Category Archives: Autocult

Autocult Releases 4/5 2019

By Maz Woolley

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

This article looks at the last two releases of models by Autocult. These are cast in resin to 1:43 scale with photoetched details, and are made in China for Germany. As ever they represent rare of unusual vehicles from across a wide time frame.

Release 4


This release features:

  • Steyr 100 “Asien Stey – from the category ‘past brands
  • Benz 35/40 Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen – from the category ‘the early beginnings
  • Thompson House Car – from the category ‘camping vehicles’
  • Ferrari 330 GTC Zagato – from the category ‘prototypes
#02018 Steyr 100 ‘Asien-Steyr’  (Austria, 1934)

Max Reisch was born in Kufstein in the Austrian Tyrol in 1912 and made a name for his long distance motorcycle journeys. Using the reputation he had earned he approached Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG in 1934 for material and financial support for his next trip.

Instead of a motorbike they offered him the recently launched Steyr 100 so that the trip would be combined with a major promotional tour for the new car. Max Reisch accepted and the first step was to get the expedition car changed to his suggestion of a pick-up version.

The trip began in April 1935 and Max Reisch along with his partner Helmuth Hahmann left Vienna and travelled to Palestine, Syria and Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. From there they went via Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand and Laos to Vietnam and China. After 14 months they arrived at their final destination Shanghai.

When they arrived in Shanghai instead of finishing they decided to continue their journey and took a passage on a ship to Japan and to the USA. After a brief pause the men and their Steyr headed to Mexico from where they sailed back to Bremerhaven.

Circumnavigating the world would be an amazing feat now but in 1935 with minimal engineering and spares back up it was an incredible achievement.

#01001 Benz 35/40 Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen (Germany, 1906)

The Benz 35/40 was the pinnacle of the Benz company output early in 1900. It was powered by a 3,380cc four cylinder engine producing 35 to 40 horsepower which could power the car up to 55 MPH via a leather lined clutch and chain or cardan drive. It was one of the fastest vehicles on the public roads at the time.

This was an expensive chassis and was generally fitted with a luxurious bodywork.

Albert Wilhem Heinrich of Prussia; the brother of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was an early motoring enthusiast and Benz owner. His Benz 35/40 double phaeton modelled here participated in the 1,700 kilometers long-distance race “Herkomer-Konkurrenz” on 6-12 of June 1906.

#09010 Thompson House Car (USA, 1934)

Little is known of Arthur Thompson, who was said to have been a watchmaker from Ontario in California, the creator of this vehicle.

This 1930s vehicle took seven years to develop and build. It was based upon a Studebaker chassis fitted with a six-cylinder engine. Onto the chassis he formed a car body, passenger and camper compartment, all made out of aluminium. Over the conventional, solid structure he fixed another almost identical structure, which could be lifted like the popup campers of today. It was connected to the body by a combination of rods and fold-able fabric parts and was driven by an ingenious series of gears. Once in place it was possible for an grown person to stand upright.

It is not clear how many of these campers were built some references quote four, others no definite figure. One still existed in a museum in Sacramento in 2007 as photographs on the web show.

#06032 Ferrari 330 GTC Zagato (Italy, 1974)

In 1968, the last year of production of the Ferrari 330 GTC, chassis number 10659 was shipped to the USA. The buyer was the US-American Ferrari importer and former race driver Luigi Chinetti.

The car was first sold to Robert V. Kennedy of Cambridge, Massachusetts who sold it on to an unknown owner before it was accident damaged and ended back the hands of the US importer in the early 1970s. Instead of simply reconditioning the car he gave it to Zagato for a completely new design. Elio Zagato and his team created a new body for the Italian sportscar in the new style, without any curves and with several extravagant design features, which were new on a Ferrari. The most prominent feature were the front lights behind plexiglass covers, but the rear to had special features. Beside the eye-catching body there were new safety features built in underneath that could not be seen.And the whole car was topped off by a removable targa top.

This unique car was exhibited by Zagato at the Geneva Motor Show in 1974 and was shown at the Concour d’Elegance in Pebble Beach in 1996.


Release 5

This release features:

  • Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe Figoni & Falaschi – from the category ‘past brands’
  • BMW 340/1 Roadster – from the category ‘prototypes’
  • Bedford SB3 Mobile Cinema – from the category ‘buses’
  • Mercedes-Benz 150H Sport-Limousine from the category ‘racing cars’.
#02019 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé (France, 1949)

In the years following the Second World War things were hard for most people and the pre-war days of outrageous spending and glamour were replaced by a more serious and less frivolous era. In such a market pre-war bodybuilders such as Figoni & Falaschi found a lot fewer takers for their extravagant designs.

