Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Blue Steel, Ferrari, Magnum & Le Tigre: André Courrèges alloy-wheel alphabet..

However long you think something like this would've taken to compile...
..you're wrong.

Double it. Triple it.

Ignore the stupidly tedious task of scanning and photoshooping; because urgh; do you have any idea how hard it is to flick through old magazines and not get distracted..?
I'd set about doing this.. uhh.. 4ish hours ago, to just find and scan two Courrèges adverts I'd previously posted shots of on Instagram. Simple.
..yet next thing you know; it's nearly 3am.. I have to get up for work in a couple hours.. and here I am scanning an A4 picture of a woman with goggles...


Pah - it's worth it!
I have to say sorry in advance for what might seem a little incomplete, but I had to stop somewhere. I was still digging for a better look at the later ACG/ACH in another advert, although this'll have to do - for now; at the least it covers all the gems we know and love!

So, here they are. The French fashion designer André Courrèges' take on Kei-sized alloy wheels.. with a couple advertisements from 1983-1986 - what very likely seems to have been their heyday.
The whole series of ads are about as ridiculous as they come.. and (luckily for me) easy to spot when flicking through magazines, due to their thorough use of the signature colours.. the white, pink and blue...
From late 1983; a woman on Courrèges rollerblades, a Honda City, and the first three letters of the Courrèges wheel alphabet: the ACA, ACB (in two of the early colours), and ACC..

From early 1984; horizontal skiing instead of the rollerblades, a Honda (Ballade) CRX instead of the City, and the same wheels moved about. Here's a better look at the surprisingly-rare and uber-colourful ACC..

 ..From early 1986; uhh...

..now showing a Honda City Cabriolet, sporting a set of matching ACG's..

..and a look at the range at the time. Remembering this is two years after the previous advert (I'll have to have another look to see if I've got anything on 1985..), yet the ACA and ACC have already dropped off.. more-than-replaced by the ACD, ACE, ACF, and the ACG - as seen on the little Cabriolet.

Finally, from later 1986...
..the woman in goggles mentioned above, and a look at what is from memory the rest of the wheels I can ever remember seeing; with the ACH new sometime in 1986.

I could be wrong here, but I can definitely see a bit of a pattern for the naming. A bit of fun to help remember regardless.
AC? well that's simply André Courrèges initials.
This is followed by the letters A through H, seemingly just in order as the designs came about.
Wheels offered in multiple colours then have a -X depending on the colour. This is the interesting part. It looks as though it's just the initial of the most obviously-identifying/differentiating colour: P for Pink, R for red, G for grey, and W for white..!

Yeah? I promised it was fun.

That's it for now here.. for these absolutely fabulous little chunks of cast aluminium.
As I mentioned above, I'll come back with a little more on this when I inevitably find more ads.. but this seems complete enough for the moment. It covers the letters and many of the colourways available over the years. Short of a better look at a couple of them, we're sweet..!

Otherwise..? Since it's now well past 3am, and I'm becoming delirious with tiredness.. quality-control hurled out the window.. jokes unnecessarily recycled..
We're done. Good. Great. Fabulous.
..and damn that chick's got a long neck..

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Late afternoon.

..and late in what was an incredibly long production run.

The executive express.
1988 Ferrari 412. Second last year - and already three years into - the third series of a chassis that had largely been produced as-is for SIXTEEN years.
What was it with these high-end GT cars and their ludicrously-long production runs? When Ferrari's 2+2 continent-crossing machine here was brand new; Porsche's 928 was into it's tenth of a seventeen year lifespan.. Jaguar's V12 XJS thirteen into a twenty year run, and BMW's 6series, Mercedes' SL, and Aston Martin's DBS/V8, twelve, sixteen and nineteen years respectively into runs that - like the 412 - finally wrapped up in 1989.
I guess in the late eighties, having a GT car with a warmed-over (albeit very high-end) 70's design was your only choice.
Can you imagine that today? No.. not a seventies design.. but a design introduced very early the decade before? It just doesn't seem to fly too well these days!
This Ferrari 2+2 V12 grand tourer for example.. was technically superseded by the 456GT... then the 612 Scaglietti. Remember that from a couple years ago? Well it ran from 2004 to 2011 - seven years - replaced by the four-whee-drive FF. The FF? That's just had a full refresh five years in... and is now the GTC4Lusso. I'd go into the other manufacturer's equivalents, but at this point the rambling sofar is likely off-topic enough..!

..so back to the car at hand.
Not my hand unfortunately, but the Japanese dealer Pug Collection.. and their stunning 34,000km blue-on-red example.

What a car. What a colourway!
Damn that thing's handsome. Hugely underappreciated in my eyes.. as (looking past possible enthusiast-concerns at the time of an Automatic Ferrari) this is a proper V12 Ferrari GT car. It looks great, reasonably usable (assuming you've got deep pockets), and keeps its head down fairly well so to speak. Particularly in this colourway, it's just not unnecessarily flashy in any way.

..the blue on red..

Nice tight leather seats (thankfully not ruched/ruffled or pillowy from its 1970's origins..), arm rests with interesting grab handles, and an overhead console with what (impressively) look to be air vents for the rear passengers. No idea how that'd be plumbed...

Fantastic looking wheel with hornpad, nice deeply shrouded gauges.. and small detail, but I appreciate the contrasting black dash and console.

The shifter for the GM turbo400 auto.. flanked by an assortment of buttons, with oddly skew-whiff plastic-square surrounds...

Wallet, and 80's-Ferrari books...

