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Cool Car Stories

The best minivan ever designed deserves much, much better than being the butt of too many bad jokes…

Multipla Fiat
Multipla Fiat

Seems like a million years ago now, but there was a time when minivans were the hottest market segment, with every automaker worth its salt competing for a piece of the pie.
Fiat’s entry into this category, the 1998 Multipla, can be considered the best minivan ever designed.

one of the few cars to have been holistically designed around its intended function

Fiat’s solution was brilliant: six seats of identical size in a three-abreast configuration. Sounds simple enough, but that meant ripping the car design rulebook to shreds. …


Sports Car
Sports Car

The classic two-seater roadster currently looks like a dying breed, saleswise. But I think this vehicle format may get an unlikely savior…

Sales of open two-seaters in Europe and the USA, their traditional markets, have never recovered from the Great Recession’s devastating blow: even sales of perennial favorites like Mazda’s MX5 are still well below 2007 levels.
BMW Z4 sales between 2016 and 2018 looked like a rounding error on the company’s charts. Munich execs are on the record saying the newly-launched “G29” model will be the last.

Their argument is a subjective one: they fear the “commoditization” of the…


To say that Maserati has had an eventful history is perhaps an understatement. Yet of all the times the Trident has changed hands, the seven years Maserati spent under Citroen’s control are perhaps the most overlooked and the least understood.

maserati merak matteo licata
maserati merak matteo licata

The French Connection

While Maserati designed and built the V6 engine for the Citroen SM, the French company brought Maserati into the modern era, allowing chief engineer Giulio Alfieri to create the more sophisticated and thoroughly developed cars Maserati just couldn’t have made on its own.

It’s impossible to talk about the Merak, named about a star in the Plough constellation, without mentioning its bigger sister, the Bora. The two cars were designed alongside one another, and the cheaper, simpler Merak shared the suspensions, steering, and much of its body structure with the Bora. Both cars looked stunning and were penned by the…


The Fulvia Coupé is one of the most beloved classic Lancia models of all, and it’s easy to see why. It’s got motorsport pedigree to spare, looks to die for, and enough examples have survived to keep prices on the affordable side.

Fulvia montecarlo
Fulvia montecarlo

Its story began in 1965 at the Turin Motor Show. Like the Fulvia Berlina it was based on, the Coupé had been designed by Piero Castagnero, yet the two couldn’t look more different from one another.

While the four-door saloon was modern but somewhat stodgy and unexciting, the Coupé’s shape was so successful it outlived the saloon by several years and went on to become an all-time classic. Castagnero said he took inspiration from the contemporary Riva motorboats for the Coupé’s shape, and it certainly possesses the same grace and timeless elegance.

Takeover

By the decade’s end, Lancia had sold over…


The iconic Alfa Romeo Bertone coupés from the “105-Series” have become a firm favorite on the international classic car market, and it’s easy to see why.

gt junior
gt junior

Cars just aren’t allowed to look this good anymore, as none of these Alfa’s delightful curves were traced with safety and aerodynamics in mind. The Giulia GT was introduced in 1963 and was an instant hit for the Milanese firm, which had just inaugurated its new Arese production facility on the outskirts of Milan.

the Giulia GT wasn’t for everyone, and that’s why the GT Junior came into play

The new model was based on the newly-launched Giulia saloon but with a 16 cm shorter wheelbase. Its lines were penned by a talented twenty-something by the name of Giorgetto Giugiaro


It may be hard to believe now that it’s a coveted classic, but the Lancia Beta Montecarlo, also known as Scorpion in the United States, wasn’t popular with buyers in period…

lancia montecarlo pininfarina
lancia montecarlo pininfarina

…Still, its existence led to two successful racing programs for Lancia. Funny, given the Montecarlo wasn’t supposed to be a Lancia at all.

The Lancia Montecarlo story started in 1969 when famed design house Pininfarina began working on the Fiat project X1/8. The market for traditional rag-tops like the 124 Spider showed signs of decline, and the X1/8 was to take its place in Europe and the United States. The first prototypes hit the road between 1970 and ’71, after which the project was temporarily suspended.

Work resumed in 1972 under a new codename, X1/20, still as a future Fiat…


The last XM left the Rennes-La-Janais production line over 20 years ago, and it’s fair to say that Citroën’s flagship for the 90s is aging like the finest Chateau Laffite.

citroen xm story
citroen xm story

I fell in love with the XM since I saw it on magazine covers in 1989, and my admiration for what Citroën achieved with this model has only grown since then.

Project V80

It was late 1984 when PSA’s management tasked three design studios to submit their proposals for Citroën’s new flagship saloon. But it’s fair to say that the project, codenamed “V80,” was late before it began. …


Citroën has been making forgettable econoboxes for a very long time now, but it’s not always been that way.

Matteo Licata Citroen DS
Matteo Licata Citroen DS

There was a time in which the French brand sold what’s perhaps the most effortlessly glamorous automobile ever made, the DS Décapotable.
Except it actually wasn’t Citroën’s idea.

Henry Chapron’s atelier was, by the time the revolutionary DS was launched, the last surviving of the great pre-war French coachbuilding firms.
Like pretty much everyone else who saw the DS’s launch at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, Chapron was deeply impressed by the new Citroën’s otherwordly appearance.

Unlike everyone else, though, he thought he could improve on it by making it into a convertible, and he presented it at the 1958…


The compact flat-four Alfas created a whole new generation of Alfisti, over almost two decades of production. Here’s the story of this brilliant family of engines.

Alfa Romeo Boxer Engine
Alfa Romeo Boxer Engine

In September of 1967, The Italian government green-lighted Alfa Romeo’s project for its new compact family car, to be built in a brand-new factory near Naples, whose construction started on the 29th of April 1968.

Every nut and bolt in the Alfasud was new, designed under Austrian engineer Rudolf Hruska’s direction. The flat-four engine configuration was chosen to lower the center of gravity and the car’s bonnet line, thus improving handling and aerodynamic performance.


The classic Alfa Romeo V6 engine, nicknamed “Busso,” from his creator’s name, is so revered among enthusiasts that its presence under an Alfa’s bonnet often multiplies the car’s market value. Let’s go through the history of this legendary powerplant.

Alfa Romeo Giuseppe Busso V6 Engine
Alfa Romeo Giuseppe Busso V6 Engine

Genesis

This story starts in the late 1960s, a time of success and confidence for Alfa Romeo. With the Alfetta and Alfa 6 on the drawing board, a brand new engine was needed, especially for the larger saloon. The engineers wanted a compact, lightweight unit, leading to an aluminum 60° V6 engine, with a more modern and efficient cylinder head design than the firm’s existing twin-cam fours.

On the new V6, the two valves per cylinder had a much tighter angle between them to reduce thermal losses and have straighter inlet tracts. …

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