“A beautiful lady is an accident of nature. A beautiful old lady is a work of art.” – Louis Nizer
you might be wondering why I choose this quote to accompany todays post. Both the FIAT Ritmo 65 CL and the graffitti snake in the cover picture have a
bewildered surprised expression on their faces, as if they are wondering about the same thing.
Would anybody call an old FIAT Ritmo Mk1 a beautiful lady? Rather not, I suppose. Most people think that it is a design accident of the Centro Stile in Torino, headed at the time by Sergio Sartorelli.
However, respect should be paid where respect is due. Signore Sartorelli managed to design a front mask that resembles a surprised face with wide open eyes. So far so good, but mamma mia! On his 30th birthday the little Ritmo looked in the mirror, noticed that the plastic trim had faded due to decades of exposure to UV light… and was wondering ever since why the hell he only has a 3/4 moustache?!
Apart from the faded plastic trim the little fellow is in quite good shape. Not too much visible rust or major damage to the body. But where does the old lady from the quote come into play? Step back…
… and you may spot her hiding in the background.
What a nice little touch the street artist added to the otherwise rather derelict building! And indeed, Louis Nizer was right – the beautiful old lady is a work of art. 🙂
“Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.” Ivan Pavlov
Avid readers might remember the JDM goodness I found in Muscat right the sun rose out of the ocean. Driving northwest along the coast on a Friday was a great opportunity to take pictures of vehicles that wouldn’t be there any other day of the week. More on all the 4×4 vehicles I found there will be covered in a different story here on drivebysnapshots.com. I circled the new airport development and just before I reached the city limits, a baby blue vehicle caught my attention. Naturally, I turned off the main road to check it out.
This was one of the situations where I stumbled across a vehicle that somehow didn’t fit the picture. Stopping and taking pictures is natural for me, but after leaving and driving away it often takes me wonder how the vehicle ended up being abandoned at the place where I found it. Multiple scenarios come up in my head and fill my imagination with potential stories.
Did the car have an electrical or mechanical problem? Or was the vehicle probably stolen and the thieves just left it stranded when they ran out of petrol? This is not really a feasible idea though, because I’ve never heard about car theft in the Sultanate of Oman. If a knowledgeable local reads this, please enlighten me why I keep finding perfectly fine but seemingly abandoned cars around Muscat International Airport. Thank you in advance.
Whichever the case may be – this Dodge Challenger 392 with a Hemi V8 was missing the license plates when I found it. Judging by the thick layer of dust and general condition it had been there for quite a while. However, it wasn’t exactly a spot where you’d park your car and just leave it there.
I challenge the readers to submit possible stories how the Challenger ended up where I found it. Really looking forward to hearing about your ideas.
Taxis aus aller Welt
Deutlich seltener sind Exoten wie dieser Subaru Impreza in der Hafenstadt Sur, der für den Taxidienst eigentlich eine Nummer zu klein ist. Vielleicht ist er deshalb nicht mehr im Dienst?
Weiter geht es auf die Philippinen. Hier ist es ähnlich wie in Südafrika: kompakte bis mittelgroße Limousinen und Sammeltaxis befördern die Menschen von einem Ort zum anderen. Die Jeepneys genannten Sammeltaxis sind weltbekannt und es existieren bereits einige Bücher und Filme über diese lokal hergestellten Fahrzeuge. Aus alten Fahrzeugteilen werden Fahrzeuge mit neuen, von Hand hergestellten, Karosserien. Prinzipiell ist die Bauform immer die gleiche: vorne sitzen der Fahrer und sein Helfer, hinten sitzen sich die Fahrgäste auf langen Bänken gegenüber.
Abhängig von den lokalen Einsatzbedingungen unterscheiden sich die Jeepneys in Details. Fahrzeuge in Manila haben meist keine Fenster in den blank polierten Karossen, sind nicht selten tiefergelegt und mit lauten Auspuffanlagen ausgestattet.
