Cars of Coolhaven

An exploration of extraordinary cars in an ordinary neighborhood

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Opel Speedster / Vauxhall VX220

October 9th, 2009 by Rolph · 4 Comments

The Opel Speedster is a nice car, albeit still an Opel. They are nice to drive, affordable, and not half bad looking once you get used to the boxy back. These cars aren’t that difficult to find for a spot, and basically I have never bothered. Let’s face it, at the end of the day it is still an Opel, isn’t it? In the UK, all Opels drive around with the steering wheel on the other side of the car, and they have fitted a badge which says ‘Vauxhall’ instead of Opel. Still, nothing really exciting…

Why oh why then a post about this car? Well, this car was parked here in Dordrecht, which is a city in the Netherlands. Therefore, it should have Opel badges. Surely, you say, somebody struck a deal and imported a Vauxhall from the UK. Fair enough, but this is a left-hand drive car… Granted, no hot car news or a stop-the-presses scoop, but the car intriged me and that is basically what car spotting is all about. So, pictures!

Well spotted, a new image gallery due to some upgrades in WordPress. I am not too sure if it’s an improvement but what are you gonna do?!

The Speedster/VX220 is internally basically a Lotus. It is built in the Lotus factory in Hethel in the UK, shares the chassis with the Elise and has an internal product code ‘Lotus 116’. With its low weight, mid-mounted engine, high torsional rigidity, and ample horsepower, the car is extremely quick and agile. Maybe the Vauxhall/Opel badge won’t turn many heads, many motoring journalists claim that the Speedster/VX220 is better than he close cousin the Elise.

Let’s embed some old Top Gear material on the Elise-Speedster-VX220, if Google Video will let me…

I have driven none of the mentioned cars, and would love to hear some comments on the Elise versus Speedster. Anybody?

→ 4 CommentsCategories: Cabriolet/Convertible · Nice cars · Opel

DAF 44 (1966-74)

October 7th, 2009 by Rolph · 3 Comments

I am no big fan of the DAF motoring brand, but since I live in the Netherlands I am bound to run into the little buggers every now and then. In my mind, these cars are in the same category of ‘slow, boring and boxy’ as old cheap Volvo’s. What a pleasant surprise to see this funny little DAF 44! It almost looks nice! What a charming little eyebrows over the headlights, I like it. For a DAF, that is LOL

Under the bonnet with the fancy eyebrows we are still talking DAF though. A whopping two cylinder 0.8 liter engine delivers no less than 34 bhp, obviously the car is equipped with the famous Variomatic transmission and … ehm. Well, is is a DAF. The car is designed by Giovanni Michelotti, who drew some nice Triumphs as well. Unfortunately, after this DAF 44 he ended up designing the boring Volvo 66…

→ 3 CommentsCategories: DAF · Oldies

Maserati GranTurismo

August 10th, 2009 by Rolph · 3 Comments

It has been a while, but finally I spot myself something new, sporty and nice! The lines on this GranTurismo are great, and if the rumours are correct the convertible version is going to be a looker as well. Aah, something to look out for! This GranTurismo, officially designer as a long-distance cruiser, is equipped with a very nice V8 engine that doesn’t particularly make it slow… nor particularly fast, for that matter. But who cares?! Officially it does a whopping 285 km/h top speed, how many owners would have driven it that fast? It is a car to look at, a car to enjoy driving without the ride being too hairy to handle. Great car!

→ 3 CommentsCategories: Maserati · Nice cars

Chrysler Newport – Third Gen. (1961-1964)

August 8th, 2009 by Rolph · No Comments

Some cars just speak to you, and this is one of those cars. Normally, the big American boats mainly look kinda ridiculous in my eyes, but this Newport is nice. Obviously it is the small car in the Chrysler range of the time… that explains something. It is always amazing to see the specs on old US cars of the era, enormous V8 engines which generated a very poor power output for its size. Oh well, they are nice to look at

What I wouldn’t give to see a first generation Chrysler Newport two-seater roadster! Obviously it doesn’t help that there are like six of them ever made. Pic from Flickr:

41 Chrysler Newport dual cowl phaeton
Originally uploaded by carphoto

Is that a coolĀ  Chrysler or what?!

→ No CommentsCategories: Chrysler · Oldies

Lancia Gamma Berlina (fastback)

July 12th, 2009 by Rolph · 4 Comments

To my knowledge I have never seen a car like this one before. Whether or not that is a good thing is for you to decide. Whether or not it is true remains to be seen… These cars frequented the streets when I was a boy so chances are that some have been on my retina before. Anyway: the Lancia Gamma. Full with nice design details, full with late seventies/early eighties charm. And full-on parked in the parking lot of the local zoo. Enjoy.

All info I have on this car would come from googling around. Let’s do it differently this time: all you readers, please comment on what you think are the interesting features and facts about this Lancia. Let’s hear it!

