HOW is it?

A French GT, with an Italian Heart, back from the US : a Citroën SM 3L

Once upon a time, a french manufacturer named Citroën used to build… GTs. Even if nowadays it seems inconceivable, it’s true! With a pinch of Italy, they made the Citroën SM. And they also tried to sell it across the Atlantic! The car I tested was one of these US-compliant cars. Let’s ride!

Quick story of the Citroën SM

Since the end of Facel-Vega, there was no more GTs in France in the end of the 60’s. Citroën, used to build high standard cars, the DS was a good example. Comfort was ensured by the “unique” (RR fans won’t approve this statement) hydropneumatic system.
But concerning the engine, there was nothing made by Citroën that could turn a french car into a GT!

However, in 1970, Citroën bought… Maserati! So a 2.7 liter V6 jumped in the new project : the Citroën SM. 170 hp to the front wheels, through a five-speed gearbox. A french kind of GT. But the oil crisis that happened in 1973 would become the main issue about the new car… In fact anyone could say that the V6 was everything but sober…

The new anti-pollution rules forced Citroën to use an electronic injection in 1973. The same year, a 3-speed automatic gearbox appears, for the US market. The engine was deemed not powerful enough, so Citroën used another V6, the 3 liter from the Maserati Merak, with 180 hp.

Until 1975, Citroën manufactured 19,920 Citroën SM.

Above: The “regular” SM with its 6 headlamps behind a glass cover
Below: The US compliant SM, with its 4 headlamps without cover

Driving this special Citroën SM 3L is really something different!

The Relais de l’Auto Ancienne’s Citroën SM 3L

It’s during a french trip to Limoges that I discover this car, in a workshop named “Le Relais de l’Auto Ancienne” on the old Nationale 20.

The car is back from the US. It’s easy to notice it, behind the plexiglas, added to look more like the french ones, the 4 round projectors are fixed.

The entire design is the same, signed by Robert Opron. It’s aerodynamic, but with some particularities. The front track is bigger than the rear one. Like it or not, still, the car has a real personality.

Technically it definitely is a Citroën: unique

Under the long bonnet, there is the most interesting part of the car, the 3 liter V6 designed by Maserati. Like the V6 2.7, this it is derived from the 4 liter V8. Three Weber carburetors handle the fuel supply and the engine is actually behind the front wheels. Int front of it, the Borg Warner 3-speed gearbox delivers the power to the wheels. Right out of it, you find the “inboard” brake discs, a real nightmare for the mechanics in charge of changing the brake pads!

Still under the bonnet, you can see those green spheres. The place where the LHM fluid works. It’s the same hydronpneumatic system the DS owners enjoy.

For once, you don’t need a French-English dictionary

As explained earlier, this car comes from the USA. So, the annotations on the dashboard are in English instead of French.
The leather seats got a nice patina. Even if they are damaged in some places, they are really beautiful. There’s plenty of space in the front. However, you have not to be too tall to get in the back seats, but you could survive a short trip.

The switches are well-placed and they fall quite easily under your hand for a car of that era. The driver seat is easy to set, such is the steering wheel.

Let’s go for a ride

The engine starts easily and Ludovic, the owner, gets us for a little demonstration, while the car is heating up. Now it’s my turn to drive, I take the gear lever and put it on Drive.

Once the road is open, I rush forward. The car accelerates easily, even if i’m not flooring it, i quickly get into third gear, at 60mph. The car is easy to drive, it’s a speed it is used to. I’m so well-seated that I could cruise like that for hours. Unfortunately, here comes the first roundabout. Time to discover what makes these Citroen so peculiar, due to those green spheres.

First test: the braking system. Citroën’s “mushroom” (due to its shape) is hard to dose out. However, the car slows down, and quite effectively. Second test: the steering. It’s the famous Diravi. It’s a constant power-steering, that has a peculiar return system. If you release the steering wheel, it gets back to the center. It is quite practical, but in a roundabout, you can not do as you would usually do, or you will follow a weird path!

What’s it worth in the corners?

