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Have You Ever Heard of a _________?!!

MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
edited March 5 in Ford
Maybe you're walking down the street and you see
one. Strangest car you ever laid eyes on. Or you're
paging through an old magazine, perhaps watching
an old movie, and there in front of you is a car
you never even knew existed.

If you'd like to know more about a certain unusual
make of car from the past, or would like to share
one of your recent discoveries, please post here.


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Saw a Simca the other day, still running.

    Anybody remember which US dealer sold them?
  • GTRocksGTRocks Posts: 48
    In 1934 Henri Pigozzi founded Simca (Societe Industrielle de Mecanique et Carrosserie Automobile - translated it means an industrial company that makes car mechanics and
    bodywork) at Nanterre, France. Initially the company built Fiat cars under licence, with the odd "special" being constructed (Fiat chassis with unique bodywork). The
    successful Aronde models of 1951-60 marked the end of Fiat control, although the engine design continued to be used. However, the Fiat influence carried through to the
    1000 series of 1960-79, of which over 1.6 million were built.

    In the 1950s Simca bought Unic, Talbot and Ford of France (which made the Vedette - a car once planned to be a smaller American Ford, and which looked like a mini-1949
    Mercury, but was neither one). Chrysler became the majority holder in 1963 and by 1970 changed the name to Chrysler France. The new model programme initiated by
    Chrysler produced the succesful (2 million made over 1967 to 1982) 1100 series, which formed the basis of the Chrysler Europe Alpine and Horizon (and Dodge
    Omni/Plymouth Horizon too), and was briefly fielded in the States in the early 70's as the Simca 1204, one of the Chrysler's trio of captive import subcompacts (along with
    the Plymouth Cricket from Hillman and Dodge Colt from Mitsubishi). After the Peugeot takeover of 1978, the Simca name survived until 1981 when Talbot was used
  • So there you go...everything you ever wanted to know about Simca......I had a Simca Aronde briefly (two door hardtop, looked something like a 60s Volvo 122S but uglier in the grille). I can't say that anything they ever made that I ever saw captured my imagination, with the possible exception of a version of the Fiat Toppolino that I think was called the R5.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    That's an impressive Simca history, but R5-wise, you're way off, unless there's another R5 I don't know about.

    The Fiat Topolino (which, incidently, was named after Mickey Mouse, believe it or not) was decades before the Renault R5; a completely different machine.

    The R5 was a derivative of the 5, known here as Le Car because the French figured we couldn't pronounce 'cinque', even though most of us can handle the word 'sank' without much trouble.

    For homologation for rallying, they built a series of 5's so highly modified that really nothing was the same but the body (like Nascar). It had a different chassis and a powerful V6 mounted between the axles (not like Nascar), driving the rears. Must have been quite a machine. Due to its intended use in rallies, it was literally built for powerslides (like midget racers).

    I've often thought that it would be a great car for the States, cuz people would assume that it was impotent, but it could, in fact, out-handle and out-accelerate almost anything on the road. Probably fairly tough too (for a French car), since it was made to be thrashed.
  • Nope, looked it up...a 1937 Simca "Cinq", but no mention of the "R", so I could have just made that part up, I dunno. Anyway, it was a French licensed copy of the Topolino. Yes, it actually means "Mickey Mouse" in Italian.

    I wasn't thinking of the "new" R-5...I try never to think of them, although Mickey Mouse would be a great name for it.

    The car you're thinking about, the R-5 Turbo 2 was truly awesome, a low production (3,576) rallye car, nothing much like the original little rat built by Renault. It was mid-engine, but it did use the actual R-5 platform. Apparently it came in varying packages, from 160 to 250 horsepower. The 160 HP did 0-60 in 7 seconds, so with another 90, it must have been fast. That's a lot of power out of 1300 ccs!

    Remember the SHOGUN? An R-5 with Ford SHO engine. Now we're talkin' a serious car. It had that same steroid look of the R-5 turbo 2 you mentioned.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356

    A+ for your efforts!

    Now, Buick sold the Opel.

    What was the name of the import that Pontiac Dealers sold during the late fifties?

    No cheating, now!
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Should have known you wouldn't make a mistake like that.

    My compliments.

    Now as to this Pontiac thing. Holy Xmas. That was a ways back. I don't even have any car magazines that old. This was an import, I take it? Sporty? Mundane?

