Category Archives: Autocult

Auto Cult September 2017

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Auto Cult.

Auto Cult has announced its releases for September:

  • Small Vehicles Series – Berkeley T60
  • Streamliner Series – Wikov 35 Kapfa
  • Engineers limited production – LMX Siren
  • Delivery Vehicles – Volvo L3314
  • Emergency Vehicles – Horch 853 AS12 Lepil Fire Appliance

Auto Cult continue to reproduce models of interesting subjects which are unlike anything other ranges have made, or in many cases are likely to.

E-03013 Berkeley T60

Berkeley Cars were designed by Lawrie Bond famous for the utilitarian Bond cars built by Sharp’s of Preston. Berkeley, a large caravan manufacturer, wanted to diversify and produced Bond’s designs for lightweight fibreglass cars of a sporting character powered by motorcycle engines.

Although cars were initially four wheeled, three wheelers were introduced to widen the sales potential as the UK tax and licensing rules were easier on three wheelers. Unlike Bond’s own cars the single wheel was at the rear like the Morgan three wheeler.  The T60 had a two-cylinder two-stroke engine from Excelsior of 328cc giving 18hp. The engine was installed ahead of the front axle.

Sales were strong in the UK but predictably poor outside the UK where the tax and licensing benefits were not the same. The T60 seated two with a large boot above the rear wheel.  About 1,800 T60s were produced before production ended.

 

 

Berkeley’s caravan sales dipped badly late in in 1960 and the company ran short of cash and was forced into liquidation. No-one wanted to take over the Berkeley Cars business so they were no more.


E-04011 Wikov 35 Kapka

Wikov were founded in 1918 by the merger of two industrial concerns and were large manufacturers of agricultural machinery who dabbled in making cars all of which were expensive to buy.

The Wikov 35 was a development of the Typ 7/28. Its four-cylinder  engine had a displacement of 1,743 cc and produced 35 hp. It was a conventional front engine and rear wheel drive set up with a three speed gearbox. The top speed was claimed as close to 100kph.

The “Kapka“, drop or pearl, was streamlined to compete with the types of designs emerging from Tatra. Sadly, the way the streamlined body was made added weight to the vehicle and although distinctive in appearance only a handful were made, between three and six depending on the source of the information.

In 1935 Wikov ceased the production of passenger cars in favour of commercial vehicles.


E-05016 LMX Sirex

The Frenchman Michel Liprandi and the Italian Giovanni Mandelle founded their car company L.M.X. Automobile Srl based in Milan in 1967. They employed Franco Scaglione, a top designer, to design their sports car. Scaglione created a smooth, slightly curved shape with minimal front and rear bumpers. The bulge in the bonnet was reminiscent of US car design.

The car body was made of fibreglass. In 1968 the sports car was initially shown as the LMX 2300 HCS. Unfortunately the car was not well received.

In 1973 L.M.X. was taken over by SAMAS. The work continued on the production of the sports car and it was renamed the Sirex LMS and Sirex LMX, The new owners introduced a turbocharger to the 2.3 Litre V6 from the German Ford Taunus to give it up to 210hp and a faster performance all round. But even this boost did not improve sales and after 20 cars were made production ceased.


E-08007 Volvo L3314

In the late 1950s the Swedish military was looking for a special purpose vehicle, which would be primarily used for the transportation of troops. They asked Volvo to develop a four-wheel-driven forward control vehicle which was to provide mobility even in very rough terrain.

Chief designer Nils-Magnus Hartelius and the engineers at Volvo developed a solid ladder frame and fitted a box-shaped driver’s cab. The design was very stable and flexible enough to allow a variety of different rear structures to be fitted. Large, low pressure tyres are a key visual feature of this vehicle.

To keep production costs down as many parts as possible were derived from the existing car range with the 1800cc 75hp engine being an example of this. When mass production started in 1963 the designation L3314 was applied, but the name commonly used was the “Laplander”.  Initially the vehicles were sold only to the Swedish military but later some of the vehicles were seen in civilian uses. 7,737 vehicles were made for the Swedish forces before production ceased.


 

E-12006 Horch 853 AS12 Lepil

When the Germans fled from Czechoslovakia towards the end of the Second World War much equipment was left behind.  This 1935 Typ 853 Horsch with a powerful straight eight engine was an example of this.