→ 4 CommentsCategories: Lancia

Umm Alter

June 23rd, 2009 by Rolph · 10 Comments

Feast your eyes out on a proper off-roader! Sod off with your Cayenne or X5, this is a car right up there with the Landcruiser and Defender. If you can’t walk on the roof of your car without worrying about the paint job or the structural integrity, you are not driving a off-road vehicle! Damn, this Portuguese built Umm is ugly, but man do I like it!

To add some nuance: I like the (lack of) looks of it, the principle of the rugid, ugly workhorse. I have never driven an Umm, nor do I know much about the performance, handling or durability… But still: this is a true off-road car, so it is OK in my book (and blog šŸ˜‰ ). Whether this is an Alter model ‘4×4’, ‘II’ or (unlikely) a ‘2000’, I don’t know but my guess would be a ‘4×4’

Being factless, straight from Wikipedia:

The UMM 4×4 design is derived from a prototype created by the French engineering firm Cournil, called Entrepreneur. The Cournil Entrepreneur’s building rights were acquired by the Portuguese company UniĆ£o Metalo-MecĆ¢nica, part of the Mocar group and were renamed as UMM.

They became known for their reliability, especially when in a Paris-Dakar rally the team was able to finish with all the cars that started. Many UMMs are still in use by utilities in Spain, Portugal, Cape Verde (in use by the national army) and France and also by the “Guarda Nacional Republicana” (Portuguese Gendarmerie), fire service and military, although the majority of their customers were private individuals. Around 700 UMMs are still in service in the Republic of the Congo (Zaire). They are also popular in France and Angola. UMM stopped building the UMM Alter II for private customers in 1994, but kept on taking large orders from military and utility services until 1996. Custom orders are no longer accepted. It is suspected that more than 10.000 UMMs were made.

All intereseting facts and stories are appreciated, please comment!

→ 10 CommentsCategories: 4*4 · Ugly cars · Umm

Volkswagen Type 3 – 1600 Fastback

June 5th, 2009 by Rolph · 2 Comments

Well, its earlier brother is well and good documented here on the site, but that won’t stop me from posting pictures of this nice VW 1600. There is nothing wrong with the notchback, but to be frank I find it a bit boring. This Fastback is neither a classic or a extremely beautiful car, but still, I quite like it!

The car is right hand drive, combined with the UK plates it is fairly save to conclude that a tourist is visiting our lovely little city… For all the specs and a funny story, check out the earlier post on the 1500!

→ 2 CommentsCategories: Nice cars · Oldies · Volkswagen

Tatra T-11 (1924), well probably…

May 13th, 2009 by Send in · 1 Comment

Months ago, frequent commenter Jan send me some pictures of this great old little open car. I never got around to posting them here on the site. Why? Well, let’s just say I would have had ‘No. 1 Procrastinator’ tattooed on my ass in very large and brightly coloured letters, if only I had gotten myself to the tattoo shop. Oh well, maybe tomorrow šŸ˜‰ Soon enough, I kinda let the pictures get lost in my mailbox. Luckily for all viewers here, I have kicked myself in the short-and-curlies and finally; here they are, pics of this old Czech car, all thanks to Jan!

I do not know all that much about Tatra, which is a shame. Apparently, it is/was the third oldest car manufacturer ever. As all pioneer car builders the company started as a coach and carriage builder, but in 1897 (!) produced their first car. I have proudly named this car a model T11, but if I am mistaken, please correct me. All I have to go on is the wikipedia page and a very nice and elaborate page on Jan’s Dutch language car encyclopedia site.

Some facts, boldly taken from Wikipedia (great pages on Tatra!):

The Tatra T11 was the first Tatra model to use the unique combination of major components that is still in use on the trucks produced by Tatra to this day. This consisted of the engine and gearbox in unit, bolted to the front of a tubular backbone with propeller shaft enclosed, that also doubled as the chassis. Bolted to the rear of the backbone is a final drive unit that using an assembly of gears not only changes the direction and speed of the drive, but facilitate the movement of swing axles without the need for flexible drive joints. In the case of the T11, the engine was a fan cooled horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine with overhead valves. It had a capacity of 1055 cubic centimetres and was located above the front beam axle which was attached to it by a transverse elliptical spring. Hans Ledwinka created the design of the T11 while working for Steyr in Austria. he believed there was a need for a small car, and carried out the work in his own time. His offer of the design to the Steyr management was rejected. He left the company soon after to work for a previous employer, Nesseldorfer, in Moravia, soon to become Tatra. This was in 1921 and the development of the T11 started soon after. The T11 was produced between 1923 and 1927 with 3,847 examples made.

→ 1 CommentCategories: Cabriolet/Convertible · Oldies · Tatra