Centro Storico Fiat Weekend Edition: 1983 Fiat Regata promo

The Fiat Regata was the ’80s saloon version of the Ritmo/Strada, with a slightly boxier outlook and a big trunk. The build quality is well described in this clip, with parts seemingly coming from nowhere and the driver looking very excited to see what falls out of the sky next, like doors and a steering wheel. This was also the car used for the Gung Ho! film in 1986, with Michael Keaton. For the movie, the Regatas were branded as cars from Assan Motors, a Japanese manufacturer.

Centro Storico Fiat Weekend Edition: Winning with Lancia 037 & LC2

One of the nicest things about the 30-year-old Fiat-produced promotional videos is the combination of Italo Disco music with grainy film footage. This 20-minute documentary is dedicated to both the rally weapon Lancia 037 and the asphalt track Group C car LC2.

Both wear characteristic Martini Racing colours, and the opening shots highlight the liveries to a great effect, comparing the 037’s aggressive angles to the LC2’s fluid lines. A great deal of the documentary’s length is dedicated to tech close-ups and flinging gravel; snow rallies aren’t alien to the 037, either.

Centro Storico Fiat Weekend Edition: 1981 Fiat Ritmo promo

The Centro Storico Fiat is a wonderful thing: it’s the automaker’s historic library, and they have a pretty great YouTube account that uploads old promotional videos and footage. It’s mostly all in Italian, but that is barely a hindrance, when the picture material is this good.

The first video to go is a 1981 film called “Ritmo è bello”, which shows the ’81 range for the car that was known as the Strada in the States. The cars are lovely, but they aren’t the only nice thing about the clip. I’m obviously talking about the enormous cardboard props.


Travel back to 1995: Nürburgring shenanigans captured on VHS

What does a Nürburgring Nordschleife tourist drive Sunday look like these days? E30s and VW Golf Mk2:s getting beaten to hell. What did it look like 20 years ago? Exactly the same. Somehow, nothing has happened: the same old cars get driven on the track all the same, it’s just that the crashes and spins are captured on digital memory now and not tapes.

This video takes you right back to those good old videotape days. It’s more than an hour’s worth, so get cracking!

[Source: frightened fred/YouTube]

Weekend Edition: The Classic Motorshow Parking, Part. 2


At the show, there were a great deal of non-ancient cars parked neatly next to the older classics. This post shows the angular, ’80s stuff and the occasional newer car that had snuck in.

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Weekend Edition: The Classic Motorshow Parking, Part. 1


The thing with the Classic Motorshow is that you can park outside the venue only if you’ve arrived with a 30+ year old car. Or if you’re a honored guest of the show or work there or whatnot. But they check your papers as you drive in, and it’s better to be old. It doesn’t have to be in fancy condition, like my friend with a completely beat Corolla proved, but the older, the better.

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Weekend Edition: Classic Motorshow 2016


One of the best things in the Finnish automobile enthusiast’s calendar is the Classic Motorshow, held yearly in early May and containing wondrous weird cars in several halls of the fair centre in Lahti.

This year, I armed myself with two cameras: the other one was the usual brown Canon EOS 1100D I use for everything, and the other one was a ridiculously cheap eBay find: an early-to mid-’90s EOS 500 which cost three euros and accommodated my 50mm EF lens without issues. I shot sparingly with the film camera, filling two rolls of film with weird, dream-like shots I would only see after getting it developed. For maximum exposure (hah!) I handed the photos to Blake Z. Rong, who published them over at Road & Track. His stuff is good, you should read it.

But since Hooniverse is the kind of place where you can parade 50 shots of weird cars and not feel like you’ve done a disservice to the readers, I’ll publish my digital shots here. There’s going to be a lot.

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From concept to reality: The VAZ/Lada 110/2110


“You make me sad”, said King Arthur to the Black Knight in the very well known Monty Python movie. I’m reminded of that scene every time I compare Lada prototypes to the finalized production cars: it’s clear how the design studios were positively awash with striking ideas and impeccable taste, but despite getting the basic shape to production, something got lost in translation to sheetmetal. It’s hardly different from what universally happens to a concept car, but the Lada 110/2110 is especially galling: to get it so close, yet to fall so far.

The project, started in the mid-1980s and producing driveable, SVX-baiting prototypes in 1990-1991 made it to production beginning in 1995 and for European-wide sales by 1999. It managed to be a decade late, if you’re looking at the inspiration.

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Working out the recipe: 25 years of the SEAT Toledo


The Skoda article this past weekend focused on the Octavia 1U, which was unveiled 20 years ago, after Volkswagen gradually took ownership of the Czech carmaker.

The Octavia was partly developed from the same parts, on the same floorpan as the later SEAT Toledo, but the Toledo was already a second-generation car by 1998. The initial, 1L body car went on sale in May 1991, or a quarter of a century ago. It’s pretty easy to see that Volkswagen Group really wanted to get the partsbin combination right.

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Weekend Edition: Rebuilding a brand – The 1996-2010 Skoda Octavia 1U


It’s 25 years ago since Skoda and Volkswagen shook hands and made Skoda a Volkswagen subsidiary. The agreement took place on March 28th, 1991, and on April 16th, Volkswagen took ownership of 30% of Skoda’s shares. In Dec 1994, VW took majority of Skoda’s shares with 60,3% in their pocket, and grew that to 70% a year later. It is frankly amazing that in roughly five years from putting pen to paper, Skoda and VW produced the 1U body Skoda Octavia. The first one rolled off the production line on April 3th, 1996.

While the Felicia hatchback was still obviously a development of the sharper-edged Favorit and the later, Polo-based Fabia still used the old pushrod engines dating back to the Gutenberg printing machine, the Octavia was a completely fresh design from the ground up, working as a testbed of sorts for the upcoming fourth generation Golf, yet managing to do some things better with less. If Skoda today can be seen as an extremely successful player on multiple markets, it all started with the humble-but-worthy 1996 Octavia, which lived a long and prosperous life.

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