Into The Silences Like Mists Do Thoughts Of Her Flow

Of a little more substance than the photo earlier we have a Renault commercial van. Driven To Rrite is almost beside itself with pleasure to have a chance show this fine specimen, from about 1984-1991.

Renault Express

They named it Express for the N. European market; for German-speaking nations they badged it as the Rapid. The UK and Ireland knew it as the Renault Extra. Whatever you call it, it’s a bit of a treasure, like Opel’s Combi but smaller – the 1986 Combo “A” was Kadett-based and then Opel decided to switch it to being a Corsa derivative in 1993.

Renault Express

Very interestingly, there is the possibility of putting the Renault 5 GT engine into the Express. Has anyone thought to do that, I wonder?

And while I am in mix-and-match mood, the Renault 5 Baccara had a very nicely coloured dashboard and door-trim plus hide upholstery. Thus one could upgrade the Express from being a touch on the spartan side to being quite a limousine-cum-delivery van. Somebody must have done this already, no?

Renault 5 Baccara: source

It seems to be so obvious and easy.

I guess at the same time as one did all that with the engine and trim one could also swap that rather horrid fascia around the lamps and grille for something from the standard car.

At AutoScout today there are two Rapids for sale, from 1991 and 1995. The 1991 has a grille fascia more in keeping with the 1986 car; the 1995 has the one we see on the red vehicle. That says “facelift”. Six of this type are on sale at, all post 1990 models. I found a 1.8 litre diesel and 1.4 litre petrol. Further evidence points towards the existence of a 1.2 petrol.

Being a working car these vehicles don’t ask to be kept, do they? But going to Tunisia I found a 1986 diesel for sale. So, they do exist. I suppose people keep these things until they break terminally.

The feature vehicle in this article owes its new-found fame to the fact of it and I simultaneously being in Flensburg very recently. I didn’t take any other photos of older vehicles that day as there were none to be seen, which fact I find somewhat ominous. My last trip to the town in Spring also yielded little of automotive interest. In parallel with that my street is also not the magical source of odd cars it has been heretofore. Where are they?

Author: richard herriott

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

72 thoughts on “Into The Silences Like Mists Do Thoughts Of Her Flow”

    1. Someone I know transplanted a complete R5 Alpine drivetrain (including five-speed gearbox) and chassis into an R4 Fourgonette…

  1. Last night, while people were having fun and enjoying their saturday night I was thinking how the Hyundai Kona is called Kauai and Encino in other countries and thought that’s a lot of different names for a very recent car. I started a quick mental recap of cars using undercover names while abroad. The Express and its many names will join that list immediately.

    1. Well, for my part I was trying to reconstruct the events of four days in July 2017 on the basis of some photographs and one page of a notebook entry. We probably both need to get out more. I am working on this, I think.

    2. We all file the time as we can while waiting for death aren’t we ? 4 days is a long time though. Have you been experiencing long black outs like that before ? I hope you haven’t been on the bottle again.

  2. So. The current record is set at 3. Three names for the same car. This is so exciting it’s like a game within the game ! Any rigoriously identical cars with more than 3 names under their belt ?

    1. I´d suggest a car in the GMpire. The J-body we discussed is a strong contender but the question hinges on the definition of “identical”. In all likeliood trim varies along with tyre and suspension specs for the region of sale.

    2. I thought our winner might be lurking in one of GM’s vaults too . Although I Wouldn’t be surprised if an Asian competitor would come and snatch its crown. This needs more thoughts and research. It’s ok if they’re minor trim or suspension differences.

  3. I think I would save the effort and just buy a Baccara; it or a 5GTX is on my post-lottery list, along with a Renault 4 van.

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Stop it you and your unattainable dreams ! You’d have to win at least 800£ for that, I mean what are the odds ?

      Otherwise I think I’ve found an example with FIVE different names ! It comes from Asia as I suspected. I will keep the answer secret for now as Im still seizing the competition.

    2. I know, I know. I can afford the vehicles, it’s just somewhere decent to keep them all and maintain them that would cost. I think the most expensive on my list would be a DS, most of the rest could feature in the Festival of the Unexceptional with modest price tags to match.

      Five different names? – I think I have inadvertently come up with the same number, but it isn’t launched yet. Does that count?

  4. Good afternoon, NRJ. Regarding cars with multiple names, did you mean different model names but the same brand name on the car? The GM ‘J’ car had a number of different model names, but also under different brands, so that wouldn’t count if I understood you correctly.

