Mystery Car

Our correspondent in Dublin, Mick, has kindly sent us a blurry close-up which might be a candidate for a mystery car competition.

… or not a mystery at all?

What is remarkable is that among our readers are people with the skill to recognise what this car is without having seen one in the metal for what could be years. This says something about how much visual consistency is applied at all scales of a car compared to a building, for example.

I would guess that if you pick 1% of the surface of a car and 1% of the surface of a building then the cars would be easier to identify. Another interesting point is whether a car from today is more or less easily identified from a 1% sample compared to one from, say, 1960. That’s a researchable question!

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

10 thoughts on “Mystery Car”

  1. Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé! Peugeot 504 Coupé!

  2. My guess was wrong. It was the 83-87 Five series.
    This has given me an idea though.
    Quite a car, that though. File under “attractive cars”.
    Did they have automatic transmission? The paint resembles the sort found on a 604.

    1. I agree Richard, it’s a beautiful car although the mechanic working on it didn’t think much of it! It was an auto and that 5 series is the car I thought people would think of (with that kink in the pillar and vent.)

    2. Mechanics can have a rather confined view of cars, can’t they? I doubt the 504 is especially bad mechanically but it is a visual delight. And even if Pininfarina made it, it still has Peugeot foundations.

    3. I was thinking of the earlier E12 5 Series. Coincidentally the Peugeot and BMW have the same optional automatic transmission, a ZF 3HP12.

      The 504 coupe and convertible were around for a long time -1969-83. I was surprised how few were made over the years:

      Cabriolet 4 cylindres boîte 4 : 5,848
      Cabriolet 4 cylindres boîte 5 : 1,071
      Cabriolet 4 cylindres boîte auto : 292
      Cabriolet V6 : 977
      Coupé 4 cylindres boîte manuelle : 14,583
      Coupé 4 cylindres boîte auto : 2,163
      Coupé V6 à carburateurs : 4,472
      Coupé V6 injection : 1,757

      TOTAL = 31,163

      (Figures from French Liepedia)

      Standard-Triumph managed 25,877 Stags in seven years – the V6 504 convertible and coupe are very much the French Stag, which arrived before the British on, and actually worked.

      Even if the convertible and coupe didn’t make Peugeot make much money, they gave the range an aura of glamour which was beyond price. Sergio and Big Reidland should take note, likewise Sir Ralphie Speth.

  3. It was a Pininfarina product, though? I think they liked those small runs. It probably made money for them because they hadn’t to do much more than weld a body and make a few special bits.

  4. The last one I saw of these was, of all places, in Kigali. I lived there briefly some years ago and was based near the Dutch embassy. It was an absolutely mint example and seemed to be in regular use – I imagine it belonged to one of the attachés.

    The last convertible I saw was slightly more recent – another minter, this one opposite a deserted Mirafiori Motor Village on a Milanese Sunday in August. A Nardi wheel really sets these cars off beautifully, I have found.

  5. The only part I got right was the Pininfarina connection. That vent was a bit of a motif for them.

    “Mechanics can have a rather confined view of cars, can’t they?” Yes indeed.

    Last summer, I needed a new Y branch for the rusty twin-exhaust of my 9 year old Subaru Legacy GT. The Subaru price was eyewatering, and they worried about ruining the rusty-thin flanges and clamps if they just tried to replace the one part. So off they sent me to an independent.

    Run by a well-known crusty 70 year old just like me, he screwed up his face. “Subaru turbo?”, he winced in a loud voice. “Crap!”. And reaching down to a shelf below his monitor produced a piston and connecting rod, where somehow the wrist pin had seized to both the piston and the rod, producing a welded one-piece unit. “Looks like a tuner eff-up to me, ” I said. “If it were a usual Subaru piston, at least one ring would be stuck! Do you want the business or not? Or are you suggesting I get a new car?”

    These old GM circle-track racers know no other god than a knitting needle pushrod iron Chevy V8 quiverer. His pristine 1974 yellow Firebird 455 parked by the window meant that he could at least allow another GM division to darken his doorstep. Pity it was a station wagon engine with all of 205 malaise-era horsepower when new.

    It turned out that the ruined piston and rod was from a WRX parked in the lot, owned by his youngest technician. That young man managed to undo the rusty bits on my exhaust, ruined no flanges and stripped no bolts, and 40 minutes later it was repaired for less than the half the price of the Subaru quote, as I watched in amazement. He admitted to making a mistake assembling his WRX engine, and certainly must have learned something since. Quite the no-lost-motion type. Something the pampered spare-parts-in-a-cardboard-box Subaru mechanics/parts replacers could emulate if they cared to.

    “Harumph,” grunted the oligarch as he printed up my bill. “Still rubbish.”

    I exited the place with a 6500 rpm flourish. Merely as a riposte you understand.

  6. My Italian grand father had one in Rome in the 70’s. Blu azzurro outside, blu azzurro velvet inside. Striking and fabulously 70’s. We all felt very exclusive in it when Fiat still had 75% of the market. And those diagonal back lights… just beautiful.

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