Saturday, 2 August 2014

French faves

French Faves!
Trade me has been almost dead this week. Still for the bottomsifters there’s always a bargain lurking. This week we look at some quality French cars, plus a couple of brits that have been lurking in the depths for a while.
Simca 1500
This gorgeous little gem has been on trademe forever and a day. It would have been long gone had it not been overseas (North Is) (mainly brought by me) In the mid 1960s there wasn’t much compact, rear-wheel-drive and good looking (apart from from BMW 1600s) and these gorgeous Simcas. Surprisingly few in NZ considering the popularity of the Aronde, these cars where however a whole lot better than anything the brits had to offer. To think that Chrysler let the Hunter be developed when they could have had this is ludicrous. Sweet styling, nicely appointed with an advanced motor for the time. These little Simcas behaved themselves, handled (thanks to rack and pinion steering) and went well.
For: Just about everything. Motor in Chrysler Alpines till the mid eighties so plenty of parts.Everthing else available on ebay france.
Against: Not many of them in NZ
Bottom dweller status: 4/5  Rewarding and satisfying great alternative to Alfas and BMWs

Peugeot 505
Almost forgotton, compared to it’s popular successor the 405. The 505 is a great saloon, long and lean, a car for the connoisseur, Like the Simca, rear wheel drive and nothing like it available at the time. Rugged and safe. Heaps of character, gorgeous to drive like most Peugeots of the time. A Comfortable wafter that would still put many jap cars to shame. Not often for sale as people tend to hang on to them.
For; The quality, the headlights, French flair
Against: It’s in the north island not my garage but what’s not to like at this price?
Bottom dweller status: 6.5/5 Beyond perfection!

Renault 17TL
Now we’re talking, Just look at this gorgeous little coupe from Renault. One of the products of Kiwis love affair with French cars which later led to Fuegos being here in large numbers. The 15Ts and 17Tls are exquisite little coupes with a great deal of character. Magnificent straight line performance. Behaves like a mini Ferrari and will hunker down and do 100mph plus all day. Superb handling despite body roll. Impossible to lose on a dirt road as they have beautiful throttle controlled oversteer.
For: Yum! Nicely appointed mini exotica. Perfect paint job!
Against 15TS is prettier, Overheating means cylinder liners have fine cracks in them.
Bottom dweller status: 5/5 at this price

Austin Princess
Sad cars in the eighties, Princesses are never the less redeeming themselves in the 21st century. Futuristic shape has almost become timeless, and interior appointments the certainly the happiest of BL cars. In fact these Princesses came close to Wolseley standards.  Surprisingly engines seem to last, however gearboxes equipped with a wand (with a bit of magic you might find a gear) great ride heaps of room and road manners the japs could only dream about.
For: Perfect for Space 1999 freaks, far nicer than an Allegro or Marina. Made in New Zealand! Excellent brakes.
Against: Harris Mann on drugs! (Not even Raymond Loewy could teach him) 80% British Leyland (But 20% New Zealand parts) everyone steals the 4 pot brake calipers for Escorts.
Bottom Dweller Status:4/5 Nice, but really would you really be seen dead in one?

 Morris Major
A relation of the Wolseley twins from last month. Perfect for the man or woman who wants a superb chassis , a bit more power but wouldn’t be seen dead in a Morris Minor. Bizarre thinking from Leyland Australia, Still people brought them (lets face it, they handled a lot better than a Holden) Works better without the fins and with the Wolseley or Riley grill. Well worth the effort of a visit to the Hinds Classic Car Collectables Shop. This place is classic car heaven. Even down to new MGB and BMC panels, plus the cars are great. Heaven!
For: Far nicer than a Minor but with all the advantages.
Against; fins never looked so bad.
Bottom dweller status: 3/5 but try escaping hinds without buying anything from here!