In the Soviet dominated aftermath of the Second World War no private citizen would be allowed to be driven round in a vehicle like this, with its Nazi connections and luxurious nature. But such a vehicle was too good to waste in those days of shortages and post war rebuilding.   The solution was to put it to work.

The Czechoslovakian body maker T. Lepil, known for his body designs for Czech car makers, created a complete new body for the convertible. It was rebuilt as a Fire Appliance with a fully glazed roof.

It is thought that the vehicle was re-built between 1946 and 1949. It is likely that the engine of the Horch convertible remained in its original condition and therefore the local fire department of the Brno-Komin district had not only one of the most extraordinary emergency vehicles at this time but also one of the fastest.


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Auto Cult August 2017

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Auto Cult.

Auto Cult’s latest announcements are as follows:

  • The “Early beginnings” series – Panhard et Levassor Type Q Double Phaeton
  • The ”Past brands” series – Tempo E400 Kombiwagen
  • The “Streamliner” series Kamm K3
  • The “Prototypes” series – Tatra JK 2500

These are all made in resin in China for Germany and the featured models are made to 1:43 scale. Auto Cult has informed us that their recent  1:18 scale Mercedes Benz SL-X has sold out.

E-01004 Panhard & Levassor Type Q Double Phaeton

Panhard et Levassor were in business from 1890 and were one of the major firms in early car production. The Q type was produced from 1905 to 1910; 108 cars were made. Each car was coachbuilt with a metal reinforced wooden chassis and was powered by a 10 litre four cylinder engine. The four seater car gave the rear seat passengers cover, doors and luxury seating but the front seat passengers were exposed to the elements.


E-02008 Tempo E400 Kombiwagen

By November 1930 one thousand Tempo three-wheelers had been made. The E400 type was introduced in 1936 with a 396cc engine and an all steel construction replacing the previous plywood and steel cabin and chassis. Tempo sold over 3,300 by 1938 when the E400 was withdrawn. The E400 was accompanied by an E200 and E600 to give a whole range of vehicles which sold well, though the E200 was the best seller. The E400 was also known as the “Athlet” and was fitted with a water cooled two stroke engine which produced 12.5hp. This was transferred to the front wheel by a three speed gearbox and chain final drive

E-04012 Kamm K3

This Kamm K3 still exists today. It shows how advanced streamlining was by the 1930s. It was designed by Wunnibald Kamm who was born in Basel 1893 and whose name lives on in the “Kamm Back” used to reduce drag and made famous by the 1960s sports racers and Le Mans cars in particular.

In the 1930s he designed and built four car bodies with this rear styling . The third vehicle, the K3, was based on the chassis of a Mercedes-Benz 170 V and has a modern faired in shape and smooth profile combined with the abrupt cut off rear.


 

E-06017 Tatra JK 2500

Another “might have been”. Engineer Julius Kubinski worked in the post war Czech motor industry. In 1951 he began working on a project with the company designation JK 009. His employer gave him scope to design a sporty two-seater car inspired by Italian styling. Later Julius Kubinski  went alone to develop the car himself working with limited resources and sixteen engineers the sports car reached prototype form in 1954. It proved to be disappointing to drive as the engine was not powerful enough to make the car as fast as it looked.

Shown in a Czech car magazine in 1956 the Heads of State were initially very keen on the car and instructed Tatra to look at full scale production. The car was worked on with an improved V8 engine and performance was markedly improved. Sadly the investment needed  for Tatra to produce these cars was so large that the State decided not to fund production of the car.  Julius Kubinski was given his car back and drove it for another 13 years before he sold it.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

Auto Cult June 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Auto Cult continue in their quest to cover unusual subjects. Their models are moulded in resin in China for Germany. Unless otherwise stated the models are to 1:43 scale. As usual each model released is to a different theme.

Small Cars

#03011 Nissan Tama E4S-47

After the  Second World War Tachikawa were not allowed to manufacture aircraft. So like other such concerns it looked for something to build. As there was increasing demand for vehicles, but a shortage of fuel, so they decided to “Go Electric”.

The E4S-47 was the result of this choice, built in a new factory Tokyo Denki Jidoosha. A 16 volt – 120 ampere electric motor was front-mounted and produced 3.3 kW. Its power was supplied by exchangeable batteries. Fitted with a two-speed gearbox the Tama reached a top speed of 35 km/h.

