December 28, 2010

Caption contest.

For fun, how would you caption this Dutch Fiat 600 ad from the 1950s? Leave us a comment below.

December 24, 2010

Museo Storico Alfa Romeo.

Alfa Romeo's Museo Storico in Arese (a short drive north of Milan) is one of the world's most impressive collections of past Alfas. It opened in 1976 and extends over 5,700 square yards. From production cars to prototypes with a couple of race cars thrown in the mix, there is something on display for every Alfa enthusiast. Ran When Parked visited the museum in June of 2010 and we've compiled a collection of photos from it.

1954 Tipo 103, an attempt to build a car that would have slotted below the Giulietta in Alfa's lineup. It had an 896cc four-cylinder that surprisingly spun the front wheels:

The famous TZ1/TZ2 duo:

TZ3 Corsa:

1976 New York Taxi. Drawn by Italdesign, it could seat six and was powered by a two liter engine:

Alfasud Sprint 6C, featuring a mid-mounted 2.5 V6 borrowed from the GTV6:

1972 Junior Zagato Periscopio. This prototype was built on an Alfetta platform and had a 1962cc four-cylinder mounted transverally behind the front seats. The scoop on the roof helps cool the engine:

164, 75, Alfetta:

1966 Giulia Scarabeo. It has a body built by Osi and uses a mid-mounted 1575cc four-cylinder engine:

1967 1750 GTAm:

1965 Giulia Sprint Speciale prototype by Bertone:

2600 Berlina and 2600 Sprint:

1951 159 Alfetta:


Merry Christmas from Ran When Parked and as always, thanks for reading.

December 22, 2010

Readers' emails: 1948 Peugeot 202 UH.

About a year and a half ago we featured a photograph of this 1948 Peugeot 202 UH at a car show:

The car and its owner were both well-known in the local car scene. The 202 was for sale in 2009 and that's about the last we heard of it until yesterday when we got an email from the car's new owner, Manfred Luft. He bought it in Marseille in July 2009 and kindly sent us some pictures of it in its new home in Germany:

The car is in good hands, Manfred has driven it about 4,000 kms since buying it and enjoys every minute of it.

December 18, 2010

Ran When Parked's used car lot.

At Ran When Parked's used car lot we're liquidating our stock of certified pre-owned vehicles!

Our first offering is a 1994 Renault Safrane. This is your chance to own the car that hauled around members of the French government when it was new. Loaded with power everything, alloy wheels and a 2.2 gas engine, it's ready to take you anywhere you want to go in style. Runs like a champ, extremely well-maintained!

If you want a smaller car, a 2002 Renault Megane would be perfect for you. 2002 was the last year of the mk1 Meganes so you can buy knowing you are getting the most refined mk1 Renault has ever built.* Clean Carfax, certified one-owned car. Big enough to fit a family but small enough to fit in even the tightest parking spots, this Megane is the best of both worlds:

The Renault Clio has been one of the best-selling cars on the French market since it was introduced. Own one today and find out for yourself how enjoyable to drive a Clio can be. This 2003 model has lots of new parts** and is powered by a 1.2 gas engine:

If you like discrete cars, we have just the car for you. It's hard to get more discrete than a 1995 Citroen ZX. It has a 1.9 diesel engine that if you're a Citroen enthusiast you know is bulletproof. If you're not a Citroen enthusiast get ready to become one after a short, engaging drive in a ZX. Low miles and still covered by the factory warranty:

This 1987 Renault 19 was designed almost exclusively with computers, and it shows. Where else can you find such an eye pleasing, ergonomical design at an affordable price? And because Renault seemingly used up all of the project's money on the computers to design it, they opted to power it with the 1.2 ClĂ©on Fonte four-cylinder that was already a proven part of their lineup² :

Wild in its austerity and big in its smallness, this 1989 Volkswagen Polo is the perfect commuter car thanks to its low weight and 1.0 four-cylinder carbureted engine. This is a car you can be proud to call your own. Low miles, comes with our unbeatable one year/15 mile warranty:

2000 Fiat Palio Weekend. Based on the Fiat Uno, the Palio Weekend is the perfect family car down to its name - its station wagon body allows you to fit all of your stuff, all of your kids' stuff and all of the necessary tools to repair your water pump on the side of the road when it seizes 170 miles away from home. Speaking of, spare parts are readily available³ :

A 2001 Seat Arosa, based on the Volkswagen Lupo and drawn by the same man who designed the Bugatti Veyron. Need we say more? I think not, but we will add that this hot little hatch has 49 screaming horses under the hood:

For over a hundred years Mercedes-Benz has been the standard for quality motor cars. We are proud to offer you one of their finest designs, a 1970 w113 250SL. Imagine how advanced this car was in its day: it already had fuel injection, four disc brakes, and a removable hard top for rainy days. *² Professionally restored by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Stuttgart, this car is ready for the next Monterey Concours:

Imagine the look on your wife's face when you surprise her for Christmas with a certified used car from Ran When Parked's used car lot! There's never been a better time to buy!

