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Weird Cars I have Owned
Old 01-28-2009, 08:59 AM   #1
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Weird Cars I have Owned

Ha posted on another thread that he once had a Saab 3 cylinder two stroke car. I remember that from a roommate in college. I have had some slightly weird cars; a 66 Pontiac Tempest OHC 6, interesting attempt to have a powerful 6 by GM, weak point was the 2 speed transmission. I had an Open Kapitan 6 cyl 3 on the tree brought over from Germany by a serviceman, only one I have seen in the US. In the late 70s early 80s I had a 1966 MB 200 diesel which I loved. I had a real underpowered but fun Mini when I lived in the UK late 70s. One great car I had from new was a 1992 Ford Taurus SHO, had it for 150K miles and it died saving me in a crash. Oh, there was the 1985 VW camper which I had a Subaru engine put in, still in the family.
My current automotive love is my 2006 Jeep Liberty diesel, took me to arctic Canada & Alaska last summer.

Now I really wanted weird cars like an Amphicar and that 2 cycle Saab, especially their Sonnett or an early Lotus Europa. And really interesting cars in your fleet? I drool over the cars in Hemmings Motor News.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:27 AM   #2
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Don't know if it fits in the weird. My first car was a 1961 Pontiac Bonneville. Hood a mile long. Twin 4 barrel carburators. No center pillar. With windows down felt almost like a convertible.

Main feature was that stepping on the gas produced an upward motion on the speedometer, matched by the gas gauge going down at nearly the same rate.

But.... You could get knives, salt shakers, dishes etc with every fillup. With an attendant filling the the tank, washing the windows, checking the oil. 32 cents/gallon.

Edit: Brain fog, i thought it was 63, looking at photos, confirm 61
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:00 AM   #3
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I had a couple interesting cars:

1975 AMC Gremlin
1963 Catalina
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:42 AM   #4
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I had a couple interesting cars:

1975 AMC Gremlin
1963 Catalina
There was a cute TV commercial out then where a girl would pull her Gremlin into the service station and the fellow would comment "Where's the rest of your car, toots?". And it emphasized the economy of the car but mostly the design was its selling point.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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I own a few that are unusual uncommon: 2 Sunbeam Alpines (think Maxwell Smart) and a Hillman Minx.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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I own a few that are unusual uncommon: 2 Sunbeam Alpines (think Maxwell Smart) and a Hillman Minx.
The Alpines (V8 Tigers) were interesting cars. If you owned a Minx in Montana it was indeed most uncommon.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:45 PM   #7
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Had a urine yellow AMC hornet - horrible uninspiring car, shoulda got the Simca and it's rubber drive axle problems. Had a early 50's GMC pu with 8'+ bed and split rim truck wheels - no speedometer and the steering wheel had about 90 degrees of slop - drove that from Oregon to Santa Fe on a looong trip. Blew a tire on the freeway in SLC and replaced it with a tire/wheel combo from an old junkyard breadtruck. Had a '67 Datsun SPL1600 - fun little car. Had the '65 Mustang i rolled and cut into a sorta El Camino-esq nightmare, complete with OSHA color driver paintbrush paintjob - last trip north to Oregon was done with only reverse and third gear - required forethought and luck. Had a '72 VW panel van - with sliding doors on both L&R sides - pretty rare in the states.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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1961 Nash Metropolitan
1963 Renault Caravelle (the R8 version)
1971 Lotus Elan coupe
1986 Porsche 944
1988 Citroen 2CV (still have it)

The 2CV is a state of mind. Before you get in you know you might as well enjoy the scenery because you're not going anywhere fast! Actually, it keeps up with city traffic fine, and will do 70mph if flogged on level ground.
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:01 PM   #9
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Aside from the Saab mentioned by yakers, my other favorite odd car was a CitroŽn DS 21 Pallas. Very beautiful, luxurious car.

I always felt like a character in a French gangster movie when I drove it.

Ha
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:08 PM   #10
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1972 VW Thing
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:53 PM   #11
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1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S (SE?) Sedan, purch in ~ 1973 for ~ $600, IIRC.

I thought it was cool, as it looks older to me than it was. Those big rounded fenders were kind of out-of-date by 1959 I think, and I'm pretty sure this was the last model they made like that.

Real wooden dash and window trim - that was neat (I refinished all the wood). Really ran smooth. But, if I couldn't wire and glue things together, repair parts were way expensive. It sat out back of my folks place for a few years while I worked on it here and there, finally, rats or mice got into it, the uni-body was rusting out, so I sold it for a few hundred, forget how many years later. I got my $ out of it, IMO.

It looked just like this pic from the web. Mine had the black steering wheel, not white like the next pics.





