Diecast Delights: An MG 6 in 1:16th scale

Impulse buy time. I’ve not bought many diecast models of late because, well, I thought I had all those that I wanted. Turns out I was wrong, and clearly have absolutely no clear vision of what I actually want to collect.

Every model I’ve collected so far has been of either a car that I thought historically significant, memorable in design or just plain intriguing, and it’s the latter category that the MG6 vaguely fits into. The SAIC MG 6, a car still being built in China today, and that still has elements of Rover 75 in its genetic makeup, was sold in the UK until very recently… and has all the hallmarks of a car that will become astonishingly obscure in a very short timescale.

So, of course, I had to add it to my collection.

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Carchive Special: The endless fascination of JDM

There’s little doubt that my favorite section of the entire Carchive is that covering Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) models. I leap on any opportunity to expand it, particularly with brochures for cars that were likely seen as monumentally dull in their homeland.

Cars like the Toyota Mark II. This was an upper-midsize car, fitting somewhere between the Camry and the Celsior in the global Toyota continuum. An inherently dull machine, really – engine up front, drive out back, four doors in the middle, it’s as traditional a car as you might expect to find. It is enlivened somewhat by a choice of engines that run to the twin-turbo 1JZ-GTE, though, and it’s not a disastrous choice for drifting, it seems. But what really appeals to me abut the Mark II and its ilk, aside from the almost total absence of them on UK roads, is the peculiar and optional features they possess.

When I mentioned this the other day, it seems I’m far from alone.

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The Carchive: The BMW New Class sedans in 1970

Well, it’s all going on in the world of The New, right now. Peugeots and Citroens could soon be littering North America’s roadsides (like in the olden days) , there’s going to be a two-door Range Rover again (like in the olden days), a BMW 8 Series is on the way (like in the olden days).

There’s something quite reassuring about this whole history repeating thing, particularly if, like me, you occasionally like to run away screaming from the storms of the present and bathe in the cool, calming waters of the past. Last time we were looking at Subaru in ’82, today it’s the turn of Die Neue Klasse von BMW. Wilkommen in Der Carchive.

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Car cigarette lighters are weird

Chris Haining January 24, 2018 Terrible Ideas

A friend was having trouble with an aftermarket sat nav the other day – there was a question mark as to whether the 12v socket was working. I suggested to her “check that the cigar lighter works”, to which her reply was “…the what?”

Indeed, she had no idea that the 12v dashboard socket on her Suzuki Swift was ever home to an electric cigar lighter. To her, it seemed like a somewhat baffling piece of standard equipment. “You mean I have no air conditioning or electric mirrors, but I do have a way of lighting a cigarette?”

I immediately saw her point, and suddenly found myself marveling at the fact that a cigarette lighter, of all things, became almost universally standard in the modern car.

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Please don’t buy a Porsche 996.

Chris Haining January 18, 2018 All Things Hoon

By all accounts, readers of online automotive blogs are growing tired of endless Porsche 996 investment guides. Pretty much every website is crowing that “The 996 is the last great Porsche investment” as if nobody had thought to say it before.

And now it’s our turn, except I can’t pretend to offer any sage advice in buying one. What I can do, though is explain why the 996 is the only 911 I really lust after, and why you should, too.

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The Carchive: The 1982 Subaru range

Subaru is a name that’s seen considerable peaks and troughs, profile-wise, in the UK. The peaks were undoubtedly while it was selling the world rally-winning Impreza WRX STi. The troughs? Well, somehow the WRX has rather fallen out of the limelight. Perhaps they’ll regain their mojo soon. Who knows.

Way back in 2013 we looked at the third-generation Subaru Leone, and a very popular instalment it was too, if the 26 resultant comments (all victim of the great IntenseDebate implosion of 2016) are any indication. Today we’re looking at its predecessor in this brochure from ’81. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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Baby steps: Our first taste of driving

Chris Haining January 8, 2018 All Things Hoon

Most people, whether they specifically want to or not, will end up driving a car at some point in their life. A smaller percentage, but one that likely includes everybody reading this article, will drive a car for pleasure as well as simple necessity. And of this portion of humanity, a great many will have wanted to get behind the wheel from a very early age.

But just how far back does our love of the car go? I spent a little time in the presence of my three year-old nephew last weekend, and he got me thinking. Oliver is his name, and he likes a lot of things. He’s a fan of 1970s rock music – although his Dad admittedly has a fair bit of influence there – he enjoys Peppa Pig and Thomas The Tank Engine, too. But he’s also recently taken delivery of his first car, which is photographed here in the garage – where it belongs. I can’t vouch for Oliver’s exploits behind the wheel in this bright orange mean machine, but I can hypothesize – because I can recall my own experiences. And I’ll bet you can remember yours.

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The Carchive: The 1979 Coachmen RV range

I reckon I was a tortoise in a previous life, such is my love for taking my home with me on adventures. It’s one reason that I love yachts, and a big part of the reason that I spend an inordinate amount of time under canvas in the “summer”, being pelted with hail and at risk of being blown clean into the sea. Paradise.

Truth is I quite fancy a motor home, but the kind I can afford closely resemble a damp panel van with padded shelves to sleep on. It’s certainly a far cry from the gin palaces that roam North American freeways, in loose processions between Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, often with somebody of a certain age at the helm.

So after last week’s Alfa Romeo 90, now for something completely different. It’s the 1979 Coachmen RV lineup. Welcome back to The Carchive.

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V.I.S.I.T: A 1990 Nissan Pao

The ‘Pike’ cars from Nissan around the end of the 1980s, were great – there can’t be much doubt if their continuing desirability is any indication. Indeed, the Figaro, S-Cargo and Be-1 were smash hits, and the Figaro in particular has become an inevitable sight on the ‘classic car’ circuit – it offered something approximating vintage style yet its Nissan Micra-based oily bits were far less likely to leak or spontaneously combust than a genuine ’50s collectable.

They’re a bit ignoble, though, and the sight of an immaculately turned-out Pike is increasingly less noteworthy. There’s a healthy industry built on keeping these Japanese imports in A1 condition, and no shortage of agents who specialize in dragging fresh examples over from the land of the rising sun to a nation where said golden orb is permanently obscured by clouds.

It’s far, far rarer to find a Pike that’s lived a hard life.  So I was genuinely excited to find this disheveled Nissan Pike on the streets of Brighton.

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The Carchive: The Alfa Romeo 90

A funny thing about accumulating things, is that you don’t always remember exactly why they came into your possession. I mean, you’ll probably remember when you got them and where they came from, but you might not recall exactly why you wanted them in the first place.

This Alfa Romeo 90 brochure is an exception. It’s a brochure I wanted for absolutely years, for the sole reason that this oft-forgotten car’s dashboard has a built in briefcase.

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