The Carchive: ’75 Audi 100


Once again it’s time for us to don our waders and slurp our way through the thick gruesome soup of motoring past in the hope of fishing something of interest from among the putrid, foetid slurry. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Today we’re heading back a full forty years to see what Audi were doing back when NSU were still a thing. Were they doing anything differently to how they do it today? Have they changed their direction or are they still working towards the same ideals? The car is the Audi 100 (A6 in modern speak).

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Diecast Delights: A Renault Clio V6 in 1:18 scale


So, I thought I was doing well managing my intake of 1:18s. I had gone five weeks without a purchase, not quite cold turkey, but pretty good. Then, suddenly, the eBay app on my phone jingled at me and boasted about how many diecast conquests I was potentially missing out on. So the addiction lives on.

With the Renault 5 Turbo safely stashed away in my collection and looking pretty marvellous, it seemed only right to find a reasonably priced copy of its descendent as a garage buddy. The model you see before you is branded under the Eagle Collectibles banner, which is part of the same group as Universal Hobbies, who, in turn, marketed a version of Revell’s Renault 5.

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The Getaway: Grabbing Summer With Both Hands


A beautiful summers day is torture when you’re glued in position, handcuffed to a desk earning money for The Man. Only when the cloud thickens and the air temperature drops heralding the arrival of the more usual, rainy state of British climatic play, does my soul brighten, and the task of crunching numbers and pushing pens is made easier to bear.

However, at three seconds past six every day, life begins. And at that time every Friday evening comes the opportunity to escape the relentless cycle of weekday work. I’m sure the same is true for you as well. Our time away from the coalface is fleeting and precious, and should be treated as such. Grab the keys to a car, any car, and just go somewhere. Anywhere.

Or nowhere.
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Diecast Delights: A Euro Ford Ranger in 1:18 Scale


Until the recent past pickup-trucks weren’t really a thing across Europe. I’m pretty sure, though, that within my lifetime auto historians will publish essays on the exact moment, and reason, that all that changed. It all comes down to clever marketing.

Previously, the pick-up truck was a hardy, utilitarian device (ab)used by builders and manual labourers to lug cement mixers and bricks from site to site. Latterly, and no doubt finally reflecting how things have always been West of the Atlantic, pickup trucks have been picking up sales as do-anything “lifestyle” type vehicles. It can’t hurt, either, that pickups have premium SUV levels of road presence while costing one helluva lot less.

Today’s diecast delight recalls Ford of Europe’s first proper stab at marketing a pickup, if you except the previous car-based P100 and Escort Bakkie’s. This was, of course, a Mazda with a blue oval glued on. The European Ford Ranger.

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The Carchive: TWR JaguarSport in the ’80s


Later today Greg will treat you with news of the latest and most exciting developments on four wheels. But before that, lets take a chance to wallow in the mud of the past

My recent encounter with the most sharply clawed Big Cat you could possibly imagine sent me raiding The Carchive for Fast Jag artefacts. In no time at all I came away satisfied, clutching a mid ’80s brochure showing what TWR JaguarSport could do for you and your leaper.

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The ’65 Ferrari 330GT Vignale: A Latin Longroof


It may well that be the same affliction that prevented my successful progression as a car designer is responsible for my wife’s total lack of trust in me for making decisions in matters of household decor. For instance, I think the Aviation Traders Carvair was a glorious looking aeroplane. I enjoy looking at pieces of Soviet brutalist architecture. Ekranoplans, to me, are handsome devices. No less do I appreciate the aesthetic of a Class 31 diesel locomotive than I do a Fiat Topolino.

Basically I cannot / will not acknowledge when something is ugly. I am no arbiter of style or elegance, though I’m pretty sure I have a fantastic taste in women. This brings me to what we have here, which, to hedge my bets, I’m going to say is simultaneously the best and worst looking Ferrari of all time.

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V12 XJ220: The Biggest of Big Cats


This was a good test of a Hoon, one which 90% of the people milling around this participant of the Cartier Style Et Luxe at Goodwood this year, failed. Even those who took the time to read the accompanying datacard. “Hey, an XJ220!” they said. They paused, they looked, they appreciated, then they moved on. But did they catch the big “AND”?

The clever yet subtle decal says it all. V12 XJ220 . Yes, this particular machine has twice as many cylinders as your regular garden variety hypercat, and that makes it just a teensy bit special in my book. Indeed I began to get a little light headed as I looked around it, and I apologise if the images get increasingly pornographic after the jump. Actually, perhaps I don’t.

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Diecast Delights: a ’69 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ 428 in 1/18 scale.


I still do it. Whenever we go past a toyshop I still go inside, forlornly hoping that what happened once some twelve years ago could happen again. Of course, it never does.

In 2003 I found myself idly wandering around Chelmsford. Bored absolutely rigid, I ventured into a branch of The Entertainer, a generic all-ages toyshop. Seldom do shops like that have anything for me, save for a reasonable selection of Lego. But on this day, and I’ve never seen anything like it happen since, the shop had a few remaining reduced-to-clear diecast models. Normal price £30, now £6!

And of course I wish I’d bought more than one.

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The Carchive: Oldsmobile in 1985


We’re enjoying a heatwave right now in the UK. After the excitement of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, followed closely by the sheer overwhelmingness of an encounter with a still-active Ford Granada Estate, what better than to sit back and relax in a shady spot with a long, cool, refreshing brochure?

The Carchive has been closed for maintenance for the last couple of weeks, but now the hard hats and reflective jackets have finally been packed away and I can gain access once again. First off the shelf this time was a Brochure for the Oldsmobile line-up of 1985.

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The Noble Art of Keeping Things Going


My manager summoned me away from my desk. The day hadn’t been going brilliantly, to be honest, there were numbers that needed to be balanced and accounts that were on the frightening side of gnarly, and it was the last day of the month. The pressure was on.

I duly dropped everything and headed outside, ready for the shouting to commence, wherupon my manager said “take a look at this”.

It was a 1986 Ford Granada 2.3 LX estate. I had never been happier to see one.

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