Another “Triumph” for British Leyland

In what appears to be a verbatim transcript of a period review  motoring correspondent, Archie Vicar, drives the 1981 Triumph “Acclaim” saloon.

1980 Triumph “Acclaim” saloon: source

The article first appeared in The Executive Motorist, August 1981. Original photography by Griff Piddough. Due to water damage to the original material, stock photos have been used.

Many drivers will regard the Triumph Dolomite with much fondness. It was launched as the Toledo in 1965, which by my reckoning is now fifteen years ago, back when BL was known as BMC and Harold Wilson was prime minister. It is a tribute to this feisty little vehicle that only now has BL has reluctantly decided to put it out to pasture. We wish it a long and happy retirement!

To replace the Dolomite there comes a bold new design, one created in collaboration with the Honda motor company of Japan. Ringing the changes are modern front-wheel drive, a passenger door-mounted mirror and an all-alloy, twin carb overhead-cam 1.3 liter motor. Cleverly, the new car is called the “Acclaim” as it is this with which the car will certainly be greeted by one and all. Continue reading “Another “Triumph” for British Leyland”

1978 Datsun Sunny Road Test

“Datsun leaps ahead!” Archie Vicar has a look at the exciting new 1978 Datsun Sunny in what appears to be a verbatim transcript of a period review.

1978 Datsun Sunny saloon: source

The article first appeared in the South Caledonian News Inquirer, October 31, 1978. Douglas Land-Wimdermere [sic] took the original photos. Owing to the poor quality of the archive material stock photos have been used.

The Japanese marques don’t appear to give the impression of ever looking like they rest on their laurels (which, funnily, we also find in the Nissan range) so naturally enough, before we became accustomed to the old Sunny, a new Sunny has come along. And a jolly good thing too, I hear you say. For the old one had many good qualities and these have been built-upon in the new model.

Since 1975 many customers have bought the reliably-selling 120Y, making it Britain’s most popular import by a broad margin. The new Sunny takes on a refreshed guise, sporting a simpler and even more tasteful appearance. In its dark yellow paint, blacked-out front grille and its dapper wheel covers, it stood out against the dull concrete background of Worthing where Datsun have their head offices. It certainly will grace many a driveway for sure.

Being such an important car, the editor needed little persuasion when I suggested a full continental road test – and only that – would suffice to Continue reading “1978 Datsun Sunny Road Test”

1978 Citroen Visa Road Test

“Citroen’s newest car!” In what very much looks like a verbatim transcript of a period review, Archie Vicar considers Citroen’s 1978 Visa. Does it have what it takes be a proper Peugeot?

1978 Citroen Visa: source

The article first appeared in the Evening Post-Echo in November 1978. Douglas Land-Windermere provided the accompanying print photos. Due to the poor quality of the images, stock pictures have been used.

French car-firm Peugeot’s buy-up of the perennially troubled French car-firm Citroen could not have come soon enough. The new Visa is the last of Citroen’s lunatic inventions, engineered under the former rule of Michelin, surveyors of food and purveyors of tyres. It takes a good six years to devise a new car so the germ of the Visa hatched long before Peugeot could rescue Citroen from itself. That’s why Peugeot find themselves watching Citroen launch the deliberately eccentric and challengingly strange new Visa yet it is still a car with a hint of Peugeots to come.

So, how does one Continue reading “1978 Citroen Visa Road Test”

1973 Peugeot 204 Road Test

“More and more than before!” In what appears to be a period review of the Peugeot 204 by  legendary motoring critic, Archie Vicar, the car is assessed in the course of a drive in Portugal.

1973 Peugeot 204

The article first appeared in the Neath Guardian, January 12, 1973. Douglas Land-Windernere (sic) is credited with the photography.

The French do like these peculiar little cars, the English less so: 130 a month is all Peugeot can sell around here compared to 1300 Renault 12s. One doesn’t have to look hard to see why this might be. The coachwork demands concentration to behold, the price is high and the interior is Spartan. But Peugeot want to  Continue reading “1973 Peugeot 204 Road Test”

Jolly Times On Bavarian Roads!

The legendary motoring scribe Archie Vicar, takes a look at the 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi in what may be a transcription of a period review.

1972 BMW 3.0 CSi: source

The article seems to have been first published in the Clitheroe Morning Register, May 17, 1972. The original photos were by Douglas Land-Windermere. Due to the poor quality of the images stock photos have been used.

