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Posts Tagged ‘mini cars’

The popularity of the original Austin and Morris Minis spawned many models that targeted different markets. These are two of them:

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Built as more luxurious versions of the Mini, both the Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf had longer, slightly finned rear wings and larger boots that gave the cars a more traditional three-box design. Wheelbase of the Elf and Hornet remained at 2.036 m (6.68 ft), whereas the overall length was increased to 3.27 m (10.7 ft). This resulted in a dry weight of 638 kg (1,407 lb)/642.3 kg (1,416 lb) (rubber/hydrolastic suspension) for the Elf and 618 kg (1,362 lb)/636.4 kg (1,403 lb) for the Hornet respectively. Front-end treatment, which incorporated each marque’s traditional upright grille design (the Hornet’s grille with a lit "Wolseley" badge), also contributed to a less utilitarian appearance.

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NCA001000905_004, 05-09-2007, 17:01,  8C, 8000x7970 (0+2186), 100%, NCA_08-08-07,  1/80 s, R56.7, G30.6, B32.5

The cars had larger-diameter chrome hubcaps than the Austin and Morris Minis, and additional chrome accents, bumper overriders and wood-veneer dashboards. The Riley was the more expensive of the two cars. The name "Wolseley Hornet" was first used on a 1930s sports car, while the name "Elf" recalled the Riley Sprite and Imp sports cars, also of the 1930s. The full-width dashboard was a differentiator between the Elf and Hornet. This dashboard was the idea of Christopher Milner the Sales Manager for Riley. Both the Riley Elf’s and Wolseley Hornet’s bodies were built at Fisher & Ludlow under their "Fisholow" brandname. Plates in the engine compartment on the right side fitch plate bear evidence of this speciality. Very early Mark I versions of both cars (e.g. press photo of 445MWL) had no overriders on the bumpers and a single piece front wing (A-panel and wing in one piece, no outside seam below scuttle panel) that was soon given up again, allegedly due to cost. The Elf’s and Hornet’s special bumper overriders first appeared in 1962. Early production Mark I’s also had a combination of leather and cloth seats (Elf R-A2S1-101 to FR2333, Hornet W-A2S1-101 to FW2105) whereas all later models had full leather seats. Mark I models were equipped with single leading shoe brakes on the front.

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Both the Elf and the Hornet went through three engine versions. Initially, they used the 848 cc (51.7 cu in) 34 bhp (25 kW) engine (engine type 8WR) with a single HS2 carburettor, changing to a single HS2 carburettor 38 bhp (28 kW) version of the Cooper’s 998 cc (60.9 cu in) power unit (engine type 9WR) in the Mark II in 1963. This increased the car’s top speed from 71 to 77 mph (114 to 124 km/h) . Therefore, Mark II cars also came with increased braking power in the form of front drum brakes with twin leading shoes to cope with the increased power output. Both Mark I and Mark II featured four-speed, gearboxes (three synchromesh gears) with rod gear change, a.k.a. "magic wand" type. Automatic gearboxes became available on the Mark II in 1965 as an option. The Mark III facelift of 1966 brought not only wind-up windows and fresh-air facia vents, but disc brakes replaced front drum brakes, too. Concealed door hinges were introduced two years before these were seen on the mainstream Mini. The gear selecting mechanism was updated to the rod type, as seen on all later Mini type cars. Automatic gearboxes were available to the Mark III in 1967 again. Full-four synchromesh gearing was eventually introduced during 1968. 30,912 Riley Elfs and 28,455 Wolseley Hornets were built. Production ceased in late 1969 when British Leyland discontinued the Riley and Wolseley brand names.

Text from Wikipedia

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If it never needs repairs, why do they have complete spare part service

Image found on Casa de Ricardo

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The Mikrus MR-300 was a Polish microcar produced between 1957 – 1960 with a body built by WSK Mielec and engines by WSK Rzeszów. Only 1,728 units were built.

Model history

The MR-300 was designed as a cheap car for the masses. The idea to design this construction, one of very few automobile manufactured in Poland, arose a12111_mikrus_04coincidentally. At the end of 1956 the authorities decided to make use of spare production capacity at the aerospace manufacturers WSK Mielec and WSK Rzeszów. At the time, both plants were only producing planes and motorcycles. The new plan was to add automobile manufacture as well. During the initial period WSK Rzeszów prepared plans for the engine, while WSK Mielec focused on the chassis and bodywork. The project was presented at the beginning of 1957, during the National Automotive Meeting. The first prototypes were presented on July 22, 1957 in Warsaw. The new car was named Mikrus MR 300 (taking its name from the initials of the words Mielec and Rzeszów). By the end of the year, the first cars left the assembly plant. In addition, two convertible models were available.