* The mk1 Megane was also horribly obsolete by 2002.
** Recently removed.
Since it was introduced on the Renault 8 in 1962.
In most third world countries.
*² Needs to be.

Note: none of the cars above are ours or actually for sale.

December 16, 2010

Caption contest.

Just for fun, how would you caption this photo from a 1960s Panhard PL17 brochure? Drop us a comment below.

December 15, 2010

The display case update.

Along with a new article on the Lancia Beta Trevi that you can find below, we have finally gotten around to updating our display case page dedicated to scale models. We've expanded it to include a little bit of something for everyone. You can find it in the right hand column under the "pages" header or by clicking on this link.

And, join our Facebook page to discuss some of the cars we feature and to find miscellaneous photos and vintage car ads that we don't post here.

Thanks for reading.

December 14, 2010

Lancia Beta Trevi.

Lancia is not what it used to be. Outside of Italy the average European citizen (so one that doesn’t harbor a chronic obsession with cars) can’t tell you whether or not Lancia is still operating. Mention the name to an American and people will think you’ve got a funny way of pronouncing the name of a little Mitsubishi four-door sedan. Lancia suffers from a completely unknown lineup that gets lost in the fray of the new car market; as a result it has virtually no brand recognition anywhere outside of its home country, where its cars enjoy steady sales thanks to a handful of brand loyalists that includes the Italian government.

A car that illustrates the earliest traits of invisibility in Lancia’s lineup is the Lancia Beta Trevi, a Beta sedan with a conventional trunk built from 1980 to early 1985. Contrary to popular belief the name Trevi isn’t a reference to the famous Roman fountain but is a reference to the car’s body: “tre volumi” is three volumes in Italian, hence Trevi.

By the early 1980s hatchbacks started losing ground and three-box sedans were making a comeback: almost every manufacturer had one in their lineup. Lancia had nothing to offer so they designed one using the Beta as a starting point. On the outside the Beta Trevi’s connection with the Beta five-door hatch was clear and the two cars share a windshield and both front doors. Overall the Beta Trevi was a discrete, austere design; one could even draw a stylistic parallel between it and the Peugeot 305. More flattering observers compared the Trevi’s rear to that of a Mercedes w123.

On the inside the Beta Trevi was less austere. The dashboard was drawn when the person in charge of ergonomics was on vacation and had a record-breaking 29 holes of various sizes that housed switches, warning lights and gauges, all of them angled towards the driver. It left no one without an opinion about it, be it positive or negative.

In its first years of production the Beta Trevi was offered with three different engines: a carbureted 100hp 1585cc, a carbureted 115hp 1995cc and an injected 122hp 1995cc. Nothing particularly new, these were essentially the same engines that powered the existing Beta line. Things changed in 1982 when Lancia bolted a Roots supercharger to the carbureted 1995cc bumping the engine’s power output to 135hp and gave it an exceptional amount of low end torque. Beta Trevis equipped with this engine were dubbed Beta Trevi VX (for Volumex) and had specific rims, a little spoiler on the trunk and a “VX” emblem on the grille.

In 1983 Lancia updated the Beta Trevi line, which from this point on was called simply the Lancia Trevi. In an effort to give the car a sportier appearance the rear spoiler that was previously reserved to VX versions was standard across the entire line. The interior got minor changes like new door handles and slightly redrawn seats.

That same year Lancia had to make some modifications under the hood in order to comply with upcoming fuel regulations. The differential ratio was changed to achieve better fuel mileage and a Marelli Digiplex electronic ignition system replaced the good ol' points. Lancia also nixed the carbureted 1995cc without a supercharger.

