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Operation “SAVE THE PEUGEOT”: Part 1

My wife has only ever owned one car, she’s had it for ten years. In that time it has been a paragon of virtue. It’s taken her everywhere, provided us with shelter in times of need (literally, when our tent was blown to oblivion during a Cornish vacation). You may have read about it four years ago when it took us on an epic trans-European road trip. It’s become famous (or infamous) among her circle of friends, referred to variously as The Donkey, Baked Beenie, The Heinz Baked Bean Tin, The Old Pug and probably many more less complementary tags besides.

Yet, at this precise moment in time, it’s life hangs in the balance. Take the jump to join me as I fight to keep Donkey off the scrapheap.

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HCOTY Nomination: A Certain Type Of Civic

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Firstly, let me say right now that I’m not nominating this car simply because of its awesomeness. This isn’t that kind of awards ceremony, and besides, the latest Civic Type-R already stands axle-deep in plaudits. Everybody raves about it and how in every measurable way it is little short of a miracle on wheels. So another little award is neither here nor there.

You see, I’ve always though that the most important thing about a car is what it does to the driver. A driver can either sit in a car or meld with it. A good car pleases a driver, a GREAT one spiritually affects him. The Civic Type-R, new this year, is one of the most life-affirming, enthusiast-making, driver-creating mechanical devices I’ve ever encountered.

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Diecast Delight: A Ford F1 Ice Cream Truck in 1:18 Scale

First and foremost I’m an ice cream enthusiast, though the subject of wheeled transportation runs the heavenly sub-zero snack a close second in my interests. What better way than to combine the two than with a diecast model of an ice-cream truck?

Unfortunately there are very, very few model companies who choose to give such vehicles the same degree of attention as they do low-slung exotica and blue-chip vintage classics, at least in 1:18th scale. So I was delighted to find that the heroically eccentric industrial concern of Yat Ming once took it upon themselves to market a model of a ’49 Ford F1 in Howard Johnson livery. I was even more delighted to go on and “win” one on eBay for hardly any money.

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The Carchive: The 1979 Lincoln Versailles

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Yesterday I spent a fair bit of Redusernab bandwidth carrying out an assessment of American car styling in the ’60s and ’70s, and ended up observing the strange tangents it went off on. I stated then that today’s featured Carchive Car would be the one that, I felt, epitomised everything which had become strange and peculiar to American Car Design at the end of the seventies, but I didn’t give any clues as to what that car would be.

So, let’s have a show of hands for anybody who guessed the Lincoln Versailles?

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Car Design in the USA and its Fascinating Journey: Part 1.

These days the world in pretty much united in its vehicular tastes. The cars rolling from American production lines today are, stylistically, pretty close to what you get in Europe, Asia or Australasia, although the Japanese obsession with white lace seat covers is still fairly unique.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way. Not very long ago at all, many of those cars designed and marketed at domestic America positively shouted their home-grown nature. While a 1987 Ford Taurus would blend into a European street scene almost invisibly, a 1987 Ford Crown Victoria certainly wouldn’t.

Recently I’ve been charting the rise and fall (fall and rise, depending on your opinion) of American car styling over the past fifty years. Take the jump to share in my findings, and to vehemently disagree with every one of my findings and opinions in the comment section.

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A Good Drive

It wasn’t a promising start. The sky was crude oil black, the wind was choppy and stiffening and home was enough of a distance away to be “a journey”.

The city roads at the beginning were strewn with late night traffic. Erratically driven cabs compete with aggressive hatchbacks sprinting from one night club to the next. I tried not to join in the fray, just followed the signs and concentrated on getting onto real roads. Fortunately nobody else seemed to be straying away from town. Plenty coming in, very little going out. Loads of speed cameras dotted around, though, so best I have my wits about me.

The suburbs have sticky fingers which seem reluctant to relinquish their grip on me. An endless cycle of traffic lights and roundabouts, contradictory roadsigns and detours threaten my progress. They fail, beaten by my determination.

And the prospect of home.

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Diecast Delights: A Volkswagen Golf MKI Convertible in 1:18 Scale

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With the grey days growing ever more bloody miserable, the nights drawing in, and a distinct chill in the air, what better moment than to start looking at models of cars without roofs. So put on your thermals, your scarves and your insulated gloves and we’ll head out onto the 1:18 highway in a diddy drop-top.

Over the last couple of weeks Diecast Delights has been a bit of a Maisto love-in so, because a change does you good, this week we’re looking at an early release by Sunstar. The VW Golf GLi Convertible.

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The Carchive: The Pontiac Aztek

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There’ll be no pretentiously poetic pre-amble to this one, we’re getting straight down to business and talking about the the Pontiac Aztek then, and the Pontiac Aztek now.

You see, this launch brochure you see has out-lived a fair proportion of the actual Aztek population, and as my wireless keeps telling me that Christmas is approaching, and that’s a time for forgiveness and generosity, I though I’d dedicate this week’s visit to The Carchive to determining whether the Aztek really was as bad as has become fashionable to say.

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Getting Grouchy We OSCA

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These days, Maserati’s product range kinda makes sense. After years in the doldrums their management has finally chanced upon the truth that it’s much easier to sell cars if they carry a broad appeal. No more weird little two-door sedans with very turbocharged engines and gynaecologically inspired timepieces, just an excellent sports coupé, a big, posh sedan and a bigger, posher sedan as well as a hideous SUV on the way.

This is great news for Maserati, but a bit sad for people who enjoyed the outcome of Maserati’s bizarre product planning strategy of old. The Biturbos, Shamals and Karifs of old will never happen again. Just as unlikely to return, it seems, the strain of beautiful, hand-crafted lightweight masterpieces, such as created by an estranged Maserati brotherhood who formed a splinter cell away from Old Man Orsi in 1947.

I caught one of these magnificent miniatures at a local car show, and it made me wish it wasn’t such a rarity.

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Just Saying: Have Computer Games Dumbed Down Driving?

Chris Haining December 1, 2015 All Things Hoon

Last week I finally remembered my Playstation Online password, so I set about finally dragging myself kicking and screaming into 2014 by installing Gran Turismo 6 into my retro-chic “Playstation 3” video gaming console.

I don’t really play computer games very often- I have a couple of real cars which I enjoy driving on actual roads instead- but I enjoy the driving fantasies which a good simulator can fulfil. I’ve driven a Volvo 240 GLT on a pixelated Nurburgring, for example. First thing I did when I got GT5. But when I finally got GT6 up and running (after a software update that took all day) and found myself behind the wheel of a virtual Lotus, the post you’re now reading came into my mind.

None of this is real.

After suspending play to look around the internet a bit, I found myself wondering if people aren’t confusing real life from what they’ve experienced on computer games.

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