We suddenly and very unexpectedly need to replace a BMW X3 which, according to our garage has major computer / electrical probs that they can’t guarantee they can fix (originally the engine control unit, but now the dashboard doesn’t work with the new ECU). It’s a 2007 car so there’s a fairly low max price threshold.
Lot of searching various s/h options including imports and stumbled across some vg BM deals on Reezocar who’ll import from Germany, Austria or Italy. There’s a massive difference in price compared to France: the German cars also often have a higher spec and Reezocar will handle the paperwork and deliver the car with a six month guarantee. They’ve vg online ratings. but I’d be interested to know if anyone on SF has used them.
You have to be careful with importers. I once lost my 500 Euros deposit when the agent (deliberately?) went bankrupt before he could deliver the car. This time I"m more careful and have found a good comparison site, caroom.fr that assesses and compares the various importers.
I bought a 2ltr 306 Cabriolet auto in Germany for my wife in 2005 but collected and imported it myself. No issues at all. We still have her and celebrated her twentieth birthday recently, only 47km on the clock. Still running well but some issues with the roof which the local Peugeot agent (despite having serviced the car since we got it) disowned as she’s not really a Peugeot, it would seem, she’s a Pininfarina Now looking for a hood expert somewhere in the vicinity.
Oh I know Mark. They were originally coachbuilders, like Gurney Nutting or Mulliner etc. They were also stylists, an uncle of mine had an Austin A40 Farina when I was knee high to Dunlop SP40. But they also built lots of cars, including our little 306…
“les décideurs de Peugeot imaginent une version découvrable à leur nouvelle compacte (the 306), qui sera, elle aussi, développée, dessinée et fabriquée par Pininfarina à Grugliasco. Mais pour elle, les Italiens ont plus de latitude de mouvement (compared to the 205 convertible), de sorte qu’ils peuvent étirer la carrosserie et lui offrir une face arrière totalement spécifique. Ceci leur permet d’intégrer totalement la capote, afin d’obtenir un profil parfaitement pur, d’autant qu’il n’y a pas d’arceau de sécurité. Ce dernier point oblige à renforcer largement la caisse, qui s’alourdit de 130 kg face à la version à trois portes. (she still has oodles of scuttle shake though)”… Caradisiac… My notes in italics.
So, sadly, my Peugeot dealer does have some grounds for disowning my hood problems
Here’s some other pretty famous cars Pininfarina produced. I’ve always liked the Fiat 124 Spyder, especially in rally trim.
Poor old Fiats always rusted but were great fun to drive. Even the 500s and 600s. What knocked them totally on the head was when Agnelli did a deal with the Russians. When the 131 was launched he thought he’d a great deal by swapping all the obsolete 124 plant, presses etc. (to build Ladas) in return for Russian steel, because rubles were worthless. I bought a new Ritmo made with the stuff in 1981 and the driver’s door rusted through from the inside within eighteen months. The warrantee was six months
I liked X1/9s. The originals not the big bumper ones, even though they had 1500 rather than 1300cc engines. I’d had a lot of fun in a first generation 128 with an 1100 version of the motor. I lusted after a 1300cc 128 Rallye
I briefly had a 1500cc X/19, it was a pretty car, but unfortuately also pretty dangerous with a tendancy to spin in the wet on roundabouts - the original 1300cc was less dangerous but was massively underpowered, whilst the 1500cc despite its unremarkable performance, needed more rubber on the road to be safe, but of course that compromised the styling.
The most exciting examples to drive had a 2 litre Lancia Monte Carlo engine (another great looking car with disappointing performance) and 17" wheels, but the proportions were compromised and the car looked ugly!
Yes , The Monte Carlo was a stunning looking car, but If I remember correctly it had big aquaplaning front brakes problems. I drove a lot of (garage owned) Betas and loved the (Fiat) derived engine and a HPE was another one of my lusted after vehicles.
Wonderful cars. I bought and rebuilt one in my youf. A fire pump engine in the rear which with a couple of Strombergs went like a bat out of hell. The head warped of course but nothing was perfect in those days. Here’s Colin Malkin peddling for all he’s worth.
Is there a written history of dangerous rear/mid-engined cars? I’ve seen the online videos of Lambo mishaps, but the trope is quite an old one. Following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia SS officers were forbidden from driving confiscated rear engined Tatras because they’d had so many fatal accidents in the first weeks of the invasion. And then there’s the Corvair, the US’s (only ?) modern rear-engined car, which I think for similar reasons had a widow maker reputation.
If you’re ever in Prague, do, do visit the unpromisingly named National Technical Museum in the inner suburbs- it has an amazing collection of all forms of transport that shows how Czechoslovakian engineering was so cutting edge in the inter-War decades