Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

As we get a little further from the summer and the days get shorter and darker, I needed a fix of summer sunshine so I was looking at some photos that I took at Tuto Italiano at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation in Brookline, Massachusetts in 2013.  One of the cars that caught my eye then and again today was a green Alfa Romeo GT Veloce 2000 or more simply known as the Alfa Romeo GTV 2000.

Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 (1)

1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

I very much like the look of this car.  I have seen this visual scheme several times – green car with gold and chrome wire-style wheels on many different cars and they have all looked good.  The Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GV Veloce model line up from 1963 to 1978 all were very good looking cars even without the green paint and the gold wheels.

Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 (7)

If You Look Carefully You Can See That This Car Has A Roll Bar

In the Alfa Romeo GTV line-up the original Giulia Sprint GTV in 1963 had a 106 horsepower 1,570cc engine.  The follow-on 1750 Sprint GTV in 1967 had a 118 horsepower 1,779cc engine, and eventually in 1971 the GTV 2000 had a 132 horsepower (some sources say 129 horsepower) 1,962cc engine.  The 1,962cc engine in the GTV 2000 had 4-cylinders with dual-overhead camshafts and mechanical fuel injection.

The GTV 2000 would reportedly go from 0 to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds and had a top speed of 121 miles per hour.

Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 (5)

The Instrument Cluster Is Not Totally To My Liking

 The instrument cluster is somewhat odd.  The speedometer and tachometer are great – large and simple.  However, the cluster of circles between the speedometer and tachometer looks a little odd.  I am not sure what the two lower circular things are for.  Perhaps a cluster of idiot lights?

Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 (3)

The Gear Shift Is A Little Different From Many Other Cars

In 1972 the Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 had a port of entry (P.O.E.) price of $4,948.  At the same time, the 1972 Datsun 240Z had a P.O.E. price of $4,106.  I suspect that if I was making the car buying choice in 1972 that I would have selected the Datsun with its much better performance, good styling, and a price that was about 20% less than the Alfa Romeo GTV 2000.  Today, I think that the decision would not be so easy.

Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 (2)

The Front Grille Of The GTV Looks Like The Grille On My Saab 99

Between 1971 and 1976 Alfa Romeo built 37, 459 GTV 2000 cars, just a few less than the 44,265 of the somewhat more famous 1750 GTV model that Alfa Romeo built from 1967 to 1972.

These are very classy cars.

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Opportunity To Repatriate American Cars From Cuba?

Setting the politics aside, the possible thawing of relationships between the United States and Cuba could provide an opportunity to repatriate some American cars from the 1950s that got “locked” inside Cuba.  When Castro took over Cuba in 1959, which subsequently lead to a trade embargo with the United States, it is like time stood still.  No new American cars were imported into Cuba and so the locals had to keep their 1950s cars and keep them running for the last 60 years as no newer American cars could be brought into the country. As a result  these old cars have been used every day for the last 60 years – the ultimate “driver” car.  I understand that many of them are used as taxis.

Cuba cars 1

A Cuban Street Scene Full Of Old American Cars

It is interesting to think about traveling to Cuba and purchasing some of these cars.  They are unique.  As far as I know, no other place in the world has kept large numbers of 1950s cars as the daily vehicle of the people.  And talk about “patina”; these cars would have “patina” by the car load.  If I had one of these cars, then I would try to keep it as much like it would have been in Cuba.

Cuba cars 2

Some Of The Cars Look Reasonably Good

I have no idea how much it would take to buy one of these cars.  many of them are rather plain – just 4-door sedans.  Probably these cars are fitted with column-mounted three-speed manual transmissions and have six-cylinder engines.  I would have no idea how they kept them running all these years nor would have any idea about the quality of any of the repairs made over those years.

Cuba cars 3

I Would Be Very Tempted To Leave The Cars Untouched

Given how desperate the Cuban government is for money, they would probably add some massive export tax on these cars if someone wanted to take one out of the country.  Who knows, but it is interesting to think about.  There are a lot of old running cars there.  You need to get there early before the big auction houses get there.

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Change To 2015 Ithaca Winter Rally

I got a note this week from rallymaster Gary Thomas about a change to the Ithaca Winter Rally.  The traditional start/finish location for this rally, Manos Diner, is closing after being in business for 52 years.  As a result, Gary had to find a different start/finish location which he was able to do only about a quarter of a mile away from Manos Diner.  The new start/finish location is Buffalo Wild Wings at 410 Elmira Road in Ithaca, New York.

I have included a revised flyer for the 2015 Ithaca Winter Rally which includes the new start/finish location information.