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Press reports at the time stated Taking into consideration the price, which should not exceed the price of a similar cubic capacity motorcycle by more than 25 – 30% we may assume that it will constitute a very popular means of transportation for a wide spectrum of users. The Mikrus turned out to be very popular. However, the high cost of manufacture prevented the idea from developing into a mass, individual motorization. At the same time, the high price of the vehicle was meant few could afford it. The Mikrus cost 50 thousand Polish Złoty, the average of 50 salaries. The much larger Warszawa cost 120 thousand Polish Złoty.

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The R360 was Mazda‘s first real car – a two-door, four-seat coupé. Introduced in 1960, it featured a short 69 inch (1753 mm) wheelbase and weighed just 838 lb. (380 kg). It was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled 356 cc V-twin engine putting out about 16 hp (12 kW) and 16 lb·ft (22 Nm) of torque. The car was capable of about 52 mph (84 km/h). It had a 4-speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission. The suspension, front and rear, was rubber “springs” and torsion bars.

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Within a few years of introducing the R360, Mazda had captured much of the lightweight (kei car) market in Japan. It was augmented by the Mazda P360 “Carol” 2+2 in 1962, as well as a convertible version in 1964. Production of the R360 lasted for six years.

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History

In the first half of 1932, Wilhelm Gutbrod, the President of the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik, came into contact with German engineer Josef Ganz. Ganz had been working on a small car design since the early 1920s and had so far built two prototypes, one for Ardie in 1930 and one for Adler in 1931, called the Maikäfer (May Beetle). After a demonstration with the Maikäfer by Ganz, Gutbrod was most interested to build a small car according to this design. The Standard Fahrzeugfabrik then purchased a license from Ganz to develop and build a small car according to his design. The prototype of this new model, which was to be called Standard Superior, was finished in 1932. It featured a tubular chassis, a mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension with swing-axles at the rear.

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Models

The first production model of the Standard Superior was introduced at the IAMA (Internationale Automobil- und Motorradausstellung) in Berlin in February 1933. It had a transverse 396cc, two-cylinder, two-stroke engine mounted in front of the rear axle. Because of some criticism to the body design, not in the least by Josef Ganz in Motor-Kritik, it was followed in April 1933 by a slightly altered model.

In November 1933 the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik introduced yet another new and improved model for 1934, which was slightly longer with one additional window on each side and had a small seat for children or as luggage space in the back. This car was advertised as the German "Volkswagen" (a term that means, literally, "people’s car" in German.

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The Volkswagen Beetle connection

With the Ardie-Ganz, Adler Maikäfer and Standard Superior cars, as well as his progressive writings and promotion of the concept of a Volkswagen (people’s car) in Motor-Kritik magazine since the 1920s, Josef Ganz is claimed by some to have had input into the Volkswagen Beetle. These cars had some of features of the later Volkswagen Beetle, such as the tubular chassis, rear-mounted engine and independent wheel suspension with swing axles. While the Volkswagen Beetle was produced in its millions after World War Two, the name of Josef Ganz was largely forgotten. In 2004, Dutch journalist Paul Schilperoord started researching the life and work of Josef Ganz, and in 2011 he published The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz: The Jewish Engineer Behind Hitler’s Volkswagen.

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Mitsuoka Motors
(光岡自動車?) is a small Japanese automobile company. It is noted for building cars with conventional styling, some of which imitate British vehicles of the 1950s and 1960s. It is primarily a coachbuilder, taking production cars, like the Nissan March, and replacing the bodywork with its own custom designs. It has also produced a sports car, the Orochi. Mitsuoka Motors is also the principal distributor of retro-classic TD2000 roadster in Japan. Mitsuoka is the youngest Japanese auto manufacturer, and bases its current cars on Nissans and Infinitis. Also, it built just one ute version of the Viewt, which is in the U.K. It also makes its cars look like different cars (i.e., the Galue is meant to look like an older Rolls-Royce).

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