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Hino’s dino

Hino’s dino
Once upon a time, many moons ago, when dinosaurs had only just died out and when the Toyota name didn’t ring a bell with any European road user, Hino Motors of Japan decided to broaden their scope towards the old continent. The truck manufacturer chose their brand new Contessa passenger vehicle to take Europe by storm. Why not? The car was based on updated Renault mechanicals but its body came in fashionable ‘Stile Torinese’ by Giovanni Michelotti, hinting towards several other Michelotti designs which did rather well over here.

Remarkably, the Contessa was even meant to be built under a licence at a former ship yard in The Netherlands. We’re not sure if that really ever happened, though, since Hino Motors was taken over by Toyota in 1967 and the Contessa disappeared into oblivion. Just before that happened this promotional picture was taken in – we think – a park in Rotterdam with a Dutch lady waving enthusiastically towards new customers. Did they ever find her? We don't know. We’ve never seen a survivor of the Contessa in the flesh - not the sedan nor the coupe. And can only dream of the Sprint concept car…

(Text Jeroen Booij) 

Friday, 19 September 2014

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Lancia to the limit

Lancia in extremis

Sometime you come across somebody with a passion without limitations. A passion which translates into a massive collection. And as in any collection, there are some jewels, jewels which are rare. Who can tell us more about the car on the last picture ? 

(Photo by Bart 'Via Flaminia' Kleyn)


Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Best in the barn?

Better in the barn?

Let´s be honest about this car. It is easy to identify from the front angle as the design of the grille and headlights is best described as bland. Still it can be considered as well as an exotic version of a well known car, and not only due to its colour combination of gold and white. It is a Dodge Dart GL Barreiros, a mostly unknown version of the 1960s american Dodge Dart which was produced in reasonable numbers in the Barreiros factory in Madrid.

The lines of the rear end remained untouched (photo 2), but the front end (photo 3) interiors (photos 4 & 5)  and many little details were changed by the spanish designers in order to create a more modern car, with the result which you can see in the photos. Even the original 6 cylinder gas engines were substituted in some versions for a 4 cylinder diesel of own design. Not many have survived and its interest is only based on rarity.... plus in this case... the barn.

Most of the charm is provided by dust, the accumulated waste around the car and of course the well proportioned hole in the roof which allows a perfect quantity of natural light to enter. Barns and old abandoned garages are magic places for cars and sometimes create a plus for the car involved.

(Photos & text Francisco Carríon)

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Shanghai surprise set to stir up Chinese car collectors

Shanghai surprise set to stir up Chinese car collectors
With China ad nauseam being predicted as the next number one market for classic cars it really seems just a matter of time before China will host a concours d’elegance, right? Hang on, it’s already there. As a matter of fact the Bund Classic was organized in 2013 for the first time, and the second edition of what has to become a yearly event on China’s social calendar will take place next 17 to 19 October in Shanghai. An appropriate location has been found in the rather un-Chinese premises of the former British Consulate General.

So what can we expect there? Beijing Jeeps; Dongfengs; Hongqis? Clearly not - it’s about prestige here, and the event’s organization is reluctant to mention money is a driving factor: “The value of classic cars has jumped 39% in year 2013, according to the Historic Automobile Group Index (HAGI), which tracks the financial performance of 50 rare and exotic classic cars. These cars have outperformed collectibles such as gold, wine, art, stamps and coins.” Oh dear. Duesenberg and Delahayes, rare BMWs and historic Bugattis may really end up in China after all.

(Text Jeroen Booij, pictures courtesy Bund Classic /


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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The Market



Pre War Choice

1937 MG VA Tourer
Started motoring life in the Brockenhurst area: 1937 MG VA Tourer...   Go >>