Saturday, December 24, 2011

Goggomobil - more than modern 60 years ago

What you see here under a Christmas tree is a Goggomobil T 250 from around 1957. This was a very small (less than 3 meters long), light (around 415 kg) two door four seat limousine favored for its good performance, excellent handling and state of the art economy.
Mind, that this little thing could do more than 50 miles per hour, but it was more economical than a Smart today.
Now, the point I want to raise is, that with this tiny vehicle people were able to commute, to take a vacation trip with their family and to even start at hillclimbs or circuit races. It satisfied all transportation demands. Today, people buy a two ton vehicle accelerated by a 300 hp engine to basically do the same. And they wouldn't arrive much earlier with their SUV than they did with a 50ies Goggomobil. Great progress, isn't it?
Anyway, merry christmas!
P.S. If you want to know more about the Goggomobil and you read German, then here's a worthwhile article to read.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Aston Martin V12 Zagato - what a car

Aston Martin presented the V12 Zagato in Cernobbio last weekend. It was entered into the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este and won its category, the concept cars and prototypes of 2010/2011.
It's quite an impressive machine, clearly a race car. The red one will be driven by Ulrich Bez himself at the 24 hours of Nurburgring in July. Ulrich Bez told me that he is looking forward to it.
The V12 Zagato continues a tradition that had it's best time in 1960 when Zagao produced the DB4 GT Zagato, a truely iconic early super car. But today's version is impressive as well, especially when you start the engine. Its sound is amazing. Have a look at the pictures to see the elegant shape ...

Friday, April 22, 2011

What colors did you get with a Porsche 356 in 1963?

Have a look at the color card of the 1963 Porsch 356. Not a lot of choice, really. Only four colors with a metallic scheme. And 7 non metallic colors. White certainly was popular, black as well. And the campagne yellow can also be seen quite often.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Driving a 1956 Messerschmitt KR 200

This week I had the pleasure to drive a microcar called Messerschmitt KR 200 built in 1956. It looks a bit like the top of an older airplane with three wheels beneath it. You enter it by lifting the glass top. Driver and co-driver sit behind each other. The controls are a mixture of what you are used in a car (pedals, gear stick) and what you know from motocycles (steering, sequential gearbox).
It's really exciting as it feels to different to anything else I have driven. It's not fast and I didn't try to reach the 92 km/h it should be capable to do. The sound is typical two stroke single cylinder. The highlight is the view, 360 degree and to the top. It's understandable that these small cars fetch 25000 Euros at auctions these days! A more detailed report can be found here (in German language though, but with soundfiles).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Geneva Car Show 2011 - Hybrid, Electricity, and ..... ?

So, what's new at the Geneva Car Show 2011? Well, if you need the newspapers, then they claim that 170 new cars are shown by 700 exhibitors. Hmmh. What does "new" mean? I have seen lots of hybrid and semi-electrical derivatives of known cars. I have seen a number of interesting concept cars and a number of quite ugly ones too. I have seen new versions of sportscars.
So, what do I really remember after 8 hours of constant walking around and taking pictures? Yes, the BMW Vision concept car is quite impressive. The Alfa Romeo 4C concept car hopefully never makes it close to production, it's clearly not my cup of tea. I certainly will remember forever the highly attractive Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato (from 1962) at the Aston booth. It probably was the most beautiful car of the show. I was quite impressed by the Mazda 4 door saloon concept car, nice design and good presentation, really! And then the Bertone Jaguar 4 door saloon car. First I really liked the car, when I spotted it in a newspaper. But now, having seen it in the real world, I am not so sure anymore. Would the design really last well over time? I doubt it. It's too short term oriended in my eyes.
Wiesmann showed a design concept that makes you like the current designs even more. I was positively suprised when looking at the Carozzeria Touring design for a potential new Gumpert. The existing car is quite functional and beauty probably wasn't high on the criteria list, but the Touring version could make it one of the better super cars in my eyes.
Giugiaro showed a Volkswagen that makes the existing fleet of Volkswagen look quite old and outdated. Yes, that's a direction I could support! The Saab concept car makes you hungry for more, while the Lamborghini Aventador sort seems to be more of the same, no real quantum leap that I would have hoped Lamborghini could do (think Miura versus Countach). De Tomaso surprised with a comeback presenting the de Tomaso Deauville. There's a good and a bad message here: The Deauville is not pretty at all and really nothing you would dream of, the people from de Tomaso announced that they will present a new Pantera later this year, so we still can hope for better things to come. Some nice displays with old cars were shown as well, I mentioned the Aston, but there was also a Jaguary E Type from 1961, a Mercedes Simplex and a Lehner-Porsche. Too bad Renault only tried it halfway, cutting a 1961 Renault R4L in pieces ....
What would I want to buy? I honestly don't know!
More and other pictures can be found here!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ferrari F40 vs Porsche 959

