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Inside the Classic Remise in Düsseldorf, Germany

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Düsseldorf’s Classic Remise is a great place for anyone who wants to get up close with near-priceless classic metal. A brick building once built for locomotive storage, these days it’s a combination of a classic car dealership, car storage, restoration shop, memorabilia mall and car museum with a really nice restaurant thrown in as a bonus. Admission is free, and it’s one of the best ways to spend a Sunday in Düsseldorf. I especially recommend a Flammkuchen mit Speck with an Altbier as a companion, after a few hours of intensive classic car admiring.

In this photo-heavy post, I’ll show you the Remise as seen through a 50mm “Nifty Fifty” lens.

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Beaterland in Deutschland – Turning 30 in a BMW E30

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As an individual born in late November, 1984, I turned 30 last week. Fanfares, accolades, confetti, all of them successfully softened the blow of reaching my fourth decade. It even gets quite cold and dark here in Finland around this time, so the only hasty choice I could do was to turn back the advancement of autumn just a touch, and book tickets to Germany, as it’s just a touch warmer there. As it happens, they also have legendary racetracks and cheap(er) cars there, along with seriously cheap beer, so it didn’t take a long time for me to jump on the Boeing and make my way to Düsseldorf.

To look at cars, one needs a car. This was the bottom line for my friend Joe, who picked me up in the titular BMW; he’s planning to buy a cheap, frugal runabout or a project Datsun Z or something in between. It’s not clear yet what he’ll be getting, but the actual going-to-look-at-cars will happen in this slightly patinated 1988 BMW 318i saloon. It was loaned to him by the excellent fellow who bought the pea soup coloured Zastava, and as he had also recently bought a gold Subaru wagon the BMW was free to be lent on.

So, there I was, luggage dumped into the steel blue BMW’s trunk, the top of my head touching the headliner of the sunroof-equipped car. This was to be a pretty decent weekend.

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A Hooniverse Thanksgiving Turkey – 2014 Opel Astra ecoFLEX Wagon

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My forays into the world of brand new cars do not come often. I was awaken from my beater status quo by the realization that the current J-generation Opel Astra doesn’t have a long shelf life any more, as it is scheduled to be replaced in 2016-ish.

Right now, the dealers offer attractive deals on already affordable cars: 1,9% financing and even “Bring your road legal penalty box and we’ll value it at 3000 eur” kind of trades, via some networks. Adaptive headlights, 17″ wheels and punchier 140hp engine come into play, with the end price hovering somewhere around 21 000 eur for a five-door version. Since I don’t instantly retreat into the woods when Opel is casually mentioned, I decided to trot over to the local dealer and try out a BROWN MANUAL WAGON. Did I shout that out loud?

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Used Car Reviews – 2004 Daewoo Evanda CDX V200

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Ever since the Daewoo Evanda came out almost fifteen years ago, I’ve been somewhat slightly intrigued by it. There’s something off-beat about the Evanda, as it often appears under a multitude of aliases depending of where it has been sold, and when, but never truly taking a name as its own.

To begin with, it’s most authentically a Daewoo V200, replacing the V100 that was sold under the Leganza name. The V200 was sold as the Daewoo Magnus on its home turf, and when they were shipped to Western European ports, the name Evanda was applied on the trunklids. On North American markets, it was either the American Suzuki Verona or the Canadian Chevrolet Epica, the latter echoing its 2006 replacement (sold as the Daewoo Tosca in South Korea), but as Daewoo was even further integrated under General Motors, the Chevrolet badges were applied on the cars even in Europe.

So, this is what you could have ended up getting in 2004: a Daewoo which says GM Daewoo under the bonnet and has a Daewoo steering wheel, but Chevrolet badges on the outside. It’s an anti-car really, a non-brand, and despite having been designed by Italdesign’s Giorgetto Giugiaro like its predecessor, it appears perfectly anonymous. And that might be the thing I like most about it, there’s no badge burden on it if you just snip off the golden bowties. And since I found a little used ten-year-old example for sale locally, I really wanted to finally try one. Especially since it’s brown.

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Used Car Reviews – 2001 Peugeot 206 GTi

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As an owner of a Peugeot 205, the 206 has always interested me ever since I got my little Pug. I’ve only ever driven a 206 Roland Garros – a posh special edition – and that was when the car was new a decade ago, so I haven’t had a clear comparison to how they stack up next to each other. As this black example of a cheap 206 GTi popped up for sale, I wanted to go over and have a look. Could it capture some of the 205 feel, or would it be an unjust comparison to begin with?