Ithaca Winter Rally Flyer 2015 Revised

At this time, it looks like I will be competing in the Ithaca Winter Rally as the navigator for Dave Siesicki.  I hope that some of the early snow that the region experienced will hang around for the rally.

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Matchless: A Historic British Motorcycle Returns?

Last week a story arrived in my inbox noting that there was to be a revival of a once great British motorcycle manufacturer – Matchless.  I have been an enthusiast of British motorcycles for a very long time.  These days I am a member of the British Iron Association of Massachusetts and I ride a modern Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.  The first ride that I ever had on a motorcycle was when I was 8 or 9 years old when Doug Deller gave me a ride on the back of his Matchless motorcycle around the half mile horse racing track in Shelburne, Ontario.  Doug’s bike later somehow burst into flames and Doug gave up on motorcycles.

Matchless Advertisement

Matchless Was A Major British Motorcycle Manufacturer (1)

A British entrepreneur is trying to revive the Matchless name with the new Matchless X motorcycle.  This new Matchless X is named after an earlier Matchless X that dates from the 1920s.  The original Matchless X had a V-Twin engine and this version will also have a 1,916cc S&S V-twin engine which will likely put out about 100 horsepower.  It is anticipated that the motorcycle will have a six-speed transmission.  Below is an early rendering of what the new Matchless X is planned to look like.

Matchless X Reloaded

An Early Rendering Of The New Matchless X Motorcycle (2)

The actual Matchless X prototype motorcycle was debuted at the recent EICMA 2014 motorcycle show in Milan.  The folks at Autoevolution had a couple of pictures taken at EIMCA of the first new Matchless X that has been built.

Matchless X Image 4

The Prototype Matchless X (3)

I think that the new Matchless X is interesting, somewhat attractive design.  Matchless is planning on a limited production and these will have a price tag over $50,000.  I don’t have confidence that this is the correct approach for Matchless.  I think that Matchless should consider an approach that is similar to the successful approach used by Triumph Motorcycles.  Triumph started out by only building early models that were very reminiscent or familiar to customers that were actually still potential customers and with products that were affordable to a wide cross section of motorcyclists.  There are no potential customers which remember the Matchless X V-Twin from the 1920s and 1930s and there are only a few more who can afford more than $50,000 for a motorcycle.

Matchless X Image 5

I like The Oversized Tire On The Front (3)

The great Matchless motorcycles that people (i.e. [potential customers) remember are the vertical twin-cylinder motorcycles and particularly the big single cylinder models of the 1950s and 1960s.  These are the types of motorcycles that I think Matchless should be emulating.  There very few big singles on the market and this would give Matchless an entry point into the market, which would allow them to develop a new name and reputation for themselves at a much lower price entry point.  The big, expensive V-twin models could be added later to the model line-up.

I have included some pictures of Matchless motorcycles that would have been a better model or “go by” than the original Matchless X.  These pictures were taken at the spring  show of the British Iron Association of Massachusetts and at “Brit-Jam”, a mid-summer show put on by the British Iron Association of Connecticut.

100_0762

A Matchless With A Vertical Twin Engine

100_4983

A Matchless Single Cylinder Competition Motorcycle

100_4985

Matchless Made Their Fame With Single Cylinder Engines

If I owned Matchless then I would have used the following Matchless G45 racer from 1955 as the motorcycle that I would have tried to base my new line up on.  I think that is an attractive, unique Matchless design with a much lower price point that would be quite successful.

Matchless G45 racer

1955 Matchless G45 Racer (4)

 I wish the folks trying to revive Matchless all the best in getting this once glorious motorcycle marque back into the marketplace.

Photos:

  1. “British Motorcycles Of The 1940s And 1950s” by Mick Walker, 2010.
  2. Matchless
  3. www.autoevolution.com
  4. “The Complete Book Of Motorcycles” by Roger W. Hicks, 1993.
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The Smiths Dashboard Clock Disappoints

Recently I purchased a Smiths dashboard clock from a fellow in England.  It arrived at my house this week.  I was pleased that it arrived safely as I had been looking forward to getting this clock.   These are mechanical clocks that I believe date from the 1960s/1970s.  The clock has a black face with florescence on the hands and numbers.  The clock is shown below.

Smith Dashboard Clock Front 2

Smiths Dashboard Clock

As can be seen, one of the typical characteristics of mechanical dashboard clocks is that the main watch stem is located at the bottom of the clock.  The clock is not particularly big with a face diameter a little greater than 1.5 inches.  I would prefer a bigger face diameter, but the size is not a major problem at distances typically involved in car rally navigating.  However reading the time to the second requires the navigator’s close and undivided attention.

