Thursday, 27 April 2017

André Courrèges alloy-wheel alphabet. Again.

..or 'revisited'.. which I would've gone with had it started with an A.

...because that's what we're doing here. It's another look at the French design fabulous-ness, hurled into the spotlight in that post from May last year.

Eleven-months-between is just too damn long. 

Actually, I'd been asked by someone (writing an article on the brand's automotive efforts) for higher-res versions of the previous scans, as well as any others I could relatively easily find.
Well eventually I sat myself down for a good skim through those thirty-year-old magazines - no easy task when this series of adverts ran off-an-on for five damn years, every.. say.. second month or so, in a magazine with 400-odd very distracting pages. 
Finding them is a goddamn ordeal.
A poorly-spent evening later, I'd skimmed through a bunch of magazines (even at a minute a mag, 5years is a full hour..) scanned the ones I'd found, and emailed them away. Good. Great. Done.

..but a couple of weeks after that, while looking for something else? Another advert. Then another. Urgh...

Anyway... THESE ARE THOSE OTHERS! No, not the recent other-others, but the few-weeks-ago-scanned-and-sent others; as finding these when I need to.. yeah, that's not easy. 

Starting with an early one from '83, and what'd be the last of the not-particularly-abstract adverts. Yep, just a plain old shot of an actual car - in this case a narrow-body Honda City Turbo - and the original low-alphabet AC wheels...

..which are out of order, of course, because non-conformist: The ACA, ACB-P(ink) and ACB-R(ed).

Jumping to late 1984, with a woman boxing with an ACF for a hand. This comes after the rollerblading and skiing adverts in the previous post, and is clearly from the same tremendous series.


It's only a year later, but the A's and B's have already been joined by C, D, E, and F!
There was seemingly only a small period where this complete early alphabet was even possible, as the original ACA's and colourful 1984- ACC's were gone by 1986..

..and then too the swoopy ACE's, which through '85 look to have been available in a less-obnoxious mostly-white colourway (the ACE-W)..

So when we then take another largish step to early 1987...
...there's their later-'86 replacements, the ACG and ACH. André Courrèges charging well into the alphabet at this point, although it is getting a little patchy...

Ah, yes.. and the whole advert. Courrèges earrings, binoculars, and an ACD-clad City Cabriolet; the model looking dreamily into the distance, pondering other Courrèges products she could purchase in the future...


That'll do for now anyway. Well, until I bump into those other-other adverts again!

Thursday, 6 April 2017


..following-on from the previous post's Subaru Rex with even more commercial-Kei.
Spotted at the TCCAV Classic Japan show back in December 2016:
It's Kei-sized.
It's adorable.
It's sporting 10's.
...It is a 1986 CA71V Suzuki Alto Van.

Just like the previous post's Fiori (the Rex), this is another case of the Australian market receiving a bare-bones stripper 'commercial' version of what is otherwise a regular commuter kei-sized vehicle. While Japan had versions as wild as the twin-cam, intercooled-turbo, all-wheel-driving Alto Works RS/R, Australia? A featherweight commercial vehicle, complete with mind-melting 980kg GVM, two seats, a stripped rear interior, and a whole heap of missed-opportunity button blanks.
From a late-1985 introduction (production starting in Japan the year earlier) through to the end of the 80s; if you were shopping for an Alto in Australia... this... this is what you'd get.
Happen to have ten thousand late-80s Australian dollars to spend on a small runabout? Here you go - the Alto GA. One trim level. No options. Job done.
Happen to have $20,000 just burning a damn hole in your pocket..? "Well.. uhh.. how does two new Alto GA's sound..?"

If nothing else, it's basically the superleggera 'competition' version of an already dainty vehicle (right!?).. so yeah, there's that. I have no doubt it'd be a blast to pedal fast...

