Thursday, January 22, 2015

Auto show highlights (1:1 scale)

Here are some interesting highlights at 1:1 scale from the recent auto show here in town, perhaps of interest to kitbashers as a source of ideas. Get your saws out and read on.

First up, a Mini tow truck. The poster claimed it has the 1275 motor but my recollection was the 1275 motor had 2 carburetors, not one. Or maybe only the Cooper versions had 2 carbs. Anyway it is very cute, and probably built on the Countryman chassis which had about 6" more rear overhang than the Saloon.

So what do you tow with a Mini? Easy, a shortened Mini. 'Nuff said.

The chopped & channeled Beetle rat rod, with '30 Ford front suspension and wheels, was pretty neat, as was the associated channeled shopping cart (with 911 cylinder head and wheel). The aircooled motor with downdraft carbs is period correct but the absence of a cooling fan means it probably doesn't run for long, unless it's in winter weather, in which case the windshield will be frosting over. (I learned to drive in a 1966 VW bus and know all about VW 'defrosters'). 


There was also a channeled Radio Flyer kid's wagon and a channeled skateboard. There is some guy loose with a hacksaw and he needs to be stopped. Or not.

Following on the VW's suicide doors, there was a vintage Fiat Abarth 600. Very cute, a lot cuter than the current Fiat 500. The poster claims it is a 1960 original with a 1-litre motor, but we couldn't see in the engine compartment to verify.

At the other end of the spectrum, in every imaginable way, was the latest Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith which sports suicide doors as well as a very '60's roofline. The picture isn't very good, given limited sightlines, but I saw one of these on the street in Vancouver recently, with the same two-tone paint, and it looks really good. As well it should, given the half-million dollar price tag.

The roofline is, what, '66 Chevelle? Or maybe closer to the '68 Bonneville. The proportions are excellent, with the enormous size masked by the equally enormous rims. So this opens up all kinds of opportunities for '68 Bonneville rooflines. Anyway if I sell my house and cash in all my retirement funds, I might be able to afford it, but then the cats and I would have to live in it and share tins of cat food, and we couldn't drive it anywhere because of the insurance costs. Plus the cats would likely ruin the woodwork with their claws, just as they have ruined most of the furniture at home.

Finally Ford put together a Hot Wheels off-road buggy, dubbed the Rip Rod, to show off the 1-litre Ecoboost motor. The video of it pulling wicked powerslides in the desert somewhere was quite neat and can be found online. I suspect the sequential shift transaxle is not part of the new Ford lineup.

Oh, yeah, there were some regular cars too, you can read about those in the paper, or see them at your local dealer. Same old, same old, except that a BMW 3-series now comes with a 2-litre turbo-4. That lovely inline six used to be the best reason for picking a 328 over an Audi A4, but it's hard to see the difference anymore. Overall I saw no good reason to give up the Golf.

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