Archive for May, 2016

No Alpha – 1982 Lancia Beta Zagato

May 31, 2016

When Lancia introduced their Beta line of cars, returning to the practice of naming their cars after the Greek alphabet, they decided not to name it the Alpha because of possible confusion with Alfa Romeo. Further, in North America, the car known as the Lancia Beta Spyder was known here as the Lancia Beta Zagato (even more confusing since it was designed by Pininfarina and built by Zagato, suggesting some serious pride-swallowing in the name of a paycheck). Taking that one step further, if the car had been designated the Alpha, submodel Spyder, we could have had a Lancia Alpha Spyder. Wait, what? Now you’re thoroughly confused, let’s take a look at this 1982 Lancia Beta Zagato for sale for $3495 in Bend, OR.

1982 Lancia Beta Zagato right front



124 Times Two – 1973 Fiat 124 Wagon and 1972 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe

May 30, 2016

In recent years, VW seems to have cornered the market for affordable cars that are also fun to drive and reasonably attractive. But 40-50 years ago, that ball was solidly in Fiat’s hand, with their 124 series of sedan, wagon, coupe, and spider offering driving fun for all. In North America, there were different levels of driving fun with the 124, starting with the sedan and wagon, which were equipped with a 1438cc overhead valve engine giving 69-74hp and moving up to a 1592cc twin cam in 1973, giving a more fun 95hp. Further up, the coupe and the spider started with a 1438cc twin cam, moved on to 1592cc and 1608cc, then the 1756cc and finally the 1920cc twin cam. So basically, it is anyone’s guess what engine is in any of the surviving 124s, like this 1973 Fiat 124 wagon for sale for $2300 in Tigard, OR.

1973 Fiat 124 Wagon right front


RustyButTrusty on the Street – Long Neglected

May 27, 2016

It’s time for another long-overdue installment of RustyButTrusty on the Street. There’s a funny thing about being based in the suburbs, namely, you can actually photograph fewer interesting cars parked by the side of the road when you’re blowing by them at 35mph. Nonetheless, holiday travel and some particularly interesting cars managed to find their way into the camera. Let’s start with a few that absolutely don’t fit in, but can’t be left out if you want a good laugh. And for one of those, let’s start out with Blue Steel Blue Ice, a late-model Mercedes G-class SUV on the streets of Stockholm.


Generally speaking, any kind of automotive enthusiasm is to be applauded, all the way from resto-mod muscle car to Bro-Dozer to beaten-up J-tin – for the most part, they’re just different expressions of the same appreciation for the mechanical. But if you consider yourself open to alternative lifestyles, this should be a good litmus test on whether you can hold to that principle – a G-class with AMG wheels and personalized plates with the Blue Ice moniker, the body wrapped in a sort of blue-chrome finish, whose owner obviously feels no need to be subtle.


From the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, the Love Truck is a pretty Citroen HY van that’s been given a new life as a food truck. Apparently in excellent restored condition, these seem to be popping up all over the world because, let’s face it, when you’re starting a food truck business, these tick one critical box, their shape, which, combined with their low floor, allows for a pretty straightforward conversion. And yes, the engine is far from powerful, but in many places food trucks spend most of their days parked in one spot.


No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to freeze! And this anonymous company van with the funny name is proof that some Swedes also enjoy English puns… or do they groan?


Back in North America, you’ll see this Audi 4000 4E. The 4E is not the desirable 5+5 with the 5-cylinder and 5-speed transmission, but it did get a 5th gear through which to route its meager power. At this time, Audis were so closely linked to VW that you could see this as an interesting, somewhat more gawky alternative to a Mk1 Jetta.


When’s the last time you saw a Fiat 128 on the road? This car absolutely captures the RustyButTrusty spirit, wearing rough paint and bodywork, but suspension upgrades and a chrome front bumper conversion, with the suggestion of further upgrades under the hood. Note the Grassroots Motorsports sticker in the rear window.


You never know what you’ll find parked by the side of the road. Okay, this isn’t totally random, as it’s some kind of foreign car restoration/repair facility, but how many times have you ever seen an Alfa Romeo 1600 Junior Z parked next to a BMW 2000? The angular shapes in the Momo Vega wheels suit the design of the Junior Z quite well, but with the recent uptick in special-bodied Italian cars of all kinds, it’s surprising to see this one looking so neglected.


Last, but not least (except in size), this Honda Acty Street van was at last weekend’s Volvo show. Hey, if you don’t actually have a Volvo, you might as well outdo them in boxiness, right? These cars have a shorter wheelbase than an MG Midget, a 547cc engine, and are quite clearly a Honda product, even without the badging. Looking at it from the outside, it looked like a 3/4 scale vehicle, with seats and a dash that looked small enough that you might think you were in some kind of funhouse. Bonus points for the lowered Volvo 122 wagon in the background. Seen anything interesting on your local streets lately? Post/link a pic in the comments!