In these increasingly competitive times, it is now essential that manufacturers must offer continual improvements every year on a rolling basis. The time when a car could be launched and left unchanged for ten to twelve years are long past, except at Citroen, whose antediluvian DS goes back to 1955. With an eye to staying ahead of the pack, BMW, the specialist maker of sporting saloons, has had another stab at another revision to their slow-selling coupé, the 3.0. With its awkward appearance and lack of space, BMW need to do all they can to Continue reading “Jolly Times On Bavarian Roads!”

The Cormorant Rethinks

Much was made by Lancia of the Delta’s symbolism: change and continuity at the same time. Before it came the Lybra. Read on to see what that was like.

DTW has had a chance to rewind the years and test a 2002 Lybra SW, the Delta’s predecessor. This puts in perspective the step-backward that was the Delta and reveals a car that probably deserves a wider audience.  Continue reading “The Cormorant Rethinks”

Ashtrays: 2005 Citroen C6

Luxury isn’t what it used to be. Jean Pierre-Ploué had a good go at imbuing the 2005 Citroen C6 with some high-quality touches. However…

Citroen C6 front passenger ashtray

… all the money was spent on exotic wood and the world’s biggest plastic rear bumper. By the time he worked his way around to the upper doors there remained only enough resources for a remarkably tiny door-mounted tray. It’s not chromed either. This one is unusual in that it is not in the centre console. I had to check it was the front: it seemed so natural to have a rear passenger ashtray on the door. Presumably the same assembly works in the back too. Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2005 Citroen C6”

Ashtrays: 2002-2014 Renault Espace

This is a peculiar one. There is a very large cubby inside which are two cupholders. One of them can hold an ash-cup.

That reminds me of a perfume package.

Much about the 2002 Espace impresses, especially in the top Initiale trim. The interior is coated in leather with contrasting stitching. It creates an air of luxury that is not flouncy or over-wrought. Renault went to a fair amount of trouble to make use of the dashboard volume. Not one but two large glove boxes lurk under the dashtop. The main masses and details hang together very well indeed too. The same goes for the back seats as well. One can see that Renault put on their thinking caps when trying to provide an alternative to the big, family saloon. Yet the car is only 4.6 metres long. Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2002-2014 Renault Espace”

DTW Summer Re-Issue: 1968 Saab 99 Review

“The new Saab 99 tested. Is it more than the anti-Volvo”?

Marking the Saab 99’s 50th anniversary, we revisit this transcript where the legendary motoring writer Archie Vicar samples what is now viewed as one of the top-ten great Saabs. First published Nov 7, 2014.

Library photo
Library photo

From “Mass Motorist” Dec. 1968. Photos by Douglas Land-Windermere. Owing to the poor quality of the original images, stock photography has been used.

Introduction

When people think of Sweden and Swedish cars, they often think of Volvo who make sturdy machines capable of withstanding the horrors of the Scandinavian climate. But it’s worth remembering that Sweden has a second car maker, Saab, who also make fighter jets. Like our friends at Bristol, Saab use the experience they have gained in aerospace to Continue reading “DTW Summer Re-Issue: 1968 Saab 99 Review”

The bottom half of the glass is empty

… it’s full from the middle up. We’re talking of the 1986 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, naturally.

1986-1993 Cadillac Sedan De Ville

That’s what the photos show. However, more newsworthy is the announcement** that Joel P. is leaving his position as Ford’s European design chief to make way for Amko Leenarts, an RCA alumnus. Previously he oversaw Ford/Lincoln interiors at Dearborn. Joel P. goes back to Dearborn after a few short years to a newly created (read: not very powerful) position. That’s probably because he a) Continue reading “The bottom half of the glass is empty”

Ashtrays: 2013 BMW 760 Li

The fifth generation BMW 7 comes under scrutiny here.

2013 BMW 760 Li centre console.

Ah, the depths of my ignorance. Only a little bit of due diligence led me to discover that until the fifth generation 7er appeared in 2008, this line had McPherson struts at the front. BMW probably argued that if Lancia deemed Mackers good enough for the Trevi then they would suffice for their flagboat saloon.