Reist man jedoch in den Norden, findet man auf dem Weg etwas schlichtere Fahrzeuge in San Fernando…
… und stabiler gebaute, meist höhergelegte Jeepneys mit Fenster und Türen im Bergland um Baguio, wo es im Winter auch mal kalt, nass und eher ungemütlich sein kann.
Fast allen Jeepneys ist eines gemeinsam: die Liebe zum Detail, mit denen sie von den Besitzern oder Fahrern geschmückt werden. Es gibt viele Ornamente, Figuren, Antennen und Lichter zu bewundern.
Viele Fahrzeuge sind einem Thema gewidmet und entsprechend farbenfroh gestaltet, wie dieses bunte Taxi im nördlichen Ilocos.
Wenn die Reisenden mit dem Jeepney an ihrem Zielort angekommen sind, geht die Fahrt oftmals mit einem sogenannten Tricycle (Motorrad mit Beiwagen) weiter. Dies auch Trikes genannten Vehikel bewältigen den lokalen Verteiler- und Zubringerverkehr und bringen z.B. auch die Kinder in die nahegelegenen Schulen.
Auffällig ist, dass die Beiwagen dieser Motorradtaxis von Stadt zu Stadt ganz unterschiedlich aussehen. Jede Gegend hat ihre eigene Art diese einfachen und günstigen Transportmittel zu bauen. Nicht selten sieht man Details in der Ausführung, die Respekt vor unglaublicher Handwerkskunst verlangen, die teilweise unter einfachsten Bedingungen entstehen. Die Tigermütze dieses jungen Passagiers setzt ein zusätzliches schönes Highlight.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s nobody thought about leasing or buying a car for just a few years and getting rid of it as soon as the warranty period ends. Purchasing a new car was a long-term decision. Unfortunately the ugly monster called rust often killed this generation of vehicles prematurely. Mechanically they rarely (if ever) failed.
Only a few pristine cars are left now. This one is a prime example and has obviously been well cared for in the last 30+ years. So if you think about Carina being an old lady you are trusted to care for – what would you do? Buy her some make-up and jewellery?
No, because a natural beauty doesn’t need that and it would only distract from her charm. Rather buy her a set of new shoes in a classic design and lower the center of gravity so she can safely get to all the destinations. Well done Kenneth Groth!
The classic wheel design and not too much lowering is all she needs. The gracefully aged lines are not only complemented perfectly but at the same time very nicely accentuated.
The Toyota Celica TA22 parked next to the elegant old lady has been treated similarly, but with a much sportier approach. Chin and trunk spoilers complement the period-correct wheels and the fender-mounted mirrors complete the athletic look. What a beautiful pair – both of which don’t scream “look at me” but rather invite you to silently enjoy the fine chrome details. Imagine the stories these ladies would tell if they could speak.
Since Kenneth trusted somebody else with taking care of her about a year ago, I can only hope she is still doing well.
“The marvels of daily life are exciting. No movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.” Robert Doisneau
Unexpected finds put the biggest smiles on my face. Much as the Beetles in Bangkok, this sparkling red 1932 Ford 5-window hot rod suddenly appeared on the side of the road in Angeles City, Philippines. The for sale sign in the windshield told us to call Steve, but unfortunately there was no time to further investigate the details of this classic vehicle. It’s up to you to guess the engine and transmission specs and whether this is a steel or plastic body. All I can tell you from the brief glance is that it is in mint condition. Enjoy the pictures!
“Let it be, let it be. There will come an answer, let it be.” The Beatles
Eight hours layover between flights at BKK, recovering from a sea kayak accident and barely being able to walk I asked myself what to do with the time? Sitting idle at the airport wasn’t really a choice and while dragging my suitcase around the lively airport, I stumbled accross a sign pointing to the Airport Rail Link that ends in downtown Bangkok. Sitting in a train means not having to walk and so I bought a one-way ticket. At the downtown terminal I found myself looking at a rather large intersection. Hmm…
As the Beatles predicted in their wisdom decades ago I just let it be… and there was an answer – in form of a very friendly man from northern Thailand who stopped his Tuktuk at the curb. He wanted to know where I was headed and my honest answer was that I had absolutely no clue.
