Monday, June 26, 2017

The French Connection...Roundup!

What up, nerds? We've got us a new roundup this month for a little challenge called The French Connection, which surprisingly has nothing to do with undercover cops shooting Nicoli The Hitman in the back while he ascends the subway stairs. No, this challenge was simply about French cars such as Citroens, Renaults, and Peugeots. Those French have manufactured some beautiful cars. Maybe our crackerjack team of LEGO car makers have built a few of them. So sit back, pour yourself a 2011 Chateau Lafitte Laujac and take in the sophisticated aroma of all things French.

Johnni D starts us off with an old school entry in the shape of the Citroën Mehari in happy yellow. Ohh la la, so very French, indeed!

Citroën Mehari

Lino Martins also goes the old school route with this Delahaye 136...uh, I mean 165. You see, I was using a new computer whose new functions aren't quite as intuitive as the old functions, so I made the typo, hit save, and the best photo was forever ruined. The hilarious part? None of the bloggers that featured this car corrected the error.

1939 Delahaye 136

That's OK. I never check the claims of all y'all neither. The things I still don't know about cars can fill entire libraries. One case in point, apparently back in '34 Citroen liked what Ford was doing so much, they put a Ford V-8 flathead in their Citroen 22CV Traction Avant Cabriolet. That's what Peter Blackert said, so you know its got to be true.

Citroen Traction Avant 22CV Cabriolet - 1934

Then he went on to say like three dozen other engineering type things, most of which went right the hell over my head. Like "oleopneumatic suspension", which apparently is a thing in all the Citroens. The Citroen GS X2 is chock full of oleo pneumatic goodness.

Citroen GS X2

How do you go about transporting the if you're French? Why, you all hop into the Peugeot 504 Familiale, of course. That's right, as Peter illustrated, you can fit grandparents, mom, dad and the kids in this 7-seater.

Peugeot 504 Familiale

When you think French automakers you think Peugeot, Renault, and Citroen. But back in 1954 they also had Comete, based on a Ford platform. Here is the Comète Monte Carlo in stunning red and white.

Ford France Comète Monte Carlo - 1954

Peter tells us that Peugeot is perhaps the most conservative of the large French manufacturers. I'm sure he meant conservative as in styling, but around here conservative has come to mean bigoted and homophobic. So here's the possibly bigoted and homophobic Peugeot 406 Saloon in a very sassy (but not in a gay way) red.

Peugeot 406 Saloon

There was a time when Chrysler had its greasy mitts in France as evidenced by this 1970 Chrysler France 180 Saloon. Later Chrysler was sold and became the Talbot-Simca brand and later the 180 became the futuristic Talbot Tagora.

Chrysler France 180 Saloon (1970)

When I think of Europe, I think of burly, hairy men in Speedos, cobblestone streets, contempt for Americans and the subcompact car. This cute little 1972 Renault 5 MkI in green fits that bill. Not included: Burly, hairy man in Speedo.

Renault 5 MkI - 1972

If you like your lemons shaped like a pear, you can't go wrong with this lemony yellow 1976 Renault 14 . The advertising team even emphasized this pear shape. This model features grandpa and his hear-shaped honey about to get busy in the car. Boom-chicka-bow-wow!

Renault 14 - 1976

Citroen even has a sub-brand called DS where they have a bit more artistic freedom to make wacky cars such as the 2011 Citroen / DS Automobiles - DS5. The shape is somewhere between a hatchback, wagon and an MPV and it has odd chrome highlights and a very spaceship-like interior.

Citroen / DS Automobiles - DS5 (2011)

Next we're kicking it old school with the 1964 Facel Vega Facel 6, which was conceived in a time where Facel was struggling and so they created a car that only movie stars can afford. In a similar business model, Wu-Tang Clan produced only one copy of their latest album and sold it for 2 million dollars to the guy who made the AIDS vaccine so expensive. True story, bro.

Facel Vega Facel 6 (1964)

Also, as per contract, the album cannot be released to the public for 88 years but the buyer can offer free listening parties, which apparently he has not done due to the high value of the item. Considerably cheaper and more accessible is this Renault Captur in lovely orange and white. I believe there are called the Nissan Juke around here.

Renault Captur

But this story has a somewhat happy ending. Upon hearing about the dick move the buyer made with jacking up the price of the vaccine, the Wu-Tang Clan decided to donate a large portion of the proceeds to several charities, one currently researching alternate cures for cancer. Here's a 1972 Alpine A310.