It’s a GT car, it’s powerful and it accelerates quickly. On small roads, the wide front track is really helpful. However, the car has some limits. It is quite heavy and most of the weight is on the front end, hence a huge understeer if you are going too fast.

The car is definitely made for wider roads, and lorries are not an issue, you just have to push it a little harder and the gerabox will go down a gear.

What I think about it

I have to admit I was expecting something more like a sports car. The Citroën SM 3L is not the Porsche 944 we tried earlier, but, huh. I can’t deny it’s powerful or comfortable, but i was expectind something else. It’s a perfect GT, made for long travels.

Own a Citroën SM 3L

A lot of Citroën SM have been preserved. Despite the small production, it’s quite easy to find a good one nowadays. However, be really careful about the car condition. It’s a sophisticated car from the 70s, so it van be a real bother. Fortunately, several specialists know how to service them.

You can find carburetors versions around £20,000. Th fuel injection ones are a little cheaper, so are the automatic ones.

Global rating:

3 etoiles

 

Pros

Cons

– Lovely engine Hard to get used to it –
– Unrivaled comfort Not a sports car –
– Unique GT Parts or service sometimes expensive –
Rarity  4 etoiles
Price from £15,000 to £25,000
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 0 comments

Lego and the Ferrari F40

Christmas is coming, and some of you might wonder what gift they can buy. Here is an idea, that can make both children and adults happy: the Lego F40.

Lego F40 - Box

Building the Lego F40

Some of you might already have the Beetle, the Combi or the Mini from the Lego Creator series. The Lego F40 set is not really different. Parts are split in 2 packs, in order to find your way easily in the almost 1100 bricks to out together!

lego-f40-6

Building instructions are cristal clear. They even have been slightly improved: the parts listed at each step are now highlighted on the drawings. It is really hard to get lost now. Book 2 to 4 hours of your time to build the car, depending on your skills.

The Lego F40 looks quite nice

Once built, the Lego F40 has the same proportions as the real one. Some parts are really well detailed like the engine, or the two opening bonnets. You can regret the lack of details in the passenger compartment, compared to the Mini or the Combi.

The overall look is the best from the Creator series at the moment. Anyway, the big child I am really enjoyed building it, and the Lego fan really liked some building tricks to get the shapes that are the trademark of the real F40.

lego-f40-22

Rating: 5 étoiles
Buy: Here
RRP: £69.99
Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Scale models & Toys, 0 comments

The Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6, Best Hot Hatch Ever?

British enthusiasts elected the Peugeot 205 GTI as the best hot hatch ever at the beginning of 2016. Let’s go for a ride to validate, or not, this distinction.

Brief story of the Peugeot 205 GTI

The Peugeot 205 is a car that has let a mark in its era. At least for Peugeot which was in a very bad situation. Shown a first time in 1981, the production started in 1982.

In 1984, the Peugeot 205 GTI appears. The engine is a XIJ of 1580 cm³. This first 205 GTI, the 1.6 is given for 105 hp. The car is not only more powerful than the other 205s, the body is beefed up as well. The dark plastic extensions on the wheel arches, the red line, the wheels… The GTi is different and it shows it. Suspensions are also tuned for more dynamism.
In 1985, a PTS Kit (Peugeot Talbot Sport) could raise the power to 125 hp.

The Peugeot 205 CTI, the cabriolet, appears in 1986. In fact, suspension and engine are different from the basic GTI. The same year, to counter the Super 5 GT Turbo from Renault, the car is pushed to 115 hp, in option first, and from serial next.
Another Peugeot 205 GTI is launched that same year, the 1.9. The power is of 130 hp! Suspensions are also modified to accept 15″ wheels.

The car will be produced until 1993 for the end of a success story. 298,345 Peugeot 205 GTI have been made!

Driving a Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6 115

Introducing our test car

It’s a 115hp Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6. Jean-Michel’s car is a beautiful car from 1989. It’s in mint condition, full stuck, no rust.

The body shape is quite classic, but the Peugeot 205 GTI is really not a usual 205. Wheels are specifics, and they look quite nice. The exterior mirrors are also specific, smaller than for the other 205.

