Classic and Sports Car Magazine – April 2013

Another excellent issue with Aston Martin`s centenary being celebrated with the addition of a high quality, pullout special supplement (Car and Picture: Classic Car Club – London).

With the Italian purveyor of outrageously styled poster-fodder, Lamborghini, also celebrating a landmark fiftieth birthday this year, a blast to Scotland in a V12 Diablo makes for a great article.

Two comparison road test articles look at the early sixties Bristol 406 Zagato and AC Greyhound – two very different but highly desirable sports coupes that share the wonderful Bristol straight-six engine, and the early post war Triumph ‘Razoredge’ and its contemporary competitor, the Rover P3.

The big road test this month features the granddaddies of what we would now call ‘soft-roaders’: the Matra Rancho, Citroën Méhari, Trabant 601 Kűbel, Volkswagon 181 and Austin`s ‘fab baby’ 60`s icon, the Mini Moke mk2. Like some of their modern day counterparts, all of these cars have a semblance of quasi-military utilitarianism about them without actually offering too much actual off-road ability. The Citroen was the largest seller of the group with over 144,000 sold and the surprise for me was that Volkswagon found over 70,000 buyers for its model 181, given that it cost substantially more than a Beetle convertible when new and bears an uncanny resemblance to the Kubelwagon – Germany`s equivalent of the American Jeep – that the Wermacht used in great numbers during WW2!

Mick Walsh gives us a wonderful article featuring what I think is one of the best-ever looking Land Speed Record competitors, the 1927 Stutz Black Hawk, designed and built by 24 year old American, Frank Lockhart, with a lot of sponsorship help and who tragically lost his life when a rear tyre burst causing the car to barrel roll to destruction. The car was fitted with a unique U16 engine with two geared crankshafts and which produced over 400bhp when running on a nitro-alcohol fuel mix.

Staying with the American theme is a look at a restoration of a lovely 6litre V8, 1957 Buick ‘Special’, which was purchased in the states, restored in the UK and whose British owner has traced all of the previous owners and has travelled to the states to meet several of them to piece together the car`s history.

American V8`s also provide the motive force for the featured Sunbeam V8 Tiger whose 4.7litre engine pumps out an impressive 430bhp!

A tuned V8 Tiger can pack some serious punch
A tuned V8 Tiger prepped ready to attack the track

The in-depth article this month looks at the 1950`s Messerschmitt KR175/200 which was developed to provide cost effective transport in post-war Europe. Known in Germany as ‘Snow White`s Coffin’ (charming…), the Messerschmitt proves to be surprisingly civilised and great fun to drive. Interest in micro-cars has been gathering pace in the past few years and prices have been rising rapidly, with an enclosed version in show condition fetching around £40k and a KR201 Kabrio soft top in similar condition, a frankly staggering £50k! With an incomplete, enclosed KR project for sale at just under £7k for a ropey body and several boxes of parts, the £12,995 being asked for a modern, very high quality KR Kabrio replica running a Honda 250 engine (and complete with a reverse gear!) in one of the dealer adverts looks very tempting indeed!

Scrutineering by Chris Dymock

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