Alpine A310 - 1972

It turns out old, tired and disheveled Detective Columbo had himself an old, tired and disheveled 1959 Peugeot 403 Cabriolet. I barely remember that. I only remember that Columbo was rather persistent albeit polite in his line of questioning. And he was squinty. No movies were ever made of the 70's series as no one wants to watch a tired, disheveled squinty old man ask polite questions.

Peugeot 403 Cabriolet (1959) - Detective Columbo

A young, immature Lino enjoyed the Lamborghini Countach. A young, immature Peter enjoyed the Renault 25. This explains a lot about our later development. However, the two are related as the interior of the Renault 25 was designed by none other than Marcello Ghandini, of Countach fame.

Renault 25

A young, immature Lino also thought that a guitar wasn't cool unless it breathed fire, was shaped like a medieval battle axe and had no less than five necks. I would have loved GWAR as a kid. Thankfully our tastes become more refined as we get older. Case in point, this lovely 1957 Bugatti Type-252 Roadster in blue.

Bugatti Type-252 Roadster (1957)

The 2014 Renault Twingo GT MkIII, according to Peter, has Gaelic charm. Hmmmm, it seems to be lacking Celtic knots, the color green, a twinkle in thine Irish eyes a'smilie' and any resemblance to an elven sword maker from Lord of the Rings. But it has Gaelic charm somehow, lads and lasses.

Renault Twingo GT MkIII (2014)

Even Renault has a sub-brand called Renault Sports, which specializes in racing cars. Here's the adorable MotorCity Renault Sport Spider.

MotorCity Renault Sport Spider

You're going to need an awful long hood to accommodate a 3.3 liter straight 8 engine. Luckily, the Bugatti Type 101 Antem Coupe was specifically designed to showcase this massive engine. Here's one in all its black and red glory.

Bugatti Type 101 Antem Coupe - 101504

An even bigger 14.7 litre straight eight engine was outfitted for the Type-41 Coupé Napoléon - 41100. The hood ornament is a silver chicken LEGO part, but if you squint, its supposed to be an elephant rearing on its hind legs with its trunk raised in an aggressive fighting stance.

Bugatti Type-41 Coupé Napoléon - 41100

Speaking of aggressive fighting stance, the Allemano Panhard Crepardi Dyna 750 Coupe was pretty ideal for racing. Panhard made the drive train and chassis easily obtainable to anyone wanting to build their own racer.

Allemano Panhard Crepardi Dyna 750 Coupe

The most iconic French cars in the history of the world ever is the Citroen 2CV Charleston. This one is a 1982 done up in a yellow and black Art Deco design scheme. It was a comfortable albeit very slow ride.

Citroen 2CV Charleston - 1982

And finally Peter shows us what to do if you wanted to schlep the entire familiale across France with this 1975 Citroen CX Familiale. It seats seven and still looks rather sporty.

Citroen CX Familiale (1975)

PauloD shows us what French rally racing is all about in the form of this Peugeot 206 WRC. It is light, compact, swift and probably had its share of speedo wearing hairy men with contempt for Americans behind the wheel.

Peugeot 206 WRC

Lasse Deleuran begs the question; Why am I posting a car from a Japanese company which is made in Cologne, Germany? Where is the French connection? You got us, Lasse, why? Turns out it is a contender for a little race in France you might have heard of called Le Mans.

TS050 prototype 1

Tim Inman makes France great again with this all white Alpine A110. It is chock full of American contempt and the way things are going now, rightfully so. It may be decades before that is ever made right.

Alpine A110

And that's how we end our roundup, not with a bang, but with a whimper in conceding that even North Korea thinks the US is being run by a senseless dictator. Man, way to bring the room down! Luckily, no one reads this far anyway, and if you do then we have a challenge for you. Next month, we're doing Pickups and Vans. There's lots of versatility here so let's see what we come up with. See ya next month!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Automotive Culture Mashup...Roundup

Sometimes amazing things happen when you mix two diverse things together like, for example, chocolate and peanut butter. Each are uniquely delicious but when you combine them together...oh boy, what a treat! Kahlua and vodka, that's called a Black Russian! Want a drink with perfect layering? Take some Kahlua, carefully pour in some Bailey's Irish cream, then finish it off with Triplesec and with a little practice you should have three distinct color layers in a neat drink called a B-52. Some people are are diverse mix that creates an appealing whatever genetic makeup is responsible for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jessica Alba, or Halle Berry. Car cultures are like that too. Gassers have their own set of rules, lead sleds have their own rules, but mix them together and you just might have something pretty neat. That's what we set out to do when we came up with a little challenge we like to call Automotive Culture Mashup. And to be clear, some mixes are so heinous, they should be shunned from this Earth and banished to the bowels of hell from wince it came. Like mayo and rice, and the steroid enhanced genetic abomination that is Carrot-Top. Maybe our team of crackerjack car builders will demonstrate either scenario for us. Let's see what we cooked up, shall we?

