Jump to content

Did You Ever Own.....


Recommended Posts

This topic came up while my son was searching eBay for automotive items to add to his collection and he came across an inexpensive sales brochure for a Humber Super Snipe.  He had never heard of such an auto but the brochure listed an address for a US distribution office in New York. Being old like I am, he figured I might have seen one as the brochure appeared to be from the late 1950s or early 1960s. As I told him I never ever saw or heard of this car, and with a name like Super Sinpe, I'm not sure who would ever aspire to own one.

 

So this begs the question, were you ever the guy (or lady) that was daring enough to own an automobile that was not very main stream at the time of ownership?  Not as a collector car but as your everyday ride.  What was it, how did you like it, was it quirky , do you have any photos of you with it?  Let's use pre -1975 as the cutoff year and exclude common cars like VW.  Did you have a Simca, Opel Kadette,  two stroke Saab, Henry J early Subaru or Honda or something along those lines.  Me, never.  I looked at a few but Detroit iron especially Chevy always won. My more daring friends had a Lloyd, Sunbeam, Morris Minor Vauxhall Victor and others whose name escapes me.  Note, it does not have to be a foreign make but for my area as a young lad foreign cars were virtually unheard of.   So let's hear about and see what you had!

 

Disclaimer- it's cold and snowing here today and my usual Tuesday activity where I get sent out by my wife to hang out with equally old codgers like myself was cancelled so here I am pestering you fine folks on this forum.

Edited by TerryB (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Any small car was a tough sell in the States, especially farther inland.  Adding foreign on top of that sure made it tough.  They must have been a good salesperson whenever someone wandered into the show room.  The dealers usually carried many brands making it even more difficult since you didn't want to burn any bridges that might lead the potential customer to want one of the others.  Ranks right up there with the Maytag repairman.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry, the six cylinder Super Snipe was not at all uncommon here in Aus. (The four cylinder version was the Hawk). I had an ex-government Super Snipe in the sixties, probably the first auto transmission vehicle that I owned. It was a large, solid, quiet car, with a comfortable interior, but was rather thirsty, returning 12 MPG (imperial). I would think it occupied a position similar to Buick in the US. I do remember learning how to drive out of bogs with an auto trans, with that car.  And those lovely walnut writing tables for the back seat passengers. These cars were often seen with a chauffeur behind the wheel.

 

Perhaps 'Snipe' has a different meaning in the US? Here we associate the word with the long and graceful water-bird, which was used as the bonnet emblem on the earlier, more rounded Super Snipe. That version was sometimes used as a military Staff car in England, during WW2.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 1960 Simca Oceane convertible. It had a rusted out body by Pininfarina, and three speed on the column. The previous (teenage) owner had removed the shock absorbers and brackets when he put big racing tires on the back.He kept the tires and I bought the car for $75. He delivered it on the end of a rope. He also kept the rope.

It spewed black smoke out the back and without shocks rode like a baby carriage.I tried using  STP,  and other miracle cures, but ended up doing a ring and valve job. It needed body work, so I bought a pail of Bondo and patched  the holes.  I misheard a friend's recommendation for Flamenco Red, and gave it three coats of hand rubbed Flamingo Red.  

It wasn't my daily ride. That was a bicycle or a city bus. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Does a Nash Rambler count? My grandfather had one from the early 50's to about 1961. He really liked small cars but was on the big side at 6-0 and husky but not fat. He wanted a VW beetle but could not really fit in one. He had a 61 Comet and a 70 Ford Maverick after the Hudson. His only "full sized" car was a 40 Chevy before the Hudson.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Being from the UK 

humbers were quite common when I was a boy , some people called them ‘ poor mans rolls Royce ‘

remember they had lovely leather and beutiful wood veneers . Super snipes were top of range I think and were large cars by English standards and often were chosen as wedding cars and official cars for council and government top dogs. Class cars , but design wise not that attractive, I preferred the Alvis which was around at the same time , may have been dearer , but being still at school physical appearance was the primary factor  my favourite cars, usually sports cars Jaguar XK 120 and my all time favourite a  corvette!!

