And They Remembered the Garrison’s Granary and the Strawberry Trees

After quite a hiatus, it is time to have another focus on ashtrays. Today we admire the dainty ashtray of the 1976 Citroen CX. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This fine pair of photos has been sent to us by our Hamburg correspondent, Kris, who appears to have been inside one of the cars recently. Lucky him.

This ashtray is quite well positioned: on the top of the rear door. The chrome frame is a generous touch. I have my doubts about the crackle-finish of the flap. Why not neutral chrome too? It is a rear-hinged flip-over design and, in terms of affordance, a little unhelpful. Does one press the front or back edge to open it?  This could be quite a good place for the tray but it must be a small bowl. Citroen could have made the door a bit deeper here to allow for a more substantial ashtray.

Theme: Simca – The Road To Success!

In what very much resembles a transcript of a period road test, the celebrated motoring scribe, Archie Vicar, takes a critical gander at Simca’s 1967 rear-engined saloon. Has it been improved since 1966?

1967 Simca 1000 GLS: source

[This article first could have appeared in the Carlisle Evening Reporter, 16 March 1967. The original photos were by Douglas Land-Windermere. Due to the poor quality of the images, stock photos have been used.]

It’s all change at Simca which for good reason is one of France’s most successful manufacturers of motor cars. In these increasingly competitive times, every car producer must ceaselessly revise, update and otherwise improve their products and Simca have made some changes to their evergreen 1000 saloon so as to keep it in the race for customers which means that in order to appraise the new version, I have subjected it to a road test and present now my findings that readers may Continue reading “Theme: Simca – The Road To Success!”

Three Volumes in Three Parts: 1

Don’t meet your heroes, they say. It’s bound to lead to disappointment. After stalking the Lancia Trevi for 26 years I finally got to drive one. So, you ask, how did that work out?

1981 Lancia Trevi 2000
1981 Lancia Trevi 2000

Very well indeed, thanks: I got to satisfy my curiosity and did so without my hopes being dashed. Much like my short trip to Italy in June, this experience has got me thinking. And re-thinking.

Before getting to the drive, let us

Continue reading “Three Volumes in Three Parts: 1”

Ashtrays: 1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8

Recently I had a chance to be a passenger in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 and took the chance to see how they solved the ash problem.

1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 ashtray open
1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8 ashtray open

The ashtray is the sliding lid type, rather cleverly flush with the surrounding surface. That’s done by having the adjacent panel meeting the console exactly where the ashtray slides forward. There’s a small flange to allow the user to push the lid forward to open it. It’s probably not the world´s biggest ashtray but then again it’s a compact car, comparable in dimensions to a BMW 3 (E21 1975-1983) of the same period. It would be a bit much to Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1982 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.8”

A Photo For Christmas Day

And a very happy Christmas to our readers.

image

Here is a working car, heading the wrong way, from new to neglected. It’s getting tatty and probably won’t have a next owner. These Omegas disappeared quite rapidly after production ceased in 2004. The period reviews had an approving tone, especially with regard to ride quality.
Continue reading “A Photo For Christmas Day”

Ashtrays: 1984 -1998 Saab 9000

DTW is almost nauseously thrilled to be able to present this successor to the legendary Saab 900 ashtray.

1984-1998 Saab 9000 ashtray
1984-1998 Saab 9000 ashtray

A lot is revealed about the Saab 9000 merely by inspecting its ashtrays. The driver and front passenger can use a smoothly-actuating drawer-type unit with a capacity of nearly 200 mls. It’s very well situated and easy to open and close. In the back we find that Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1984 -1998 Saab 9000”

Ashtrays: Renault 4

We are very proud of our focus on this aspect of car design: ashtrays.

Renault 4 ashtray- closed.
Renault 4 ashtray- closed.

This one serves in a Renault 4. The quattrelle had a three decade production run; it’s not fanciful to wonder if it could have endured as long as the Defender had it been marketed as slightly separate to Renault’s modern range. Continue reading “Ashtrays: Renault 4”

Ashtrays: 2014 Toyota Avensis 1.8

Among the better features of Toyota’s large family car (now replaced) is the driver’s ashtray.

