EVENT: InterMarque 2019 Part 2

In part 1 we talked about what made the InterMarque show particularly special, the things that many other shows miss the boat on, the ambiance of the show, the lot of it. We didn’t spend much time on the cars themselves though. Some shows, that would be entirely permissible because just about everything that needs to be said about an Evo X has been said. InterMarque though, every car could have an article written about it, so lets take a look at some of the highlights that we noticed in the show.

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In part 1 we talked about what made the InterMarque show particularly special, the things that many other shows miss the boat on, the ambiance of the show, the lot of it. We didn’t spend much time on the cars themselves though. Some shows, that would be entirely permissible because just about everything that needs to be said about an Evo X has been said. InterMarque though, every car could have an article written about it, so lets take a look at some of the highlights that we noticed in the show.

r107 mercedes lineupSince Mercedes was the featured Marque of the show this year and we really didn’t talk about them in part 1, it’s probably right that we spend some time looking over the silver stars in show. One of the cars ubiquitous to the glitz and glamour of the 70’s and the 80’s was the R107 SL. Due to their popularity during their era, the used car market was saturated for decades, and it can be argued that it still is today. That means, you can get these for pennies on the dollar compared their predecessors and successors, yet still have a car more reliable than a modern SL.

R107 Euro BlackI stand by the belief that the Euro bumper R107 is currently one of the best classic Mercedes purchases you can make right now. For about $13,000 you can get yourself a well sorted driver’s car. While the American front ends look a bit on the homely side, the european front end really makes the car come together. The Euro R107s make me wonder, why did anybody buy the C3 Corvette when this was around?

560SEC AMG WidebodyThis cocaine cowboy AMG Widebody 560 SEC was, without any doubt, my favorite Mercedes in show at InterMarque. Like the R107, there are endless C126 examples floating around the world, drive though Edina in June and you’ll find at least a half of a dozen octogenarians scooting down to the bingo hall or country club in them still. Their prevalent existence makes them easy to overlook but if you were a new money yuppie in the 80s, this was the car to have if you wanted a GT car.

560sec amg rearOf course, like today, most new money types weren’t ones to leave well enough alone. If you wanted something with more power and aesthetics to standout from the regular crowd, to “flex” if we shall be so bold to use the parlance of our times, then you would go to one of the coachbuilders of the era to take your car to the next level. The car shown above was a widebody AMG example with color matched deep dish wheels and grille. Before becoming part of Mercedes, AMG was at the forefront of quality for these coachbuilders and managed to stay tasteful while doing so.

r113 Pagoda Blue Front.jpgWhile the R107 and C126 cars above are both very good Mercedes products, there were several Pagodas in show as well. While Pagoda is the adapted nickname for the car, the technical term is W113 Mercedes SL chassis. A very strong argument could be made that this is the best Mercedes ever made. The highest technology of the era being only outshined by the extremely high build quality, the Pagoda deserves an article in of itself.

Red Pagoda Rear.jpgThis may be one of the most perfectly proportioned cars ever made. It was designed to not only have a beautiful form but to be perfectly functional as well. One of the best features of the pagoda is that is is surprisingly affordable. Note I didn’t say affordable, but surprisingly affordable. They’re still in the $40k range for a good one but given that there are six R107s for each pagoda ever made and then accounting for their reliability, beauty and quality, it begins to be rather shocking that they’re only that much.

Volvo P1800While we’re on the topic of affordability and quality, InterMarque also had one of the largest showings of Scandinavian made cars outside of going to a Volvo specific meet. You can really point to any of the Scandinavian brands and find a litany of collector cars that are ready to blow up in value but none strike a chord as much as the Volvo P1800 did. Styled under the tutelage of Pietro Frua, this car took the sports coupe form factor and built it to Volvo’s rigorous reliability standards. It seems to have worked because the highest mileage ever attained on a car was in a Volvo P1800 with 3.2 million miles on it. The P1800 has Carbitrage’s highest Buy This Now ratings because they’re almost all under $20,000. Beautiful, reliable, cheap and fun; how could you not want this for that price?

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The P1800 was one of those cars where Volvo got a bit wild, but going into the complete opposite direction was this Volvo Duett. Designed as a delivery truck, this was the only Volvo to sport a ladder frame chassis. This allowed the truck to have custom bodywork put on with ease, so it was commonly used as a pickup, ambulance and as the general workhorse of 1950s Scandinavia. It isn’t much of a surprise to see these floating around still when you combine Volvo’s build quality with one of the most durable chassis designs available. Jana couldn’t get over how cute this truck was and I couldn’t get over it’s patina. 60 years after production, it’s still unrestored and trucking along. These plucky little Volvos really could get through anything.

