Concept Cars: The Pininfarina Ethos 2 still looks fresh


Would you believe if I told you the sleek, light-looking car above was a concept from two years ago? Five? Perhaps with LED headlights and different door glass instead of the SVX-y elements, it would be easily believed.

But no, the Ethos 2 was actually presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1993 – an astonishing 22 years ago. Maybe it’s the shade of blue that still works in 2015, maybe it’s the well-proportioned body, maybe it’s the minimalistic approach, but there’s nothing on the car that would severely date it back two decades.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: Oldtimers and Oddballs


From 1947 to 1954, the Moskvitches produced by Moscovskiy Zavod Malolitrazhnyh Avtomobiley were often of the 400-420 saloon type, as seen above. The car was based on the 1938 Opel Kadett, and the 1.1-litre engine produced 23 horsepower. Wikipedia mentions the 0-50 mph sprint as having taken 55 seconds, and the car achieving 31 mpg, which is hardly bad for those times.

In the Moskvitch portfolio, there are numerous models that deserve to be seen. Take a peek.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The 1976-1987 Moskvitch 2140/Elite


With time, the 408/412 series were replaced by the modernized 2140 series, which relied on the same basic structure. As with the previous post, there is a great deal of Finnish promotional shots courtesy of the importer.

The sole engine here was the 1500cc engine from the 412, meaning the export versions remained to be called the Moskvitch 1500/1500S and the later 1500SL.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The 1964-1975 Moskvitch 412/Elite


Above the Moskvitch 408 line, there was the 412, to which I referred in earlier posts. It was positioned as a more premium choice on the repertoire, as it was plusher and featured a larger engine.

It’s also worth mentioning that the bulk of the photographs on this piece have been taken by the Finnish importer, Konela Auto. Those black plates really shine on the brand-new Elites, as the 412 was called on the export market.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The 1964-1975 Moskvitch 408


With yesterday’s posts, we focused on the 1970s prototypes that centred on replacing the 408 and 412 series cars of the 1960s and 1970s. It makes sense to give some space to the earlier cars, as they are really rather beautiful in a narrow, upright sense. The promotional images dedicated to them are also worth taking a look at, as the colours are bright and everything is tip-top.

The first car, the black one is actually a pre-production example from 1961. Keeping in mind it took until mid-1980s for the lineage to be replaced, the base car that started its life as the 408, survived a handsome quarter of a decade – to some turbulent times.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The Moskvitch Prototypes Part III


After the mid-1970s design prototypes, the basis for the new five-door Moskvitch 2141 was confirmed. The process was simplified greatly: out of the contemporary offerings in the Western market, the Car of the Year 1976, the Simca 1307 was chosen as the base. It must have been a tough decision from the designers’ perspective, as the preceding work was wiped clean, and they were told to follow in the footsteps of what Chrysler Europe had been doing.

But still, work was started over again and prototypes were again produced.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The Moskvitch Prototypes Part II


After discarding the 412 as a basis for the forthcoming prototypes, Moskvitch’s design started to get really interesting. Although the source material doesn’t explicitly address this, the Saab influence in the first prototype, denoted C-1, is more than obvious in several respects.

Another amusing thing is that the 1975 C-1 prototype, due to its striking green colour, ended up being named after the children’s programme character Crocodile Gena. There are worse comparisons, I guess.

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Moskvitch Weekend Edition: The Moskvitch Prototypes Part I


This weekend, it’ll be 25 years from the German Reunification. The East and the West started a process that made Eastern Europe what it is today: countries full of well-used 1990s Volkswagen Passats and some really lovely towns to spend time in, having a hearty meal with a good beer alongside.

Hooniverse has had its share of Lada photos and the occasional Samara content, and we’re not averse to Trabants, but Moskvitches haven’t been too common on this site. That’s why I’m lending a little light to The Other Russian Car Maker, the one that isn’t VAZ.

Remember Aleko? You will, after the first posts this weekend.

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Back on Track Day: Hooniverse Goes to Ahvenisto


Out of all the racetracks in Finland, Ahvenisto stands out. Most of the tracks here have been built somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and that usually renders them quite flat. But Ahvenisto stands proud by a ridge, with uphill sections and daring curves without yards and yards of run-off area. Originally, there wasn’t much close by but woodlands and fields, but urban sprawl reached the track quite quickly. Nowadays the track has to hold its ground to be able to exist in modern smalltown Finland, where people move next to race tracks and then complain about engine noise. But I digress: every minute spent at the track is worth it, as long as the track is in active use and respected for the motorsport history it embodies.

It has become sort of customary for our circle of FinalGearheads to end the summer season with an Ahvenisto trackday somewhere in late September or early October, and this year was no exception. I was eager to take my Miata there, as it’s the closest thing to an actually track-ready car I’ve had in my fleet.

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Great Little Car: Mazda MR-90 was the GLC re-animated


It’s always baffling when you find out there’s a car you never knew existed. When searching for Ford Festiva images – honestly – I bumped into this press shot of the Mazda MR-90, and it completely caught me off guard. What was it? A Hyundai Pony with Mazda badges?

Badge engineering doesn’t go that way in this case, and the MR-90 is just something refreshed. You’re looking at the 1977-onwards Mazda 323 GLC, only wearing the GC generation 626’s face for the Indonesian market.

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