2014 Toyota Avensis ashtray, closed.
2014 Toyota Avensis ashtray, closed.

It’s well placed and a proper size. The illumination is from the side. The mechanism has a nice smoothly damped action and is a lower, horizontally hinged device.  Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2014 Toyota Avensis 1.8”

Ashtrays: 1976 Renault 30 TS V6

Just two Renault 30’s remain in Denmark. Here is the driver’s ashtray of one of them, another DTW world exclusive.

1976 Renault 30 centre console
1976 Renault 30 centre console. Careless join, isn’t it?

I may not have seen an R30 for decades. Like all Renaults these cars aren’t keepers so almost nobody has preserved them. The owner was embarrassed by the paint. This opportunity afforded me a close look at the finish, fit and materials. Having recently seen the 1975 Peugeot 604 I can see that the Renault doesn’t do things worse but differently. The ashtray is smaller than I expected; the R25 (how did the series number fall back?) had one maybe twice as large though. The position is okay; it’s a tray-type with a smooth action. If you want to see it open you need to… Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1976 Renault 30 TS V6”

Ashtrays: Triumph TR8

In the Triumph naming system, the TR numbers indicated a new body. Not the TR8.

Triumph TR8 ashtray
Triumph TR8 ashtray

The ’65-67  TR4a had a four-cylinder 2.1 litre unit. The ’67-68 TR5 had a straight six 2.5 litre unit as did the TR6 which ran to 1976. Then Triumph reverted to a 2.0 litre four with the TR7. Oddly then the TR8 name served to indicate a new engine, the Rover V8 and not a new body. But it’s the disappointing ashtray that we’re here to Continue reading “Ashtrays: Triumph TR8”

Ashtrays: 1975 Peugeot 604

A lot has been written about the car but nothing has been said about its ashtrays.

1975 Peugeot 604 dashboard
1975 Peugeot 604 dashboard: where is the ashtray?

It is with profound pleasure that DTW presents the ashtrays of the legendary 1975 Peugeot 604. What we find is that the car lives up to its reputation of all-around excellence coupled with a few idiosyncracies. We’ll be presenting a full review of the car later on this month. In the meantime let’s not focus on the ride, handling or strange driving position. What if you want to  Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1975 Peugeot 604”

Ashtrays: 1972 Fiat 130 Coupe

We can add this vehicle to the DTW collection of ashtray rarities.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are not so many of these cars hanging around and good one costs around €17,000 these days. The styling, by Paolo Martin at Pininfarina, is something of a legend. He also handled the interior, sprucing up the design based on the 130 saloon. And in turn Fiat carried these improvements back to the saloon (which already had a very fine interior). Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1972 Fiat 130 Coupe”

Ashtrays: 1972 Maserati Indy 4700

It’s nice to think that Giovanni Michelotti spent some of his creative time trying to think of a suitable ashtray for this car.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

He might have sat at his desk with samples from suppliers or he might have drawn some simple sketches and asked the artisans to run up a few prototypes. At some point Adolfo Orsi, the firm’s president, could have been invited to review the shortlist of possibilities. Perhaps he sat in the car and had a smoke Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1972 Maserati Indy 4700”

Ashtrays: 2008 Daihatsu Materia

This must be a DTW exclusive. Daihatsu offered a small-car with a tank-like demeanour.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I thought I’d like being inside this car but I didn’t. The high window-line and the cliff of dashboard coupled with the hard seats lent the car an altogether unwelcoming feeling. A casual net search showed only grey interiors. It is spacious and according to Car was quite alright if taken as an urban runabout and not a device for spirited driving. Thanks, Car, for conceding that much. They said this: “This is one of the Materia’s ace cards. It really is roomy in there, with plenty of room for four adults to Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2008 Daihatsu Materia”

Ashtrays: 1956-1967 Hillman Super Minx

The Minx name is mostly forgotten today, a legacy of the demise of its parent company, Hillman.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However, Hillman used the Minx name for nearly fifty years on three or four generations of cars. As was typical of Rootes, the Minx name had a convoluted model history of small upgrades, badge engineering and variants such as the Super Minx with moderately modified bodywork. There is an awful lot of noise to sort out to get at the core of the Minx story. As with many of the cars of the time, the exact social significance and market positioning is rather hard to parse and I suspect one could devote quite a long time to gathering period reviews to reconstruct the Minx’s place in the market.

