By on July 27, 2009

It’s (still) 1971. Disney World just opened. Nixon pledges to end US involvement in Vietnam. Daniel Ellsberg reveals the “Pentagon Papers.” The Doors release “LA Woman.” The Bee Gees inflict “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” Charles Manson is sentenced to death. “All in the Family” starts. The Stones are on top with “Brown Sugar.” The voting age is lowered to 18. Intel invents the 4004 Processor. Peugeot builds a 404 Wagon that ends up as the Niedermeyer family truckster. Janis belts out “Me and Bobby McGee.” China is seated at the UN. Nixon imposes a 10% surcharge on imported cars.

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23 Comments on “Curbside Classic Clue...”


  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Volkswagen 411 or Plymouth Cricket. And please tell me that the Vega was not considered the best small car in 1971.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Time for the Simca thing they have reported…

    He has gone through place 6 to 3 already: Gremlin, Beetle, Pinto, Corolla…

    According to all B&B, there are only 2.

    The Golf is european, and looks a lot like a Omni/Horizon, which was Simca derived.

    So it’s time for the Simca.

    And yes, I bet the Vega won.

    PS: LOL

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Golf 1st generation or a Rabbit for NA market.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Stingray – I understand your reasoning, and you may be right. But consider that the Simca was owned by Chrysler which also owned Rootes which built the Plymouth Cricket for Chrysler, so who knows. I think the fact that the Rabbit looks like the Horizon leads us to one of these two Chrysler-connected imports.

    It could only be the VW 411 if Mr. Niedermeyer’s hint is not as diabolically conceived as we suppose.

  • avatar

    404 wagon as truckster???! You must be referring to the way you used the thing. My first legal drive was in a 404 wagon. I loved the steering and handling. I wish I’d gotten that thing from my parents and kept it, although the guy whose 2cv I drove for TTAC says they had a lot of trouble with rust.

    Picky correction: Me and Bobby McGee is 1970. It was the theme song for my drive with Steve Zelditch from Palo Alto to Seattle and back over txgiving day weekend of that year in Steve’s parents’ ’63 Dodge Dart. We were high school seniors. I’m amazed when I think back on this that our parents allowed us to do this 1800 mile round trip over four days.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    One of these days, I’m gonna get me a *real* 404 truckster, like this one, only better:
    http://suchen.mobile.de/fahrzeuge/showDetails.html?id=118490324&__lp=1&scopeId=C&sortOption.sortBy=searchNetGrossPrice&sortOption.sortOrder=ASCENDING&makeModelVariant1.makeId=19300&makeModelVariant1.modelId=14&makeModelVariant1.searchInFreetext=false&makeModelVariant2.searchInFreetext=false&makeModelVariant3.searchInFreetext=false&vehicleCategory=Car&segment=Car&siteId=GERMANY&damageUnrepaired=ALSO_DAMAGE_UNREPAIRED&export=ALSO_EXPORT&customerIdsAsString=&lang=en&pageNumber=1

  • avatar

    Martin,

    I just want the 404 break (fr for station wagon for those who don’t speak it). I found one on Ebay in Germany ~jan 2008, for 2k euros, in what looked like very good condition. I was so tempted, but I had too much work at the time to get away.

    David

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    @David Holzman:
    I just want the 404 break

    Careful. The French made a real speciality of certain areas of automotive engineering, and French cars can be delightful (for certain, ah, we might say hyperGallic definitions of “delightful”), but take heed: there is a very sound reason why the French call some of their cars “break”. It’s to do with truth in advertising.

  • avatar
    davejay

    Of course it’s the Simca. The VW Rabbit was a direct response to the Simca in european markets, and the Omnirizon was the followup to the Simca.

  • avatar
    venator

    Simca 1100. The VW Golf copied the layout. The Simca, in fact, was a FIAT-inspired design.

  • avatar
    210delray

    Great, that means the sorry Vega had to be #1.

  • avatar
    thebanana

    The Vega was #1. I read the stories back in the day.

  • avatar
    msmiles

    I don’t know my auto history but did Simca or Chrysler ever stamp a VW on their grills?

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “I don’t know my auto history but did Simca or Chrysler ever stamp a VW on their grills?”

    I don’t know about that, but I know that when Volkswagen acquired Chrysler´s Argentinian operations, they inherited some models, among them the Dodge 1500, a Plymouth Cricket derivate, which they rebadged as Volkswagen 1500. Perhaps that’s the connection?

    Bottom page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_1500

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “The Simca, in fact, was a FIAT-inspired design.”

    I don’t think that you are completely right on that fact. The Simca 1100 was an original design, which came about in 1967. Fiat made their first front-wheel drive, the Fiat 128, in 1969. However, they had their niche brand Autobianchi test bed the formula in 1964 with their Autobianchi Primula. The Primula was a low-volume seller, just shy of 75 000 cars, compared to the 2.2 million for the Simca.

    I would say that the Simca 1100 was the first really successful mass market mass produced modern small car hatchback, the first super-mini if you so want. And it is clear that everybody from then on had that car as their benchmark, from Fiat to Volkswagen. Of course, there had been other FWD cars before, the Citroen 2CV, the Renault 4 and the Mini, among others, but they were cheaper and more frugal in appearance.

  • avatar
    AlexD

    Holy URL Martin, try tinyurl.com

    http://tinyurl.com/m69ag6

  • avatar
    venator

    Ingvar, I said that the Simca 1100 was FIAT-inspired because of the ties between the two companies. Simca built FIATs for a long period of time, the successful Simca 1000 (rear-engined 4-door sedan) was an actual FIAT design, and the two companies only severed ties around the time that the Autobianchi Primula was released.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    venator: the successful Simca 1000 (rear-engined 4-door sedan) was an actual FIAT design

    That’s news to me (and to Simca). The Simca was their response to the very successful rear-engine Renaults (4cv and Dauphine), which dominated the French market. Fiat’s cars in this size (one liter) were front-engine RWD, as in Fiat’s hugely popular 1100, which was made for some twenty years, and followed by the RWD 124. Fiat only used rear engines on its smallest cars: 500 & 600, and later 850, which came after the Simca 1000.

  • avatar

    The Golf MK1 was launched in Germany in 1974 (with a little assistance by yours truly.) It was a look-alike of the FIAT 127 (not 128), which was launched in – tadah – 1971. The pictured car is a Golf (Rabbit) Mk1, US version (amber side lights.) It hit the USA and Canada in 1975.

  • avatar
    Ronman

    I WOULD SAY VW GOLF, AND MY GUESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THE WHOLE PICTURE IS REVEALED AT THE TOP. I PROMISE I KEPT MY EYES CLOSED AS I READ THE SUMMARY… INTERESTING CLUES THOUGH.

    Sorry about the CAPS

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Bertel I think both the MK1 Golf and the Fiat 127 were designed (or styled) by Giugiaro.

  • avatar
    ern35

    The pictured car is definitely the German-built Volkswagen Rabbit (for the North American market) tested first by Consumers Reports in the July ’75 issue—highly-rated overall, but criticized for 34 manufacturing and dealer-preparation defects. I owned the ’79 two-door fuel-injected 5-speed manual version for 11 years and absolutely loved the thing.

  • avatar
    venator

    Paul, the Simca 1000 was a FIAT design, namely the FIAT 122 prototype, which FIAT decided not to build themselves. The Primula had the same layout as the 128, and the Simca 1100, it was Innocenti who built Mini-like contraptions in Italy. Also, the FIAT 1100 was not in the same class, it was one size larger than the Simca 1000.

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