“You want to see temples? Or girls?” 😉
Well, temples would be allright, but no red light district tour please. I’d rather just drive around to see as much of the city life as possible. Oh, and it would be awesome if there would be some classic cars to take pictures of. I guess he knew right then that this wasn’t goint to be a regular tourist tour. Showing him some pictures and telling him about the Drive-by Snapshots blog certainly helped. In between the tourist attractions we found some amazing places for petrol heads that surely no self-respecting tourist guide book would ever mention. More on these in the following posts later this week. This post is dedicated to a chance we almost missed while rushing along at roughly 50 km/h in the afternoon traffic.
Lightning quick reflexes of my driver ensured that we could hop onto the sidewalk with the Tuktuk when I yelled “Stop please, I spotted something”.
I walked back a couple of meters to make sure my peripheral vision didn’t fool me. Can you spot anything in the window next to the parked scooter?
Oh yes! Despite sweat running into my eyes and being a little dehydrated by now, the skills honed by one and a half decades of finding and taking drive-by snapshots hadn’t failed me. And indeed, there wasn’t only a familiar nose behind the glass of the shop window, but also a set of very recognisable Fuchs alloy wheels. In the background you can see the Tuktuk parked on the sidewalk.
That really was a stunning find in the middle of Bangkok: two early Volkswagen Beetle – both of them very tastefully modified. While cupping my hands and trying to peek inside I noticed a young boy inside, sweeping the floor. A gentle knocked on the window caused him to look up – and run away instantly. Well this didn’t go as planned. Taking pictures into a dimly lit room from a street drenched in bright sunlight doesn’t really help picture quality, or does it?
Remember the quote above? There will be an answer, let it be. So we let it be and turned around to leave, when the boys mom asked something in Thai.
My driver kindly acted as an interpreter and translated my wish to take pictures of the two air-cooled gems. She was excited and super friendly, opened the door and invited us inside.
Upon closer inspection it became evident that these early Beetles have been built to a very high standard and finished perfectly.
I love the style and all the little details. This is almost exactly as I would spec a Volkswagen Käfer if I had one.
But there was more than just looks and style. Judging by exhaust diameters, both cars had engines that seemed to be massaged in some way or another.
One question remains: why are two classic Volkswagen parked in an otherwise empty shop? The friendly lady explained that it’s going to be a shop selling clothes, apparently automotive themed. The owner wants to use his weekend toys as decoration. Now this is something that gets a firm nod of approval and respect. Well done, sir!
Immediately after leaving this lovely micro-museum and even now in retrospect the whole episode seems rather unreal. Did this really happen? In the middle of a busy city next to a busy street?
Keep your eyes open and one thing always in mind: smiles open doors – not only in the country of smiles. 🙂
In the 1960’s the internet wasn’t invented yet and only a few people had a black and white TV. Apart from advertising in newspapers and cinemas, companies had to come up with different ideas to get the attention of potential customers. In France, many companies ordered special re-bodied vehicles from coach builders to gain attention at events like the Tour de France and the 24 Heures du Mans. These vehicles drove along the circuit before the races began. Concerning the Tour de France, the tradition lives on even today, but unfortunately most vehicles are not purpose-built solely for advertising duty any more.
In 1964 the French company S.E.V. Marchal, who manufactured many automotive products, commissioned a re-bodied version of the Citroën HY to serve as a promotional vehicle and a showcase for their range of products. Therefore, it was equipped with many lights and horns from the portfolio. The front of the vehicle is impressive and you might wander what kind of generator they used to power all these lamps?
The sides of the vehicle have been converted to display cases with assymetrical windows and the rear features various stoplights and taillights. It seems fair to say that it lacks a bit when compared to that front-end. Note that most panels of the van are made from flat sheet metal instead of the signiture ribbed metal that makes the HY so easy to identify. The flat panels really change the overall appearance of the HY and makes it look a lot more modern.
Just for fun, I tried to imagine what it might look like when all the lights are on. Impressive, n’est pas?
“We have had a very severe frost and deep snow this month.