Arch extensions could appears “too much” on some cars, but on a Peugeot 205 GTI they are pretty sober. In a dark plastic, combined with graphite grey, they strengthen the presence of the car. The red line is a nice detail. In the end, the badges confirm it, if ever you had a doubt, that we are with a 1.6 liter.

The interior is also perfectly preserved. This is different of some hot hatches of the 80’s with their cracked dashboard. Carpets and saddlery are just perfect. The steering wheel is an accessory from the catalog, a Luisi from Italy.
Four people can travel aboard without any problem. We are not in a sports car, but in a hot hatch, it makes a huge difference.

The engine takes a lot of place under the hood. Electronic is at its beginning and lets place to work on the mechanics.

Driving the Peugeot 205 GTI

First impression, the clutch is hard, but it’s brand new! The car answers well at any solicitation. In town, you can drive the fourth gear. Jean-Michel doesn’t hesitate to drive in 5th!

The gear shift is quite good, but with that new clutch, I miss my shifts in 3rd and 4th a few times before getting used to it. The steering feels quite heavy at low speeds. However, the small wheel (I am used to larger ones) allows you to guide the car quite accurately.

Let’s get out of town, to push it a little. I am quite cautious, since the road is wet. Nonetheless, I don’t hesitate to accelerate. The car answers quite quickly and revs quite fast. Power is stilla available and I enjoy staying over 3,000 rpm.

In the corners, it’s terrific! Its lightweight allows it to turn really quick. Even with the wet tarmac, the speed is a few mph quicker than what I do with my “regular” car.

The passenger compartment is quite roomy. The sun finally showing up, the sliding roof makes it feel more spacious. Even when it is open you can have a talking without raising your voice. The engine is not intrusive either.

To sum up, it’s a lovely car. If you want to have fun durinjg the weekend, it’s made for you. And you can go fetch your children at school as well!

Own a Peugeot 205 GTI

One of them made the headlines at Silverstone Classic, reaching £31,000. The car was almost brand new, and perfectly restored.

Usually a 205 GTi does not cost this much. Depending on the condition and the engine, you can go from £1,000 for a car with a lot of work to do to 10,000 for a completely restored, low-mileage one. And if you want to have a really special 205 GTi, you can try to find a 205 GTi 1FM.
For those of you who would like to try to find one cheaper in France, forget it, prices have skyrocketed. The cheapest ones are available for roughly €6,000 but they need a thorough restoration.

 

Global Ratings :

5 etoiles

 

Pros

Cons

– Versatile car Prices are going afwully high lately –
– Powerful and flexible engine
– An incredibly well-balanced chassis
– A myth from the 80’s
Rarity 3 etoiles
Price from £1,000 to £10,000
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 0 comments

France: the Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts apps

We are in the middle of summer, and some of you might head to France to enjoy the weather there. Even if Le Mans Classic is over, there are a lot of events or places to go for the car enthusiasts. Thanks to Julian Parish, Veloce Publishing Ltd. developed the France: the Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts applications.

We already introduced Julian Parish in our review of The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe. This English journalist, who settled in France, is probably the best man to supply info for these apps.

The France: the Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts apps are splitting France in 5: Paris & the Île-de-France, Western France, Southern France, Central France & the Alps and North-East France.

What is in the application ?

For every area, you have a map, pinpointing every location of interest, and a list of these locations. There are 5 categories of location to help you chose: Museums, Shows & Tours, Market Places, Motorsport and Circuits. Obviously, the number of locations depends on the region. The Paris & Île de France area, for example, has a few Motorsport events but a lot of Market Places.

Most entries follow the alphabetical order, but the main events of each region are listed on top. They share a consistant format, providing a snapshot of the event or place. They also include a “Practical Information” bar that provides details such as opening hours.

The France: the Essential Guide for Car Enthusiasts apps offer a quite thorough documentation. They can be a good way to add a stage to your trips to or through France.

For further information and download, don’t hesitate to visit the app page.

