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World Animal Day 2017

World Animal Day 2017
Today is World Animal Day, so give your cat or dog, fish or gecko a little pat on the back from us.

The best story we can think of combining animals and classic cars is that of the Alfa- and Maserati-dealer local to us when we were young. We spent half our youth there, washing cars and ‘helping’ with little jobs. This man had a garage full of cars and many more parts plus a little scrap yard behind and a little showroom at the front  where several beautiful cars were squeezed in somehow. One of them was an SZ ‘Coda Tronca’ in gorgeous light yellow, believed to be a prototype (was this it? Anyone knows where it could be now?). The car, at one stage, needed a new interior, and so the man had it reupholstered in leather. But, not liking the look of the brand new leather, he decided to have his two dogs stay most of the day in it. They wore out the new leather within a couple of weeks, making it look a lot better. As a youngster I found nothing strange of that, but I do remember the faces of people coming in the showroom!

Over to the 911 Targa seen here. The picture was supposedly taken in 1968 for Paris Match magazine, but we could do with some more information. Feel free to add your animal-related classic car story here. And enjoy World Animal Day 2017.

(Words Jeroen Booij, picture Paris Match magazine)

Wednesday, 04 October 2017

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Sprint Speciale at 60

Sprint Speciale at 60

Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta Sprint marked a new direction for the Milan firm on its introduction in 1954. Lightweight, nimble and stunningly beautiful, it harked back to Alfa’s golden age of sports cars in the 1920s. The aluminium 1300cc twin-cam engine was a jewel, and outside firms soon realised the potential of the baby Alfa in motor sport. Zagato’s Giulietta SZ, which wrapped the high-revving motor in an ultra-lightweight, aerodynamic skin, was an instant success both on and off the track, and Alfa bosses decided to introduce an in-house rival in an attempt to reclaim a share of the limelight.

The result, the beautiful Giulietta Sprint Speciale, was not quite what they had in mind. Built by Bertone and drawn by gifted stylist Franco Scaglione, it was too big, too heavy and too hard to place on the road to beat the Zagato cars. Almost by mistake, however, Alfa Romeo had created one of its greatest postwar road cars.

The standard Giulietta’s already superlative roadholding and poise was boosted by a partially aluminium body and a tuned engine producing 100bhp. The styling was truly breathtaking, Scaglione’s lines uncluttered by chrome addenda or even rain gutters. Only 100 examples of the original SS were built, before the styling was tweaked to raise the headlamps for homologation in the US. The Automobile magazine was lucky enough to sample one of those rare early cars, the first of a tiny handful to arrive in the UK in period, on the eve of the car’s 60th birthday. Pick up a copy of the October issue to find out what they thought.

(Photographs by Mick Walsh)

 

 

Tuesday, 03 October 2017

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This is what the full trunk of a well-loved car looked like in 1958

This is what the trunk load of a well-loved car looked like in 1958
Bonhams have a nose for one-owner cars and the 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible they will be selling today simply has to be one of the finest. 

This beautiful wood-bodied station wagon was won in a 1948 raffle. And what a prize it was! Painted in Newport Blue, with an interior of blue leather and Taupe Bedford Cord, it came equipped with a PhilCo. Model 802 Radio with concealed manual antenna fitted on the left-hand side of the cowl. And an interior heater.

The special thing about it is that it was kept exactly like it was on the day when the winner took delivery of it. He or she became a proud member of the Automobile Club of Southern California and Bonhams state that it rarely left the town of Monrovia, California where it lived from then-on. The most noted occasion that it leave California was on a cross-country run to New York City and Washington DC in 1958. By July that year it was 10 years old and had 36,310 miles on the clock, was still being pampered while use became even more sporadic. Eventually it was being stored.

The term time-warp can indeed be used for this car. Viewing it is very rewarding, says the seller, as the Chrysler retains details such as chalk marked scripts, factory approval tags and that trunk seen above, carefully filled with with spare parts, a pot of wax, period newspapers and even a denim jacket and a blanket for that chilly night in the drive-in cinema? It's absolutely lovely. See the full description here.

(Words editor, pictures Bonhams auctioneers)

Monday, 02 October 2017

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Tough to crack car puzzle #168

Tough to crack car puzzle #168
This is a car that anyone will love. It oozes 1950s character with adorable proportions and will get anyone in the mood for an adventurous road trip. Well, that’s what it does to us at least. It is a prototype, one of three believed to have been made, but by such a large motoring manufacturer, and designed by such a well-known draughtsman, that we shouldn’t give too much away here.

For that reason we also wouldn’t want to post an image of its front view either as that would immediately give away its origins. Let’s just say that the knobbly tyres are a hint to its rugged pedigree. Do you know more about its background? Why it never reached production? What happened to the trio? Then we’d love to hear from you. Write your answers in the box below and do read our rules before you do so. Have a good and warm weekend for now.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

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