The model made by Autocult is one of their last designs based on the chassis of a Talbot Lago T26 . The car was ordered by the ‘Zipper King’ Mister Fayolle and featured a zipper-like string of horizontal chrome strips on its front hood. The car then made its way to the United States, where Lindley Locke bought it in 1960. But Locke’s interest in the exclusive French car was passing and soon the car was garaged and forgotten.

47 years later the car saw the light of the day again. After its restoration it was presented for the first time at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach in 2018; exactly 70 years after its creation. The Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe was one of the highlights of the show.

#06029 BMW 340/1 Roadster (Germany, 1949)

In August 1946 the BMW plant in Eisenach was taken into the state owned AWTOWELO AG. In the spring of 1948 the first prototypes of a new car were finished, and in October 1949 series production of the new BMW 340 sedan began. After international legal battles between West and East German companies over the right to use the BMW name the East Germans changed the name of their cars to EMW, after their place of manufacture Eisenacht Motoren Werke.

Whilst the saloon version was being developed designer Hans Fleischer designed a sporty two-seater. The BMW 340/1 was a prototype based on the 340. It was a convertible with a sleeker body and lower bonnet line and greatly modified grille. The sports car was fitted with the 55 hp six-cylinder engine from the 340.

The project was taken seriously by the Soviet dominated German industry and it was publicly exhibited on the AWTOWELO stand at a trade fair in Leipzig in 1949. Long distance testing and some road racing were all undertaken to prove the car but it never went into series production. This is thought to be because there was little place for a sports car in the planned economy of a war ravaged country struggling to rebuild itself and which needed utilitarian vehicles much more.

#10004 Bedford SB3 Mobile Cinema (Great Britain, 1967)

In the early 1960s the then Prime Ministerof the UK, Harold Wilson, made a speech about the “White heat of Technology”, and the challenges that faced the UKs industries to adapt and exploit the new developments in science and engineering. A Ministry of Technology was created and its role was to inform manufacturing industry about new production techniques and opportunities.

Nowadays this outreach would be done by a team of consultants creating web sites, emails, and tweets and hoping that people round the country would interact with them. But in the 1960s the officials realised that they had to get out and visit Industry face to face round the country to spread the message. One way to do this was to take films and lecturing staff to visit key staff at industrial companies.

To allow this to take place the Ministry of Technology ordered seven trucks and trailers in 1967. The equipment was produced by Coventry Steel Caravans (CSC) a company based in Warwick which was famous for the trailers they had produced in the war, for the MInistry of Agriculture, and for industrial customers, as well as for making Caravans. CSC also built the bodywork for a cinema on wheels on a Bedford SB 3 coach chassis. With a capacity of up to 24 seats managers could watch the films on a cinema screen that was located at the rear end of the interior. The cinematic equipment was controlled from a Plexiglas dome above the driver’s cab. Inside the trailer displays were fitted to complement the films.

Seven Bedford trailer combinations were on the roads across the United Kingdom between 1967 and 1974 managed by the state and Industry sponsored Production Engineering Research Association (PERA).

#07015 Mercedes-Benz 150H Sport-Limousine (Germany, 1934)

The 1934 Mercedes-Benz Type 150 was unusual with its mid-engine. After the W30 the Type 150 was the second Mercedes-Benz which had its engine positioned as far as possible toward the centre of the vehicle. Never suited to mass production it was however very suitable for racing. The influences of Tatra and others are clear in the styling of this car.

Six such sports cars were built by Mercedes-Benz all built to compete in the class “V” in the second ‘2000 km durch Deutschland’ (2000 km of Germany). On July 21, 1934, at 5:35 am, all six were positioned on the starting line. All models were fitted with a 1.5 litre, water-cooled ohv four-stroke engine with a power rating of 55 hp. The engine closely related to that fitted to the Type 130. Four drivers finished their race with a gold medal. After the 2000 km of Germany the cars competed in another race in August 1934; the rally Liège-Rome-Liège. The driver Hans-Joachim Bernet led the field between Rome and Pisa and completed the section perfectly with the score of “zero penalty points”.

Despite this racing history Mercedes-Benz had no use for the six cars and in the end all the vehicles were destroyed. Several parts of the bodies and the chassis were reused for the development of a conventional front engined roadster which was launched in 1935.


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Autocult and Avenue 43 Release Three 2019

By Maz Woolley

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

We have recently had news of the third release from Autocult in 2019. As usual the release features a wide variety of unusual models. All the models shown below have been resin moulded to 1:43 scale in China for Germany.

In the streamliners series there is the unusual propeller driven
Schlörwagen. In the small cars series there is the little known BMW 531. A racing car appears in the form of the Kaimann Mk4 Formel Vau “Niki Lauda”. And finally there is another addition to the trucks series in the form of the Tatra T23.