    I’ll get my thinking hat on, now that I’ve digested the Sunday papers and an suffering from a severe bout of Brexititis as a result…

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Ideally same brand yes. I may have to refuse your Santana 2000 and 3000 entries. Is it written on the back ? This is one one of the most fundamental rule of the game: the name needs to be written on the back of the car.

  5. Here’s one to get the ball rolling. The original B2 Generation VW Santana was known as:

    1. Santana
    2. Santana 2000 (China)
    3. Santana 3000 (China)
    4. Santana Vista (China)
    5. Corsar (Mexico)
    6. Carat (Argrntina)

  6. Here’s another. After exhaustive research (i.e. visiting three Wikipedia pages) I have discovered that the Lada/Vaz version of the Fiat 124 was known as:

    1. Lada 2101 / VAZ 2101
    2. Lada 1200
    3. Lada 1300
    4. Lada 2102 / VAZ 2102
    5. Lada 2103 / VAZ 2103
    6. Lada 1500 (Colombia, Canada)
    7. Lada 2104 / VAZ 2104
    8. Lada 2105 / VAZ 2105
    9. Lada 2107 / VAZ 2107
    10. Lada Classic
    11. Lada Clásico (Ecuador)
    12. Lada Nova (Denmark& West Germany)
    13. Lada Kalinka (France, East Germany, Portugal, Spain)
    14. Lada Laika (Argentina& Brazil)
    15. Lada Matriuska (Venezuela)
    16. Lada Riva (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Netherlands & United Kingdom)
    17. Lada Signet (Canada)
    18. Lada Sputnik (Cuba)

  7. I realise I have cheated a bit in that, in the case of the two examples above, many of the names were used subsequently rather than contemporaneously. (What a great word, contemporaneously!)

    1. Yes sorry Daniel but I’am revoking all your Lada entries here, this is just too easy when only one number changes.

  8. ….hold on a second, all the other entries in the Lada list are the same car, even the ones without the 4 digit number ? Because in that case this could be a contender: I will have to check for sneaky changes with my assistant (ie Goggle Image)

    1. Eh? Aren’t they meant to be the same car, just with different names?

      Even taking all the numerical “names” as one, I still count ten!

    2. Yes that’s correct. Maybe the Lada is a winner. I will need to check later the veracity of your findings Daniel.

    1. I can’t see the profile for the Corsar and the Carat. Are they the same as the 2000 and 3000 above ? Because so far what I can see is TWO different cars with 4 different names. The rear lights are completely different. I thought it went without saying but they need to be all comtemporaries.

  9. Joking aside, all the VW’s above are versions of the first B2 generation Santana, which was endlessly facelifted in China, most notably with a higher boot line, hence the difference in appearance between the three China market examples with the higher boot line and the two Latin American examples with the original rear end.

    I admit that the Santana falls foul of your (unstated!) rule about contemporaries, but the Lada might still win on that basis. However, even I’m not bored/obsessive enough to check!

    I guess I’ll have to get a few more years out of my old beige anorak and slacks…

    1. Well I’am bored and excessive enough to revoke those entries Daniel. Btw, I’am making up the rules as I go along.
      With regards to your Lada entries, as mentioned earlier, the cars need to be comtemporaries so if we go by what Wiki says: “The 2101 was sold in export markets as the Lada 1200, Lada 1300, Lada 1200S and Lada 2101”

      That makes it 5 names for the Lada. A tie-up with my entry. The suspense is killing me. Adrian says he has 5 too but he hasn’t spoken yet. Maybe he’s bluffing.

  10. Regarding the Lada, all those non-numerical names were roughly contemporaneous, but none appeared on the car itself, so I’m foiled again by NRJ’s arbitrary rule making! I came across these photos of what was the model’s last hurrah:

    I’m not sure if this final facelift ever made production, but pity the poor designer charged with adding some 21st Century glamour to a car that is the very epitome of a “three-box” design. (That said, the tail light treatment on the estate on the right in the second photo is interesting.)

  11. Such a sore loser. It’s not my fault if you never win any games around here. Actually I had noticed the numericals didn’t appear at the back but I didn’t want to mention it and shoot the ambulance you know. It’s still a tie up with 5 entries each if that makes you any happier.

