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The time still can’t be right for the Renault Avantime – but it’s cool

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The Renault Avantime is one of the bravest ideas for a mainstream manufacturer’s production car. In essence, we are talking about a personal luxury coupe three-door minivan, and one from France.

It cannot have come as a surprise that it didn’t exactly sell like hot cakes; production lasted from 2001 to 2003, with little more than 8500 built. But cult status is definitely deserved, and these photos show just how weird an Avantime looks with the windows down.

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We gather around to watch an E92 M3 chase a Volvo 850 wagon

Watching in-car videos is double-triple the fun when you share them with your car buddies. The Hooniversal HQ is no exception. I cued this clip of a Norwegian-registered, commendably quick Volvo 850 making it difficult for a BMW E92 M3 to keep up. It was a heated discussion…

Bradley Brownell:  I haven’t shaved since January.

[Ed. note: Wait, that was another talking point.]

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Video: This is probably how it feels like to be a Miata

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The funsters over at Mx5 International captioned a short clip from a MX-5 supercup race. Miatas are pretty personable with their friendly, dumb little faces, and this well-thought-out and a bit NSFW clip provides a realistic look into what goes through a MX-5 ECU at any given time.

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Numero Uno: 1990 Giannini Fiat Uno Turbo i.e. Torino!

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This is one of the bulkiest-looking developments of the humble and boxy Fiat Uno hatchback. Small Italian cars are rarely anything but awesome, and when they’re all puffed up with a bodykit, packing a turbo engine, they get just that little bit cooler.

The wonderfully historic Auto Giannini, originally founded all the way back in 1885, got their hands on a Turbo Uno in 1990, and this is the end result. It’s boastful.

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Techno Classica Weekend Edition: The 1978-1981 BMW M1

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Never to be outdone, BMW brought a freaking airplane to Techno Classica. They recently turned 100 years old, and the Bavarian propeller logo does stand for actual propellers.

But since this isn’t Atomic Toasters, I’m dedicating this post to the BMW M1: the best Lamborghini BMW ever made. Or something.

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Techno Classica Weekend Edition: Volkswagen at Techno Classica

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Volkswagen’s stand at Techno Classica was expectedly GTI-heavy, as they celebrated the Golf GTI’s 40th anniversary. The ’76 GTI was represented by a Dutch example, the very first GTI to be registered in that country. It wasn’t nannied, but served as a dealership demo car and ended up in the need of complete restoration – that was done over a two-year period, and reportedly performed using parts made available by Volkswagen’s Classic Parts department. Can’t have come cheap.

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Techno Classica Weekend Edition: Mercedes-Benz 190E W201 Cabriolet

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For Techno Classica, Mercedes-Benz brought out a one-off convertible version of their modern classic 190E. The 2.6-litre car is the only one with factory backing, and it does look quite balanced.

The two-tone blue suits the car exceptionally well, and it was built around the time the 190E had its “MoPf” facelift, meaning it has the wide plastic cladding on the sides.

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Techno Classica Weekend Edition: 1991 Audi Avus Quattro

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A suitable counterpart or companion piece for the restrained and tasteful – albeit orange – Quattro Spyder is the Avus concept, all bulges and polished surfaces. This is also a 1991 car, and mid-engined, but somehow it couldn’t be more different.

For some reason, I really enjoy Volkswagen Audi Group’s “Not Veyron” concepts.

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Techno Classica Weekend Edition: 1991 Audi Quattro Spyder

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This weekend edition focuses on Techno Classica. No, that’s not a new wave band (that’s Classix Nouveaux), but a classic car show held in Essen, Germany, in early April. It’s a show where German manufacturers often like to flaunt their greatest hits, and every now and then something particularly rare takes the stage.

The car to start off the weekend here is the Audi Quattro Spyder from 1991, perhaps one of the best looking Audi concepts ever. It was one of the undeniable stars of this year’s show.

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Weekend Edition: Innocenti Turbo De Tomaso

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The name “Innocenti” seems to refer to something completely different than a re-engineered Mini that has been built in Italy with a Japanese turbocharged three-cylinder power plant. But that it is, and here it is, making these pages just a little bit cooler by its existence. The car looks like it wants to punch you in the face – with style.

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