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Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off Preview: The Foreign Cars

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If you’re in New England this weekend, and you’re sick of the extended winter that we’ve been treated to and need a quick summertime car show fix, you’d be hard pressed to find a better car show than the Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off. Situated on the right bank of the Hudson River, the town of Rhinebeck, NY is just a couple hours north of New York City. And every year Rhinebeck hosts a wonderful “variety show,” which is a weekend mix of hot rods and custom cars on Saturday, and original unmodified cars on Sunday. The 42nd Annual Rhinebeck Spring Swap Meet and Car Show will take place May 3rd, 4th, and 5th at the Duchess County Fairgrounds.

Last week we took a look at the domestic cars that had made the trip to Rhinebeck last year. And this week, just a few days before the show itself, we’re going to take a look at the foreign cars that were on display last year. The foreign car contingent is not particularly huge every year, as the Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off tends to showcase rare American machinery from the 1950s through the 1970s, but there are definitely some great foreign cars to be seen. Let’s take a look at some highlights from last year, after the jump.

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Greenwich Concours Preview: 1990 BMW Z1

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If you needed any more reasons to attend the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance this June, here’s one more reason: cars like this 1990 BMW Z1, one of the few magically federalized examples to be precise. During the next few weeks we’ll be looking at a number of cars that have appeared at the 2012 edition of the Greenwich Concours, an event that was thoroughly enjoyed by Kamil last year. But first, what is this show and why should you care?

For those few of you reading Hooniverse who don’t arrange family vacations around the classic car event schedule (and Nana’s 92nd birthday can be postponed by a few days cause it’s a leap year, right?), the Greenwich Concours is basically the Pebble Beach of the northeast. Except without the predictably nice weather, spacious roads, ample parking, or a golf course. But other than that, it’s just like Pebble Beach. Greenwich Concours is actually two shows in one, with classic American cars appearing on the show field on Saturday, and European cars on Sunday. And in the eight years that I’ve attended Greenwich, the show has never failed to surprise.

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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: 1980 Citroen Visa

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At what other car show besides the Carlisle Import Nationals would you have a chance to see not one but two Citroen Visas? That’s right, this Visa was one of two present at the 2012 Carlisle Import Nationals, which perhaps represented a substantial fraction of all Visas in North America, while also representing two out of the four that I have personally seen stateside. Yes, that means there are at least four of these in North America, not that anyone has a decent chance of spotting one of these in traffic. More Elvis sightings than Visa sightings are reported each year, as you’d expect.

In case you haven’t put the Carlisle Import Nationals on your calendar by now, the 2013 edition of the event where you’re bound to see rarities like these will take place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from May 17th through the19th. Now let’s take a closer look at this Visa.

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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: 1991 Sterling 827SL

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If you thought the Sterling was pretty much extinct on American roads, you were partially correct. By our experts’ estimates, there are less than 50 of these left in semi-regular use in the US, most of them in the northeast where this car enjoyed the “strongest” sales. This is only the third Sterling I have seen in the last eight years, and during that time I have seen about twice as many Tatras, just to put that number into perspective.

This Sterling was one of the cars in the car corral at the 2012 Carlisle Import Nationals, which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Carlisle Import Nationals. And that’s exactly the sort of thing that makes the Carlisle Import Nationals a show you should put on your calendar, as this Sterling with 90K miles was actually one of the tamer cars that I’ve seen there. How about a Fiat Barchetta that had, ahem, “overstayed its welcome?” I rest my case.

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Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off 2013 Preview

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If you’re looking for a spring event that’s one part real-life automotive encyclopedia, and one part swap meet, you’d be hard pressed to find one more fun than the Rhinebeck Spring Dust Off. Organized by the Hudson River Valley Antique Auto Association, Rhinebeck is actually two cars shows in one, with hot rods and custom cars on Saturday, and unmodified classic and antique cars on Sunday. Situated on the east bank of the Hudson River in Duchess County, New York, the Rhinebeck event is perfectly located to attract cars from not only New England, but upstate New York and the northern Mid-Atlantic region. The 42nd Annual Rhinebeck Spring Swap Meet and Car Show will take place May 3rd, 4th, and 5th at the Duchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, just a couple hours north of New York City.

If there is one thing that Rhinebeck always manages to deliver, it’s rare American cars from the 1960s and 1970s, automobiles that were offered for just one or two years and then promptly disappeared from our automotive landscape. That means rare station wagons that you’re unlikely to see even at marque gatherings (or anywhere else for that matter, except for period advertising), and one-year-only production models from brands that don’t even exist anymore. As if that wasn’t enough, Rhinebeck Spring can also surprise with rare foreign cars like a Renault, Citroen, or Tatra. Let’s take a look at some highlights from last year.

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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: 1986 MG Metro Turbo

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Continuing our survey of the rare machinery you’re likely to glimpse at the Carlisle Import Nationals on May 17th through May 19th, provided you spend the more than 10 hours required to see most of the field, here is likely the first MG Metro to appear at Carlisle. This MG Metro Turbo from 1986 was brought into the country a while ago, and its restoration had wrapped up just months prior to its appearance at Carlisle. Last time we took a look at a 1962 GAZ 21i Volga from Carlisle 2012, one that was later flooded in Hurricane Sandy.