Introduced in May 1947 the model had “Tama” added to its name which was the name of the production site. However, production only lasted a year and the vehicle was replaced in 1948.

 

Streamliners

#04009 Gomolzig Taifun streamliner

Built in 1949 this car caught the public attention as it was fitted with gull wing doors. It was built by Herbert Gomolzig who was an engineer with an eye to the future at a time when Germany was still just starting to re-build after the Second World War.

 

The gull-wing doors were covered to the top by simple hooked in cloth tarpaulins. Once rolled up these adjustable tarpaulins conveyed a sense of driving a convertible. Whilst technically innovative the doors meant that the rest of the car had to be made stronger to compensate. Given the materials available at that time this may not have been fully achievable and may explain why the car never went into production. Little more is known about the car other than it was based on a BMW chassis and probably had a four cylinder BMW engine.

In 1952, after the Taifun did not go into production, Gomolzig founded an own engineering office, turned his back on the automobile industry and working for the aviation industry and in general engineering.

 

Camping Vehicles

#09004 Saab 92H Motorhome

This vehicle is a precursor to the modern all -in-one Motorhome so popular in the US, though rather smaller in size.

Based on the Saab 92 with its DKW like water cooled two stroke two cylinder engine it was built in 1963 by Torsten Johannesson who wanted a car with integrated sleeping facilities so that he didn’t have to tow a trailer.

Torsten’s bulbous design created the maximum interior space but the vehicle is said to have been unbalanced with a great deal of the weight at the front. It was also twice the weight of the Saab 92 so it was very underpowered. Perhaps unsurprisingly Johannesson did not get the road approval for his 92H motorhome from the Swedish authorities, so the prototype is unique.

Buses

#10001 VW Beetle “Wolfsburger Bähnle”

This vehicle offered sightseeing with a difference. Bähnle is a German vernacular term for “little train”.  This vehicle was run by a community company in Wolfsburg until 1976 providing users with a tour through the City.

Built by the Berlin bodybuilder Friedrich Rometsch based upon a Volkswagen Beetle it had only six seats which proved to be insufficient to meet demand and it was fitted with a matching trailer made by Hermann Harmening.

From 1958 the 14 metre long train towed by the VW Beetle carried up to 48 passengers at a maximum speed of 50 KPH on its regular tours. After 15 years in storage the City of Wolfsburg passed the vehicle to Volkswagen in 2003 for them to restore and use in the new Autostadt theme park at the Volkswagen factory.

 

Sculptures

#80004 Mercedes-Benz SL-X

This model is to 1:18 scale and is based upon a car that never ran. The wooden design study is as far as the development went and is on display at the Mercedes Museum.

In the mid-1960s a mid-engine sports car, internally designated SL-X, was worked on at Mercedes-Benz. Its design was based on an idea from the Italian Giorgio Battistella. Giorgio Battistella and the former head of the Mercedes-Benz design department, Paul Bracq, sat down together and pondered about the design of a new sports car with the three-pointed star emblem on the hood. They sought to produce a radical design.

The design was for an extremely low car with the engine behind the seats to allow this. A wooden mock up without an engine and any interior was produced. The design was never signed off to progress beyond the mock-up stage though it perhaps influenced Bruno Sacco when he produced the C-111 which also had gull-wing doors and the seamlessly flushed pop-up headlamps.


 We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.

Auto Cult May 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Auto Cult has announced that they are supporting a Crowdfunding project for the reconstruction of a real Standard Superior Type I. This car was a precursor to the VW Beetle and highly influential in the Beetle’s development. This project will be started on the Indiegogo platform (www.indiegogo.com) and will be supported by Auto Cult with “Perks”.  Eligible funders will receive a unique set from Auto Cult made up of the following model cars in to 1:43 scale: Mercedes-Benz 120 (W17), NSU type 32, Standard Superior type II and a Tatra V570. This set will be probably be released in August 2017.

This months releases made in resin in China for Germany to 1:43 scale are shown below.


Past Brands series

#02011 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite (GB, 1960)

This model represents a works car built by Healey in Warwick in small numbers specifically for racing. Extensive use of aluminium and fiberglas as well as disk brakes and a heavily tuned BMC A series engine made it quite quick in the hands of talented drivers .