My thermometer was one day fourteen degrees and a half
below the freezing point, within doors.” Gilbert White
Utilizing surplus WWII machinery with canvas tops for towing wrecked cars in the winter at high altitudes with plenty of snow has certain disadvantages. The canvas covers freeze and eventually break when you move them. Scraping the ice of the plastic windows sratches them permanently and you never get warm and comfortable inside the vehicle, even with the heater on at full blast. To solve these problems and to make his live easier, Monsieur Negre could have bought new tow trucks. But hey! This would have been too easy. Men capable of creative thinking get pencil and paper out instead of the checkbook. Why should you throw away perfectly good vehicles just for the sake of being more comfortable?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a man who runs a garage and a towing business comes up with the idea of using car bodies for the task at hand. Form follows function, right? Unfortunately the results of this motto often look rather… hmm… questionable.
Fortunately this is not the case here. The man who built the Renault 4 bodied Willys MB Jeep featured here previously certainly has an eye for proportions and a set of great fabrication skills. It takes more than just welding a car body onto an existing chassis if you want to avoid driving around in what clearly looks like a botched job. Selecting the right base vehicle is the crucial first step. Monsieur Negre got both proportions and look right on the vehicles he designed and built. The Willys R4 looks like it could have been ordered like that from the factory.
The Dodge WC-52 Wrecker with the Peugeot 404 cabin certainly has a strong presence. Blending the narrow bonnet with the considerably wider cab takes artistic skills and the result reminds me of the Berliet GBH trucks. Stunning.
According to David Negre, son of the builder and now running the family business, the engine starts at the first crank with a new battery. We didn’t try it when shooting these pictures last week, but there is no obvious reason to doubt that claim.
The rather luxurious Peugeot door panels contrast nicely with the military-spec dashboard. This truly is a purpose-built machine with style.
The business end of the truck is original and features the same lovely patina than the other parts of the body. The winch apparently still works, but giving it some freash grease before trying sure wouldn’t hurt.
The license plate indicates that the vehicle has been registered 1963 or later.
I never noticed before, but removing the headlights from a Citroën 2CV instantly gives it a “cleaned” custom car look. This vehicle actually appeared in the background of the first story about the Willys Renault 4 conversion from 2010.
Six years ago I discovered a Willys MB Jeep with a Renault 4 body conversion and took some pictures.
Two and a half years ago I started to write this blog and decided to kick it off with the story about the converted Jeep.
A week ago, on a roadtrip home from Malaga, we spontaneously decided to cross the Massif Central instead of driving through the Rhône valley.
While driving through the Gorge du Tarn from Millau, memories kept popping up inside my head. Thoughts about my then-girlfriend, the surfing holidays we came back from, the chambre d’hôte in Millau we stayed at and the car we were traveling with: my 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3. Good old times.
This time around, I was traveling with a good friend in a 1988 Toyota LandCruiser HJ61. The ride was a lot more agricultural compared to the W201 and because of that, I suddenly remembered shooting pictures of the R4-bodied Willys somewhere between Saint Enimie and Le Puy. This instantly sparked my desire to look if the Jeep was still there. And guess what – we arrived at the gas station in Châteauneuf-de-Randon and the field next to it was empty. But hey – asking is free and I never give up just like that.
David, the owner of the gas station and Renault dealership Sarl NEGRE is a very friendly fellow and told us that his dad built the little truck decades ago. My guess on the conversion wasn’t too far off back then. It was actually never used by the local fire brigade but did years of reliable duty towing cars in the area. Davids father added the Renault 4 body to keep warm and dry in winter. If you look closely, the old livery is still visible. Gotta love the patina!
It surely must be rather quiet in an area with two-digit telephone numbers. This could possibly be the reason why the blue Renault 5 in the background only shows 6.000 km on the odometer! Seems like it didn’t get driven around much.
Living in a quiet area does have some advantages, though. It’s amazing that the car has not been vandalized in the decades it has lived outside.
I really hope it will still be there when I visit the next time – whenever that is going to be. Until then: rust in peace.
