No Wonder They Lost The War(s)

My plan this afternoon was to go and set up a new bank account to handle the dollars that my Kind Readers are going to support me with, and buy a few groceries from the Kroger across from there.

“Hello, Tiggy,” says I to the VW.  “Ready to go on a little trip?”
“Sorta.”  Some miles go by.  “Nope, sorry, let me show you my check engine light, and if that’s not enough, I’ll throw in a little juddering and unresponsive throttle.”

125,000 lousy miles, lovingly looked after, and it does this to me.  (see title)

I just made it to Mike The Mechanic (actually Chris, but that lacks the alliterative impact) who, when I described the symptoms, gave a merry laugh and called his wife to book that trip to the Bahamas.

Even better, I’ll only get it back next week, as they’re as busy as Hunter Biden in a whorehouse with a wallet full of taxpayer money.

Which means that for the foreseeable I get to chug around in Sputum:

Not that I mind, though, although it does mean that I will have to ferry New Wife to and from The Job.  Or just stay at home, drink gin and growl at my screen.

Wait:  what was the first option again?

Pocket Rocket

…in which the delectable Nicole Johnson achieves more than one Moment Of Ecstasy when driving (actually, being driven in) a muscular Austin Healey Sprite.

The engineering is brilliant, and the car is as cute as she is.  Watch it and enjoy (20 minutes).

440 horsepower, baby.  Sheeeeesh….

And this is Nicole after her Big Moment:


I’ve always been struck by the similarities between two sports cars of the same mid-70s era, the Alfa Romeo Montreal:

…and the SAAB Sonnett III:

Of the two, I actually think the Sonnett is the prettier — amazingly, for a carmaker more known for its eccentricity — but then again, the body design was by an Italian (Sergio Coggiola) rather than some Swedish guy named Sven who was obsessed with practicality over beauty.

Of course, when it came to performance, there was no comparison;  the Sonnett was powered by a puny Ford 1500cc V4 (the “Taunus”) which generated a whopping 65hp, whereas the Montreal had the mighty 2.6-liter V8 derived from its legendary Alfa 33 Stradale race car, which pushed out 197hp.

That said, the Sonnett had a respectable top speed of just over 100mph because of its light weight and aerodynamic styling.

And finally, the Sonnett was a true SAAB, in that it was safe to drive and could run all day without breaking down.  The Montreal?  Ehhh… not so much, although there’s still that thrill of taking it up to top speed (~125mph — ask me how I know this).

Still, if you were to drop a decent modern Ford 1600cc Duratec engine into the Sonnett (it would fit easily), I’d take one in a heartbeat.  Even the interior hasn’t aged too badly:

For that matter, though, nor has the Montreal’s:

Yummy.  Both of them.

Bad Owner, Fine Car

From Reader Sean F, his old car of choice, the Mercedes 770 / 770K of the late 1930s:


It’s a brute of a car (7.7-liter engine!), and heavy (especially when fitted with the armour plating and thick glass required by its most famous owner), but I’d take a slimmed-down non-Hitler version in a heartbeat.

And I’m just a sucker for those swoopy front wheel mudguards, in just about any car of that era.

Ugly But Brilliant

On the subject of great cars just needing a rebuild, Reader Gerald F suggests the 1972 Lotus Europa Special, which he describes as his “lottery” car:


Universally panned for its “truck” back, the Europa’s owners could be forgiven their secret little smile, because as ungainly as it looked, the Europa’s weight distribution was almost perfect and it could out-corner absolutely anything it raced against.  Even by today’s lofty standards, the Europa was an outstanding example of the Colin Chapman era of performance — its dinky little Lotus-Ford 1600cc four-banger got it up to over 120mph quickly enough — and over a twisty road, it would leave everything else with only a view of its ugly backside.

And they came in a ton of spiffy colors…



Thank you, Reader Gerald, because now I want one too.

More Rebuilds

Continuing the thread from a couple weeks back, I saw this pic:

Ford Super Deluxe Woody (1948)

…and immediately wanted one, provided that it had modern suspension, wiring and brakes — i.e. so it would run about as well as a modern car.

This made me look through my rather extensive album of car pics to see which others would qualify (short answer:  most of them), but here are my absolute winners:

Alvis Speed 25 (1939)

BMW 328 (1938)

Hudson Deluxe Eight (1935)

“Jaguar” SS 100 (1937)

I think I’d first have to have wider tires on all of them, but as for styling… whoa.

If you want to show me which your favorites would be, send me an email (with or without pics) and I’ll post the best ones.