Interesting/unique cars in Europe

Aug 8th, 2001, 12:01 PM
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Ok, the strangest cars I've ever seen were on Malta.

1) A car that seemed to be made from cannibalized parts, and painted purple; not mauve, not candapple red purple, just plain purple.
2) A convertible - it was actually a station wagon with the top sawed off.
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:08 AM
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Although my memory is not distinct, the Ford Focus, with its more upright structure, reminds me of some of the cars (perhaps from Ford - Europe) that we saw in Europe.
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:13 AM
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Cometo, it's funny you mention that about the ford focus - I read that it was released first in Europe, where it sold (sells?) well. It seems to be doing pretty well here, too. I like the look of the hatchback one.
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:30 AM
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The SMART car, especially the convertible, is my favorite. I hope they do import it to the US. I heard that the Mini will be imported to the US in the next 12 to 18 months.
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:48 AM
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The Citroen 2CV (hence "deux chevaux" - I don't know if they meant it was as powerful as two horses, or that you needed two horses to pull it out of the mud) was a classic quirky, fun, great car. They upgraded it to something called the "Dyanne" which was an abomination - six cylindars on a 2CV? Yow.

My personal fave is/was the Reliant Robin, a three-wheeled affair with a sewing machine for a motor, invariably driven by somebody suited to a Monty Python sketch. Passing a Robin bearing an "L" sign (learner) on the M6, now there was a treat.

I also once rented a Polksi Fiat, the steering wheel of which refused to re-center itself after a turn. That was amusing.
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:33 AM
AGM/Cape Cod
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I wish I knew how to post photos on this board because we took pictures of the SMART car. It looked so neat and different. The SMART car looks like a roller skate to me.
Aug 9th, 2001, 10:42 AM
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Here's a website with some exterior and interior photos of the Smart car.
Aug 9th, 2001, 11:14 AM
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Now you are speaking my language! We own a Mini Cooper and a Deux Chevaux and have great fun driving them around Atlanta! The gear shift is on the dash in the 2CV and everything comes apart. Seats are removeable, doors come off, in fact you can remove everything and have just a shell. My husband and son took it all apart one day and then took a video (on a tripod) of the re-assembly. Fun to watch in fast speed. We got to drive a Smart Car at the Double Bubble Micro Car Museum near Madison Ga., last June. Sadly, they will not be coming to the U.S. but a new model of the Mini will be sold soon. (Got to drive one at an unveiling in May). If you are ever in Paris in Feb., be sure to attend Retromobile. One of the best Classic Car shows ever! If you do a search, there is always a website or two showing photos and giving details. Peg
Aug 9th, 2001, 11:43 AM
Mr. Go
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The time: 2 years ago.

The place: Eurocar counter at CDG.

The attendant: Pretty, young Parisian.

The quote: "Je suis desole, emmm, very sorry, but, ah there is a problem with your reservation. We do not have zee mid-size automatique you requested. Emmm...Zee only automatique we 'ave left is le full-size Mercedes-Benz. We geev you a la meme prix...uh, same price. Ees acceptable?

Our response: "D'accord, ma'amoiselle. OK by us."

The result: Sweetest ride I ever scored. A week in the Loire valley with the finest in German engineering. Fantastique!
Aug 11th, 2001, 01:27 PM
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The Citroen Deux Chaveaux (affectionately known as "the duck" is my all-time favorite car, and I tend to become ridiculously attached to my automobiles. I owned two ducks while living in Germany, and my daughter actually learned to drive on a duck... not easy, because as noted above, the gear shift is a push-pull from the center of the dashboard. The roof rolls back like a sardine can and it has no shocks, which makes for a fun ride on its tiny little Michelins (front-wheel drive). Best of all, the windows are split in the middle and flip upwards from the bottom half, and the "flow-through ventilation" is two panels just below the windshield that you crank upwards to open! Loved it, wish I had one to drive here in Florida! (There was even one in a 007 movie!) But I'm almsot equally entranced by the Smart car, and here's my big tip for faithful Fodorites: easyrentacar will begin renting the Smart soon, if they haven't already, in select markets! Right now, they only rent the Mercedes "A" class car, also mentioned above as pretty cute. Check out their website and if I never get another rental from them, I'm going to be peeved that I told all of you about them!
Aug 12th, 2001, 01:19 AM
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The reference above to the directional indicators flipping out from the pillar reminded me of the Ford pilot that my gather had in the fifties. It had the same thing, and was american (around 1948 build I believe) so I don't think this was just european idea.
Oct 9th, 2001, 08:53 AM
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The light is green again. Any more?
Oct 9th, 2001, 09:05 AM
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The car that I mentioned with the gearshift coming out of the dash was a Loyd.
Oct 9th, 2001, 10:09 AM
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I think Alpha Romeo Graduates and/or Spyders (or are they the same car) also have a shifter coming out of the dash.
Oct 15th, 2003, 11:08 AM
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Found this old post when someone recently mentioned the Brussels (I think) automobile museum. I can't add anything in particular, but hope someone can. Interesting thread.
Bitter is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 03:27 AM
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I posted the note about AutoWorld in Brussels ( It is a great place for any fan of old or unique cars to visit. I am surprised that so few people check that out when they come to Brussels.
Right now, we're driving a 2003 Renault Laguna, which is pretty straightforward in the car department, but a quite comfortable and practical car (if you have an option to rent one and you need space for four adults and luggage, I recommend it). But earlier this year, we rented a Citroen C3, which, if you look at it, owes a lot in its design to the old Deux Chevaux, but all jazzed up for the 21st century. It handled very well, had a LOT of pep for a small car, and was fun to drive. Citroen has just introduced its C2, which is supposed to be the "real" descendant of the old DC, but in reality, it's just a C3 with a slightly squared off back and NO room in the back seat (the C3 has a little--I'd say it could take 2 adults and a child in comfort), but not more than that. Have any of your SmartCar fans checked out the new SmartCar roadster? Pretty interesting looking.
Here in Europe, there's a lot of interest in the new Cadillac Sixteen, which is such a classic example or over the top gaudy American design--the people on Top Gear (a British car show) raved about it.
Do they sell the VW Phaeton in the U.S.? It is a VERY serious car, and expensive too, bearing little resemblance to the bog standard VW Passat, Jetta (Bora), etc.
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Nov 6th, 2003, 04:33 AM
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My teenage daughter LOVES Smart cars! My parents scoured Italy last spring for a matchbox-sized model of one to bring home as a souvenir for her. They're so tiny you feel you could almost bring one home in your suitcase, though. We were told that Smart car owners trade panels of their cars at swap meets, and it certainly does make for interesting combinations. Like silver Smart cars with purple doors. Or pink and blue.
Nov 6th, 2003, 04:35 AM
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Last time I was in Paris I was amazed at the number of Mini Coopers - the real ones, not the BMW updated copies!
zootsi is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 05:33 AM
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I saw tons of Smart Cars in Rome and Florence. I admitt I had to chuckle each time one passed by.
SpecialK is offline  
Nov 6th, 2003, 08:08 AM
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Peter Morgan of the Morgan Motor Company
has just died.

Output of Morgan cars per week rose from eight to 11 in 1990!
You practically have to put your name down at birth to get one.

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