    Great pictures of the last Lada. Is it wrong to like it even with the modern bits added ? It all reminds me of this:

    Thank you for playing Daniel 😀

    1. LOL! That would have made a brilliant, if cheeky, advertisement for Lada.

      You’ve obviously forgotten my astounding victory in identifying the Borgward BX -something-or-other from a picture of its door panel!

      It’s quiet in here today…have we bored everyone else into a stupor?

    2. I’m not really bluffing NRJ. Although that depends on your definition of bluffing of course; and as you have already declared you are making up the rules as you go then I’ll have to await your decision.

      On ANE this morning, I noticed this
      which clearly says that Toyota, FCA, Mitsubishi, Honda and Guangzhou will all be selling the same vehicle but with their own badging. The article is clear that it will be the same vehicle, not some sort of ASX/4008/C4 Aircross sort of mixture, but the same vehicle.

      That’s it. My cards are played. I await your judgement with trepidation. Meanwhile I’ll put the kettle on.

  12. Really ?? You’ve made us wait all this time for this ? One of the first stted rules was that it had to be the same brand….otherwise that’s just a rebadging. You’re definetely not playing my next game Adrian.

    1. While I expect underhanded tactics to undermine me, the rules weren’t really that hard and I thought they were self revelatory: The Express shown above was sold under 3 names while looking virtually the same and under the same brand. There was no need to try and confuse me with Lada 210001 and what not.

      To everyone else, I do apologise for the poor-quality competitors this year and will strive to better vet next year’s contestants.

    2. Oops, was I meant to have read ALL of the rules before playing?
      I shall hang my head in suitable shame as I drink my coffee now…..

    3. Absolutely right. If can be different brands, as opposed to same brand, different model names, then we could dredge the depths of the BMC/BLMC/BL sludge.

      Morris Monaco Anybody?

    4. I mean, in my defence, I was so excited at being able to play that I just clicked on the button which said that I had read all of the terms and conditions.

  13. Just wait till Mr H pops back in, then we’ll all be in trouble for not applying ourselves to the puzzle he set us this morning.

    1. You may have avoided today´s official task but I am pleased with the results. It´s a good quiz.
      The VW Sanatana is a puzzle. What kind of sense did that all make? Imagine if BMW had a model called the 15 which was the same size as a 5 but much uglier, with the front of a 3 and a completely unrelated rear. That´d be the BMW equivalent of the Santana/Corsar mess.

  14. As I understand it, big and cheap (relatively, for a VW) was the Santana’s USP in China, it’s development cost long since amortized. Hence, it sold strongly and was the taxi of choice for many years, being strong and reliable, it’s relative primitiveness and lack of sophistication being of no importance to its target market.

    1. My post above doesnt make sense because i’ve posted it just after posting my pictures for my answer to the competition .But my post is in the moderation queue so you can’t see it now.

    2. Richard, if I recall isn’t Pajero slang somewhere in South America for someone who pleases themselves a lot?

    3. Toyota had to rename their MR2 in France to MR. With the ‘2’ it sounded too much like ‘Merde’ or ‘Merdeux’

    4. Talking about car names it reminds me of the trouble Renault was in for calling its car ‘Clio’ and ‘Megane’. There was uproar in France amongst the parents of little girls called Clio and Megane (Clio being very very rare as a name).
      They formed clubs, wrote public letters, tried to take Renault to court but to no avail.
      They argued that their child would be subjected to years of ridicule because of Renault’s decision and for that reason Renault should rename their car.
      I remember they even emphasised that these names were given to mass-produced, popular cars and not to luxurious, expensive vehicles which sounded like they would have been somehow ok if that was the case. It was awkward for Renault too as the subject was obviously brought up during interviews and you could sense that Renault was trying not to upset these people and tarnish their reputation but at the same time adamant that they will go ahead with the name.

      Which is a completely different story to this then ‘famous’ couple whose family name is Renault who WANTED to call their baby Megane and make it sound just like the car.
      The case was notorious because the state refused to accept their choice of firstname, arguing that the parents would be putting their child to years of ridicule because of her name. Now, where did I hear that before ? It’s a bit ironic when we know the same argument from the parents of Clios and Meganes was rejected by the courts.
      The case made national news, the couple was invited on talk-shows to explain their decision. It didn’t help the parents that they came across as working-class, not very well-educated people. One had a feeling the name could have been accepted without any fuss if the parents were middle or upper-class and that the whole thing was a trial against a whole class of society.

