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The Carchive: The 1976 Ladas

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It’s been a great week in the Hooniverse, and we’ve seen an awful lot of ongoing projects. Some are fixer-uppers, some are basket-cases and some are just so monumentally exciting as to defy any attempt at description. But only one of them is a Lada.

In honour of Kamil’s Soviet slingshot, we’re heading back to Togliatti and 1976, to have a look at some Ladas.

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Project Car SOTU 2016: The Lion goes from strength to strength.

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When I documented the tragic events that unfolded late last year, where the life of my wife’s venerable Peugeot 306 briefly hung in the balance, public reaction was heartwarming. Internationally, the loyal readers of a website littered with exotic Mercedes, glamorous Datsun and exquisite Subaru project cars to name but a few, had embraced the old Peugeot to their collective bosom.

Well, from us both, thank you. And so for a full update on progress on the Peugeot, which continues to perform flawlessly on Nicola’s daily commute, as well as whisking us off for various low-budget holiday adventures. Just what have I achieved since last year?

Well, I’ve bought some paint.

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Project Car SOTU 2016: Rover 825 Si. Roverjoyed.

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I’m really not sure I’m doing this project car thing right. These stories are supposed to be full of skinned knuckles, bloodshed, anguish, despair and sorrow. On Monday my Audi update offered you nothing but a whimsical tale of low-stress ownership and perfect reliability. Today I follow it up with the latest on my 1997 Rover 825si Fastback, and it’s a story of low-stress ownership and perfect reliability.

Sorry about that.

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Diecast Delights: 1938 Auto-Union Type C Record Breaker in 1:18 scale.

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Museums are divisive in their appeal. On the one hand, standing face to face with legendary machines, breathing in the vapours of oil and leather that time erodes from a classic or historic car is a humbling, nourishing experience.

On the other hand, unless such machines are kept working, you’re looking at corpses. Now inanimate hulks, the record breakers of the past are displayed in limbo between life and death. And if all the museum achieves is to enable us to gawp open-mouthedly at these silent giants, we might as well do that in the comfort of our own homes.

Here’s a good example of something worth revering, in a rather convenient scale.

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Project Car SOTU 2016: Project Audinary. Driving. Not quitting

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So it’s cammed, tubbed, lightened, balanced, bluprinted, polished, ported and perfect. Well, no, actually it’s none of those things. It does have an oil leak, but that’s more of a characteristic than a fault. The question it poses is- stick or twist?

The VW Group 1.8t engine is famously responsive to tuning efforts, with big dyno numbers just a map away, and the sky being the limit if you start swapping turbochargers and intercoolers around. The idea of more power is really very appealing. But, having just returned in it from a 1700 mile round trip to beyond the tip of Scotland, I get to wondering whether there’s really any point.

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The Carchive: The Renault Le Car 2 (5)

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That time of the week has arrived where we briefly put aside all that is new and current, and take a few moments to think back at that which went before. The good, bad and ugly of motoring history. Join me for another visit to The Carchive,

Last week we were in late ’80s Italy for a look at one of the later X1/9s, a car which is difficult to imagine sitting in a Fiat dealer today. And so we move onto elsewhere in Europe, where Renault was trying to sell the last of their Mk1 Renault 5’s before an “all new SuperCinq” arrived. They called it Le Car, 2.

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In search of steering feel, Finding it at Sea.

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One criticism seems to be common to every online car review I ever take the time to read. Sometimes the reviewer has a point, other times I know that they’re making it up. Occasionally it seems suspiciously as if they have no idea what they’re talking about, just like how so many reviewers can’t see the difference between handling and roadholding.

I’m talking about steering feel.

To remind yourself just what steering feel means, you need to hang up your car keys and take control of something a little more visceral, where the connection is purer, more direct. You could do it on a motorcycle, but a sudden, big movement through the bars on a bike is gonna send you shredding your leathers along the blacktop, and maybe worse. No, you’ve got to feel it somewhere that wipeouts don’t necessarily mean game over.

You gotta sail a boat.

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Diecast Delights: AMG SLS Roadster in 1:18 scale

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Celebrating a memorable event in ones life is pretty well celebrated by getting a tattoo, but there are disadvantages in this. For one thing, tattoos are darned expensive, and the second thing is having to constantly explain the meaning of an inking that means the earth to you, but is completely lost on anybody else. So, not wanting to have a Mercedes badge inked on me for all eternity, I chose to mark the end of my indirect employment by the brand with the obtainment of a model car instead.

Another influencing factor in my choice was the price. At the recent (although I’m not sure we’ve mentioned it on here, preferring to stay low-key on the subject) Goodwood Festival of Speed, German model outlet CK-Modelcars happened to have a stall in the retail area. They also had a small stack of these for sale for a princely £25 each. Or about £100 less than any size of tattoo worth having.

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The Carchive: ’87 Fiat X1/9

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Once again it’s time to strap ourselves into the de Haviland Otter Floatplane of knowledge, skim across the cold, murky lake of time and go fishing for something from motoring past, to be dredged up from the depths of automotive history. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Recently I’ve had enough of England, frankly, so today we’re heading to Italy and the late ’80s, when the life of the legendary Fiat X1/9 was coming towards its end.

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The Meyrignac Alpine A110: A wheeled curriculum vitae

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When I was growing up, I dreamt of becoming a car designer.  I spent all my spare time sketching with pencils and biros on whatever flat white surface I could get my hands on. It took over my every waking moment, and my history and geography exercise books were made considerably less tedious by the outlandish sports cars doodled throughout.

What I really should have done was followed the example of one Denis Meryignac – translate my wildest dream into a 1:5 scale model and present it to somebody like Jean Rédélé, the founder of French rally car artisans Alpine.

Then, with a bit of luck, something awesome might happen.

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