Uusikaupunki Auto Museo (FIN)

It would probably be pretty fair to say that the majority of British people know very little about Finland, and if you asked them to name any major towns beyond the capital, Helsinki, I suspect a lot would struggle. I can be pretty sure that Uusikaupunki is not somewhere that many would list, unless, perhaps they are a car enthusiast. This small, and really rather delightful country town is located about 2 hours due west of Helsinki, on the coast, and the location of Valmet. Founded in the late 60s as a joint venture with SAAB, to build their cars for local consumption, the company has done far more than that, building complete cars for manufacturers as disparate as Talbot, Lada, Opel, Porsche and Mercedes and also built a reputation for specialist skills including the folding roof mechanisms needed for convertible cars. These days, the large plant, which is situated a couple of km from the town centre, specialises in battery technology. Just across the road from the entrance to the factory complex is a car museum. Needless to say, during my week in the country, I had to go and investigate. Here is what I found:

There are three separate halls which when combined provide display for a couple of hundred cars as well as lots of auto-related memorabilia.


The first hall contains a very varied mix of cars, the sort of assembly of historic vehicles that you find in many a museum, though there were more a few surprises in here.

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1931 Chevrolet Palo Alto Fire

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1971 Fiat 500F: Known as project 110, the brief for the Nuova 500 was to create a micro-car that would not only carry on the tradition of the earlier Topolino, but which would also take sales away from the ever popular Lambretta and Vespa scooters of the day. It clearly needed to be smaller than the 600 which had been released with a conventional 4 cylinder engine. Not an easy task, but development started in 1953 and by August 1954, two designs were ready to be shown to Fiat management. They selected one, and serious development began. At first the car was referred to as the 400, as it was going to have a 400cc engine, but it was soon realised that this was just too small, so a larger 500cc air-cooled engine was developed. It was signed off in January 1956, with production starting in March 1957 in advance of a June launch. Fiat’s marketing department got busy, with hundreds of the new car taking to the streets of Turin, each with a pretty girl standing through the open sunroof that was a feature of all the early cars. The press loved it. 50 units were shipped to Britain, where the car made its debut at Brands Hatch, and again the reception was enthusiastic. But the orders just did not come in. Fiat went for a hasty rethink, relaunching the car at the Turin Show later that year. power was increased from 13 to 15 bhp, and the poverty spec was lessened a little, with headlight bezels, brightwork on the side and chrome hubcaps, a Nuova500 badge on the engine cover, winding side windows (the launch cars just had opening quarterlights) and the option of a heater fan. It was enough to get sales moving. The original car was still offered, at a lower price, called the Economy. In the first year of production, 28,452 Fiat 500s were made. Over the next 19 years, the car changed little in overall appearance, but there were a number of updates with more power and equipment added. A 500 Sport was launched in August 1958, with a more powerful version of the 499cc engine. It lost the soft top, having a ridged steel roof, to increase strength of the body. It was only available in grey with a red side flash. The first major changes came in 1960 with the 500D. This looks very similar to the Nuova, but with two key differences. One is the engine size: the D features an uprated 499 cc engine producing 17 bhp as standard, an engine which would be used right through until the end of the L in 1973; and the other is the roof: the standard D roof does not fold back as far as the roof on the Nuova, though it was also available as the “Transformable” with the same roof as the Nuova. The D still featured “suicide doors”. There were larger rear light clusters, more space in the front boot thanks to a redesign of the fuel tank and new indicators under the headlights. A year later, Fiat added a light on the rear-view mirrors and a windscreen washer, but the car still lacked a fuel gauge. Sales increased from 20,900 in 1960 to 87.000 in 1961, 132,000 in 1962 and by 1964, the last year of production, they hit 194,000 units.  The D was replaced in 1965 by the 500F, which finally moved the door hinges from back to the front, owing to changes in Italian safety laws. There was a deeper windscreen and thinner door pillars, which increased the height of the car by 10mm, improving visibility for the driver. The 500F ran through to 1975, from 1968 alongside the more luxurious 500L which was added to the range in 1968. The L is easy to tell apart, with its bumper overriders. The final updates created the 500R, which incorporated many changes from the 126 under the skin of the classic shape, and in this form production continued alongside the newer 126 until 1976.

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1971 Fiat 600D: The Nuova 500’s larger brother was also here, the 600. You don’t see these cars that often, as the model was deleted from the UK range in 1964 when it was replaced by the larger 850. These days the 600 is somewhat overshadowed by the smaller 500, but in its day this was probably the more significant car. Codenamed Progetto 100 (“Project 100”), the Fiat 600 mirrored the layout of the Volkswagen Beetle and Renault 4CV of its era. Aimed at being an economical but capable vehicle, its design parameters stipulated a weight of around 450 kg with the ability to carry 4 people and luggage plus a cruising speed of no less than 85 km/h. A total of 5 prototypes were built between 1952 and 1954, which all differed from one another. Chassis number 000001 with engine number 000002 is believed to be the sole remaining example. It was powered by an innovative single-cam V2-cylinder engine designed to simplify maintenance and did not feature a clutch pedal. At the official launch in 1955, FIAT engineer, Dante Giacosa declared that the aim had been to create something new, both in the interest of progress and simplification. This prototype, however, did not become the chosen design. When the car made it to production, with a launch at the 1955 Geneva Show, it was christened the 600. It had hydraulic drum brakes on all four wheels. Suspension was a unique single double-mounted leafspring—which acts as a stabiliser—between the front wheels coupled to gas-charged shock absorbers, and an independent coil-over-shock absorber setup coupled to semi-trailing arms at the rear. All 600 models had 3-synchro (no synchro on 1st) 4-speed transaxles. Unlike the Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500, the Fiat 600 was water-cooled with an ample cabin heater and, while cooling is generally adequate, for high-power modified versions a front-mounted radiator or oil cooler is needed to complement the rear-mounted radiator. All models of the 600 had generators with mechanical external regulators. The first cars had a 633 cc inline-four cylinder engine which max-ed out at 59 mph. Sales were brisk, as it was just the right size for a market still recovering from the war of the previous decade. A year after its debut, in 1956, a soft-top version was introduced, and it was followed by a six-seater variant—the Fiat 600 Multipla, the very definite precursor of current multi-purpose vehicles. By 1957, assembly started in Spain, where the car would go on to become a legend, and where you can still see large numbers of them certainly at classic car events. Production was also undertaken by Steyr Puch in Austria, and in Yugoslavia and Argentina. The millionth 600 was produced in February 1961, less than six years after the car’s launch, and at the time when the millionth car was produced, the manufacturer reported it was producing the car at the then remarkable rate of 1,000 a day. Italian production ceased in 1969, but the model continued to made in other countries, and a grand total of nearly 3 million examples were eventually made.

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1974 Fiat 850: Following the success of the 500 and 600 models, Fiat introduced a slightly larger and more expensive variant, the 850 in 1964. The regular 2 door saloon was soon joined in the range by other models and they are the ones you see more often these days, not that they are exactly common now. The 850 Coupe, early and later versions of which were to be seen here was seen for the first time at the 1965 Geneva Show. As was generally the case at the time, the body looked completely different from the saloon on which it was based, but underneath it shared the same mechanicals including the the original 843 cc engine producing 47 hp, which gave it a maximum speed of 84 mph. A Spider model was launched at the same time. In order to separate the sportier variants, equipment levels were raised, with both models getting sport seats, a sport steering wheel and round speedometer; The Spider even received a completely rearranged instrument panel. The front drum brakes were replaced with disc brakes, although drum brakes remained on the rear wheels. In 1968, Fiat revised both the Spider and Coupé and gave them a stronger engine with 903 cc and 52 hp. They were called Sport Spider and Sport Coupé. The Sport Spider body stayed essentially the same, but with a restyled front, whereas the Coupe gained twin headlights at the front and a revised tail with a slight lip on the trailing edge of the engine cover. Despite its popularity, the Coupe was the first model to cease production, being deleted in 1971.

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1926 Ford Model T Pickup: The Ford Model T was produced by the Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, which made car travel available to middle-class Americans. The relatively low price was partly the result of Ford’s efficient fabrication, including assembly line production instead of individual handcrafting. It was mainly designed by an American (Childe Harold Wills) and two Hungarian engineers (Joseph A. Galamb, Eugene Farkas). The Model T was colloquially known as the “Tin Lizzie”, “Leaping Lena” or “flivver”. The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroën DS, and Volkswagen Beetle. Ford’s Model T was successful not only because it provided inexpensive transportation on a massive scale, but also because the car signified innovation for the rising middle class and became a powerful symbol of the United States’ age of modernization. With 15 million sold, it was the most sold car in history before being surpassed by the Volkswagen Beetle in 1972, and still stood eighth on the top-ten list, as of 2012.

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1928 Ford Model A Roadster: The Ford Model A was the Ford Motor Company’s second market success after its predecessor, the Model T. First produced on October 20, 1927, but not introduced until December 2, it replaced the venerable Model T, which had been produced for 18 years. This new Model A (a previous model had used the name in 1903–04) was designated a 1928 model and was available in four standard colours. By February 4, 1929, one million Model As had been sold, and by July 24, two million. The range of body styles ran from the Tudor at US$500 (in grey, green, or black) to the Town Car with a dual cowl at US$1200. In March 1930, Model A sales hit three million, and there were nine body styles available. Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to US$1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. The engine was a water-cooled L-head inline four with a displacement of 3.3 litre. This engine provided 40 bhp. Top speed was around 65 mph (105 km/h). The Model A had a 103.5 in (2,630 mm) wheelbase with a final drive ratio of 3.77:1. The transmission was a conventional unsynchronized three-speed sliding gear manual with a single speed reverse. The Model A had four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 1930 and 1931 models were available with stainless steel radiator cowling and headlamp housings. The Model A came in a wide variety of styles including a Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Convertible Cabriolet, Convertible Sedan, Phaeton (Standard and Deluxe), Tudor Sedan (Standard and Deluxe), Town Car, Fordor (five-window standard, three-window deluxe), Victoria, Town Sedan, Station Wagon, Taxicab, Truck, and Commercial. The very rare Special Coupe started production around March 1928 and ended mid-1929. The Model A was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift. Previous Fords used controls that had become uncommon to drivers of other makes. The Model A’s fuel tank was situated in the cowl, between the engine compartment’s fire wall and the dash panel. It had a visual fuel gauge, and the fuel flowed to the carburettor by gravity. A rear-view mirror was optional. In cooler climates, owners could purchase an aftermarket cast iron unit to place over the exhaust manifold to provide heat to the cab. A small door provided adjustment of the amount of hot air entering the cab. The Model A was the first car to have safety glass in the windshield.  Model A production ended in March 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles. Its successor was the Model B, which featured an updated inline four-cylinder engine, as well as the Model 18, which introduced Ford’s new flathead (sidevalve) V8 engine.

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1962 Ford Taunus 17M: The Ford Taunus 17 M is a middle sized family saloon/sedan that was produced by Ford Germany between September 1960 and August 1964. The Taunus 17M name had been applied to the car’s predecessor and it would apply also to subsequent Ford models which is why the 17M introduced in 1960 is usually identified, in retrospect, as the Ford Taunus P3. It was the third newly designed German Ford to be launched after the war and for this reason it was from inception known within the company as Ford Project 3 (P3) or the Ford Taunus P3. Members of the press had apparently competed to find a suitably disrespectful epithet to describe the controversially styled first Taunus 17M, and it was in the same tradition that the new 17M for 1960 became known as the “Badewannetaunus” (Bath tub Taunus). The car received its public launch at the Beethoven Hall in Bonn. Unusually for a car launch, both the by now 84-year-old German chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, and the grandson of the firm’s founder, Henry Ford, were present. In addition to the latest Ford Taunus, they were celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Ford’s Cologne plant. It had been on 2 October 1930 that Henry Ford and the then mayor of nearby Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, had laid the foundation stone for the Cologne Ford Plant. The first post-war Taunus models had been designed in North America. The Taunus P3 was designed by Uwe Bahnsen, a German born designer who would dominate car design at Ford of Germany for nearly thirty years and whose subsequent designs included the 1969 Ford Capri and its successors. Towards the end of his time in charge of design with Ford of Germany, Bahnsen also led the teams that designed the Fords Sierra and Scorpio. In the context of 1960 the Taunus P3 can nevertheless be seen as Bahnsen’s most innovative design for a production car. The 1960 Taunus design featured a recurring geometrical shape. The rear panel and the side panels respected the same basic shape as did the front grill, subject to two large cut-outs for the headlights. The same shape was carried over to the interior of the car where the main dials and controls on the dash-board were surrounded by a thick frame in that oval shape. The repetitious use of a single simple shape at different levels of the design gave the overall car a consistent visual unity which was in stark contrast to the high finned flamboyance of the previous Taunus 17M and was seen at the time as a radical switch by Ford of Germany away from American styling in favour of European styling. There were no tails fins and there was very little decorative chrome included. The efficiency of its superficially much more simple design enabled Ford to boast that the 1960 car, despite being fractionally narrowed on the outside, offered usefully more interior width than the car it replaced. It was and remains the “Badewanne” (bathtub) soubriquet that caught the eye of the press reporters, and it is as the “Badewannetaunus” that the car continues to be remembered by enthusiasts. The P3 and the 1961 Citroën Ami were the first cars with rectangular or lozenge-shaped (non-round) headlights. This technical innovation was developed by lighting manufacturers Hella (Taunus) and Cibie (Ami). At the time, it was an unquestioned article of faith that headlights were round, and in the United States, it was the law, so these new headlights were illegal there. Ten years later this had inspired European automakers to come up with various non-round headlamp shapes, though many had by 1970 settled on a standardised shared rectangular shape. Most of the cars were sold as two- or four-door sedans/saloons. A three-door “Turnier” station wagon was also available. The confident determination of the car’s designers’ to celebrate the new decade with something new and different was reflected in the unusual positioning of the rear lights on the early station wagons, on the leading edge at the back of the roof of the car, as two red horizontal units lined up directly above the tailgate. Later P3 Turniers had their rear lights more conventionally positioned. The P3 also followed the tradition of its predecessor in that coach built two-door cabriolets and coupes were offered, converted by a traditional Cologne based body builder called Karl Deutsch However, these special bodied cars appear to have been relatively expensive, and only about 150 were produced. The cars were offered with an unusually broad choice of colour and interior trim options. The early 1960s were a period of rapid expansion for the west European auto-industry, and export markets for the new 17M included Greece and Australia where several cars were converted locally into “pickups” or, in Australian English, “utes”. The 17M was also assembled in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in right hand drive. The cars were all branded as Ford Taunus 17Ms which might have led observers who thought they had understood Ford Germany’s naming conventions to conclude that the cars all came with 1.7 litre engines. In fact, there were three different engine sizes offered, being the 1498 cc unit first seen in the Taunus 15M of 1954, the 1698 cc unit originally introduced in 1957 to cope with the weight of the first Ford Taunus 17M and, from September 1961, a new larger 1757 cc engine. Power outputs initially ranged from 55 PS to 60 PS, and these engine versions remained available throughout the model’s four-year life, but several more powerful engines featuring raised compression ratios in response to the increased availability of higher octane fuels appeared during the four-year period: by 1964 the most powerful Ford 17M offered 75 PS. In Sweden, the more powerful version first available in 1962 was sold as the “Taunus Sport”, with the inclusion of a more lavish interior. Approximately 50% of the cars built were delivered with the smallest of the three engines, the 1498 cc unit. The engines were all petrol powered four-cylinder inline four-stroke water-cooled units. Changing gear involved a column-mounted gear change, which by now was becoming increasingly mainstream in Germany. It was possible to specify a “Saxomat” automatic clutch with the three-speed transmission,: drivers content to accept a fully manual gear change system could also specify a four-speed gear box. There were several important technical innovations during the four-year model run which no doubt go some way to explain the car’s commercial success when compared to that achieved by its predecessor, and will have strengthened the Ford image in a market which had grown used to seeing Ford sales trailing those of General Motors’ Opel business. In April 1962 the 17M became the first mainstream production car in Germany to offer, as an option, disc brakes on the front wheels. Just over a year later front disc brakes became a standard fitting on all models. 1962 was also the year when the car acquired an “automatic starter” which reportedly made the traditional manual choke unnecessary. Options available at extra cost included velour carpeting, grab handles for the passengers in the back, whitewall tires, a two tone paint finish and even a “make-up mirror” cleverly incorporated into the sun-visor on the passenger’s side.  Most of the cars produced were sedans/saloons, but the total of 669,731 also included 86,010 estate/kombi (Taunus 17M Turnier) bodied cars and (evidently not included in these data) approximately 15,000 other vehicles including pick-up truck conversions for customers in Greece and South Africa along with cabriolets and coupés, converted from sedans/saloons by the Cologne based coach-builder Karl Deutsch. Steel bodied station wagon equivalent models based on mainstream sedans were rapidly gaining in popularity. Giving the Taunus 17M station wagon a special name, “Turnier”, intended to be unique to the Ford brand also showed the Ford marketing department ahead of the German owned competition. The Opel Rekord station wagon had already been dubbed by Opel a “CarAVan” in 1958, but market leaders Volkswagen would not find their equivalent label until the launch of the Volkswagen 1500 Variant in 1962. The boldly styled and regularly upgraded Taunus P3 was a commercial success. 669,731 were produced. The figure includes 86,010 station wagons. In the sales statistics for several months of 1961/62 the success of the model even enabled Ford briefly to overtake Opel on the German market, becoming the second best selling auto-brand, beaten to the top spot only by Volkswagen. The Taunus P3 was replaced by the Ford Taunus P5 which would come with a wider range of engines and which would sell at approximately the same rate. However, the overall market size was growing through the 1960s, and with it grew the sales of the Opel Rekord. After the Taunus P3 no future Taunus model would come close to challenging Opel’s dominance of the large lucrative middle-market portion of the German auto-market.

