Thursday, September 25, 2008

THE BABY CARS OF EUROPE

I LOVE CARS!!!! Anyone who "knows" me, even barely, knows that. I was raised in a small town in western Kentucky where "you were what you drove". I have had a love affair with the automobile since before I was sixteen. When we got to Europe this place was like a kid's toy chest for me, not so much for the big Mercedes, BMWs, or Jaguars that I see in the states, but the "unknown" Skodas, Citroens, Renaults and Fiats.

Almost all of the cars here are smaller than in the USA. Our Nissan Note dci is about the same size as the Toyota Matrix I own at home. The Matrix is considered small but that same size car here is a mid-size. What we don't see in Cincinnati are the very small cars. I correct myself: Smart cars are now invading Cincinnati. But the cars I see all over Tuscany and Italy are smaller than a Mini Cooper but bigger than a Smart car AND have a back seat. For example, here is my Nissan Note,considered a bigger car.



I WANT A NEW FIAT 500!!!! It is so cool. They are so small on the outside but big on the inside. The dashboards are the same color as the car. Nice design. Here, see for yourself....look at those sexy curves!!!!!
















The next car is an older Fiat 500. It seems to be kind of a cult car around Italy. They typically have been repainted but still retain the "old" look. The interiors have been reupholstered in cool new fabrics. Kind of like a Old Volkswagen from the 60s or 70s.












I also like the Citroen C1. Our landlord, Giacomo, sometimes drives his Mother's C1 just so he doesn't have to pay the high price of fuel. I saw a billboard that quoted a mileage of 39 liters per 100 km. This equates to about 61 miles per gallon.
I don't doubt this because the Nissan Note (remember a mid-size car) got almost 46 mpg at the last fill up. Why can't Detroit get these numbers??? I didn't get a pic of this so I'm substituting a Peugeot 107. Sorry....















The next car really isn't a car. Its a three wheeled scooter called an Ape 50, made by Piaggio, the same company that makes the Vespa scooter. But it has a pickup bed on the back. When you hear it coming it sounds like a scooter, but its a "pickup scooter". This vehicle is certainly the utility vehicle of choice in the narrow alleyed hill towns of Tuscany. Ford F-150 and Silverado, regardless of how tough you are, you ain't going to make it here!!!


Lancia builds a very stylish Ypsilon. I see a lot of these around. The Ypsilon retains the same Lancia grill as other larger models. I could also own one of these. Has a funky velour dash to match the seats, but looks classic.











Luxury makers have to get in on the action. Mercedes-Benz makes a 100 series, starting at a bare-bones 140 going up to the nicely outfitted 180. Tell me this wouldn't sell in bunches in America to up and coming yuppies.











I am looking forward to the Range Rovers we will probably use in Tanzania on the safari. I am also looking forward to how Africans can keep an older car going after decades. More about that later.

1 comment:

Sophia said...

When I was in Africa what I noticed about the cars was they were all white- let me know if that is still the case since that was 15 years ago.