The 250kw/340hp, fuel injected, 'four-cam', 4.9litre Colombo V12. A bore-increase of 1mm in 1985 bringing not only the fresh 4943cc total-capacity, but the 412cc cylinder-capacity that gives the car its name.

 Back outside, and a shot of the pop-up lights up.. with HID bulbs (that would spring to mind as being quite tasteless) looking surprisingly sharp against the dark blue metallic paint...

..and done.

Too bad I have neither the ~$100,000 required to buy the car, or the need for a country-crossing V12 Grand Tourer. While I could convince myself otherwise regarding the second part there; the first.. well I can't convince $100,000 into my bank account. A damn shame..

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Mr. Thirty: the Australian sixth-generation Skylines...

"Did he say sixth-generation Skyline..?!

 ..the HR30, DR30.. the L20ET 2000GT Turbo's, FJ20ET RS-X's, frameless glass, fender mirrors, offset intercoolers, and hotplate tail-lights...

...the Hasemi Motorsport Group 5 Super Silhouette DR30..!!"

Oh, no..
..nope, no..
..not quite.

Think a little lower peg. Think pedestrian. Think church carparks.. community halls.. a volunteer chariot behind a Salvation Army store..
..L24E non-turbo sixes, rear drum brakes, and big ol' block-o-colour tail-lamps: it's the Australian MR30 Skyline.

On the Australian market between the C210 winding-up in 1981, and the R31's introduction in 1986; sedan and five-door hatch, manual and auto.. and as mentioned above, all powered by the L24E straight six.
A rare beast nowadays; the R31 Skylines would have to outnumber these things 100-to-1..
..but since I've yet to do a full post on the Australian MR30's (despite constant posting of their Japanese-market HR30/DR30 cousins), here we go.. a handful of examples I've come across in recent times, starting with the two above from the TCCAV Sakura Picnic a couple weeks ago.

First up...
1984 MR30 Nissan Skyline TI sedan. Auto. Metallic Silver over grey.

The facelift honeycomb grille from an update in late 1983...

Handsome alloy wheel and TI badge...

 The 2.4E badge representing the only engine option.. again.. the L24E six.

Hotplate tail-lamps are a classic Skyline detail; it'd be hard to resist grabbing a pair for even the nicest of original cars - they just look the business..!

Towbar and Aunger louvre are classic Australian touches.
1984 MR30 Nissan Skyline TI Sedan.. again. Auto.. again. In a beautifully-presented solid red over tan..

An open bonnet gives us the chance to check out the L24E; a 2.4litre, fuel-injected, single-cam straight six.. producing around 94kw and 180nm of torque in this local guise.

 That facelift grille again..

..and those one-piece alloys, the two-tone TI badge, and here.. one of those longitudinally-mounted mudflaps...

..and a view around the rest of what was a seriously neat example. It's so great to see this pair so nicely cared for...

The same can't be said for this next car, spotted in a 24hour Kmart carpark late one night....
..coincidentally another late facelift car - this time a dark blue over silver two-tone, with a grey cloth interior...

You're going to have to do your best to look past the faded paint and cheap hubcaps.. this would've looked sharp when new!

All has not gone too well.
What's important here though, is that it's here at all. It looks like it's two tyres into the wrecker's yard as-is.. but we can't count it out just yet. I really hope this can just stick in there until someone else snaps it up..!

The next two cars weren't so lucky. From a wreckers run earlier this year...:
First up, and resting beside some of it's showroom buddies (a Z31 300ZX/FairladyZ, and 910 Bluebird TRX).. is an all-white four-door. This one seemed like a massive shame, as it's just such a perfect base to turn into a nice Japanese-market replica. Good straight body too... urgh, what a waste..

..and an equal shame, but for different reasons...
1985 RMR30 Nissan Skyline TI hatchback. Auto. Light metallic blue over grey velour.
This painfully looked to have been such a nicely kept car too. Paint still shining. Carpets still soft and relatively clean. Seriously, it's a 30year old car.. it's survived so well.. and now this. Congratulations.

Relatively high KM, but the fact this looks uncleaned gives a good idea of how generally-tidy these enginebays remain...

Ignore the loose trim and other busted parts: I'm almost certain these things happened in the days leading up to me first coming across it. It was just too neat to have that sort of damage beforehand..

Uncracked dash, and just look at this footwell carpet! 30-years-old and still looking plush...

..hiding its 285,000km SO well.
Love the large orange numbers, horizontally-resting needles, and subtle grid detailing. The full gauge set is an absolute bonus..

Nice and neat HVAC control panel.. refreshing after seeing so many butchered ones in modified DR30 coupes in Japan. Obviously that AWA Cassette component isn't original fit, but is period correct.. and neatly done...

Air Conditioning was standard on the TI's..

Original AM/FM radio..

..and the AWA Cassette Stereo.

Liftback open. High lift-over, but removable parcel-shelf and split-fold rear seats would create a fantastically usable space - already filled here with bits of nearby cars...!

...and closed, for a rear 3/4 shot of an Australian RMR30 Hatchback. Not as pretty or desirable as the sedan, but a Skyline Hatch is certainly something different!

..and Done. As I whined about above - it looked to have been bloody neat for it's age..

So there we have it.
Australian sixth-generation (M)R30 Skylines, in both Sedan and Hatchback body styles.. and everything from cherry original cars, to a worn-out daily driver, to the poor cars that slip through the enthusiast net. Hopefully these continue to get a bit more love locally, because (like earlier Skylines) good examples will start leaving the country if we don't...