This just knocked me out. I was used to seeing stamped metal valve covers, with that little filler cap that sort of twisted on with 1/4 turn. This thing had this die-cast heavy-duty aluminum valve cover. It just looked like a tank (but of course aluminum is light). And the filler knob screwed on with fine threads, felt like some some very fine machining. You could give it a spin and it would just run all the way down the threads with one spin, like it was on ball bearings. Not that it mattered, but I guess that was what impressed me in a weird way.



I see refs to this being fuel injected, but I seem to remember dual Strombergs. 4 on the column, and the little shift linkages would pop out once in a while. Other than that, and the starter giving me problems in cold weather (solenoid sticking) I don't recall having too many problems with it. Had to rebuild a brake cylinder, but that's typical. A new starter was over $400, just couldn't do that after only spending $600 for it. Must have had the starter out 6 times, trying to lube it, clean the contacts, etc.

Best thing for me, it was enough to get the car bug out. I've been pretty much a "get from point A to point B" person ever since. But cars still interest me, I just don't have much desire to own anything exotic.

-ERD50
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:03 PM   #12
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:11 PM   #13
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1966 Austin Healy 3000

1975 AMC Gremlin

Talk about different rides....
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I own a few that are unusual uncommon: 2 Sunbeam Alpines (think Maxwell Smart) and a Hillman Minx.
I think I mis-read or ignored the thread theme. The above I own today. In the past:
194? - Army Jeep
1946 - Maple Leaf 3 ton farm truck
1951 - Jeep wagon
1953 - Ford Prefect
1954 - AH 100-4
1967 - AH Sprite
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:40 PM   #15
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Ha posted on another thread that he once had a Saab 3 cylinder two stroke car. I remember that from a roommate in college.

Now I really wanted weird cars like an Amphicar and that 2 cycle Saab, especially their Sonnett News.
Had a friend with the 3cyl/2cycle Saab. Got to drive it several times. Ugly, underpowered, quirky, etc. He burnt up the engine - because he ran out of gas and continued to try to start it. W/out gas, there was no cylinder lube.

Seriously considered the Sonnett several years later. It was not 2 cycle. It was a little underpowered for me, but a blast to drive. (Didn't tell the sales guy about doing handbrake turns in it during tests.) Ended up with a vette. Big mistake!

Oh yes. I also tried out a Honda 600 ca. 1969. One of first Honda cars imported I think. It had a 600 cc motorcycle engine. Actually, kind of fun to drive if you consider the additional fear factor of being among 5000 lb Detroit iron in those days. Supposedly (and my ear would confirm this at the time) the full throttle noise level was 89 dbA (90 if you had the heater on). At the time, there were no EPA mileage estimates - heck, there was no EPA - but the claims of 50 mpg were common, but YMMV, heh, heh.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:53 PM   #16
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Oh yes. I also tried out a Honda 600 ca. 1969. One of first Honda cars imported I think. It had a 600 cc motorcycle engine. Actually, kind of fun to drive if you consider the additional fear factor of being among 5000 lb Detroit iron in those days. Supposedly (and my ear would confirm this at the time) the full throttle noise level was 89 dbA (90 if you had the heater on). At the time, there were no EPA mileage estimates - heck, there was no EPA - but the claims of 50 mpg were common, but YMMV, heh, heh.
And a 10K+ RPM redline
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:59 PM   #17
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Volkswagen 411 - loved that car, leaking fuel injectors and all.
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:14 PM   #18
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leaking fuel injectors and all.
A guy I worked with came to me one morning and asked me for a favor. He drove a Datsun (now Nissan) 240Z as I recall and he had smelled fuel on his way to work and knew that I had a portable gas chromatograph/flame ionization detector in my lab. He figured I could leak test his fuel system. I slung the unit over my shoulder and we headed for the parking lot. After opening the hood, he started the car. I never got a chance to use the instrument because I could see fuel shooting out all over the engine bay (ppm detection seemed a little "underkill" in this case.) Why the car didn't erupt in flames, I'll never know.
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:16 PM   #19
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I also had a Saab 96 with 3 cylinder 2 cycle engine with 3 one barrel carbs, choke only on #2 cylinder. Other weird features: Four on the tree shifter, overrunning clutch so the wheels never pushed the engine on deceleration, front wheel drive (this was 1967), fully enclosed under body so I could hide my (illegal) beer in the engine compartment without it falling out.

Another weird car was my 1967 Rambler Rebel 4 door. Straight 6 engine with 3 speed manual gearbox, first gear not synchronized, so it was rarely downshifted to first for a full stop. Vacuum wipers so they quit working under heavy acceleration (worst possible time). I plumbed in an empty tomato juice can as a vacuum reservoir. The clutch was designed so that the pressure plate had no internal springs - pressure was applied from a tension string through the throw out bearing. It eventually failed and being so weird, it was a dealer only / new item, which cost more than the car.
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:05 PM   #20
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The car that I owned that was the weirdest but the most fun was my Karmen Ghia .
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