In the line that Autocult distribute, Avenue 43, there is a
BMW 2200ti Garmisch Bertone.


03016 BMW 531 (Germany, 1951)

Following the Second World War BMW‘s management struggled to identify the direction that the company should develop in. The board was strongly in favour of concentrating on producing luxury cars but the development department was tasked with creating a small car to provide a step up from a motorcycle and sidecar. It was to use existing motorcycle components where possible.

The car used a modified 600cc twin boxer motorcycle engine with an additional fan for cooling and took two years to create the prototype as the development work for the 501 was the highest priority. The finished prototype was front engined and had rear wheel drive with seating fro two adults and two children

Though a pretty car the BMW management did not ever approve it for production as the 501 turned out to be a commercial success. In hindsight the over reliance on income from the 501 was one of the reasons that BMW found itself in trouble in the late 1950s and the BMW 700 which was also built on Motorcycle technology was the car that stabilised the company. Perhaps if the 531 had been introduced BMW might have had a more stable stream of income throughout the period?


04020 Schlörwagen mit Turbinenantrieb  (Germany, 1942)

This experimental car was created during the Second World War by Karl Schlör von Westhofen-Dirmstein who mounted a large shielded propeller powered by a captured Russian engine on his streamlined car which was already fitted with a standard Mercedes-Benz 170 H power unit. In effect the engine and propeller unit acted to significantly boost the power of the car. 

The streamlined car was shown to be very much more efficient than the standard Mercedes-Benz 170 before the propeller was fitted but people did not like its looks and there was no chance of it being adopted for production.

One wonders what the car would have been like to drive with both the engine and propeller running. History has not recorded any details of test drives but the lack of modern stability features and the weight and thrust at the rear might well have made the car practically unsteerable at speed. 


07012 Kaimann MK IV ‘Niki Lauda’ (Austria, 1969)

Formula Vee was an open wheel racing series which was based on cars using Volkswagen engines, a bit like the Formula Ford series. Kaimann were an Austrian racing team whose 1966 entry was powered by a tuned Volkswagen 1200cc engine and could reach about 160KPH and which was very competitive from the start. In 1968 the ‘MK III’ emerged with improved tubular frame and a heavily Volkswagen 1300 cc engine which lifted the top speed to 180KPH.

In 1969 Kaimann introduced a new young Austrian driver, Niki Lauda, who was only 20 years old. With wins at Monza and Sopron and several 2nd places, the talented youngster showed the ability which was to take him to the top of Formula One racing in years to come.


11010 Tatra T23 (Czechoslovakia, 1931)

The legendary Hans Ledwinka joined Tatra in 1921. He is best known for his development of very distinctive streamlined cars but his chassis design used in the cars also found its way into the way that trucks were built.

The heavy-duty T23, was developed from the T13 and became available in 1927. The term “heavy” referred both to the chassis and to the large 7.4 Litre engine . The truck was a respectable and reasonably economical performer but it was the quality of the chassis that made it stand out. The independent swing axles gave an excellent ride well ahead of its competitors and the suspension was designed to allow the wheels to be at a slight angle until heavily laden when they would be pulled into a vertical position.


Avenue 43

60021 BMW 2200TI Garmisch Bertone

The 1970 Garmisch was based upon a design produced by the Bertone Design Centre for a car based upon the mechanics of the BMW 2200 TI, and was aimed at updating the look of the BMW range.

It is a conventional front engined, rear wheel drive four-seater coupé. Bertone devoted particular attention to the details like the large rectangular front headlamps, the linear motif which runs along the wings and the honeycomb-effect covering of the rear windscreen.


The car was shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and its sober, elegant styling was part of a new trend in Italian design and many elements in the design can be seen in Alfa Romeo and other production cars later in the decade.

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.


Autocult News December 2018/January 2019

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

December 2018

A glitch means that the December announcement by AutoCult did not arrive in the editor’s email. As there were some interesting models announced we have summarised them here.

#05024 Bentley Type R Gooda

This model is of a sports racer built on a Bentley R type chassis in 1966. It was created for Robert (Bob) Gooda by Peel Coachworks who fitted it with a shorter fastback body with a significantly lower weight, Bob Gouda gave the racer its only public outing at the Bentley Driver’s Club race that was held at the Silverstone circuit in August of 1967. In the hands of co-owner Brian Dumps, the car started with race number 21 and did its laps on the wet racetrack.


#06028 Skoda 440 Spartak Polytex

In 1955 Škoda launched the Type 440 sedan and it remained in production with evolutionary upgrades until 1971. Once in production an idea was developed to build a sports version and Czeck architect Otakar Diblik was commissioned to design a suitable car body.