Glamour shots of the Alto's 543cc F5A; a single-cam, carb-feb, three-cylinder unit that pumped out literally dozens of horsepower from around the 6000rpm..
Push-button badge to release the bonnet catch - a detail I'd genuinely swooned-over on an '85 Swift (Cultus) two years ago...

Suzuki Alto - GOAL ATTACK.

Step-aside Kenworth.

Pre mid-90s-ish seven digit phone number, on a sticker for what could quite well have been the original dealer.

..and the two-spoke wheel that dwarfs the four 10" nungers that pin it to the race track; rounding-up my photo tour of 3.2 adorable little meters of metallic-blue briquette..

Done. Good fun.

Monday, 27 March 2017

A fearless Fiori laughs in the face of danger!

One from a wreckers-run last weekend - a sunny Sunday afternoon hunting Kei..

..because I just have a bit of a thing for every-damn-one of that segment's pint-sized gems the different Japanese manufacturers had somehow managed to justify for Australia.
Wagon R? Mighty Boy? Carry? Copen? Yep, I'm there. Always.

Today's (..well, last weekend's..) little weapon is one I'd mentioned in the past; but due to an absolute array of names it was sold under, hadn't covered specifically with its Australian-market moniker: Fiori!'s 'flowers' in Italian. "but.. uhh.. it's a Japanese car.."? Pah! Small detail...

The 1990 KN5 Subaru Fiori.
Third generation of Subaru's Kei beastie, introduced in Japan in late 1986 as the Rex. These were marketed in Australia as the Sherpa, which for whatever reason then changed to Fiori in 1989.
From "eastern people" to Italian-for-flowers - it was a decorative change regardless - the compliance still says Sherpa!

Relentless name-changing aside, the third generation Rex continued on the Australian market through to the generation's end in 1992, at which point it wasn't replaced. Shame..

Adorable panel-mounted prop on the bonnet.

Although dimensionally a Kei car; not too unusually for the Australian market, these got a much larger engine. This is the 758cc (Kei limit was 660cc) EN08 - a comparatively-vanilla carburetted single-cam four-cylinder, which delivered a screaming thirty-odd kilowatts at ~6000rpm. Fiesty Fiori.

While these were offered with autos and four wheel drive elsewhere; Australian Fioris had drive sent through a four-speed floor-shift to the front wheels only. Basic strut-front with a swaybar otherwise..

 ..while at the back, a trailing independent coil-sprung layout. Someone's pinched the passenger shock here, and just look at that travel! Should've set them up that height standard; a missed opportunity Subaru..!

The dainty 12" steel wheels...

...wrapped in 145/70R12 tyres.

Let's cut some pizzas!

Drum rear and disc front, absolutely adequate for the featherweight (~600kg) Fiori...

..sized to suit though, of course! I haven't seen disc brakes this small since Nissan's Silvia was last on the market!

"FIORI \\"

Another thing the Australian Fioris missed was rear seats. These were sold as a van here, and fitted out to suit..

The small plate up next to that cargo barrier/rack is off the inside of the rear door.

Pop-out rear quarter glass for ventilation. 

Spare wheel carried inside.

Now to hop in and make screaming engine noises? Although I can't help myself, the car certainly tried! Someone had snapped the interior lock pin off in the door.. around we go...

The Honda-esque "OK" inspection decal.

..and the remains of the Fiori's signature pinstripe decals.

Love those headrests. I suppose I'll just slide in and over? It's a small car, but genuinely quite roomy inside..

No, just the bare minimum here.. although the temp gauge could be considered a little bit of luxury!

Interior mirror adjustment and a U13 Nissan Bluebird..

Very basic HVAC controls, and a manual choke over to the right. It's always a laugh seeing the blanks left behind from the top-tier variants!

The four-speed floor shift.
I sometimes feel like I'm painfully alone here, but I love a long throw shifter...

..urgh, now I have to crawl back out? Yep, done deal - I'm bloody cooking in here!

..and that was that. A thorough Fiorinspection done.