By Maz Woolley
All text by, and copyright of, the Author. Photographs by the manufacturer.
The latest releases from Autocult should now be available. These are made in resin in China for Germany to 1:43 scale. This release has models from the following series: Engineers/Limited production vehicles; Streamliners; and Protoypes. As ever unusual subjects.
05023 Zunder Cupé – Argentina 1964
The Zunder was the brainchild of the brothers Nelson José and Eligio Oscar Bongiovanni, two entrepreneurs who in the early years of the 1960s build their own car factory in Río Cuarto with the backing of the state as Argentina was then a government controlled economy. Their best known product made was the Zunder 1500, already modelled by Autocult. This was a Porsche powered plastic car with unusual styling.
The Zunder 1500 was not a commercial success so the brothers developed a coupé based on the same underpinnings. The car is clearly inspired by the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and only two of the coupés were made before the funding ran out and the factory shut.
04018 Audi Berlin-Rome Streamline Coupé – Germany 1938
The idea of a long distance race using the new Autobahns and Autostradas was born in 1937 when imagined by Adolf Hühnlein leader of the National Socialist Automobile Corps and his Italian colleague Count Alberto Bonacossa who was a close associate of Benito Mussolini . The first race was scheduled to take place between the capitals Rome and Berlin in 1938.
German car makers took the race very seriously with the Porsche Typ 64 being perhaps the best known as this set the scene for the post war Porsche. TSM and Premium Classix have both modelled this car to 1:43 scale.
In the late 1930s Audi was a member of the Auto Union group alongside Horch, DKW, and Wanderer. Auto Union had concentrated increasingly on smaller cars by the end of the 1930s, so by 1938 very few Audis were made and DKW was the companies major seller. Against that background the top executives at Auto-Union felt compelled to compete in the Berlin to Rome long-distance race. It was clear that none of their standard production cars were fast enough to win this race and the board signed off a budget to develop some extra-fast cars which could compete in the race. The internal project name was “Stromlinien-Limousine” (Streamlined Saloon). Different versions of the car were to be made each carrying a different group brand name. Here we have the Audi based on the type 920 underpinnings wearing an aluminium bodywork designed by Paul Jaray for aerodynamic efficiency which was built by the bodymaker Hornig. Internal testing suggested that this car could reach 160 KPH which was 30 KPH more than a standard 920.
Auto-Union, and other makers, had their cars all readied for the competition, but the long distance race was first postponed from 1938 to 1939 and with the outbreak of war ultimately completely cancelled.
06022 Mercedes-Benz 1.2l Prototype – Germany 1948
After the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz passenger car production commenced with the successful 170 V model, initially as an ambulance, police patrol car and delivery van. In July 1947, production of the Saloon variant also recommenced. At the same time a number of completely new vehicles were designed, some of which were unusual creations.
In 1948, a particularly small car, at least for a Mercedes-Benz, was designed. It was compact with an overall length of only 3.70 metres. It only had two doors, and inside a bench seat was fitted in the front to seat three people and a small seat was fitted in the rear for small passengers. It was to be powered by a four-cylinder OHC engine of 1.2 Litres created by shortening the 1.8-litre six-cylinder engine which was also in the project stage.
The Chief Engineer of Daimler-Benz Fritz Nallinger is quoted as saying in March 1949 ‘The design of a light, 2- to 2½ seater car (560 kg) decided on at that time has seen a great deal of progress in the meantime and is showing some promising results.’ However the vehicle, along with the two engines, remained stuck at the project stage. The prototype was to be influential as its styling introduced the Ponton styling which was to become a hallmark of 1950s Mercedes-Benz cars.
This line of models is distributed by Autocult. The latest Avenue 43 model is a special version of the Mustang the Ford Mustang Milano.
In 1970 Ford showcased the Milano Mustang concept car at the Chicago Auto Show. It was to show of design features which might make its way onto the next version of the Mustang. This ultra-violet coloured coupé was inspired by the pro-touring vehicles that drove around the northern Italian city. This new Mustang design featured just two seats and an almost horizontal fastback and according to Ford it was the most “radical” Mustang seen to date. The rear glass of this concept car was sloped at 67 degrees and sported an almost horizontal electronically-powered rear deck lid. Had Ford not badged the car as a Mustang many people might not have realised that this car derived directly from the 1970 Mustang SportsRoof.
One unique feature, never seen on a road car, was the colour-changing tail lamps that glowed green during acceleration, red when the brakes were applied, and then turned back to amber when coasting. The wheel design imitated wire wheels but were actually in aluminium and inspired many similar wheels on production cars.
Inside the purple theme continued with seats in purple leather with blue-violet cloth inserts and deep purple mohair carpeting. So ‘period’ now in the age of much blander interiors.
Whilst this exact car didn’t make it into production the design influenced not only the 1971 Mustang but also the Australian 1974 Falcon XB coupe, the car featured in the first two Mad Max movies.
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