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The parts bin is why you should buy that quirky Saab

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As auto enthusiasts we decry the use of the parts bin and shared DNA between the range of models that auto manufacturers offer. The most recent case is the Maserati Quattroporte, many reviewers decried the use of lowly Dodge Dart window switches and Caravan navigation in the luxury sedan. I am in the opposite camp and will gladly support the parts sharing because discontinued models like the Saab 9-3 Turbo X will get to live on from the General Motors parts bin.

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An Afternoon With TheKenMan: The First Edition

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So I would suspect that my fellow Hoons have realized this olelongrooffan, for now, lives down in sunny southwest Florida. And while in many areas of this great country we live in have seasons marked by the return of tree leaves, grass growing in the spring time requiring cutting and trimming on a regular basis and then brown during the summer on to the vivid color of those deciduous tree leaves in the fall, down here in southwest Florida, our turning of the seasons is demonstrated by the almost overnight appearance of privatized auto transporters over in the Big K parking lot on the Tamiami Trail here in FantasyLand. Yes, my fellow Hoons, spring has sprung here and the snowbirds are heading home. And their cars are off on these transporters like wayward children riding the bus while Mom and Dad pop for first class airline tickets. Alas, they both will return in the fall and another season will have begun. But what does that mean to this olelongrooffan? Well, my fellow Hoons, a jump will need to be made to make that determination.

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The Carchive: The Vanden Plas 1500

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It’s high time we busted out our cagoules and oilskins, left the warmth and cosiness of today’s automotive scene, and exposed ourself to the stormy doldrums of motoring past.

Welcome back to The Carchive.

On our last visit we admired the marvellous if short lived Caterham 21, and we saw that it was good. Today we gasp in awe at the equally British Vanden Plas 1500, and can see that it’s, well, An Allegro.

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Long Shots: 1975 Plymouth Gran Fury Coupe Brougham

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So this olelongrooffan has to share with my fellow Hoons that there have been a lot more pit stops than increasing radius curves in my life the past coupla months. Yeah so much so that thehorsefarmer told me to head on up to spend some time with him and thebarngoddess being “Tin Can Tourists.” “Besides, there is this thing about a Coupe.” My fellow Hoons who have been counting along with me will remember many moons ago when I was bamboozled out to Haven Lee Farm to assist with a Coupe then as well. Only that time it was a chicken coop. Well this time around it was a bit different.

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Weekend Edition: 1973 Volkswagen SP2

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The Volkswagen SP2 is one of the “most from the least” sort of sports cars. Built from humble Type 3 origins in Brazil, it manages to look absolutely brilliant for the money.

With an air-cooled 1700cc engine and a Variant floorpan, the dimensions promise a front-mounted V6 or the sort, but all the 75hp business is in the back and there’s a frunk up front. But as Volkswagen-based specials come, the SP2 is simply beautiful compared to the fibreglass contemporaries one could assemble in the comfort of your own garage.

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Blast from the Past: 1971 Citroën SM

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Nestled among the classic Citroëns at the Classic Motorshow’s parking lot, next to a slightly dented CX GTi turbo was a Feuille doree gold coloured 1971 Citroën SM. It wasn’t the only SM at the event, but it was the most interesting one I had yet seen.

This particular “Special Maserati” was registered new in the Eastern Finnish town where my dad grew up. The car was ordered by a Citroën enthusiast, the owner of a plumbing company, and my dad knew his son. Apparently, the car did spend quite some time at the shop already when it was new, but that is probably par for the course when you have a very rare, very quirky and very exotic personal luxury coupe somewhere in Eastern Finland.

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Queen’s English Cast Off: The 1974 Austin Marina 1.8

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Last week’s Queen’s English show at Woodley Park in the Los Angeles suburb of Van Nuys was an orgy of great British brands and a panoply of that island nation’s finest. There was also – off in a lonely corner – an Austin Marina. … Continue Reading

24 Hours of LeMons: Bow before the zoomiest of Judgemobiles

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When the 24 Hours of LeMons rolls into a racetrack, race organizers tend to pack lightly and so they occasionally politely ask for some accommodations from local racers. At the recent LeMons race at Gingerman Raceway, LeMons Supreme Court Justice Steve McDaniel asked for a loaner vehicle that carried ample judicial gravitas to command respect in the paddock. Michigan team Flying Pigs Racing—who would also win the race with their winged, pink Ford Mustang—heeded the call and brought this immensely badass hot rod to loan the LeMons judges.

It is a utilitarian vehicle, having four wheels and a drivetrain (but not much else). From the second it its towering exhaust stacks hove into view at the far end of the paddock, however, it induced slack jaws throughout the LeMons paddock and if you’ve ever been in a LeMons paddock, you know how difficult that is to do.

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Essex White: Ford Escort MkIII Cabriolet

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Some of the most common convertible cars you see around in the summertime are various Ford Escort cabrios. The round, ’90s ones are the cheapest kind of droptops on the market, ranging from two grand to three grand usually. They’re not too clean, but the roof goes down.

Slightly below them and maybe above the cheapest Peugeot 205:s and Renault Twingos you find the blockier, ’80s third generation Escorts. A lot of these bear the VIN-identity of a regular hatchback or even a station wagon, having been converted from a German import bodyshell over 20 years ago, when this sort of thing was relatively commonplace. The same goes for E30 cabrios, a lot of them are creative rearranging jobs.

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Cologne Street Sightings: 1966-1968 Neckar 1100 Millecento

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The randomness you can see on a side street in Germany remains baffling. I received these shots of a late-’60s Neckar 1100 Millecento from my Cologne friend Joe, and the little car really is a treat to the eye.

Funnily enough, there’s a pretty good beer market just close by. The PBR plates on this German-built Italian economy car are almost fitting – even if buying Nastro Azzurro Peroni would suit it better.

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