Something Small in Denmark

Alas this little gem is a bit too far away to take a look. All interesting cars are a long way from where I live (Aarhus). 

1977 Innocenti Mini De Tomaso: source

You can inspect the advertisement here.

This one is the special De Tomaso sports model with 72 hp from the ex-BMC 1275 A-series engine. It has some special additions such as a different bumper, a bonnet scoop and some purposeful black detailing. Continue reading “Something Small in Denmark”

Far From the Mainstream: Grecav

After a bit of a hiatus, FFTM returns with an Italian-made microcar, Grecav

1995 Grecav: source

At mobile.de the earliest Grecav is a 1995 identifed as a Mopedauto. Like all these mini-engined micro cars they cost rather a lot compared to almost any decade-old Astra/Focus/Golf class car with room for four. They belong to a captive market of people who for some reason are not able to drive a “proper” car. Continue reading “Far From the Mainstream: Grecav”

Reverting to Type

A harmless trip to the shops leads to a rare sighting of the lesser-spotted Tipo.

Tipo Berlina. Image: Car Suggest

A walk around my local retail car park in suburban Cork is a dispiriting experience at any time, even when the rain isn’t horizontal. Filled with the usual drear parade of monochrome conveyances, there is little for the eye to linger upon, or indeed for the uninfluential auto-blogger to spin an article. However, earlier in the week, I was stopped in my tracks by, of all things, a 2017-registered Fiat Tipo Sedan – the first I’ve witnessed in the wild. Continue reading “Reverting to Type”

The Accountant and the Pimp

Who says all cars are the same these days? Two so-called premium manufacturers come to very different answers to the same question. 

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One car is the epitome of crass, gimmicky style over substance. The other one is a sober piece of design that adds just the right amount of adornment for it not to appear dreary. Continue reading “The Accountant and the Pimp”

A Photo For Sunday: 1984-1991 Opel Kadett

This car is a kind of pithy comment on recent Opel news. 

1984-1991 Opel Kadett E
1984-1991 Opel Kadett E

You don’t see many around and you see even fewer Golfs and Escorts of the same period. The same goes for the other cars. My street is a nest of Astras (saloons, mostly) and I think this is a tangible riposte to the assumption that there’s something wrong, in principle, with Opel. Interestingly, or tellingly, I saw the new BMW 5 series today, Continue reading “A Photo For Sunday: 1984-1991 Opel Kadett”

Photo for Sunday – Volkswagen XL1

You’re engaged in some innocent retail therapy and then this beams down from planet Piëch.

Starship XL1. All images: Driven to Write
The car that fell to earth. XL1 amid the hatchbacks. All images: Driven to Write

As we’ve pointed out, Driven to Write never sleeps and while we don’t always get about as much as we’d like, our eyes and ears are everywhere. So while some of us are battening down hatches in windswept West Cork, others get to swan around a decidedly more temperate Marbella – a matter for which your correspondent is not bitter. Continue reading “Photo for Sunday – Volkswagen XL1”

World Cars 1984 (1): Anadol 16

In the first of a short series, I will remind readers  of what was on sale in 1984, courtesy of the much missed “World Car Guide”.

1981 Anadol 16 brochure: source
1981 Anadol 16 brochure: source

The Anadol 16 was produced in Turkey and its appearance raises intriguing questions of authorship. The roofline suggests the generation of Triumph 2500 that never arrived in 1977. The lamps and grille suggest a less-adept bit if in-house creativity. According to the guide the car is based on Reliant designs. According to whichever enthusiast (I sense a native British

Continue reading “World Cars 1984 (1): Anadol 16”

Nissan March Bolero

While the Irish car market is characterised by quite pronounced conservatism, there is a mad streak in there. There are people who buy cars like this:

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Most of it is a Nissan Micra but it has a different grille and bumper. The rear and side are much the same as the Micra. It has a 1.2 litre, 4-cylinder engine and as such is stock Micra.  Continue reading “Nissan March Bolero”

Automotive Mayfly

This isn’t much of a Photo for Saturday** more of blue car by the side of the road. What is it?