 

Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 1971 Renault 16TS that I bought new. It was powered by a 4 cylinder hemi,with four on the tree.It was a 4 door hatchback,and with the rear seat folded down and forward could carry quite a load.The quartz headlights could be adjusted up or down by a big knob under the dash,in case you had the back overloaded.The wheelbase was different on each side,as each rear wheel was mounted on independent axles,one ahead of the other.It was very comfortable and very quick.It's biggest problem was that it had no inner fenders and rusted out badly where the electrical junction box was located.It cost about as much as a new Impala at the time.

1971 Renault 16TS.jpg

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I sold my Bug-eye Sprite in 1968 to get into a 1948 Morgan 4/4 project. Bought it out of the 'Trading Post', the then equivalent of Craig's List, for $350. Rolling chassis and a pile of bits and pieces. Luckily the PO had paid the registration every year that it was off the road, so I ONLY had to get it together and running. Living in a boarding house in Melbourne, I managed to get the use of a friend's car port. It took 4 weekends to roughly assemble it, run some nice coloured wires through the car, and get it firing. It was then my daily driver for quite a while. It ran a Standard engine, similar to that in a Massey Ferguson tractor, and a remotely mounted Moss crash gearbox, and of course the famous Morgan sliding pillar front suspension. That thing would leap in the air if it ran over a match-stick on the road! Very attractive car, (despite the lack of paint), the last of the vertical radiator models, with twin spare wheels slotted vertically on the rear. (You needed them, too. I was running the tyre pressures a bit low, to compensate for the rough ride, when a workmate wanted a drive. He dropped the clutch and tore the valves out of both rear tyres. In any common car you would have been stranded).

 

I often drove it 360 miles to my parents' house, and had a lot of fun in it. Until a Ford Fairlane driver wound me up, and in the ensuing traffic light drag, the engine let go in a big way. Having no off-street parking, and limited equipment, I decided to sell it, ($200), to a guy who had been pestering me for it.  I have always regretted that I was unable to keep that car. But a great thing to own when you are 21.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in the US the average person would not have any idea what a Snipe was.  We would send unknowing lads on Snipe hunts to get them out out of the way of whatever we were doing that we didn't want them to know about.  Another car I would put in the oddball list would be Renault Dauphine.  The Lloyd owner had a small repair shop and he also had one of these.  We "real" car guys at all of age 16 would look at him like he was from Mars for owning such a poor excuse for an automobile.

 

I'm enjoying your responses!  Now where's that guy that owned a two stroke Saab and got dumb looks from the gas station guy when he handed him the can of oil to put in the gas tank?  I was that gas station guy at one time and still remember it to this day. A two stroke car, really?  

Terry

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, TerryB said:

Here in the US the average person would not have any idea what a Snipe was.  We would send unknowing lads on Snipe hunts to get them out out of the way of whatever we were doing that we didn't want them to know about.  Another car I would put in the oddball list would be Renault Dauphine.  The Lloyd owner had a small repair shop and he also had one of these.  We "real" car guys at all of age 16 would look at him like he was from Mars for owning such a poor excuse for an automobile.

 

I'm enjoying your responses!  Now where's that guy that owned a two stroke Saab and got dumb looks from the gas station guy when he handed him the can of oil to put in the gas tank?  I was that gas station guy at one time and still remember it to this day. A two stroke car, really?  

Terry

 

Renault Dauphine? I have told the story of mine on this forum in the past, so won't bore you again. Just didn't think of it as unusual....