4 etoiles

Specifications

Available on AppStore, GooglePlay and WindowsStore
Price (each) £2.29 / $2.99

 

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Smartphone Apps, 0 comments

Porsche’s ugly duckling: the 944

The front-engined Porsches are the worst thing that ever happened… for the 911 fans. For “normal” people, this is just another way to live their passion. I drove one of these strange cars, a Porsche 944.

As for my test of the MG B, this test was made in Champagne in the tiny and windy roads of “Pays d’Othe”.

Little history of the Porsche 944

The Porsche 944 replaced the Porsche 924, the first front-engined car of the manufacturer, launched in 1976 with an engine coming from the Audi 100. It was a nice car but not really a sport car. Fortunately, Porsche engineers are pretty good at transforming engines, and this one was a bit more sporty than the Audi.

In 1982, the Porsche 944 appears. It is an evolution of the 924 it replaces. The engine is the same as the 924S, a four cylinder of 2.5 litres, made by cutting a Porsche 928 in half! Great program!
The car architecture is based on the transaxle principle, front engine and rear gearbox.

The power will start to 163 HP and finish at 250 HP for the Turbo ones. The Porsche 944 S2 has a 3 litre engine, the biggest 4 cylinder in a production car!
The Porsche 944 was sold between 1982 and 1991, 162.452 cars were made in coupe and cabriolet.

Driving a Porsche 944 : efficient and reassuring

The Porsche 944 I drive today is Quentin’s car. He bought it one year ago, to have fun with a sport car. His 1987 944S officially delivers 190 HP, but with an improved exhaust line the car is around 200 HP.
The design is beautiful, expressing power, and more modern than the 924. The wheels have a great design, and apart two or three spots due to the aging varnish, nothing to notice on the car.

First step, we stow the photographic stuff in the huge boot. In fact, I can put everything I have in, good news.
The driver seat is fine, it offers a good support. It’s also smooth, enough to be comfortable for long drives. Some of my friends told me that I would have the steering wheel on my knees, but on Quentin’s car, it comes from a 911, it’s smaller and  totally ergonomic.
The gear shift is under the right hand (remember, this is a french car), perfectly. The engine runs properly.

Here we go for a long drive on the windy roads. It’s perfect to test a sport car like the Porsche 944. Contrary to the test of the MG B, the road is dry !
First brake with a bit of fear, but no, the pedals have a good feeling, a real resistance. The right pedal offers the same touch, a good resistance, a good progressiveness and if we consider the nature of the engine, it’s almost impossible to have a bad surprise by losing control.

It’s possible to drive “legally”, even with a 200 HP sport car. We can talk on board without becoming deaf. With the right pedal, fixed on the floor, and its progressiveness, it’s easy to respect speed limitations, even in a city.

As soon as we see the out of city sign, I release the cavalry. The power is available, and we can get on high revs without any problem. The thrust is linear… after 4000 rpm. The speed increases, without issue, the balance is good and we don’t feel any strange reactions. No escape of the rear wheels, it’s locked, it’s Porsche.
The steering wheel gives me just the information I need, no parasites, no blurred zone, no jolting, even on bad roads. The only surprise on a very, very, damaged road comes from the brakes, the wheels were not really in contact with the road.

To conclude, the car is efficient when we want to drive sportly but also very reassuring, without any surprise. A car to recommand.

Drive a Porsche 944

Depending on the version and on the mileage, you can find 944s from £2.500 for a 2.5 to £25,000 for a rare Turbo S or Turbo Cabriolet with low mileage.

Ranking :

5 étoiles

Avantages

disadvantages

– low price Porsche not a 911 –
– Colmfortable ans usable as a daily heavy car –
– Sportly
– Youngtimer style
Rarity 3-etoiles
Price  from £2.500 to £25.000
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 0 comments

Meeting a french Rally Legend: The Renault 5 Turbo 2

Some cars get close to the myth, in automotive history. The Turbo and Turbo 2 versions of the popular Renault 5 are definitely among them. We could drive a Renault 5 Turbo 2, and enjoy it on the roads of Normandy.

Quick history of the 5 Turbo

After the successful launch of the Renault 5 in 1972, Jean Terramorsi and Henry Lherm convince the board of the Régie of starting the development of a new version, intended to FIA homologation. This car would represent the brand all around Europe.

