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The Magazine

Happy birthday Corvette!

Happy birthday Corvette!
It doesn’t happen too often that a concept car becomes reality and it doesn’t happen all too often that a concept car becomes a big hit that lasts decades and decades. But it did happen to the Corvette that was launched on this day in 1953. The Corvette had in fact been a ‘dream car’ that was shown at GM’s travelling Motorama display at the grand Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York (this is a fascinating picture of it, click it up to see it bigger) and was such a hit there, that General Motors decided to get it ready for production.

And so, on June 30, 1953, the first production Corvette, chassis number 001, rolled from the assembly line in Flint, Michigan. Tony Kleiber, a body assembler on the line drove it off at the time. Just 300 Corvettes were built in ’53, all of them white convertibles with red interiors and black soft tops, making them the most sought after Corvette model now. The Corvette remains of course the number one American sports car. Or do you think different?

(Words editor, picture


Friday, 30 June 2017

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An Anglo-Italian rarity

An Anglo-Italian rarity
For the ‘Special Coachwork Postwar’ class at the concours Het Loo in The Netherlands (this weekend), seven cars have been entered. They are all rather high-born and posh. Think Cisitalia 202, Alfa 6C 2500 and Fiat 8V. But then there is this seldomly seen and lovely down-to-earth 1968 Innocenti C Coupe. The ‘C’ was Inno’s take on the Sprite and Midget. Innocenti of Milan had an excellent relationship with BMC in the UK and in fact made some improvements on the models they had licences for. Frontal rearrangements on BMC 1100s, clever and pretty dashboards in Mini saloons, and not to forget some gorgeous concept cars.

So how about BMC powered production models to their own design? There were a few, too. The Inno 950 Spider – an Italian version of the Sprite. And the slightly later C Coupe seen here. Powered by an 1100 A-series engine but styled by Ghia, the car was perhaps an ultimate Anglo-Italian mix. But to stress the Italian roots Innocenti only sold the car in the colours of the Italian flag: red white and green – oh Chauvinism! It was a pretty car though, with typical ultra-thin pillars and bumpers plus elegant rear fins and characteristic instrumentation. It couldn’t make it a success though. Less then 800 are believed to have been hand built, with not many survivors. A winner? We doubt it, as concours winners generally need to be very expensive, or so it seems, which this car is not. Jury, surprise us!

(Words editor, picture concours Het Loo)

Thursday, 29 June 2017

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A modernised Magnette

A modernised Magnette

There are two schools of thought when it comes to using older cars on a regular basis. Some owners like to keep things exactly as they left the factory decades ago, chalking up the limitations to ‘character’. On the other hand, some owners prefer to upgrade their cars with more modern components to make them more usable in today’s traffic. The owner of this MG ZA has taken the perhaps controversial decision to replace the ageing gearbox with a five-speed unit from a Ford Sierra. The old parts have been carefully removed and stored and the conversion is reversible, and the car is now a relaxed high-speed cruiser.

We’re sure our readers will have a strong opinion on this subject: keep it original, or modify sensibly? Let us know in the comments, and if you want to read more about this car’s restoration you can read the full story in the July issue of The Automobile, which is available from

 (Words The Automobile, photographs by Michael Ware)


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

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Hankering for a proper picnic

Hankering for a proper picnic
Whether you are American, Italian, East-European or - of course - British: we all like a good picnic. Especially when we can drive with our beloved ones in our beloved car to a remote place near the river side on a hot day and unload cold chicken and uncork a bottle of chilled wine under a tree. Yes, picnics are romantised frequently on paintings and are a favourite scene on British biscuit tins and post cards. We have all come across the work of the great Allan Fearnley at some point, haven’t we? But when you’ve had a picnic as such yourself, you’ll agree they are fantastic.

But now that the sun is out, the roadster is up and running and the strawberries and cherries are everywhere, you may well organize your own picnic. What you may not yet have though, is an elaborate picnic hamper. The one seen in Fearnley’s paintings, made from wicker or leather and offering place to measure-made plates and drinks bottles, cups and glasses, jars and cutlery plus perhaps even a kettle with burner for an après-dinner coffee. The good news is that Bonhams is offering a wide selection of them during the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the 30th. Sizes and prices vary from small and simple to large and very expensive. Think one thousand to 7 thousand pounds for the top of the range models by Asprey of Old Bond street or GW Scott & Sons. They are lot numbers 76 to 87 here.

(Words editor, pictures Pinterest)

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

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