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Return of the classy, antique car
Vintage cars are all the rage, not just in the increasingly popular club rallies but on the streets of many Spanish cities. A classic car is within everyone’s reach and we take a look at where and how to find them.
FLYING down the highway in a 60-year-old car is really something special. Perhaps their unique design is the reason or as the cities are so jammed these days speed is no longer important. Either way, old, well-restored cars are in fashion again.
Another powerful incentive for their comeback is their price. Antique cars, in comparison with some of the newer makes, are not so expensive, and a glance at the internet, or at the doyenne of classic cars in Spain 'Motorclassic' magazine, proves this to be the case.
Car manufacturers have already realized this tendency and are beginning to offer ‘remakes’ of the classic 20th century designs.
Besides this, there are fantastic museums such as the Salamanca’s Historic Transport Museum, of which we will speak more later, and a full agenda of rallies and vintage car meetings, where fans of these precious machines can share their passion.
In short, the whole world of antique cars is opening up, and becoming yet another of the faddy tendencies in our daily lives.
Is there anything to compare to a drive by the beach in a bright red Triumph TR-3 convertible? Probably not.
Believe it or not, this longed-for-dream is no longer so difficult to achieve. As an example, a white Triumph with a black hood, registered in 1964, is on sale in Asturias for only 35,000 euros (www.autoocasion.com).
And this is but one example. There are plenty to choose from, within all price ranges, Spanish and foreign makes, but they all share the magically smooth transition from nought to a happy 60.
If we are speaking of the Triumph, we should also talk about the Spanish six hundred (main photo). Spain also has its grand motorcar classics, and this was a real car fetish. The 600 was as famous as the Triumph TR-3, for Spaniards. It was a mini car brought out by Seat in 1957, but which stopped being manufactured in 1982.
Many Spanish youths will recall their grandfathers or even their mothers – because this was the car for women par excellence – driving a six hundred, whose doors opened in the opposite direction.
When our protagonist came on to the market, it was an authentic car within reach of the middle classes, and perfectly timed for its clientele.
It suited the sector that did not want something as luxurious as the Seat 1400, but that needed something in excess of a Vespa scooter. At first, the six hundred was not a popular car but it was a luxury within reach of a few.
The forerunner of the 600 was the Fiat 600, presented in the parlours of Geneva in 1955, and mimicking the fashionable ”wedge shoe”.
Some units were imported into Spain, but Seat eventually made an agreement for the production of the 600 in the Zona Franca (in Barcelona). The first copy was delivered in May 1957, to an army general’s son and in that first year of production another 2,585 Seat 600’s were produced.
The 633c.c. engine functioned with gasoline of 72 octanes and only had 3 fuses of 8 amps. It yielded 21.5 CV.
Compared with the Biscuter, PTV, Isetta and other micro cars, right from the outset, the Seat 600 was a whole lot more.
Between 1957 and 1963, this first series was produced, characterised by its indicators on either side. In 1958, it was modified to have light levers and indicators placed on the steering wheel.
The convertible version appeared in the same year. 1963, saw the creation of the 600 D, which had a more powerful 767 c.c. engine and 29CV.
In many garages you can still see six hundreds and they are now very accessible. Every detail of t
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