The new body was in fibreglass hand laid in one piece. The doors and hood were formed as separate pieces fitted to the main body. A removable roof was fitted that used Plexiglass, which was completely clear. With a total weight of only 56 kg (123.2 pounds), the body was very light. The prototype used the standard 1,089cc Skoda four cyclinder engine with only 40HP and the car struggled to go faster than 70MPH. The warping of the body lead to the exrcise being consigned to history and the project car was left in a boiler room. Today, the prototype has been restored in a form very close to the original, although the roof is different.


#09009 Berggren Future Car

In 1951 28 year old Swede Sigvard Berggren started to create a car based upon his own futuristic vision. The base was a chassis from a 1938 Dodge originally used on a taxi. Berggren and his assistant, Lennart Josefson, welded a tubular structure made from lightweight steel tube based on contemporary aircraft construction. The framework also acted as a roll cage in the event of an accident. Shaped body panels were fitted over the steel structure and the result looked like an aircraft without wings. The driver sat ahead of the front wheels and the large air intakes fitted to each side provided cooling for the 100HP flathead Ford V-8 engine.

As often happens, the novelty wore off and the owner lost interest with the car being passed to the Museum Svedinos in Ugglarp, Sweden.


January 2019

The announcements for the first release of 2019 are another set of curiosities. Ranging from the streamlined Horch 930 S Stromlinie through a Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototype from Raymond Loewy to a South American small series car the FNM Alfa Romeo Furia G.


Horsch 930S Streamliner

Initially shown at the 1939 Berlin Motor Show this vehicle showcased Horsch ability to create a streamliner, a style that was very fashionable in Germany due to the new Autobahns which allowed journeys to be made at high average speeds. The car was fitted with luxury touches like a radio and a sink!

The Second World War stopped production after two or three were made and a couple with modified front ends were built from parts in 1945. But at that point the Zwickau was part of the DDR and such luxury cars were no longer any priority for the newly nationalised car industry.


Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototype Raymond Loewy

Raymond Loewy the well know US car designer designed this car to appear at the 1959 Paris motor show. Based on a standard Cadillac Coupe de Ville the cars body work was largely re-created in only a few days by a French coachbuilder Pichon-Parat. After the show Loewy drove the car round Europe bringing it back to the US. The car has recently been fully restored to show condition.


FNM Alfa Romeo Furia G.

FNM ( Fábrica Nacional de Motores ) made Alfa Romeo cars under license in their factory in Rio de Janiero. With models based on the 1900 saloon being a strong seller in the local market. In 1968 Alfa Romeo actually bought FNM from the Brazilian state.

The Furia was made after came about after a tie-up with
Tony Bianca of Comionauto another local factory, who made his own sports model to compete in Brazilian races. The Alfa tie-in was based on the FNM 2000 chassis and a handful of prototypes were made of this pretty car before Cominauto terminated the project.

Autocult and Avenue 43 August 2018

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.

Avenue 43

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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Catching up on Autocult and others

By Maz Woolley

All text copyright of the Author and photographs provided by Autocult.

It is some time since we last looked at Autocult whose releases have continued through the year. Here we look at some of the curious vehicles from releases 6 and 7. All the models shown are resin cast to 1:43 scale in China for Germany.

#04017 Arzens La Baleine

Paul Arzens (1903–1990) was a Paris born French industrial designer of railway locomotives and motor cars. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and was able to live reasonably well on the sales of his paintings. This gave him time to pursue an interest in engineering and design.

In 1935 Arzens became involved in the production of cars. He designed and constructed a six-speed automatic transmission which he installed in an old Chrysler and proved to work. Robert Peugeot tried the car and was impressed, although hopes that the system might be adopted for the Peugeot 402 came to nothing, possibly because Peugeot had recently signed a deal with Cotal involving their pre-selector transmission.

Two years later Arzens came up with an eye-catching and streamlined two seater cabriolet prototype built on the chassis of an old Buick. The car was christened “La Baleine” (the whale). With its integrated headlights, panoramic curved windscreen (of ‘plexiglas’) and ‘ponton’ format styling the design anticipated sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s. The car subsequently joined the Bugattis of the Schlumpf Collection at what has become the National Motor Museum in Mulhouse.

#05021 Fiat 2100 Berlina Speciale

The Fiat 1800 and 2100 were six-cylinder saloons produced by Fiat between 1959 and 1968. Both six-cylinder models appeared in 1959 and in 1963, a four-cylinder 1500 cc version was added to the range. The 1800/2100 were designed in-house by Dante Giacosa famous for designing the Cisitalia as well as many cars produced during his time as Lead Engineer for Fiat.