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It’s a very Was Then sort of car. From 2006 to 2008 BMW made this car in Regensburg. It’s a variant of the E85 Z4 which had a longer life. The Z4M had one engine, a 3.2 litre six cylinder unit and a six speed ‘box. In some ways you could call it an M3 wearing Z4 clothes. If you want a historical reference, it has the same relation to the Z4 as the Triumph GT6 to the mainstream Spitfire. It’s the kind of car that used to be quite common, a pure sports car which is now rather a freak. Continue reading “Automotive Mayfly”

Everything You Know Is Wrong

While the mainstream UK motoring press likes to pretend it tells it like it is, they often don´t.

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Dented and unloved. 2002 Nissan QX 3.0

The 1995 Nissan QX served as a butt of jokes at Car magazine who reminded us ironically that “it exists“. Autocar took a more charitable view, summing it up as a superbly built revelation on the road. Apart from this this, the QX is quite forgotten. Not by me for whom these kinds of neglected cars are some kind of mild obsession. I suppose it’s the fact the press told us not to bother that makes me want to know what it is that we must ignore.  Continue reading “Everything You Know Is Wrong”

Convergences

About 15 years ago design rationalism enjoyed one of its occasional bouts of popularity. In a few cases the appliance of simple rules to simple shapes led to similar conclusions.

2004 Ford Fusion
2004 Ford Fusion: three sharp corners, neat work.

What we should be noticing in this slide show is the relation of the wing to the bumper and the treatment of the grille and bonnet. I noticed this originally because around about that time I occupied myself with a lamp design and without noticing how others did it arrived at something that looked very like the Fusion’s lamp.
Continue reading “Convergences”

A photo for Sunday: 2004 Ford Fusion

Night lighting is continuing to fascinate me. Under the bright, cold glare of a street lamp, this Fusion showed off the car’s essential character.

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2004 Ford Fusion

The wheel arches stand out here as does the upper surface of the body side above the feature line and door handles. The time is nigh when I should get a camera able to capture the depth of black and the richer colour of night lighting.
Continue reading “A photo for Sunday: 2004 Ford Fusion”

What’s This?

Fewer are the classic cars of Dublin. While I saw no Volvo 240s, no W-123 Mercedes and only one Saab 900, I saw several of these things:

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1972-1980 Mercedes S-class

One parked up right in front of me as I tried to decide upon my New Year resolutions. The vehicle served as family car: two bulky child seats occupied a heck of a lot of room in the back, defeating the car’s space.

I took a chance to look over the car in detail when the owner had popped off to do some shopping. I noticed the odd way the gutter is handled. Like the W123 it’s actually quite complex and non-intuitive. It is as if they had never seen one of these before and did it as they saw fit. Two chrome edges run up the A-pillar and before they join and head backwards the chrome makes a detour or step. I don’t know why this was done. Also, the body-coloured panel between the two chrome edges is not the body but part of the window and a-pillar garnish.

It reminds me of the conventions of 18th century clothing in that I don’t really know what drove them.

Highlights of Last Night

Long, thin lights make interesting reflections on car bodies. A malfunctioning restaurant sign made this Volvo panel especially fascinating.

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These reflections show the contours of the front wing of a Volvo S60 from a sign. It had two strips running horizontally, one of which turned on and off at intervals. Image one shows the wing with one light illuminated. The second shows it with both strips illuminated.
Continue reading “Highlights of Last Night”

Back to Nature

Astra battles West Cork foliage. Foliage wins.

Astra fans of a delicate disposition should look away now. Image: Driven to Write
Astra fans of a delicate disposition really ought to look away now. Image: Driven to Write

As I get older, I find that many things I still view as contemporary are in reality, decades old. Music, fashion, events – cars even. The subject of this photo is a case in point. Old enough to be dismissed as a banger, yet to my mind at least, still sufficiently contemporary for this scenario to be unusual. Continue reading “Back to Nature”

Micropost: 1985 Saab Experimental Vehicle

This is one of the cars I saw at the Saab Car Museum in Trollhattan, Sweden.

