Automobilia mod­els

T his month, we have dou­ble Dubs, one, a rally-prepped Bee­tle and a Kombi — a VW and Porsche Sales, Ser­vices, Parts panel van — to give away.

New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia -

Our mys­tery this month keeps us in par­lez-vous ter­ri­tory but 10 years later than last month. Not many of this un­usual car were made, but it was cat­a­logued be­tween 1963 and 1965. Send your an­swer to edi­tor@clas­s­ic­car.co.nz by June 17, with ‘Mys­tery Car 244’ in the sub­ject line.

Last month’s mys­tery 243 was a fi­nal fling by Ford France, just be­fore the com­pany’s Poissy fac­tory was sold to Simca. In­tro­duced at the 1953 Paris Mo­tor Show, the Ford Ven­dome caused a bit of a stir, as the fit­ting of the 3.9-litre Mistral ver­sion of the Ford/ Mer­cury flat­head V8 into the ex­ist­ing Vedette sa­loon pro­duced a car with con­sid­er­able per­for­mance for the time. The Vedette was still con­tin­ued with its own small 2.2-litre ver­sion of the flat­head V8, but the new car of­fered more per­for­mance than any other home-grown sa­loon on the French mar­ket — Citroën’s big six-cylin­der Trac­tion Avant was way bet­ter in terms of road­abil­ity, but its 2.9-litre six-cylin­der’s 56.7kw (76bhp) couldn’t match the power and torque of the Ven­dome’s big V8, and the old­erde­sign Hotchkiss An­jou (which ceased pro­duc­tion in 1953 but was avail­able through 1954) cost a lot more, though its 3.5-litre six-cylin­der matched the V8 for power out­put if not torque.

There were prob­lems with the Ven­dome, though. The 3.9-litre ver­sion of the V8 was heav­ier than the Vedette’s smaller-ca­pac­ity unit and put a lot of weight on the front wheels. As such, the Ven­dome was a de­ter­mined un­der­steerer and quite a hand­ful on twisty roads. Al­lied to this was a big thirst for fuel when full en­gine power was used: much of the de­sign ef­fort prob­a­bly came from the States, and, if those de­sign­ers had been briefed on the high cost of petrol in France, they may have geared the car a lit­tle higher. The brakes, too, were stressed by the Ven­dome’s ex­tra weight.

But the worst prob­lem for the Ven­dome was that Ford France was in the throes of sell­ing out to Simca, and, in the end, the car had a show­room life of just over a year through 1954, with over 3000 units sold. Un­der Simca, there was no room for the thirsty Ven­dome, though the Vedette was con­tin­ued from 1955, us­ing the small V8; with its restyled body, it con­tin­ued through to 1961, and to 1967 over­seas in Brazil, while the Vedette body, pow­ered (un­der­pow­ered, per­haps?) by Simca’s 1290cc over­head-valve en­gine was pro­duced as the Ariane un­til 1963.

The Ven­dome’s vi­tal sta­tis­tics fol­low, but be aware that many in­ter­net sources can be mis­lead­ing about this car, con­fus­ing the car with the Vedette. Power from the 3.9-litre side-valve V8 is var­i­ously quoted as 69–74kw (93–99bhp), ve­hi­cle weight 1350–1370kg (2980–3021 pounds), wheel­base 2.69m (105.9 inches), length 4.67m (184 inches), and top speed 145–148kph (90–92mph). A three­speed man­ual gear­box was fit­ted.

fol­low­ing the race, Fjas­tad stated, “The car is in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion and is ready to around again.” The same car went on to win its class in the same event two year later.

The East African Rally con­tin­ues to­day as the Sa­fari Clas­sic, still ap­peal­ing to all com­ers in ev­ery­thing from clas­sic 911s (eight of the top-10 po­si­tions were taken out by 911s in the 2015 event) to Tri­umph TR7S and Ford Es­corts across some of the most try­ing onand off-road con­di­tions any­where in the world.

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