The tale of the Volvo P1800 “Whisky Cars”

Chris Haining September 24, 2015 All Things Hoon


Fifty-three years ago, a small group of Americans each put a deposit down on new Volvo P1800 and patiently waited for their Anglo-Swedish coupés to arrive. They were blissfully unaware of the dramatic events occurring on the other side of the Atlantic.

On March 29th 1962,  on the River Thames just outside London, the freighter MS Kassel had just taken on board additional cargo in the form of Scotch Whisky and 29 Volvo P1800 cars to accompany its load of pipes from Germany. It set sail for Houston, Texas, and all was going very well indeed… until she collided with the MS Potaro.

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Diecast Delights: A Pontiac Fiero GT in 1:18 scale

My model car collection, by and large, tends to eschew household-name supercars in favour of less obvious candidates for teenage bedroom wall poster worship, hence the Opel Manta and Citroen CX being among the treasures in my attic.

So, while bored on a train journey and idly browsing my Android mobile eBay app, which I have set to search only for 1:18th scale with price <£20, I was surprised, nay, shocked to find the model in these photos among the massed ranks of Bburago Ferraris. Yes, it’s a Fiero.

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Motorboat Monday: Brave Challenger, Awesomeness Dialled To 11³

Chris Haining September 21, 2015 Motorboat Monday

Brave-Challenger-yacht-r 6

There are a lot of incredible motor yachts out there, money-no-object masterpieces far beyond the means of the common man and pretty much irrelevant aside from being nice to look at. Some, though, have a certain tangible quality that shines through, beyond a mere gloss of showmanship.

There are some indecently fast ones, too. Stick enough grunt inside and any old hull can be forced to move at a decent lick. But it’s rare that you chance upon a motor yacht that combines speed and beauty with history.

This is the Brave Challenger. Not just a historic yacht, more like water-borne nobility. Speed? Oh yes. 60 knots. Plus.

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The Carchive Bonus Edition: Honda Motocompo

Any of you who were sufficiently dedicated to sit through today’s Carchive Video instalment will have noted this curious motorcycle as the last thing I spoke about. Well, inevitably this curious 1980s relic is SO INTERESTING that it goes way beyond the scope of The Carchive and an actual print brochure has so far evaded me.

Fortunately, somebody excellent has taken the time to scan pages from the original Honda Motocompo brochure. Welcome to a Carchive Bonus Edition.

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The Carchive- Video Edition: The 1982 JDM Honda City

It’s time to get the coastguard on high alert as we clamber into our inadequate inflatable dinghy and set out in the violent swells of motoring history, in the hope that we might find something interesting floating between the relentless white horses. Welcome to The Carchive.

Take the jump to endure another slice of Carchive Video as we pore over the colourful pages of the Japanese market Honda City brochure. It’s a volume containing only the occasional English word, so let’s go through it together and see what we find.

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V.I.S.I.T: 1964 Ford Zodiac III


The Thorn in Mistley is well known locally, and probably regionally, for its gastronomic credibility. People flock from miles around to sample some of the best seafood in the North East Essex area, all washed down with wine of suitable provenance. As a result of this it’s almost routine that there be something of interest parked outside.

Often as I walk past there are too many patrons sitting at the pavement tables for me to start taking photos in front of them, and so far I’ve missed out on a Lamborghini Countach, a Morgan Aero 8 and a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing through either my own cowardice or through forgetting to have a camera with me. This time my quarry was nowhere near as exotic, but certainly didn’t lack appeal nonetheless.

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Diecast Delights: A Messerschmitt KR200 in 1:18 Scale


Today’s model fits snugly into my collection under the sub-category of “Cars that I have always been intrigued by”. The Messerschmitt KR series belonged to that slightly elastic historical grouping we refer to as “Bubble cars”, machines beloved by Europe around the 1950s, and slightly forgotten today by most people outside a certain set of age parameters.

Every time I saw one I marvelled at its tiny size, the driver’s proximity to the ground and its frailty in the path of normally-scaled vehicles. I consequently had to have a 1:18 model of one so that I could stare in wonderment in the comfort of my own home.

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Motorboat Monday: A Fond Final Farewell for the HSS Discovery

Chris Haining September 14, 2015 Motorboat Monday

Battlestar Galactica. That’s what I thought she looked like as we sat on the dockside in our coach, awaiting to board the Stena Discovery. It was a college trip to Amsterdam, it was the year 2000 and I was making my first trip on this incredible craft. It looked like no other vessel I had ever seen, more spacecraft than seacraft. I immediately knew I was going to like her.

But now the HSS Discovery is no more. The High Speed Ship may have been fast, but she was still overtaken by global economics. With this post we pay tribute to the passing of an engineering marvel right up there with Concorde and the Lego Technic Unimog.

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The Carchive: The ’93 Lancia Thema


Summer returned to the UK for just a couple of hours this afternoon, not that I noticed as I had made my descent once more into the other-worldly void that is The Carchive. There I bravely battled fierce creatures, the defenders of the realm, in an effort to purloin and return to the surface the priceless relic you see before you.

While I was in there I searched everywhere for a Thema 8.32 brochure, but it was in vain. I know there’s a pre-facelift one knocking about somewhere, too. But for today we’ll make do with the “New” and “Improved” Thema The Second, For which this is the ’93 brochure.

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So what if I do take that next left?

Chris Haining September 10, 2015 All Things Hoon

In the UK a roadsign with a brown background indicates a location of particular tourist interest, be it historic, geographical or cultural. In truth the British roadsides are festooned with the things. They seem to be dished out willy-nilly to any site claiming some tenuous significance.

I have become wary of them. Many’s the time that I’ve been drawn in and ended up paying several quid to park the car and then several more quid to look at a big hole in the ground, which never quite lives up to the Grand Canyon I anticipate. Britain sure knows how to fleece a tourist.

This weekend was the first time I have ever encountered a site actually undersold by its signage. I was finally glad that I made the effort to stop and look at what was round the next corner.

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