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1984 GAZ 14 Tschaika: The GAZ-14 Chaika is an automobile manufactured by the Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (GAZ, Gorky Automobile Plant) from 1977 to 1988 as a generation of its Chaika marque. The vintage 1950s-style GAZ-13 was succeeded by the more modern GAZ-14 Chaika introduced in 1977 (although production of both versions overlapped by several years). Although visually modern and fitted with the latest electronic luxury features, the GAZ-14 was in fact built around the drivetrain and undercarriage of the older model. The GAZ-14 engine was a modernized 5,526 cc equipped with twin four-barrel carburettors and achieved 220 PS SAE gross. A seven-seater, with special soundproofing, it measured 611 cm (241 in) long overall and weighed in at 2,600 kg (5,732 lb). A four-door convertible, the 14-05, appeared in 1982. The GAZ-14 Chaika remained in production from 14 October 1977 to 1988, when the Chaika limousine brand was discontinued. Around a hundred GAZ-14 were built each year, with total production (including units assembled in 1989 from spare parts) reaching 1,114. On orders from Mikhail Gorbachev, the blueprints and tooling were destroyed as part of his “fighting privileges” campaign under perestroika.

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1926 Gardner Sports Coupe

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1998 Honda CR-V Cabriolet: Conceived as a design exercise in the late ’80s, just as the crossover market was about to explode on U.S. soil, this soft top CR-V was a show pony that highlighted what was possible by aftermarket engineering firm Valmet, who’ve worked closely with multiple manufacturers throughout the years in order to design and produce convertible conversions. Honda’s CR-V is a staple of one of the most popular vehicle segments, the 1997 original having helped start the compact crossover craze back in the late 1990s alongside the Toyota RAV4. It’s familiar, even a little boring—a practical conveyance that might as well be wearing slacks and a dress shirt buttoned all the way up. Well, except for that one time in 1998 . . . when the CR-V really let it all hang out with a one-off convertible model. That’s right, there was a Honda CR-V convertible. It’s not the craziest thing to conceive—at least not at the time. Remember, Toyota was gearing up to sell a two-door, convertible RAV4 around then. The CR-V was a bit weirder, being as it was built from a first-generation four-door CR-V. Only one appears to have been made, as a show car for the 1998 Geneva Motor Show by engineering house Valmet. The topless Honda SUV was Valmet’s way of demonstrating its prowess at designing and building convertible top systems. Over the past forty years, the firm has been responsible for building both the Saab 900 convertible and the Porsche Boxster. For a show car, the CR-V convertible’s top system seems to have been remarkably well-engineered. Top up, the roof keeps much of its original shape (save for the wraparound, triangular rear window, which apes that of a contemporary Mercedes-Benz A-class). But, at the touch of a button, the entire forward section of the fabric roof folds backwards, eventually settling atop what was the cargo area in a bustle-butt arrangement similar to the classic VW Beetle. Yes, dropping the top would transform that vast expanse of space into a meager trunk, but with the top up, the CR-V convertible wouldn’t necessarily lose any practicality. By opening the tailgate and unzipping the upper window, the ‘vert offered just as much cargo room (and access) as its hard top siblings. Valmet added a padded roll bar over the rear seats and fitted a strange half-cover for the external spare tire that resembled a “Continental” kit on baroque malaise-era American luxury cars. It also found space for taillights on the Honda’s rear quarter panels. The regular CR-V, remember, located its taillights high up, on the roof pillars, leaving the bodywork around the tailgate empty—without a roof, however, those taillights needed a new home. Sadly, it was an idea that never came to fruition. The market for convertible compact SUVs whose names didn’t rhyme with “Beep Tangler” tanked soon after (Toyota stopped selling its ragtop RAV4 in 2000, and Kia’s Sportage convertible lived a similarly brief life), and Honda expressed no interest in furthering the concept. That’s a pity; for as engaging as early CR-Vs may have been, a convertible model could have been much more fun in the sun.

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1961 Jaguar E Type Coupe and Drophead and 1967 Jaguar E type Coupe 4.2: The Series 1 E Type was introduced, initially for export only, in March 1961. The domestic market launch came four months later in July 1961. The cars at this time used the triple SU carburetted 3.8-litre six-cylinder Jaguar XK6 engine from the XK150S. Earlier built cars utilised external bonnet latches which required a tool to open and had a flat floor design. These cars are rare and more valuable. After that, the floors were dished to provide more leg room and the twin bonnet latches moved to inside the car. The 3.8-litre engine was increased to 4,235 cc in October 1964. The 4.2-litre engine produced the same power as the 3.8-litre (265 bhp) and same top speed (150 mph), but increased torque approximately 10% from 240 to 283 lb/ft. Acceleration remained pretty much the same and 0 to 60 mph times were around 6.4 seconds for both engines, but maximum power was now reached at 5,400 rpm instead of 5,500 rpm on the 3.8-litre. That all meant better throttle response for drivers that did not want to shift down gears. The 4.2-litre’s block was completely redesigned, made longer to accommodate 5 mm (0.20 in) larger bores, and the crankshaft modified to use newer bearings. Other engine upgrades included a new alternator/generator and an electric cooling fan for the radiator. Autocar road tested a UK spec E-Type 4.2 fixed head coupé in May 1965. The maximum speed was 153 mph, the 0–60 mph time was 7.6 seconds and the 1⁄4 mile from a standing start took 15.1 seconds. They summarised it as “In its 4.2 guise the E-Type is a fast car (the fastest we have ever tested) and offers just about the easiest way to travel quickly by road.”. Motor magazine road tested a UK spec E-Type 4.2 fixed head coupé in Oct 1964. The maximum speed was 150 mph, the 0–60 mph time was 7 seconds and the 1⁄4 mile time was 14.9 seconds. They summarised it as “The new 4.2 supersedes the early 3.8 as the fastest car Motor has tested. The absurd ease which 100 mph can be exceeded in a 1⁄4 mile never failed to astonish. 3,000 miles (4,828 km) of testing confirms that this is still one of the world’s outstanding cars”. All E-Types featured independent coil spring rear suspension designed and developed by R J Knight with torsion bar front ends, and four wheel disc brakes, in-board at the rear, all were power-assisted. The Coventry engineers spared nothing with regards to high automotive technology in braking. Like several British car builders of the middle and late 1950s, the four-wheel disc brakes were also used in that era by Austin-Healey, MG,putting the British far ahead of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. Even Lanchester tried an abortive attempt to use copper disc brakes in 1902. Jaguar was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to equip production cars with 4 wheel disc brakes as standard from the XK150 in 1958. The Series 1 (except for late 1967 models) can be recognised by glass-covered headlights (up to 1967), small “mouth” opening at the front, signal lights and tail-lights above bumpers and exhaust tips under the number plate in the rear. 3.8-litre cars have leather-upholstered bucket seats, an aluminium-trimmed centre instrument panel and console (changed to vinyl and leather in 1963), and a Moss four-speed gearbox that lacks synchromesh for first gear (“Moss box”) on all except very last cars. 4.2-litre cars have more comfortable seats, improved brakes and electrical systems, and, obviously, an all-synchromesh Jaguar designed four-speed gearbox. 4.2-litre cars also have a badge on the boot proclaiming “Jaguar 4.2 Litre E-Type” (3.8 cars have a simple “Jaguar” badge). Optional extras included chrome spoked wheels and a detachable hard top for the OTS. When leaving the factory the car was originally fitted with Dunlop 6.40 × 15-inch RS5 tyres on 15 × 5K wire wheels (with the rear fitting 15 × 5K½ wheels supplied with 6.50 X15 Dunlop Racing R5 tyres in mind of competition). Later Series One cars were fitted with Dunlop 185 – 15 SP41 or 185 VR 15 Pirelli Cinturato as radial ply tyres. A 2+2 version of the fastback coupé was added in 1966. The 2+2 offered the option of an automatic transmission. The body is 9 in (229 mm) longer and the roof angles are different. The roadster and the non 2+2 FHC (Fixed Head Coupé) remained as two-seaters. Less widely known, right at the end of Series 1 production, but prior to the transitional “Series 1½” referred to below, a small number of Series 1 cars were produced with open headlights. These Series 1 cars had their headlights modified by removing the covers and altering the scoops they sit in, but these Series 1 headlights differ in several respects from those later used in the Series 1½ (or 1.5), the main being they are shorter at 143 mm from the Series 1½ at 160 mm. Production dates on these machines vary but in right-hand drive form production has been verified as late as July 1968. They are not “rare” in the sense of the build of the twelve lightweights, but they are certainly uncommon; they were not produced until January 1967 and given the foregoing information that they were produced as late as July 1968, it appears that there must have been an overlap with the Series 1.5 production, which began in August 1967 as model year 1968 models. These calendar year/model year Series 1 E-Types are identical to other 4.2-litre Series 1 examples in every respect except for the open headlights; all other component areas, including the exterior, the interior, and the engine compartment are the same, with the same three SU carburettors, polished aluminium cam covers, center dash toggle switches, etc. Following the Series 1 there was a transitional series of cars built in 1967–68 as model year 1968 cars, unofficially called “Series 1½.” Due to American pressure the new features were not just open headlights, but also different switches (black rocker switches as opposed to the Series 1 toggle switches), de-tuning for emissions (using two Zenith-Stromberg carburettors instead of the original three SUs) for US models, ribbed cam covers painted black except for the top brushed aluminium ribbing, bonnet frames on the OTS that have two bows, and other changes. Series 1½ cars also have twin cooling fans and adjustable seat backs. The biggest change between 1961–1967 Series 1 E-Types and the 1968 Series 1.5 was the reduction in the number of carburettors from 3 to just 2 (North America), resulting in a loss in horsepower. Series 2 features were gradually introduced into the Series 1, creating the unofficial Series 1½ cars, but always with the Series 1 body style. A United States federal safety law affecting 1968 model year cars sold in the US was the reason for the lack of headlight covers and change in dash switch design in the “Series 1.5” of 1968. An often overlooked change, one that is often “modified back” to the older style, is the wheel knock-off “nut.” US safety law for 1968 models also forbade the winged-spinner knockoff, and any 1968 model year sold in the US (or earlier German delivery cars) should have a hexagonal knockoff nut, to be hammered on and off with the assistance of a special “socket” included with the car from the factory. This hexagonal nut carried on into the later Series 2 and 3. The engine configuration of the US Series 1.5s was the same as is found in the Series 2. An open 3.8-litre car, actually the first such production car to be completed, was tested by the British magazine Motor in 1961 and had a top speed of 149.1 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.3 mpg was recorded. The test car cost £2,097 including taxes.The cars submitted for road test by the motoring journals of the time (1961) such as Motor, Autocar and Autosport magazines were prepared by the Jaguar works. This work entailed engine balancing and subtle tuning work such as gas-flowing checking the cylinder heads but otherwise production built engines. Both of the well-known 1961 road test cars: the E-Type coupé Reg. No. 9600 HP and E-Type Convertible Reg. No. 77 RW, were fitted with Dunlop Racing Tyres on test, which had a larger rolling diameter and lower drag coefficient. This goes some way to explaining the 150 mph (240 km/h) maximum speeds that were obtained under ideal test conditions. The maximum safe rev limit for standard 6-cylinder 3.8-litre E-Type engines is 5,500 rpm. The later 4.2-Litre units had a red marking on the rev counter from just 5,000 rpm. Both 3.8 test cars may have approached 6,000 rpm in top gear when on road test, depending on final drive ratio. Production numbers were as follows:  15,490 of the 3.8s, 17,320 of the 4.2s and 10,930 of the 2+2s. And by body style there were 15,442 of the FHC, 17,378 of the OTS and 5,500 of the 2+2, making a total of 38,419 of the Series 1 car.

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Jaguar XJ-S: Successor to the E Type was the XJ-S, launched in September 1975, and to a not universally approving public. This was a very different sort of sporting Jaguar, more boulevard cruiser than sports car, even though the car had plenty of appeal with its smooth V12 engine which gave it genuine 150 mph performance. Press reports were favourable, but a thirsty V12 and a car with inconsistent build quality and styling that not everyone warmed to meant that sales were slow, and they got slower as the decade passed, leading questions to be asked as to whether the car should continue. As well as sorting the saloon models, Jaguar’s Chairman, John Egan, put in place a program to improve the XJ-S as well, which also benefitted from the HE engine in early 1981. A Cabrio model and the option of the new 3.6 litre 6 cylinder engine from 1984 widened the sales appeal, and the volumes of cars being bought started to go up. A fully open Convertible, launched in 1988 was the model many had been waiting for, and by this time, although the design was over 10 years old, it was now brimming with appeal to many. 1991 saw an extensive facelift which changed the styling details as well as incorporating the latest mechanical changes from the Jaguar parts bin, making the XJS (the hyphen had been dropped from the name in 1990) a truly desirable car. Seen here were both pre- and post-facelift models as well as one of the rare TWR-converted XJR-S cars. These were made between 1988 and 1993 by the newly formed JaguarSport, a separate company owned in a ratio of 50:50 by Jaguar and TWR Group Limited specialising in developing high performance Jaguar sports cars. The car had a distinctive body kit, special alloy wheels, a unique suspension system utilising modified coil springs and Bilstein shocks, a luxurious interior with Connolly Autolux leather along with walnut wood trim, and handling improvements. The first 100 of these cars were named “Celebration Le Mans” to commemorate Jaguar’s 1988 win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and were only sold in the UK. Between 1988 and 1989, a total of 326 XJR-S cars were produced with the 5.3 litres engine with a power output of 318 bhp. After September 1989, the displacement of the engine was increased to 5,993 cc and it was now equipped with Zytek fuel injection and engine management system. This was different from the standard 6.0-litre engine used in the late XJS models and was unique to this model. The power output was raised to 334 bhp at 5,250 rpm and 495 Nm (365 lb/ft) of torque at 3,650 rpm due to a higher compression ratio of 11.0:1, a new forgedsteel crankshaft, increased bore and forged alloy pistons. A modified air intake system and a low loss dual exhaust system was also standard on the model. The engine was mated to the 3-speed GM400 automatic transmission utilising a recalibrated valve body and had faster shift times. The car was equipped with Dunlop D40 M2 tyres for better grip. These modifications resulted in a top speed of 260 km/h (160 mph). A total of 787 coupés and 50 convertible XJR-S were built for the world market.

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1907 Maxwell Tourabout: In 1908, the Maxwell was the 3rd best-selling car, behind Buick and Ford. This car sold new for $825.00, with the top and Roll-down Storm-front another $70.00. The car does not have an oil pump, water pump or fuel pump, it does not have a generator or starter and has no clutch. The 1908 Maxwell was one of the first cars to have an all-metal body. The car runs about 35 miles per hour – has a 1-quart oil tank and an 8-gallon gas tank, which will get about 100 miles.

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1931 Maybach Zeppelin DS8: The Maybach Zeppelin was the Maybach company’s Repräsentationswagen model from 1929 to 1939. Named for the company’s famous production of Zeppelin engines prior to and during World War I, it was an enormous luxury vehicle which weighed approximately 3,000 kg (6,600 lb). This weight was so great that German drivers required an additional goods vehicle licence for vehicles over 2½ tons. Along with the Voisin, and behind the Daimler Double Six, this was Europe’s joint second luxury V12 car in production. Supplementing the DS7 from 1930 was the DS8 (Doppelganger). It sported an 8.0 L (7978 cc) V12 which made 200 bhp at a fairly low 3200 rpm, putting the DS8 among the most powerful production cars in the world at the time. Depending on the weight of the coachwork, a top speed of 171 km/h (106 mph) was possible. In August 2012, a 1938 DS8 Roadster sold for €1.3 million at auction, fitted with a rare Variorex eight-speed gearbox (both the first 8-speed and first 8-speed manual gearbox) with a vacuum shift and is thought to be one of only 100 built.

