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As only very few of you will be aware of today - 5 December - is an important day in The Netherlands. It's when Sinterklaas is visiting all young children and giving them presensts. Sinterklaas is the father of the soem 100 years ago developed Santa Claus in anglosaxon countries.
Usually the gifts are distributed by his assistants through the chimney of their parents homes. Over recent years a political discussion has started regarding the coloured assistants which is against current opinions about racism. As you may know the Netherlands had a big role in salve trading in the distant past, a dark chapter in our national history.
So in modern appearances of Sinterklaas and his assistants, they have various colours yellow, red, white and finally the acceptable 'black' version which has dark chimney stains & stripes on their faces which is logical in view of our distribution duties.
Still changes go slow, and there are still many places where Black Piet is still being welcomed. We're not proud of this, people find it hard to say farewell to old traditions. So for the occasion please accept our apologies foir still showing a darker Piet at the steering wheel.
Photos: Lo Bour, Jaguar Daimler Club Holland
Well it will be clear to you that the hard to crack ID are not the Spanish registered nice sedans in the background. It's the supersleek race pointing it's nose almost out of the photo. Not the easiest one we can assure to you. When we first saw the picture and started to google the name among the first things we found were army tanks, made by the same man.
Just a few more hints to help you going:
The engine is from a well known brand from a meditteranean country, but the car itself is from another country.
The name of the car sounds exotic but is related to the Jaguar.
Well, we think this keeps you off the street for a few minutes. When you know the answer ( Make, Year and Type, plus whatever strictly relevant information that comes to mind), you will have a fair chance to win the PostWarClassic T-shirt. But make sure first to check the rules under 'Read More'
It's fall time and the last leaves have found their way to the ground. Time to prepare for winter. And maybe even to find your chains to be prepared for whatever the weathergods will bring. When changing tyres or mounting snow chains a Citroën DS & ID are probably the easiest cars in the world to work with.
Use the level handle to bring the car to top level, put the jack bar under the car and set the handlebar to Low. Next what the French goddess will do is lifting her shoes in style just off the ground (youtube). No wonder the DS was/is so popular with ladies. See the Australian French car forum Aussiefrogs for more.
( publicity photo Citroën S.A. )
By the mid 80's, the most original Soviet sedan, Moskvitsh, was more or less a strange artifact from the past. High and narrow and without any concessions to aerodynamics the Moskvitsh showed its strong heritage from the 1950's and 60's.
It – like its predecessors – was designed and build in Moscow by MZMA (later AZLK) industrial combinate. The design team never ceased to create fresh prototypes and improvements but almost all efforts were in vain as the Soviet economical planning bureocracy was extremely resistant to all changes.
The last major update was the model 408 in 1964. The model 412 of 1967 and the 2140 of 1976 were basically the same old 408 – only with a new aluminum engine and numerous minor visual and mechanical modifications. It would be unreasonable to claim that nothing happened during these years as the AZLK engineers tried their best to make Moskvitches to run better and to be safer to their occupants. Unfortunately the whole supply chain was not up to the task and the quality and the availability left much to desire. But as the common Soviet people had no chance to choose, Moskvitch sold well until late 70's when the considerably more modern Lada stole the spotlight. Despite numerous special versions to specific targets – like the heavy duty rural sedan with low compression engine and pick ups and sedan delivieries by arms factory IZH – time was running out.
In the middle of all stagnation, the Soviet elite played with a possibility to modify or totally renew the Moskvitsh by decadent western know-how. But the costly consultations by Raymond Loewy, Porsche Design and Citroën only left the folks at the AZLK with a even smaller budgets than before.
When the Moskvitsh 1500 was updated to a 1500 SL in 1981, the result was undeniably more contemporary and luxurious car – in details. Plastic bumpers and plenty of other plastic parts were pure 80's as was the digital clock in the dasboard. However, the quality of the human made materials was so poor that many vital parts like interior door lock handles broke all too soon. And that handsome digital clock with a timer had to be switched on and off separately as it passed the ignition lock wiring in order to maintain constant power, and time.
Model 2140's successor, the 2141 Aleko looked better but the tradition of mediocre or poor reliability stayed with it. After the collapse of the communism, days of the AZLK were numbered. Despite a co-ownership company with Renault, the gates of the giant factory complex were closed back in 2002.
The 1985 Moskvitsh shown here was among the last ones imported to Finland and one of the very few survivors. Due to fragility of many interior and exterior components and due to not too reliable mechanics, it is much easier to find a decades older Moskvitsh than one of these late versions. Despite low digits in the odometer, the current owner had to repair almost everything in it while getting it back on the road. Very limited spare reserves means very challenging ownership; Internet offers little or no help with eastern wonder like this. Fortunately, the 1,5 liter four cylinder engine has served well and is still internally in its original condition. It moves the surprisingly solid feeling car with ease on rough cobblestone streets of Helsinki and gets more attention and symphaties than many western cruisers.
Read the whole story of this car in the magazine Mobilisti
Text by Kimmo Koistinen
Pictures: Matti Ouvinen
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