PS: David kindly showed me the other truck his father build. And let me tell you one thing: it is equally genius and even more impressive. Come back soon to read about it in the Drive-by Snapshots post. Meanwhile, enjoy reading how Guido Kehder (Die Leitplanke) built a 1:24 scale model of this vehicle.
[Edit: Here is the new link to the above mentioned article.]
“The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.” Paul Auster
OK. Let’s add an overpass and some mist from the vehicles traveling on the Autobahn on top to spice it up with some drama. And once again, the picture does not deliver because now the sun is just a white blob and most of the color wasted due to overexposure. Now this really is disappointing! But…
… following the road through a left-hander after the overpass suddenly changed everything:
An explosion of colors! I especially love the contrast between the speed displayed by the proximity to the guardrail and the almost static rain drops on the windshield. The powerline pole is a welcome addition and I am surprised by the detail available in full resolution. The reflection on the road surface is exactly what I had envisioned. Does that make me a happy photographer? Yes.
Mind you – the pictures have been taken with the standard camera settings of a Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone (while riding shotgun in a friends car).
Mr. Auster was right: sometimes things just happen and there is nothing (or not much) we can do to influence the outcome. I’m happy with the picture because it shows that millisecond that made an otherwise not-so-memorable journey on a rainy day a great one. 🙂
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” John Lennon
We all agree that anything is better than spending twelve hours between flights at a boring airport, don’t we? In order to enjoy it and make the most of the time I had to waste anyways, I spontaneously bought a five day visa, went outside and rented a car. Nothing fancy to write home about – just a plain and dull Chevrolet Malibu. But hey – the A/C worked and the seats are way more comfortable than the benches in the transit area of the airport. OK then, let’s go! No GPS, no map, no plan. This is the way I love to start an adventure!
Sultan Quaboos Street takes you from the airport to Muscat and is brightly lit at night. Cruising at a leisurely pace on an empty four-lane highway with soothing electronic music playing from a local radio station, the city lights and the full moon shining is like meditation. I kept on driving until I eventually hit the end at the Al Bustaan Palace roundabout. Last year in January we looked at the dhow in front of the Majlis Oman parliament building in bright daylight. Now, the full moon added a special vibe.
From there I took the scenic route along the coast to see what the Sultans’ Palace looks like at night, but was disappointed. Its bright colors certainly look better in daylight. Driving around Mutrah and Ruwi for a while I eventually started to feel tired. In any other country I would have made an effort to find a safe place to sleep for a couple of hours. But this being Oman, I just parked my car somewhere and dozed off for a couple of hours… until the Muezzin from the nearby mosque woke me at the faintest hint of daylight. Rising early ensured that I made it to Al Khuwair North in time for sunrise.
As soon as the sun was up, people appeared. Some of them walking their dogs, others jogging along the beach. On virtually every flat surface along Street 37, groups of Indians set up makeshift cricket fields. What a nice way to start the day! Don’t be fooled by the empty parking spaces in the picture below as most of them parked directly on the beach.
Being thirsty I started looking for a convenience store or gas station to buy some supplies. But again – this is Oman and one gets distracted easily because of all the awesome cars parked in front of the houses. In this case, pure JDM goodness: a pair of hawk-eye Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
The early morning sun provided extra smooth light and it was a real joy to take these pictures in this location with a beautiful background, setting and light.
This might be a pair of weekend toys, because they also had two late-model WRX STI. Looks like I forgot to take pictures of those.
Given the choice I would prefer the silver STI without the wing, even though I like the massive wings on these WRC performance machines.
The low sun accentuated the lines of the fenders perfectly.
Across the street, the neighbors also enjoy the Japanese way of drive. A rather subtle Lexus IS300…
… and a not-so-subtle Mazda 2 on a set of Volk Rays TE37. #needsmorelow
This was only the beginning of an automotive treasure hunt. There is more to come soon!
Todays post is something for classic car fans who love challenges. I found this French hot rod with a mock-up concrete mixer on the back in rural France back in 2007. Ever since then, I’ve been wondering what the hell this is actually based on.
