Shaking Off The Feeling of Feeling Shakey

Following the rapid arrival at a solution of the last mystery car, I have decided to try again with what I believe might be a slightly harder one.

Mystery Car

I suppose it’s fairly obvious that the view is from the rear of the car.  It’s remarkably tidy, don’t you think? As ever the solution will be along at some point in the near future and if you want a little more article then you’ll have to make do with this talking point:

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We were discussing this vehicle recently (after I saw this car, coincidentally). It’s a French registered example seen in the back lanes of Dublin 4. Notice the grey base-model bumpers and the off-white paint. It does have a rear wiper though (my 1990 205 had a black plastic grommet). There is also a rub-strip too. It also has plastic wheel covers. The interior (series 2 dash) had mid-grey checked cloth upholstery and for a change wasn’t entirely worn out. I would guess that makes it a car from the limit of the mid-series models.

This Pug is quite an ordinary car in the obvious way but also interesting (if you find this kind of automobile ethnography interesting) in that the owner has driven a nearly worthless car all the way to Ireland where a similarly low-value car might be a third of the age of this one. It is very much like bringing coal to a town famous for coal production. The indigenous equivalent of a car like this in Ireland is perhaps a 2002 Ford Fiesta or Renault Clio. Presumably this will have to be registered or scrapped.

I went to the Irish Department of Revenue website that calculates Vehicle Registration Tax and entered the details of a car like this: 1989, doors, SR model, 1.4 litre engine with 80,000 miles on the clock. The owner of this car might have to pay around 700 euros to register the car. That is somewhat of a surprise. I found some similar models for sale in Donegal for only 80o euros. Hmmm.

At least a prospective importer can estimate the fee if bringing a car to Ireland. In Denmark the fee is something of a pig in a bag: if the car you are importing is old and rare and there are none on sale in Denmark, the vehicle registration fee is a bit of a mystery. The Danish tax office won’t give a figure for a car until you give them the exact details of the one you might have your eye on and even then it’s an estimate only. What you actually pay on the day is revealed on inspection, as far as I gather.

Author: richard herriott

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

28 thoughts on “Shaking Off The Feeling of Feeling Shakey”

  1. That 205 looks like a mid range GR model which was available wirh 1.1 and 1.4 litre petrol engines as well as the 1.8 diesel. The 1.4 tu engine was the perfect match for the 205 in my opinion. The grey bumpers were a standard feature of all 205 models, including GTI’s, until mid 1990 or so. After this they changed over to the black trim – white indicator look. A 205 is a lovely car ro drive. I’ve had 4 of them and only sold my last one, a 1.4 XR, last year. Incidentally, if the car featured is a 1989 model it will qualify for the flat rate €200 VRT charge this year.

  2. My sister had a Mk1 205 GRD (five doors, relatively good equipment level with rear wiper) in exactly the same colour called ‘Gris Kandahar’ in French catalogues. For the time (1986) the car was very comfortable because its relatively big (1,750 cc/60 hp) engine made it extremely relaxing to drive and the suspension comfort was better than in many cars from a class above. The car had to go when it blew its head gasket at 385,000 kms – the new owner fixed it and drove it for another 250,000 kms.
    I remember that there was a plastic plug in the steering column cover that I simply pulled out and replaced with a rhéostat spare part to give the car adjustable instrument lighting. This plug and the pre-configured cables would be optimised away in modern cars…

    1. I’m no fan of diesel engines but the I agree that the xud engine really suited the 205. It was very relaxing to drive. The car would just plod along for mile after mile. It was a very strong engine also. It’s only real weakness was for head gasket failure at higher mileages. I ended up hitting flood water late at night in mine which hydrolocked the engine. I managed to get it started and it even got me home…

  3. BLMC 1100-1300. I see hydrolastic suspension on a sub frame and tell tale straight exhaust down the centre.

    1. The 1100/1300 was my first guess as well, for the same reasons of the Hydrolastic displacer and exhaust position, but now I’ll suggest the BMC 1800. I do like a symmetrical exhaust.

  4. As usual, I haven’t a clue about the car from a photo of its underside. Can we please instead have a photo of an obscure bodywork or trim detail so I might have a chance?!