In 1984 Giorgio Pianta, an ex-race car driver, and ex-engineer at Abarth, designed a Trevi with two engines, the Trevi Bimotore. At the UK’s Lancia Motor Club National Rally (July 15th-17th, 2005) PIanta explained that car was built “to test the principles of four wheel drive technology whilst developing the Delta S4.” The Bimotore had a 1995cc Volumex engine in the front and a second one mounted in the back. Through various modifications both were pushed to 150hp, making the entire car good for 300hp. Only one was built.

The Trevi had an attractive price, fantastic handling and was quite fun to drive, especially with the Volumex engine, but it was too little, too late, and a little too bland. The lack of interest in the Trevi cut its career short and it disappeared from showroom floors in early 1985 after 36,784 units were sold.

Below, a post-1983 Trevi:

The Beta Trevi’s dash:

A Trevi VX. Note the rims and the emblem on the grill:

The Trevi Bimotore:

December 3, 2010

The terror from Poissy: the Simca 1000 Rallye, Rallye 1, Rallye 2 and Rallye 3.

When the Simca 1000 first landed in showrooms in 1961 it was marketed as an economy car for the masses. It was small, it had the aerodynamics of a shoebox and depending on the model purchased it had an engine displacement hovering above or below 1000cc. In short, there was nothing sporty about it. This changed when Carlo Abarth got his hands on the car and turned it into the Simca Abarth 1150. When Chrysler took over Poissy-based Simca the 1150 didn’t interest them and they pulled the plug on the project before it was allowed to enter regular production. With the 1150’s demise the Simca 1000 went back to its original vocation of people’s car.

Fast forward to the late 1960s. The Renault 8 Gordini was a massive success both on the market and in competition. Simca saw an opportunity to compete against the 8 and started developing a faster version of the 1000, one they would later call the Simca 1000 Rallye.

Simca’s entry into the gofast-shoebox market was facilitated by a move from Renault: in 1970 the Renault 8 Gordini’s time had come and it disappeared from showroom floors, leaving its spot to the Renault 12 Gordini. With a front engine and front wheel drive the heavy 12 was diametrically opposed to the 8 and left scores of drivers longing for the rear-engined fun that the 8 provided. Joining the 8 Gordini in its grave was the Coupe R8 Gordini that so many young drivers had embraced as their sport and driving school. Simca launched the 1000 Rallye just in time to fill the gap left by the 8.

Below: a standard Simca 1000 sedan.

The Simca 1000 Rallye.

The basic requirements for Simca’s Rallye were that it had to cost less than 10,000 francs, have a top speed in the vicinity of 150km/h (about 93mph) and cover a standing kilometer in 37 seconds.

To build the 1000 Rallye Simca started with the 1000 Sim’4. It was the logical choice for two reasons: first of all the Sim’4 was the entry level model so using it as a base for the 1000 Rallye gave designers an advantage in price. Second, because of its lack of equipment it was the lightest model of the 1000 range.

The Rallye was only available in red and had a flat black hood to prevent glare. Inside it had a complete instrumentation and a bucket seat for the driver; the other three seats were standard Simca 1000 seats. Front disk brakes were standard (for the record, a Renault 8 Gordini had disks all around). The whole package weighed 785 kilos (1730 pounds), lighter than the 8 Gordini.

Under the rear decklid was an 1118cc water-cooled straight four good for 53hp and 59lb/ft of torque mated to a four-speed manual transmission. The concept looked promising on paper but it failed to meet Simca’s performance requirements: it could not reach 150km/h (its top speed was about 142km/h, approximately 88mph) and it took 38 seconds to cover a standing kilometer.

In spite of these shortcomings the 1000 Rallye was a success: 27,000 of them were sold by the time the model was phased out in January of 1972.

Below: a 1000 Rallye ad taking a stab at the Renault 8 Gordini. The text reads "who said that all the fast French cars had to be blue?"

The Simca 1000 Rallye 1.

While the Rallye wasn’t quite the car Simca thought it would be it provided a better than decent starting point for the next evolution. The first major improvement was found under the rear decklid: in lieu of the 1118cc unit Simca had fitted the 1100 Special’s 60hp 1294cc. With this new engine the Rallye 1 could meet Simca’s original requirements for the Rallye: it had a top speed of about 155km/h (96mph) and logged 37 seconds even for a standing kilometer.

An alternator finally came as standard equipment but it still had the dreaded single-speed wipers. On the outside little had changed, though the rear quarter panels said “RALLYE 1” instead of “SIMCA”. Compared to its predecessor the Rallye 1 had a stiffer suspension which added more of a sporty feel to the car while consequently giving it a less comfortable ride. But comfort be damned, the Rallye 1 was designed for the track.