Johnni D starts us off innocently enough by combining British class with all American muscle with this 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud in white, the perfect wedding car.

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud – White

His buddy Paulo D shows up a little later with what he calls a Subaru Forester in full Time Attack attire. Time Attack Attire apparently means a roll cage, twin turbos and an aero kit but also being too underwhelmed to photograph it more than once. Hmmm, you learn something every day.

Subaru Forester Time Attack

Lino Martins shows that when you take a beloved European icon such as the VW Golf M1, (VW Rabbit to us Americans) give it the classic American hot rod treatment, you get a rabid halfbreed mongrel that's too weird to live and too rare to die!

VW Rabid Rod

Tim Inman knows what I mean. He also build an iconic European Ferrari 250 GTO sports car and takes its IQ and pedigree down a few notches and gives it the American Gasser treatment. Ah, is there nothing American ingenuity can't ruin?

Ferrari  250 GTO Gasser

Before you answer that, consider for a moment that not just car cultures, but car companies can join forces to form a hybrid car containing both identities. Take this 1936 Mercedes-AMG K54 Coupe-Roadster F1 Celebration Edition, which may be a real car or a product of Peter Blackert's imagination. I'm too lazy to research it.

Mercedes-AMG K54 Coupe-Roadster F1 Celebration Edition

What's made of raw sugar and you're pretty much guaranteed to puke if you eat more than two of them? Peeps. Every Easter, these hit the stores, as well as this yellow and white Volkswagen Type-3 Squareback Hot Wheels car with the Peeps logo blazoned across the side. I'm pretty much gonna hurl now.

VW Type-3 Squareback - PEEPS

But I can be made to feel slightly better cuz Peter made good on a request. We have the technology. We have resources. We have the know-how. We can put truck nuts, gun rack and a confederate flag on a Toyota Prius Aqua Hybrid. Talk about clash of automotive cultures!

Toyota Prius Aqua Hybrid

You mix high performance sports cars with the roomy sensibilities of a wagon and you get something called a shooting break. Here is Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Shooting Brake built in 1975 by a small UK company called Panther Cars. They're also responsible for a six wheeled ultra-luxury sports car that didn't take the world by storm either.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Shooting Brake - Panther Cars (1975)

When Peter was in college he got to house sit for a professor. Part of the job description included taking car of his pets and running over hippies in the professor's old and slow Mercedes-Benz W123 690E Saloon. This one has a hot rodded engine; the better to show those hippies you mean business.

Mercedes-Benz W123 690E Saloon

Artist Sebastian Motsch likes to photoshop production cars into dream cars, and this time chose the goofy Citroen CX Break as his muse, to create the Citroen CX Shooting Break Gullwing: CX Sport Break. Peter renders it nicely here.

Citroen CX Sport Break - 197X

The Datsun 120Y is the worst car ever. Much of Peter's entries have been about taking awful cars and making them better somehow. You take the top half 120Y, bottom half of a much wider R32 Skyline and combine them with a crazy kind of mayhem only truly creative crazy people can come up with. Like all of Peter's other entries, someone actually did this.

SkyDat (120Y)

I'm not sure if this is a product of spray paint or Photoshop trickery but the end result is a fully monochromatic white on white on white time attack Superbird by Raphael Granas, which brings us to a smooth, satisfying finish for our roundup.


I learned two new things this round; time attack cars and and shooting break cars. I didn't know what those were called before. And now I know. And hopefully you all know too...unless you're the type to leave unrelated comments with links to your own stupid agenda...which seems to be the only comments we get around here. But we soldier on. If you soldier on with us next month you'll just might see what we do when French cars are all the rage. The challenge will be called The French Connection and I bet there'll be more than a few Citroens. Tune in next time, same bat time, same bat channel. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

For Your Exhibition...Roundup

Your dad’s conservative tan Saab can get you from point A to point B with steadfast reliability and legendary safety. If getting from point A to point B without incident or unwanted attention is your life’s dream, then kudos to you and your dad’s tan Saab. But what about showmanship, pizzazz, character, excitement, and the ability to draw a crowd and make their hearts skip a beat? Your dad’s conservative tan Saab seems woefully lacking in its ability to do burn outs, shoot flames, pop wheelies, crush cars, or rip down the quarter mile drag strip as loud as thunder. Are you ashamed yet? You should be. I'm ashamed that I just copied the entire first paragraph of the challenge and just pasted it here like a lazy bum. But as it says in the Bible (probably somewhere in the back) good writing should speak for itself. This intro did two brilliant things: poked fun at your dad's tan Saab and demonstrated, in no unclear terms, what this whole For Your Exhibition challenge should be about. So sit back, grab yourself a rainbow slushy (for reasons unclear even to me) and check out why our entries don't disappoint.

