CC Outtakes: Good Car-Friday

In Germany, where Good Friday is called Karfreitag, there is a tradition at the Nürburgring to open the season for Touristenfahrten (the public driving sessions) on the Friday before Easter, that is, on Car-Friday. But Karfreitag is also a public holiday in Germany and with nothing to do but stay home I went to the hardware store the day before to stock up on supplies and get a head start on all those home improvement projects my wife has been nagging me about. And boy was I in for a nice surprise when I parked my old Toyota in the hardware store’s parking garage, located on the junction of two major subway lines. The hardware store’s architects had clearly misjudged the need for parking, which left a lot of free space. Space that was rented out to the classic car community!

The market for RWD VWs has become superhot in Germany (and elsewhere). I have lost count on all the T3s in my neighborhood by now. The T2 though is fairly rare here. Even more interesting though to me is the Citroen BX in the background. The Bertone design was turned down by both Reliant and Volvo.


Speaking of Volvo: This 145 is the only one on the streets of Berlin that I know of. It’s hard to believe this design has been around for 54 years. By the end of last century Volvo was still building the basic beautiful versatile brick, even though in the first gen V70 (and 850) it had changed to FWD. I never really cared for any of the less boxy Volvos that came after. Do you?

The only thing this E34 has in common with the 145 is chrome in the wrong places…Still it is a beautiful design, only surpassed by the E32 in my opinion. Judging from the mirrors it should be a post facelift car with the M50 engine. Question to you buffs from the States: Was the 525i with the M20 engine sold there alongside the 535i in the US market? I can’t seem to get any info on that.


This is a very nice choice of vanity plates, don’t you think? The R129 to me is one of the weirdest designs ever. While clearly not elegant, it is also not aging at all. I can’t help but think this is a W140 that some giant sat on for too long. The W126 seems to have French lights!

French yellow seems to be a theme down here though…The left S123 is in much better shape and I would guess the right one is a donor car, by the sheer level of theft protections, even though both are on valid plates (for now, as they won’t be much longer if that fluid keeps a-drippin’… no passing the German bi-yearly inspection if your car loses so much as a drop of oil!!!)

Here is a strange one though: The right one is a US market car AND has yellow French lights. Whaddayasay? This wagon travelled Stuttgart – US – French – Berlin?!

Both cars are 3 litre I-5 turbodiesels, a hugely popular choice of engine in the US at the time, so I read. Less so in Germany, where most people went for the 2.3 litre gas engine or the smaller diesels. My best friend’s parents from grade school drove one and this was my first experience with turbo-lag. In German, turbo-lag is called “Turboloch” – turbo-hole. And boy was it an apt description for this car. No wonder Mercedes only equipped these with the 4-speed auto. It would rev to like 2500 rpm, then release, and the big ship would start to move. In traffic, you had to floor it, then nothing happened for two to three seconds, then a surge of power. Driven at a steady 100 mph it still got around 17 mpg – not bad for its day.

Ford was present as well, with a 2 litre Capri in fairly nice shape.


And the classic German taxi cab from half a century ago – however, in a very nice color.


One of the rarer sights in Berlin’s current RV craze: A Bedford CF, or Opel Bedford Blitz as they were marketed in Germany. Probably not wearing original paint….


To finish off, two veiled beauties to guess. Should not be too hard for the CCommunity….


I was about to pull the curtain on this one when I realized I was under video surveillance. Would probably have been worth it, though!

Happy Easter to all of you (during difficult times when the best thing you can do is write and read about cars it seems)…. !