Though the Bradley GT looked original, that doesn’t mean that it’s attractive to most people. The Kelmark GT, on the other hand, is a pretty nice looking car. That’s because it’s a near copy of the 208/246 Dino by Ferrari.
Unlike competitor Kelmark, Bradley didn’t offer options like tube frames or midengine layouts. Bradley GTs were designed from the outset to sit on stock Volkswagen Beetle platform chassis. Though I suppose in profile they were supposed to look a bit like the Beetle’s much faster descendant, the all-conquering Porsche 917, in the end they still look like a cheap kit car. Someone, though, loves them because they brought it out to the Vintage VW show in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park this past May.
It’s hard to think of something as recent as a 1996 model as a vintage car, but does make it almost 20 years old. That may explain why this 1996 VW Golf Harlequin was at the Vintage VW Show. No matter the reason, I’m glad the owner, Ken Berman, of Livonia, Michigan, brought it to the show. Only 264 were made, which makes them fairly rare as far as production cars go. Also, if you check the Harlequin Registry, you’ll see that a number have been resprayed with a single color. For some reason, most of those repainted cars started out as Pistachio Green cars (the panels were swapped at the end of the line at the Puebla, Mexico assembly plant) so seeing a “Pistachio Green” Harlequin Golf in original condition is even rarer yet.
Note: We’re going to depart from our usual practice of illustrating the top of our 3D photo posts with red/blue anaglyph 3D images and instead use what’s called a Dubois anaglyph, which changes the colors to avoid the retinal flashing that can happen with some shades of red and blue when viewing with red/blue glasses. With both red and blue panels on the Harlequin Golf, I figured I’d give your eyes a rest. Conventional red/blue anaglyph below.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the factory that Adolph Hitler built to produce the original Volkswagen Beetle, the KdF-Wagen, actually built the military Kubelwagen variant before Type I production began. After all, possible military uses were part of the first discussion that Hitler had with Ferdinand Porsche about the “people’s car” in April of 1934. A number of variants of the Kubelwagen were made. Perhaps the most successful and best known is the amphibious Type 166, also known as the Schwimmwagen. The Detroit Arsenal of Democracy museum in St Clair Shores has one one display. It’s one of only 163 that are known to have survived out of over 15,000 that were made, the highest production amphibious car in history. By the way, one look at that front axle assembly and you know it’s somehow related to the Beetle.
The owner of this VW Thing thought it would be a good idea park his car on the side of a small rise so that people at the Vintage VW Show would be able to get an interesting elevated view of the little jeeplet. Unfortunately for this paint job, the gas cap wasn’t sealed and gasoline started dripping out, down onto the paint, which was starting to bubble. I did my good deed for the day and mentioned it to the show organizers, who made an announcement over the PA.
I’m not quite sure how this guy got these vanity plates past the censors in Lansing.
While there’s no doubt that the 1970s vintage Volkswagen Type 181, sold in the United States as the “Thing”, was inspired by the World War II era Kubelwagen, the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS military vehicle, the two cars share no parts. While pink wasn’t a factory color in 1973, it seems appropriate for such a whimsical vehicle.
Remember Oldsmobile’s advertising slogan, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile”? Maybe instead I should ask, remember Oldsmobile? Well, my late father drove Oldsmobiles in my youth. He had what I believe was a 1956 or 1957 Olds 88 or 98 he bought from his father in law, my mom’s dad. We also had a 1966 Oldsmobile 88 that was fire engine red with a 425 c.i. V8 and a four barrel carb. That could put rubber down as long as you kept your foot down. In between those two Oldsmobiles, my dad drove a 1961 American Motors Rambler American. Not nearly as fast or as luxurious as that Delta 88, it was a simple, white, two door sedan with a radio, heater, and those infamous fold down front seats that fathers of teenage girls dreaded seeing picking them up on dates. I go to the American Motors Owners club meet every year hoping to see a car just like my dad’s, but the closest I’ve gotten too is this very nice ’62 Rambler American convertible. It’s a lot fancier car than my dad’s Rambler, looks like it’s got every option in the book.
The last car that Bill Mitchell designed at General Motors was a lot like he was, brash, stylish and more than a little over the top. Built in 1977, just before Mitchell retired after four decades shaping American cars (and American culture). It was called the Phantom, it hearkened back to the days of glamorous cars with sweeping, flowing lines, and it never really had a chance at going into production as Mitchell’s power in GM was fading as the Phantom approached completion. As a matter of fact, when Mitchell tried to display the Phantom at a Proving Grounds show of potential products held for the GM board of directors, GM executive vice president for product planning, Howard Kehrl, ordered it off the property. Mitchell fumed but in his remarks about the Phantom it was clear that he knew that his time had come: “Realizing that with the energy crisis and other considerations, the glamour car would not be around for long. I wanted to leave a memory at General Motors of the kind of cars I love”.