 

The only 2 stroke car I have owned was a Suzuki 4 wheel drive. We called it the Goanna, after the large Australian lizard that can climb anything. It was the fall-back vehicle when it rained heavily in the outback, and the Landcruisers couldn't move. The Suzi was so light it was happy crossing flood-plains a mile wide, if you remembered where the low spots were! Horses for courses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh you poor, deprived Americans!?.  Variety is the spice of life.  For me, nothing but American iron would have been boring.  I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia and all of these cars were available here:  Austin(family car for years), Morris, Wolseley, Riley, Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Vauxhall, English Ford, Jowett, Rover, Standard, Triumph, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen (I worked for the Citroen dealer -  the ID and DS were incredible cars).  Also.available were Borgward, Lloyd, DKW and NSU (I had one, 2 cylinders 30 hp and 68 mpg (Imperial).  I was fascinated by the variety of cars.  American stuff was nowhere near as interesting.

 

Terry

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading throw the posts ,notice a few cars I’ve owned , Vauxhall victor , my first car , rusty, Morris minor , tough , Renault 20 , marvellous. In addition pre 75, Vauxhall’s cresta , Vauxhall Ventura , singer gazelle , Austin 1800 , Austin A40  , Hillman minx and best of all jaguar mk9

Link to post
Share on other sites

dictator27 took the words out of my mouth. Also a Vancouver area resident since I moved here as a schoolboy from the Prairies in 1966. Lots of Canadian produced , American cars. And many of the "good" versions were even made in the U.S. GTO's , Firebirds etc. Small numbers sold so easier to simply import from the U.S. than set up for Canadian production. 

  But lots of British cars and sundry other odd ball imports. I like sports cars so several MG's, a few Triumph's , TVR's, Lotus, Sunbeam, Morris etc have passed thru my hands.

Greg in Canada

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Pilgrim65 said:

Reading throw the posts ,notice a few cars I’ve owned , Vauxhall victor , my first car , rusty, Morris minor , tough , Renault 20 , marvellous. In addition pre 75, Vauxhall’s cresta , Vauxhall Ventura , singer gazelle , Austin 1800 , Austin A40  , Hillman minx and best of all jaguar mk9

 

Austin 1800. Now there was a car, the 'Giant Land Crab'. Front wheel drive, very comfortable. Great car to drive at 80+ mph on gravel roads. (Actually one came in 2nd in the London to Sydney marathon). Owned a few, and still have a couple of hulks down the paddock, which are handy for odd bits for the MG's. (Same engine, electrics, etc. as an MGB). Working man's car. (If your'e not working for it, your'e working on it).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a fan of unusual cars and had a few, mostly English as everyday used cars. An Austin A60 sedan, 1962 model, 1600cc  4 cylinder 4 speed. Later an Austin Marina with the same engine enlarged to 1800cc. Had a Renault le car or R5, it was a great car would cruise easily at 70MPH and get 45MPG. Had an early fifties Land Rover for a while but could never get it to run. A Standard 6 cylinder sedan, 1962 model. An Austin A40 Sport convertible, and a couple of A40 sedans.

 

There used to be quite a few English cars around here in the fifties and sixties and into the seventies, and some unusual european cars brought in by returning service men at Trenton air force base. Had a chance to buy a Humber Imperial when it was a rusty 10 year old used car, what a beautiful interior. There were 2 of them in the area, don't know what became of them.

 

O yeah I had a 1962 Mercedes 220SE sedan, possibly the only one in Canada. The Mercedes main dealer told me this model was never sold in Canada, mine was privately imported by a German immigrant. This was my first Mercedes, I have had 7 or 8 all told.

 

One time or another there were Vauxhalls, Simcas, Borgwards, and other imports running the roads, all gone now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We young and impressionable car guys had our ideas on what you "should" be driving and that in the USA was performance cars or old cars like 55-57 Chevys with hopped up V-8s.  The poor soul who had to drive anything with a meager 4 cylinders was to be banished from the cool car guys group. Truth be told most of us were driving our parents cars and had no reason to be critical of anyone who had his own car.  Funny how a Renault could be a great car in Australia and in my little part of the world it was strange to see or own.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Growing up in Nova Scotia Canada many British makes including the Humber were seen everyday. As part of the British Commonwealth and with a large segment of population from the U.K. as well as being a port city(Halifax) meant that Euro cars were very popular. I had a Morris Mini Countryman woody wagon.