Smith Dashboard Clock Rear 3

Rear Of Clock Shows The Magnetic Mount

The mounting capability of the Smiths dashboard clock is quite good.  It is essentially a magnetic mounting.  On the back of the clock there is a large circular magnet with a central cut out affixed to the clock.  Provided with the clock was a small metal plate with two holes that would allow the plate to be fixed to a permanent mount or rally board surface using screws.  The small metal plate has a raised central portion sized to fit within the cut out on the magnet.  These work together to center the Smith dashboard clock on the small metal plate.  While the magnet is a fairly big it is not particularly powerful, so if you have to remove the watch to take a close look at it, this action does not take a large effort to overcome the magnet.

While I have not done extensive testing of the clock it appears to work satisfactorily with respect to time keeping.

The reason for my disappointment with the Smiths dashboard clock is when it comes to setting the time.  With every mechanical watch or clock that I have had it has been possible to stop the second-hand by either pushing or pulling the crown stem on the watch.  On the Smiths dashboard clock, or at least the clock that I have, there is no way to stop and re-start the second-hand.  This makes it impossible to accurately set the time in a manner that is appropriate for a car rally.  Having a clock that is accurate to the minute might be fine for getting home in time to watch a favorite TV program, but it is not good enough for  car rally.  For this reason, I find the Smiths dashboard clock to be useless for my purposes.  This misunderstanding of the clock’s capability is my fault – not the sellers.  I never asked the seller about the time setting capability of the clock.  I assumed that it was like other clocks/watches that I was familiar with and it wasn’t.

The clock was not particularly expensive, but it was not cheap either as I had to ship it from England.  As a result I’ll try to sell it and mark this experience down to another lesson learned.  Hopefully this post will prevent others interested in using a Smiths dashboard clock for car rallying from making the same mistake that I did.

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Norwegian Volvo PV Club

For all of this past week I was in New York City on business.  When I came home I was pleased to find a package from Hans-Petter Lyshaug, who is the editor of “PV-Magazinet”, the official magazine of the Norwegian Volvo PV Club.  I had exchanged a couple of emails with Hans-Petter about some photos of Volvo PV cars.

Inside the package was a very interesting 2015 calendar filled with monthly pictures of Volvo PV cars.  I have selected two of these monthly images and included them in this post.

Norwegian PV Club Feb

Not only are the photos of the Volvo PV cars attractive, many of the scenes showing the Norwegian countryside help to dispel thoughts that Norway is only the land of ice and snow.

Norwegian PV Club Oct

In addition to the calendar, Hans-Petter included a copy of a recent edition of “PV-Magazinet” showing the activities of the Norsk Volvo PV Klubb and stories of interest to their club members. I have copied a couple of pages from that magazine to provide an overview of the club’s activities and the content of the magazine.

While I have no ability to read Norwegian, it is clear from the images shown on the page below that the club took an active part in the Oslo Motor Show, displaying some members’ cars and spreading the Volvo PV word to the show’s attendees.

Norwegian PV Club Oslo Show

As I have a strong interest in car rallying, I noticed that they had a story about the participation of Volvo PV cars in the Tour de Corse Historique rally.

Norwegian PV Club Tour de Corse

If you are interested in the activities of the Norsk Volvo PV Klubb you can check out their website:  www.pvklubben.no

It is interesting to me to find out what car people from around the world are doing to take part in their hobby.  I want to publically thank Hans-Petter Lyshaug for sending me the information about the activities of the Norsk Volvo PV Klubb.  I will enjoy looking at the calendar all through 2015.

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2015 Dakar Rally Entry List

The 2015 Dakar Rally will be held on January 4 – 17, 2015.  This is one of the great rallies in the world and I enjoy following it on television.  Unfortunately I often have to get up at 2:00 AM the watch the daily highlights on the NBC Sports Network in the Eastern Time Zone.

Dakar_Rally Image

The route of the Dakar rally changes somewhat from year to year.  This year the route will go into Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia.  The route and the schedule for 2015 is shown below.

Dakar Route 2015

The 2015 Dakar Route

The entry list for the 2015 Dakar has been published by the organizers.  First of all, I’ll have to own up to being wrong.  Last year I speculated on this website that former multi-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb would be competing in this event in 2015.  Last year he spent a couple of days hanging around the Dakar and I suspected that he had caught the Dakar fever and was checking the event out.  Well I was wrong.  Sebastien Loeb is not on the 2015 Dakar entry list.