    What could it have been...Austin? Renault? Peugeot?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Nope, keep trying. It was an oddball. When I was a kid, there was a guy down the street from my folks that had one of these.

  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    What import did Pontiac dealers sell in the 50's? I'm going to guess Vauxhall- a neighbor had one of these around 1959. It had a wraparound windshield and was styled to look like a smaller version of GM's 58 cars. I think it came from England-but I'm not sure. Am I right? Now here's another trivia- ever seen a '58 Skoda? What country made this one?
  • GTRocksGTRocks Posts: 48
    ok...I'll bite. How about this Canadian import...

    1958 Canadian Pontiac Laurentian
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Hey Vauxhall. That sounds good. There was a guy across the street from me that had one. Maybe we lived on the same street.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    Close but no cigar on the Shogun. It did use the SHO drivetrain, but it was based on the Ford Festiva chassis (Kia?). There's a black one around here I see once in a while. There's no mistaking it for a stock Festiva - the fenders are hugely flared. The build quality appears to be superb. The guy who drives it told me it's very easy to spin when it's wet out. Something about all that power and a really short wheelbase.

    BTW, I believe the R5 motor was a Turbo-4. Small one too, well under 2 liters with levels of boost that ranged from "high" to "insane."
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    I think you might be right about the R5.

    I also seem to recal a distant memory of the Shogun. Maybe I have an article somewhere. Wasn't it Fiesta-based rather than Festiva?

    Alright, I got one - Marcos. British sportscar, late 60's I think. Extensive use of plywood in the chassis/body, if I have the right car.

    That's what this world needs. More wooden cars.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Good job!

    When I was in college, a buddy bought one for 50.00. It was a P.O.S. that had one redeeming feature.

    We would fly down a quiet street, or better yet, a tunnel. Shift the thing into second gear, turn off the ignition, wait for awhile and turn it back on.

    The resultant backfire would make an M-80 sound like a cap gun!!

    Now, we did this same trick with a lot of other cars and the results were mixed.

    But..NOTHING would make a window busting explosion like that old Vauxall!!

    Oh, the good old days....
  • The English have been making these since, I think, the 1930s. The current Roadster (they hand make about 300 per year) hasn't changed much in 30 years. One of their earliest cars was a trike (yup, three wheeler).
  • That car at the top of this page is a Morgan.
  • Hmmmm....maybe it is a Morgan...similar but doors don't look right...could be a generic picture...biggest change in the last ten years to the new Morgan is the V-8 engine, a reworked Buick made by Rover, and I believe no more wood in the body...I can't imagine paying that kind of money for that kind of car...we are talking primitive here....

    Yes, R5 turbo2 was about 1300cc 4 cylinder motor...I think you're right, SHOGUN wasn't an R-5, then...yeah, might have been Fiesta chassis, very possible, tough little car...I can't imagine a Festiva supporting any modifications...
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Fiesta had a robust chassis? I'm surprised.

    Always thought the Festiva had great styling for its class. I like mini's, micros,...all categories.

    Lots of good little mini's (not to be confused with the original Mini) seem to me to have deserved getting one fairly hot model. Not, perhaps, quite as hot as the Shogun, but something approaching a Mini Cooper S.

    Let's have a contest. Name the car on the top of the page. Employees are ineligible to compete, unless they don't know who to go ask, in which case their guess is as good as anybody's, but then how will we ever confirm the car's i.d.?

    I'm gonna take a wild stab and call it a Fiat, partly to make everybody say "You're nuts!" and partly because I think it might actually be.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    The Shogun was based on the Festiva (Kia/Mazda) chassis. Like I said, I see a Shogun around here on a semi-regular basis. Part of the process of turning a Festiva into a Shogun involves adding a bunch of chassis reinforcement. The Festiva was sold here in the early 90s, and was replaced by the Aspire(ing to be a car). The Fiesta was built by Ford of Germany and imported in the late '70s to early/mid '80s. Nice little car too - on par with the Civics and Rabbits of the time, and a step up from the Omni/Horizon when it came to ride and handling. We won't even mention the Chevette. OK, we will. One of my cow-orkers had one, and with 20k on the clock the shift lever came off in his hand.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    Here's a scary thought: The patent on Morgan's "sliding pillar" front suspension dates from 1910. And yes, that's still the design they use. It's actually not all that different from a McPherson strut in how it functions.

    They use a steel frame, but the body panels are hung on wood (Ash) supports.
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