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How this stunning SW once was an embarrassment

How this stunning SW was once an embarrassment

Snow may be a little thin on the ground where you live (all that did fall here has been melted) but not in Finland. Our friends from Automobilisti magazine report about a stunning local Jeep Wagoneer in their latest issue. And the photographs accompanying the article make you feel for a snow fight or a long forest walk with your snow boots on. They write: “Regular Jeep sales started in 1953 when Veho, a Helsinki based company, shipped the first license built Jeeps from Haifa, Israel. As part of a trade agreement Finnish companies would supply prefabricated homes to Israeli kibbutzes in exchange for Kaisers, Jeeps and Wagons. Sales were good, since the only competition came from Land Rover, and the Jeep had already established itself as the leading brand of four wheel driven cars. In 1955 the importer changed to Kansanauto Oy, but the cars still came from Israel.

The Willys Station wagon was marketed as a crossover of a car and a tractor, but most farmers wanted a real tractor to do the work at the field and a civilized sedan for driving on the public roads. In those days even regular station wagons were still regarded as commercial vehicles. For a private owner it was embarrassing to drive one, and they were usually not even accepted as taxis. Most Jeeps and Station Wagons went to government organisations and professionals – fire departments, forest industry, power companies et cetera. The car portrayed in the article was once owned by Uljas Suomalainen, a farmer and blacksmith from Masku, southwestern Finland. In the late fifties he had a two wheel drive Station Wagon. Later he bought two more for spares, or so he thought. The other one, a four wheel drive one, was entirely rust free and in better condition than his old RWD one. Now, after being test driven and photographed for Mobilisti magazine, the car was sold and driven to… The Netherlands.

(Words Jan Enqvist/Matti Ouvinen, pictures Janne Halmkrona)

Monday, 23 January 2017

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Colour correctors

Colour correctors
Just another note on the RM Sothebys sale, that took place in Arizona two days ago. We did tell you about the Tucker Torpedo that got hammered down there on Thursday. And it did make strong money, despite not having its original paint colour as well as its original interior. Looking at what else was on offer in Arizona, we noticed that some more cars had remarkable repaints. This 300 SL may have been improved in colour over its original light metallic blue. But how about this 1953 Mercedes 220 that now comes in a somewhat odd two-tone metallic paint scheme? Or this 1963 Lincoln Continental that was repainted in satin black? What is your opinion? Is only the original colour good enough, or are you allowed to improve on that?

(Words editor, pictures courtesy RM Sotheby's) 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

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About though to crack car puzzle #150: Mikasa Touring

About though to crack car puzzle #150: Mikasa Touring
Well done readers. Many of you recognized our last mystery motor as the Mikasa Touring, built in Yokohama from 1957 until 1961 by Okamura Manufacturing – which were big in… office furniture. We like our answers informative and not copied from the world wide web, and some of managed to surprise us while little is known about the vehicle in question. Fried Stol wrote: “Those rims are definitely deceiving; one might think it would be an 2cv derivative!” That’s right, Fried, and although Mikasa’s mechanicals shared its ideas with the good old 2CV (picture of the engine seen here); they are all different. Gerd Klioba: “The car's layout was inspired by the Citroen 2CV.” John Elema added: “The front-wheel drive Mikasa was the first Japanese car with an automatic 2-speed transmission and fluid torque converter. The 585 cc 4-stroke engine was an air-cooled opposite twin cylinder not unlike Citroën’s 2CV unit of that period.” But we also liked Jeffrey Vogel’s suggestion who thought of it as an Asian Berkeley! 

Survivors are as rare as it gets and as John Elema points out Okamura is still in business and has a restored coupe-version in its Tokyo showroom: “There was also a van and a 4-seater touring type MT10.” Gerd Klioba adds: “Until 1961 only a few roadsters were built, besides around 500 Mikasa Service Car station wagons.” That seems an unlikely number to us, but we’d loved to be proven wrong. Oh! Phil Seed’s accurate answer wins this week. He wrote: “The car in quiz #150 is a 1959 Mikasa Touring. It features an air-cooled twin-cylinder 600cc engine and automatic transmission / fluid torque converter. It was produced by the furniture company Okamura Manufacturing company in Tokyo. According to a Japanese website its nickname was Nokura (no clutch).” That did it!

(Words and archive picture Jeroen Booij)

Saturday, 21 January 2017

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Not your average Amphicar

Amphicar friday_lady-800
It's perhaps not exactly the time of year for a swim, but we did not want to keep you from this picture. A lovely (Friday) lady and an American licenced Amphicar - it's as good as it gets. But have a closer look to see that it can even get better. This is not your average Amphicar. Note the exposed door hinges, the extravagant tail fins and the wraparound windscreen. This may well be a prototype? Seen here again in its element - well, one of them - and with an extra lady on board. All hands on deck. You may be able to tell us more?

(Words editor, picture source: John Lloyd)

Friday, 20 January 2017

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