    Regarding the import of used cars to Ireland, my partner and I investigated the feasibility of relocating (returning, in my case) to Ireland in 2017 and I seem to recall that the registration fee was waived if you had owned the car for a certain period of time (six months or a year?) before relocation to Ireland. My understanding was that the registration fee was intended to stop people buying vehicles abroad with the intention of immediately importing them to Ireland.

    1. That´s interesting. The Danish government makes no allowance. I had owned my unsaleable RHD XM for five years before moving to Denmark. I still had to pay the equivalent of VRT.
      We´ll try a mystery car from another angle soon. I had thought I had not done this format before and it amazes me they have not been mysterious at all. Or else too mysterious for most and wholly unmysterious for the cognoscentii.

  5. Richard the 1800 had the displacers forward of the suspension arm pivot point which placed them under the rear seat area.
    I can only assume the car is a hydrolastic mini as my first attempt seems to be wrong. They produced the hydro mini for a short period and I actually owned a 67 also with automatic. It was much refined over the solid rubber model in ride and also quietness with the loss of the chattering idler gear found on manual models.

    1. I read that by having the displacers ahead of the rear wheels Issigonis’s team achieved very high torsional stiffness – the loads are transmitted into, in effect, a shortened floorpan. To my eyes that displacer could be ahead of the wheel, although it’s difficult to tell where the rear wheel sits. I don’t think it’s a Mini, so I’m sticking with my guess!

  6. How about an Authi Victoria / Austin Apache ? They had the tacked-on boot, whose floor would have extended beyond the subframe of the original short tailed ADO 16, in a similar way to this picture .

    1. I believe you may be on to something as this extended tail can’t be an illusion caused by the taking lens plus I’m not happy with the bulge dropping down on the left which appears to possibly be a petrol tank, Mini tanks were inside the boot.

  7. This looks like the Ely Mews behind Baggot street. Nice little houses in that lane.
    I actually have a car-related anecdote about that lane: I nearly had a physical fight with a BMW driver that went out of his way to drive at high speed on a puddle while I was walking along the lane on a rainy Sunday afternoon a few years back. I would have accused Daniel of trying to do me in then but that was before DTW.

    1. I just realised it can’t be the Ely Mews because they’re in D2 and the article says it’s in D4. Never mind, you got a free anecdote I guess.

    1. Bill, They didn’t produce the Traveller or Pick Ups with hydrolastic however could it be a Riley or Wolseley?

    2. Didn’t know that. Thank you. The strange thing is that when you find the few restorations or chassis cutaways, the Mini hydrolastic and 1100/1300 show the displacer cells behind the trailing arm to the rear of the car. Except for one in a Mini Metro article, which is an artist’s rendering that cautions what is shown is actually a regular Mini but that they’re similar. Must be wrong, because photos of real ones show it to the rear. Despite travelling thousands of miles in a Hydrolastic Mini between West Hampstead and Wimbledon as a passenger for several years, I never bothered to look underneath.

      Perhaps it is a Hydragas Metro, or some variation of the 1800, or shudders, an Allegro. It cannot be the Maxi.

      Here’s the strange Metro link:
      http://www.bluebird-electric.net/blueplanet_ecostar/ecostar_suspension_hydrolastic_chassis_frame_car_mechanics.htm

    3. Bill you wrote it cannot be a maxi but I dont agree. I believe after studying all other possibilities that it is a Maxi.

  8. Having done a bit more research I have to retract the Maxi proposal since its hydrolastic units are mounted centrally not near the wheels as in photo.

    1. Yup, I knew about the central hydrolastic units in the rear of the Maxi. But overall, this is a bit of a delicious puzzler, isn’t it?

  9. I never noticed I think that the 205’S front wheel arch was more deconstructed and close to the 204’s with its more flowing line. In my mind the 205’s was rounder.

    1. Looking at the 205 got me thinking that I think a car’s profile view and a look around the rear-window/C-pillar/rear-wheel arch area is where the personality of a car really lies. The front end is traditionally the point of reference for the ‘face’ of a car but to me I feel like I can tell more if a car is ‘sad’, ‘happy’ or ‘angry by looking at that area. It seems more meaningful than the features on the front end, like the headlights for eyes, grille for mouth, etc….

      I first noticed it with my father’s 1980’s VW Passat. If I looked at that particular area, the car seemed to me either sad or in some sort of pain. Later on, in my kid’s brain, because of VW’s success I developped a theory that cars that looked ‘in pain’ were more likely to be successful.

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