Friday Snippets – Good Things

It’s great to be back after a few days working up country. Here are a few interesting car things from the last few days.

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There are 29 Saabs for sale on Ebay – all in one lot. The cars are dated from 1955 to 1993. The seller is a collector in Portugal who’s not only selling his Saabs, but also his 34 Citroens and 29 Volkswagen buses.

The Saab lot includes:

  • 1 Saab 92b Year: 1955
  • 1 Saab 93 Year: 1959
  • 4 Saab 95 Year: 1967, 1968, 1975, 1978
  • 8 Saab 96 Year: 3 of 1961, 2 of 1966, 1969, 1974, 1978
  • 3 Saab 97 Year: 1968, 2 of 1972
  • 8 Saab 99 Year: 2 of 1970, 1972, 1973, 2 of 1974, 1978, 1979
  • 2 Saab 900 Turbo Cabriolet Year: 1986, 1993
  • 2 Saab 900 Turbo Year: 1980, 1981

It’d be nice if he were willing to separate. That Sonett II would be interesting to see.

The tough part? He’s asking 150,000GBP for this lot. That works out to around 5K per vehicle, which might represent reasonable value for some of the cars, but it’ll be overpriced for most of them, I think.

And who spends 150,000GBP on Ebay, anyway?

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A stunning video from Petrolicious about a man and his V12 Ferrari Lusso.

Be mesmerised.

This is why people lovelovelove classic cars.

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I’m actually making some progress on my own search for a new car.

I spent 4 days this week in the top-selling car for 2012 – a Ford Focus. The transmission was terrible and the car was way underpowered for enthusiastic driving, but the chassis and steering were very nicely balanced and it actually gave me some personal hope for modern cars.

As such, I’m spending more time combing the classifieds for a RenaultSport Megane. The current shape, at one or two years old, represents some pretty good value.

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It doesn’t hurt, of course, that I won some RenaultSport schwag this week in a Facebook competition. Here’s the booty:

RenaultSwag

Should I consider it an omen that the mirror was detached from the car when I opened the box this morning?

In Renault’s defence, all items seen here were packed in the box with the car by someone other than Renault – which they shouldn’t have been.

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If you want to watch one of history’s more obscure and interesting cars being re-built, subscribe to Mats’ Garage.

He’s currently pulling apart his Porsche 914 in order to add some go-faster bits and then put it all back together again. I spent not-nearly-enough time in that garage when I was living in Trollhattan a few years ago. It’ll be fun to watch as Mats only does quality work.

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When I think cars and America, this is what I like to think.

OK, maybe not driving on the sand, but still….. an idyllic image.

——

And finally….

Wired.com review the Fiat 500e. Given that Fiat seems happy to lose a bucketload of money on each one, I’d say it’s the first EV that makes sense, both practically in a built-for-purpose sense, and financially.

EV’s are city cars. The 500 is the right size for zipping around town and it has the right range for an anxiety-free daily commute. The reason all that’s even up for consideration by yours truly is because the Fiat 500e also has an affordable $199/mo lease – if you live in California.

It looks pretty cool, too.

Fiat500e2

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16 Comments

    1. Ah, you know the answer to that, Jason. But the Focus did get me thinking modern has some virtues. What I might spend on a 968 that’s 20 years old would also get me a 1-2 year old Megane. Not the same cachet, necessarily, but a heck of a drive. Let’s just say it’s moved into the ‘definitely test drive’ category for good.

    2. Or put another way….

      A fine, fidgety fondling of the Ford made me Focus on how this modern brown cow could plough the black stuff with malice thanks to its balance. On The Sidling outside Scottsdale some sideways movement threatened a dubious dose of sphincter pucker. I simply gave it a dab of oppo and I was away.

  1. As you probably remember I have the 2013 Focus BEV. And I love it. I have not driven the ICE version. My brother has the newest Ford Fiesta and the transmission is crap in that thing. It’s a brand new car and when he let me drive it I thought something was broken. The way it shifts gears is far from what one might call seamless. I wonder if the same thing afflicts the ICE focus.

    Sure wish you guys had the Focus EV there. Imagine the driving experience you had in the Focus handling wise but slightly more neutral in fast bends. Well that is what I have read reviewers say who have driven both.

  2. You need to test drive a Ford Focus XR5 (2008 to 2011 model). Plenty of power (yes I know it has a Volvo engine) but with a 5 cylinder Audi Quattro soudtrack !!

  3. That’s really good marketing for the 500e. They are making the car desirable, and pricing it to sell. Compare that to the Leaf and i-MiEV which are uninspiring and overpriced (for the market). Fiat is really making the best of a “bad” situation.

    On the other hand, they’ve resurrected the “we lose money on each unit” fallacy. I don’t know why marketers try that line. Is there a key customer profile that responds well to this?

    Of course they are losing money on their first limited run of an all-new technology. I’m sure Henry Ford lost a bundle on the first run of flathead V8’s. They are getting tens of millions of dollars of free publicity (including right here), and they are learning how to build a critical product. Aren’t most Italian historic city centres off-limits to internal combustion cars?

    Swade,

    I read that the Polestar S60 is Australia-only. You need to write a test drive.

    1. I drove a Polestar S60 in January last year. It’s fast and capable, but then I was driving in a snowy Gothenburg and it wasn’t that long a run. I doubt I’d be able to get in one here. I’m not in the industry.

    2. I wouldn’t be surprised if Australia is being recognised here as a performance division sales yard. We’re RenaultSport’s second biggest market in the world. We used to get good numbers of Saab’s special editions, too. We’re an expensive market so carmakers can make some money here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Volvo are trying to tap into that willingness to spend to get something a little more special.

    3. Agree about the Fiat 500e being a better end to a story that was seemingly going bad.

      On the subject of ‘losing money on each one’, I think they are playing games with numbers. Judging by the new buildings and signage I see at Dodge dealerships everywhere I go to accommodate Fiat, Fiat is spending a boatload on overhead. if you add that cost into the 500 sales, they lose money like crazy; if you don’t, they don’t.

      The only advantages that I see in revealing the ‘lose money’ proposition are these: 1. People think they are getting a ‘deal’ to be early adopters, and 2. Fiat is making the statement that they are back and they are in it for the long haul, and they are willing to make any investment to make that happen. Buyer confidence.

  4. You’re right about the Saab bundle — too much. An interesting collection, however.

    On the subject of modern cars, I ‘get’ it. I love the C900 ‘vert and it will never leave me, but driving a modern high performance car allows you to push the limits with more control.

    Finally, with commutes being what they are in California, I’d think that an electric car would be difficult to live with for many/most.

    1. While talking about Petrolicious and their videos. Man I love Miami Vice tv series. I’m just watching again the second season DVD box and man is there awesome cars there! A car chase scene where our good guys chase The Countach with their Ferrari! And there typically is couple of hot 70’s or 80’s sportscars or supercars in every episode. Good music also considering that the series was made in late 80’s.

      About that Saab collection. Way overpriced. For that price they better be in mint condition. But I’d really love to get ’80 900 turbo or ’93 convertible…

  5. Swade … what’s your 2 cents on BMW dropping the lawsuit against Saab Parts AB. Did the engines merely get returned, or have NEVS done a deal with BMW?

    1. My guess is that BMW saw that they weren’t going to get anywhere with it as the company they did their deal with (effectively) no longer exists. Just a guess, but one that makes sense.

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