1085 Saab EV concept car
1985 Saab EV concept car

It reminded me of some other 80’s aerodynamic cars of the same time but when I went looking nothing matched. I found a hint of the rear window and boot in the Subaru SVX. More than a few GM concept cars from Oldsmobile, Saturn and Buick had similar surfaces. Yet there wasn’t that one car which made me think: yes, that’s the one. Do our readers have any suggestions?

Image sources: left and right

Theme : Places – Another Snapshot from Occupied Europe

It’s Spring 1981, and I’m in Charlottenburg, on the western edge of the British Occupied Sector of West Berlin.

lloyd-arabella

The picture is taken on Wundtstraße at the edge of the Lietzensee. These names are still powerfully evocative of the time I spent in Berlin, half a lifetime ago. German big city carscapes are, in my experience at least, underwhelming. The urban dwellers’ favoured cars are small, cheap, usually French, Japanese, or Korean, and very old by British standards, but not quite old enough to be interesting. Continue reading “Theme : Places – Another Snapshot from Occupied Europe”

Theme : Places – Snapshots from Occupied Europe

Let us briefly remind ourselves of Leslie Poles Hartley’s words, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’. 

viva-in-e-berlin
All images: The Author

The country photographed is now in the past, the Deutsche Demokratische Rebublik, a failed state which ceased to exist in 1990, and they really did do things differently there. When I took these photos nine years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the DDR was dysfunctional, but very much extant, and didn’t look as if it would be brought down any time soon. Continue reading “Theme : Places – Snapshots from Occupied Europe”

A photo for Sunday: 1986 Mitsubishi L300

This example hoved into the gloomy car park of a shopping centre near me.

1986 Mistubishi L300
1986 Mistubishi L300

Although barely known in Europe it is one of those world cars with a basket of names and functions. It has had eight badges attached to it and has been propelled by eight engines. It’s the Mitsubishi L300.

In Europe the most likely engines for this variant are the 1.6 litre petrol or 2.5 litre diesel engine. For certain markets there is a 4wd version of the vehicle which, I am told has a certain cult following.
Continue reading “A photo for Sunday: 1986 Mitsubishi L300”

One You Can Buy: 1991 Volvo 480 Turbo

The cheapest running 480 on mobile.de is this for €599. There are just 13 on sale at the moment.

1991 Volvo 480 Turbo: source
1991 Volvo 480 Turbo: source

Autoscout has a further 68 though a few may be the same car advertised twice. The cheapest one is €600. Autotrader has one for £2,995. That one has 100,000 km and has had three owners. Continue reading “One You Can Buy: 1991 Volvo 480 Turbo”

Far From the Mainstream – Fisker Karma

It’s Monday so all I can present to you is a four-year old fossil from what must be one of the shortest-lived car companies of recent years.

2012-fisker-karma-grey
Death has a revolving door. 2012 Fisker Karma.

While the main theme of this series is an excursion through the obscure brands on sale, this is also a case of the dead rising again. No sooner had the lawyers finished off the outstanding ‘issues’ related to Fisker’s defunct firm than someone else dusted off the corpse, slapped on the make-up and lo, Karma Revero is born. Continue reading “Far From the Mainstream – Fisker Karma”

A Green Car for Sunday

Cheery: Kia’s green is vibrant and refreshing.

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Image: Driven to Write

The trim around the sideglass gives the car a solid look it’s 3.5 m length might lack. You can see similar detailing on the Volvo S70 saloon. The remarkably awful Getz is related to this. Cars like this have cemented Kia’s reputation for well-priced, well-made and attractive products. With a small increase in the fun-factor such as warmer versions they could dramatically change the perceptions of the brand without scaring existing customers. I wonder why they don’t make this move.

A Photo for Sunday: 1992 Alfa Romeo 75

It’s a twin-spark 2.0 and black: I thought they had to be red or white.

1992 Alfa Romeo 2.0 Twin Spark
1992 Alfa Romeo 2.0 Twin Spark

The year might be 1992 or a little earlier. Notice the width compared to the Auris. The two cars have much the same interior space. While no beauty, this is the car I tried to represent when I first started to draw cars so I owe it debt of gratitude.

Far from the Mainstream: Changhe

Our sharp-eyed readers may notice something amiss but I’ll carry on with my trawl through the obscure car brands, today it’s Changhe.