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1962 Messerschmitt KR200: The Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter), is a three-wheeled bubble car designed by the aircraft engineer Fritz Fend and produced in the factory of the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt from 1955 until 1964. Messerschmitt, temporarily not allowed to manufacture aircraft, had turned its resources to making other products. In 1952, Fend approached Messerschmitt with the idea of manufacturing small motor vehicles. These were based on his Fend Flitzer invalid carriage. The first of Fend’s vehicles to enter production at Messerschmitt’s Regensburg factory was the KR175. The title Kabinenroller means “scooter with cabin”. While the Messerschmitt name and insignia were used on the car, a separate company, incorporated as Regensburger Stahl- und Metallbau GmbH, was created to manufacture and market the vehicle. The KR200 replaced the KR175 in 1955. While using the same basic frame as the KR175 with changes to the bodywork (notably including wheel cutouts in the front fenders) and an improved canopy design, the KR200 was otherwise an almost total redesign. The rear suspension and engine mounting were reworked, and hydraulic shock absorbers were installed at all three wheels. Tire sizes were enlarged to 4.00×8. Retailing for around DM 2,500, the KR200 was considered an instant success with almost 12,000 built during its first year, which was the highest annual production for Kabinenroller models. A maximum speed in excess of 90 km/h (56 mph) despite a claimed power output of only 10 PS, 1 more PS than the 175 cc engine from the KR175, reflected the vehicle’s light weight and low aerodynamic drag. The KR200, however, was 23 kg heavier than the KR175 it replaced but had a 10 km/h (6 mph) higher top speed. An “Export” package included a two-tone paint scheme, painted hubcaps, a fully trimmed interior, a heater, a clock, and a sunshade for the canopy. In 1956, around a year after West Germany joined NATO, Messerschmitt was allowed to manufacture aircraft again and lost interest in Fend’s microcars. Messerschmitt sold the Regensburg works to Fend who, with brake and hub supplier Valentin Knott [de], formed Fahrzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH Regensburg (FMR) to continue production of the KR200 and his other vehicles. In 1957 the KR201 Roadster was launched and remained in production until 1964 with very limited numbers produced. It had a frameless windscreen with no window frames, an optional folding cloth roof and removable side curtains made from transparent plastic. In February 1958, the KR200 Kabrio Limousine model was released, featuring a cloth convertible top and fixed side window frames. A Sport model was later offered with a cut down plexiglas windscreen with no roof and with fixed side panels so that the driver would have to climb in and out at the top of the car. Production of the Sport was extremely limited and, apart from the KR200 ‘Super’ it is the rarest type of KR200. Production of the KR200 was heavily reduced in 1962 and ceased in 1964 as sales had been dropping for a few years. The demand for basic economical transport in Germany had diminished as the German economy boomed. A similar situation developed in other parts of Europe such as in the manufacturer’s biggest export destination, the United Kingdom, where sales were particularly affected by the increasing popularity of the Mini. A total of 30,286 units of the KR200 were built.

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1965 Opel Kadett A: The Opel Kadett was reintroduced by Opel in 1962, with deliveries beginning on 2 October, a little more than 22 years after the original model was discontinued in May 1940. Like the original Kadett, the new car (designated the “Kadett A”) was a small family car, although it was now available in 2-door saloon, 3-door Car-A-Van (estate) and coupé versions. In 1957 Opel Product Director Karl Stief was mandated by General Motors headquarters in Detroit to develop “the perfect Anti-Volkswagen” (“einen perfekten Anti-VW”). The development team was headed up by Stief, supported by Hans Mersheimer (car-body) and Werner K. Strobel (engine and running gear), under conditions of such secrecy that even now very little is known of the development history of the 1962 Kadett. It has been alleged that GM was trying to conceal a new technique of platform and design sharing between Opel and its British sister company Vauxhall, which released the strikingly similar Viva HA in 1963, a year after Opel introduced the Kadett. The two cars were later revealed to have shared the same wheelbase, floorpan and elements of their inner body structure, suggesting that the allegation was indeed true. Over the subsequent two decades Opel and Vauxhall’s ranges would rapidly converge as Vauxhall’s design independence from Opel was eroded to the point where by 1985, Vauxhall’s car range entirely consisted of rebadged Opel models. Opel had been Germany’s largest auto-producer in the 1930s, and in Wolfsburg the producers of the Kadett’s principal target did not disguise their concern at the prospect of Opel’s return to small car production. At the Volkswagen annual general meeting a few months before the launch of the Kadett, Volkswagen chairman Heinrich Nordhoff (who himself had been a senior manager with Opel in the 1930s and 1940s) went on record with a warning to shareholders that Opel (along with Ford Germany) were backed by a level of financial muscle on a scale unimaginable to any German company, and that it seemed that the two American transplants were now determined to use their financial strength to make aggressive inroads into the German auto-market at any price. A mark of General Motors’ confidence in their plans for the small car sector, and something that the Opel Kadett and the Vauxhall Viva had in common, was that the manufacturer built for each new model a completely new car plant in a region characterized by relatively high unemployment and the availability of a skilled workforce, but with no strong tradition of volume auto-making. The Vauxhall Viva was the first car built at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant while the Kadett A was the first product of Opel’s new purpose-built Bochum plant. Ellesmere Port and Bochum would effectively become sister plants, producing subsequent generations of Kadett as well as their Vauxhall badged sisters (the Chevette and Astra) for the next fifty years. The car later became known as the Kadett A. In addition to the standard saloon, from March 1963, the manufacturer offered an L (luxury model) and an estate (branded as the “Opel Kadett Car-A-Van”). In October 1963 Opel introduced a coupé version of the Kadett with which buyers could enjoy enhanced style at the expense of rear seat headroom. The new four-cylinder, oversquare one-litre water-cooled Opel OHV engine weighed only 96 kg and was the first all-new engine developed by Opel since before the war. The side-mounted camshaft was driven not through gear-cogs but using a single chain with a hydraulic tensioner, the valve train employing rocker-arms and light-weight hollow rods. The arrangement was low on weight and on friction, permitting engine speeds above 6,000 rpm. The pistons were formed from an aluminium-alloy and incorporated a bimetal expansion strip to ensure uniform thermal expansion. The three-bearing forged crankshaft was of more traditional construction. The carefully designed aluminium inlet manifold provided for efficient feed of the fuel-mixture to the cylinders and helped provide the engine with good fuel economy characteristics. The engine came with a choice from two power levels. For the standard 10N engine maximum output was listed as 40 PS at 5,000 rpm, and in October 1963 the high compression “1.0 S-Motor” (10S) was added, sharing the 993 cc capacity of the original power unit, but offering a maximum 48 PS of power at 5,400 rpm. The more powerful 10S engine also featured modifications to the inlet manifold, cylinders and camshaft along with a carburetor employing larger 36 mm (1.4 in) diameter than the 30 mm (1.2 in) used on the standard engine. This came with an 8.8:1 compression ratio whereas the 40 PS engine used a compression ratio of only 7.8:1. Higher compression ratios for performance versions of standard engines were a growing trend in West Germany in the 1960s, led by Opel and Ford, and made possible by the growing availability of higher octane “Super” grade fuel at filling stations. The care taken over the detailed design of the new engine was rewarded with a power unit which earned widespread respect in the industry and, at least with the Kadett A, tended to outlive the rest of the car in which it was fitted. In later incarnations both the 1.0 litre unit and an enlarged 1.2 litre version were still used in small Opels, including the first Opel Corsa (and Vauxhall Nova) well into the 1990s. Power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a single dry-plate clutch and a four-speed all-synchromesh gear box, controlled using a conventional floor mount gear lever. There were 200 mm (7.9 in) brake drums on all four wheels: braking operated via a single circuit hydraulic system. The Kadett featured a more modern design than the Volkswagen Beetle that then dominated the market for small family cars in West Germany and various surrounding countries. The Kadett offered more passenger space, more luggage capacity, and better visibility for the driver. Its water-cooled engine provided effective heating for the passenger compartment. However, by the mid-1970s the Kadett’s weakness was already apparent as the car’s bodywork was not well protected from corrosion. In addition to its West German home market, the Kadett A sold strongly in what were becoming the manufacturer’s traditional export strongholds (notably in Benelux, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland). Between February 1964 and the Autumn/Fall of 1965 the cars were also exported to the United States where they were sold through approximately 500 Buick dealers (Opels were not sold in Canada which instead received Vauxhall models to take advantage of Commonwealth tariff preferences). The same 993 cc engine was fitted and it is not clear whether it was differently tuned for America: horsepower ratings were differently computed in the US, following locally devised “SAE” rules: for American market purposes the maximum outputs for the engines were quoted as 46 bhp and 54 bhp. A total of 649,512 Kadett “A”s were built at the company’s new Bochum factory by the time it was replaced by the Kadett “B” in July 1965. 126,616 of the cars produced were Car-A-Van bodied estate models, while the remaining 522,896 comprised a small number of coupés and approximately half a million sedans/saloons.

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Opel Kadett B: The Opel Kadett B was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in late summer 1965. The Kadett B was larger all-round than the Kadett A: 5% longer both overall and in terms of the wheelbase, 7% wider and 9% heavier (unladen weight), albeit 10 mm (0.39 in) lower in basic standard “Limousine” (sedan/saloon) form. Production ended in July 1973, with the successor model introduced a month later following the summer shut-down, in August. Unlike its predecessor, it had no relationship with the Vauxhall Viva, which had moved to its own platform for its corresponding second generation. Opel had built a reputation for providing stylish cars, and the simple well balanced proportions of the recently introduced Opel Rekord Series A had continued the tradition. The unapologetic slab-sided functionalism of the Kadett B disappointed some commentators. However, customers were not deterred, possibly because the simple car body enabled the car to provide an aggressively priced practical and modern car with far more interior space than the Volkswagen which hitherto had dominated the German small car market without serious challenge for more than a decade. The range of bodies was widened with the Kadett B. The entry level model, priced in September 1965 at 5,175 Marks, was the two-door “Limousine” (sedan/saloon). In addition, for the first time since 1940, it was again possible to buy a four-door Kadett “Limousine”. In September 1967 a fast back “Limousine” model, designated as the “Kadett LS” and offered with two or four doors, joined the range. A three-door “Car-A-Van” (kombi/estate/station wagon) was offered from the 1965 launch, with a five-door “Car-A-Van” added to the range in 1967. Opel also offered a two-door Kadett coupé with reduced headroom for the passengers in the rear. The coupé body introduced in 1965 included a thick C-pillar with reduced side-windows between the C-pillar and the B-pillar. The thick C-pillar incorporated three prominent air extractor slots reminiscent of the gills on a fish, as a result of which this coupé acquired the soubriquet “Kiemencoupé” (gills coupé). A coupé body with larger side windows for the passengers in the back appeared in 1967 identified as the “Coupé F”, initially only on the more lavishly equipped cars, but from 1971 all Kadett B coupés used the newer body. The newer Coupé, with an increased quantity of glass, was slightly heavier than the “gills-coupé” as well as being less aerodynamically efficient, leading to a small reduction in claimed top speed. At launch, and for the next two years till September 1967, all Kadett Bs were fitted with an OHV four-cylinder “over-square” water-cooled engine. The unit followed the architecture of the 993 cc engine first seen in the 1962 Kadett A, from which it was a development. Both engines featured a 61 mm (2.4 in) cylinder stroke, but for the engine in the Kadett B, generally referred to as a 1.1-litre or 1,100 cc unit, the bore was increased by 3 to 75 mm (0.12 to 2.95 in), which made it even more over-square and resulted in a capacity increase to 1,078 cc. There were as before two levels of power: stated output for the standard engine was 45 PS at 5,000 rpm, while the “high-compression” engine, listed as the “1100 S” motor, produced 55 PS at 5,400 rpm. Both engine versions were fitted with a Solex 35 PDSI carburetor, but the higher compression ratio on the 55 PS unit necessitated the use of higher octane “super grade” fuel. There was also a “low-compression” 40 PS version of this engine used for certain export markets outside western Europe where available fuel came with a significantly lower octane rating than was normal for “regular” grade fuel in Germany. In September 1967, as part of a larger proliferation of engine and trim options, a more powerful version of the 1,078 cc engine became available, listed as the “1100 SR” motor, fitted with two Solex 35 PDSI carburettors and providing a maximum output of 60 PS at 5,200 rpm. The compression ratio was further raised, now to 9.2:1 and fitting the 60 PS unit raised the claimed top speed to 140 km/h (87 mph) as against 125 and 135 km/h (78 and 84 mph) for the 45 and 55 PS powered Kadetts. However, the early 1970s saw increasing awareness of the dangers to health arising from lead being added to road fuel, and the oil companies responded to the resulting political and regulatory pressures by reducing both the levels of lead in fuel and the availability at filling stations of higher octane petrol/gasoline. High-compression versions of the Opel 1,078 cc engine were therefore withdrawn from August 1971, leaving just a 50 PS unit which used the 7.8:1 compression ratio that had been used in the base version back in 1965, delivering a reduced torque (presumably as art of a tradeoff against higher power output). Between August 1971 and July 1973 the niche hitherto occupied by the higher-compression 1,078 cc units was filled by a newly bored out 1,196 cc version of what was, in other respects, the engine much as before. By the time the Kadett B was replaced in 1973 there had been no fewer than six differently sized engines available for it from Opel: by far the most popular was the 1,078 cc motor that powered 89% (2.3 million of 2.6 million) of the Kadett Bs produced. The 1.2-litre unit that, in the Kadett B, replaced in August 1971 the higher-compression versions of the 1.1-litre motor was listed as the “1200 S” motor. It retained the 61 mm (2.4 in) cylinder stroke of the original version of this engine, but the cylinder bore was further increased, giving an overall engine capacity of 1,196 cc and maximum output of 60 PS at 5,400 rpm. Only 95,000 Kadett Bs were fitted with the 1.2-litre engine which nevertheless went on to power successor Kadett and Corsa models until 1993. In the shorter term, in March 1972 this became the entry level power unit for base level versions of the recently introduced Opel Ascona and Manta models. In 1972 and 1973 Opel produced 10,000 Kadett Bs powered by the 993 cc original version of the engine that ten years earlier had powered the Kadett A. Maximum output, as previously, was 40 or 48 PS according to the compression ratio selected. This engine was not fitted in cars destined for the domestic market, but was used for cars sold in export markets, primarily Italy, where annual car tax rates increased very considerably for cars fitted with engines of above 1.0 litre. Kadetts assembled in South Africa received a 997 cc Vauxhall engine and transmission. From circa 1966, General Motors South Africa built the Kadett B locally. However, to meet local parts content rules it was fitted with Vauxhall’s 1159 cc inline-four as also seen in the Viva. This engine offered 56.2 or 67 bhp in a high output version. These local variants were also sold in South-West Africa (today’s Namibia). From the second half of 1968, the four-door Car-A-Van model was added, alongside the updates to the rear suspension. In 1967 Ford added a 1.7-litre version to their Ford 12M/15M range. Both the Kadett and the Ford by now took up more road space than a typical European 1.1-litre small family sedan, and in September 1967 Opel added a 1,698 cc engine to the Kadett’s range of available power units. A suitable unit already existed, having been fitted in the Opel Rekord since 1965. The engine in question had been the manufacturer’s second all-new engine design since the war, although much of its underlying philosophy came from General Motors developments in Detroit and from experience with the new engine developed for the Kadett A earlier in the 1960s. Opel’s so-called Camshaft in Head (CIH) engine followed the trends of the time in replacing side-valves with an overhead valvegear configuration, which was no doubt facilitated by the over-square architecture of the cylinder block: the engine also carried its camshaft directly above the cylinders. However, instead of operating directly on the cylinder valves, the camshaft still operated the valves using rods and rocker arms because, unusually (except within General Motors) the camshaft itself was positioned too low above the cylinders to permit direct action from the camshaft on the valves. One reason for this may have been cosmetic. Opel’s CIH engine configuration enabled a succession of Opels to feature the low bonnet/hood lines that style-conscious product development departments favoured. As on the smaller Kadett engines with their side-mounted camshafts, the “in head” camshaft on the Opel CIH engine was chain driven, a weight-saving option which reduced lumpiness and friction at higher engine speeds when compared with the gear-cogs which had been used to drive camshafts in the previous generation of Opel engines. The engine, known as the 1.7S or 1700S, was listed for the Kadett only for three years, between September 1967 and August 1970. The lower-compression 60 PS version fitted in many Rekords was not offered to Kadett buyers. In the Kadett B the engine provided a maximum output of 75 PS employing a relatively high 9.5:1 compression ratio. That translated, in manual transmission cars, into a top speed of 153 or 155 km/h (95 or 96 mph) according to body type. Despite its being listed for three years, only 6,000 Kadetts with the 1,698 cc engine were produced, suggesting that the manufacturer preferred to fit engines of this size in their larger Rekord model (which between 1966 and 1971 took more than half a million of the 1,698 cc units), while persuading Kadett customers looking for more power to switch their preference to the (in most respects similar) 1,897 cc version of the CIH engine. Also listed from 1967, and fitted in 143,000 Kadett Bs was the 1,897 cc version of the Camshaft in Head (CIH) engine. Again, only the high-compression version of the engine was listed for the Kadett, providing maximum output of 90 PSat 5,100 rpm, using a 9.5:1 compression ratio. After August 1971 the compression ratio was reduced to 9.0:1 due to the reduction in octane levels available at filling stations. In practice, though the engine was listed for the Kadett B until 1973, very few of the Kadetts produced in 1972 and 1973 were fitted with it as the focus of dealers’ and customers’ attention switched to the manufacturer’s newer Ascona and Manta models. The 1.9-litre engine was fitted in the top of the range “Opel Rallye Kadett” as an alternative to the smaller high-compression 1.2-litre engine also offered for this sportingly attired variant, readily identifiable from the thick black side stripe and the black paint on the lid of the bonnet.  In Germany the “1900 S” engine was offered only in the coupé-bodied “Opel Rallye Kadett” although for certain export markets, notably the US, this engine was available in all body versions offered. Between April 1970 and the end of the Kadett B’s model life a more highly tuned “HL” („Hochleistung“/”High powered”) version of the 1.9-litre engine could be fitted to a Rallye Sprint version of the car, power further increased to 106 PS (105 hp). “Hochleistung” cars could be purchased from Opel dealers and from at least one specialist engine tuning business, but they never appeared on Opel price lists in Germany where the cars were always rare. The 106 PS powered Kadett B Rallye Sprint was less of a rarity in Sweden where a high proportion of the cars produced were sold. Between 1965 and 1973 Opel produced 2,691,300 Kadett Bs making this model one of the most successful Opels to date in terms of sales volume. The Kadett benefitted on the domestic market from a progressive slowing of demand for the old Volkswagen Beetle, while the Ford Escort and Volkswagen Golf which would compete for sales more effectively against the Kadett C both got off to a relatively slow start respectively in 1968 and 1974.

