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Used Car Review: 1988 SEAT Ibiza

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SEAT are a fascinating company. Chart the Spanish firms history back over the decades and their CV is rich with an astonishing variety of automotive offerings, the majority of which started out in life wearing Fiat badges. However, in the 1980′s SEAT split from Fiat and went on a marketing rampage that saw their profile rising spectacularly, and it was this little red car you see above that did most of the fighting.

As an amusing exercise, before sampling the latest Ibiza FR 140 (stay tuned, folks…) I thought I’d experience where SEAT had come from before sampling where they’re going. Dust off your Global Hypercolor T-Shirt, I’m driving back to 1988.

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Wrecked Toyota 2000GT Makes Grown Men Weep

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Yesterday at around 9:00 in the morning, a tree fell in the forest. While the tree was about 100 feet tall, and just over six feet in diameter, and surely had lived a very long and important life, its final failing took the life of an  important piece of Japanese motoring history. One of only 337 built, this Toyota 2000GT was at the same time a thing of art, a valuable investment, and an important step in Japan’s (and Toyota’s) evolution as a car manufacturing giant.

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Driving a ’81 ‘Vette for the first time and smashing head-on into reality.

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It seemed like a damn good idea at the time. I was drawn to the Stingray like the proverbial moth to a flame; the scarcity of these cars in the UK combined with extrovert looks and all-American hero image aligns it with pure exotica, even in the minds of those who should really know better.

I had never, ever driven a Chevrolet Corvette of any description, so when I found this cocaine white ’81 example just sitting there, keys in the ignition, I saw no reason to not tick another life box.

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The Carchive: Audio Edition! Vauxhall Tape Madness

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Before you click the jump, and I know that very few of you will have read this far, such is your eagerness for the riveting audio ecstasy that awaits you, I ask you this. Where else on the internet could you possibly imagine this kind of killer content?

There was a time before the world wide web, I’ve heard. Car manufacturers would strive to spread the word about their products in any way they could. Printed media was, of course, the most popular, but people had to take the time to sit and read it. TV advertising was good, but it’s hellishly expensive to run even a twenty second long slot, and it relied on people being sat there as a captive audience, and attention could easily drift. Radio was good, as it allowed people to go about their daily duties whilst having a promotional message subliminally drummed into their head several times a day.

In 1986, flushed with frenzied excitement following the release of the New Vauxhall Carlton, somebody in GM’s management had the fantastic idea of issuing a promotional tape about the new car, so people could brainwash themselves voluntarily while driving, because it’s safer to listen to a Vauxhall Cassette at 80 than to read the brochure behind the wheel. And now, in a Hooniverse World Exclusive, you too can share the excitement of Vauxhall’s hottest release of 1986. You lucky, lucky people.

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Kansas City Gets a Car Museum

Robert Emslie May 5, 2014 Nostalgia

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Hey Kansans, great news if you happen to be in the Kansas City area. This Friday, May 9th, the Kansas City Automotive Museum (KCAM) is opening its doors to the public. Located in Olathe, Kansas north of 119th and Strang Line, the museum features 12,000 square feet of space and more than 30 cars and motorcycles. The theme focuses on automotive history significant to Kansas City, such as Masten Gregory (the Kansas City Flash) who was the 1965 Le Mans winner. The museum also features interactive displays like the Fairyland Drive-in and a family area equipped with four driving simulators. Actually, it sounds awesome enough to warrant a road trip!

The museum is located at 15095 West 116th Street, Olathe Kansas 66062 and starting Friday will be open every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. More info may be found at kansascityautomuseum.com.

Image source: KCAM

Video: Ride along at pastoral Road America in 1958

 

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Over the last couple years, I’ve developed an obvious affinity for the club racing of yore, the grassroots Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) days of the 1950s when ingenuity ruled the day and when the United States was just figuring out this whole road racing beast. Purpose-built circuits started showing up early in the decade and by the last 1950s, the SCCA were regular visitors to places like Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Road America earned its nickname “The National Park of Speed” from its locale in the glacier-cut contours of the Kettle Moraine region and from the circuit nestled comfortably among the trees. Today, the sights are impressive even with concrete barriers separating the racecars, but in its early days, a small grass runoff was all that separated the track from the wilderness. It would be hard to imagine, but an incredible film document remains to show exactly how the circuit looked more than 50 years ago.

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A Model of Forward Thinking: The Pininfarina 1800

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While I was in Brighton recently I took the time to visit the Sussex Toy Museum, a must-visit if, like me, every day you fight your inner child to avoid filling your beautifully decorated and partner-friendly living room with bits of LEGO and old Hot-Wheels.

Seeking a souvenir, I was pleased to notice a glass-fronted cabinet in which some of the displayed articles bore price tags. On the bottom row, on the left was something that caught my eye. I bought it for £3.95 and put it in my pocket, where I couldn’t resist jiggling it between my fingers in that tactile way that you might a pocket knife or set of keys.

Finding it was a double-win. Not only is it a lovely little model, but it also represents one of the most fascinating footnotes of motoring history. It gives me an excuse to write about the Pininfarina 1800, Leyland’s would-be worldbeater.

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Renault shows you the electronic future – in 1984

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Picture this: it’s 1984. You have a Christmastime journey through foggy France to complete, and you’re in luck: the Renault 11 TXE Electronic sitting on the parking lot is awash with every technological gadget you can possibly wish for – in 1984. Voice commands, digital instruments, anti-collision radar, an early navigation system, it’s all there in your European Encore.

And in this promotional video, the driver aids are not only demonstrated by the attractive driver, but also faithfully reproduced in 30-year-old 3d animation.

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Man sneaks onto track at ’60s Sebring races; trespassing is hilarious

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Before the weight of manufacturer-backed teams, the 12 Hours of Sebring was basically one of a number of big-time club races held by the Sports Car Club of America. Thursday practice at the 1961 Sebring race brought out a practical joker, apparently conducting an encore of joining the actual race the year before. File this under “Gut-busting mid-century jokes that are Class 1 felonies today.”

[Source: SCCA Sports Car magazine, May 1961]

The Carchive: The 1976 US Fords For Europe

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Welcome to this week’s first freefall descent into the bottomless chasm of The Carchive.

This series has so far showcased brochures of various languages and from various locations. Today, though, we’re truly going pan-global. This is an English language brochure, printed in Germany, about the American cars that Ford exported to Europe.

Throw an 8-Track on and pour another Asti Spumante, it’s 1976 again!

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