This is how is started the development of a mid-engine Renault 5. They chose the “Cléon fonte” that featured the 5 Alpine and fitted a Garrett T3 turbocharger on it. Power was given to the wheels thanks to a Renault 30 gearbox, with a shortened final drive ratio.

In order to have the engine fit in the car, and most of all being able to send power to the ground, the body was enlarged at the rear, hiding suspensions derived from the Alpine A310.

The development needs time since Renault has no organisation dedicated to small series before the creation of the BEREX (Bureau d’Etudes et de Recherches Exploratoires – Exploratory R&D Bureau) in 1979, helped by Alpine. The car reached streets in 1981 (Turbo), evolving in 1983 (Turbo 2).

Driving a Renault 5 Turbo 2, a stressful experience

Our test car was built in 1984. It features a “Cévennes” exhaust (coming from the rally version), 16-inch Gotti alloys instead of the original TRX and an upgraded cooling system, since the mid-engine generates a few thermal issues.

The passenger compartment is identical to what you can find in a Renault 5 Alpine (the specific Bertone designed interior of the first series has disappeared, dut to budget issues, and goes for the aluminum doors and roof). It is simple and quite clear, but it offers no creativity.

Let’s start the engine, I need some time to get used to the clutch. It has a really high biting point and it is quite hazy. The 5-speed gearbox has a really long lever. It is quite hard to engage 5th gear without a crack.

I drive at a slow pace for the first kilometers. I have to admit the “boom-boom” reputation of the engine scares me a bit, and it’s not the acknowledgement of the owner that helps me ! The steering is really accurate, but it feels surprisingly heavy for a mid-engine car. The engine, usually intrusive, is completely overwhelming, due to the Cévennes exhaust.

After a while, it is time to raise the tempo. Definitely, the kick in the butt is here, at 4,000 rpm, when you almost don’t expect it anymore. The Renault 5 Turbo 2 is then settled on its rear axle. The front end becomes lighter and easier to direct in the winding roads of the Suisse Normande. However, their narrowness brings apprehension. The car is compact on the front side, but the rear definitely is not! I spend my time looking in the side mirrors, just to be sure I will not hit something.

We are joined by a few friends of the owner, making a small convoy. I end up alone in the Renault 5 Turbo 2, scared. We enjoy the roads and the wonderful sights of the area. Over time, i begin to understand how the car works. I often end up really close to the turbocharger start rpm level in a corner, in order to blast out, avoiding spinning. However, the sheer brutality of the acceleration reminds me to stay humble, i am not Jean Ragnotti!

Getting a Renault 5 Turbo 2

If you feel able to tame such a beast, you might encounter another issue : its price tag.

The price of the Renault 5 Turbo 2 is skyrocketing! You should plan between €50,000 and €70,000 to access to such a masochistic toy.

Rating:

4 etoiles

Pros

Cons

– Brutal look Access to the enigne –
– Performances Not for a novice –
– Handling  Bad quality –
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 1 comment

The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe

At Classic Car News and News d’Anciennes, we tend to travel a lot across Europe to provide you exclusive contents. However regulations may vary hugely from a country to another. Veloce Publishing Ltd. now sells The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe which is a real life saver for us !

The Essential Guide to Driving in EuropeThis guide has been written by Julian Parish, an Englishman who settled in Paris after years travelling across Europe. Nobody could be best suited for such a document. And he actually gathered tons of useful information.

This 144 page book contains everything you might need to prepare your travel on the continent from general long trip reminders to country-specific regulations. You also have information about ferry links, mountains roads that can be closed at some point, etc..

For each of the 50 countries included in The Essential Guide to Driving in Europe, you will find speed limits, specific road signs, driving equipment requirements, and general rules. These rules include drink-drive limit, minimal age required for driving, and a lot more.

This book offers a really complete documentation. I have never seen something equivalent in France, for example. I even have to admit it contains what I really needed to know before moving to the United Kingdom.