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1985 Opel Corsa TR: The front-wheel drive Opel Corsa was first launched in September 1982. It went on sale first in France, Italy, and Spain – markets where small cars represented from 34 to 43 percent of sales. Built-in Zaragoza, Spain, the first Corsas were three-door hatchback and two-door saloon models, with four-door and five-door versions arriving in 1984. In certain markets, commercial “van” models were also sold, with or without rear windows depending on local requirements. In mainland Europe, the saloon versions were known as the “Corsa TR” until May 1985 and received an egg-crate grille rather than the four slits used on hatchbacks. The saloons were intended to appeal to customers of the Opel Kadett C and its sister the Vauxhall Chevette who still desired a traditional 3-box sedan shape – but it did not sell particularly well in most of Europe but were popular in Spain and Portugal, among other markets. While only taking ten percent of French Corsa sales during the car’s first half-year, the TR represented half of all Corsas sold in Spain. The basic trim level was called just the Corsa, which was followed by the Corsa Luxus, Corsa Berlina, and the sporty Corsa SR. The SR receives a spoiler which surrounds the rear window, alloy wheels, checkered sport seats, and a somewhat more powerful 70 PS engine. Six years later, the Corsa received a facelift, which included a new front fascia and some other minor changes. The models were called LS, GL, GLS, and GT. The Corsa A was known in the United Kingdom market as the Vauxhall Nova (as it was considered that Corsa sounded too much like “coarser”), where it was launched in April 1983, following a seven-month-long union dispute due to British workers being angry about the car not being built there, in contrast to the rival Ford Fiesta, Austin Metro and Talbot Samba. In addition, there was also a dispute about the disparity of import tariffs, as while cars exported from Spain to the European Community were subject to tariffs of only 4.4 per cent, those exported in the other direction were subject to tariffs as high as 36.7 per cent. Power first came from 1.0 L 45 hp, 1.2 L 55 hp, and 1.3 L 70 hp petrol engines. (The first engines were all equipped with carburettors; fuel injection came later, but never for the 1.0.) The engines were based on the well proven Family II design, except for the 1.0 L and early 1.2 L engines, which were based on the OHV unit from the Kadett C. There was also an Isuzu-built, 67 PS 1.5 L turbo diesel engine available, which was also used in the Isuzu Gemini at around the same time. The diesel joined the line up in May 1987, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, along with the sporty GSi. The engines and most of the mechanical componentry were derived from those used in the Astra/Kadett. In September 1987 the Corsa received a light facelift, with a new grille that was now the same on hatchbacks and sedans, an updated interior, and other slight changes. For the 1989 model year, the 1.3 was bored out to 1.4 litres. Power remained the same, although torque increased. A rare “Sport” model was produced in 1985 to homologate for the sub 1,300 cc class of Group A for the British Rally Championship. These Sport models were white and came with unique vinyl decals, a 13SB engine with twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, an optional bespoke camshaft, a replacement rear silencer, and few luxuries. This gave 93 hp and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) with a 0–60 mph time of 8.9 seconds. These are by far the rarest models (500 produced) and thus acquire a high market price if one does become available. A 1.6 L multi point fuel-injected engine with 101 PS at 5600 rpm (98 PS in the catalysed version) and capable of 186 km/h (116 mph) was added to the Corsa/Nova at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show, giving decent performance and being badged as a GSi (“Nova GTE” in pre-facelift models in the United Kingdom, later models were all called GSi). The GSi’s engine mapping had been carried out by Opel tuning specialists Irmscher. A model with the 82 PS 1.4 L multi-point fuel-injected engine, which was otherwise mechanically identical to the GSi, also became available as the Nova SRi in the United Kingdom. In January 1988, a turbocharged version of the Isuzu diesel engine was introduced, with power increased to 67 PS. The design was freshened in September 1990, with new bumpers, headlights, grille, and interior, but it was clearly recognisable as a gentle makeover of an early 1980s design when it had to compete with the latest two all-new superminis in Europe – the Peugeot 106 and the Renault Clio. The car was finally replaced in the spring of 1993.

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1963 Porsche 356B: The 356 was created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche (son of Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company), who founded the Austrian company with his sister, Louise. 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.

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2006 Porsche Cayman: This car is significant because it was built just over the road in the Valmet plant, as were all 986 and 987 Boxster and 987 Cayman models.

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SAAB 9.3 Cabrio: Similarly, the 900 and 9.3 Cabrio models were also built by Valmet.

The first generation 9-3, an updated Saab 900 (NG), was launched in 1998 for the 1999 model year. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘OG’ (old generation) 9-3 and internally as body style 9400. Production ended on 8 May 2002 at the Trollhättan plant and on 25 April 2003 at the Valmet plant in Finland. Saab claimed that 1,100 changes were made between the outgoing NG 900 and the 9-3 such as revised suspension with more wheel travel and quicker steering. The 9-3 received revised styling with some models included a rear spoiler, while the underbody mounted ‘snow & gravel flaps’ were removed. It was available as a three or five-door hatchback, and as a two-door convertible. It was the last Saab to use the company’s H engine. Further improvements over the Saab 900 (NG) included better crashworthiness courtesy of more extensive A-pillar reinforcements, stronger door sills and frames, standard torso/head side airbags, and Saab Active Head Restraints. Other changes included a bigger AC compressor, higher flow cabin ventilation system, a CAN bus based electrical architecture similar to the one in the 9-5, and a switch to a hydraulically operated convertible roof rather than an electric powered. The 9-3 was available with a new variant of the B204 engine (B204E, 154 bhp), a low-pressure turbo (LPT) engine based on the B204L used in the last generation Saab 900. For the U.S. market, all 9-3s received turbocharged petrol engines with the “full pressure turbo” (B204L, 185 bhp) as the standard offering, and a “HOT” (B204R, 200 hp) variant in the SE models for the 1999 model year. The 2000 model year saw a revision from SAAB’s Trionic T5.5 to Trionic 7 engine management system. The T7 based engines were the B205E, the B205L with 185 bhp and the B205R HOT engine with 205 bhp. The first generation 9-3 was also the first Saab available with a diesel engine, a unit also found in the Opel Vectra, Astra G, Signum, and Zafira A. A Saab innovation is the ‘Night Panel’, carried over from the Saab 900, which permits dousing of the instrument panel lighting, except for essential information, for less distraction when night driving. A total of 326,370 first-generation 9-3s were built. As with the preceding generation, convertibles were built by Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Valmet was also the only plant assembling the 9-3 Viggen, in all three body styles. After production at Saab’s main plant ended, Valmet kept producing non-Viggen hatchbacks until 2003. Altogether, Valmet built 7789 Hatchbacks of all models.

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1939 Studebaker Champion: The Studebaker Champion is an automobile which was produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from the beginning of the 1939 model year until 1958. It was a full-size car in its first three generations and a mid-size car in its fourth and fifth generation models, serving as the junior model to the Commander. The success of the Champion in 1939 was imperative to Studebaker’s survival following weak sales during the 1938 model year. Unlike most other cars, the Champion was designed from a “clean sheet” and had no restrictions caused by necessarily utilizing older parts or requiring the subsequent use of its components in heavier vehicles. Market research guided the selection of features, but a key principle adhered to was the engineering watchword “weight is the enemy”. For its size, it was one of the lightest cars of its era. Its compact straight-six engine outlasted the model itself and was produced to the end of the 1964 model year, with a change to an OHV design in 1961. The Champion was one of Studebaker’s best-selling models because of its low price (US$660 for the 2-door business coupe in 1939), durable engine, and styling. The car’s ponton styling was authored by industrial designer Raymond Loewy, who had been under contract with Studebaker for the design of their automobiles. Champions won Mobilgas economy runs by posting the highest fuel efficiency tests. During World War II, Champions were coveted for their high efficiency at a time when gas was rationed in the United States. From 1943 to 1945, the Champion engine was used as the powerplant for the Studebaker M29 Weasel personnel and cargo carrier, which also used four sets of the Champion’s leaf springs arranged transversely for its bogie suspension. The Champion was phased out in 1958 in preparation for the introduction of the 1959 Studebaker Lark. Prior to this, Studebaker had been placed under receivership, and the company was attempting to return to a profitable position. The Champion was introduced in 1939. Following the design trends of the time, the grille and headlights were partially integrated. Deluxe models came with arm rests and dual wipers. The 164.3 cu in (2.7 L) I6 engine produced 78 bhp. In 1940, Studebaker claimed 27.25 mpg‑US (8.63 L/100 km; 32.73 mpg‑imp). In 1941, the bodies were given a more streamlined look with a wider, lower grille.

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1951 Studebaker Commander: Studebaker began using the Commander name in 192 and, with interruptions in 1936 and 1959-63, continued to use it until 1964. The name was applied to various products in the company’s line-up from year to year. The Commander was the company’s mainstream product, the Studebaker Champion was the junior model, and other models were short lived or renamed as market conditions required. The 1950 Champion differed from the Commander, which had a distinctive bumper, carried over from 1949, longer front fenders and large headlight bezels, as well as a distinctive jet-style hood ornament and shared an appearance with the 1949 Ford Sedan. In 1953, the polarizing appearance was updated and shares some appearance features with the Citroen DS that appeared in 1955. In a 1953 road test done by Popular Mechanics, the Commander got a 0-60 mph of 17.9 seconds and was rated as getting 26.1 mpg at 30 mph. No convertible was offered in 1953. However, in late 1952 Studebaker produced one prototype of a 1953 Commander convertible to determine if the model could be profitably mass-produced. The car was based on the 1953 2-door Starliner hardtop. The car was later modified to 1954-model specifications, and was occasionally driven around South Bend by engineers. Additional structural reinforcements were needed to reduce body flexure. Even though the car was equipped with the 232 cu. in. V-8, the added structural weight increased the car’s 0-60 mph acceleration time to an unacceptable level. In addition, the company did not have the financial resources to add another body type to the model line. The company’s leadership mistakenly thought the 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans, and 1954 Conestoga wagon would sell better than the 2-door coupes, so the company’s resources were focused on production of the sedans and the wagon. When the prototype convertible was no longer needed, engineer E. T. Reynolds ordered the car to be stripped and the body sent to the secret graveyard at the company’s proving grounds west of South Bend. A non-engineering employee requested permission to purchase the complete car, rather than see it rot away at the proving grounds with other, earlier prototypes of other cars and trucks. Chief engineer Gene Hardig discussed the request with E. T. Reynolds. They agreed to let the employee purchase the car on the condition that the employee never sell it. In the 1970s, the car was re-discovered behind a South Bend gas station and no longer owned by the former employee. After eventually passing through several owners, the car is now in a private collection of Studebaker automobiles. In 1955, Studebaker reintroduced the President name for its premium models and ‘Commander’ was applied to the mid-range products. The Commander line was extended with the introduction of a lower-priced Custom sub-series, being basically a Champion with a V8 engine. Studebaker placed the name on hiatus at the end of the 1958 model year.

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2009 Think City Electric: The Think City (stylized as the TH!NK City) is an electric city car that was produced by Norwegian carmaker Think Global, and production partner Valmet Automotive from 2008 to 2012. It is a small two-seater/2+2-seater highway capable vehicle, with a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), and an all-electric range of 160 km (99 mi) on a full charge. As of early 2011, the Th!nk was one of only five crash-tested, mass-produced, and highway-certified electric cars in the world, together with the Tesla Roadster (2008), the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Nissan Leaf and the Smart ED. The Th!nk City was sold in Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, the United Kingdom and the United States. As of October 2010, a total of 2,500 units had been manufactured at Oslo-based TH!NK’s production facility. Norway was the leading market with 1,120 units registered through September 2013. Due to financial difficulties, production of the Th!nk City in Finland was stopped in March 2011, and the company filed for bankruptcy on June 22, 2011, for the fourth time in 20 years. Think Global was purchased soon after by Electric Mobility Solutions AS, which announced production to resume in early 2012 with a refined Think City. However, production never resumed, and the Indiana plant completed its final car in August 2012. The vehicle was known as the Pivco PIV4 in its prototype phase. Ford bought the Norwegian company in 1999 in anticipation of the incoming California Air Resources Board zero emissions vehicle mandate. After the laws partially wound back and made less stringent, Ford ceased production of the vehicle in 2002 with 1,005 units produced. Ford sold the Norwegian electric car company the following year. The Th!nk City was exhibited for the first time in the UK in July 2008.  At the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, Think announced that the Th!nk City would be launched in Denmark and Sweden in 2008, followed by launching in the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands in 2009. At the 2008 British International Motor Show at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, London, THINK announced that the Th!nk City will be available to UK customers from the summer of 2009. Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined Transport Minister Geoff Hoon for a presentation by managing director of Think UK. The original Think City was produced by the Ford Motor Company’s Norwegian subsidiary TH!NK from 2000 until 2002.  It was leased in limited numbers in Europe and the United States. More than 370 vehicles were delivered to customers in North America. They were largely leased to individuals and companies as part of station car trials in California and New York. NHTSA regulations stipulated that these vehicles could not legally remain in the United States beyond the three-year time frame for these trials. Around half of the North American units were scrapped while the other half were exported back to Norway as used cars.  For the second generation car, Think Global originally planned to start deliveries to Norwegian customers in the last quarter of 2007. That target was missed, but as of August 2008 some 100 electric cars had been manufactured for customers in Norway. On December 15, 2008, the carmaker suspended all vehicle production and laid off 50% of its staff pending negotiation of up to US$29 million in funding for working capital, citing “urgent financial distress.” Production of the Th!nk City restarted on December 10, 2009, at Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland. In October 2010 production had reached 2,500 units, making the Th!nk City one of the world’s best selling pure electric cars. In November 24, 2010, Think North America began manufacturing in the Magnum Drive plant located in Elkhart, Indiana. Initially the Finland plant manufactures the body and wheels on the chassis, then ships them to the United States. The lithium-ion battery, made by EnerDel in Indianapolis, the motor and gearbox, seats, headlights and other components are assembled in the Elkhart plant. Each car takes about a week to complete. Due to financial difficulties, production of the Th!nk City in Finland was stopped in March 2011, and the company filed for bankruptcy in Norway on June 22, 2011, for the fourth time in 20 years. Although Think North America is a separate entity, its future also is in doubt because it is financially supported by the headquarters in Norway. Production in the Elkhart plant was halted a few days before the bankruptcy filing due to delays in the delivery of parts required to assemble the electric cars. Think Global’s assets were bought by Electric Mobility Solutions AS in July 2011, including shares of wholly owned subsidiaries THINK North America and THINK UK. The new owners announced that production is scheduled to restart in early 2012 with a refined Think City.

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2000 Toyota Yaris Cabriolet: this concept car was shown at the 2000 Geneva Show, having been developed by Valmet. It remained a concept and no further examples were produced.

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1961 Volkswagen 1200

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Volvo 131: Although costly when new, thanks to the UK’s Import Duty which applied to foreign car imports at the time, the Volvo of this era was surprisingly popular with UK buyers. The cars were tough, as strong success in rallying evidenced, but not that many have survived. 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 Amazon 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.