The Simca Racing Team was launched at about the same time as the Rallye 1 and followed essentially the same guidelines as the Renault Gordini Cup that died with the 8 – only Rallye 1s were allowed to compete and it served as a training school for new drivers who didn’t have the cash to enter the circle of professional racing.

The improvements came at a cost and the Rallye 1 barely met Simca’s sub-10,000 franc price requirement: it cost 9,995 francs.

The Simca 1000 Rallye 2.

The Rallye 2 didn’t replace the Rallye 1 but was built alongside of it as a more expensive, more powerful version. It was what most Simca enthusiasts call the ultimate evolution of the model. Several modifications were made to get more power out of the 1294cc, including feeding it with two Solex carburetors. The compression ratio was bumped to 9:1 and the whole lot put out 82hp. The Rallye 2 was good for a stunning 164km/h (100mph) in fourth gear, logging 34 seconds to cover a standing kilometer. For the first time braking was assured by four disk brakes (as opposed to front disks and rear drums) borrowed from the phased out 1200S.

Better cooling was necessary so Simca relocated the radiator to under the front bumper, running coolant lines under the car to reach the engine bay. An extra grille was added in the front of the car to provide airflow; Rallye 2s are instantly recognizable because of it.

In 1977 Simca introduced the SRT 77 kit, available as a non-street legal option. Through various modifications the engine output was pushed to 110hp. A polyester body kit including fender flares and front and rear spoilers was mounted on the car. That same year the Rallye 2 got the square headlights that the rest of the 1000 lineup got.

As 1977 ended the 1000 saga was coming to an end as well. Standard sedans were starting to look rather ancient and hanging on to life by a thread. But Simca had one last trick up its sleeve before calling it quits.

Below: a Rallye 2 with the SRT 77 kit.

Simca 1000 Rallye 3.

The last evolution of the Simca 1000 was the Rallye 3. It was introduced in January of 1978 and precisely 1003 were built: 1000 for public consumption and three as test cars for Simca.

Up until this point the Rallye series was made up of cars roughly comparable to the 205 GTi of the 1980s: take a mass produced car and make it quick without overdoing it. The Rallye 3 was different; it was a full out race car made available to the public for homologation purpose. It was essentially a street version of the SRT 77 kit that was available on the Rallye 2. Mechanically speaking there were some differences between the two cars in order to meet new regulations in racing concerning noise and pollution levels. To lower emissions Simca fitted a new camshaft to the engine; a combination of longer gears (a feature often criticized at the time) and the addition of a second, generously-sized muffler made the Rallye 3 quiet enough to meet the regulations.

The familiar 1294cc was still under the decklid but this time around it was fed by two Weber 40 carburetors. Power output was 103hp, less than the 110hp available in a Rallye 2 equipped with the SRT 77 kit because of the noise and pollution modifications. In spite of the small loss of power the Rallye 3 performed brilliantly. It achieved a standing kilometer in 32 seconds and had a top speed – in fourth gear, mind you – of 178km/h (110mph). All of this came at the reasonable price of 30,500 francs.

The Rallye 3 was only available in white, though certain pre-production cars were finished in an attractive shade of light blue. It is worth noting that for the first time in the Rallye lineup the hood was painted the same color as the body. It had the square lights that the entire 1000 lineup adopted in 1977 and the outside trim (door handles, mirror, bumpers, etc) was flat black. On top of it all it had fender flares all around and model-specific 13” rims. Under the front bumper was a spoiler and it was possible to set up cooling ducts behind it to ventilate the front brakes. Finally, each car had a plaque on the dash engraved with its production number.

Rallyes of all kinds were often beat senseless in races and had very little value in the 1980s and the 1990s, showing up on used car lots for next to nothing and purchased by folks who flogged them even more. To add insult to injury the rust proofing was approximate at best, claiming the life of numerous cars.

As the Renault 8 Gordini’s price started to go up about ten years ago collectors turned to the more affordable and equally fun Rallye series and well-sorted examples are worth a small fortune today.

Below: the blue Rallye 3 is a preseries example and the color was never available in regular production.

Below: one of the first ads for the Renault 12 Gordini. We’ve included it with this article because in a sense it’s a response to the Simca 1000 Rallye. The text on top reads “the party continues”