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Everything posted by Adrian_pt

  1. Opel tried to flog their models here in the 50s and 60s - but must have been very few sold. Interestingly* London seems to have had a fair few of the more unusual foreign makes. Here's an Olympia Caravan. German makes also had a crack in the UK in the late 30s - a friend's great uncle was the Auto Union dealer in London and till a few years ago the family had an original 1938 DKW in the garage. DKWs were the most popular, I think, but hardly made an impact and then other events got in the way.
  2. This 1938 Opel, with extended bootlid, was in regular "normal" use till a couple of years ago in rural Romania. There's a rebodied Willys Jeep from 1942 which was also going strong till recently - and quite a few prewar cars made it into the 90s. One guy bought a BMW 327 new before the war and kept it till 2005, having fled with it to West Germany in the late 60s. Stayed with a French family a few years ago who were still using Land Rovers they'd bought new in the 50s. I've kept the Saab 90 for 17 years and it was 20 years old when I got it...
  3. There are three left, which is pretty impressive given only 481 24s made it over. Sadly the guy who took the photo can't remember where exactly, but there was a lot of interest around it last year. Here's the same car in the 80s.
  4. Bucharest, 1974. Oddly proportioned sedan. I wouldn't be fixated on the Eastern bloc location - literally anything could be found on its streets back then. Opel Rekord perhaps?
  5. Soviet bitsa. They made lots of them, some stylish, a lot complete lash-ups. Same kind of stuff was going on elsewhere in the Eastern bloc - and indeed in immediate post-war Germany and Austria. The most bonkers one I've heard of was this, made from two 125 motorbikes welded together with a home-made body up top - at some stage in the 60s it even had a facelift to give it quad headlights. Power came from ... both engines.
  6. I daily a B reg, but by daily I mean weekend / skip / shop runs as I'm based in central London. About 5k a year, much more this year as I ended up doing a lot of travelling across the UK. For me it's doable if 1) it's a decently made car in the first place 2) you don't skimp on the maintenance and 3) it has enough poke to keep up with motorway traffic. Smiles per gallon easily offsets the lack of creature comforts (cold wet mornings are a pain) and the fact that things will at some point go wrong. Had it for 16 years, no real plans to change - I'll even take the Ulez hit. But I'll be the first to say it's not for everyone. I did, about three years ago, have to daily (as in 2000+km a month) a 1984 Dacia for a couple of months...
  7. Behind the Iron Curtain it was simply that black was the colour for official cars and the use of one would advertise how, er, close you were to the powers-that-be. I remember reading that estate cars were similarly out of favour in the USSR due to their resemblance to ambulances.
  8. Registered August 83, though sales stopped in 1980 or 1981. The seller claims it's a 1975 model, which it definitely isn't - but it does seem like it hung around unsold for a couple of years.
  9. The Fiat 131 Marengo was a new one on me - two-door estate sold as a commercial vehicle for a couple of years. Lonsdales must be on every street corner by comparison.
  10. One UK market Duster has survived in .... Murmansk. Apparently imported in around 1990 by a local sailor. Seems to be in nice nick too.
  11. Suffolk, UK collector. Yeah it's a shame to see them leave the UK - I think the problem is that RHD cars are a bit of a holy grail for collectors over there, so they are prepared to seek them out and be top bidder.
  12. Yes - one in as-new condition, unregistered since new, Suffolk IIRC, and another in the Highlands in dire nick. Another minibus recently died a death. They were actually imported (like the AROs) in two goes - one in around 1975 and the other from 1979 till around 1981. Not popular! Interestingly* the UAZ was being imported at roughly the same time, known as the Trekmaster.
  13. Looks to be an original UK car. For some reason (am sure others can enlighten) lots of Euro and US cars imported from the 30s onwards had much shorter plates - ABC11, NUC9E etc. They crop up a bit in period photos and the odd survivor.