So, if you fancy going to a classic car event with your own classic, don’t hesitate. This book is definitely made for you.

4 etoiles

Specifications

ISBN: 978-1-845847-88-3 UPC: 6-36847-04788-7
144 pages
Price £9.99 / $19.99

 

Posted by Pierre in Books, HOW is it?, Non classé, 1 comment

Clio Williams, the best 90s Hot Hatch ?

The hot hatchbacks are a type of cars that the enthusiasts were proud to drive in the 80s. The law updates in the 90s made them less attractive and the hot hatches were in a danger of extinction. Nevertheless, Renault decided to make the Clio Williams.

Little story of the Clio Williams

In 1990, the Renault Super 5 is replaced by the Clio. For a sport version, we have to wait till 1991 to discover the Clio 16S.
But Renault needs a Group A homologation in rally, so the manufacturer has to produce at least for 2500 cars featuring a 2 litre engine! It’s done in 1993, with a limited serial of 5000 cars, named Clio Williams to commemorate the Formula 1 world champion title in association with the British chassis manufacturer.

The Clio Williams is distinguishes itself from the 16S by its golden Speedline wheels, its blue livery and wider tracks. The commercial success is present and Renault adds the car to its normal product range after few modifications including modified grille and rear lights, 2.0 logo placed on side and the custom plaque is removed.

For the mechanics, both serials use a custom-made 2 liter block, derived from the 16S 1.8 engine (the 2 liter engines available at the time in Renault range involved far too many modifications to be fitted in the car). This engine was originally born as a 1.6 litre Diesel engine. The evolution includes bigger bore, longer stroke, a new cylinder head and a new crankshaft.

This customisation allows the F7R engine to deliver 150 hp. To transfer this power to the road, or the track, the front suspension is the one of the Renault 19 16S.

It’s career ends in 1996 after 17.000 cars produced (5.000 for the first series and 12.000 for the second).

Driving a Clio Williams

Coming inboard of a hot hatchback is always a strange moment cause the interior is apparently the same as the company car you drove… The Clio Williams provides some degree of customization, which tells you that you are not driving a diesel-powered one.
The bucket-seats come from the R19 16S, with a blue W, blue dyed parts and the custom plaque (we are in a rare series 1) make you understand that you are in a particular car. Concerning the adjustments and the plastics, it’s official, we are in a Renault from the early 90s.

Ignition, the engines gives us a evocative sound, because of the Group N exhaust system installed on Jimmy’s car. From the first meters, the 2 liters explains clearly how it works, and the restrained weight is not a problem.

A few years ago, I drove a Clio 16S, and I have to admit, there is a world between both cars. The enlarged tracks make the car more precise, but also less playful. The car is not clumsy but its stability is frustrating for a car of this size.
The Toyo Proxes tires are maybe a cause, and they don’t allow the rear axle to play, unless I brake brutally with the four disc-brakes, easy to dose.

The engine is very effective but I hoped something more brutal. However a look in the mirror confirms that it runs, and not a little! The engine is available at any range, but it seems to be a bit stopped by the limiter. A little more freedom would be a good idea, but I guess the reliability would have been worse.

Buy a Clio Williams

While weaker against corrosion, cars from the first series are more sought after than the cars from the second. Cars from the first series are often more expensive as well, preventing them a little more from more or less mastered modifications.

 

Before buying one, check the rear wheel arches and the side skirts, because they tend to rust quite easily. Check the steering column as well, it tends to get loose. And last but not least, check the gearbox, the gear synchros wear off when roughly used.

Becoming rare in the UK, you can find a Clio Williams from £4,000 for a Series 2, to £10,000 for a first series in good condition.

4 etoiles

Pros

Cons

– Williams aura Renault quality in the 90s –
– Performances Rust –
– Handling Modified cars –

 

Rarity 3-etoiles
Price £4,000 to £10,000
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 0 comments

We tried it for you : Peugeot 604 SL

After our first drive with the MG B, we tried for you another car, better known in France, a Peugeot 604 SL, almost a limo.

