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Have You Ever Heard of a _________?!!

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
edited March 2014 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: 20,225
    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
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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: 20,225

    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: 20,225
    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: 20,225
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well, live and learn...a only experience with those is when I was riding with a friend and we slid into a curb and the car was totalled because the frame broke right in half. That was confidence inspiring. He liked the car a lot, though. I really enjoyed peering out the window at th lugnuts on the trucks next to me. I could beat that car up with my bare hands.

    The Fiesta was a tough little car, yes...had that Ford Kent engine, pretty peppy and fun to drive.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I thought Vauxhall was it- I remember seeing them on the new car lot everytime my Dad took in his '57 Pontiac for repairs...and around the corner and down a mile or two[this wasin an L.A. suburb called Bellflower] was a small lot of really oddball imports. One of them was a Skoda. There were several of these on the lot at the time. Anyone know what country they came from?

    About the Vauxhall backfires-a high school friend and I did the same thing in his '53 Plymouth. One time, though, he left the key off a little too long. The resulting backfire blew the muffler apart. We had to dodge cops on the way home because of the noise of that old flathead six.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Kids knew how to have fun then.
    Okay, looks like your average TVR is pulling about $5-7,000 these days, except for the roadster, which must be pretty rare, I've never seen one live--called the "Taimar", made in 78 or 79...

    There's a Skoda for sale in Hemmings...a "felicia" convertible of all things, 1959...$6,000, which sounds like about $5,990 too much but I wish them luck...oh, it's got 17,000 miles on it, so maybe it's at least in pretty good shape...okay, then, $5,500 too much. Be fun to have one, though... I presume you'd be the only one on your block.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Imagine having $6K to spend on a car and choosing a Skoda.
  • Anyone seen a ROVER 3500 ? They were the result of Rover's purchase of the old Buick all-aluminum V-8 (vintage 1963), and shohorning it into the Rover 2000 sedan. I saw one in Copenhagen, Denmark a few years ago, and it looked like it was just driven out of a showroom. Unfortunately, the car suffered from many problems, one of them being the fact that they equippped the engine with those miserable SU cargurators-the engine compartment layout dictated that the carbs had to lie horizontally-no good for an SU. Anyway, are parst for these still around? With a 4-speed, it should be quite a screamer (when re-carbed).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Actually, Ralph, that Rover V-8 is a sturdy engine but kind of a dog...we're talking very low tech here...I've only seen it perform fairly well in a Morgan, which of course is fairly light-weight. In the Range Rover, it's been, until very recently, a gas eating cow. In the 3500, you'd be lucky to do 0-60 in 12 seconds. TRIVIA: This is the car Princess Grace was killed in I believe.

    But I always liked the IDEA of the Rover 2000 very tried to do what BMW succeeded in doing, just didn't have the R&D I guess. Too bad.

    Oh,I think SU carbs are actually quite good and have a completely undeserved bad reputation. They are simple and remarkably efficient. They only suffered at the hands of American mechanics who didn't take the time to understand all 3 moving parts inside...simplicity has its virtues, but one bad thing about 3 moving parts is that if you put a vice grip on one of them and beat on it with a hammer, the other two remaining good parts can't function at all. I will defend SUs to the death, so be careful what you say! ;)

    Hmmm...I also remember a Rover SD1 V-8 in a different body style than the 2000 in the USA, around late 70s, early 80s.
  • Mr. Shiftright: thanks for your comments on the SU carbs. My experience is that yes, they are mechanically simple, but they do not respond to throttle changes very quickly (unlike a downdraft carburator like a Holly-Weber). In addition (I have had British cars), when the temperature got very low, the oil in the damper cylinder would get thick and gooey-inhibiting the piston movement-I generally rode around at 30 MPH on a cold morning, till the oil warmed up.I recall that the original 240Z came with Hitachi-Mikuni dual carbs that were dead ringers for the SU's, must have been made under licence? Anyhow, since the advent of EFI, all carbs have gone to that great junkyard in the sky!
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Speaking of trivia-anyone ever hear of a small import called the Lloyd? It had a gearshift lever sticking right out of the dashboard, and you worked it just like you would on the steering column-pull out and moveit up and down,etc. A really weird deal-as was the car. Can't remember what country it came from. By the way-the Skoda came from Czechoslavakia. I'm surprised there are any around. I think it was kind of like the Trabant in quality-for $6000? I don't think so-unless it included a $5500 enclosed trailer as paret of the deal.....
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    I agree the Skoda is made in the Czech Republic, doesn't Volkswagen AG own them now? Seems to me that modern Skodas share VW's A3 platform (NB, Golf IV, Jetta/Bora IV, Audi A3).

    The SHOGUN was definately a FESTIVA based car. I distinctly remember it because my girlfriend at the time had a regular Festiva and I remember pointing the SHOGUN out in one of my car mags. The one you always saw in the magazines was bright yellow, huge rear fender bulges with air ducts carved into them to cool the SHO engine mounted behind the driver. I didn't think it ever went into production.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    The Shogun was built by some little outfit in California. I don't know how many were actually built, but there are a few running around. They were insanely expensive, partly because Ford wouldn't sell the SHO drivetrain seperatly, nor would they sell Festiva bodyshells. So the company had to buy complete SHOs and Festivas, and then pull the drivetrain out of the SHO and gut the Festiva. No, I don't know what they did with their leftovers.
This discussion has been closed.