had proved so effective on the 1970 version of the 917L. The fins kept the clean downforce-inducing air on the top of the tail and allowed the angle of the deck to be reduced, reducing the drag in direct proportion. The result was a more attractive looking car that maintained down force for less drag and higher top speed. By this time the original 4.5-litre engine, which had produced around 520 bhp in 1969, had been enlarged through 4.9-litres (600 bhp) to 5-litres and produced a maximum of 630 bhp. The 917K models were generally used for the shorter road courses such as Sebring, Brands Hatch, Monza and Spa-Francorchamps. The big prize for Porsche however, was Le Mans. For the French circuit’s long, high speed straights, the factory developed special long tail bodywork that was designed for minimum drag and thus highest maximum speed. On the car’s debut in 1969, the 917L proved to be nearly uncontrollable as there was so little down force. In fact, they generated aerodynamic lift at the highest speeds. For 1970, an improved version was raced by the factory and for 1971, after very significant development in the wind tunnel, the definitive 917L was raced by both factory and JW. In 1971 Jo Siffert raced an open-top 917PA Spyder (normally aspirated) in the 1971 CanAm series. There is also the “Pink Pig” aerodynamic research version (917/20), and the turbocharged 917/10 and 917/30 CanAm Spyders. Porsche 917s also raced in the European Interseries in various configurations. In the 1973 Can-Am series, the turbocharged version Porsche 917/30 developed 1,100 bhp.
Following the runaway success of the 917 in the 1970 and 1971 World Sportscar Championships, Porsche takes on a new challenge: the motorsport department develops an open-top version of the 917 – the 917/10 – for the Can-Am series in the US and Canada. Porsche pioneers the development of race engines with exhaust gas turbochargers in response to the high-volume V8 engines of its US competitors, long before turbocharger technology appears in Formula One in 1977. Fitted with a turbo engine delivering 1,000 PS, the 917/10 starts its first race on 11 June 1972 at the Mosport Park circuit in Canada. On 9 July ((8 July according to Näher’s book and other documents)) the car takes its first victory at the Road Atlanta circuit. With its 5-litre turbo engine, the Porsche 917/10 beats its US competitors to victory in six races out of nine during the 1972 season. Porsche defends its world title superbly in the following year too, with the 917/10 and its successor 917/30, the latter of which is equipped with a turbo engine featuring a larger 5.4-litre displacement and delivering 1,150 PS. The 917/10 also competes in the European Interserie racing series in 1972 and 1973, winning the championship in both years with Finnish driver Leo Kinnunen. On 13 July 1972, the vehicle with chassis number 917/10-005 is delivered to the Penske racing team without a chassis, engine or body – only a frame with the full electrical kit and fire extinguishing system.
There was also an impressive line of racing 911-based models. Oldest of these was a 911 R from 1967.
This one is a 1975 3.0 RSR. The Carrera RSR 3.0 was sold to racing teams and scored wins in several major sports car races of the mid-1970s. Also, a prototype Carrera RSR Turbo (with 2.1-litre engine due to a 1.4x equivalency formula) came second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1974 and won several major races, a significant event in that its engine would form the basis of many future Porsche attempts in sports car racing. This, and the earlier 917, was Porsche’s commitment to turbocharger applications in its cars.
