NANFA-- RE: nanfa V1 #1658

Bob Sinclair (
Mon, 26 May 2003 09:41:20 -0700

RE: Cars and more time... :-)


I'll interline a few comments in response:

Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 10:16:30 +0200
From: Steffen Hellner <>
Subject: Re: NANFA-- RE: Cars in Europe (NOT fish stuff)


interesting story. Good to know our judgment is shared by a man who knows
what a car is.

For years ( I am 41 now) I was driving Renault 5 Alpine Turbo - the French
really know to build sportive little cars. After some Opels, and BMW I today
think that cars in present times lack any kind of character, individuality,
and fascination. Even an complete idiot can be fast in an actual Porsche, no
comparison to the "beasts" Carrera turbo of 1983 with "twisted iron"
suspension instead of a McPherson.

* Correct you are. When I went shopping for my "retirement toy" in 1990,
I seriously considered a Porsche Turbo of the early ' of those
"beasts" as you put it. I decided on the 328 GTS for two reasons. First,
I knew I would eventually get myself into real trouble with a 911 Turbo or
930; and I also knew that if I bought a hot Porsche I STILL would have a
craving to make a Ferrari part of my life. :-)

My dream of cars is a Renault Alpine 110.

* Quite a few years earlier I tried hard to bring an Alpine into the U. S., but
our damned elected civil servants in Washington DC have made it near least far more effort and far more expense than it would be
worth undertaking. Damn! I love tiny little cars as well...witness the Honda
CRX in our driveway. As an executive in the car business I played a little
game during the '80s, temporarily importing the following...allegedly for
"testing and evaluation".
Citroen 2CV Charleston (two of them)
Lancia Delta
Lancia Y10
Autobianchi A112
Autobianchi A112 Abarth
Wartburg (!)

This little game got me into serious trouble with NHTSA (National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration) when the Editor of Automobile magazine wrote
a story about my importing little European cars in the September 1990 issue.
The bureaucrats in our government were not put it mildly!

But I am 6 foot 4 and don't fit into it. Tested the Lotus Elise - that will
have to come asap (when economy improves). No ABS, no power steering, just a
chassis, an engine, 4 wheels and this woooow when pushing the pedal and
cornering like there's no tomorrow.

* I'm right on 6 feet. The 328 GTS is a bit of a squeeze, but well worth it.
driven an Elise, but while still gainfully employed back in the '80s I visited
Lotus factory at Hethel, England, several times on business. Had a chance to
drive all their models on the test track...including the monster Lotus Carlton
(big Opel sedan, modified with 4WD and something like 600 hp). While still
employed, I once swapped cars for a week or so with the CEO of Lotus Cars
USA, giving him my Ferrari to play with in exchange for a Lotus Esprit Turbo.
Now THAT was fun. There were some rather unpublicized advantages to
working in the car biz. :-)

On the bike side my last was a Yamaha R1. I unfortunately lost it on the
racetrack in Colmar. Guess how far one can fly when leaving the bike at 100
mph? ;-)

* I now rather well. I once parted company with my Harris Magnum (1100 cc
Kawasaki engine by Yoshimura) at something like 95-100 mph. It was, shall
I say, "an interesting experience." That was back in '87. I was 55 at the
a bit elderly for hitting the asphalt hard. :-)

Your Norton Commando is a great thing, enjoy it. Hope I will be able to do so at 71!

* I bought the Commando new, back in '75. I still love climbing on it from time to

But, how are you doing in a Ferrari on an Interstate limited 75? First or second

* Be kind, now. :-) Yes, it's a bit frustrating to drive such a car long
at 75 or 80 mph, which I occasionally do. It's been coast to coast in the U. S.
few times. Mainly, though, it gets exercised on twisty back roads, where the
really is in it's proper element.

Let it roll!


* And now, Steffen, I think we had better get back to fishes...before we both risk
getting banned from the NANFA list!


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