It spawned a whole industry in after market parts to allow the standard sports car to be turned int a “replica”.


Streamliner series

#04008 Maybach SW35 Stromlinie (D, 1935)

This streamlined prototype was shown at Motor Shows in 1935. The slogan used was  “ a fast car specially suited to the autobahn”. With styling influenced by Paul Jaray it was based on a chassis with a 3.5 Litre straight six engine of 140HP which could reach 160KPH which was a very high speed for its time. Two cars were manufactured by Karosseriefabrik Spohn in Ravensberg but series production never took place and sadly both cars were lost in the Second World War.

 


Prototypes series

VW Steyr Prototype

This curious “marriage” of this well engineered combination of a Steyr Type 50 or 55 car body with a Volkswagen Kubelwagen chassis remains a mystery of automotive history. There is no knowledge of who did the work or why and Auto Cult are seeking information from anyone who can add any knowledge about this vehicle.

 


Racing Cars series

Porsche 550 Durlite Spider

 

What do you do when you write of your Porsche 550? Well in 1958 American racing driver Bob Wedd had Durlite build him a new skin in aluminium with a very slippery shape including a steeply raked nose and a “Kamm Tail”. This produced a very aerodynamically efficient car with design features that would become standard on sports racing cars in the 1960s.

 


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Resin Roundup – March 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

This posting is a round up of some of the recent releases in resin which have caught my eye. All photographs on this page are from the manufacturer or retailers.

Auto Cult

1:18 Scale

Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine 

This 1:18 Scale model of this streamliner from Adler has already been released in 1:43 scale by Auto Cult.  The 1:18 scale version is now being made available.


1:43 Scale

Here are the 1:43 scale resin models made in China for Auto Cult of Germany. These form the second and third releases of 2017.

Bizzarini Machinetta  Engineers limited production series

Giotto Bizzarrini is best known for his association with super cars like the Ferrari 250 GTO and for the V12 engine that powered Lamborghini cars from 1963 on. The Machinetta was made when he was a mechanical engineering student at the University of Pisa. It is a  re-bodied Fiat 500 Topolino with a tuned engine and revised chassis. It was apparently a project completed towards his degree.

Ford Mach 2 Concept Prototypes series

The Mach 2 concept was a design and engineering study created by Ford’s design chief Gene Bordinat for a mid-engined sports car inspired by GT race cars that could replace the Cobra. The concept made its debut at the 1967 Chicago Auto Show and featured many off-the-shelf Mustang components, including its front suspension, front and rear brakes, and most notably the 289 cubic inch V8 engine which was placed behind the driver.

The car had a clean design to it with European looks but it was shown but never put into production.

Morris J-Type Delivery Vehicles series

The Morris Commercial J-type was a 10 cwt van launched by Morris Commercial in 1949 and produced until 1961. The van followed the emerging trend of having forward controls and sliding doors on each side. It was made in both left and right hand drive versions. The J type was fitted with a 1476 cc four-cylinder side-valve engine based on the one used in the Morris Oxford MO. Many of these vans were used by the Post Office and other public bodies. But as presented by Auto Cult it is a nice example of a plain van.

Audi 100 type Bischofberger Camping vehicles series

This car from the early 1980s is built on an Audi 100 Saloon. Inside the real camping car was a fridge, a sink, a stove, a table, and two sofas which can be transformed into a double bed. Pictures show it to be rather cramped inside. Bishofberger also did conversions on less glamorous platforms such as the Transporter and VW Golf Pickup.

Ford Model T “The Golden Ford” Early Beginnings series

This model is based upon a recently restored vehicle originally built by Arthur Edward George, an engineer and car racer. who’s firm patented the first trolley jack. Initially raced as a stripped chassis it won the all Ford race at Brooklands in 1912, were Henry Ford was said to be an interested spectator. The car became The Golden Ford the following year when it had a narrow single seat body of polished brass added to it.

Steyr-Puch Adria TS Brands of the past series

This car was created by Otto Hölbl Karosseriewerk of Vienna in Austria. It was based upon the Steyr-Puch 700 chassis which was in turn an Austrian version of the Fiat 600. 18 cars were hand built in during 1960-61.

