MYS­TERY CAR

New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia -

Our mys­tery car this month is a tricky one. Euro­pean, dated fairly pre­cisely to 1961, and prob­a­bly a one-­off rather than a pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle. Apolo­gies for the rather fuzzy pic­ture, but this photo — scanned from a mag­a­zine — was very much a ‘grab shot’ rather than a posed pub­lic­ity or press photo. Send your so­lu­tion, by email or snail mail, to Mys­tery Cars No. 234, NZ Clas­s­ic­car, PO Box 46 020, Herne Bay, Auck­land by mid-­july. The win­ner (and a wor­thy win­ner!) will be the first cor­rect en­try opened from the en­tries box. Our big US mys­tery last month was the Mer­cury Monterey Cus­tom, in­tro­duced in Septem­ber 1962 for the 1963 model year. This was in­deed a big car, a four-door sedan body built on a 3048mm (120­inch) wheel­base, over­all length 5461mm (215 inches) with a kerb weight of around 1865kg (around 4110lb). It used the 186kw (250bhp) ver­sion of the Ford 6.4­litre (390ci) V8 en­gine, us­ing a twin­bar­rel car­bu­re­tor, but the car could be op­tioned up to 224 or 246kw (300/330bhp) ver­sions of the 390ci mo­tor, or even a 406ci V8 with a mas­sive 385 or 405bhp on tap — that’s 287 or 302kw. Test­bench power, of course, and con­sid­er­ably lower as in­stalled in the car, but these were still very pow­er­ful en­gines. Power­op­er­ated steer­ing and an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion were of course stan­dard (a three­speed man­ual was avail­able), and the high­geared axle ra­tio im­parted good cruise abil­ity. The big en­gine gave the Monterey 175–180kmph (c. 110mph) per­for­mance, with a 0–100kph (0–60mph) time of around nine sec­onds. Fuel con­sump­tion (fuel was cheap then, thank good­ness) was 12.8mpg (im­pe­rial gal­lons) or 22 litres/100km. The big styling fea­ture was the ‘Breeze­way’ re­verse­slant rear win­dow, seen pre­vi­ously on Lin­colns a year or two be­fore. This wasn’t quite the re­verse­slant rear win­dow as seen on the Bri­tish Ford Anglia 105E, as the Mer­cury ver­sion could be power­op­er­ated down to give ex­tra ven­ti­la­tion, hence the Breeze­way name tag. The stan­dard Monterey Cus­tom sold 39,542 units for the 1963 model year, and with the other mod­els in the line­up, the Monterey Cus­tom se­ries sold 78,684 units in to­tal for that year. Writ­ing to an early dead­line, we have had no tak­ers so far on the Nash Palm Beach Mys­tery No. 232, but we will up­date on that in our next col­umn.

Clues Across: 7. TVR’S 1976 to 1979 Capri V6– en­gined coupé with elec­tric-pow­ered open­ing hatch­back (6) 8. Four cylin­der 1100cc Lagonda with ad­vanced twin-cam en­gine built from 1934–’35, and again from 1935–’38 by a sep­a­rate com­pany (6) 10. To ---- --your en­gine, es­pe­cially older long-stroke clas­sics, is a quick way to de­stroy your en­gine (4-3) 11. Lan­cia’s 1984–’94 sport­ing saloon that shared a Type 4 plat­form with Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Saab (5) 12. Pre­vi­ous cor­po­rate and brand name for what since 1972–’73 has been known as Exxon (4) 13. In­ter­est­ing and ef­fec­tive small Lan­cia saloon, built from 1939 to 1953 (5) 17. Bri­tish-born car stylist with an Ital­ian-sound­ing name — he worked for Fis­sore, and later for Citroën (5) 18. The Ja­panese con­glom­er­ate com­pany that builds Subaru cars (4) 22. Subaru’s 4WD (or FWD) mid-size saloon built in sev­eral gen­er­a­tions from 1971 on­wards (5) 23. Model name for Vaux­hall’s six-cylin­der per­for­mance mod­els in the FD and FE se­ries, late ’60s to mid ’70s (7) 24. This horse­power rat­ing (old RAC method) acted as model name for many pre-war Bri­tish cars in the 1500–1600cc en­gine size bracket (6) 25. US au­to­mo­bile leg­end who man­aged both Cadil­lac and Lin­coln to pres­tige-car suc­cess (6)

The Beach Boys’ Lit­tle Deuce Coupé was “ported and re­lieved and ------- and bored” (7) 2. Model name shared by GN, Tri­umph and Rover (7) 3. French trans­port and aerospace com­pany, prom­i­nent in sports rac­ing, sin­gle-seaters and F1 com­pe­ti­tion in the 1960s/1970s (5) 4. UK mo­tor­cy­cle firm re­mem­bered for solid big sin­gles, ideal for haul­ing side­cars, though it folded in 1967 (7) 5. TVR again, this time the 1967–’73 cars us­ing mainly the Cortina Gt–tune Ford Kent en­gine (5) 6. French word for sta­tion wag­ons or es­tate cars (5) 9. Trans­mis­sion com­po­nent used to raise ve­hi­cle gear­ing to im­prove cruis­ing fuel econ­omy and re­duce wear — fifth or sixth gears have now re­placed them (9) 14. Bel­gian maker of fine lux­ury cars through to 1938, us­ing the Knight dou­ble-sleeve sys­tem of valve op­er­a­tion (7) 15. Ve­hi­cle fuel sys­tem, now ob­so­lete, us­ing vac­uum ef­fect to sup­ply an aux­il­iary fuel tank that fed the en­gine through grav­ity — fuel pumps were un­re­li­able in those days! (7) 16. Bri­tish automotive engi­neer, noted for ma­jor de­sign and re­search achieve­ment in en­gine de­sign and op­er­a­tion — his com­pany is now a con­sul­tancy op­er­at­ing world­wide (7) 19. Lo­tus Types 14, 75 and 83 shared this model name (5) 20. Bri­tish car mar­que, build­ing its first cars in 1904, with many clas­sics to its name in­clud­ing P4, P5, P5B, P6 and P6B, and if you get a good one, SD1 (5) 21. Clas­sic GT and sports Fer­rari V12 of the early ’50s in the 166, 195 and 212 se­ries (5)

nice thing with this se­lec­tion is that the cars didn’t even have to be par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful to get in­cluded, but they all con­trib­uted to­wards the mag­i­cal va­ri­ety that pop­u­lated start­ing grids at Le Mans or Se­bring.

This truly is a stun­ningly good book.

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