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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Japanese Soft-Roader Weekend Edition: Suzuki X-90


The previous cars posted in the Weekend Edition series have been wagons or hatchbacks, with the bodyshell a multi-purpose one despite the oftentimes jolly plastic dress-up or choice of colour. The Suzuki X-90 is something else, a small two-door SUV with a saloon-like trunk and a T-top. It’s definitely weird, despite being based on Vitara / Geo Tracker mechanicals.

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Japanese Soft-Roader Weekend Edition: Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon


One of the coolest Toyota wagons ever is the late-’80s, early-’90s E90 body All-Trac wagon, which differs greatly from the regular shape FWD wagon.

The 4WD wagon took the fenders from the coupe-like Corolla Liftback 5-door, and mated them to a more avantgarde body, which was done up in the same style as the earlier, slightly unsymmetrical Tercel wagon. Depending of the market, the wagon was named in various ways, including “Sprinter Carib”.

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Japanese Soft-Roader Weekend Edition: Honda Civic Shuttle Beagle


One of the most iconic small Japanese 4WD wagons is the Honda Civic Shuttle, also known as the Wagovan in some markets. It combined the great basic car that was the EF-body Civic with a taller roof and more interior room, and as a bonus it was a go-anywhere four wheel drive car.

The “Beagle” JDM version here features body addenda, to make it even more credible as a camping wagon.

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Japanese Soft-Roader Weekend Edition: Mazda BU-X Concept & Demio


Mazda also produced a fairly similar car to the Starlet Remix, called the Demio. Most everyone who spent their teenage years holed up in their bedroom, getting to grips with Gran Turismo, became familiar with the Demio, as it was one of the starter cars on the path to Pikes Peak Escudos.

The Demio was preceded by a showcar called the BU-X, in the ’95 Tokyo Motor Show. The sheetmetal was identical and only the detailing was dolled up for show purposes.

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