Autocult and Avenue 43 February 2019

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. All photographs provided by the Manufacturer.

The latest Autocult and Avenue 43 models have now been announced. All are resin made in China to 1:43 scale for Europe.

The Autocult models are from the following categories:

  • Streamliners – Hewson Rocket
  • Delivery Vehicles – DAF Pony
  • Past Brands – Amilcar G36 Pegase Grand Prix
  • Engineers/Small Series – MGB Jaques Coune

The Avenue43 models that they distribute have two new models;

  • Maserati 3500 GT Special Spyder Vignale
  • Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT

Autocult

04019 Hewson Rocket (USA, 1946)

In 1946 William Hewson owned dealerships in Los Angeles. He wanted to capture the market with a $1,000 Dollar car but had to find someone to design and make one for him. he turned to Coachcraft a Californian company created in 1940 who made everything from small cars to custom luxury ones. Coachcraft survived in business until 1966.

Coachcraft’s prototype had a curvy aluminium body fitted to a chassis strong enough to make a stressed roof unnecessary, but in true US Style customers were to be offered three types of roof: a soft top, a clear plastic top and a metal top. There was a choice between two different engines; a four cylinder and a six cylinder installed in the rear.

Sadly when Coachcraft finished its development work Hewson could not pay the 16,000 US Dollars due so the car never went into series production and remained owned by Coachcraft who sold it on to a car dealer for 650 US Dollars in 1959. It is now part of the collection at the Lane Motor Museum in the United States.



#08010 DAF Pony (NL, 1968)

The DAF pony was developed to tender for a US Military contract for a light terrain truck. Sadly for DAF they did not win the tender so they turned the design into a vehicle that ran from 1968 to 1969 and sold seven hundred units.

The vehicle was powered by the twin boxer engine from the DAF 44 and power was delivered by DAFs favoured Van Doorne Variomatic system.

The idea was to offer a small, individual truck for retail shops, and small business users, which was specially suited to inner city work in Amsterdam and other historic cities in the Netherlands with narrow streets. Available as a platform truck or as a tractor-trailer combination DAF probably had hopes of cornering a specialist market sector. Sadly buyers were few as van based pickup trucks were not much larger and could carry greater loads.



#02017 Amilcar Typ G36 Pegasé Grand Prix Roadster(F,1935)

Designed by Géo Ham who was famed for his aircraft and automobile designs, and built by Figoni & Falaschi body builders, this model aimed for sales to the moneyed classes. The new roaster was based on Amilcar‘s model G 36 Pegasé, which was introduced in 1935. Its four cylinder overhead valve engine was supplied by Delahaye and tuned with bigger valves and an improved oil pump system to provide 25hp more than the standard engine. But the performance was still not good enough to provide the thrill that rich individuals were seeking and which competitors were providing.

The design with its elegant curved bumpers, chromed footsteps, flowing wings, and spectacular rear lights was undoubtedly stylish but this was simply not enough to attract people who could buy what they liked. The company, founded in 1921 ceased production during the Second World War and never produced any more cars.



#05011 MG B Jacques Coune (BE, 1964)

In 1963 he had his works create a coupé on the underpinings of the MG MGB Roadster introduced that year. It was presented to the public in 1964 and was widely praised. Encouraged by this he put the car into limited production using parts from many cars to keep the costs down. The lights came from the Simca 1000 and both the front as well as the rear window came from the Renault 8.

In the mid-1950s Jacques Coune had a workshop and sales organisation in the Avenue de la Couronne in Brussels. He had agencies for Abarth and Iso and was well known for his racing activities. But his real passion was to have cars built to his own design.

Compared to the MGB Roadster the Coupé was more than 50 kg lighter and was therefore able to accelerate to a top speed of 180 km/h. MG are said to have test driven the car but they never expressed any interest in taking it up. Apparently the British Engineers said the design was “… too Italian”.

After two years production and 56 cars being built production ended. This coincided with MG introducing the MG MGB GT a practical coupé of their own.

Coune also converted other standard cars from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and BMW.


Avenue 43


Maserati 3500 GT Special Spyder Vignale

The 3500 GT Spyder by Carrozzeria Vignale, designed by Michelotti, was introduced at the 1960 Salon International de l’Auto. In 1961 it became the first fuel-injected Italian production car. It was fitted with  Lucas mechanical fuel injection and was fitted with a standard 5 speed gearbox. Curiously the convertibles were only called Spyders for overseas markets.


Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT

The Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT was built as a prototype in 1962 based on the earliest version of the Chevrolet Corvair. It never went into production but was toured widely round the US to gather interest in the Corvair brand and finally the shape was used in Disneyland for the cars used  in the World of Tomorrow car ride attraction.

Bill Mitchell was the Design Studio Director and the Corvair Monza GT coupe was designed by Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine and owed much to the Bertone designed Testudo concept car. Like the earlier design, the GT doors swung upward and were actually a front hinged canopy that extended into the B section. The rear engine cover also hinged at the rear.

The engine fitted was a standard Corvair unit of 145 cu in (2,380 cc) Unlike the production Corvair, the GT engine was mounted ahead of the transaxle, turned around 180 degrees and mounted as a mid-engine layout. Besides its streamlined appearance, the Monza GT had some innovative features: magnesium-alloy wheels; 4-wheel disc brakes; and fixed seats with adjustable pedals. 

Some of the styling features of the GT, notably the rear end, were the inspiration for the 1965–1969 Corvair. Perhaps more notably the design would also influence the 1965 Chevrolet Mako Shark II concept car and the 1968-1982 Corvette (C3) that clearly resembled it.

Today, the Corvair Monza GT concept car is to be found in the GM Heritage Collection.


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