The for sale sign in the windshield says 1955 Simca 9, but I wasn’t able to find a picture that even remotely matches the hood and doors. Maybe the sign refers to the chassis? The other vehicles give an indication for the size of the little trucklet.
If you have any idea, please let me know and I’ll update this post subsequently.
PS: Did you notice the 2CV tail light upgrade on the Citroën HY panel van?
“You recently posted a picture of a beige car on Facebook. I don’t know what kind of car it is, but the picture is so beautiful that I looked at it more than once.”
This quote is from a friend who isn’t really interested in cars – but has a professionally trained eye and lots of practical experience with equilibrated color combinations. When we met a couple of days after posting the preview shot on Facebook, she told me that she loves how perfect the color and style of the car correspond with the background. The way she spoke about her impressions of the picture catapulted me back to that very hot day in 2014 when I portrayed Stefans’ Volvo. Daniela, this article is dedicated to you for putting my previously unspoken feelings about these photos into words. Thank you.
3rd Passau Classic Car Day, July 6th 2014.
The thermometer already exceeded 30 °C at 09:20 am, when Stefan drove his 1963 Volvo P1800 to the event location: Schloss Freudenhain in Passau.
Little did he know that by the end of the day his vehicle would be the star of a photo shooting on the other side of the fence. Nor did I – but seeing the P1800 drive by in front of Schloss Freudenhains’ cream colored walls in the morning sun instantly sparked my desire to portray the vehicle right there. Sometimes you only need a split second to identify a perfect match.
Looking at the reflection in the chromed P1800 S hubcap you can see that the courtyard is empty. After a hot day, filled with conversations about the beautiful classic cars, participants and visitors had left the venue. Before heading to a Biergarten ourselves, we used the afternoon sun to make the most of what seemed to be the natural habitat for this beauty.
Stefan purchased the Volvo from a dealer in Munich in February 2014. The chassis number 4561 indicates that it is one of the ~6000 early models produced in the UK by Jensen. Production was eventually moved to Sweden late in 1963, apparently due to bad build quality. Vehicles made in Sweden are called P1800 S. For a few months, P1800 S models still featured the characteristic cow horn front bumpers of the Jensen-built models.
Stefan says his P1800 was originally delivered to the USA and first registered in July 1963. After decades of cruising the highways in the USA, it was eventually sold and shipped to Germany in 2007.
The body has apparently never been welded and is in excellent condition.
The vehicles 90 hp B18 engine is standard with the overdrive being a factory option. Later P1800 S models featured standard overdrive and more horsepower (96 hp).
A few parts on Stefans car are not original, such as the door boards at the time of the shooting. However, he recently purchased and fitted a set of OE parts.
Not too long after the photo shooting, Stefan also replaced the skinny original wheels with wider items and lower profile tires. These wheels are period-correct, because they have been available as a factory option.
The chrome trim is in mint condition and beautifully reflect the matching colors of Schloss Freudenhain.
The owner loves driving the P1800 as often as possible and enjoys the fine details of its design.
I want to say a big thank you for the letting me photograph your classic car and for all the information you provided for this article. Have a safe drive and enjoy it!
Driving past this abandoned service station in 2007 sparked a memory. A long time ago, when I was a young boy, we used to take the same route between Clermand-Ferrand and Bordeaux. If I remember correctly, this station was still in service back then and we might even have stopped there to fill up.
The paint might be faded, the pumps gone and the light poles rusty – but it sure has kept this special character only old petrol stations have. I just love the old-school architecture. Does a functional building have to be boring or ugly? No, sir! Back then, they thought about details and didn’t just build as quick and cheap as possible like today. The design is similar to the Station du Haut-Limousin I featured not too long ago.
The most prominent and accentuating feature of the building is the semicircular office area, which features fully glassed walls. Three matching semicircular steps lead to the central entrance door. Beauty is in the details, in my opinion. Did you note that the rectangular workshop area has symmetric windows left and right of the door? And even though it doesn’t look like in the pictures, the roof covering the pumps is symmetrical to the very same center line of the workshop door.