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Austin J40 pedal car: To go with the full-sized car, there was a version for kids. Austin pedal cars were made in England by Austin Motor Company Limited. Available models were the Junior Forty (J40) and the Pathfinder. The J40 Roadster was based on the 1948 A40 Devon and Dorset. The Pathfinder Special was based on the Jameison OHV 750 Austin Seven racing car of the late 1930’s. From the sales brochure for the Austin J40 Pedal Car: Factory (32K)”Austin J40 cars are made in a specially constructed factory at Bargoed in South Wales. Here, in good conditions with the guidance of an experienced rehabilitation officer and under the supervision of a doctor, disabled Welsh miners are able to find a new interest in life and do a job of work that is both useful and congenial. There are employment facilities at this factory for 250 men.” The pedal car factory opened on July 5, 1949 and was called the Austin Junior Car Factory. It was actually paid for by Government funds and it was run on a not-for-profit basis and purely for the employment of the disabled coal miners. The factory had a floor area of 24,500 square feet and was tooled up by the Sheet Metal Planning Department. Production started of with the Pathfinder and it was planned to build 250 a week, but unfortunately this figure was never reached. After a year the Pathfinder was dropped and was replaced in 1950 by the J40. The cars were made from scrap off-cuttings of metal from the Longbridge Austin motor car factory and were built and painted the same way as the motor cars themselves. The J40 was a very well equipped toy of excellent quality and was probably the best pedal car on the market at the time. It featured real working headlights and horn, detachable wheels with Dunlop pneumatic tires, real like facia panel and leather cloth seating. It had an opening bonnet and boot and also a lot of good quality chrome, namely both bumpers, hub caps, grille, boot handle, and center bonnet moulding with the Flying A ornament. It was later dropped because of a change in the law. It was claimed people could injure themselves on the mounted bonnet badges if they rolled on to the front of a car. The J40 sold for £27 plus £6 added purchase tax, while the Pathfinder cost 20 pounds plus 5 pounds purchase tax. At the time the average working man would have to save 2 or 3 weeks full wages to buy a J40. The J40 was primarily intended for the American market but it also established its own export markets in Denmark and Canada. The Austin pedal cars eventually were to be found in homes around the world. The Austin pedal cars were used for many purposes. They were used to teach road safety to school children and appeared in many road safety films. Pedal cars were fitted to roundabouts at fairs. These cars had two steering wheels and did not have any pedals. Some were single-mounted on coin-operated rides. Some pedal cars were later converted to gas engine power. Some of the gas-powered cars had the bodies “stretched” to make room for taller drivers. There was a total production of 32,098 Austin J40 pedal cars. Production stopped in September 1971.

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The second Hall of the museum is dedicated to SAAB and there is a fascinating collection of cars here, ranging from one of the early cars though to the end of the company as an independent at which point it was acquired by GM.

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The Saab 92 was the first production car from Saab. The design was very aerodynamic for its time, with a drag coefficient (cx or cw) of 0.30. The entire body was stamped out of one piece of sheet metal and then cut to accommodate doors and windows. Full-scale production started December 12, 1949, based on the prototype Ursaab. All of them were of the Deluxe version. A standard version was advertised, but nobody was interested in buying it so no standard versions were produced. The engine was a transversely-mounted, water-cooled two-cylinder, two-stroke 764 cc displacement, 25 bhp engine based on a DKW design, giving a top speed of 105 km/h (65 mph). The transmission had three gears, the first unsynchronised. In order to overcome the problems of oil starvation during overrun (engine braking) for the two-stroke engine, a freewheel device was fitted. The suspension was by torsion bars. All early Saab 92s were painted in a dark green colour similar to British racing green. According to some sources, Saab had a surplus of green paint from wartime production of airplanes; “All the cars were painted bottle green, a colour that became something of a trade mark for Saab cars. The underlying reason was that the armed forces had bought large quantities of a green cellulose paint for camouflage painting. However, the paint did not suit the terrain and the entire consignment of paint was sold off. Saab bought it and that was why both the aircraft and cars ended up green.” Saab’s rally history already started two weeks after the 92 was released, when Saab’s head engineer Rolf Mellde entered the Swedish Rally and came second in his class. Only 700 1950 models were made. In 1951, German VDO instruments replaced the originally-fitted American Stewart-Warner components. In 1952 Greta Molander won the ‘Coupe des Dames’ of the Monte Carlo Rally in a 92, tuned to 35 bhp. In 1953, the 92B arrived with a much larger rear window and larger luggage space (with an opening lid). It was now available in grey, blue-grey, black and green. In 1954 the Saab 92 got the new Solex 32BI carburettor and a new ignition coil giving 28 bhp. The US headlights were replaced with Hella units. Another novelty was that a textile roof (semi-cab or cabrio coach) was offered as an option. The colour maroon was also introduced this year. In 1955, it acquired an electric fuel pump and square tail lights installed in the rear fenders. The colours were grey, maroon and a new color, moss green. The English aviation test pilot Bob Moore, who had helped to develop the Saab Tunnan (J29) jet aircraft, brought a 1955 Saab 92B back to England, when he returned, later to become the first managing director of Saab GB Ltd. This was reputedly the first-ever Saab car imported to the UK. The Saab 93 was introduced in December 1955, but both the 92B and 93 were produced at the same time, for a while. The last 92 was assembled in late 1956–early 1957. Two new colours, grey-green and beige, were available. A total of 20,128 Saab 92s were made.

1950 SAAB 92

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1952 SAAB 92

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1954 SAAB 92

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The Saab 93 (pronounced ninety-three) is the second production automobile that was manufactured by Saab. Styled by Sixten Sason, it was first presented on December 1, 1955. The 93 was powered by a longitudinally-mounted three-cylinder 748 cc Saab two-stroke engine giving 33 hp. The gearbox had three gears, the first unsynchronised. In order to overcome the problems of oil starvation on overrun (engine braking) for the two-stroke engine, a freewheel device was fitted. In 1957, two-point seatbelts were introduced as an option. The 93 was the first Saab to be exported from Sweden, with most exports going to the United States. A Saxomat clutch and a cabrio coach (large cloth sunroof) were available as options.  On September 2, 1957, the 93B was introduced. The original two-piece windshield was also replaced with a one-piece windshield.  In 1957, Erik Carlsson finished 1st in the Finland Rally in a Saab 93; in 1959, he was 1st in the Swedish Rally, also in a Saab 93. However, Saab was not the first Swedish manufacturer to win the Swedish Rally. Saab’s long-standing Swedish rival, Volvo, had beaten them consecutively in 1957 and 1958 with the PV544.  n late 1959, the 93F was introduced, featuring front-hinged doors from the Saab GT750. 1960 was the last year of production for the 93. The 93 was replaced by the Saab 96, although the two models were sold side by side for the earlier part of the year. A total of 52,731 Saab 93s were made.

1959 SAAB 93 GT

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1958 SAAB 93B

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1960 SAAB 93F

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The Saab 95 is a seven-seater, two-door station wagon which was produced by Saab from 1959 to 1978. Initially it was based on the Saab 93 sedan, but the model’s development throughout the years followed closely that of the Saab 96 after the 93 was taken off the market in 1960. It was introduced in 1959, but because only 40 were made in 1959, production is often said to have started in 1960. The first engine was an 841 cc three-cylinder two-stroke, but from 1967 onward, it became available with the same four-stroke Ford Taunus V4 engine as used in the Saab 96, the Saab Sonett V4 and Sonett III, and the German Ford Taunus. It had a four-speed manual transmission. There was a small handle on the firewall that, when pushed, put the car into a “freewheeling” mode. This allowed the driver to coast downhill without seizing the two-stroke engine, but when power was needed the transmission would engage and the driver could power the car up hill again. As the 95 received the four-speed gearbox before the 96 (that still had the old three-speed unit) it was also used for rallying. In the US, the Saab 95 received the larger 1.7 litre V4 for the 1971 model year, as a response to tighter emissions regulations. The compression ratio was lowered to 8.0:1, meaning that the power remained at 73 hp. The Saab 95/96 remained on sale in the United States until 1973. A rear-facing folding seat was dropped with the 1976 model year, making the car a regular five-seater. For certain markets (Norway, Denmark) a special export version sedan delivery van was available without a rear seat and rear side windows. Production ended in 1978 (when only 470 examples were built). A total of 110,527 were made.

1959 SAAB 95

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1960 SAAB 95

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1965 SAAB 95

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1969 SAAB 95

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1977 SAAB 95

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The Saab 96 is an automobile manufactured and marketed by Saab 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 a 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 when earlier models had thermosiphon cooling. 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/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 Sport/Monte Carlo models. A common throttle shaft minimized carburettor synchronization problems.

1963 SAAB 96

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1960 SAAB 96

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1964 SAAB 96

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1966 SAAB 96 Monte Carlo

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1965 SAAB 96

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1966 SAAB 96 Shrike

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1966 SAAB 96 Monte Carlo

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1964 SAAB 96

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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 a front corporation, Maskinverktyg AB (meaning Machine-Tool Company). 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. In the US, the two-stroke engine was called the “Shrike” in 1967 and 1968. Its displacement was reduced slightly for 1968, to 795 cc, to avoid emission regulations which exempted engines under 50 cu in (819 cc). The V4s used in US cars had a 1500 cc high compression engine with 73 bhp. For the 1971 model year it was switched to a 1700 cc low compression engine, so as not to lose power while meeting new emissions regulations. Stated power dropped to 65 bhp for 1972 as SAE gross figures were abandoned in favour of the lower net ratings. 1973 was the last year that the 96/95 were available in the United States. 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, such as some early post-war Rovers and pre-war Chryslers, 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 disengagement, using the foot, could be difficult, as it involved pulling a ‘T handle’ intended for manual operation.

1967 SAAB 96 V4

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1967 SAAB 96 V4 Monte Carlo

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1968 SAAB 96 V4 de Luxe

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1969 SAAB 96 V4

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1979 SAAB 96 V4 1.7

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1980 SAAB 96 V4 – the last one registered in Finland

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The Saab 99 was produced from 1968 to 1984; their first foray into a larger class than the 96. While considered a large family car in Scandinavia, it was marketed as a niche compact executive car in most other markets. It was manufactured both in Sweden and Finland and was succeeded by the Saab 900, although the 99 continued to be produced alongside its successor. The Saab 90, an updated, less complex version using many 900 parts took over from the 99 in late 1984. On 2 April 1964, Gudmund’s day in Sweden, after several years of planning, the Saab board started Project Gudmund. This was a project to develop a new and larger car to take the manufacturer beyond the market for the smaller Saab 96. This new car became the Saab 99, designed by Sixten Sason and unveiled in Stockholm on November 22, 1967. The first prototypes of the 99 were built by cutting a Saab 96 lengthwise and widening it by 20 centimetres (7.9 in); this created the so-called Paddan (The toad), which was a disguise for the new project. After that phase, also as a disguise, the first 99 body shell was badged “Daihatsu” as that name could be made up out of the badging available for the Saab Sport. The 99 was not only built in Saab’s own Trollhättan Assembly – some variants were built by the Finnish Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki from 1969 onwards; the last five years of this production (1979-1984) was alongside the Finnish built version of the Talbot Horizon, which shared a similar high quality velour upholstery to the 99. Although Saab engineers liked the company’s existing two-stroke engine, it was decided that a four-stroke engine was necessary, and the choice was a 1.7 L (later 1.85 L) engine from Triumph. This was the same Triumph Slant-4 engine used in the Triumph Dolomite, but the Saab version was fitted with a Zenith-Stromberg CD carburettor developed specially for Saab. A number of Saab 99s were equipped with a Triumph Stag V8, but the V8 was later dropped in favour of a turbocharged unit which later powered the 99 Turbo. A three-door estate version was planned from the start, but never made it into production. In 1971 (with thoughts about a combi coupé) the work on an estate was restarted, this time as a five-door.  The 99 was first shown on November 22, 1967. The first production cars came in autumn 1968, although only 4190 cars were built this year. Production increased considerably in 1969 and again in 1970 when the four-door model arrived. In 1970 the interior was also given a facelift and became more luxurious, with a new steering wheel. The exhaust system was now made of aluminium, engine mounts and drive joints were changed. In March, the 99E (also available with a three-speed automatic transmission) was introduced. It had a 1.75 L engine with electronically controlled fuel injection, giving 87 PS. In 1971 the 99 was given a larger and stronger engine, a 1.85 L engine giving 86 PS on the carburettor model and 95 PS for the fuel-injected model. The 1.75 L engine was now only available with a carburettor. Saab also introduced headlight wipers, as well as larger rear-view mirrors and an additional air inlet beneath the existing grille. The dashboard was given a redesign along with new instruments. In 1972 the 1.75 L engine was no longer available. The power of the engine was increased to 88 PS for carburettor models and 97 PS for fuel-injected models. The 2.0 L engine became available. The major change this year were new plastic bumpers that could take impacts up to 8 km/h (5 mph) and still retain their shape. The suspension was stiffened and received stronger dampers. An electrically heated driver’s seat was also introduced. In January 1972 the 99 EMS (Electronic-Manual-Special) was introduced. It was a sportier model that was originally only available in a two-door version; but became available in the wagonback body beginning in 1974 (Europe). It had stiffer suspension and also silver or copper (‘bronze’)-coloured metallic paint as option. The engine had 1985 cc displacement and Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection giving 110 PS and a top speed of 170 km/h (106 mph). For the United States, a special 99 SSE was developed to satisfy demand while the EMS was not yet available there. The SSE had a black or burled walnut vinyl roof cover and an automatic transmission (by Borg-Warner). It also had the 1.85 L Triumph engine installed. In 1973 a low-cost model called the 99L was introduced. It was a two-door with a 1.85 L engine giving 88 PS All other models had the Swedish-built 2.0 L engine, which produces 95 PS in carburetted form. The LE model had electronic fuel injection giving 110 PS. The LE model was mainly made for export. The inner ceiling was changed, as were protective bars in the doors, and a new black grille. In Northern Europe, a de-contented model called the 99 X7 was also marketed. In January 1974 the three-door hatchback Combi-coupé (marketed as a “Wagon Back” in the USA) was introduced. It was 11 cm (4.3 in) longer than the sedan. Front seats and steering wheel were new for 1974, while the EMS received an all-new, model-specific interior. Inertial reel belts were also fitted. In 1975 the brakes were improved and the hand brake now worked directly on the primary brake pads instead of on separate pads acting as drum brakes inside the brake rotor. The 99 was now available in two versions, one with a carburettor with 100 PS and a fuel-injected version using Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system giving 118 PS. In February a model using Zenith-Stromberg 150CDS(E) dual carburettors was introduced. It was only available for the Combi-coupé and has 108 PS. The Combi-coupé had been fitted with a unique grille in 1974; this was now applied across the range. In 1976 nothing major was changed, but a self-adjusting clutch was introduced. The engines were adapted for tougher emissions requirements and several models with an electrically heated rear window were introduced. A luxurious 4-door sedan model was available, the 99 GLE. it came with power steering, an automatic transmission, a fuel-injected engine, luxurious upholstery on the seats and an armrest in the rear seat. The five-door Combi-coupé model was also introduced. In 1977, the front light clusters and the sedan’s tail lights were enlarged. The rubber strips on the bumpers were changed. The “One Hundred series” of test-fleet Turbo cars were distributed around the world. The cars were mainly made from three- and two-door EMS models, but a few four-door and even five-door cars were also made. The four- and five-door models were tested by mostly police in Sweden, Finland and Switzerland. In 1978 a turbocharged version of the car, the 99 Turbo, was introduced. It was only available as a Combi-coupé until the next year. The turbocharged two-litre engine produced 145 PS giving the car a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). The turbochargers were designed and built by Garrett AiResearch. In terms of appearance, it received distinctive alloy wheels and front and rear spoilers. The 99 Turbo repositioned Saab in the car market and it came to be regarded as an iconic and technologically significant model of its era. By early 1979, over 10,000 turbo-engined Saabs had already been built, as Saab successfully entered a new market segment. Other news for 1978 included the availability of a sunroof, and the EMS became a three-door Combi-coupé in some markets. In 1979 the Combi-coupé option was discontinued for the 99, as the new Saab 900 was only available in this bodystyle. The 99 Turbo changed over to the two-door saloon bodywork although only a small number were built. The rear axle was altered, the fuel tank changed to a plastic one, new wheels were fitted, and four-door models received new bumpers similar to those of the 900. These bumpers were also installed on two-doors beginning with the 1980 model year. In 1980 the 99 was also given the new and safer seats from the Saab 900, as well as low-mounted protective strips along the sides. The spare wheel was changed to an emergency unit. The carpeting, which had been changed to rubber a few years earlier, went back to textile. In the Swedish market the twin-carb version made a return for a single year, sold as the 99 Super and only available with four doors and an automatic transmission. In 1981 the twin-carb Super was discontinued, although the 99 did gain a new engine option in its stead: the 99 GL with 100 PS was joined by the 99 GLi with 118 PS, both with four-speed manual transmissions. The GLi was a bit more luxurious and had power side mirrors. It was only sold in Northern Europe and only around 1600 were built. All 99s received a new rear seat, velour upholstery, new rear mirrors, a new steering wheel, and the 900’s front axle. In 1982 came the H engine, built by Scania at Södertälje, making it possible for all cars to run on 93 octane gasoline. The two- and four-door 99 GLs were now available with a five-speed manual transmission. The window surround trim was blacked out and the wheels were new. In 1983 a number of smaller technical and cosmetic changes were made, including a new grille similar to that of the 900 and blacked out B-pillars on two-door models. Brake pads were now asbestos-free. Five-speed-equipped 99s received low-resistance tires, which sit on wider 5½-inch rims, requiring moving the rear axle. Some further minor changes took place for 1984, including electronic ignition, lowered seats, and a more upright steering wheel. Five-speed cars also received interval wipers. This was to be the final year for the 99. It was replaced by the Saab 90 and the Saab 900. A total of 588,643 were made; this total rises to 614,003 if Saab 90 production is included.