The 2100 was Fiat’s flagship car much used by officials and industrialists. It introduced the crisp three box formula that was to serve Fiat well when used for the smaller Fiat 1500 and then 124/125 and 128 saloons. The 2100 had a 2054 cc six-cylinder engine and a simple but stylish interior with the instruments clustered on the then fashionable single panel in front of the steering wheel with a ribbon speedometer. In autumn 1959, the 2100 Speciale, as modelled here by Autocult, was introduced. It had a lengthened wheelbase and different front grille. The Speciale was used by diplomats and officials. The 2100 was discontinued in Italy during 1961, when the Fiat 2300 became available.

 

#06027 Monteverdi Palm Beach

The Monteverdi Palm Beach was a concept car built by Swiss manufacturer Monteverdi in 1975. It was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1975.  The car never went into production and remained a one-off.  It was built on a shortened Monteverdi High Speed 375C chassis and was painted copper with an interior made of cream-coloured leather. The purchase price of the Palm Beach was given as 124,000 Swiss francs.

The outside of the Palm Beach was influenced by the Montiverdi Berlinetta coupe particularly its low front end with the striking narrow radiator grille and the square twin headlamps. To the rear the tail lights were from a Triumph TR6 were used. Underneath the Palm Beach used the 375C chassis and drive train as well as the conventional 7.2 litre Chrysler V8 .

 

#07010 Moskvich G2

Every now and then the Soviet Union allowed its designers to develop something which was ‘fun’ rather than solely utilitarian. Though often, as here, the underpinnings were fairly basic. The Moskvitch G2 was a sports car derived from the earlier Moskvitch G1. Instead of an open wheel car it was now fitted with an aerodynamic body (spider or hard-top) and was capable of a top speed of 139 mph. This was a very credible speed given that the mid-mounted 70 hp 1,074 cc inline 4-cylinder flathead engine was derived from an engine developed for the pre-war Opel Kadett.

The G2 broke several speed records in the USSR in 1956. In 1959, the engine was replaced with a unit based on the engine from the Moskvitch 407 and a rollbar was installed above the driver’s seat. The G2 was decommissioned in late 1963.

#09006 Mercedes-Benz G bimobil Husky 235

The bimobile is a German demountable camper system similar to those commonly fitted to US pickups though in this case it is designed to directly attach to the host vehicles chassis.  Obviously the key sales point is that you may use the host vehicle for other uses when not going camping and you may replace the host vehicle and fit it to the new one in turn. You may even by a small crane to help you take the unit off the chassis and to re-attach it. The unit is fitted with jacks so can even be lived in when it is not mounted on the chassis.

The bimobil started with a unit fitted to a Peugeot 504 but has been fitted to a wide range of chassis since including the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen as modelled by Autocult which gave it a real ‘go anywhere’ capability.

#10003 Opel Blitz Ludewig Aero

Germany in the 1930s was the home to a wide range of new vehicles and a strong trend towards aerodynamic solutions inspired by the new Autobahn network.  The small bodybuilders Ludewig Brothers of Essen bagan a fruitful collaboration with Opel from the early 1930s.  After the launch of the Opel Blitz three ton truck the Ludewig Brothers workshop developed some prototype bodies for this vehicle, one of them was a bus with a new body of streamlined and rounded form.

The style of the radiator grille was unusual – the Ludewig studio designers deviated from the traditional Opel shape, as generally seen on trucks and other buses, and created a new, rounded form for the front of the body. The engine cowling was rather elegantly combined with the rounded-off wings over the front wheels. To the rear of the body there was an aerodynamic crest reminiscent of the fin of a huge fish.  Two interior styles were seen: in the first the passenger seats were arranged at an angle of 45 degrees to the windows for the optimum view; and in the second the passengers sat on sofa-like chairs.

This bus was coachbuilt by the Ludewig Brothers in very small numbers to order because a mass produced version would have cost more than the market would pay. About seven or eight are known to have been built and many were used to ferry foreign visitors to the 1936 Olympics around as part of the Nazi propaganda effort. They were briefly in service with OBI, an Essen based tour operator after the Olympics. The fate of these vehicles was to be commandeered for use as military transport at the onset of the Second World War.

 

 

Avenue 43

 

Autocult act as distributors for this range of vehicles.

 

#60012 Dodge Charger III

This was a concept car widely shown in the late 1960s but never turned into a road going car. Indeed the shape seems to owe much to the Chevrolet Corvette. The prototype was created for the US national auto show circuit in 1968 and was designed by the staff at Chrysler’s advanced styling studios. The construction of the show car was sub-contracted to the Detroit based fabrication team of Vince Gardner and Paul Shedlik. An automotive prodigy, Gardner was barely out of his teens when he helped Gordon Buehrig craft the original clay model for the Cord 810, while his own designs included the Ford Vega sports car and the Studebaker Gardner Special. The Charger III was one of many projects Gardner and Shedlik tackled for the bigger car makers. The two-man team personally crafted the fibreglass body shell for the Chrysler show car, which was 74 inches wide, only 42 inches tall, and had a 100-inch wheelbase.