History of the Peugeot 604

Peugeot 604 appears in 1975 at Geneva show. It’s aim is simple : become the high-end model.
To strenghten this idea, the “best” french engine of the time, the V6 PRV (for Peugeot, Renault, Volvo, an engine also used in Alpine cars) is placed under the hood. The car is available in 1976 with this engine on the Peugeot 604 SL. The engine develops 136hp, and this is a big car : 1.77m wide, 4.76m long and 1.43m tall.

This car will be used by french leaders. Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, french president elected in 1974, chose the Peugeot 604 as a presidential car. In 1978, the SL dropped to 122hp, and a new version, the Ti, featuring Bosch fuel-injection system, allows a power of 144hp.

In 1980, to try and boost the sales, Peugeot installed a Turbo Diesel engine. The car was sold until 1985, and stopped after 152.252 cars built.

Driving a Peugeot 604

The Peugeot 604 SL we show you here is a “model-year” 1976 car, so from 1975. It’s  one of the first cars built. The V6 engine starts loudly, but the automatic starter reduces the noise after a few minutes.
I get myself behind the steering wheel and I can find a comfortable driving position. The leather seats offer a really soft feeling, as usual in a french car. Its easy to adjust the position and we can test the pedals. The throttle is on the floor, the bite point is high and the brake pedal is as hard as a rock.

I start and can confirm a part of the data on the car : the weight is very high, 3086 lbs, and it’s definitely designed for highways rather than winding roads.

The V6 does its job, with a good torque that allows a comfortable cruising. Power is high enough for the weight, and I reach without any problem 96 mph in fourth gear. If you have to overtake another car, no problem, change down a gear, and you discover why the engine was also used in Alpine cars. Over 4000 rpm, it starts to kick you in your seat. The gearbox is easy to use, with its curved lever. Only the rear gear is difficult to find.

The power-steering is precise and it really helps to manoeuvre the car, since i’m not really a body building addict. The feedback in the steering wheels is good and you know where are headed. Concerning the brakes, it’s better to anticipate. The weight, the hardness of the pedal and a braking circuit in need for maintenance tend to make you really careful.

The Peugeot 604 was aimed for french rich “bourgeoisie” and was often driven by a chauffeur. Let’s get to the back seats then.
We are comfortably seated, and we enjoy the features. If youfeel warm, you can ask to the chauffeur to open the electric roof. Other times, other customs, you find ashtrays everywhere, one in each door, and another one in the middle. The comfort is however wasted by the vibrations coming from the exhaust and the differential.

I left the car smiling, it’s a really enjoyable for long travels, despite its 22mpg fuel-consumption.

Driving Peugeot 604

In France, a Peugeot 604 is between €3,000 and €5,000 for the Ti. An Heuliez limo was also available, but the price is here around €15,000.

In UK, don’t look for one, it’s almost impossible to find.

Rating:

4 etoiles

Pros

Cons

– Comfort V6 is a gas-guzzler –
– Big interior space Weight and size –
– High end noisy engine –
Rarity 4 etoiles
Price €3,000 to €5,000 (£2,400 to £4,000) for “normal” versions €15,000 (£12,000) for an Heuliez
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 2 comments
We tried for you : the Cité de l’Automobile

We tried for you : the Cité de l’Automobile

The United Kingdom has the Goodwood Museum, France has the Cité de l’Automobile. It’s history is very particular ans its collections are wonderfull. Come inboard for a virtual tour.

The origins of the Cité de l’Automobile

In the beginning there are two brothers, Hans and Fritz Schlumpf. They made their wealth in the 60s with textile industry in Mulhouse, in France, near the German border.
With this money they bought a lot of cars, with one secret aim : open a museum. The museum is almost open when the two brother go brankrupt.

The angry workers of their factories discover their collection of car sand confiscate it to make a “worker museum”. The goal is to sell these classic cars to pay the workers. Before it can happen, the French government and the regional council  have the collection classed as historic monument. It’s almost impossible to sell the whole collection, and only a few cars are sold.

A real national museum opens in 1989 with the 422 cars. In 2006 works make the Cité de l’Automobile a modern one and in 2011, an “Autodrome” is added to show dynamic cars.