1969 SAAB 99 1.7

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1972 SAAB 99 Auto

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1984 SAAB 99 Special

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1975 SAAB 99

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1977 SAAB 99 Finlandia: A limousine version of the Saab 99 GLE combi-coupé with a 25 centimetres (9.8 in) longer wheelbase was introduced in 1977 by Valmet in Uusikaupunki (Nystad), Finland. The Swedish head office was not too fond of this model or the concept of making an executive car out of the 5-door combi-coupe. And so it was only sold in Finland and never given an official designation by Trollhättan. It was available from local dealers as the Saab 99 “Finlandia”. The first year had a short extension piece between the front and rear doors. In 1978 the wheelbase was slightly shortened to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) longer than in the standard model but arguably more elegant in execution. The elongation was done discreetly by adding 10 centimetres (3.9 in) to all four doors, however inside the change was distinct only in the backseat, with significantly increased rear legroom. Three late 99 Finlandias were fitted with turbocharged engines and manual transmissions at the factory.

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1977 SAAB 99 GLE

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1966 SAAB Sonett II: In the early 1960s, Björn Karlström, an aircraft and automotive illustrator, and Walter Kern, an engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, independently suggested a two-seat roadster with Saab components and a two-stroke engine called the “Shrike”. Two prototypes were developed: the Saab MFI13 by Malmö Flygindustri, and the Saab Catherina by Sixten Sason. After some modifications, the MFI13 was put into limited production (28 units) in 1966 as the Sonett II, manufactured at the Aktiebolaget Svenska Järnvägsverkstäderna (ASJ) in Arlöv. Inside Saab, it was designated model 97. A further 230 units were assembled in 1967, but as the two-stroke engine became increasingly uncompetitive in the US market, a switch to the Ford Taunus V4 engine was made in the middle of the 1967 production year, and the model was renamed the Sonett V4. Apart from the engine and related drivetrain, the Sonett II and Sonett V4 share much of their componentry. The additional weight did require some strengthening of the chassis and suspension pieces, and the wheels were half an inch wider than the four-inch units used on the Sonett II. Approximately 50 percent of the Sonett II production has survived, preserved or maintained by museums, collectors, and race enthusiasts. Like the Sonett I prototype, the Sonett II fiberglass body was bolted to a box-type chassis with an added roll-bar to support the hard top. The entire front hood section hinged forward to allow easy access to the engine, transmission, and front suspension. Equipped with a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine generating 60 PS (59 bhp), the Sonett II achieved 0 to 100 km/h (0–62 mph) time of 12.5 seconds, with a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). All Sonett IIs were left hand drive (LHD). Designed as a race car, the Sonett II competed successfully against other small European sports cars, including the Austin-Healey Sprite and Triumph Spitfire, in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) races of the period.[citation needed] Due to low production volume, Sonett IIs were disqualified from certain competitions. By 1967, the two-stroke engine failed to meet US emission control standards. In 2011 a two-stroke Sonett II achieved 109 mph 175 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Of the 28 Sonett IIs manufactured in 1966 all were equipped with 841cc three cylinder two-stroke engines. SAAB produced serial numbers 29 through 258 with the two-stroke engine, serial number 259 was the first Sonett to have the V4 engine. All Sonett II transmissions had a freewheel that could be engaged and disengaged while in motion via a pull handle down near the throttle pedal. The freewheel was required in the normal (non-oil pump engines) SAAB two stroke engines but not in the racing engines that had an oil injection system fed from a supply tank, nor in the Sonett V4 since it had a four-stroke engine with the common recirculating pressure lubrication.

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1968 SAAB Sonett V4: When Saab started using the Ford Taunus V4 engine in their 95, 96, and Monte Carlo models, an upgrade for the low-volume Sonett II became economically feasible. The Sonett V4 was introduced with a 1,500 cc Ford V4 engine in the middle of the 1967 model year starting with serial number 259. A new “bulge” hood, designed by Gunnar A. Sjögren, was required to clear the larger V4 engine, with a slight right offset to avoid obstructing the driver’s view. This asymmetrical hood shape, criticized by both the automotive press and within Saab itself, contributed to the motivation for the 1970 Sonett III redesign. The Ford V4 engine produced 65 bhp, and—combined with the car’s lightweight chassis and fiberglass construction—allowed the V4 model to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 12.5 seconds, with a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). The V4’s dashboard was wrinkle finished black, unlike the wooden panel used in the Sonett II. Following the low-volume 1966–67 Sonett IIs, Saab ramped up Sonett V4 production to meet minimum SCCA requirements, assembling 70 units in the 1967 transition year, 900 units in 1968, and 640 units in the final 1969 production year—a total of 1,610 Sonett V4 vehicles. The 1969 models can be recognized by their taller seat backs and by having a lid for the glove compartment, while the heater was also made somewhat more efficient. While the Sonett V4 was assembled in Sweden, nearly the entire production was exported to the United States, with an MSRP of between US$3,200 and US$3,800. In addition to its unusual fiberglass body, the Sonett V4 featured advanced safety features for its day, including a roll bar, three-point seat belts, and high-back bucket seats to protect against whiplash injury. Sonett V4s also sported a few oddities compared to standard American sports cars like e.g. Corvette, such as front wheel drive; a freewheeling clutch that disengaged automatically whenever the accelerator pedal was no longer pressed, and a column-mounted shifter, rather than a typical floor-mounted shifter. In spite of lacklustre Saab marketing, unusual features, and quirky design, the Sonett V4 found a niche market in the US, propelled by successful SCCA racing performances of the Sonett II. Its primary competitors were British roadsters, including the MG Midget and MG MGB, the Triumph TR5, the TVR Grantura and the Austin-Healey Sprite Mark IV. The Clean Air Act of 1970 prompted engineering modifications to the Ford V4 emission control system that were difficult to reconcile with the Sonett II/V4 body style which then led to the Sonett III redesign.

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1973 SAAB Sonett III: The 1970 redesign of the Sonett V4, named the Sonett III, was initially undertaken by Sergio Coggiola, but Gunnar A. Sjögren altered it to fit the existing Sonett II chassis without expensive manufacturing-line changes. Hinged rear-window glass replaced the Sonett II/V4 rear compartment hatch door. With the mandate for a “bulge-less” hood, the engine compartment opening evolved into a small front popup panel, resulting in more limited access than in the Sonett V4. Extensive engine work required the removal of the entire front hood section. To help adapt the car to US market tastes, the Sonett III featured a floor-mounted shifter (instead of the Sonett V4 column-mounted shifter) and optional dealer-installed air conditioning. The Sonett III’s hidden headlamps were operated manually using a lever. US safety regulations required new low speed impact proof bumpers after 1972, significantly detracting from its Italian-inspired design. All Sonett III were LHD. While the 1970 and 1971 model years initially had the same 1500 cc Ford Taunus V4 engine as the Sonett V4, emission control requirements reduced the available horsepower. The model years 1971 to 1974 of the Sonett III used the 1700 cc Ford V4, but to meet increasingly strict federal regulations, net power output remained the same as the 1500 cc engine, at 65 bhp. Still, the Sonett III accelerated from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 13 seconds, and—due to a higher differential gear ratio (42 teeth on the ring gear and 9 teeth on the pinion gear) than the standard 95/96 transmission (39:8)—achieved a top speed of 165 km/h (103 mph), aided by a drag coefficient of 0.31 cd. Disappointing sales, especially during the 1973 oil crisis, led Saab to end production late in 1974. A total of 8,368 Sonett IIIs were manufactured between 1970 and 1974.

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The Saab 900 is a mid-sized automobile which was produced from 1978 until 1998 in two generations; the first from 1978 to 1993, and the second from 1994 to 1998. The first-generation car was based on the Saab 99 chassis, though with a longer front end to meet U.S. frontal crash regulations. The 900 was produced in 2- and 4-door sedan, and 3- and 5-door hatchback configurations and, from 1986, as a cabriolet (convertible) model. The 1979 900 was available in three versions of the B-engine: The GL had the single-carb 100 PS engine, the GLs had twin carburettors for 108 PS, the EMS and GLE had Bosch jetronic fuel injection for 118 PS and the 900 Turbo produced 145 PS. The only bodywork originally available was the three or five-door hatchback style, which was seen as more modern at the time. The EMS was only available with three doors while the automatic-equipped GLE was only offered with five. Saab’s model years were generally introduced in August/September of the preceding year. The Turbo had a different grille from the naturally aspirated models, which received a design with a hexagonal central element. For the 1980 model year, all versions received the sleeker turbo-style grille. The 1980 900 also received larger taillights rather than the earlier 99 units, as well as lower, adjustable head restraints. 1980 was also the first year for a five-speed gearbox, originally only available in the EMS and the Turbo. The four-door 900 sedan was introduced in Geneva 1980, as a result of dealer pressure. This introduction corresponded with the phase-out of the old Saab B engine in favour of the lighter Saab H engine. With the introduction of the H-engine, Saab simplified the model designation on the international markets outside Scandinavia: GL for the model with the single carburettor, GLs for the models with the twin carburettor engine, GLi as designation for the models with fuel injection without turbo, and correspondingly “Turbo” for the top models with the corresponding engine. The GLE was now offered only as a better equipped four-door Sedan. Model designations in the USA became just 900 for the base model and 900S for the models with 8V i. The EMS designation was dropped. In the early 1980s, most 900s were produced in Trollhättan. However, coinciding with the introduction of the 9000, more of the 900 production took place elsewhere. The Valmet plant in Finland, referenced below under the 900c, also produced regular 900s, a total of 238,898 examples. The plant in Arlöv (now closed), near Malmö, also produced some 900s. For 1981 all models except for the GL three-door received a considerable boost in equipment, as well as broader side trims, larger luggage compartments and fuel tanks. The spare tire was moved to underneath the floor, rather than standing upright in the luggage compartment. A big change for 1982 was the introduction of Saab’s Automatic Performance Control (APC), a.k.a. boost controller for the Turbo models. The APC employed a knock sensor, allowing the engine to use different grades of gasoline without engine damage. Another new feature that year was the introduction of central locking doors (on the GLE and Turbo). The long-wheelbase 900 CD was also introduced. Asbestos-free brakes were introduced in 1983, an industry first. The front pads were semi-metallic while the rears were made from silica. The GLE model gained a new central console, while the decor strips on the bumpers of all models were made wider (necessitating wider trim pieces on the flanks as well). A new luxury package was made available on Turbo cars. Model year 1984 saw the introduction of the 16-valve DOHC B202 engine in Europe. With a turbocharger and intercooler, it could produce 175 bhp in the Turbo 16 model (less for catalyst-equipped engines). The Turbo 16 Aero [designated SPG, Special Performance Group in North American Markets] had a body kit allowing the car to reach 210 km/h (130 mph). A different grille and three-spoke steering wheel appeared across all models. The connection between the side strips and the bumpers was changed, Turbo hatchbacks received a black trim piece between the taillights, and the GLi began replacing the twin-carburetted GLs. At the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show a two-door sedan was shown; it went on sale in January 1984, initially only as a GLi. The two-door sedan was only ever built at the Valmet plant in Finland. The dual-carburettor model (and “GLs” nomenclature) was gone for 1985. Now, the base 900 had the single-carburettor engine, while the 900i added fuel injection. Two turbocharged models were offered: The 900 Turbo had the 8-valve engine, while the Turbo 16 (also Aero) had the 16-valve intercooled unit. Wheel trims (naturally aspirated cars) and alloys (turbos) were redesigned, and the Turbos also received chromed grilles. The 8-valve turbo received an intercooler for 1986, bringing up power to 155 PS, while the 16-valve cars had hydraulic engine mounts. The eight-valve Turbo was also available as a two-door. Side marker lights at the rear of the front fenders were also added, while the 900i gained new interior fabrics. The new Saab-Scania badge was introduced, placed in the steering wheel, on the bonnet, and on the bootlid. 1986 also marked the introduction of the 16-valve 900i 16 and 900 convertible, both only for North America initially. A new grille, headlamps, front turn signal lights and “integrated” bumpers freshened the 900’s look for 1987, though the sheetmetal was largely unchanged. Several common parts for the 900 and 9000 were introduced for 1988 model year, including brakes and wheel hubs. This also meant that Saab finally abandoned the use of parking brakes which acted on the front wheels. Power steering was added on the 900i. The base 900, available with two or four doors, kept the pre-facelift appearance for 1987. Also new was the carburetted 900c. The Aero model received slightly bigger fender extensions so as to accommodate larger wheels, while the window trim was blacked out on all models. For 1988 catalytic converters became available with all fuel injected engines in Europe, all with cruise control as standard equipment[citation needed] to further help lower emissions. A water- and oil-cooled turbocharger (replacing the older oil-cooled unit) was also introduced to improve the unit’s durability. In each of the seasons 1987 and 1988, there was a special ‘one-make’ race series, in the UK, called the Saab Turbo Mobil Challenge, sponsored by Saab Great Britain and Mobil. It was run by the BARC. The eight-valve engines were phased out in 1989 and 1990, with the turbo versions having been removed in North American markets by the end of 1984; North American 900S models received the non-turbo 16-valve engine for 1986. A non-turbo 16-valve engine replaced the 8-valve FI unit in the 900i (900S in North America) as well, while the carbureted engines were dropped. In Europe the eight-valve Turbo dropped out with the 1989 model year, with the limited production 900 T8 Special built to celebrate this. 805 were built for Sweden, featuring Aero trim and equipment. The 900i 16 arrived in Europe, with 128 PS. Anti-lock brakes were introduced as well, and were standard on Turbo models. High-mounted rear brake lights appeared during 1988, and power of the catalyzed Turbo 16 Aero jumped from 160 to 175 PS. Larger pinion bearings were fitted to manual gearboxes for 1989 to improve their strength and reliability. For 1990 eight-valve engine were taken out of production while a low pressure turbo engine with 145 PS was available in European markets. ABS brakes and driver’s side airbags were standardized for all North American market cars beginning with the 1990 model year. In the spring of 1990 the naturally aspirated 900i 16 Cabriolet was added. A 2119 cc (B212) engine was introduced for 1991. This engine was available in the United States until the end of the original 900, but in most of Europe, this engine was replaced a year later with the earlier B202 because of tax regulations in many European countries for engines with a displacement of more than 2000 cc. Front seats from the 9000 were standard from 1991 on and electronically adjustable ones were available as an option. Airbags became available as an option in Europe as well, while there was also an Aero version of the Cabriolet. The Saab 900 no longer offered the mesh wheels. There was also a change in the door locks, which carried over to the 900NG. For 1992 there were mostly equipment adjustments, with ABS brakes finding their way into most of the lineup everywhere. 1993 brought no changes, and “classic” 900 production ended on 26 March 1993, with a new GM2900 platform-based 900 entering production shortly afterwards. The final classic convertibles were still sold as 1994 models, with the Special Edition commanding top dollar in the resale market even today. In all, 908,817 Saab 900s were built, including 48,888 convertibles.

1986 SAAB 900 320 bhp

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1985 SAAB 900CD:  In 1977 Saab’s Finnish subsidiary Saab-Valmet (Today Valmet Automotive) had created an elongated executive model of the 99 combi coupé named Finlandia. With the introduction of the 900, the concept was transferred onto the new chassis. The Finlandia was 20 cm (7.9 in) longer than standard, by adding 10 cm (3.9 in) to both front and rear doors, but only the rear leg room was larger. The idea behind the car was to produce an executive car which would appeal to the Nordic market as an option to big German and US sedans. The first cars were sold as the Saab 900 Finlandia. These cars made between 1979 and 1982 were combi coupés, and did not have the ‘CD’ designation. Very few examples of these early models were exported outside of Finland. After the more representable 4-door sedan was introduced, the CD designation replaced the nickname and the Swedish Saab headquarters started to officially offer the car for export. The 900 CD was made at the Valmet Automotive factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland. At least in the domestic market the cars were essentially built to the buyers wishes. The list of optional extras for the CD included a leather interior, reading lights, rear blinds, footrests, and even an in-car telephone. However, due to the cars special nature and demanding customer base, the trim and technical specifications of some examples can be unique. The Uusikaupunki factory clearly had high aspirations for the car. Valmet Automotive even developed a prototype of an even longer, seven seat limousine as a concept car of an official state car. These aspirations were moderately met, although the Finnish government didn’t actually ever commission Saab to build such a car, the Saab 900CD was favoured as an official executive vehicle by several local municipalities such as the City of Oulu and several larger corporations in the wood and paper industry and electronics manufacture industry. It was also used by the Finnish government as the official state car of the Prime Minister during The Second Government of Mauno Koivisto between 1979 – 1982. He was particularly fond of its performance as it was equipped with a turbocharged engine, and he could thus out-run his bodyguards Saab 900’s which were naturally aspirated. In total 579 cars were built between 1979 and 1986.

