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French folly

We found you another little film clip that you might enjoy. It’s from ‘C'est pas parce qu'on a rien à dire qu'il faut fermer sa gueule’ or ‘It's not because we have nothing to say that we have to shut our mouths’… A French comedy of 1975 with a more than average amount of cars in it, telling the story of two lousy thugs who try to rob a safe under the Gare de l'Est in Paris. They use a tired Traction Avant to get there, which they buy from a French scrap yard. Oh – if only we could have a look at there at the time now!

Sunday, 05 November 2017

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About Tough to Crack Puzzle #170 Moretti 850 Sportiva

About Tough to Crack Puzzle #170 Moretti 850 Sportiva
There was some consternation after we awarded points to you, car puzzlers, two weeks ago. And it was all our own fault, too. We had to get used to our own new system of counting points! Anyway: It should be fine now, all is sorted, so over to last week’s puzzle. Despite the title of our quiz here, there’s no doubt this was not a very tough one. The car shown was of course Moretti’s beautiful take on the Fiat 850: the Moretti 850 Sportiva Coupe. The car was designed by Dany Brawand from Switzerland, who came from Ghia-Aigle, but spent most of his designing life at Moretti’s and who passed away in 2012. The Sportiva was presented in February 1966 at the Saloncino dell’Auto da Competizione. Production figures vary, and Steve Bousfield tackles that just right: “There seems to be some uncertainty about production numbers, some sources saying 300, but Moretti himself saying only 40.” We trust the 300 number certainly to be more accurate.

Over to the link with that other car then. Gerd Klioba: “Presented in February 1966, thus eight months before the similar looking Fiat Dino Spider. But both designs were probably derived from Pininfarina's 1965 Ferrari Dino Berlinetta Speciale. In 1969 the Sportiva's front was altered, making it look more like a Dino 246 GT.” Erler Thomas: “The Dino was shown 8 month later than the Moretti (Saloncino dell Auto da Competizione di Torino) and one could think that Moretti was first. But the Dino speciale 206 was shown earlier 1965”. Fritz Hegeman’s answer was perhaps the best here: “Folks, they´ve shrunk the Dino!?”

As for the rest, we liked Alan Spencer’s uncovering, unknown to us: “Responsible for Michelotti's designs for Moretti, Brawand was fired in late 1965 for selling his designs directly to the client.” But Marco Gastaldi deserves top points this time with an awful lot of insight information in his answer: “Born in 1934 in Vevey, Switzerland, Brawand started working at Ghia-Aigle in 1952, under Michelotti. In 1956 Michelotti moved to Turin and later Brawand joined him, learning the basics of design (he never attended a technical school). In 1959 Michelotti opened a small workshop to built his own prototypes and signed some important contracts with the big manufacturers. Brawand was part of the team, but keeping links with Moretti, selling his own projects to Moretti directly, without Michelotti's authorisation. Hence Brawand was fired and became head of Moretti development and design in 1966.” Well done Marco, you’re in the race now!

1. Gerd Klioba
2. Fritz Hegeman
3. Alan Spencer
4. Luc Ryckaert
5. Henk Visscher / Robbie Marenzie

(Pictures Jeroen Booij)


Saturday, 04 November 2017

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A Friday Lady without a lady

A Friday Lady without lady
Can we have a Friday Lady without a photograph of one for one time? Probably not, but we’re doing it nevertheless. The mighty impressive Rolls-Royce Phantom V seen above has a strong link to a fine lady that we’d like to put in today’s spotlight. It’s the Countess Mona (von) Bismarck, who owned the car in the 1960s and who toured in it through Paris traffic at the time. Pictures aplenty of her to be found. With her dog, in fashion shoots, or with men. Here is even a whole website dedicated to her. Just not with a car. So there we go.

But Mona was not your everyday Friday Lady. She was also known as The Countess of Kentucky or Mrs. Harrison Williams, after she married the American tycoon and supposedly ‘The Richest Man In America’. It was her third marriage. The later Von Bismarck name came from yet another marriage with Count Edward von Bismarck, grandson of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. And there were more to follow. In 1933, she was named ‘The Best Dressed Woman in the World’ and had become a world star in doing so. Cole Porter wrote about her in a song, Salvador Dalí famously portrayed her.

For her, back in 1963, a Rolls-Royce Phantom must have been a natural choice for a car. It’s said to be one of 92 with similar James Young body. It was auctioned once earlier, back in 1993, when purchased by ‘an elegant lady who’s being driven by her chauffeur’, or so the auctioneer writes, adding ‘Due to the increasingly restrictive traffic restrictions in the capital, the owner now decides to separate from the Rolls-Royce she liked so much’. It’s also said to always have been kept in a heated garage and only non-original items are added: air-conditioning and a telephone. It was, however, seen for sale last summer too. Now, it's up for grabs again... The estimate for a car of this calibre seems cheap. Or are we missing something?

(Words editor, picture Osenat)


Friday, 03 November 2017

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What’s wrong with the Daytona 24 hours classic? (UPDATED)

What’s wrong with the Daytona 24 hours classic?
Not this weekend, but the next one, the 24 hours of Daytona take place for classic cars. This is perhaps the American equivalent of Le Mans Classic. Or not? Have a look at the film footage that the organizers have made available. You’ll find colourful images of fast moving racing cars edited with some rocking guitar sounds, it all looks fun. But look better and you’ll notice there are hardly any spectators on those huge stands. What’s the problem? Could it be the cars themselves?

The entry list (here) shows a large number of Porsches, the majority of them not too old, with cars up until 2016 and even 2017. Then there are the classes, which seem classified somewhat odd with not so many real classics at hand. There's a sole ’66 Lotus Elan classed in between 1990s BMW M3s, a 2000 Ferrari 360 Modena and a 2009 Cayman in Group F. A lone Volvo PV544 is jammed in between 350 cubic inch McLarens, Chevys and Lolas in Group A. There have to be more classics available for this event?

UPDATE: the organisation dropped us a line: "We actually think it’s a great event. We’ve sold every ticket we were able to sell both years so far. Daytona seats 167,00+ people, the stands are empty for the actual 24 Hours of Daytona. Most of the tickets we sell are actually in the infield. Group F is an open class we utilize for our regular HSR clients whom want to do the event but their car doesn’t necessarily qualify. We like to be inclusive like that. Notable entries this year are several 962’s, March 83G that Adrian Newey designed and ran in period he’s also scheduled to drive it, a Ferrari 333SP, Saleen S7R, class winning Corvette GTLM from ‘15, LMP1 Pescarolo that Joao Barbosa will be reunited with, several R8 Audi’s and XJR Jag’s. Monterey it’s first year had 9 cars. We’re in our 3rd year. It’s been a huge success. You should come. Keep in mind in addition to the 150 Classic 24 entries we have our regular HSR run groups for another 125+ cars. Thanks for the post." And thank you for the comment!

(Words editor, picture Classic 24 Hour at Daytona)

Thursday, 02 November 2017

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