 The North Atlantic salt air sent most of them to an early grave!

Link to post
Share on other sites

My father drove a 1959 English Ford Escort (the 2 door wagon) here in the deep south as his daily driver for 20+ years. He said it was a competitor to the VW bug at the time. I learned to drive on that car, very forgiving. Slow. It was at least three different colors after 1969 - long story there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had 25 or 30 Honda 600s. Sold the last one about 25 years ago. I still, occasionally, stumble over an odd 600 part. I also had two Harry Potter Anglias and an Austin Cambridge. By brother had a Subaru 360. That car was a kick to drive with its silly ladybug profile and the ring ding ding exhaust note.

Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, TerryB said:

We young and impressionable car guys had our ideas on what you "should" be driving and that in the USA was performance cars or old cars like 55-57 Chevys

 

 Thought you were an old codger.  These were your OLD cars?    Now I really feel old.  Thanks a lot.:lol:

 

  Ben

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, dictator27 said:

Trivia question:  We all know about Chryslers torsion bar front suspension which they used from the middle 50's.  Which British car maker gave them the idea?

 

I would have to say Morris Minor.  I still have a Morris Minor convertible project, and a Morris Minor  based Buckler sports car.

Greg in Canada 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're close, Greg.  The Minor did have torsion bar front suspension, but it was Jowett that gave Chrysler the idea.  The Javelin had torsion bars at all four corners.  The original straight Chrysler torsion bar suspension is almost a carbon copy of the Javelin's front suspension.  Technically, the Javelin is a very interesting car in a number of areas.

 

Terry

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I grew up on the East coast of Canada, when I was a teenager I was into British cars. My first car was a 62 Consul 315 ( Capri ). I also had a 58 Wolseley, 61 and 64 Rover 3 litres. Austins were a popular car here, Hillmans, Vauxhall. but there is one still here that has evaded me and is unusual. It is a Daimler Dart.

Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Thought you were an old codger.  These were your OLD cars?    Now I really feel old.  Thanks a lot.:lol:

 

  Ben

I said I was old, I didn't say I was ancient!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an old SAAB 2 stroke and yes, few gas attendants were willing to put a quart of oil into the gas tank prior to filling up. Other oddball family owned daily drivers included Morris Minor, Fiat TV-1000 Spider conv, Austin 850, MG 1100. Also a LeCar which is a little later than the parameters but was a true oddball nonetheless. Perhaps motorcycles don't count but I had a Bultaco 175cc street bike I rode daily, weather permitting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dad had a couple Ford Cortinas in the early 70s - a wagon and a sedan. Not his typical vehicle which would normally have been something BIG, but they fit the budget at the time. Both served him well. I really liked the wagon, but he sold it shortly before I got my license.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about a '59 Deutsch-Bonnet  Panhard?  I was the proud owner of one which originally came with an air cooled, 2 opposed cylinder engine, fwd, covered headlights in the fenders as in the E Type Jaguar, and a fiberglass body.  Sadly,   just a conversation piece, if only the engine had come along with mine.  JokingMVC-126S.JPG.8cfc56f933eb80044d0c7cee6ff577a4.JPGaside, they were very successful in their class at LeMans.
Then there was the Siata Berlinetta with aluminum body,  independent rear suspension, dual carburetors, and trunk lid hinged like a door.  Again, a non-driver   

Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1959 Taunus,  wagon.  got it out of a junk yard in 1963 with 32,000 miles.  excellent shape except for the sugar in the gas tank that cooked in the carb.

Cleaned carb installed new gas filters every two weeks  for months and it cleaned it self up.

Even loaned it to friend at work, for  three months, who's   Ford convertible was  being repaired after a roll over.

Ended up selling it to a Dutch farmer near Saugatuck Michigan when pin in cam drive gear on distributor  broke.

It had about 45,000 on it then, and was a good little car for the money.