The building next door looks like it was also home to a workshop once. For many years, the white Peugeot 204 Break was parked between the building, in front of the owners’ house.
Every time I drove through St. Priest-de-Gimel and past the service station I dreamed about buying this awesome place (in the middle of nowhere) one day. All I could hope was that nobody would buy it until I could afford to purchase it.
Two years later in June 2009, roadworks necessitated the removal of the light poles and pump roof. Somehow it looks naked without the roof in front of it, doesn’t it? And hey, where did the trusty Peugeot end up? I looked into the windows, but couldn’t spot it inside.
The house also looked abandoned. The old man might have passed away. God bless him for holding onto the property long after closing for good. Shedding a little tear, I noticed the for sale signs in the windows of the office. Being a student at the time and having no money to spare made me sad.
Upon returning once again in September 2009, we found the road finished and the garage door partially open. The house was still boarded up and the for sale signs still in the windows. Albeit finished with my studies I still wasn’t in a position to buy the property – but dreaming about it still didn’t cost anything…
If you point your browser to google maps and search for St. Priest-de-Gimel you can still find this little gem. The google picture has a 2011 copyright and the workshop next door has been restored and converted. The good old times are gone forever on that side of the property. Let’s hope the little petrol station gets spared and sees a brighter future!
Whenever I take a road less traveled, there seems to be something interesting hiding behind a tree just around the corner. En route to the Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg with my girlfriend, we found a somewhat sad looking Peugeot 504 Pick-up.
Mind you, this is not somewhere in a rural area, but only a Kilometer or so from the European Parliament.
The warm afternoon light painted a nice shine on the neglected body and made it seem like it was parked only weeks ago.
Upon closer inspection, sitting there abandoned for months seemed more realistic. But nonetheless, the condition it was in suggested that it could still be saved by a caring soul.
With more patina than structural rust or other damage and in what seemed to be original paint, this isn’t unfeasible at all.
The paper note stuck to the windscreen wiper proves that I wasn’t the first to have the idea. Oh well… I sure hope it will find a new home soon.
Whoever is going to rescue this little workhorse – please save the little details that make these utility vehicles so authentic! Good luck!
When was the last time you found something not only totally unexpected, but also thought to be extinct by now? Trundling along the Route Départementale D27 at a leisurely pace on a hot day with no cloud in sight, we had a moment just like that, when we found the cutest rural petrol station and workshop. The icing on the cake most definitely was the color-matched Renault R5, which made the scene even more unreal.
The TOTAL pumps have been updated at a certain point, but everything else was like “back in the old days”. The little office, the workshop and the old lady filling the cars. Mind you, this is no self-service station! You pull up to the pumps, which are located right at the curb, and the old lady eventually emerges from the house on the other side of the road. To experience this kind of time travel is nothing short of amazing and well worth the extra time. The mighty W201 still had more than half of a tank to go, but I wanted to stop and buy fuel there in order to #supportlocalbusiness.
The choice of payment methods was quite old-school as well: cash only. And as I was fumbling to get those Francs… err… Euros out of my wallet, I suddenly realize that people back then had more of something that is often scarce nowadays: time. Time to drive slow. Time to chat with the fuel pump attendant about the weather and which Boulanger makes the best Baguette. Lovely idea, no?
Now, five years later while writing this article, I was wondering if the cute little petrol station is still in business. Well… you can find it on google Streetview, but the images have been also captured in 2010. I guess I need to take the time to go there again and take a look…
While wandering about near the Sultans’ Palace in Muscat, Oman, we spotted something we didn’t expect at all in this part of the world. Now who would ever look twice at an E100 series Toyota Corolla? Yeah, right. Nobody would. But because this particular vehicle wasn’t painted white and sitting there sporting not only a mild stance but also a perfectly fitting exhaust tip, we casually took a second look. This really is a nice, understated daily driver that could paint a smile or even a big grin on your face while commuting to work.