Today I wish to Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2013 BMW 760 Li”

Within and Beyond

Interesting this: Wikipedia does not note the existence of the three-door estate. It does list a 2-d00r saloon, a 4 door saloon, a coupe and a five door wagon plus the enigmatic two-door van.

Mystery: Opel Rekord D

And a picture search reveals very little like this but does show the 5-door estate, and a two-door saloon in some numbers. Is this a Danish-market special? No, but it was not very widespread. Continue reading “Within and Beyond”

“All Things Considered”

In this text which is ostensibly a transcript of an authentic period review, the legendary motoring correspondent, Archie Vicar, hooks a gander at the Van Den Plas Princess 4-litre R.

1967 Van Den Plas Princess 4.0 litre: source

[The article titled “All things considered” is thought to have appeared in the Evening Post-Echo (extra edition) on March 23, 1967. Douglas Land-Windermere is credited with the photography. Due to the exceptionally poor quality of the originals, stock photos have been used.]

There can be no doubt about it but BMC is certainly in the middle of a winning streak. The Riley Kestrel, Mini Moke, Wolseley 1100/1300, Morris 1800, MGC and Austin 1800 are all in their showrooms having been launched in the recent past. Furthermore, BMC has acquired the ever-problematic Jaguar and looks set to put that ever-leaky ship on an even keel in no time at all. So, it cannot be surprising that a car like the Van Den Plas Princess 4-litre R is part of BMC’s vigorously competent team. Continue reading ““All Things Considered””

Micropost: 1995 Ford Fiesta Ashtray

From 1995 t0 2002 this was the Ford Fiesta, an evergreen staple of the supermini sector. 

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The same dashboard ended up in the Ford Puma too as well as the Mazda 121. It’s the ashtray we are interested in here, a pull-out drawer, designed to accommodate the presence or absence of the centre cubby which was not fitted in some markets. The cigar lighter is positioned in the drawer. The position is not quite optimum as the gear lever gets in the way when in 1st, 3rd and 5th gear.  Continue reading “Micropost: 1995 Ford Fiesta Ashtray”

Micropost: W-201 Mercedes 190E Driver’s Ashtray

How come the 1982 Mercedes-Benz 190E was W-201 and the 1984 200E cars were coded W-124?

Mercedes-Benz 190E

We see in this quite small car the effect of the well-evolved centre console. The ashtray is situated in an undercut of the fascia and it’s a decent sized ashtray too. The ashtray is a chromed metal item, with a cigarette lighter built into the drawer. Under that is a cubby for bit and bobs. Continue reading “Micropost: W-201 Mercedes 190E Driver’s Ashtray”

Micropost: Mercedes-Benz W-140 Rear Ashtray

This is something of a marvel, a relic from the Ulm Design School ethos at Untertuerkheim.

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This article is one of three items today which pay special regard to ashtrays.

For the 1991 W-140 rear ashtray the designers located the tray and adjusted it to the surrounding forms and materials. That meant it got a matching carpeted panel when, purely functionally, a one-piece cover in plastic might have sufficed. The Ulm attitude involved taking great care to Continue reading “Micropost: Mercedes-Benz W-140 Rear Ashtray”

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. 

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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 may have appeared in the Carlisle Evening Reporter, 16 March 1967. Original photos by Douglas Land-Windermere; due to their poor condition, stock images 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.

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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 30s 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1956-1967 Hillman Super Minx”

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.

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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…

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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: 1974 IMV1600 Super-B-Turist

Driven to write continues its determined efforts to catalogue the world’s automotive ashtrays.

1974 Renault Estafette ashtray
1974 IMV 1600 super B turist interior

You’d think the dealer would know what they were selling. You’d think maybe I’d check. The vehicle is labelled as a Renault Estafette even if it has an IMV badge on the front. The eagle-eyed Sean spotted that the car was not what I claimed it was in the original version of this post. Let’s deal with the important stuff first….
Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1974 IMV1600 Super-B-Turist”

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).

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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. 

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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

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

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.

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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…

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…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.

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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.

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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: 2014 Audi A6

I had reason to be in the back of Audi A6 the other day.

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They have rather swish taxis in Denmark, I would say. Seeing a fully functional ashtray in the door of the A6 made me raise my eyebrows and I had the time to take two slightly blurred shots of the design. I don’t much care for door mounted ashtrays. They are positioned so that you must Continue reading “Ashtrays: 2014 Audi A6”