The prototype had no engine or drivetrain installed. However, the automaker’s press materials suggested that a Dodge 426 Street Hemi could be installed under the low-profile hood. As there was no engine fitted the power required to operate the Charger III’s numerous display functions, including the clamshell-style cockpit canopy, was actually provided by a 120-volt electrical cable. Photos indicate that the Charger III had at least two different paint finishes: the gold featured at the Chicago Auto Show, and the brilliant Candy Apple Red as shown on the Avenue 43 model.

Like so many show cars it is thought the original was broken up at some point though some more fibreglass bodies found their way into the world of drag racing so the shape lived on.

#60013 Porsche 645 Spyder “Mickymaus”

Developed from the 550 A and 1500 RS Porsche this 1956 prototype nicknamed “Mickey Mouse” had a wheelbase of 2,000 mm and a reduced track width. This change allowed a smaller front profile and higher top speed. The central tail section was raised to house a cooling fan as well as housing two rear facing openings for the air intakes for carburettor and cooling system. The vehicle was powered by an air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine with four camshafts (two on each side), which were powered by vertical shafts. It had dual ignition with two separate ignition manifolds, two ignition coils and two twin choke Weber 40 DCM carbs.

At a race on the AVUS course on September 16, 1956, Richard von Frankenberg had an accident with the Mickey Mouse. The car crashed over the north curve’s steep slope into the paddock, about fifteen feet below, and burned; Frankenberg, who had been thrown out, remained almost unhurt. The 645 project ceased and work was devoted to the Porsche 718 1500 RSK Spyder which appeared in the middle of 1957.

Matrix new Announcement

This Matrix model is resin cast in China for the Netherlands to 1:43 scale.

MX20301-183 Cadillac Superior Funeral car 1970

Matrix has just announced a ‘surprise model’ which had not been previously announced but which will ship soon. This Cadillac Funeral Car looks to be a nice model of a classic Cadillac.


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

Autocult and Avenue 43 Models March 2018

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Autocult.

Autocult have announced a Porsche Teram Puntero in the “Past Brands” series, a Fiat 750MM Panoramica Zagato in the “Small Cars” series, the Walter Regent Sodomka in the “Streamliners” series and the Maybach SW42 from the “Prototypes” series.

A new car appears in the Avenue43 range distributed by Autocult: BMW 700 Martini type 4.

All models shown are 1:43 scale resin cast in China for Germany.

Porsche Teram Puntero

This Argentinian made car has an interesting history. In the early 1950s the Argentinian Dictator Juan Perón created a state run engineering conglomerate to produce vehicles and aircraft.   A car called the Justicialista was made but only  167 sold and it was an expensive flop and production was entirely abandoned by the mid 1950s when Perón was overthrown.

A small company Teram bought the factory, tools and parts and chassis for 144 cars. They produced an entirely different set of panels to cover the chassis and sourced engines from Porsche, the same engines used in the 356.

Sales began in 1958 and it took till 1963 to sell all 144 cars.

Fiat 750MM Panoramica Zagato

Panoramica” was a concept pioneered by Ugo Zagato and the designers at Carrozzeria Ugo Zagato & Co. This involved larger side windows reaching up higher into the roof than had been previous practice and the front screen similarly extending higher into the roof.

Zagato produced eight “Panoramica-concept”  cars on the chassis of the Fiat Topolino. To prove its toughness the Fiat had to master harsh conditions and was registered for the famous rally Mille-Miglia in 1949. The tiny Fiat Zagato came fourth place in its class.

With this success Zagato added the letters “MM”, which was the acronym for Mille Miglia, to the type designation. Sadly this car never went into series production and of the eight cars built only one survives.

Walter Regent Sodomka

Walter was a Czech car maker famous for large limousines from the late 1920s onwards. The Regent  succeeded the Super 6 and used its 6 cylinder overhead valve engine. The Regent had a body made for it by Carrosserie Sodomka.

This body was  streamlined with covered rear wheels, a front end designed to split the airflow and curved to smooth its flow. The closed limousine version  has no B pillar and this gives the impression of one long glassed side which is captured well in the model. The bare chassis with drive train was offered for drivers who didn’t like the Sodomka styling.

The Regent was sold for five years  and only a few dozen were made.

 

Maybach SW42

Maybach had been a maker of luxury cars in the 1930s favoured by the rich and famous. Production of passenger cars was ceased in 1941 and not restarted at the end of the Second World War.