The Porsche 934 was a racing version of the Porsche 911 Turbo, prepared to FIA Group 4 rules, similar to the Porsche 935 which was prepared to FIA Group 5 rules. The Porsche 934 was introduced for the 1976 racing season. It was manufactured for two years, 1976 and 1977, with 31 total being built. Toine Hezemans drove this car to victory at the European GT Championship, while in the U.S., with George Follmer at the wheel, it also became the Trans-Am champion. It continued to win races throughout the late 1970s. The 934 was essential in building the Porsche 934/5, a combination of the 934 chassis and engine with the 935 wheels, tires and rear wing configuration. The 934 as well as the 935 were raced in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft in a distinctive orange “Jägermeister” livery. Alan Hamilton the Australian Porsche distributor at the time owned one of these cars and competed and won the 1977 Australian Sports Car Championship, and in 1980 the same car won the title with Allan Moffat behind the wheel. The 934 has a top speed approaching 190 mph (approximately 300 km/h) and has a zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 3.9 seconds. It was one of the last designs to incorporate all the distinctive stylings of the original 911s, with only minor bodywork taken from the 911 Turbo, to include GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) wheelarch extensions, doors, engine lid and boot. The car came in a regular trim, or a racing trim (also called “Group 4 trim”). Regular trim cars weighed 1,090 kg (2,403 lb), had electric windows and door trim, a 120 litre fuel tank and a 480 bhp 3-litre, flat-six engine (in 1977, modifications took it to 550 bhp). The racing trim was a modified regular trim to meet with the FIA rules, most notably it added 30 kg (66 lb) of weight, so that it complied with the minimum weight requirement of Group 4. It was not just the Porsche factory who developed the 935 into the potent winning machine it was, as some privateer teams saw opportunities to enhance the cars, with the Kremer brothers in Germany being the most prominent and successful.
In 1976, Kremer Racing developed the K1 and, in 1977, the K2, before the K3 appeared at the start of the 1979 season. The K3 went on to win the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours, with a factory-specification Porsche 935 finishing 2nd. This twin-turbo Porsche 935 K3 was built by Porsche in 1978 and sold through VW of America.
Dating from 1981 is this 911 Carrera SC RS “Belga”
Based on the 993 model, this is a 911 Cup.
Most recent was this 2018 model 991-based GT3 Cup
The RS Spyder (Type 9R6) is a racing car designed by Porsche in conjunction with Penske to compete in Le Mans Prototype Class 2 (LMP2) racing. The car takes its name from the legendary Porsche 550 Spyder of the 1950s (combined with Porsche’s common “RennSport” (lit.: racing sports) designation). The car marked Porsche’s first return to the top level of sports prototype racing since the firm abandoned its Porsche LMP in 1999. The RS Spyder made its debut in the final event of the 2005 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Laguna Seca winning its class. Since then the RS Spyder has won the ALMS LMP2 Championship in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and took class honours at Le Mans in 2008 and 2009. The outright victory at the 2008 12 Hours of Sebring was the first major victory for Porsche in endurance racing for five years and it was also the first time in 14 years that the non-premier class won the 12 Hours of Sebring overall. Regulation changes for the 2011 season rendered the RS Spyder obsolete but the car has left a legacy in the Porsche 918 Spyder, which uses a development of the RS Spyder’s engine and the Porsche 919 Hybrid which carried Porsche’s racing program on into the LMP1 category starting in 2014.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid is a Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) racing car built and used by Porsche in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons of the FIA World Endurance Championship. It has a two-litre 90-degree V4 mid-mounted mono-turbocharged petrol engine that produces 500 hp (370 kW) and acts as a chassis load-bearing member – and two separate energy-recovery hybrid systems to recover thermal energy from exhaust gases and convert kinetic energy into electrical energy under braking for storage into lithium-ion battery packs. In accordance with the 2014 regulations, the vehicle was placed in the 6 MJ (1.7 kWh) class. On 4 March 2014, the 919 Hybrid was shown to the press for the first time during the Geneva Motor Show. Porsche supplied two cars, driven by six drivers, for the season. Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb won three pole positions and the season-ending 6 Hours of São Paulo as Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber helped the team to finish third in the World Manufacturers’ Championship. In 2015, the car was further developed and was categorized into the 8 MJ (2.2 kWh) category. Bernhard, Hartley, and Webber won four out of eight races to claim the 2015 World Endurance Drivers’ Championship and the World Manufacturers’ Championship. Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg and Nick Tandy won the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a third 919 Hybrid. In 2016 Dumas, Jani, and Lieb won the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the car after further development. Consistent performances from the trio won them the 2016 World Endurance Drivers’ Championship and the team’s second. Although Bernhard, Hartley, and Webber had reliability issues in the season’s first three races, the trio won four of the six remaining rounds to help Porsche win its second consecutive World Manufacturers’ Championship. The next year, 2017, Tandy and former Audi LMP1 driver André Lotterer joined Jani in place of Dumas and Lieb, and Bamber teamed up with Bernhard and Hartley, replacing the retired Webber. Porsche finished on the podium in the first two rounds. Bamber, Bernhard, and Hartley recovered from a 13-lap deficit to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and three more races for Porsche’s third consecutive World Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships at the season’s penultimate round, the 2017 6 Hours of Shanghai. After 2017, the 919 Hybrid project was discontinued to allow Porsche to enter Formula E and an evolution of the car called the 919 Evo, which was demonstrated in 2018.