The initial problem with the 206 is that it isn’t a 205. Thing is, no other car than a 205 is a 205. The first two numbers and the “GTi” add-on mean the 206 GTi travels on dangerous ground. Peugeot couldn’t really replace the 205, so they brought in the 106 as a smaller, somewhat overlapping replacement and kept making the 205 as long as it was in any way viable. The 106 grew old and uncompetitive, so another replacement had to be ushered in, and about that time Peugeot’s design language and general demeanour had grown up to favour the more ballooned and stretched look, just like the 307 that followed the ’90s 306. That is an another can of worms that eventually led to the all-face, no-trousers 407, but it’s fairly obvious they couldn’t keep making the 205-306-405 set forever. You know they tried.

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Helsinki Sightings – 1978 Datsun 100A

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This wonderfully bile green Datsun 100A was spotted in Punavuori, Helsinki by erstwhile Hooniverse contributor and collaborator frankiess. Put short, the Datsun looks amazing. A handsome amount of these were sold here new, and a good chunk of those have been run down to the ground during the subsequent years – but this one is doing daily driver duty in hipster Helsinki.

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Red Wedge – 1984 Lotus Turbo Esprit

Antti Kautonen October 9, 2014 Finnish Line

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Before our jaunt to the Ahvenisto race track, we stopped at the nearest service station for summer cabin groceries and whatnot. We hadn’t prepared for the cutting edge slice of exotica parked on the best spot: a gleaming red Lotus Turbo Esprit from 1984.

Tan leather, gold wheels and graphics, faultless paint; the Esprit looked wonderful even in the slightly gloomy and foggy weather.

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Track Day in Beaterland – Sierra CVH at Ahvenisto

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What do I love most about taking a humble daily driver on a track? Well, there’s just something about it that feels deliciously wrong. Tracks are for track weapons in the purest sense, for purpose-built, caged cars that are driven by people who actually know what they’re doing for most of the time, people who are able to shave seconds off lap times instead of just doing a different series of mistakes on each lap. Instead of a bread and butter conveyance, you get into a machine that’s been painstakingly built into a faster, safer, and yet more disposable vehicle, something that can be driven hard, something that still declares “This isn’t even my final form!” A car that’s been built into a track day car or a racer doesn’t have a way back. This is its life now, roll cage and all.

But for a modest outlay, and as long as you’ve brought your helmet and as long as you’re aware of how your car is doing mechanically, you can enter a track with your grocery-getter and have a brilliant time – in case the premises offer the possibility of tourist drives or booking the place for your usual gang of idiots that form your car camaraderie. Like us, the Finnish part of FinalGear, the guys who sauna the night before and watch Regular Car Reviews and Birgirpall until everyone’s so tired from laughing they don’t know if the helmet fits on the next morning. But as the leaves are falling and the forested track of Ahvenisto looks amazingly beautiful, despite being treacherous under the motivational autumn photo guise, it’s time to wrap up the driving season on the track asphalt with a group of good friends. And now it was the 1990 Ford Sierra‘s turn to earn a couple stickers.

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Two Wheel Tuesday – Get your GSX-R on Route 66’r

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A good friend, Mikko, decided before this summer that what he needed in his life, along with American cars in various states of functionality, was a fast bike. He proceeced to acquire a 2004 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K4 without hesitating, and he’s had a great summer riding around the country on the yellow menace. But now, he believes it might be for the greater good to get rid of it. Can you believe?

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Summer Holiday Souvenirs – 1977 Zastava 101 on the Nürburgring

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Let’s say you go for a vacation on an island in the Adriatic sea. What would you bring back home from there? A suntan? Some handicraft? Two of my friends went for something with a local flavour, and went halves on a 1977 Zastava 101. You could do worse.

Beni, the guy who drove to my town a couple years ago with a blue Miata via Norway, is no stranger to wrenching on older, quirky cars, as he also owns an X1/9. This pretty much means he wasn’t afraid to set off to Germany, crossing the Alps, in the pea soup green 1100cc Fiat derivative. The thing even managed a comfortable cruise on the revered Autobahn. Joe Isuzu was nowhere in sight, though.

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