Monday Reading – EMS Sold, Bearded Lady, Zagato, Porsche 919, BMW Gran Messe


My favourite motoring-related reads for the last few days. Well, mostly motoring related.


C0210_AR_Philip_Seymour_HoffmanVale Philip Seymour Hoffman.

It feels selfish to say this but it’s the nature of things when a great actor with a large public profile passes away – I’m really going to miss all the performances we’ll never get to see.

Is there a cause of death (esp for someone so great) that rings more hollow than drug overdose?


On to brighter things…..

The Saab 99 EMS for sale that I mentioned last week was sold at auction on Ebay, Saturday night.

It sold for $4,750 which is a good outcome for the seller. Hopefully it’ll prove to be a good outcome for the buyer, too. It looked like a great little car from the photos but I’m sure it’ll need a little mechanical refreshing.


Most Saab owners have at least a minor interest in stuff to do with Volvo. It’s a Swedish thing. Most Saab fans would therefore be familiar with the story of Irv Gordon, the guy who’s driven more than 3 million miles in his Volvo P1800.

The Truth About Cars had a great story about Gordon and his Volvo over the weekend. As you’ll see, the car is slowly transitioning from daily driver to preserved cash cow. Some might be tempted to get all cynical about that, but I say “good decision”. Neither the car, nor Irv, have anything left to prove and the story will not benefit from the P1800 being side-swiped by some nutter in an old Hyundai.

The photos are outstanding, too.



Sometimes you hear about automotive engineers doing some amazing work for the company in their time off. Some Holden engineers took a Commodore sedan a decade ago, for instance, and made themselves a Monaro coupe, which ended up selling well for a number of years.

These Toyota engineers didn’t have such a great outcome IMHO. What do you think? I reckon it looks 10 years old already.

Given Toyota’s recent concepts, like the heralded Supra-of-the-future they shows in Detroit last month, this falls a bit flat. And further beating on the MR-2 name is not needed, thanks.



BMW loves to create new niches and answer questions that nobody’s asking. Oh, the fun you can have with heaps of cash and no boundaries.

They had so many sedans and coupes sharing their 1,3,5 and 7 monikers that they decided to shift all the coupes to even numbers 2 and 4. Numbers 6 and 8 have been used for BMW coupes in the past, so their use is not new.

I don’t know if BMW are trying to be less German and more Italian but they now seem to be ignoring their own naming rules.

The 4-series is supposed to be made up of coupe models related to 3-series sedans. Enter the 4-series Gran Coupe, photographed below. As Jalopnik put it, this is the sedan version of a coupe version of a sedan.


Yes, another manufacturer making a four-door coupe and thereby not only ignoring the two-door coupe convention with its styling, but also with their internal naming.

At some point, all the bullshit hoisted upon us by PR and marketing divisions – from all walks of life – has to be recognised for what it is and incinerated accordingly. The creatives and copywriters should be publicly flogged (with something soft and moist – I’m sure that’ll hurt them enough anyway and the resulting humiliation is more important).

This has got to stop. Just because you say something doesn’t make it so, even if you spend millions saying it.


I can’t wait to see this car in action. Go Porsche.


My personal exploration of Zagato-bodied cars continues with this Lancia Flavia Sport Zagato for sale in the US and featured on Bring-a-Trailer.

Real all about the car for sale at that link. Just beautiful.



Does this picture make you want to find out more? If so, click here.


Her name is Elspeth Beard and she’s lived a full life so far, and continues to do so.


And finally……

2012 is a year when one guy did something absolutely extraordinary – Felix Baumgartner’s jump from space.

GoPro released this video on January 31 and it’s had nearly 5 million views already. Baumgartner had a number of GoPro cameras on his jumpsuit so what you’ll see here is the jump from right up close and personal.

It’s breathtaking.


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  1. Hi Swade,

    Not sure if you can watch it, but “Comedians in cars getting coffee”, by Jerry Seinfeld featured a red P1800 this past week when he went for a coffee with Tina Fey. Each episode features an old car and a comedian. Ultimately it is a show about nothing, in which Seinfeld excels. It’s worth the watch in my eyes.

    Later, Nico

  2. Agreed on all points. The only Toyota design I’ve liked in the last 20 years or so is the FJ cruiser, and even that’s derivative. That MR2 didn’t change things at all.

  3. The 4 Series is a response to the success of the A5 Sport back and reflects the German difficulty with the status of the hatch back. To be fair they have form with the 6 Series Grancoupe and plan to follow it up with a 1 Series version. I’ll wait to see it in the flesh.

  4. “At some point, all the bullshit hoisted upon us by PR and marketing divisions – from all walks of life – has to be recognised for what it is and incinerated accordingly.”

    That’s just the beginning, Comrade.

    Philip S Hoff – I feel strangely angry that he did this to us. What a bloody waste. I have never felt such a weird sense of emotional connection with the death of a famous person (whom I didn’t actually know or ever meet) before.

    Elspeth Beard – great story. Lovely pics. You can just see Brando c.1950 riding out of a timewarp and pulling up to her and saying, ‘How’s about it?’ and her replying, ‘No thanks, you’ll just hold me back.’

    P1800 – love it.

    Flavia Sport – ditto.

  5. And another great Saab 99 EMS just sold here in the US in one day. This one is a beauty that was highlighted at the Saab Owner Convention in Ohio in 2010.