2014 Changhe microvan
2014 Changhe microvan, note the A-pillar : source

People hunting for an inexpensive and practical load carrier will find a mere two Changhe vehicles on sale at Autoscout24 at the moment. One is a small panel van with a 53 PS motor and the other is a pick-up with a tilting load bay (you load it with, say, loose marbles, snooker balls, or oranges and when you get to the delivery point you just let the whole load tip out onto the floor without all that laborious scooping or shoveling). Both cars have delivery miles yet are strangely registered in 2014. The dealer is in Dörfles-Esbach.
Continue reading “Far from the Mainstream: Changhe”

A Big Car for a Big Country

Now seems a good time for DTW to recall the Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan.

Image : autobild.de
Image : autobild.de

I first knew about it from Car & Driver in the late 1960s. C&D is still a good magazine, but readerships have changed and it is no reflection on their current writers, who must function in a different publishing climate, if I refer to back then as their Golden Years. Back then, C&D had a dry and subversive wit missing from other car magazines and, when I started reading the article about the Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan, I assumed that it was a smart joke, a parody of a review of a car that couldn’t really exist. Continue reading “A Big Car for a Big Country”

Another Photo for Sunday: 1998 Honda HR-V

We have a thing for green cars here. While out on field work, Eóin spotted this undisguised production version of the Honda HR-V in Warwick.

1998 Honda HR-V
1998 Honda HR-V

At only 4 metres long, it is not big. It is, however, perfectly proportioned and showed another approach to the kind of thing Ford had in mind with the unloved but good Fusion.

Continue reading “Another Photo for Sunday: 1998 Honda HR-V”

A photo for Sunday: 1980 Ford Escort

This is a public service more than a very interesting post.

1980 Ford Escort
1980 Ford Escort

When I wrote about the Astra F, I noted that there were very few good images of the 1980-1986 Ford Escort. Well, here is a clear image of an unmolested example. And it is not that nice to behold. Continue reading “A photo for Sunday: 1980 Ford Escort”

Green Cars and Night Photography

Our correspondent in Sweden, Niels Moesgaard Jorgensen, spotted this green Suzuki recently.

suzuki
2015 Suzuki SX4: Niels Moesgaard Jørgensen

We’ve been logging green cars as the colour looks like a minority taste yet metallic mid-greens can be very flattering. Additionally, the image prompted me to think about how difficult (for me) it is to get good night time images of cars, or rather cars under street lights. My photos end up murky and lack the deep black of this image.
Continue reading “Green Cars and Night Photography”

Micropost: Mid-Greens

My search for green paints in current cars didn’t turn up much. This and this and this, only. However, these. These are properly green.

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Today I saw this 2006 Ford Fiesta and a Skoda Felicia. These are the greens that are now in short supply. If you really want to

Continue reading “Micropost: Mid-Greens”

A photo for Sunday Article That Got Out of Hand

Just for once this is not a car on my street.

1981 Saab 900 Safari: Niels Moesgaard Jörgensen
1981 Saab 900 Safari: Niels Moesgaard Jörgensen

It is one of two remaining Saab 900 Safari estates.  The other one was offered for sale in 2014. Notice the red car in the link has the bumpers from the 1987 Saab 900. Saabists can help clarify this difference. You might also want to compare this limited-series car with Alfa Romeo´s 75 concept car. We will be reporting with two articles on the Saab museum (where this car was spotted) during the Christmas period. I might do a third. Continue reading “A photo for Sunday Article That Got Out of Hand”

Something Rotten in Denmark

At present there are eight Daihatsus for sale in Denmark. Let’s peer in the dirty side glass of one of them. Nothing if not exclusive, these cars. 

1990 Daihatsu Cuore: source
1990 Daihatsu Cuore: bilbasen.dk

By way of a little contrast, anyone wanting something more common can choose from 87 Ferraris, 33 Aston Martins, 621 Porsches or 48 Maseratis. People feeling insecure about the rarity of their Rolls-Royce can be assured that there are only nine of them on sale this week, making it almost as exclusive as a Daihatsu. Those numbers are probably reasonable guides to the relative scarcity of these cars.
Continue reading “Something Rotten in Denmark”

If Only …

… every car looked as good when launched as it does two decades later.

