Saturday, February 9, 2013

Volvo Club day

I always remember one scene in 'The Simpsons' where Lisa Simpson is flicking through a teen girl's magazine called 'Non-Threatening Boys' and that's very similar to how I feel about Volvos: they're good, reliable, safe, non-threatening cars. I've never driven one but I have ridden in them, and they seem to me to be like Swedish Peugeots, which is a compliment. And so in my diecast collection I've made room for just a few Volvos: these two.

I've called this diorama 'Volvo Club Day', as I imagined the Volvo Car Club
organising a run up into the mountains in autumn, to lunch at a winery. Fans
of Scandinavian police dramas might see a familiar face or two here.

This 1:43 scale model of the Volvo P1800 is by Minichamps.

Also made by Minichamps is this 121 Amazon Volvo.
I often think of these old Volvos because there's a guy in my local area who has a number of them, and he keeps them out on the street, not garaged. And I see him driving them around the place regularly. He has a P1800, but his 121 is the station wagon version. It's great to see historic old cars like this still giving good service.

In fact if you want longevity in a car, a Volvo is probably the best bet. The current holder of the world record for the road car with the most miles on the clock is a Volvo P1800 owned by an American guy, Irvin Gordon, who is getting close to three million miles in his car. So, to finish off, watch Irvin and his P1800 show how it's done.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

142nd ain't so bad!

How's this for a fab little race result: driven by Elio Celani, this Giaur 750 (pictured below) finished the 1956 Mille Miglia in 142nd place! That was enough to seal the deal for me. I wanted one! Lots of collectors love to get the car that came 'first' here, 'won' that – and I don't mind doing that either sometimes – but I love the way diecast model car makers occasionally make a model of an interesting, glorious place-getter.

I first spotted this Giaur at my home forum, where a Swedish collector, Johan, had found one. I almost wanted it straight off because of its era, the fact it was just 750cc, and its looks, but that 142nd placing sealed the deal for me.

The model itself is 1:43 scale, made by Metro, and is very
cheap to buy on eBay. I got mine for under 10 Euros.

Not sure how accurate those wheels are, but the rest of the
car looks pretty close to the photos I have seen online.
This photo of one at a modern car show gives you a good idea
of how tiny these Giaurs were.
Knowing how small these cars are makes this other shot
from another Mille Miglia all the more incredible. Imagine
having to race for 1000km cramped together like that!
Giaur themselves were an interesting company. Here's a
photo of their factory, with several cars in different stages
 of manufacture.
And if you are interested in reading a bit more about this obscure little breed of Italian race car of the 1950s, there's a great website stacked with interesting photos.

Discovering this Giaur is one of the things I really enjoy about collecting little diecast model cars: I love the way this hobby keeps on educating me about motoring history. I'm a history buff anyway, loved studying all kinds of history at both school and uni, and I still read all kinds of history books just for relaxing fun now. However, when I read car history I usually do it online, and it's almost always kicked off by seeing an interesting model car at some collector's forum somewhere, just like I did with this Giaur.