In the last episode of the current Topgear series Hamster had the pleasure to drive both the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959, the mid 80ies super cars. What a wonderful movie! As usual the pictures were marvelous, but the sound track was even more exciting. Amd Richard got it right by summarizing the characteristics of the two cars. And of once he and Jeremy even agreed on what the better car was, both voted for the F40. But Richard made a good point, that the Porsche 959 actually was the car to show where the future would be, not the Ferrari. Funny, that at the end both cars apparently collapsed on the fast lap with Stig, but anyway the track was damp and ....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Does the Volkswagen XL1 stand a chance?

Volkswagen has presented the VW XL1, a car doing almost 100 km with 1 litre of diesel fuel. So yet another prototype. Let's turn the page. But stop, Volkswagen also announced that they will be producing this car in two years and everyone can buy one. Surprise! If Volkswagen really is able to produce this prototype style sports two seater then I will be putting it on my wish list. Honestly, it looks good and stylish, it has the gullwing doors I love and I can drive it to save the world. Great, isn't it? Of course it's a question of pricing too. I would not want to pay more than let's say 40'000 Euros for a car with the performance of an 80ies saloon car despite all the styling bells and wistles. But clearly this is the most advanced thing Volkswagen has presented in a decade and I will follow its progress closely

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

100 Years of Rallye Monte Carlo

100 years ago the first Rallye Monte Carlo was started. Challenges, rules and setup changed from year to year and initially it was more a reliability and regularity test than a speed race. Only in the 60ies they invented the special sections where speed was king. From time to time they invented funny rules, such as the more people you have in the car you more points you gain, or a design evaluation where Coup├ęs were more valuable than Convertibles. Most of us probably remember the times of the Mini Cooper, Alpine A110, Porsche 911, Lancia Stratos, Audi Quattro and the Group B.
On zwischengas you find an article for each year and plenty of pictures (in total more than 200) and it's quite interesting to see the winners and losers coming and going.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The beginning of speed control - Ford Thunderbird

For the 1964 Ford Thunderbird you could order a new speed selector device. Ford claimed that motorists could save up to 20% fuel and that the system would reduce driver fatigue and lessen engine and brake wear.
Well, I wonder whether this was really true. If you really want to save fuel you actually turn the speed control off. Interesting was that the system would take control as soon as you are driving with the speed you have selected with the little wheel, different to today where you have to restart the system when you are ready.
But anyway, in 1964 this system was quite an innovation as you can imagine

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Forgotten Fiberglass - great resource for research and inspiration

During the 50ies and 60ies a lot of cars and car bodies have been created using fiberglass (others may call it plastic, but it isn't really, polyester was another term). Thanks to this material even small production runs could be made profitable and much more variety was possible.
Especially the US had a strong fiberglass era, resulting into brands such as Brooks Boxer, Glasspar, Ascot, Woodill Wildfire, Irwin Lancer, Scorpion, Wasp, Edwards, Grantham Stardust, Venus, Meteor, Kurtis, Maverick Sportster, Victress, BMC Singer, Vale, Allied, Atlas, Multiplex, Bosley, Lasaetta, Chicagoan, Lightning, Rockefeller Yankee, Triplex, Hollywood Plastics, Snohomish Plastics, Almquist, Alken, Sorrell, Bangert, McCormack, La Dawri, Kellison, Byers, BoCar, Devin, LeMans Coupe to name just a few.
For people interested in these cars and components there's a great online resource: Forgotten Fiberglass. Have a look and you'll be amazed of what has been built during these years.
For German speaking people there's a summary and an interesting gallery on this era on