In 1956 Karl Maybach,  son of the company’s founder, had an urge to drive a specially bodied Maybach. A Type 42 SW model from 1937 was chosen as the chassis and a modern body built to clothe it by the coachbuilder Spohn.

BMW 700 Martini type 4

The BMW 700 was a considerable success and kept BMW alive at a time when its large limousines no longer sold enough to keep the company afloat. Willi Martini prepared racing cars based on the BMW 700 with a glass fibre body creating an attractive coupé.

This was successful in its class in touring car racing and was also sold to private buyers. Styling was then updated and magazines road tested it but it did not go into series production and in 1965 BMW ceased production of the 700 and Willi Martini moved on to tuning other vehicles.


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


 

AutoCult February 2018

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by the Manufacturer.

AutoCult has announced three models for release this month. In their series “Prototypes” they model the Oldsmobile Golden Rocket Concept car. In their series “Delivery Vehicles” they have created the Willys FC-150 Pickup. Finally in the series of “Buses”  there is a Mercedes-Benz OP312 an Rooijen.

 

1/43 #06020 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket (USA, 1956)

Oldsmobile has been part of General Motors since 1908.  In the 1950s their designs came from the department headed by Harley J. Earl. It was the time of the “space race” and the futuristic influence of rocket shapes was felt in the concept cars made by all the big US car makers.

The car modelled by Auto Cult is an Oldsmobile made specially for the 1956 General Motors Motorama, a show where GM showed off concept cars in a bid to attract visitors who could be persuaded to buy their latest production cars which were also on show.

Its split rear screen and thrusting wings and light bearing winglets were to be seen on production cars in the future. The car body was made in fibreglass  and it was fitted with a V8 engine with 275 hp.

 

1/43 #08009 Willys Jeep FC-150 Pick-Up (USA, 1956)

By the mid-1950s the WIllys range looked rather old-fashioned and so Willys planned the launch of a new delivery truck with a new and striking design. The management brought in the well-known designer Brooks Stevens. Stevens’ concept was influenced by the design of heavy-duty trucks. The engine was positioned right underneath the driver’s cab. Due to its cab over engine design the delivery truck got the designation “Jeep-Forward-Control”, or “FC” for short.

It did not need a long development phase to get the van into production as parts like the chassis and the engine were already in in use. The chassis came from the in-house 1954 SUV “CJ-5” and the engine was the “Hurricane” type. On November 29, 1956, the first of these vehicles were presented at a special event for dealers.

The wheelbase of the small delivery truck was strikingly short at just two meters. It also had a small turning circle. But, the narrow width of only 1.2 metres gave it undesirable handling traits. Two years later this was addressed by broadening the truck to 1.4 metres whilst retaining the same load bed length.

Altogether the production of this style of truck lasted from 1957 to 1964.  All variations added together sold no more than 30,000 units which was considerably less than Willys had hoped.

 

1/43 #10002 Mercedes-Benz OP312 van Rooijen (NL, 1958)

 

The DUKW has inspired many vehicles. Some built buses looking like boats and some built ones that could also perform as one. Tours are available in Prague today in a bus-boat based on a modern coach which is amphibious. But the bus modelled by Auto Cult was based on a series of buses inspired by the style of boats but which could not travel in water.

This special boat-bus, named `Huwelijksboot’ (Dutch for wedding boat), was one of three identical vehicles. All three buses were built by the body maker van Rooijen in the 1950s. The body maker was  based in Montfort (Netherlands).  The buses were styled to look boat shaped and fitted with wood and railings and even funnels to make it look the part.  There were even tyres on the vehicles ship’s side just like the ones used to protect a normal boat as it landed at a pier.

All three boat-buses were built on the chassis of a Mercedes-Benz OP 312, had an engine with a performance of 120 hp, and offered space for 32 passengers. These vehicles provided a comfortable ride with a special style.


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Auto Cult final releases of 2017

By Maz Woolley

All photographs provided by, and copyright of, Auto Cult.

Auto Cult Set of the Year

Auto Cult have made their final release for 2017.  This is their set of the year which features a book and a 1:43 scale model of a Porsche-Auto Union type 52 Sportlimousine. The book is also available as a separate item. The set is made in limited numbers.

Two versions of the book are available, one written in English and the other German. It is 184 pages long and looks at the stories of the often rare and strange vehicles modelled by Auto Cult in 2017. It features pictures of both the models and the real vehicles.

This design for a super car was penned in the offices of  Ferdinand Porsche but the exact details have been lost in history.  Based on the Typ 22 – a racing car concept, commissioned by the company Wanderer but never built – they created a design for a super car that was allocated Typ 52 according to the in-house numbering sequence. Josef Kales was responsible for the engine and Erwin Komenda drew the body. Both created an ambitious design  with a sixteen-cylinder V-engine of 4.4 litres with forced induction from a Roots-type supercharger and an estimated output of over 200 hp.