Straddling the list of road and race cars was this 911 Carrera GT1 Evo. With the revival of international sportscar racing in the mid-1990s, though the BPR Global GT Series (which then morphed into the FIA GT Championship) Porsche expressed interest in returning to top level sportscar racing and went about developing its competitor for the GT1 category. Cars in this category were previously heavily modified versions of road cars, usually supercars such as the McLaren F1 and Ferrari F40, but when the 911 GT1 was uneveiled in 1996 Porsche had exploited the rule book to the full and stunned the sportscar fraternity. Rather than develop a race version of one of their road going models, what they created was effectively a purpose built sports-prototype, but in order to comply with regulations a street legal version was created, 911 GT1 Straßenversion – literally a road-going racing car. In spite of its 911 moniker the car actually had very little in common with the 911 of the time, however its frontal chassis was shared with the then 911, the 993, while the rear of the car was derived from the Porsche 962, including its water-cooled, twin-turbocharged and intercooled, four valve per cylinder flat-six engine which was arranged in a mid-mounted position, compared to the rear-engined layout of a conventional 911. The engine was making about 600 PS. In comparison, the 993 generation 911 GT2, which was otherwise the company’s highest-performance vehicle, used an air-cooled engine with only two valves per cylinder. The new vehicle was an outright success at Le Mans, winning the GT1 class at its debut race, although it lost the overall victory to Joest Racing’s Porsche WSC-95 prototype, still a success in that this vehicle used a Porsche powerplant. The 911 GT1 made its debut in the BPR Global GT Series (the FIA championship’s predecessor) at the Brands Hatch 4 hours, where Hans-Joachim Stuck and Thierry Boutsen won comfortably, although they were racing as an invited entry and were thus ineligible for points. They followed up by winning at Spa and Ralf Kelleners and Emmanuel Collard triumphed for the factory team at Zhuhai. The ’96 GT1 had around 600 PS and was clocked at a top speed of exactly 330 km/h (205 mph) on the legendary Mulsanne Straight in the practice sessions of the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hours Race (presumably on a low downforce setup). In 1997, the new Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR was successful in the new FIA GT Championship that replaced the BPR, as it was developed for racing. Mercedes did not enter Le Mans yet with their new car, though. The Porsche did not prove to be as fast in the FIA series, and failed to win a single race, first against the McLaren F1 GTR, and then against the new CLK-GTR. Towards the end of the 1996 season Porsche made revisions to the 911 GT1 in preparation for the 1997 season. The front end of the car was revised including new bodywork which featured headlamps that previewed the all-new 2nd generation (996) Porsche 911 which would appear in 1997. The revised car was known as the 911 GT1 Evo (or Evolution). The car had the same 600 PS turbo-charged engine, but new aerodynamics on the car allowed the ’97 car to be considerably faster than the 1996 model – acceleration was better, although the top speed was still around 330 km/h on the La Sarthe Circuit (in the race, the GT1-Evo reached 326 km/h). However, the works cars suffered from reliability problems and did not last the full race distance; a privately entered 1996 specification GT1 managed 5th overall and third in its class, but was beaten by the BMW-backed and powered McLaren F1 GTRs.