And speaking of making appearances at Carlisle, here’s a scheduling tip about the Carlisle Import Nationals that I learned the hard way. Even though the show takes place over three days, Friday is not really the day you want to be there (unless you plan on being there multiple days) as Friday is the day that everyone arrives in Carlisle. Sunday is not really the day to be there either, as that is the day that everyone drives back to their home states. Through the process of elimination (and I’m not talking about the countless British cars that break down on the way to the event), Saturday is the day to be there and is the day you’re going to see the biggest field of cars. Up to 1,300 of them, and all of them furrin’. Now let’s take a closer look at this MG Metro.

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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: Peugeot 505 Turbodiesel

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If you haven’t put the Carlisle Import Nationals on your calendar this year, now might not be a bad time to start making plans. And I don’t care what you have going on at the end of May, and whose graduation your relatives are guilting you into traveling to. Your cousin Scarlet can graduate from Oberlin just fine without your presence at the commencement. Let me put it this way, would you rather sit for three hours straight listening to the speech of that one alum who wrote that one book, or would you rather gawk at the little green grenades under the hood of a Citroen SM as its owner gives an impromptu seminar on Citroen SM maintenance? I think all hoons would agree that if you suddenly came down a bad case of Scurvy or Whooping Cough and had to go see a scurvologist specialist in 16th century diseases in Carlisle Pennsylvania on May 17th through the 19th, your relatives would understand.

Each year Carlisle hosts a wide variety of French machinery, often from five or six marques in total, and the Peugeot contingent has always been quite impressive. This Peugeot 505 started out in life with a gas engine but was recently converted to Peugeot’s own turbodiesel engine (in what must have been one of three engine swaps on Peugeots that took place in the US that year). This car actually received quite a bit of work in the year preceding its appearance at Carlisle, which made it all the more tragic that this 505 was totaled in an accident just a week after its appearance at Carlisle. The owner walked away from that crash without a scratch, but the car was not salvageable. 

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Diecast Delights: ZiL 164 in 1:43 is Stylistically Socialist in Any Scale

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The next piece of diecast awesomeness we’re going to ogle this week is this ZiL 164 by AIST, which came out just a few weeks ago. If you’ve never seen one of these, that’s quite understandable, as the Internet Movie Cars Database shows the ZiL 164 appearing only in hard-to-pronounce films that even I haven’t seen. The 164 was essentially a facelift of the earlier ZiS 150, which was one of the staple trucks of Eastern Bloc countries. The 164 was produced from 1957 till 1964, till it was replaced by the ZiL 130 which we saw in diecast form just a couple weeks ago.

The 164 came out at a time when the ZiL factory was rapidly modernizing, and releasing new types of trucks almost every year. As the 164 was just going into production, ZiL 130 prototypes were already being tested. The 164 didn’t stay in production for very long, but one of its claims to (very very relative) fame is that it served as the basis for the Chinese Jiefang line of trucks. Let’s take a closer look at this thing. 

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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: 1962 GAZ 21i Volga

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It feels kind of strange writing about this Volga in the context of a Carlisle Import Nationals preview, because this was the car’s last appearance as a major classic car event before it was flooded in Hurricane Sandy in late 2012. This GAZ was the first Russian passenger car to appear at Carlisle, where it received the Standard of Excellence Award for the quality of its restoration, and perhaps more than a decade will pass before another one does. Prior to appearing at Carlisle 2012, this well-restored 1962 GAZ 21i Volga appeared at the 2011 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.

One of the most iconic Russian cars, the GAZ 21 was built in three “series” or facelifts from 1956 till 1970. Powered by a straight-4 engine making 75bhp, the GAZ 21 used a column-mounted 3-speed manual transmission, despite the first several hundred cars possessing a rare automatic transmission which is what these cars were originally designed for. The 21 was supposed to be the car for the emerging middle class during the 1950s and 1960s, but due to economic conditions and various other factors the GAZ 21 ended up being something quite different than a typical family car. The 21 remains one of the most popular classic cars in Russia today.

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Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: The 38th Saab 9-4X Built

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The Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals is only 6 or so weeks away, and this is as good time as any to take a look at some highlights from last year. The 2013 edition of the only classic car event in the US of A where you’re likely to see a Tatra 613 just a few feet away from a Citroen XM and a Peugeot 604 will take place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from May 17th through May 19th.

Each year up to 1,300 foreign (or furrin’) cars make their way to Carlisle in what is the nation’s largest gathering of foreign automobiles. And almost every year the farthest-traveled award often goes to a resident of Canada’s western provinces, which should give you a clue to this event’s prominence. While I do not recall who took that award in 2012, I did see a BMW E34 Alpina B10 at the show on British Columbia plates, which should give you a further clue to the level of sheer awesomeness that is normal for Carlisle Import Nationals. So let’s start off slowly, with something that won’t make you spill your coffee on the keyboard or make your contact lenses pop out.

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