This month we’re going back to Italy with yet another of the interesting little coupés that graced the Italian scene in the mid-1950s. Send your solution, by email, or snail mail, to Mystery Cars No. 230, Nzclassiccar, PO Box 46 020, Herne Bay, Auckland by mid March. The winner will be the first correct entry opened from the entries box. Last month’s Mystery No. 229 was the rare Dormobile estate car variant of the Vauxhall Velox / Cresta E-series, introduced very late in the model’s production run, probably because it was developed outside the Vauxhall factory by coachbuilder Martin Walter Ltd, better known for the Dormobile motor caravan. This was pretty much a standard Velox chassis and body shell, supplied to the coachbuilder, which then cut away the rear part of the roof, rear window and boot area, and carefully stitched on the estate-car rear end in its place. There was nothing unusual about this process, as Abbott was doing a similar job on the Ford MKII Consul and Zephyr range, and many other such conversions were being done on a one-off basis by other coachbuilders to customer requirements. The Dormobile estate conversion was fully sanctioned by the Vauxhall factory (there was also another (even uglier) estate version built by Grosvenor, also Vauxhall approved) but sales were very slow — not only was the price rather high, but it was not a handsome car, and anyway sales of the E-series Velox and Cresta had dropped sharply as Vauxhall customers waited for the soon-to-come PA series car. We have no details of the sales figures, but in terms of technical detail, it’s essentially a standard late-model Velox Series E with the 2262cc short-stroke engine. The production run was very short anyway, as Martin Walter realized it was doing much better with full-scale motor-caravan conversions, which it had begun doing a few years earlier on the Bedford CA van base vehicle. The campervan conversions were selling well, and were available by then on other base vehicles, including Land Rovers. The company changed its name to Dormobile — incidentally, that word is still listed in many UK English dictionaries as a synonym for motor caravans, so widely known had it become — and did good business until the mid 1970s, when the advent of cheap flights overseas changed UK holiday patterns. Regular contestant and master spotter David North from Riverton was quick to spot the nice little 1953 Moretti coupé, our Mystery No. 228.
Answers to last month’s crossword #270 Across: 7. Header 8. Consul 10. Porsche 11. Omega Osca 13. Kombi 17. Riley 18. Lube 22. Astre 23. Trabant 24. Diablo Bitter Down: 1. Chapron 2. Darracq 3. Repco 4. Colombo Essex 9. Velocette 14. Firefly 15. Bugatti 16. Century 19. Halda 21. Rapid