Johnni D shows us how its all done with an uplifting back story. An Oakland Police officer was gunned down and he was memorialized with Oakland's first jumping lowrider police cruiser. He also predicted the near future. Next month's challenge is all about mixing two or more car cultures in one vehicle. This would have been perfect for that too.

1991 Ford Crown Victoria

Pasukaru76 submits his entry with the question; muscle cars are pure exhibition, right? Well, yes. That works just fine. By this point he could have submitted your dad's tan Saab and I would have been cool with it. I'm just thrilled he could participate, really.

Muscle Car

I'm also thrilled that Nathan Proudlove submitted this Batmobile from Arkham Knight. Nowadays an entry from your LUGNuts Co-Founder is as rare as a sasquatch sighting in which everyone at the camp sight is sober. Plus that Batmobile is just plain nuts!

Arkham Knight Batmobile

Closely resembling a sasquatch but merely a fraction of the size is the other LUGNuts founder, Lino Martins. I went with the radically customized freezer truck Hot Wheels cast called Cool-One and made it green for the money and gold for the hunnys...except no gold for the hunnys. I hope they also are fond of chrome.


New guy Lasse Deleuran proved that he knows all about what the hunnys are into. While he may lack the green for the money, he's got an abundance of gold for the hunnys with this wacked out decotora truck. It has dollar signs so maybe there is some green stashed away in there after all. Its also powered by two NXT motors.

Gold Dekotora

Tim Inman builds the mother of all hunnys in the form of the charming and ever so titillating Linda Vaughn. I can't stress enough how accurately Tim depicted her with his LEGO rendition. Every fabulous detail has been thought out and rendered perfectly. Go ahead, Google her. I'll wait. See what I mean?! Am I right or am I right?! Holy moly! Also there's a gold car here, apparently.

'67 Hurst "Hairy" Oldsmobile

I was just thinking these challenges could use a little more Peter Blackert when low and behold, he comes back from a two or three month hiatus and presents us with this Chevrolet El Camino wheelstander known as 'Texas Rare Bear III'.

Chevrolet El Camino - Texas Rare Bear III Wheelstander

Being my friend on Facebook means you get to see all the times I've "liked" tattooed ladies, rat rods and atomic age futurism. Which reminds me, I should curb my enthusiasm for princess and frog cosplay lest anyone think I'm weird. Anyway I "liked" this highly customized '61 Thunderbird recently and Peter rendered it nicely.

Kustom Ford Thundertruck

 Sometimes a car is perfect for exhibition right off the assembly line as evidenced by this 1960 Dodge Polara D500 Hardtop Coupe in lovely light azure blue.  This came from a period in history focused on 'Automotive Self Exhibition'. Rolling art, right there.

Dodge Polara D500 1960 Hardtop Coupe

 Sometimes a good retro-mod showstopper will win you the top prize, as evidenced by this completely custom, yet recognizable 1933 Ford called 'Renaissance Roadster'. This is owned by Nancy and Buddy Jordan, of Portland, Oregon and is the winner of the 2017 Ridler Award.

Custom Ford 1933 V8 - Renaissance Roadster

And speaking of showstopper, Sam Sir Manperson wins the award for confidence by calling his entry the Show Stopper. Its a hot rod with a supercar engine. Engine swap, noise, fat tires - it has it all. And it really is a showstopper cuz...that's all the show we have.

Show Stopper Rod - 10-wide - Lego

There you have it. You take a bunch of guys with some free time and LEGO, feed them some loosey-goosey theme about exhibition cars and you get...this roundup. Lets see what happens next month when we take more or less the same bunch of guys with free time and LEGO and see what they do with a trickier theme called Automotive Culture Mashup. One car culture is so passé when you can have racing slicks on a luxury sedan, ape hangers on a café racer or truck nuts on a Prius. Good god, I hope someone builds that! Peter, if you're up for an assignment...Prius, confederate flag, gun rack, and truck nuts. Pretty please! Can you get Kentucky Whiskey in Australia? What about a non-fat half-caf latte with soymilk? You're gonna need both to get in the right mindset. My mindset? You take a fine German Doppelbock and mix it with a Moxie soda and you pretty much get what I have in store for you. That'll be a neat clue if this roundup ends up getting published before I post my entry. So see ya next month and in the meantime, leave your intelligent and insightful comments in 3...2...1...