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1989 SAAB 9000 Turbo: The Saab 9000 was produced from 1984 to 1998. Representing the company’s foray into the executive car scene, it was developed as a result of the successes of the turbocharged 99 and 900 models. The 9000 remained in production until May 1998 and it was replaced by the Saab 9-5 in late 1997, although some final cars were produced into 1998. The Saab 9000 was only available with petrol engines, in two different 5-door hatchback designs or as a 4-door notchback. Saab designed the 9000 as part of the Type Four platform in conjunction with the Italian automaker Fiat Automobiles. Fiat retailed similar derivative versions as the more basic Fiat Croma, the luxury-themed Lancia Thema, and the sports-oriented Alfa Romeo 164. Unlike the 164, which shares only the chassis, the Croma and Thema are outwardly similar to the 9000. As such, much of the bodywork appeared interchangeable between the 9000, Croma and Thema; for example, the doors. However, because Saab fitted heavier side impact protection they will not fit. Also the front of the Saab is radically different from the Italian siblings due to the much improved crash protection. Only seven parts are actually interchangeable. The 9000’s body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and Saab designer Björn Envall. Despite being shorter overall than the 900 which was still produced in parallel, the 9000 has a longer wheelbase and greater interior space with 123-cu.ft. of interior space (23.5-cu.ft. in the trunk, 56.5-cu.ft. with rear seats folded), qualifying as an EPA-rated “large car”, a distinction shared only with the contemporary Rolls-Royce in America. This was achieved by installing the engine transversely to the direction of travel in the Saab 9000 (instead longitudinally as in the Saab 900). Unlike the 900 the 9000 kept the ignition switch in the more conventional steering column position rather than between the front seats. The inspiration for the seats was taken by Björn Envall from The Muppet Show’s Pigs in Space, a sketch by the late puppeteer Jim Henson. In total, 503,087 Saab 9000s were manufactured. These are divided into: 216,385 Saab 9000 CC (MY 1985-1991) 174,525 Saab 9000 CS (MY 1992-1998) 112,177 Saab 9000 CD (MY 1988-1997).

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1977 SAAB 96 V4

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1964 SAAB 96 Sport

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The third hall contains cars that were made at the Valmet site which is a few hundred yards away from the museum. Saab-Valmet was established in 1968 as a joint venture of Finnish Valmet and Swedish Saab-Scania. The automotive plant assembled only Saabs for the first eleven years.

1969 SAAB 96 V4 – this is the first one produced in Finland

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1970 SAAB 95 V4 – and this is the first of the 95 models made in Finland

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1970 SAAB 99 1.7 – the first made in Finland

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1978 SAAB 900 – also the first made in Finland

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1987 SAAB 9000 Turbo

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SAAB 900 Limousine

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1985 SAAB 900 Cabrio Turbo prototype

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1989 SAAB 900 Cabrio prototype

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1985 SAAB 900 Aero

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1990 SAAB 900

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1988 SAAB 9000CD: The Saab 9000 CD Sedan model was presented in Nice in January 1988. The CD was the four-door sedan body style with from beginning a slightly more aerodynamic nose which the CC get not until MY 1991. Just as in the launch of the CC variant, the 9000 CD was initially available only with the B202 turbo engine, but Saab combined it right from the start with its new “DI ignition system” At the Birmingham Motor Show in September 1988, Saab premiered the non-turbo model of the CD with the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre inline-four. For MY 1990 Saab introduced the 150 PS 2.3-litre B234 normally aspirated engine for both body shapes, the CC and CD. Since then the CD was available with the same basic engines as the CC for all MY (except the 225 PS “Aero” engine). The CD kept its old front and back till MY 1994. For MY 95 Saab redesigned the CD for the first time since its start, now wearing the front and back similar to the CS. The sedan was phased out in both the US and Europe after MY 1997. From the beginning, Saab had placed the CD above the hatchback model in terms of equipment and price. This was in keeping with the spirit of the times, which saw an expensive notchback model more as a car for business people (with or without a chauffeur) who did not need the cargo space of the CC. This is why Saab never offered the CD with a folding rear seat, which would have been at the expense of stability and peace and quiet in the interior. With the introduction of the Saab 9000 2.3 Turbo CD “Griffin” for MY 1992 as the top model of the 9000 series, Saab finally placed itself in the luxury class. The Griffin in the limited edition of 400 pieces was only available in the form of the CD and only with the 2.3 Turbo engine. In 1995, a 3.0-litre B308 V6 engine with 210 PS was introduced as standard for the CDE sedan and optional for the CSE liftback. The V6 was discontinued in the United States after one year along with the CDE model, but continued on in Europe until 1997. In some European markets, Saab revived the special model “Griffin” for MY 1995 onwards. It was only available with the V6 engine, automatic transmission and with numerous luxury appointments, such as an optional second air conditioning unit in the boot for the rear occupants and with all available electric options, special eucalyptus green paint, a separate rear-seat air conditioning system, walnut trim and rear window blinds. Total production numbers of the 4-door Saab 9000 CD/CDE: 112,177 Saab 9000 CD (MY 1988-1997) (22.3% of all produced Saab 9000). On display, but undepicted where was a prototype SAAB 9000 CD with a V8 engine.

The second or ‘new’ generation Saab 900 (also referred to as the GM900 or NG900 among enthusiasts) was built on GM’s GM2900 platform as a replacement for the “classic” first-generation Saab 900. This all-new 900 was produced in 1994 through 1998 model years. In mid-1998 it received over 1100 individual improvements (although some were actually introduced on the 1998 model 900), and was renamed the Saab 9-3 (in most markets; in the US the new model was introduced in 1999). Variants included 900i (4-cylinder, non-turbo), S (4-cylinder, non-turbo in the USA; sometimes turbo in other markets) and SE (4-cylinder turbo or V6) models in three-door, five-door and convertible body styles. For 1997 and 1998 only, there was also a Saab 900 Talladega, after a record-breaking endurance test in 1996, on the Talladega Superspeedway. Trim levels in “S” and “SE” models varied greatly in the models although in general SE models included Automatic Climate Control (ACC), leather interiors, wood-trimmed dashboards, and 16″ wheels. Depending on market, the NG900 was available with a choice of 2.0 L or 2.3 L Saab 16-valve DOHC engines (Saab engine codes B204 and B234) in naturally aspirated or turbocharged form (2.0 L only), as well as a 2.5 L version of GM’s European 54° V6 engine. Engine management for the turbos was by Saab Trionic 5 with Direct Ignition (SDI) and Automatic Performance Control (APC), and for non-turbos by Bosch Motronic fuel injection. A distributor-operated ignition system was provided for naturally aspirated engines in some markets. In contrast to the ‘classic’ Saab 900 with its longitudinally mounted engine and front-hinged hood (bonnet), the NG900 had a more-common transversely mounted engine with rear-hinged bonnet. The ‘Sensonic’ clutch variant (available on Turbo models only) provided a manual gear lever as in a standard manual transmission car but omitted the clutch pedal in favour of electronics which could control the clutch faster than an average driver, essentially turning it into a clutchless manual transmission. When the driver started to move the gearshift, a computer-controlled microprocessor would drive an electric motor, in turn, operating a hydraulic actuator connected to the clutch master cylinder, which used hydraulic fluid, and controlled the clutch automatically. With the car in gear but stationary, the clutch was released only when the throttle was applied. If neither brake nor gas pedal was depressed, a warning tone sounded and a message flashed on the on-board display, and if no action was taken after 7 seconds, the engine was shut off. Printed in error, a “Hill Start” function for Sensonic-equipped cars (as described in the owner’s manual under “Rolling”) was intended to assist in getting underway on hills to prevent rolling forwards or backwards. However, this feature was not implemented on any production unit.  The ‘Sensonic’ clutch ceased production when the 900 model was replaced in 1998.

1995 SAAB 900 Cabrio: The convertible variant was introduced in 1995 (1994 is a continuation of the C900 line). Convertibles were produced at the Valmet plant in Finland. Convertibles were available in both “S” and “SE” trim levels.

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SAAB 900 SE Coupe Concept: this is a prototype which never made it to production.

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SAAB 9.3 Cabrio

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SAAB 9.3 Viggen: Between 1999 and 2002, Saab offered a limited edition and higher-performance version of the 9-3. The ‘Viggen’ (English: Thunderbolt) is named after the Saab 37 Viggen aircraft, and was developed by Saab with input from the Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) Group. The Viggen production car draws upon the earlier 230 bhp Saab 900 Concept Coupe that had been developed by the Saab Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) group. For Saab, the team was led by Peter Leonard and John-Gustav Gudmundsson. Only 4,600 9-3 Viggen specification cars were produced. The Viggen is powered by Saab’s 2.3 L B235R engine, running at a 9.3:1 compression ratio and fitted with Nimonic valves. Initially rated at 225 bhp, power later increased to 230 bhp on 1.0 bar (15 psi) of boost from its Mitsubishi TD04-HL15-5 turbocharger. The cars are equipped with a higher capacity intercooler, performance-tuned ECU, flow-through muffler and tip, stiffer gearbox casing and stronger output shaft, a heavy-duty clutch and pressure plate, stiffened and lowered springs with revised spring rates, firmer dampers, as well as stronger CV joints and driveshafts. The Viggen is only available with a five-speed manual transmission which features an electronic torque-sensing function to prevent damage to the gearbox. In 1999, the Viggen was the first 9-3 to use Saab’s Trionic 7 engine management system. The 2001 model year introduced a Traction Control System (TCS). The TCS was later made available in the SE line. The exterior of the Viggen features a larger rear wing that also located the radio antenna to the rear of the roof, aerodynamically designed bumpers and side skirts, model-specific 17-inch alloy wheels, and upgraded brakes. Paint options include Black, Metallic Silver, Steel Grey, Monte Carlo Yellow, Laser Red, and the exclusive Viggen ‘Lightning Blue’. The interior offers special bolstered and coloured leather seats and door cards in four colours: black with black inserts (‘Charcoal’), black with blue inserts (‘Deep Blue’), black with orange inserts (‘Flame Ochre’), and tan with tan inserts. Other interior features include a CD player with four or six-speaker, amplifier and CD-changer options, power moonroof, and what were initially Viggen-specific motorized and heated leather seats with the Viggen delta logo embossed in the backrest. The Viggen seats later became available in the Aero model (U.S. market ‘SE’ model) without the embossed Viggen logo. Some colours feature carbon-fibre interior trim, offered between 1999 and the middle of the 2001 model year. Cars built afterward came with a less expensive printed grey pattern for the dash and standard trim. Buyers of new Viggen models in the U.S. were offered two days of advanced driving instruction at Road Atlanta and an opportunity to dine with Saab USA executives from nearby Norcross, Georgia. A total of 4,600 Viggens were manufactured by Valmet Automotive in Finland until production ended in June 2002; of which 500 units were produced for the UK market. For 1999, 426 3-door Viggens were imported into the U.S.; of those 420 were blue, two were silver, two were Monte Carlo yellow, and two were black.

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1987 SAAB 90: The Saab 90 is a family car made from September 1984 to 1987. It was manufactured at a facility in Uusikaupunki (Nystad), Finland, at that time owned by a joint venture with Finnish Valmet, Saab-Valmet. The 90 was a continuation of the Saab 99 and it was basically a Saab 99 from the B-pillar forward with the rear of a Saab 900 sedan. The 90, while easier to build than the 99, was still considerably more labour-intensive than the more modern 900. When the production of the Saab 96 was completed in 1980, the head of Saab’s passenger car division, Sten Wennlo, was under intense pressure to create a new base model for the European market. Also people at Saab-Valmet were concerned about the fate of the Saab 99, as its production took place entirely in Nystad. Saab-Valmet’s first solution from 1983 was to weld the front end of a Saab 900 together with the rear end of a 99. When the product was shown to Wennlo, he stated that the principle was good, but the car became too much like the 900. Wennlo thought that the car should be done the other way around, and in March 1984 he asked Rony Lutz, who worked as an illustrator at Saab, to cut together two press images on the front of a Saab 99 and the rear of a Saab 900 sedan. The sheet metal workers at Saab-Valmet in Nystad thus welded together two bodies in the same way and only then was the car shown to Björn Envall, who was then design manager at Saab. That the name was changed from 99 to 90 was because the name would harmonize better with the Saab 900 and the then new Saab 9000. In 1985, the Saab 90 was only available as a two-door sedan and it came with the 2.0-litre Saab H engine, giving 100 PS (99 bhp). It was available with both four and a five-speed manual transmissions, with the five-speed receiving closer gearing, front and rear spoilers, and lower profile tyres. Also the transmission was changed and with the new rear end, the volume of the fuel tank increased and also the luggage compartment volume increased from 320 to 377 litres. The car got a modern rear wheel suspension which was also cheaper to manufacture. The valve seats were hardened so it could run on unleaded fuel. It also had a new starter motor, and the steering wheel was more upright than the one in the 99. In 1986 it underwent some minor cosmetic changes. It gained a radio option and side turn signals. The 4-speed model got the 5.5-inch wide rims and was fitted with modified shock absorbers. In 1987 the Zenith carburettor was altered to make it easier to start in cold weather. A limited edition Saab 90 Lumikko  was made for the Finnish market. Ten examples were made by Finnish Scan-Auto in 1985. The Lumikko received Saab’s Airflow kit, spoiler, rims from Saab 900 Aero, sunroof, center console with extra gauges, leather steering wheel, and Saab factory speakers. These models were all white, including the rims, bumpers, grille, side mirrors, spoiler, and door handles. No modifications were made under the hood. All ten 90 Lumikkos took part at Scan-Auto’s 20th anniversary celebration at Tampere in November 1985 and were part of the parade through the city. There are currently only three 90 Lumikkos in working order. All of them are owned by the Finnish Saab club. Falli ng sales meant that it was not worth the investment to catalyze the engine and 1987 was the final year for the model. The last car was built on 1 July and it was immediately dispatched to the Saab museum in Trollhättan.  In total, 25,378 Saab 90s were made. It was sold in a limited number of European countries only. The production took place only in Nystad, Finland, by Valmet Automotive. About 10,000 cars were sold in Sweden. A total of 1,154 Saab 90s were delivered and sold in the Netherlands, of which 446 in 1985, 451 in 1986 and 257 in 1987. About 600 vehicles were delivered to Germany.

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Between 1979 and 1985, Valmet also assembled Talbots; a total of 31,978 such cars were built in Finland. Valmet were only really interested in building the compact Simca-Talbot Horizon, but the French company required Valmet to also assemble the larger (and slow selling) 1307 before they would license the Horizon. Unlike Saabs, the Simca-Talbots were only meant for local consumption, although a clause in the contract allowed for the possibility of exports if parts made by the thirty local suppliers began to be exported to Talbot’s main plants. Domestic parts content increased to thirty percent within a half year of manufacture commencing.

1979 Simca 1508GT

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1985 Talbot Alpine

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1985 Talbot Solara

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1980 Talbot Horizon

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In 1992 Valmet became the sole owner, and the company was renamed Valmet Automotive in 1995. From 1999 to 2010, the sole owner was Metso, after which both Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi) and Pontos Investments bought 34% of the company’s shares. On November 4, 2010, Valmet Automotive bought Karmann’s roof-component sections in Osnabrück, Germany, and Żary, Poland. In January 2017, CATL became a 23.08% minority stakeholder in the company, the other shareholders being Pontos and Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment). Since the early 1990s, Valmet has won the contracts to build a surprising variety of different cars and examples of many of these were shown here, along with some prototypes with which they experimented.