1994-2001 Renault Laguna
1994-2001 Renault Laguna

For this small meditation the kick-off is the 1994 Renault Laguna I saw today. It helps if the car is shiny and in good order, of course.

Two weeks ago I saw the 1995 Vectra in the same flattering light.What seemed uninspiring 20 years ago seems clean, fresh and straightforward. This morning a Fusion caught my eye: Continue reading “If Only …”

A Picture for Sunday: An American in Sweden

A recent tour in the country between Gothenburg and Trollhättan, reminded me how much Sweden there is the NE of the US but also how easily American cars sit in the Swedish landscape.

1962 Buick Electra 225 hardtop coupe
1962 Buick Electra 225 hardtop coupe

The photo shows a Buick Electra 225 two door, four-window hardtop coupe (the 1961-1964 body). It also shows a 2005-2014 Saab 9-3 estate.  The image captures two enthusiasms of the Swedes: their own cars and the cars of the US. Continue reading “A Picture for Sunday: An American in Sweden”

Far From the Mainstream: Donkervoort

Today we peer again into the world of marginal car makers. In this instalment we deal gently with Donkervoort.

1981 Donkervoort S8: source
1981 Donkervoort S8: source

There are 15 Donkervoort cars advertised at mobile.de and above, a 1981 S8 is the cheapest at €19,950 with a mere 52,000 km up. Next is a similar roadster from 1988 for €24,000. A 1998 2.0 Zetec-powered D8 costs €36,000. From 2001 an Audi-powered D8 costs nearly €50,000. So, who are Donkervoort? Continue reading “Far From the Mainstream: Donkervoort”

A Photo for Sunday: Honda S2000

Look at that. It has simple, distinct forms and great proportions.

2001 Honda S2000
2000 Honda S2000 in Silkeborg, Denmark.

Honda revealed to the world the S2000 as a present to itself, celebrating the firm´s 50th birthday. It belongs in a class of cars that motoring journalists ask for, receive with mixed feelings and then fade away with little fanfare. Continue reading “A Photo for Sunday: Honda S2000”

Something Working in Denmark: Citroën CX 25 Prestige Automatic

Something rather wonderful in Copenhagen

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The recent announcement of the CXPERIENCE (Auto Express wrote it thus in capitals, who am I to argue?) and the various speculative articles about the future or otherwise of a car like it to fill the gap being left by the C5 (assuming it is still being produced?), reminded me that I had ‘snapped’ this recently. Continue reading “Something Working in Denmark: Citroën CX 25 Prestige Automatic”

White Convertible Thing, Not Sure What it Was…

… because I couldn’t see the badge.

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The badge is placed on the upper surface of the boot. It probably really ought to on a vertical surface so people can read it with less trouble. You can get all the glorious details on the car here. I notice it’s a fairly light car (just over 1000 kg) so I suppose the 1.4 litre engine is able to haul it about. The other thing I noticed is what looks like misalignment of the outline of the bodywork around the rear lamps. The car is made in Japan alongside the Mazda MX-5. How did that happen then?

As for the rest of the showroom, there are 500s, 500Ls and Pandas and no Puntos and no Qubos. They do sell some nice paint colours though. To be fair, the 500 is probably covering the work of what was once known as a Regatta or even the Tempra, even if it’s not a saloon. The absence of the Punto in the region’s biggest showroom shows they have pretty much given up on this one though it is shown at their website. And there’s are no Tipos around. Like Honda, the Fiat range is rather unbalanced.

Micropost: 1997-2003 Mercedes CLK Cabriolet

Today I am throwing stones at the CLK cabriolet.

1997 Mercedes Benz CLK
1997 Mercedes Benz CLK

The part I want you to notice is not the front-end treatment which is intended to make one think of the E-class saloon (W210, for anoraks) which was on sale from 1995 to 2003, about eight years too long. Look at the A-post’s brutal truncation. A nicer but perhaps more costly way would have been to run the A-pillar into the header rail as per, for example, the Mazda MX-5, shown below. I sometimes think that Mercedes do things which aren’t so pleasing and imagine it’s okay because nobody will be looking so critically at their output. Continue reading “Micropost: 1997-2003 Mercedes CLK Cabriolet”

Honda’s Odd Policy

For reasons unrelated to cars, I had reason to visit a Honda showroom.