  14. That's gone straight into the replacement steed (a JRG 2003 X-type)
  15. Shiter family owned! Was in two minds about whether to post it on these pages - but glad to see the love for it.
  16. Can't speak for the other countries but in Romania Audis, VWs and Beemers rule the roost. If you're skint you have an older one, or a Dacia Logan. Communist-era cars (including the Dacia 13xx series, made up to 2004) are very thin on the ground - they tend to be owned by eccentric pensioners in town, and poor people in the countryside, plus a growing number of collectors. Their status kind of depends where you are. When I'm over there, I live in a relatively poor county, so tend to get pitied for driving a 1984 Dacia - lots of comments along the lines of "Well, if it gets you from A to B...". But the car is normally kept in neighbouring Iasi, which is prosperous, and there it gets grins, waves, and photos wherever it goes. So people do remember them fondly, but it requires a degree of distance, plus the comforting insulation of something reliable and German in the garage. From recent travels I get the impression it's the same elsewhere in Eastern Europe - the richer the country the more affectionately they look back on their motoring heritage. One of my favourite Dacia moments was when going to an extremely snooty country house restaurant. The guys at the gates saw the ageing Dacia pootling up the drive and decided this was the sort of clientele they could do without, so promptly shut the gates. Which was funny for us, but mildly embarrassing for them when it emerged that not only did we have a booking, but we were also reviewing the place for a reasonably influential site. (Review was eventually published with the headline along the lines of "Should have taken a Porsche")
  17. Yep - the further away from Western markets you went, the rarer they would be - but they existed. Romanian still has the old fashioned phrase "to stare [at something] as if at a foreign car". The below were all privately owned cars in Communism. Other interesting vehicles were owned by the state (as official or rental cars) and by foreigners resident in the country. The Ceausescus had a few cars too, though the luxury ones tended to be for official use: in private, Elena Ceausescu had a Renault 16, her daughter Zoe a Mercedes 350SL, her son Valentin a Triumph Spitfire (which still exists) followed by an Audi 100 coupe, and her other son Nicu another Renault 16 and a Ford Sierra.
  18. In Romania a Dacia 1300 was 77000 lei and a normal monthly wage was 2000-2500 (admittedly after tax). Pricey but there wasn't much else you could spend it on. In the late 60s you could get Western cars new - Fiats and Renaults plus a tiny handful of VWs and Fords. The state lottery memorably offered a Volvo Amazon as the top prize one year. If you had the cash, a Western vehicle was not unusual till about 1978 ,when import duties were considerably increased - that, plus the difficulty of getting spare parts, meant that most were swiftly taken off the road. Those who could, not just senior Party members but musicians, actors, sportspeople, doctors etc, had some pretty interesting cars - there were Range Rovers, E-types, Maseratis, Mercedes SLs, and even a drop top Rolls registered in Communist Bucharest. Some interesting cars had also survived the war, but the border was porous and a lot managed to trickle out of the country; one elderly couple I knew were offered a brand new Fiat 124 Coupe by Italian tourists in exchange for the elderly pre-war cabriolet they used as a daily driver in the 60s. They laughed as they did the deal and it was decades before they kicked themselves for having flogged a ... Bugatti.
  19. The flip side is seeing raised-letter white plates on anything pre about 1965 - a true sign of a giffer mobile in the 80s and 90s. I remember seeing quite a few on utterly shagged Morris Minors and the odd Ford Consul.
  20. Looks suspiciously like Sid James and Charles Hawtrey advertising the Suzuki Mighty Boy - which, to be fair, does have a bit of a Carry On ring to it.
  21. Fascinating, in the older ads, how expensive the prewar stuff is compared to relatively recent exotica. Not the best investment to have made at the time.
  22. There is one very giffertastic house near it - net curtains, flowerpots everywhere, a little picket fence and a 70s front door. But it's immaculate! Very strange.
  23. The Cortina owner is clearly a hero of our time - I imagine a sort of Mr Trebus character... A few more London sights. The blue Mini is absolutely hanging and I think lives in Chelsea driven by an old girl. Plus another French trip and a Savile tastic Y-reg.
  24. Yes - I think the owner used to be a racing driver. I briefly lived a few doors down from it. Sadly EN888 has both tax and MoT expired... A few more - including a brief interlude in rural France. The Mk1 Twingo was the hire car! The white Cortina remains one of my favourite London cars - straight out of 1992. Subaru was the only remotely interesting seen in Israel. The guys with Rovers is in Birkenhead - clearly a man of taste and discernment.
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