No body kit, no wing, no flashy alloy wheels. The owner just kept it simple and accentuated the clean lines of his Corolla which, in my book, makes it even better and a perfect sleeper. Unfortunately the owner wasn’t around to answer any questions. Therefore we could only guess what might be hiding under the bonnet.
My friend Florian, who has worked for RECARO in Japan for a number of years, recognized the Kakimoto Racing sticker on the windscreen and told me that it is a well-known tuning shop in Japan. So far so good… but how odd are the chances to see a Kakimoto Racing equipped LHD(!) Corolla in the capital of Oman? This proves time and again, that you have to look behind the scenes. There might always be a little gem hiding in an alley somewhere.
PS: The bonnet is not misaligned. An Omani gentleman told us, that it is adjusted with spacers to make cooling the engine bay easier on hot days.
The WUNDER-BAUM® was invented in 1952 and has been produced in huge quantities ever since. Under normal circumstances, the tree-shaped air-freshener is a lonely fellow. He prefers to lead a solitary life, enjoying the panoramic view from its natural habitat – the rear-view mirror.
However, some of the little trees are members of a secret organization. They gather once a year to hold their annual meeting, called WUNDER-FOREST®. In 2014, they attended the Gatebil festival in Rudskogen, Norway. If you looked closely, you might have noticed that the trees held small-group workshops in various vehicles around the track, dangling from the rear-view mirrors of various cars.
We caught a few of them in Erlend Skulstads’ Audi 100 Avant…
… and we even had the chance to catch a glimpse of their annual general meeting, held on neutral terrain in a totally in-suspicious looking Cadillac from Sweden.
Gotta have some room to breathe in such meetings, don’t you agree? 😉
Eavesdropping on the conversation revealed, that the Gatebil Festival inspired them to create a new scent for future WUNDER-BAUM® applications…
A hot summer day in 2014. Heading towards the Nürburgring for the annual Oldtimer Grand Prix, we decided to stop at a rest area to buy refreshments. The petrol station was filled to the brim with travelers, their (mostly humdrum) cars, and a couple of trucks for good measure. But there is always a nugget to be found somewhere, if you just look hard enough. Actually, we didn’t really have to look hard, because the nugget occupied one of the prime spots. The owner and his friend just wanted to leave, but happily stopped and agreed to answer some questions and let me take a few pictures. Thank you, guys!
So what do we have here? It’s a Citroën 2CV with plenty of modifications. Most visible and hard to miss: the top has been chopped. In order to keep the original windscreen, the angle of the A-pillar has been adjusted. If I remember correctly, it also had something to do with being able to make the car road legal (TÜV approved).
The rear has been treated to one of those parts that look cheesy on a normal 2CV. But on this car, it somehow looks as it was purposely designed for it.
I always loved the design of these aftermarket 2CV wheels – but widened like that makes them pop even more! Great choice!
Up front, the widened fenders look awesome. In conjunction with the chopped top and the lowered ride height, this 2CV looks a lot angrier than the rather cute stock version.
The ventilation scoop in the fender is not just there for looks. It helps with extracting the heat of the tuned four cylinder, air-cooled Citroën GS boxer engine.
The engine itself was finished nicely and featured plenty of brilliant solutions, most of which I unfortunately don’t remember now, more than half a year later.
But one thing I do remember is the fantastic sound. You just can’t beat a carburetor with an open air filter!
Inside, all the vital functions can be monitored. The guys told me that the ignition switch broke during their holiday. But hey, if this happens to you with a modern car, you’re in for a costly repair in a foreign country with all chances of being ripped off, because you have no choice. Older cars are better in this regard – just hot-wire it and drive home 🙂
Alfa Romeo seats help with driving long-distance in such a vehicle, because they are way more supportive than the stock seats.
In case you’ve been wondering about the title of this post: the 2CV is nicknamed “Ente” (duck) in German.
Before reading this story, please make sure to read the story called Fishermen’s Friends.
Most seafood restaurants have catch of the day on their menu: a special fish out of the many fish caught last night, served fresh. Drive-by Snapshots is not a seafood restaurant but a blog covering automotive topics – and the menu changes daily.Read More»