1966 Hillman Super Minx
1966 Hillman Super Minx: source

I seldom get to sit in cars of this age, first because I am not especially drawn to these British vehicles from this time and also because they are not very common, not with the doors open anyway. When you sit inside the car you notice how hard and metallic it is, with the body dominating the trim; these days trim of exceptional depth and complexity conceals the body and it is probably hard to find a car at any price with exposed metal inside.

For the average woman or man driving in the mid 1960’s this was entirely normal and they’d need to step into a wedding car such as a Rolls to experience an interior where the metal work could not be seen and where the soft fitting were anything but vinyl, hard plastic and that especially rough carpeting that manufacturers preferred at the time.

Cutting to the chase, we find a single drawer-type ashtray for the driver and front passenger. This one slid out with a notable squeeky roughness and I can imagine that many Minx’s had nice, thick cakings of nicotine on the panel over the tray. While some cars summon up fantasies of cross-continental drives (that 130 saloon I featured some time back and a 130 coupe that is forthcoming) this one summons up drives in the rain to a new supermarket that has sprouted outside Weston-Super-Mare. The wood trim is not doing much to raise the ambience but I suppose at the time it was a pleasant touch, reminding one that one didn’t have enough money for a Wolseley or Triumph maybe?

In the back, ashtrays mounted stupidly right over the arm-rest so that you need to move your entire arm to flick the debris into the trough. So, I can’t award many marks here for hedonism or ergonomics.

I am left wondering why anybody might want to buy a car like this. There’s nothing special to look at and the engineering is what I might term Soviet British. The suspension “was independent at the front using coil springs with anti-roll bar and at the rear had leaf springs and a live axle” according to the font of all wisdom, and that is not that appealing. You can see why Rootes faded away.

Although Opel and Vauxhall offered equally uninteresting cars, they were linked to large corporations with a broader outlook so they could draw on the resources of their head office for design, engineering and marketing. Rootes was as English as Alfa Romeo was Italian; perhaps I mean Fiat. And if corny old Italian brio added some romance to Fiat’s sometimes workaday cars, stolid English practicality could do nothing for cars like this.

Triumph and Rover could offers sporting appeal or decent luxury while Hillmans churned out expedient vehicles for what I assume were not very demanding customers. We often think that modern cars are mostly bland appliances. This car shows that the car as appliance can be found further back in time than 2004.

(Note: I’m not all that au fait with the byzantine history of Rootes and its badge-engineered cars. Further clarifcation on this expected and indeed welcome. If vexed members of the Hillman Owner´s Club want to chip in, feel free).

Ashtrays: 2002 Lancia Lybra

At long last DTW has finally had a close look at the ashtray of a Lancia Lybra.

2002 Lancia Lybra centre console.
2002 Lancia Lybra centre console.

Before turning to that, I can report that the rest of the car is wholly agreeable, even if the upholstery is in dull, north European grey. It is velour and that helps. The rear ashtray is in the centre console and is of the pull-out, rear-hinged type. It looked adequate. The rear seats offer a comfortable place to spend time. If we compare it to a Ford Focus or VW Golf it is definitely more pleasant. I particularly liked the sculpting of the seats which are  invitingly formed and much more pleasing than the other two cars. The Focus 1’s seats stood out as a weak spot.  Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2002 Lancia Lybra”

Ashtrays: 1984-1995 Mercedes W-124

Eventually this one had to make an appearance. It’s been a long while since I sat in a W-124 too.

 image

Everything about the W-124 is executed to a high standard. That includes the driver’s ashtray in this quite high-spec version. That said, I recall the Renault 25 and Citroen XM’s as been deeper and wider.  Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1984-1995 Mercedes W-124”

Micropost: 1963-1969 Triumph 2500 PI

The series 2 looked better with the single-frame front end, one of Michellotti’s triumphs, if you’ll pardon the pun.