Virtual tour of the Cité de l’Automobile

The museum is almost like the Schlumpf brothers wanted it : the cars are exposed on grey gravel, and the lights are reproductions of the lights of the Alexandre III bridge, in Paris.
After entering the building, one of the old textile factories, we discover some projections on the walls, then a mascot collection and the first piece of art : a Bugatti Royale.
Audioguides are offered and the real visit starts.

The first area is dedicated to the most ancient cars of the collection. They are exposed in chronological order to see directly the evolutions of the automotive history.
Each car is introduced with a small board, but your eyes can’t leave such beauties. The cars are just sublime and the worst are in their original condition. Some cars are like carts without their horses !
Concerning the brands, De-Dion Bouton, Panhard, Peugeot are plenty.

The next hall is dedicated to the Chefs d’œuvres de l’Automobile (Automotive Masterpieces), its name is not overrated, the cars are just wonderful. We could find here a range of Bugatti Royale, Type 50, Type 51, Type 57, and their competing cars : Rolls-Royce, Isotta-Fraschini, Mercedes-Benz, Avion Voisin, Hispano-Suiza… The best cars of the collection are gathered here, but when we visited it, a half of the hall was in renovation so half of the cars were exposed in a small space that did not favour their fantastic bodies.

We take our time travel again and we fall behind a free sapce: the car is gone to the workshop, integrated to the museum, to be fully restored and come back in the exposition in perfect shape.
Accross the exposition, some manufacturers disapear while new ones are introduced like Citroën or Bugatti.

We are almost in the middle of the visit. The speakers anounce that the dynamic show will start. We walk to the autodrome, passing by a corridor sheltering a Bugatti Royale Esders that we have already seen at the start and some Type 57 Atalantes.

The dynamic show is really nice, on the autodrome just near the museum. A variety of models appears, every car is driven on the little track and all the (french) automotive industry is driven in front of us.

When there is no show on the track, it is used by My Classic Automobile a french company that rents classic cars, ranging from a short test on the track to complete trips around the Vosges.

We resumed the tour with a lot of Bugattis including a very stunning van ! In the middle, Le Monde de Max & Léa (the world of Max & Léa) gathers a lot of cars and cycles for childrens.
At the end of the alley, some big Alfa Romeos and Mercedes Benzes wait for us.

We reach the last alley of the Aventure Automobile (Automotive Adventures) with the most recent cars, getting to the limits of the Schlumpf brothers collection. Some cars presented were given by car enthusiasts who prefer to see their cars in a museum rather than in a barn.
Popular cars are alongside the post war Bugatti and we get more familiar with the cars exposed.

We find a cinema showing some films. The first one is about the Croisière Jaune of Citroën, from Paris to Pekin and it is very spectacular. The next room is dedicated to rally cars and Bugatti Veyron.

The last alley is filled with race cars, divided in two spaces. The first one shows pre-war cars with a lot of Bugatti, T35, T37 and T51.

The second one is dédicated to the post war race cars. On one side, the Cité de l’Automobile even accomodates a starting grid with Grand Prix cars from the war to the modern era.
On the other side, sport cars from the barquettes designed by Gordini to the Alpine A442 or Matra MS670, two of the most grlorious franch cars racing the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The visit ends with a corridor to the glory of the Bugatti Royale engine and the mandatory souvenir shop.

To see all our photos of the museum, a gallery is visible here.

What we think about the Museum

If you are passing by, you have to visit the museum. This is simply the biggest Bugatti collection in the world, in a wondeful museum.

We can only recommand it for every classic car enthusiast !

 

Overall Rating :

5 étoiles

Good points :

Bad points :

– The best for pre-war cars Almost too big –
– Biggest Bugatti collection Cars are sometimes a bit close –
– The autodrome with dynamic shows
Visit time : Five hours if you take your time
Cost Museum + Show : 14,5€ (summer only)
Museum only : 11,5€
Adress 15 rue de l’Epée
68100 Mulhouse
Web site http://www.citedelautomobile.com
Posted by Pierre in Museums, Non classé, 0 comments