    5. With hindsight I think what makes me most uncomfortable about the whole story of the parents who wanted to call their baby Megane is that it probably only took 1 person to make the state aware of their decision and that person had a huge influence on someone’s life. Who is that person ? Someone at the register office who was in a bad mood that day or just didn’t like the look of the parents ? Some back office employee who immediately took offense at the name ? There’s no way the State itself would have noticed…..unless we count the government’s employees as THE State anyway.

      I’m in 2 minds about this: on the one hand the parent’s arguments sounded dubious and it felt like this was just a bit of fun with no regards for the social consequences of their action. On the other end it sounds somehow shocking that the State can decide what you can and can’t name your baby. Especially when the chosen name is not offensive in any way. Millions of girls are called Megane after all. The Nanny-state aspect of all this is a bit disturbing.

    6. ….And last part of my spontaneous Renault essay……:D

      I remember that the 1st generation Clio and Megane came at a time when Renault was really trying to make the car a family member in itself: from what I recall Renault was probaly the first manufacturer to refer to its models without ‘The’ in front. Everyting from the litterature to the TV advert referred to the car by their ‘firstname’ only. For example “Megane is the best family car bla… bla… bla” or “when you drive Twingo bla… bla… bla”.
      Other carmakers have followed after, I think I even caught a very recent one from a manufacturer which I forgot. I don’t think Renault does that anymore. Around the same time they released adverts that further cemented the idea of the Renault as a family member, for example I remember an advert they had in the U.K too where the Scenic was portrayed as a family pet, complete with its rear windscreen-wiper ‘tail’ wagging and all….

    7. ….Hence the choice of firstnames for Clio and Megane, Renault really wanted them to be viewed as family members in their own rights. Renault really insisted on that, it was funny how they even corrected interviewers when they referred to ‘the’ Clio or ‘the’ Megane.

  15. The 1998-2003 Suzuki Swift’s names were legion.

    This is what Liepedia comes up with:

    Suzuki Cultus Esteem
    Suzuki Forsa II (Ecuador)
    Suzuki (Forsa) Amenity (Indonesia; Hatcback)
    Suzuki (Forsa) Esteem (Indonesia; Sedan)
    Suzuki Jazz (Chile)
    Suzuki Margalla (Pakistan)
    Suzuki Swift
    Changan Suzuki Lingyang (China)
    Chevrolet Metro
    Chevrolet Sprint (Canada)
    Chevrolet Swift (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela)
    Geo Metro
    Holden Barina
    Maruti Suzuki 1000/Esteem (India)
    Pontiac Firefly
    Subaru Justy (Europe)

    I make that sixteen.

    1. What does that say about the car? Other makers sell equally banal vehicles without so much as changing a letter of the name. Golf, for example. Corolla?

    2. Hi Robertas,

      I did have a lenghty look at the Swift and its cohorts but something didn’t work, I can’t remember what, I’ve checked so many cars. Its still impressive and it could be a winner. It has to be under the same brand so that leaves out all the Chevys, Holdens, Subaru, etc…

      The suzuki 800 was a strong contender too for a while during my research.

    3. I’ve had a look at your entries Robertas and, ooh boy, where do I start ?
      Next time you should really come prepared and arm yourself with photographic evidence of your findings. Just a Pro-tip you know. And it would help me a lot too because this Swift issue is an atrocious imbroglio. I should get a medal for going through this.

      The Cultus Esteem and Forsa Esteem was the name given to a sedan and estate version while the Swift we talk about is the hatch right ?
      I cannot find any trace, written or photographic, about a Suzuki Jazz….except on wikipedia where, strangely, there is no years of production and an ‘unidentified’ tag. Could it be a mistake on the site ?
      The Margalla was a sedan-only.

      This leaves us with 4 names for 1 car I guess: Forsa, Swift, Amenity and Cultus.

      Still, a very big thank you for playing.

  16. Yes, similarly Toyota and Ford are guilty of naming issues in the past.
    I had a Pajero once, but it never caused any embarrassment

  17. I have yet to see a new Peugeot Rifter in Scotland.

    I can’t imagine the names of the Wind and Flatulence helped them any in English-speaking markets.

    1. Reminds me of the Citroen BX diesel which was named DTR in the UK and TRD everywhere else.
      They feared it would become a turd…

    2. My nephew drives a Fluence and everyone in the family refers to it as the Flatulence.

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