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The last of the line (2)

The last of the line (2)
We saw a celebration earlier this week, to commemorate the fact that the last Citroen 2CV rolled off the production line on that very day. Well, here’s the next! On this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Beetle was produced. And again, it was not in its hometown (of Wolfsburg), but this time in Puebla, Mexico, where Beetle production had continued after Germany stopped in 1979. That made the humble VW world’s most produced car after it surpassed the longstanding worldwide production record of 15 million vehicles, set by Ford Motor Company’s legendary Model T between 1908 and 1927. A grand total of 21,529,464 Volkswagen Beetles was built in total.

Like the two-tone grey 2CV, the production of the last Beetle was turned into a little party. Not with a brass band, but with a Mexican mariachi band this time and plenty of press. Contrary to the 2CV we saw on Thursday, the last Beetle produced in Puebla on that day has never been road registered and resides in the Volkswagen museum since 14 years now.

(Words editor, pictures Volkswagen PR)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

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About tough to crack puzzle #163: Maserati Boomerang

About tough to crack puzzle #163: Maserati Boomerang
Last week’s puzzle car was, of course, the great Maserati Boomerang: a concept car by Giorgietto Giugiaro (under Italdesign) that was first shown in the designer’s birthplace Turin in 1971. It was Giugiaro at his Giugiaro-est. Mechanically it was a Bora, with the mid-engined 310bhp strong 4.7-litre V8, but esthetically it was different. Very different. You may see the Audi Asso di Picche and BMW Asso di Quadri in it (also Giugiaro concepts) or the Lotus Esprit, BMW M1 and DeLorean DMC12 (again all of them are Giugiaro designs), but these were all yet to come. And then there was the interior! To quote from the auctioneer’s blurb which sold the car a few years ago: “The futuristic interior though, with its unique dashboard layout where the steering wheel rotates around a stationary binnacle of radially disposed instruments, looked more appropriate for the command deck of a starship than a passenger car.”

Most remarkable of it all was that the Boomerang was – and is - fully functional and got in fact road registered later in its life. After Turin it was taken to more shows of which the ’72 Barcelona Motor Show was one. It stayed in Spain after that and ended up on the Costa del Sol in Benidorm. When a German Maserati enthusiast on holiday noticed the car there back in 1980, he took it over and restored it. The man took it to a number of shows and events and eventually sold it in 2002. The next owner decided to have the car made ready for some road use and sold it once that was carried out, sold it once more to France. It was auctioned in Paris in 2015 when it made 3,33 million euros.

We received quite some good answers to the puzzle. Herman van Oldeneel gave some extra information, that the display was like on a modern F1 car. Hugo Modderman said that we need to go to the Louwman Museum to see what it is. But John Krabbeman gave us the right solution and told us the car was now in the hands of a French collector who is actually using it. Tom McKibbin said it was sold earlier than the Paris auction; in 2005 at Pebble Beach 'for 1 millon bucks'. Other good answers came from Vincent Mahy, Bryan Weiskopf (With a good anekdote), Fried Stol(who mentioned an auction price in 2002 of $640.000), Ace Zene and Don Siemers (yes, you were on time). The winner of this week however is Alan Spencer. He had a fantastic anekdote and sent us some proof of this: 'I had the rare privilege of seeing it at the 1993 Concours Italiana (later named Concorso Italiano) in the Carmel Valley. It was displayed as part of a tribute to Giugiaro that featured about 30 cars, including my humble - though very presentable - first-generation VW Scirocco. A souvenir they were giving away was a piece of pasta ("marille") designed by Giugiaro! I still have mine, though I no longer have the Scirocco.'

Thank you all for participating. Have a good weekend!


(Pictures courtesy RM Sotheby's)

   

Saturday, 29 July 2017

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Mireille and the mystery image

Mireille and the mystery image
Trust us: it wasn’t so easy to find out the background of this most unusual picture that had been lingering in the Friday Lady files for ages. But we did. What do we see? Well, it is a strange sight to see a Rolls-Royce parked like that. And look well and you might even notice that it’s not your average (…) RR, too. This is a mid-1960s Phantom V in the long wheel based Limousine version, it seemed to us. What is it doing there? Who’s the confident looking girl? What is she wearing? Why the pose? And why all this!? 

Well, well, readers. It turns out to be the lovely French actress Mireille Darc in a bizarre scene from the absurdistic 1971 film ‘Fantasia chez les Ploucs’. And Youtube wouldn’t be Youtube if we couldn’t find it back there. Or at least bits of it. In fact, we found the actual film scene, showing Mireille in that disturbing dress, dancing on a deliciously psychedelical version of Beethoven’s 5th, the Roller in the background (caravan roped behind it), performing a striptease before falling off a roof! It’s all very, erm, different. Watch it at your own risk here.

(Words Jeroen Booij, picture Capitole Films)

Friday, 28 July 2017

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The last of the line (1)

The last of the line (1)
This week features two special celebrations of people’s cars and the first of them is the 2CV. Why? Well, the very last of them rolled off the production line on 27 July in 1990 at 16:00 precisely. Not in Levallois, France, where production had ended in 1988 but in Mangualde, Portugal, where the 2CV line continued to produce cars until that day. This as demand faded and Citroen needed to make place for other cars. Oh, and there were some environmental issues plus the poor performances in crash-tests.

Although production came off the ground from 1948 onwards, 2CV prototypes had been built before the war. We showed you some fascinating film footage of these cars recently (here). There are, of course, also moving images of that very last day of 2CV production plus the actual rolling off the line of the last car, followed by factory workers and a brass band (here). What strikes us is that a Citroen AX is right behind it. Don’t look back, look forward, it seems to say!

Since its debut in 1948, a total of 5,114,959 2CVs was produced worldwide and the last car, built today 27 years ago, resides with an enthusiast in the Alsace region today. In France after all…

(Words editor, picture l’Automobile ancienne)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

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