Development of the 959 (originally called the Gruppe B) started in 1981, shortly after the company’s then-new Managing Director, Peter Schutz, took his office. Porsche’s chief engineer at the time, Helmuth Bott, approached Schutz with some ideas about the Porsche 911, or more aptly, a new one. Bott knew that the company needed a sports car that they could continue to rely on for years to come and that could be developed as time went on. Curious as to how much they could do with the rear-engined 911, Bott convinced Schutz that development tests should take place, and even proposed researching a new all wheel drive system. Schutz agreed, and gave the project the green light. Bott also knew through experience that a racing program usually helped to accelerate the development of new models. Seeing Group B rally racing as the perfect arena to test the new development mule and its all wheel drive system, Bott again went to Schutz and got the approval to develop a car, based on his development mule, for competition in Group B. The powerplant is a sequential twin-turbocharged DOHC flat-six engine equipped with 4 valves per cylinder, fuel fed by Bosch Motronic 2.1 fuel injection with air-cooled cylinders and water-cooled heads, with a total displacement of 2,849 cc. It was coupled to a unique manual transmission offering five forward speeds plus a “gelände” (terrain) off-road gear, as well as reverse. The engine was largely based on the 4-camshaft 24-valve powerplant used in the Porsche 956 and 962 race cars. These components allowed Porsche to extract 450 PS (444 bhp) at 6,500 rpm and 500 Nm (369 lb/ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm from the compact and efficient power unit. The use of sequential twin turbochargers rather than the more usual identical turbochargers for each of the two cylinder banks allowed for smooth delivery of power across the engine speed band, in contrast to the abrupt on-off power characteristic that distinguished Porsche’s other turbocharged engines of the period. The engine was used virtually unchanged in the 959 road car as well. To create a rugged, lightweight shell, Porsche adopted an aluminium and Aramid (Kevlar) composite for the body panels and chassis construction along with a Nomex floor, instead of the steel floor normally used on their production cars. Porsche also developed the car’s aerodynamics, which were designed to increase stability, as was the automatic ride-height adjustment that became available on the road car (961 race cars had a fixed suspension system). Its drag coefficient was as low as 0.31 and aerodynamic lift was eliminated completely. The 959 also featured Porsche-Steuer Kupplung (PSK) all-wheel-drive system. Capable of dynamically changing the torque distribution between the rear and front wheels in both normal and slip conditions, the PSK system gave the 959 the adaptability it needed both as a race car and as a “super” street car. Under hard acceleration, PSK could send as much as 80% of the available power to the rear wheels, helping make the most of the rear-traction bias that occurs at such times. It could also vary the power bias depending on road surface and grip changes, helping maintain traction at all times. The dashboard featured gauges displaying the amount of rear differential slip as well as transmitted power to the front axle. The magnesium alloy wheels were unique, being hollow inside to form a sealed chamber contiguous with the tyre and equipped with a built-in tyre pressure monitoring system. The 959 was actually produced at Karosserie Baur, not at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen, on an assembly line with Porsche inspectors overseeing the finished bodies. Most of Porsche’s special order interior leather work was also done by the workers at Baur. The 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show was chosen for the unveiling of the Porsche Group B prototype. Even in the closing hours of October 9, finishing touches were being applied to the car to go on display the next morning. After the first two prototypes, the bodywork was modified to include air vents in the front and rear wheel housings, as well as intake holes behind the doors. The first prototype receiving those modifications was code named “F3”, and was destroyed in the first crash test. The road version of the 959 debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show as a 1986 model, but numerous issues delayed production by more than a year. The car was manufactured in two levels of trim, “Sport” and “Komfort”, corresponding to the trim with more creature comforts and a more track focused trim. First customer deliveries of the 959 street variant began in 1987, and the car debuted at a cost of DM431,550 (US$225,000) each, still less than half what it cost Porsche to build each car. Production ended in 1988 with 292 cars completed. In total, 337 cars were built, including 37 prototypes and pre-production models.
