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2021 Club Calendar Monthly Car Articles

Discussion in 'General SAOCA Discussions' started by 65sunbeam, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    Welcome to April!

    Happily, my Alpine was chosen as this month’s calendar car. A number of club members have expressed curiosity about the image. (“What the…?!” has been the most common question.), so I've included a reference shot to provide context.

    As I expect you’ve guessed, this is one of the three “Swan Song” concept cars, produced by Rootes - kind of - during the early spring of 1967. For the few who may not know the story, William Rootes’ twin daughters, Beatrix and Desdemona (“Des”), were miffed that Daddy and Uncle Reggie had sold the family company out from under them, and to a batch of Americans, at that. They were particularly fond of the little Alpines, and couldn’t bear the thought of ending the family’s wheeled heritage. The girls devised a way to finance a spinoff project with their trust funds, but pesky patent and copyright laws stood in their path.

    They solved their problem by hiring renowned designer and family friend William Garden to re-imagine the Alpine for a new generation. That Garden was known for designing tugboats and sailing vessels was, apparently, not an issue. Cosmetic changes were made here and there to satisfy the lawyers, but Garden made significant modifications elsewhere in the vehicle, too. Motive power came from twin British Seagull Longshafts, mounted transversely. The fore and aft skirts were a nod to both nautical good looks, and to the Alpine’s stunning Index of Thermal Efficiency victory at Le Mans. However, the skirts presented an obvious steering problem, which Garden solved by installing bow thrusters in the front valance. It was the first time this technology had been applied in the automotive industry. The thrusters worked like champs, but they tended to blow cyclists and smaller MG and Austin products off the road during “spirited” steering. Also, the heavy compressors took up most of the boot, and threw off the car’s refined balance.

    Sadly, as is often the case with innovative undertakings, the end came abruptly. Only three of the cars were completed - two of ferro cement, and one of graphene - before Beatrix married an Italian fig tycoon and lost interest in the project. Des entered a convent outside of Inverness, and the rekindling of the Series Alpine drifted into the history books. (If you get the chance, read Percival Cheshire-Barf’s brilliant essay, “The Alpine Who Never Was”. Riveting.)

    My history with the car is unremarkabe. I purchased it from a private party in 1972, for $750 and a case of canned haggis. It was the graphene version. Electrolysis took down the other two, or so I hear. I let the car go just last month to an excitable fellow from Buenos Aires. He thought he might drop in a V8 next summer, but he had to think about it first .

    Have a great April!

    Swan Song Alpine 1b.jpg
    puff4, John W and Alpine 1789 like this.
  2. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    Slainte likes this.
  3. Silver Creek Sunbeam

    Silver Creek Sunbeam Platinum Level Sponsor

    Another day of learning something new....thanks!
    Slainte and John W like this.
  4. RootesRooter

    RootesRooter Platinum Level Sponsor

    "bow thrusters"?
  5. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane Gold Level Sponsor

    Just part of the nautical theme.
  6. s2willdo

    s2willdo Gold Level Sponsor

    As the month of April comes to and end, I'll have to flip my calendar soon. I was hoping to see more discussion on this. I noticed 3, maybe 4 things that were not discussed regarding this picture.
    Slainte likes this.
  7. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    I'll admit, I'd hoped it would get a bit more of a rise from folks. What were the 3 or 4 things you noticed? Most folks have better things to do with their time, I'm sure, but if you're a "Where's Waldo" fan, there are seven details to find. Some are obvious, others are pretty much impossible.
  8. s2willdo

    s2willdo Gold Level Sponsor

  9. s2willdo

    s2willdo Gold Level Sponsor

    It hangs above my monitor so I look at it during conference calls.
    1) April
    2) 1
    3) Sunbeam on rock
    4) logo near bumper
    Good job on the skirts
  10. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    April 1 - check
    Sunbeam on the rock - check
    The logo next to the bow thruster actually says "Thrust Wash Keep Clear", but it's darned hard to read. Anyway, check.
    The skirts are pretty obvious, so they don't count, but thanks.
    ernestovumbles likes this.
  11. husky drvr

    husky drvr Platinum Level Sponsor

    To go along with the skirts, the usual fender lip is missing at both openings.

    October 24, 1966 on tree beside "deer in the headlights" Date of build?
  12. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    Moulded wheel openings for a nice, smooth run, and yes, the date is my best estimate of the date the car was built. (My guess is it came off the line just before lunch. Oh, deer!)
  13. s2willdo

    s2willdo Gold Level Sponsor

    I meant the shadows of the trees on the skirts was well done. I still don’t see the date or deer. Must be my eyes.
  14. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    If you click on the picture it enlarges and you can see the date on the tree. As far as deer goes, they might just be rocks
    in the field!

    My question is how do you change the wheels?
  15. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    Yes, you definitely want to view the image in the largest possible version to get the most from it. As to changing the tires, I gather there was a variant of Citroën's Hydroneumatic suspension system in the works. Push a button, and the whole thing lifts above the top of the tires. Unfortunately, initial tests were done in February in Aberdeenshire. High winds generated enough lift to stop development of the system, and the whole project was scrapped before an alternative was found. The tires currently on the car are original.
  16. belmateo

    belmateo Gold Level Sponsor

    I am sad not to see the story behind Slainte's car. There is still time to share....

  17. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    Ha! I thought about posting a less April Foolish version, but I figured I'd had my fifteen minutes. Maybe I'll put something together before my time is up.
  18. belmateo

    belmateo Gold Level Sponsor

    I like it!
  19. puff4

    puff4 Gold Level Sponsor

    ... and the rock that looks suspiciously like a dog’s head on the far left top of the wall.
  20. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    @puff4 If I'd noticed the dog's-head rock, I definitely would have done something with it. Missed opportunity. However, I'm pleased you're beginning to see things. The pareidolia is setting in!
    puff4 likes this.

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