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Tough to crack car puzzle #163

Tough to crack car puzzle #163
This is not a car, but a detail of a car. And what a funky one! It is of course a steering wheel, but not completely as we know it. This steering wheel – or actually its boss – also houses gauges, metres, stalks and switches. Pretty clever isn’t it? But still, it didn’t catch on, and we have never seen any other car with this distinctive feature. That narrows the search down considerably, doesn’t it? We think you may well remember it if you ever came across it. Oh, and have a closer look at the script on these gauges: ‘Benzina’, ‘Press. Olio’, ‘Acqua’, ‘Temp Olio’… We’re not giving away more for now! Do indulge us with insider stories if you have them. We’re expecting plenty of answers from you. Please do click for the rules below first. And enjoy the weekend for now!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

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The Old Man And The Chrysler

The Old Man And The Chrysler
Today’s Friday Lady is Ada Rosa Alfonso. And the car behind her is not your average Chrysler New Yorker. This 1955 convertible was bought new by the late and great Ernest Hemingway but disappeared after his death. Hemingway's driver, Augustin Nuñez Gutiérrez, took it away said somebody, to hide it from the Cuban authorities who wanted it for the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, of which Alfonso happens to be the director. Or has been?

Anyway: many people, including herself, had been searching for the car, but it took until 2011 before it was found back. José Luis Herrera Sotalongo, Hemingway’s doctor, had it from 1961 to 1973 or so it turned out. Then it passed on to the doctor's son with many more owners to follow before it was found back. British travel writer Christopher P. Baker did some researches and confirmed the car’s authenticity after matching it’s serial number with the number on Hemingway’s insurance policy.

Next, Baker teamed up with American actor David Soul to get the car restored for the museum and turn the whole story into a film. A very promising promotional trailer was made in 2013 (click here). But there the trace ends, or so it seems. Baker said that ‘The convertible's bodywork will be repaired and repainted in the correct colours. Its leather upholstery will be renewed. Its 331-cubic-inch hemi V-8 will fire once more. And then it will go on display near the Pilar, where visitors can see the car and the boat and imagine a different end to the Hemingway story.” What happened? And what's more: does this car need restoration at all? What do you think?

PS: Hemingway would have been 118 years old today!

(Words editor, picture Christopher P Baker)

Friday, 21 July 2017

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Muscle car mania

Muscle car mania
If you are in for Camaros, Chevelles, Broncos, Galaxies, Shelbys, Challengers, Wranglers, Hawks, Rancheros, Bel Airs, Thunderbirds, Mustangs, Corvettes, Novas, Trans Ams, El Caminos, Cheyennes, Rivieras, Torinos, Road Runners, Chargers, Falcons, Malibus, Nomads, Impalas, Apaches, Cobras, Prowlers, Cherokees, New Yorkers, Skylarks, Eldorados, Fairlanes, Imperials, Cutlasses, Caprices, Catalinas, Darts, Rebels ad Barracudas you probably are too late. Mecum is selling a thousand (1,000, yes really) of them in Denver, Colorado today. And tomorrow, so you may get lucky if you’ve got a fast car or plane.

But those without the possibility to travel to Denver in a rush, don’t worry. Where exactly Mecum manages to find all these cars is nothing short of a miracle, but they’ll have another thousand (1,000) ready for the next auction from August 3 to 5 in Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania. Being a fan of both cars as cartoons we picked out just two favourites. First is a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner in that lovely hue of ‘Plum Crazy’. The other a 1969 Dodge Hemi Super Bee in least as smashing ‘Citron Yella’. Your favourite muscle car..?

(Words editor, image Morgan Phillips)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

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The car that can park on a postage stamp

Time for some goold old ingenuinety. This is MoBi-One, an 1100cc engined Mini based autotest vehicle created by Maurice (Morris) Bishop in 1968 that came with four wheel steering, seen here being demonstrated by Bishop: ‘It has a ten foot turning circle and can virtually park on a postage stamp’. The car has gone missing since quite some years now, with Morris Bishop looking for it for quite some time now.

Morris wrote: “Analyzing what would make a winning car I dreamed up a four wheel steering vehicle that would have an inside turning radius of approximately 4 foot. I decided to base the build on BMC 1100 mechanicals and bought a burnt out wreck. Some 6 weeks later it was ready for testing. The first few events were mainly to discover how to drive the beast. It quickly became clear that I was suffering from a lack of power, so I wrote Alec Issigonis at Longbridge Birmingham to see if he had a spare Cooper ‘S’ engine laying around. And to my surprise and delight he organized one to be sent to me via their development facility Downton Works! Two weeks later I competed and won – and never looked back I achieved a back-to-back win of the championship 1969 & 1970.” I’m sure he’d still love to find out more about the car’s current whereabouts.

(Words Jeroen Booij, video courtesy British Pathe)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

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