As well as the road-going car, there was also the 1986 Paris-Dakar rally version here.
Synonymous with Porsche’s endurance racing programme and Le Mans in particular, where they have triumphed some 17 times, the design of the Porsche Carrera GT is firmly rooted in its motorsport lineage. After success in 1998 at the famous 24-hour race, a team of engineers started work on a new mid-engined V-10 model utilising advanced technologies and materials. However, the project was soon put on hold as the company decided to focus its energies in a different direction with the introduction of a new SUV and the development of the Porsche Cayenne. Fortunately, the Carrera GT project was kept alive, and a prototype was shown at the 2000 Paris Auto Show. Response to the car was enthusiastic prompting Porsche to commit to a limited production run of 1,500 cars. By the end of production in 2006, only 1,270 cars were built, making it rarer still. With its 5.7 litre, dry sump V-10 engine (producing around 612 brake horsepower) sitting low in the carbon-fibre chassis, the Carrera GT weighed in at 1,380kg and was capable of 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 205 mph. Open the driver’s door and you are immediately aware that this is a totally focussed, seriously fast Porsche with the sense of function only just lightened by the Beechwood gear knob – a nod to the famous Porsche 917 and its racing past.
The 918 Spyder was first shown as a concept at the 80th Geneva Motor Show in March 2010. On 28 July 2010, after 2,000 declarations of interest, the supervisory board of Porsche AG approved series development of the 918 Spyder. The production version was unveiled at the September 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Porsche also unveiled the RSR racing variant of the 918 at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, which combines hybrid technology first used in the 997 GT3 R Hybrid, with styling from the 918 Spyder. But that version didn’t make it to production. The 918 Spyder was the second plug-in hybrid car manufactured by Porsche, after the 2014 Panamera S E-Hybrid. The 918 Spyder is powered by a 4,593 cc naturally aspirated V8 engine built on the same architecture as the one used in the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype racing car without any engine belts. The engine weighs 135 kg (298 lb) according to Porsche and delivers 599 bhp at 8,700 rpm and 540 Nm (398 lb/ft) of maximum torque at 6,700 rpm. This is supplemented by two electric motors delivering an additional 282 bhp. One 154 bhp electric motor drives the rear wheels in parallel with the engine and also serves as the main generator. This motor and engine deliver power to the rear axle via a 7-speed gearbox coupled to Porsche’s own PDK double-clutch system. The front 127 bhp electric motor directly drives the front axle; an electric clutch decouples the motor when not in use. The total system delivers 874 bhp and 1,280 Nm (944 lb/ft) of torque. Porsche provided official performance figures of 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.6 seconds, 0-200 km/h (120 mph) in 7.2 seconds, 0-300 km/h (190 mph) in 19.9 seconds and a top speed of 345 km/h (214 mph). Those numbers were surpassed in independent tests which yielded 2.5 seconds for 0-100 km/h, 7.0 seconds for 0-200 km/h, 19.1 seconds for 0-300 km/h, a top speed of 351.5 km/h (218.4 mph) and 17.75 seconds for the standing kilometer with a speed of 295.9 km/h (183.9 mph). The energy storage system is a 312-cell, liquid-cooled 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery positioned behind the passenger cell. In addition to a plug-in charge port at the passenger-side B pillar, the batteries are also charged by regenerative braking and by excess output from the engine when the car is coasting. CO2 emissions are 79 g/km and fuel consumption is 3 L/100 km (94 mpg) under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its five-cycle tests rated the 2015 model year Porsche 918 Spyder energy consumption in all-electric mode at 50 kWh per 100 miles, which translates into a combined city/highway fuel economy of 3.5 L/100 km (81 mpg). When powered only by the gasoline engine, EPA’s official combined city/highway fuel economy is 26 mpg. The 918 Spyder’s engine is based on the unit used in the Porsche RS Spyder. The 4.6 litre V8 petrol engine can recharge an empty battery on about two litres of fuel. The supplied Porsche