However there was a surprise on the entry list of the cars that will be competing.  As I looked down the list, Car 322 caught my attention.  Cyril Depres, the perennial top contender and former winner in the bike class, is trading two wheels for four.  He will be driving a Peugeot this year.  It will be interesting to see how he does.  In the Dakar there is a long history of motorcycle riders becoming car drivers and being very successful.

The Mini team will be back in strength and there will be a strong Peugeot team.  De Villiers will be strong in the Toyota.  Unfortunately, I think that Robby Gordon will again be a Roman Candle in this event – burning brightly but not lasting long.

There is a Ford entered as Car #317.  I don’t recall Ford having much of a presence at the Dakar.  I hope that Villagra does well in the Ford.

The following is a listing of some of top ranked Dakar entrants in the Car Class.

2015 Dakar Car Partial Entry List

Name Marque
300  ROMA NANI (ESP)PERIN MICHEL (FRA) MINI
301 AL-ATTIYAH NASSER (QAT)BAUMEL MATTHIEU (FRA) MINI
302 PETERHANSEL STEPHANE (FRA)COTTRET JEAN PAUL (FRA) PEUGEOT
303 DE VILLIERS GINIEL (ZAF)VON ZITZEWITZ DIRK (DEU) TOYOTA
304 SAINZ CARLOS (ESP)CRUZ LUCAS (ESP) PEUGEOT
305 TERRANOVA ORLANDO (ARG)GRAUE BERNARDO (ARG) MINI
306 SOUSA CARLOS (PRT)FIUZA PAULO (PRT) MITSUBISHI
307 HOLOWCZYC KRZYSZTOF (POL)PANSERI XAVIER (FRA) MINI
308 GORDON ROBBY (USA) HUMMER
309 LAVIEILLE CHRISTIAN (FRA)MAIMON PASCAL (FRA) TOYOTA
310 VASILYEV VLADIMIR (RUS)ZHILTSOV KONSTANTIN (RUS) MINI
311 DABROWSKI MAREK (POL)CZACHOR JACEK (POL) TOYOTA
312 GACHE PHILIPPE (FRA)GARCIN JEAN-PIERRE (FRA) SMG
313 ALVAREZ LUCIO (ARG)PATTI ROBERTO (ARG) TOYOTA
314 VAN LOON ERIK (NLD)ROSEGAAR WOUTER (NLD) MINI
315 TEN BRINKE BERNHARD (NLD)COLSOUL TOM (BEL) TOYOTA
316 SPATARO EMILIANO (ARG)LOZADA BENJAMIN (ARG) RENAULT
317 VILLAGRA FEDERICO (ARG)MEMI ANDRES (ARG) FORD
318 MALYSZ ADAM (POL)MARTON RAFAL (POL) SMG
319 GARAFULIC BORIS (CHL)PALMEIRO FILIPE (PRT) MINI
320 CHABOT RONAN (FRA)PILLOT GILLES (FRA) SMG
321 THOMASSE PASCAL (FRA)LARROQUE PASCAL (FRA) BUGGY MD RALLYE
322 DESPRES CYRIL (FRA)PICARD GILLES (FRA) PEUGEO

 

Other than Robby Gordon, there are few North Americans on the Car entry list.  Car 380 is a Canadian entry of David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaule in an Overdrive.  Car 356 is what I call the NAFTA entry with three participants – a Canadian, an American, and a Mexican in their Jimco.

With Depres not competing in the Bike Class, then certainly Marc Coma has to be considered as the early favorite.  Behind Coma the field is strong.  I was just going to include the top 10 ranked entrants in this post, but then I saw that Ruben Faria on KTM was #11 and I believe that Faria will make his presence known during the Dakar.

 2015 Dakar Bike Class Partial Entry List

Name Mark
1 ·         COMA MARC (ESP) KTM
2 ·         BARREDA BORT JOAN (ESP) HONDA
3 ·         PAIN OLIVIER (FRA) YAMAHA
4 ·         VILADOMS JORDI (ESP) KTM
5 ·         RODRIGUES HELDER (PRT) HONDA
6 ·         SUNDERLAND SAM (GBR) KTM
7 ·         GONCALVES PAULO (PRT) HONDA
8 ·         PRZYGONSKI JAKUB (POL) KTM
9 ·         CASTEU DAVID (FRA) KTM
10 ·         PEDRERO GARCIA JUAN (ESP) YAMAHA
11 ·         FARIA RUBEN (PRT) KTM

Further down the Bike entry list there are a couple of Americans – Tony Gera on a KTM and Antonio Narino on a Husqvarna.

To get more information on the 2015 Dakar check out their website at www.dakar.com

I will be once again following this event very closely.

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