Mys­tery car

New Zealand Classic Car - - AUTOMOBILIA -

This month’s Mys­tery Car ap­peared un­der sev­eral mar­que names in the late ’60s and early ’70s, so sort­ing out the re­la­tion­ship be­tween its var­i­ous man­i­fes­ta­tions is a de­tec­tive story in it­self! Send your so­lu­tion, by email or snail mail, to Mys­tery Cars No. 235, Nzclassiccar, PO Box 46 020, Herne Bay, Auck­land, by mid Au­gust. The win­ner will be the first cor­rect en­try opened from the en­tries box. Last month’s very tricky mys­tery was one of those ‘dis­guised’ pro­to­type and de­vel­op­ment cars that man­u­fac­tur­ers use for open-road test­ing, be­fore fi­nal­iz­ing body and me­chan­i­cal de­tails for ac­tual pro­duc­tion. In this case, we are look­ing at a pro­to­type BMW 1600 un­der test in Europe in late 1960 or early 1961. Yes, we know

it looks like an Alfa Romeo, and why shouldn’t it, as BMW must have known that Alfa Romeo was pro­duc­ing at that time one of the best of the smaller sport­ing sa­loons, in the shape of the Gi­uli­etta 1300TI. It cer­tainly looks as though the BMW tech­ni­cians had grafted a Gi­uli­etta 1300 front end onto a BMW de­vel­op­ment chas­sis to pro­duce this par­tic­u­lar dis­guised de­vel­op­ment car, and some of BMW’S styling cues are no­tice­able at the rear. The photo came from the June 1961 is­sue of Road&track mag­a­zine, and in­ter­est­ingly, it shows a two-door body and calls it a BMW 1600, while in fact the BMW Neue Klasse sa­loon, when it ac­tu­ally was launched in 1962, was a four-door 1500 — and the two-door 1600-2, later re­named the 1602, did not emerge un­til 1966. An in­trigu­ing book could be writ­ten about this murky world of pre-pro­duc­tion pro­to­types, how they were built and tested, and how de­sign and de­vel­op­ment staff bought, drove, tested and dis­sected mod­els from ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers. De­tail about some of them has sur­faced — for ex­am­ple, the story of the mys­te­ri­ous Talago, 16

units of which were seen around the Mid­lands in Bri­tain in the early 1960s, which was even­tu­ally found to be a pro­to­type of the Rover P6 se­ries which was in­tro­duced as the Rover 2000 in 1963. An­other ex­am­ple is the way other man­u­fac­tur­ers bought Peu­geot 404s, and tried to find out how they man­aged to set such high stan­dards in re­duc­tion of road noise — Roll­sRoyce was among the buy­ers. And Nis­sanDat­sun was re­puted to have bought BMW Neue Klasse cars, then re­verse-en­gi­neered them thor­oughly to cut costs while re­tain­ing per­for­mance and strength, and pro­duced the hugely suc­cess­ful Dat­sun 1600 510 se­ries sa­loons. Reg­u­lar en­trant and mas­ter spot­ter David North was on the ball again with the mas­sive 1963 model Mer­cury Monterey Cus­tom in our June is­sue. In­ci­den­tally, the rare photo came from an old late ’80s copy of the in­ter­est­ing Amer­i­can mag­a­zine, Carsand­parts.

Rolls­-royce built this two­-door five­-seater sa­loon from 1971 to 1995, sold also as a Bent­ley from 1971 to 1984 (8) 3. The multi­pas­sen­ger ver­sion of Volk­swa­gen’s fa­mous Type 2 com­mer­cial van in­tro­duced in 1950 (8) 4. Ger­man spe­cial­ist sup­plier of trans­mis­sion com­po­nents and gear­boxes for many au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ers world­wide (6) 5. Ital­ian stylist and coach­builder, work­ing with Ghia, then with his own coach­build­ing busi­ness, and fi­nally with Fiat in its styling divi­sion from 1957 (5) 6. US rac­ing ve­hi­cle com­pany from 1964, ini­tially founded by Dan Gur­ney and Car­roll Shelby (5) 7. An­other UK coach­builder, _____ James ­­­­­was ac­tive in the au­to­mo­bile world from 1908 through to 1967, lat­terly un­der Jack Bar­clay Group own­er­ship (5) 12. Six-­cylin­der Ri­ley sports model, in­flu­en­tial in styling terms though only built in small num­bers (15?) in 1934–’35 (3) 13. Widely used as an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for one of France’s finest clas­sics, this name was also used for a three­wheeler two­seat sports car built by Bond (un­der Re­liant own­er­ship) from 1970–’74 (3) 14. From 1935 to 1939, this was the ad­ver­tised name un­der which the Wil­liam Lyons–man­aged com­pany, pre­vi­ously called Swal­low Side­car and Coach­build­ing Co, sold its cars (2,6) 15. Lot of th­ese in a car, for crank­shaft, big ends, and wheels, to name a few — what are they? (8) 19. French rac­ing and rally driver who founded the Alpine sports-­car mar­que (6) 20. Floor­change gear lever to many of us, but four­on-­the­floor or ­­shift to the Yanks (5) 21. NSU small sa­loon (1958 to 1973), start­ing out as a 583cc twin, then gain­ing more per­for­mance and room when pow­ered by a four­cylin­der ohc air­cooled one­litre en­gine (5) 22. Early ’30s Stan­dard six­- cylin­der 2.5-­litre sa­loon of quite im­pos­ing ap­pear­ance (5)

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