The sketched blueprints showed a low car body with a central driving position with passenger seats on either side offset to the rear. The designers were apparently divided on whether to built in a rear bench seat or not, since the sketches of both layouts exist. The V-16 engine was a mid-engined arrangement as the gearbox needed to be accommodated ahead of the rear axle.

 

The rear end of the car body with its great number of air outlets harmoniously curved around the engine. The front of the car in the design sketches had a large upright radiator grille, which probably carried the airstream via inner ducts to the engine. Externally fitted mudguards that followed the general silhouette of the car completed the harmonious overall look.

Unfortunately the super car never progressed beyond the design stage. Why there was not even a prototype built remains unclear.

Dubonnet Dolphin

Also released this month is the Dubonnet Dolphin to 1:18 scale. This was developed in France in the early 1930s by André Dubonnet and called the Dolphin to go with its aerodynamic shape.

Dubonnet had been a pilot during the First World War and then a racing driver in Bugatti and Sunbeam cars and dreamt of creating a streamlined car for mass production With the Engineer Chedru, he  created a car body powered by a 3.6 litre Ford V8 engine. The tear drop shape was rounded and an unconventional solution had to be found for the doors. At the front only the right half next to the steering wheel could be opened and two further doors were fitted further back on both sides which also provided access to the front area.

The engine was positioned directly behind the back seat and at the  rear axle point Dubonnet was provided an upright tail unit influenced by aircraft to stabilise the car at high speed. So that the sophisticated aerodynamics would not be marred by external influences Dubonnet provided complete cladding for all four wheels.  In the case of the steerable front wheels the cladding was fixed directly onto the axle and followed the steering movement.

 

Compared to a conventional Ford car the performance was considerably better, with the prototype reaching a maximum speed of 173 km/h (108 mph), when the standard Ford was only reached 131 km/h (82 mph). But this performance failed to convince any company to put the car into mass-production so André Dubonnet moved on to other projects and the car was lost to history.

For collectors of larger scale models Auto Cult has announced their next 1:18 scale model which is to be a Skoda 935 which will be released in 2018.


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

Auto Cult November 2017

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by, and copyright of , Auto Cult.

Another release from Autocult with a wide range of subjects. All are made in resin in China to 1:43 scale for Germany.

Early Years of Motoring Series

#01005 Fiat S76 “Beast of Turin“ 1911

Nicknamed “The Beast of Turin” this  28.35 Litre four cylinder Fiat was built to beat the records created by the “Blitzen-Benz”. The huge cylinders with three spark plugs produced  290hp and were mounted in a  very basic chassis. Racing at Brooklands the car was timed at nearly 200KPH. Attempts on the Benx records failed as the speed could only be broken in one direction of the record attempt.

The Auto Cult model captures the car well with fine wire wheels and the chain drive nicely captured.

 

 

Engineer’s Limited Production Series

#05019 Beutler Special Cabriolet 1953

Swiss brothers Ernst and Fritz Beutler  built attractive bodywork with Bentley’s amongst the chassis they clothed. In 1948 Porsche cars were given attractive bodies.

In the early 1950s they created an attractive Volkswagen Beetle based cabriolet with a supercharged and tuned engine. Attractive though it was Volkswagen did not take up the proposals as they were already working on a similar car with Karmann in Germany.

 

Racing Cars Series

#07008 VW Transporter T1 Double Cab Long pickup 1963

Hardly a racing car itself this long backed Volkswagen Transporter was built to carry Volkswagen racing cars as well as their mechanics.  This vehicle will make a nice companion to the Ford Thames with long back for racing cars already made by Auto Cult.

These “DoKa’s” as the double cab is known were popular across Europe and even in the United States.

Camping Vehicles Series

#09005 Johnson Wax House Car 1939

Designed by Brook Stevens famous for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Wagoneer and Harley Davidson FLH Hydra Glide. This vehicle was based upon a bus chassis and created for S.C.Johnson and Sons the famous US polish makers.

The big camper was presented at a fair in New York 1939. By the standards of the time the interior was markedly luxurious. The facilities included running water, a separate bathroom, a gas powered refrigerator and a foldout desk. Even a small laboratory was on-board. The boss of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Herbert F. Johnson, planned to use the motorhome in Brazil, where his company was in search of carnauba palms. From the leaves of the carnauba palm they obtained the so-called carnauba wax, which was used as a versatile lubricant. However the search was abandoned in 1940 and the vehicle returned  home to Wisconsin.

When the USA entered the Second World War the motorhome got a ‘second life’ and served as a mobile recruiting office for soldiers in the state Wisconsin. Later it was used as a mobile blood donation centre, before it vanished without a trace.


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