 

Never seen one since

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dictator27 said:

Trivia question:  We all know about Chryslers torsion bar front suspension which they used from the middle 50's.  Which British car maker gave them the idea?

 

 

I believe 1912Staver is correct. The Morris Minor had very advanced handling for 1949, when it was released. We liked the torsion bar set-up, as the suspension was easy to lower at the front. At the back we sometimes used the oxy torch to heat the springs. (Seemed feasible at midnight, on the eve of race-day).

 

As it was, our's handled far better than the Ford Customlines, Desotos, Chevs, FX Holdens and other barges, around the dirt oval. We did OK, until the son of the local BMC dealer turned up with one of those new-fangled front drive Minis, complete with a chain and cog quick-rack steering set-up. That car was un-catchable. Just weaved in and out of the larger cars to the front, and disappeared!

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, J.H.Boland said:

I had a 1971 Renault 16TS that I bought new. It was powered by a 4 cylinder hemi,with four on the tree.It was a 4 door hatchback,and with the rear seat folded down and forward could carry quite a load.The quartz headlights could be adjusted up or down by a big knob under the dash,in case you had the back overloaded.The wheelbase was different on each side,as each rear wheel was mounted on independent axles,one ahead of the other.It was very comfortable and very quick.It's biggest problem was that it had no inner fenders and rusted out badly where the electrical junction box was located.It cost about as much as a new Impala at the time.

 

The TS was the top-of-the-line 16 which is why it cost as much as a new Impala back then.  There was the base 16, the 16TA, and the 16TS that year.  Yours would have had power windows, but only the fronts.

 

Craig

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Pilgrim65 said:

Being from the UK 

humbers were quite common when I was a boy , some people called them ‘ poor mans rolls Royce ‘

remember they had lovely leather and beutiful wood veneers . Super snipes were top of range I think and were large cars by English standards and often were chosen as wedding cars and official cars for council and government top dogs. Class cars , but design wise not that attractive, I preferred the Alvis which was around at the same time , may have been dearer , but being still at school physical appearance was the primary factor  my favourite cars, usually sports cars Jaguar XK 120 and my all time favourite a  corvette!!

 

There were a few Super Snipes in the area of which I lived in Edmonton.  For a time, I owned BMC's closest competitor to the Rootes offering; a 1965 Vanden Plas 4-litre R.

 

Craig

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a Mazda RX7 with a Wankel Rotary engine once. A neighbor gave it to me when it started spitting antifreeze out of the exhaust. My first intention was to pull it apart and see what failed in it but a few years went by and I was moving so it ended up at my buddies salvage yard. Wasn't worth much back in the late 70's or early 80's. I remember the neighbor said it was really not that good on gas either. Also I remember a 1960's two cycle Peugeot that was in the neighborhood. Buzzed up the road and smoked like the dickens. Dandy Dave! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the early '70s I drove a 1964 Taunus (not Taurus), which was a German Ford, a small 4 cylinder car.  I've also had some uncommon models of common makes such as a Fiat X19 (body by Bertone), a 1968 BMW 1800TI (a 4 cylinder, 2 carburetored 4 door sedan, I believe one won a class in the European Hill Climb Championship about 1966 or 7), a Fiat 750 (basically a 600 but with suspension and engine by Abarth), and a 1966 Datsun 1600 roadster.  None of these were very expensive, but offered good performance at reasonable prices.  I enjoyed them all.

 

Larry

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, vermontboy said:

I had an old SAAB 2 stroke and yes, few gas attendants were willing to put a quart of oil into the gas tank prior to filling up. Other oddball family owned daily drivers included Morris Minor, Fiat TV-1000 Spider conv, Austin 850, MG 1100. Also a LeCar which is a little later than the parameters but was a true oddball nonetheless. Perhaps motorcycles don't count but I had a Bultaco 175cc street bike I rode daily, weather permitting.

I had a Husqvarna when everyone else had Yamaha, and yes I was one of those gas jockey doubters about putting oil in the gas.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...