Unique Cars - - CONTENTS - Guy ‘Guido’ Allen GUY A L LEN

EVER HAVE those days when the people you work with are tr ying to tell you some­thing, but they’re too po­lite to say what they re­ally think and find an­other way to get the mes­sage across? It doesn’t hap­pen all that of­ten in the pala­tial Unique Cars of­fices – people gen­er­ally spit it right out, or shoot you with a foam rub­ber dart gun. Or both.

So it took me a while to cot­ton on when our Art Di­rec­tor and Chief Car Stalker An­gelo f licked me a link to the brain-snap­ping con­trap­tion fea­tured on this page. All I did was wan­der past his desk, think­ing out loud. “You know I wouldn’t mind a project car,” quoth I, “An­other 633 or 635 would be nice.” (Guess why I don’t have any money, or friends...)

Mr A picked up on this and f licked across a link to this hor­ror. “Here you go,” he of­fered, cheer­fully, “Go build your­self one of these.” What the...?! Yep, I had to look it up. Ap­par­ently it made a cameo ap­pear­ance in the movie Back to theFu­ture2. (Ac­tu­ally, stick­ing with the time travel theme, I thought they might have called the se­quel Back to theFu­turemi­nus1.)

I have seen the f lick and couldn’t re­mem­ber ever eye­balling the car, let along recog­nis­ing the host ve­hi­cle. Maybe it’s true the mind has an abil­ity to block out cer­tain trau­mas. Any­way, we had to look it up, didn’t we? The pro­duc­ers of the movie de­cided it would be a hoot to lop the top off a 1976 BMW 633CSI – a manual. Now if the date is cor­rect, it could be an early Kar­mann-built car which, these days, makes it very rare. Of course back in 1989, when they were shoot­ing the film it was pro0bably close to worth­less. But now?

It gets worse. Not only did the movie stu­dio de­cide to carve up an oth­er­wise el­e­gant car, but some gent who clearly had way too much time on his hands de­cides years later to buy the de­crepit movie-mo­bile and re­store it to its full cine­matic glory. His name is Jeff Chabotte and he claims to be a Back to theFu­ture fan. I’m not sure ‘fan’ re­ally cov­ers it.

His quest be­gan in 2004 and, so far as we can tell, took about four years. So we’re not talk­ing a quick once-over with some bog and a rat­tle can.

Oh no, we’re talk­ing re­mak­ing mas­sive one-off fi­bre­glass body com­po­nents, a top-to-toe re­spray, a com­plete in­te­rior re­fit and then he had to get on to the me­chan­i­cals. I ad­mire the ded­i­ca­tion and skill, but the tar­get of these re­sources?

Each to their own, I sup­pose, as young Mr Chabotte would prob­a­bly look askance at much of my f leet, too.

For me, it high­lights a cou­ple of things, the first of which is we’re all a lit­tle nuts and the thing which tends to dis­tin­guish us is the ob­ject of our af­fec­tions. Build­ing movie car repli­cas leaves me ut­terly cold, but I know people who go weak at the knees at the word ‘Bat­mo­bile’.

The se­cond is that if An­gelo ever catches me mut­ter­ing about cut­ting the roof off an E24 BMW, he has my per­mis­sion to wrap me in a blan­ket and have me sent off to a nice, quiet, dark room...

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