A Stroll Through Zurich (and Other Places)

Visiting different places is always an opportunity to see different cars. This is obvious when going to other countries or even continents, but even a one-hour journey to the nearest bigger city can prove interesting.

Zurich, Urania Observatory

After having lived for twelve years in an Alpine setting, I know that the taste for cars here is rather conservative. You will find the most mainstream brands (which nowadays often are the ‘premium’ ones) and everything that offers cheap four wheel drive. Colour-wise, people will stick to greyscale, blue or red. When I recently had some time for a walk in Zurich, I wondered if I’d find more inspiring cars than I usually encounter on our streets. As a matter of fact, my search was rewarded.

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While far from being bright-coloured, this Audi A7 sets itself apart from its peers by a pleasant dark green. Almost black or bluish in most of the shadier parts, the sunlight turns out wonderful green highlights. I wonder how much green will be left on a cloudy day, though.

Lexus SC430

The Lexus SC430 is a car I wanted to write about since I once had it in front of me in a traffic jam. Besides the odd proportions, what struck me most was the mess of shapes at the back. Roundish, drop-shaped main light clusters (divided by an ugly straight line), elliptic side markers, rectangular fog lights and sharply cut, ‘new edge’ style reversing lights.

Is this a conglomerate of Toyota’s parts bin or a conscious decision from a designer? The example I spotted here was dusty, but at least had an unusual colour. By the way, I saw a second SC430 a few hours later. So it seems that Zurich really is a good place for odd cars.

It also is a good place for earning money. I was astonished by the amount of Porsches I saw. We ate outside a restaurant in an area notorious for its gentrification, and I saw them driving by every minute. Macan is the new Golf here. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, better opt for a flashy colour. This lady chose a bright turquoise for her 911, and it made me smile.

Turquoise 911

Ironically, the next sighting wears a numberplate of my home region. Old cars are always a good reason to pull out the camera. I also saw a bright yellow Renault 17 (with white, ‘sporty’ wheels) later that day, but the camera was buried deep in my bag by then.

An old Audi 100

The last photo isn’t from Zurich. I stumbled across this C3 in Locarno. That was the first time I saw ‘Almond Green’ on the street.

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Unlike in the photos I know, the colour didn’t look greyish, but very light, fresh and milky, a bit like pistachio ice cream without artificial colouring. Probably this impression was helped by the bright, mediterranean sun of southern Switzerland. I could imagine ordering this car in exactly this colour; it seems the most interesting one they offer. Oh, and could you also use it on the A-pillar, please?

All photos by the author

14 thoughts on “A Stroll Through Zurich (and Other Places)”

  1. The last time I saw an Audi
    like that it had the exact same
    colour and trim, in St Gallen.
    Isn’t odd how rare these cars are
    compared to Benz and BMW’s
    from the same period.

    1. It seems to me that it’s a very typical colour for Audis of that time (and for that time in general).
      And maybe it was even the same car. It’s coming from Graubünden, so St. Gallen or Zurich is about the same distance to drive.
      I don’t see many BMWs from that period, either. Mercedes are far more common, I probably see more W123s or 190s than other C6s.

    2. It occurred to me that it might be the same car. I have photos of my visit to St Gallen and out of idle curiosity I will take a look.
      Regarding the Lexus, we must agree to differ. I’d take that over other V8 2+2 CC cars of the time. The rear lamps are quite well done and Mr Build Quality was heavily involved. I’d have one of those or a Copen. There must be a dual test out there somewhere!

    3. I just thought about what other V8 CC cars there are. Not many, I guess. Mercedes SL perhaps?
      Anyway, build quality, engine and quietness must be extraordinary on this car, that’s true. Still, the looks are hard to swallow for me. A little more attention to detail would have made a huge difference at the back. And then I’m rather going for angular shapes anyway, so there is just too much roundness involved.

      Funny enough, this does not prevent me from liking the Copen – very much, indeed! It’s one of the cars I regularly look up on used car portals. But it has to be the spoiler-free, 660 ccm RHD version. I guess for a car of this size, the “cute” aspect of the round shapes is just fitting better than on a Lexus.

    4. The Audi 100 Type 43 is indeed very rare, I’m fairly sure I’ve never seen one in person. If i recall correctly, Audi started zinc-plating bodies in 1986, so the Type 43 did not benefit from it, what might explain the scarcity of the model nowadays

    5. When I last looked for Copens, they were at around 15’000 CHF for a good example. I guess prices are quite high because most cars I saw advertised seemed well-maintained and had the typical low mileages of a summer-only toy.

      Regarding the Audi 100, this car was very common around here at the time. But it’s true, very few have survived. I guess the first Audi that was considered worth keeping and collecting were the Quattros.

    6. So the Copen is a member of the little-sold but long-enduring class. There ought to have been a replacement and if Daihatsu don’t want to sell it in the EU then Suzuki could.

      About the 100: few other competitor cars from the same era had zinc icing either. My contention is that the Audi survives in smaller numbers than one might expect.

  2. Incredible, during my last visit to Zurich I saw exactly this bright blue Porsche convertible again – at least I guess it was that car; same colour, blonde lady. Does she have a lot of time to cruise around the city?

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