1963-1969 Triumph 2500 PI: fuel injected, straight-six, rear drive.
1963-1969 Triumph 2500 PI: fuel injected, straight-six, rear drive.

The car here still has a lot going for it: great detailing around the glasshouse and smashing proportions, power and comfort. Was it British or Italian? The Italian cars never looked so strong and the British cars seldom so imaginatively detailed. Continue reading “Micropost: 1963-1969 Triumph 2500 PI”

Ashtrays: 1972 Fiat 130 Berlina

“Dignified Italian” is how Autocar described the 130 saloon in 1972. Having had a chance to sit inside one of these cars recently, I can confirm that this actually undersells what is a remarkably lavish saloon.

1972 Fiat 130 interior
1972 Fiat 130 interior

Fiat intended the 130 to take on cars from the higher echelons of the mainstream luxury marques. Presumably this meant the middle and higher level Mercedes saloons such as the W-110 (which would have been in production when the 130 began development). As it happened the year before launch, Mercedes produced the W-114 and went on to sell nearly 2 million examples between 1968 and 1976. In about the same time, Fiat sold just 15,000 of their 130 saloons. The received wisdom is that the 130 was a failure – one of many also-rans in the executive class from this time. Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1972 Fiat 130 Berlina”

Ashtrays: 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000

The glory days of the sports saloon and smoking occurred around the late 60s to early 70s. At this time Alfa Romeo produced a car for the determined driver who also enjoyed a rush of nicotine…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Alfa Romeo 2000 berlina shown here comes with all that is necessary in a performance saloon. In addition to the five-speed gearbox (when Fords and Opels made do with four), rear-wheel drive, independent suspension and a 1,962 cc four-cylinder engine (132 bhp) the 2000 had a very-well placed and sensibly-sized flip-top ashtray for the driver and front-passenger. The rear-passengers could use bottom-hinged ashtrays placed in the lower part of the doors. This, as we have seen, is probably one of two optimum locations for the rear passengers’ ashtrays, the other being behind the console between the front seats (where there is usually room for a large receptacle). The rear ashtray of the 2000 has a thoughtfully wrought tab on which to extinguish cigarettes. It might suit cigarillos and cheroots but not a larger cigar – a half corona at a stretch. Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000”

Ashtrays: 1958 Aston Martin DB Mk3

This is almost the most exclusive ashtray yet featured. It’s the very small and rather agricultural ashtray of the Aston Martin DB Mk 3 (1958).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This ashtray is centrally located which is good. The height above the gear-lever and relative to the driver’s hip is not so good. It’s not a very deep ashtray. If you think of Fitts´s Law you see that you have a small target and the car is moving too and therefore one’s hand and the target will be jostling. I imagine these cars were littered with debris from failed attempts to dispose of ash. Any decent half-corona is going to make a real mess of this. Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1958 Aston Martin DB Mk3”

Ashtrays: 1958 Lancia Appia, Series 3

Normally DTW finds itself taking an ironic look at what passes for engineering and styling excellence: Lybras, saggy Renaults and small ad detritus. Today we look from our place in the sewer up at the stars. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And in so doing we look at a Lancia. Quite apart from the exquisite quality of the car, the engineering principles are pure pleasure to consider. The rear-wheel drive Appia has a monococque body, a one litre V4 engine and sliding pillar front suspension. All of this is there to help the driver to Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1958 Lancia Appia, Series 3”

1971 Renault 17 roadtest

In this article which resembles a period review by Archie Vicar we get some insight on the famed 1971 Renault 17 TS: “Renault´s Rosé”.