Reyonnah Little cars series

This company was created in France by Robert Hannoyer. Its name is the founders in reverse. The only vehicle made was a small four-wheeled vehicle with a relatively wide track at the front and a narrow track at the rear. The vehicle offered space for two, seated one behind the other, following the same basic lay-out as the better known Messerschmitt. A single-cylinder engine from AMC or Ydral of 175 cc or 125 cc powered the rear axle via a three speed manual gear box and chain drive.

An unusual feature of the car was that the front wheels could be adjusted to make it narrower so it could slide into a motorcycle parking place. The wheels had to be adjusted outwards before the car could be driven away. The car appeared at the Paris Motor Show for at least three years from 1950 till 1952 but poor sales meant that then faded into obscurity.McQuay-Norris Streamliner Streamliner series

McQuay-Norris was a maker of car parts such as piston rings and steering wheel knuckle bolts. It also produced and distributed electrical controls for gas appliances. In January 1936 McQuay-Norris produced a fleet of six cars called aluminium eggs due to their strange appearance. The cars were released in New York and in other locations in the United States. Each car was a part of testing of pistons, piston rings, and other engine parts manufactured by McQuay Norris. The bodies of the aluminum eggs were mounted on chassis of cars of different brands. They were driven in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, in different climates and highway conditions. The cars featured a streamlined design which reduced air resistance. Streamlining was effective in enabling the installation of fifteen instruments used in component testing.


Matrix

 

Many of the models already advertised are now shipping and just one new announcement has been made recently of a new model to 1:43 scale in resin made in China for the Netherlands.

 

MX40408-011 Delahaye 135M Antem Convertible 1949

Another model of classic coachwork on a Delahaye chassis. This car was shown at the 1948 Motor Show and evolved into the 1949 car modelled here. Elegantly keeping separate wings whilst incorporating the headlights to give the car a more modern feel. The rear wheels were hidden behind a fairing, in a nod to the trend for aerodynamic styling. A formula which was also used by Jaguar for the XK120.

MX 41203-021 Lancia Aurelia (B52) B-Junior Ghia 1952

An interesting model but a rather clumsy re-styling of the Aurelia which was rather better looking to the editor’s eye than this expensive offshoot!

Neo

 

Neo continue to release models with the latest announcement being of the Lancia shown below. These are resin made in China to 1:43 Scale for Germany.

213730 Lancia Flaminia 3C 2.8 Coupe Speciale Pininfarina 1963

Spark

Releases are mainly focused on Grand Prix., Le Mans and other racing cars currently where Spark and Minichamps both seem to be focusing quite strongly.  Both the models shown are resin made in China to 1:43 scale.

S4268 Lola MK4, No.15, Bowmaker Racing Team, GP Deutschland, 1962

This includes a figure of the driver Roy Salvadori. The car debuted at the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix and was powered by Coventry Climax engines. It was a mixture of a tubular frame and welded panels making it a semi-monocoque. John Surtees had success with the car at the Australian and New Zealand Grand Prix but it was outclassed by competitiors like Lotus and faded away its final swansong being wining the Rome Grand Prix in 1963 driven by the privateer Bob Anderson.

S3587 Spice SE 87C, No.131, Graff Racing, 24h Le Mans, 1988,

Spice raced cars fitted with Cosworth engines and had some class wins at Le Mans. This car was run by Graff Racing who are still racing today.

Mini Minieri

Continuing to focus upon rare and stylish cars these models are resin made to 1:43 scale.

MMIBT001 Jaguar B99 2011 Bertone

This was a concept car designed and developed by the Italian design house Bertone. It was on the Bertone stand at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The 4-door saloon was shown in two versions: compact executive (B99) and grand tourer (B99 GT). Featuring  suicide doors and a low height it had a hybrid power train with a 1.4 Litre engine for range extension purposes with two electric motors of 201 bhp each driving the rear wheels. The B99 name is derived from B for Bertone and 99 for Bertone’s 99th year in operation.

Best of Show

 

Here are some of the recently launched 1:18 scale resin models made in China for ModelCarWorld of Germany.

CHRYSLER Imperial LeBaron 4-door Hardtop, 1971

DODGE Dart Phoenix, 1961

Ford Ranchero Pick-up 1979

 

Chevrolet Corvette Corvair Concept


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.