Universal Charger requires seven hours to charge the battery on a typical 110 volt household AC socket or two hours on a dedicated Charging Dock installed with a 240 volt industrial supply. An optional DC Speed Charging Station can restore the battery to full capacity in 25 minutes. The 918 Spyder offers five different running modes: E-Drive allows the car to run under battery power alone, using the rear electric motor and front motor, giving a range of 29 kilometres (18 mi) for the concept model. The official U.S. EPA all-electric range is 12 mi (19 km). The total range with a full tank of gasoline and a fully charged battery is 420 miles (680 km) according to EPA tests. Under the E-Drive mode the car can attain a maximum speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). Two hybrid modes (Hybrid, and Race) use both the engine and electric motors to provide the desired levels of economy and performance. In Race mode a push-to-pass button initiates the Hot Lap setting, which delivers additional electrical power. The chassis is a carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic monocoque and the brakes used are electromechanical brakes. The production version was unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 918 Spyder was produced in a limited series and it was developed in Weissach and assembled in Zuffenhausen. Pricing for the 918 Spyder started at €611,000 (US$845,000) or £511,000. Production ended in June 2015 as scheduled. The country with the most orders was the United States with 297 units, followed by China and Germany with approximately 100 orders each, and Canada ordering 35 units.
And finally, there was one example of Porsche’s Tractor production, this one is a 1963 S218 Diesel Vigneron. The Porsche-Diesel Standard 218, also known as N 218, is the third generation of the two-cylinder Standard tractor series, manufactured by Porsche-Diesel Motorenbau GmbH in Friedrichshafen am Bodensee, succeeding its predecessor, the Porsche-Diesel 208 in 1957. The Porsche 218 utilises a frameless block construction. The rear axle is a live portal axle, the front axle is a dead beam axle with a central pivot point. The wheelbase measures 1668 mm. The track width of the front wheels can be adjusted by turning the rims on the vertical axis. On its rear wheels, the tractor has drum brakes. Either brake can act as a steering brake. Both the steering gear and the gearbox were produced by ZF Friedrichshafen. The H, S, and U Porsche-Diesel 218 models have a six-speed gearbox with a crawler gear. The clutch is a single-disc dry clutch of the type K 200 Z, made by Fichtel & Sachs. It works in conjunction with an oil-hydraulic clutch made by Voith. The Standard V 218 is a stripped-down model: it has a five-speed gearbox, and it lacks the oil-hydraulic clutch. Porsche-Diesel offered a Three-point linkage as a factory option. It can lift a mass of up to 550 kg. Another factory option was a mower bar, which cost DM 500. The tractor’s mass is 1625 kg including the three-point-linkage, the mower bar, and the extra weights. The maximum permissible mass is 2300 kg. The paint colour is RAL 3002 Karminrot for the body, and RAL 1014 or 1015 Elfenbein for the rims. The Standard 218 does not have a fuel tap due to tightness problems. Four different models of the Porsche 218 were produced: the H 218 was the base model with a six-speed gearbox, oil-hydraulic clutch, chrome decoration trim. H for hydraulic clutch; the V 218 was a simplified model with a five-speed gearbox, no hydraulic clutch, no trim. V stood or vereinfacht (simplified). The S 218 was a narrow gauge model. Like the H 218, but with a track width of 840 / 1240 mm and a wheelbase of 1620 mm. S for Schmalspur (narrow gauge). There was also the U 218, a shaft switching model. In addition to the standard H-equipment, it has a switchable gear shaft and a switchable power take-off shaft. It was offered with a cab and extended front wheel mudguards. U for umschaltbar (switchable). In total, the Porsche plant produced more than 12,000 Standard 218 tractors from 1957 to 1963.
Completely separate from the main displays was a simple line-up with examples of each of the models in the current range, encompassing the 718 Boxster and Cayman and 911 sports cars, the luxury saloon Panamera and the biggest sellers of the moment, the Macan and Cayenne SUVs.
More details can be found on the museum’s own website: https://www.autoworld.be/home