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Caption it: Baguette express

Caption it: Baguette express
Brilliant cars, these Renault 4s, aren't they? Rudimentary but roomy, simple but smart. And of course very French, too. As French as its drivers, no doubt. You can almost see the person who is about to drive this well-used example from his little bakery to the camping site. Little apron still on, alpino hat on the head, Gauloise on the lips. We're sure this will get many of our European readers in the mood for the summer holidays. We say for now: caption it!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

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About Tough to crack car puzzle #162: Lindner Porsche

About Tough to crack car puzzle #162: Lindner Porsche
Last week’s puzzle car is best known as the Lindner Porsche, but is also named the DDR-Porsche and the Porscheli Coupe. So what’s the story? In a very little nut shell: it was built by twin brothers Falk and Knut Reimann in Eastern Germany in the 1950s, who were students at the time. There was no way they could lay their hands on their Porsche 356 dream car, and so they started building one themselves. Base was an ex-army VW Kübelwagen that they found derelict in a forest near Berlin. A body came from DDR coachbuilder Lindner, who only got hold of a stack of Ford bonnets to do so. But still, between 1954 and 1959 they built 13 of them, not in the last place due to help from a most unexpected person: Ferry Porsche himself, who was said to be impressed with the workmanship and provided the builders with engine parts, smuggled over the border under the ‘Porscheli’ name. Eventually the twins are caught and put in prison. As we wrote last week: there’s enough to it for a book. That has been published by now.

This thanks to a Viennese barrister who found one of the cars recently and beautifully restored it, only to be reunited with Falk Reimann when finished. His twin brother Knut passed away in 2013. At the Concours d’Elegance Schloss Dyck it won the ‘Coupes & Cars of Class – Two Door Cars with Special Style 1948–1955’ class in 2016. The book about the Lindner Coupes was published in 2016 by restorer Alexander Fritz: ‘Lindner Coupé: DDR Porsche aus Dresden’.

We got a 100-points perfect answer from Don Siemers. He wrote, in 99 words exactly: “You'll get plenty of statistics on the 1954 Porscheli Lindner Coupe. Fifteen Fords gave up their hoods for this project. The technical information is fascinating. But what I found most interesting was Ferry Porsche's clandestine support for it. Smuggling parts across East German borders and assisting in the false registration is the making a good spy movie. Falk Reimann lived just long enough to oversee the restoration of the number four car. His twin brother Knut did not. The Reimann Brothers toured extensively to gauge interest in it. They loved it in Paris and Germany. Full windshield was unique.” That is just excellent, Don. Thank you and congratulations!

(Words editor, pictures Reimann/AutoBild)

Saturday, 15 July 2017

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To the master of the clean line

To the master of the clean line
Raymond Loewy, the industrial designer who was not afraid to put his mark on a car too, passed away on this day in 1986 at his home in Monte Carlo at the age of 92. He made a name with classic designs such as the Coca-Cola bottle, the Lucky Strike cigarette package, the Greyhound logo (and bus) and the US Postal Service emblem although his signature streamlined look spread to hundreds of products, from toothbrushes to the interior of the Air Force One airliner.

His relation with cars began at a young age and his first design job came in the early 1930s when he was asked to do product design at the Hupp Motor Company, giving the Hupmobile the first of his clean looks.

Loewy was an advocate of longer, lighter and more aerodynamic vehicles that would be more fuel-efficient. His ideas often clashed with those of his bosses in Detroit. But there’s no denying that his raked windscreens, built-in headlights and wheel covers set a trend that – according to some – lasts to this day. Some of his best known car designs are the 1947 Studebaker Champion, the 1953 Studebaker Starliner Coupe and of course the Studebaker Avanti. But there's quite a lot more. An unusual duo of Jaguars for example (XK140 and E-type) to an even more unusual Cadillac. Or the now well-known Lancia Loraymo and BMW 507 one-offs (the latter seen here with today’s lovely Friday Lady). If you’re a fan of his clean lines, we’d like to know: what’s your favourite Loewy design?


Friday, 14 July 2017

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The 1952 Sports Utility Vehicle by… Renault

The 1952 Sports Utility Vehicle by… Renault
Many claims have been made about the origins of the Sports Utility Vehicle. By Willys and Land Rover in the first place, with their early 1950s Jeepster and Road Rover prototype respectively, combining four-wheel drive with comforts such as a plush interior. Jeep, Chevrolet, International Harvester and even GAZ have been given the intitlement, too, at some point.

But have these people ever thought of the Renault Colorale? At the end of the 1940s Renault wanted an upmarket model and the direction in Billancourt called for a robust functional yet comfy vehicle, equally at home in the cities or the countryside, and appealing also to overseas markets in remaining parts of the French empire. With colonial and rural customers in its sights, the car was named Colorale, a mix of ‘coloniale’ and ‘rurale’. The car got the option of four-wheel drive and to attain the family look the car was given a nose that was described as a big version of that of the Renault 4. It was bigger in any sense though, with the Fregate’s two-litre four-cilinder under the bonnet. There were commercial versions as well as private ones, with the Prairie being the most popular choice. This was the ultimate family version with five doors, six side windows and foldable rear seat.

Between 1952 and 1957 some 43,000 had been manufactured, making the Colorale not the success Renault had hoped for. And although that may seem like a lot, survivors are pretty rare. Auctioneer Stanilas Machoïr is offering a Colorale for sale this weekend in Cazals (pictured above) and it seems to be a nice example. In two-tone beige and green, this is a 1953 car, which is said to need just a few touches to get it back on the road. The estimate of € 5- to 8.000 seems not too bad for such an underestimated car. In a few year’s time it may well receive the appraisal it so much deserves…

(Words editor, picture Stanilslas Machoir)
 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

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1937 Jaguar SS 100 2.5 Matching Numbers & Colour Roadster
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