1971 Renault 15 TL: autoitalia.com
1971 Renault 15 TL: autoitalia.com

Renault put on a very pleasant shindig in Rennes so as to launch their two new cars, the Renault 15 and Renault 17. The press and I had a chance to choose from an interesting menu: roasted quail, cucumber mousse, caper puree, grilled fish (hake or salmon, I think) and boiled horse tongue with a horseradish jelly. They also fished out some of the best wines from the Regie cellar deep under Billancourt as part of their persuasive and unstinting hospitality. I particularly liked the Peyruchet dessert wine though some might judge it to be among the lesser Sauternes. I had to have a third glass to Continue reading “1971 Renault 17 roadtest”

Ashtrays: 1968 Mercedes W114 Coupe

These cars won’t keep out of the way of this site. It’s a W114 coupe ashtray, as designed by Paul Bracq.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


If you look at Bracq’s career, we see that the 1968 W114 (the six-cylinder cars) and the W115 (the four-cylinder cars) came out the year after he left Mercedes Benz. So where does this design fit in with the story of German design rationalism? How can we reconcile the fact that these cars which epitomise German design sensibilities were overseen by a French chap who trained under another French designer, the great Charbonneaux? Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1968 Mercedes W114 Coupe”

Ashtrays: 1991 Cadillac Seville STS

It’s a real pleasure to be able to present this car’s ashtray. It’s not that the ashtray is all that good it is more because…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…it’s a chance to see Cadillac’s attempt to get away from land-yachts and move in the direction of a more roadable car before it got out of hand and they forgot their values. The ashtray itself is just about alright. If you are driving then the gear-selector will be pulled rearwards and out of the way of the ashtray. If you are sitting in the car waiting and kippering yourself with cigar smoke then the relationship of the T-selector and tray is less satisfactory. As in the Citroen XM for RHD cars, you need to Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1991 Cadillac Seville STS”

Ashtrays- 1979 Ford Capri

This one is perfect: a high-mounted central drawer-type tray on a car with only 50,00 km under its wheels. As usual it’s in Silkeborg and not Aarhus.

image

The location of this ashtray is so instinctive. And this is where useless touch-screens are put instead. This is a terrible development when you see what originally occupied that space on the dashboard.
Continue reading “Ashtrays- 1979 Ford Capri”

Ashtrays: 2005 Renault Vel Satis

Having a chance to sit inside a Renault Vel Satis allowed me to check out two things.

2001 Renault Vel Satis: www.motorstown.com
2001 Renault Vel Satis: http://www.motorstown.com200

When Car magazine reviewed the Renault Vel Satis I remember being disappointed in their judgement. Stephen Bayley said it was not ugly enough and Anthony ffrench-Constant spent much of the article’s text talking about tropical parasites*. The part I remember is that ffrench-Constant criticised the rear compartment for the lack of room for feet under the front seats. Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2005 Renault Vel Satis”

Ashtrays: 2015 Mercedes B-class

Well, I think it was a 2015 Mercedes B-class but it could have been the 2005-2011 series. However, here is a clear sign that Mercedes are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to refinements.

2015 Mercedes B-class ashtray
2015 Mercedes B-class ashtray

Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2015 Mercedes B-class”

Ashtrays: 2002 Mercedes E-Class Rear Ashtray

Those were the days! 2002 and people still smoked in the back of their cars. This is how Mercedes catered to the self-medicating nicotine user.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a lot of work involved in designing and engineering one of these. Even by 2002 this was here not because anyone expected them to be used much but because it was expected, a nicety, a sign someone cared. I must report that the action of this example was not very finely damped. It sprang out with undue haste.

The Lancia Thesis has a much nicer ashtray based on a similar concept of the horizontal hinge. I don’t think this ashtray is illuminated but if anyone knows, please contact me. I think it could be bigger as well. Just saying.

World of Interiors: 1997 Volvo S70

We were discussing the merits of various car interiors recently. Here’s an example of putting the passengers’ interests high on the priority list.