A Honda showroom, yesterday in Denmark.
A Honda showroom, yesterday in Denmark.

While I waited to talk to the salesman who busily spoke to a real customer, I had had a short look at the interiors of all the cars on display. I discovered that Honda don’t fit rear central armrests to any of their cars: the Jazz, the Civic, the HRV or CRV. Those cars that might have had them, the Accord and Civic saloon are not on sale in Denmark. Their range is still unbalanced: the Civics, two CUVs, a city car and a billion euro supercar. That last one sits very uneasily in a range devoid of a cheaper roadster, a saloon and an MPV.

Continue reading “Honda’s Odd Policy”

Exquisite Corpses

Ever wondered why so few XJ40s remain on the roads? One word: scrappage.

Image: The author
Image: The author

I stumbled across this place on the outskirts of Romney Marsh in 2014; the largest and most depressing collection of Jaguars I’ve ever witnessed. And while hundreds of decrepit Jags of every stripe were littered about the place, there were entire compounds full of condemned XJ40’s – part (it appears) of the 2009 government stimulus package aimed at propping up the motor trade. Continue reading “Exquisite Corpses”

A Photo for Sunday: 1972 or 1973 Buick Centurion Convertible

British cars have more dignity when parked in a mittel European setting. American cars don’t fit into the landcape of the British Isles at all. How do these cars look in Scandinavia?

1972 or 1973 Buick Centurion 445 V8
1972 or 1973 Buick Centurion 445 V8

Here’s a 1972 or 1973 Buick Centurion, famous as Buick’s shortest-lived model. Behind it, some Denmark. Continue reading “A Photo for Sunday: 1972 or 1973 Buick Centurion Convertible”

Micropost: the 1998-2004 Opel Astra Comfort

Not another Astra, Richard. Yes: it’s the rare 3-door with full Comfort spec.

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That means green-grey velour, rear headrestraints and rear centre armrests plus a/c. Did any three door Focus or Golf have such a luxurious three-door? If it wasn’t such an unusual trim-body combination I would not have tried to photograph it.

A photoseries for Sunday: 2002-2009 Lancia Thesis

When the Thesis debuted, Lancia was at pains to present it as a sophisticated choice.

All images: The author
All images: The author

The PR offensive included a presence at a symphony music festival in St Moritz, and a range of accessories produced by Zegna and Longines amongst others. Fourteen years on, this example stands as a stark reminder that depreciation is no respecter of brand strategies or PR bumf. Continue reading “A photoseries for Sunday: 2002-2009 Lancia Thesis”

Micropost: 2002-2009 Renault Megane

Ostensibly I am writing about the Megane. Really I am concerned with something else.

2002-2009 Renault Megane
2002-2009 Renault Megane

Earlier this week contributer, Chris lamented the sameness of midsized family cars today. This Megane looks like nothing else and only looks better with age. Alas, its durability does not live up to the standard set by the aesthetics. I’m not going to write about that though.
Continue reading “Micropost: 2002-2009 Renault Megane”

Far From the Mainstream: Buick to Cassalini

How many Buick’s are there on sale in Europe? Shockingly, there are 270 of them at mobile.de alone. But a two cylinder diesel, plastic bodied micro car is worth more.

2016 Cassalini homepage
2016 Cassalini homepage

The first roadworthy Buick is on sales in Vilnius and is only this price €1500 because it is upside down and must be rolled on its roof on four skateboards.  Continue reading “Far From the Mainstream: Buick to Cassalini”

The Long and the Short

The contrast between the Caprice and Mini coupe caught my eye.

1991 Chevrolet Caprice and 2012 Mini coupe.
1991 Chevrolet Caprice and 2012 Mini coupe.

The Caprice is a car I’ve wanted to photograph for a long while. It’s thrillingly basic. The loadbay might be long and wide yet it’s also quite shallow. I don’t know what’s under the high floor: fuel tank and transmission I suppose.  Continue reading “The Long and the Short”