1991 Opel Calibra: This is the first one built in Finland, by Valmet. Launched in 1989, it employed the running gear of the first generation Opel Vectra, which had been launched a year earlier in 1988. Calibra production was based in the Opel factory in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and the Valmet Automotive factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland, where production was consolidated in November 1995.  Known in Europe as the Opel Calibra and as a Vauxhall in the UK, it was also marketed as the Chevrolet Calibra in South America and the Holden Calibra in Australia and New Zealand. The Calibra was styled by GM’s designer Wayne Cherry and the German designer, Erhard Schnell. and when launched, it was the most aerodynamic production car in the world,  with a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.26. It remained the most aerodynamic mass production car for the next 10 years, until the Honda Insight, along with the Audi A2, were launched both in 1999, with a Cd of 0.25, though the more powerful 16V, V6, 4×4 and turbo models had a worse Cd of 0.29, due to changes in their cooling system, underbody, use of spoked wheels and glass detail. As a front-wheel drive coupé based on the Vectra A chassis, its ride and handling were not significantly better than that of the large family car from which it grew. The 4WD turbo version of the car, which had independent rear suspension, featured the rear axle of the Opel Omega A with some minor alterations to it. Power was initially from 2.0 litre 8-valve 115 bhp and a Cosworth designed 16-valve fuel-injected 150 bhp four-cylinder redtop petrol engines. In 1992 a turbocharged 2.0 litre 16 valve 204 bhp engine was added to the range. With four-wheel drive, a six-speed Getrag manual transmission and a claimed top speed of 152  mph, this flagship model finally gave the Calibra the dynamics to match its looks. The Turbo model was also notable for the 5-stud wheel hubs and the extreme negative camber of its rear wheels, which is apparent even from a cursory visual inspection. In 1993 a 167 hp 2.5 litre V6 (was introduced. Available with both manual and automatic transmissions, the V6 was not as fast as the Turbo, but was rather more civilised, and proved to be more reliable as car than the complex four-wheel drive model. 1995 saw the introduction of the X20XEV Ecotec engine, a new version of the classic C20XE 16-valve or “red top” engine. This marked a reduction in power from 150 bhp  to 136 bhp for the 16-valve version, although the Turbo continued with the older C20LET. Throughout the production run, several special edition models were launched. This began with the 1993 SE1, and ran through to the SE9 in 1997. These limited run editions had often unique aspects. For example, solar yellow paint on the SE2, or “Icelandic” blue on the SE6. Neither colours were found on any other Calibra. In September 1995, the Vectra A was replaced, but Calibra production continued until 1997.  During its lifetime, the Calibra was much more popular in Europe, and outsold its nearest rival, the Ford Probe, which was considered to be underpowered, and very American for most European drivers, but in the UK, it failed to outsell the Rover 200 Coupé, which offered comparable performance, but without 4WD in the top–of–the–range models.

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1993 Opel Calibra Cabrio: Valmet had the contract to build the Calibra coupe from 1991 to the end of production in 1997. Although the Coupé shape was so successful, that it was no real demand for a Calibra Cabrio, Valmet Automotive was entrusted by Opel to build fully functioning convertible Calibra prototypes, as competitors also started mid-size convertible development. Valmet Automotive built two red coloured prototypes in 1992, with the 2.0 litre, 8 valve engine. A third body was also produced for use in flexibility tests. With the convertible body, the Calibra lost the practicality of the rear seats and the boot, thus the design was not further developed. Now a red painted prototype is exhibited in the underground garage of Opel Classic at the concept car section.

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1998 Lada Samara L and GL: The VAZ-2108, known as the Lada Samara in much of Western Europe (codenamed and later officially badged as the Lada Sputnik in its native Russia), is a series of small family cars produced by Soviet/Russian vehicle manufacturer AvtoVAZ under the Lada brand between 1984 and 2013. The model name Samara originally was used only for exported models, in the Soviet Union the same model was called Sputnik (“fellow traveler”, “satellite”) until 1991, when the sedan version of the Samara entered in production, using the export name. It was the first front-wheel drive serial car built in the Soviet Union after the LuAZ-969V. The Samara had been modified and restyled during the years of production before it was finally discontinued in December 2013. The Samara was a car that combined a robust build and ease of maintenance with a modern style. It was produced in various three, four and five-door designs with 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol engines. VAZ had hoped that the Samara would enable it to compete for sales in the mainstream European car market, where the company’s traditional Fiat 124-based “Zhiguli” models were looked upon as increasingly outmoded and out of date. It was the second autonomous design from VAZ (the first was the Niva SUV), and the first model not based on the Fiat 124 mechanicals. VAZ had made their first front-wheel drive prototype, the VAZ-1101, in the early 1970s. The engine from the Fiat 127 was used. Further development of this project led to the 900 cc Ladoga three-door hatchback prototype in 1976. The decision to build the Samara was taken on 16 September 1978, the intention being to build a car with strong potential sales in Western European export markets. Proposals for a distinctive saloon, four-door, and both three- and five-door hatchback were considered; it was decided instead the saloon should share the three-door hatchback’s sheetmetal forward of the C-pillar. (Design work on the four-door went toward the VAZ-2110 instead.) During its development, VAZ designers paid careful attention to the contemporary Renault 9, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Escort Mark III, Opel Kadett, and Volvo 340, which would be the new VAZ-2108’s main competitors. Front suspension was MacPherson struts, rear by torsion bar. It also had rack and pinion steering, another Soviet first. On 31 December 1979, the first VAZ-2108 prototype was completed. It strongly resembled the earlier Ladoga, and the VAZ-1106 saloon. While named Sputnik at home, it was more commonly known as the Vos’merka (“Eighth”) after the last digit in the model code. The export version was named after the Samara River, a tributary to the Volga. The first cars left the production line on 18 December 1984. These, the three-door hatchbacks (the only model available at first), were powered by a belt-driven SOHC 1,288 cc inline-four, and were fitted with a four-speed gearbox. The three-door was joined by a five-door, and by models with 1,099 cc (a destroked version of the 1288) or 1,499 cc (a bored-out 1288) engines (The head was developed in co-operation with Porsche, though most Western observers assumed Porsche’s involvement went beyond just engines, and the carburettors in connection with Solex). In 1987, the model range was joined by the 21083, with a 71 bhp 1,499 cc engine and five-speed gearbox, and the 21081, with a 53 bhp 1,099 cc. The 1099 was an export-only variant. Top speeds were 87 mph (140 km/h) (1099), 92 mph (148 km/h) (1288) and 97 mph (156 km/h) (1499); fuel economy was 7.9 L/100 km (36 mpg‑imp; 30 mpg‑US) (1099), 9.3 L/100 km (30 mpg‑imp; 25 mpg‑US) (1288), or 9.5 L/100 km (30 mpg‑imp; 25 mpg‑US) (1499). VAZ also debuted the 2109 five-door hatchback that year, also available with the 1,099 cc, 1,288 cc, and 1,499 cc. In 1989, the 21099 saloon followed, which had a new bonnet, grille, wings, and 200 mm (7.9 in)-longer rear overhang, as well as an improved dashboard.  The 21099’s front-end styling was adopted on the 2109 in 1992 and the 2108 in 1994. A number of other minor alterations followed, including fuel-injected engines to meet emissions regulations in export markets. On the earlier Samaras the front clip had been a separate piece, surrounding the headlights. On the sedan version, the fenders go all the way up to the headlights and the lip of the bonnet dips between the headlights and meets the slimmer grille. Full production of the 21099 began in December 1990, with models 210993 (1288), 21099 (1499). The saloon, intended as a premium model compared to the hatchback, was given a distinctive branding in some export markets: Diva (Belgium), Sagona (France), Forma (Germany). Belgium also offered a locally built convertible. The 1.1 and 1.3 were eventually taken out of production, having already been withdrawn from export markets. The Samara was sold all across the world, from Australia to Canada, in most European countries and throughout the COMECON sphere. The build quality of the Samara was better than that of most Eastern European models. In most nations, versions and equipments were decided on and installed by the dealers themselves. These local varieties ranged from decals and badges to the convertible conversions offered in Belgium and Germany. The Samara was often sold under other names as well, in particular the VAZ 21099 (Samara Sedan), which was sold as the Sagona (France, Canada, and Spain), Diva (Belgium and the Netherlands), Forma (Germany) and Sable (Australia and New Zealand). It was engineered in right-hand drive for the UK market, where it was sold from November 1987. It was sold there until VAZ withdrew from the UK market in July 1997, and was the most popular Lada model sold in the UK during the 23 years that the brand was sold there. In certain markets where the tax structure benefited diesels (such as France and the Benelux), the Samara was available with a 1.5-litre Peugeot diesel engine in 1995–97. With VAZ facing financial hardships in 1996–1997, exports began coming to a halt. The Lada Samara disappeared from Canada after the 1997 model year, leaving the Niva as the only Lada sold in Canada for the 1998 model year. Exports to Australia and Great Britain ended around the same time. The biggest problem was GM’s reluctance to sell the fuel-injection kits necessary for exports, as they doubted VAZ’s ability to pay. Faced with parts shortages, tax problems, and the chaos and criminality of Russia in the mid-nineties, export efforts languished and RHD production was no longer feasible. As a partial response to this situation, a higher-quality version for the European market, the Lada EuroSamara or Samara Baltic in some markets, was assembled in Finland at the Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki. Production started in mid-1996 and ended in July 1998, with 14,000 cars made from 85 per cent Russian parts.

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Porsche Boxster: Lacking capacity to build the Boxster at their own plant in Zuffenhausen, Porsche turned to Valmet to help out, so this car merits its place on show 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 centre 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

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2012 Fisker Karma: The Fisker Karma is a luxury plug-in range-extended electric sports sedan produced by Fisker Automotive in 2012. The cars were manufactured at Valmet Automotive in Finland. The Fisker Karma was revealed at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was the first car from Fisker Automotive, a then new auto maker based in Anaheim, California, founded on September 5, 2007. Production began in July 2011, and the first two deliveries took place in the United States on July 26, 2011. In October 2011 the first Karma delivered in the UK was auctioned to benefit Pratham UK and raised a bid of £140,000 (around US$220,000). At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, Fisker showed a short wheelbase convertible version called Fisker Sunset, with the intent of series production. At the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Fisker showed a Sports Wagon version of the Karma called the Fisker Surf. Aside from the modified rear end, the Surf also received a three-dimensional honeycomb grille. According to Fisker this bodystyle had been planned from the beginning of design work on the Karma. In August 2012 Fisker announced that the Sunset and the Surf were both on hold, as the company had decided to focus on the planned mid-sized Atlantic sedan. Following the sale to Chinese company Wanxiang of assets, designs, rights to a plug-hybrid powertrain, and a manufacturing facility in Delaware, the new owners in September 2016 commenced production under the name Karma Automotive. After several announcements by Wanxiang Group that they would reintroduce an upgraded version of the Fisker Karma, it was renamed the Karma Revero and launched with booking scheduled then too. The Karma is a range-extended electric vehicle or series hybrid driven by a pair of 120 kW (161 hp) electric motors that receive power from a 20.1 kWh lithium ion battery supplied by A123 Systems and/or an engine powered generator. The battery pack runs down the center of the car, between the pairs of left-hand and right-hand seats, preventing a rear bench and seating four rather than five passengers. Once the battery is depleted, or when the driver activates the “Sport” paddle on the steering wheel, the front-mounted 260-hp, 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine powers a generator that sends electricity directly to the drive motors. The engine is sourced from General Motors. The battery can also be charged from the grid, making the vehicle a type of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The Karma’s engine is mated with a generator to provide an electrical connection to the motors and also recharge the batteries, and as such the electric motors are the only mechanical driving force connected to the wheels. However, in all-electric mode, the Karma is around half as efficient as the Chevrolet Volt. The Karma’s curb weight is 5,300 lb (2,400 kg). The Karma includes as standard a solar panelled roof manufactured by Asola Advanced and Automotive Solar Systems GmbH, a Quantum Technologies affiliate, to aid the cabin climate control system. The solar roof is capable of generating a half kilowatt-hour a day and was estimated to provide up to 4 to 5 miles (6.4–8.0 km) of additional range a week assuming continuously sunny days; however, the solar panels as delivered only recharge the 12-volt lead-acid accessory battery. The base model of the Karma features an “eco-friendly interior”, including salvaged/reclaimed lumber. Optional leather seating is available, but it will use much more of the cow hide than would customarily be found on luxury models; hides with scratches and other marks (which should not affect functionality) will be used. The EcoChic version featured a natural fabric interior with an ultra-suede dash, as part of Fisker’s ecological “animal-free” offering and with real leaf fossils embedded in door and central console glass inserts. The Karma has a warning sound system designed to alert pedestrians of its presence. The warning sound is emitted automatically and activated only when the car is traveling in all-electric mode at less than 25 mph (40 km/h). The Karma’s two electric motors produce 201 bhp each for a quoted total of 403 hp and 1,300 NM (960 lb/ft) of torque. The Karma features a 125 mph (201 km/h) top speed and is capable of reaching 60 mph (97 km/h) from a standstill in 5.9 seconds in Sport Mode according to Fisker. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official all-electric range for the Fisker Karma is 32 mi (51 km) under the agency’s five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. EPA’s estimated energy consumption is 65 kWh per 100 miles (1462 kJ/km). The total range with a full tank of gasoline and a fully charged battery is 230 miles (370 km). EPA’s official rating for combined city/highway fuel economy in all-electric mode is 52 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPG-e) (4.5 L gasoline equivalent/100 km; 62 mpg-imp gasoline equivalent). The EPA rating in gasoline-only mode is 20 mpg‑US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg‑imp). The German Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) found through independent tests that the Fisker Karma has an all-electric range of 83 km (52 mi) in stealth (all-electric) mode. TÜV found that in charge-sustaining sport mode the Karma achieves a fuel economy of 26 mpg (9.2 L/100 km). The combined fuel economy was rated at 112 MPG-e (2.1 l/100 km equivalent) and the emissions level is 51 g/km CO2. Fisker Automotive and Valmet Automotive reached agreement in 2008 to manufacture the Karma in Uusikaupunki, Finland, with the final assembly contract signed by both parties on November 13, 2008. In 2008 Fisker Automotive began accepting pre-orders in the United States, and Europe and initially scheduled sales of its Karma PHEV by the fourth quarter of 2009 in the United States, and starting in 2010 in Europe. In 2009 Henrik Fisker reported 1,300 orders for the Karma. Henrik Fisker showed the first production model Karma at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. In July 2011, Fisker stated that it had received 3,000 pre-orders and that the plug-in hybrid was sold out until early 2012. After rescheduling the Karma market launch to September 2010, and missing its target to build 70 to 100 test cars in 2010, production began in July 2011, and the two first deliveries took place in the United States during the same month. The Valmet plant in Finland began production with five cars a week. By December 2011 the production rate was 25 units a day. Production was suspended in November 2012 due to financial difficulties, with about 2,450 Karmas built since 2011. As a result of flash floods caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, 16 Karmas caught fire and another 330 units were lost when an entire shipment from Europe was flooded while being parked at Port Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminal. Deliveries to retail customers in the U.S. began in November 2011. In the United States the first vehicles were sold for US$95,900 for the basic model, and US$109,850 for the top model. In December 2011 prices were raised to US$102,000 for the base EcoStandard model, and US$116,000 for the top model, the EcoChic. Over 2,000 Karmas were delivered to customers in North America and Europe through December 2012, of which, around 200 were delivered in 2011 and approximately 1,800 in 2012. About 1,600 units were sold in the United States through December 2013. A total of 533 units were sold in Europe through December 2014. The Netherlands was the top selling European market for the Karma, with 166 units sold through June 2013. A total of 55 Karmas were sold in Switzerland through June 2013, 52 in Belgium through November 2012, and 44 in France through December 2014.

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2002 Valmet Coupe Cabriolet Concept: Based on the Volvo C70, the Valmet Coupé Convertible, first shown at the 2022 Geneva Motor Show embodies convertibles with a retractable hard top, which have awoken more and more interest among the customers. The idea of this concept was to create a convertible, which offers superb coupé-like styling when the roof is up. The innovative roof folding method offers the rear seat passengers excellent space utilisation. The Coupé Convertible is full 4-seater with spacious luggage compartment whether the roof is up or down. Furthermore, the new roof concept can be applied to cars with short rear overhang, such as hatchbacks and compact cars. The Valmet Coupé Convertible was developed and manufactured in the Technical Centre of Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki. The Coupé Convertible was the third retractable hard top concept created by Valmet Automotive. This concept is a unique car representing the specialty vehicle know-how of Valmet Automotive. The purpose is not to launch this car into production, although the concept solutions have been made series production in mind. The concept car embodies technical innovations and space solutions, which can be utilised in the future specialty vehicle projects.

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2001 Volvo C70 Hatric: The Hatric Concept Car showcased a new retractable solution developed by Valmet Automotive. It was based on the Volvo C70 Convertible and was first presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 2001.  Retractable hard tops had become more common and car manufacturers were thus increasing their offering of retractable hard top vehicles but to date, the models in the market had all been either 2-seaters or 2+2-seaters. The Valmet Automotive Hatric Concept Car is a coupe-like full 4-seater with a retractable metal roof and a spacious and practical luggage compartment. It has been designed to meet the safety and easy-to-use requirements demanded by today’s customers The three-panel retractable hard top has a simple and robust mechanism and a fully automatic operation. Good rear seat space and a spacious, fully finished luggage compartment have been accomplished by reliable and innovative solutions.

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1997 Boreal Concept: this concept was built in 1997 by Valmet to show what could be done. At the time, it was one of the first cars with a metal retractable hard-top. It made its debut at the 1997 Geneva Show.

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There were a couple of recreation garages here, showing a trio of cars in them including a 1950 VW “Type 1″

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This is a fascinating museum, well worth a visit, and Uusikaupunki itself is a pleasant, though rather small town, but the gateway to some lovely countryside. Whilst the museum displays are not ideal for the photographer, with cars being crammed in and lighting adding further challenges, this is more than offset by the treasures that are on show. As well as pretty much a complete history of SAAB (until the GM years), some rare prototypes and a number of other cars, with several surprises make this an unmissable place for any enthusiast.

The museum does not have much of a website but the core information you need to know can be found here: https://visituusikaupunki.fi/en/what-see-and-do/automobile-museum

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