Category Archives: Avenue43

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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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.


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