Plenty of legroom and velour for everyone: 1997 Volvo S70 2.4 litre 5 cylinder.
Plenty of legroom and velour for everyone: 1997 Volvo S70 2.4 litre 5 cylinder.

In a way Volvo is or was Europe’s Buick, appealing to a certain type of middle-class buyer. The cars aren’t dynamic but are dependable and aim or aimed for comfort over style. Interestingly, Volvos as used cars never seem to end up as pimped wheels or to attract the same clientele as 15 year old BMWs and 20 year old mass-market saloons. They always remain firmly in the bosom of the bourgeoisie.  Continue reading “World of Interiors: 1997 Volvo S70”

Theme : Hybrids – Monteverdi’s Swiss-Italian-American Confection

Here I am talking about blends of nationality.

1967 Monteverdi 375S: fwallpapers.com
1967 Monteverdi 375S: fwallpapers.com

Bristol and Jensen had American engine power as did France’s Facel. The Citroen SM had Italian power. A small Swiss firm, Monteverdi, chose Italian styling and American engines for its small batches of supercars.
In 1967, Peter Monteverdi produced a supercar, the 375 S, shown at that year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Frua created the styling and a now-defunct carrosserie called Stahlbau Muttenz provided a steel tubular space frame. The name came from the power output of the 7.2 litre Chrysler engine, 375 h.p. Just eleven examples were made so it’s a bit of a rare beast. Continue reading “Theme : Hybrids – Monteverdi’s Swiss-Italian-American Confection”

Ashtrays: 1984 Opel Senator 2.5E

DTW is known to be a champion of Opel´s magnificent Senator “A”. This post scrutinises the ashtray in the rear passenger door of an 1984 Opel Senator 2.5E. Read on to see if the Opel Senator´s ashtray design was class competitive.

1984 Opel Senator 2.5 E ashtray.
1984 Opel Senator 2.5 E ashtray.

Opel used a top hinged ashtray in this context, setting it in the armrest. This seems to me not to be a very good position.You can´t lean on the armrest while the ashtray is open. So, one can hold the cigar in the other hand and risk dropping it as you move your hand over your legs to the door. Alternatively, you keep the cigar in the hand near the door and lean on the centre armrest. In that case you need to make an uncomfortable movement to bring your hand near to where your elbow needs to be. You risk dropping ash on the seat just below. The ashtray is not illuminated and remember, the car may be in motion.

Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1984 Opel Senator 2.5E”

Ashtrays: the 1980 Mercury Monarch

DTW is in the middle of preparing a consideration of the 1980 Mercury Monarch which was all but identical to the 1980 Ford Granada (the US version). It is a legendarily mediocre car, even with a 5.0 litre Windsor V-8. More on that soon. In the meantime, I thought I would fillet some of my findings and present this amuse-gueule or Häppchen: the driver´s ashtray.

1980 Mercury Monarch driver´s ashtray cover.
1980 Mercury Monarch driver´s ashtray cover.

I wondered what the very large panel next to the glove compartment was and it turned out to be the aperture for a substantial ashtray and a cigar-lighter. Alas I was not able to gauge the dimensions of the ash receptacle: 100 ml would be an estimate based on my many years of valuable research on this neglected topic. Continue reading “Ashtrays: the 1980 Mercury Monarch”

Ashtrays

Some of us smoke. Some of us don´t. Some want to smoke and can´t. All of us here drive and have ash or small coins to store somewhere. This means we all have some interest in ashtrays in cars.

1995 Buick Riviera interior
1995 Buick Riviera interior

As regular members here know, I drive an elderly Citroen. Apart from a graunchy gearchange and dangerously pointy doors, it´s the ashtray that causes me the most dissatisfaction. The ashtray is well sized and illuminated by a nice green lamp that creates a ghostly wonderland of cigar ash as I travel about the land under the cover of darkness. I´d call this a selling point.

Continue reading “Ashtrays”