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Wagon Wednesday: 2004 Mercedes-Benz W203 C180 Kompressor

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One of the more difficult things as a writer is assessing the dynamic characteristics of your father’s car. Or, to be precise: at a time when he’s sitting in the passenger seat. My formative years as a driver, brought up on car magazines with evocative tales of road trips were spent driving the family trucksters under somewhat constant monitoring, and whenever given free rein, discovering some of the attributes never quite to be reached with someone else in the car.

I’ve now passed my 30th birthday a good while ago, but whenever I’m piloting a vehicle with my father, double my age, there’s an eerie sense of being transported to an age a decade younger. That ends up ruling out the time-honed lairy gravel road Scandinavian flicks in the MX-5 and the immediate throttle response satisfaction given by the TU-series engine in the 205. The watchful eye with decades of road experience may be silent, but the direction is in the air – keep it steady, sudden movements to the minimum. Don’t launch the phone from the dashboard slot under the stereo head unit.

The car in question is one of the more puzzling of recent years, and by itself worthy of closer inspection. It’s a 203-body Mercedes-Benz C-class wagon built a decade ago. Is it a good used buy? Is it a decent Mercedes? What to really make of it, especially since it’s now been in the family for six months?

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Not Honda CRX Weekend Edition: Nissan 100 NX Coupe

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What, then, of the Nissan 100NX? The rounded, Sunny/Sentra-related extremely 1990s car ditched the pointed designs of previous FWD coupe Nissans, the EXA included, and only relied on a T-Bar roof option to appear quirky.

The round shape is perhaps too much for many, as it takes an enthusiast of all things computer mouse shaped to really appreciate the way the 1990-1996 NX was designed. It hasn’t aged perfectly gracefully, but you wouldn’t mistake it for anything else.

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Not Honda CRX Weekend Edition: Hyundai Scoupe

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For some, the swoopy Hyundai Coupe from the mid-1990s was the first interesting Korean car. For some, the Genesis was, and then there are people who still wait for one to appear. But I find even the 1988-unveiled Scoupe, or S Coupe interesting, as the design simply works for me.

The Scoupe wasn’t anything to boast about, but why should it? There are Excel mechanicals underneath the two-door body, and most of that was made out of Mitsubishi hardware. It was all about getting the brand out and about, and getting people behind the wheel of something with a Hyundai logo.

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Not Honda CRX Weekend Edition: Toyota Cynos/Paseo

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It’s time for a weekend edition round these parts, and after recent Regular Car Reviews pieces about Honda CRX:s, one did wonder if those small hatchback coupes were the best things in their class. Sure, from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, plenty of Japanese-originating small front-wheel-drive coupes were available, but it’s possible no other model is currently in quite such high demand as the CRX. The CRX isn’t perfect, but seemingly the competitors would have been less so.

It’s only logical, then, to trot out the possible alternatives for the Honda, back in its day. What would you have got?

The first one to go is the Toyota Cynos, which was renamed the Toyota Paseo in some markets.

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Monday Video: Kawasaki catches fire at 247 mph

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Ever experienced the inevitable heat death of the universe while riding your turbocharged 2006 Kawasaki ZX14 at 247 mph? Well, this is pretty much what it looks like, from the view point of a GoPro camera strapped on the bike.

This video was taken at a runway, at a speed event in Finland. The oil return on the bike failed at speed and fire was an inevitable outcome. The rider was able to pull to a halt and bail, and it took a while until the fire crew got to the scene. This meant the fairing melted around the camera as the fire blazed, and amazingly enough the memory card could be salvaged from the GoPro-turned-alien-blob later on.

The latter half of the three-minute video is pretty insane, as that’s what it would feel to be a GoPro slowly engulfed by melting plastic and fiery fire. Wouldn’t want to change places with it.

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Sitting Pretty: (Most Likely) Abandoned 1996 Lada Samara 1500i

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I drive past this off-white Lada Samara almost every day, whenever I grab my car keys and go anywhere. It’s been sitting at the parking lot adjacent to the railway station as long as I remember, and after I first paid attention to it I don’t think I’ve seen it go anywhere. It’s on summer tires, but those were mounted a good few years ago, I wager.

A car so inherently disposable as a Samara, especially one manufactured as late as 1996 when the competition was quite far ahead of the little Lada, doesn’t really stand a chance of being intentionally preserved. This one will probably sit there until someone tows it somewhere to be cubed.

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Wagon Wednesday: 1994 BMW E34 M5 Touring Nürburgring Edition

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As a Northern European car guy, there’s a ton of cars I wish we got but didn’t. And I know there’s a lot of cars that were – even technically – available here, that never made it to the States. The BMW E34 was available with engines ranging from a lowly 1.8-litre four to the wonderful 4.0 V8 or the 3.6 and 3.8-litre sixes in the M-versions, and along with the saloon version, you could get the BMW M5 as a seriously cool wagon version.

The Touring was never exported to North America, and a 1994 car such as this will have to wait a few more years before making it past the 25-year age limit in the States. But here it was, on a rainy mediocre Monday, sitting on cobblestones, not far from my apartment. It’s not always completely terrible to live here.

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Meet & Greet Part 2: Old & Rusty Picnic Video

Antti Kautonen June 10, 2015 Car Shows

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In addition to the photo bonanza posted earlier, here’s video from the Slovenian Old & Rusty event.

There’s cars and boats and cars and boats and sunshine and general laid-back awesomeness. My skin is turning red from the sun, from just watching the video.

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Meet & Greet: Old & Rusty Picnic #1 in Ankaran, Slovenia

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Going to an enthusiast car meet in Slovenia, what would you imagine seeing? I’m pretty sure nothing could prepare you for the awesomeness that was on display at the first ever Old & Rusty picnic meet in Ankaran, a small coastal town, on June 6th. The metal there was weathered or super shiny, the cars glacially slow or very quick indeed.

Hold on and check out the photo-heavy post our local oldschool car enthusiast friends were nice enough to treat us to.

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Chance Encounter: 1968 Dodge Charger R/T

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It’s probably one of the more random sightings I’ve had happen lately, even if summertime usually brings out the interesting American muscle that is housed in local garages over winter. A ’68 Dodge Charger R/T just casually sitting on a street corner in the old, wooden town here, in drizzling rain.

The car’s been restored recently by the looks of it, and the wheels are modern, even. It’s probably very close to what the owner has dreamed of for a long time.

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