Saab 96.jpgAnother Swedish brand was in show as well. Saab, another one of those brands that are vastly undervalued. For some reason, people forget about these cars and I can’t seem to figure out why. To the engineering nerd car collector, the Saab 96 is like a wet dream. The car was front wheel drive and had double wishbone front suspension with a trailing U-beam axle in the rear. The transmission was column shifted and they had an overrunning clutch which allowed the transmission to spin faster than the engine. Early models had an water cooled 2-stroke inline three cylinder engine with the radiator located behind the engine which was weird. Of course you can only make something so weird before it doesn’t sell so they eventually moved to four stroke four cylinder engine.

saab 96 v4 engine.jpgOf course not to be confused for a normal company, they didn’t do an inline 4, but they used a V4. The exact engine they used was the Ford Taunus V4. This engine is one of six V4 configurations ever put into a car. I can actually list all of them in one sentence without creating a run-on list; Ford, Porsche, Zaz, Lancia, AMC and the Christie GP Car. With both the inline-3 engine and the V4 engine, Saab cleaned up in rally racing. It won the inagural 1973 WRC championship, again in 1976, a litany of individual races and currently holds the landspeed record for production 750cc engine cars. Along with the Lancia Fulvia and Morris Mini, the Saab 96 is considered one of the greatest 2WD rally cars of all time.

Saab SPG.jpgThere was so much to see at InterMarque this year, to take it all in you just have to be there in person. This show proved to be absolutely stellar and regardless of your distance from the Twin Cities, it is worth every second of the drive there. Needless to say, we will be marking InterMarque as a must see next year.

EVENT: InterMarque 2019 Part 1

Sometimes I really dread going to a car show. I find myself having dubstep blasted in my earhole and having my olfactory system assaulted by Haggis and Watermelon vape smoke. Meanwhile I’m trying find some way out of that asphalt hell before I develop melanoma.

InterMarque Vintage Foreign Car Show is not one of those shows.

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Sometimes I really dread going to a car show. All too often I find myself standing in a boiling hot parking lot while some mouthbreather babbles on about some grievance they have with the show. Meanwhile I’m having dubstep blasted in my earhole and having my olfactory system assaulted by Haggis and Watermelon vape smoke. Honestly, some shows could be nothing but vintage Japanese cars and Group B rally cars, yet I still find myself trying find some way out of that asphalt hell before I develop melanoma. InterMarque Vintage Foreign Car Show is not one of those shows.

Citroen DS and Traction Avant

In fact, I have to say that my first visit to an InterMarque show was the farthest thing from the scenario I mentioned above. It was a perfect combination of factors that all came together in just the right way. A car show like a real estate investment, while the house itself is important, you can always improve that, you can also improve the yard but the hardest part to improve is the location. If you nail all of those aspects, it is a perfect house, and InterMarque certainly nailed it. It really wouldn’t be out of place at Monterey Car Week, not only are the cars on caliber of some of the crop that you see at Car Week, but the character of the show and it’s location would fit in just as well.

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Every spring, InterMarque car club and the City of Osseo shut down 4 blocks of the quaint downtown area of the city for an annual spring car show. The cars range from RHD Honda BEATs to European rarities like a Borgward Isabella. The true beauty of the show however is the location. You have the cars lining down 4 blocks of the city, allowing for easy foot traffic and lots of space to take pictures and gawk. There is a plaza in the middle of the show where small businesses sell their wares and, more importantly, there is plenty of shade and places to sit. You really feel comfortable at this show and that’s something that a lot of shows miss the boat on.

Isetta Gyros.jpg

It’s the small businesses along the street make the show feel like something magical. If you tire of constantly walking and baking in the sun, you can just pop into an antique shop or stop for a gyro. It makes you feel like you’re actually benefiting the community rather than being a nuisance, the constant anxiety of having to cut the show short because someone decided to flex their rev limiter skills is non-existent. When you leave the show, you feel happy, rather than drained. On the way home we were actually remarking about how much we loved the show, rather than complain about who did what.

Volvo 145

There is a sense of camaraderie amongst fans of the show. These are the people who represent what Carbitrage is all about, it’s for people who love the automobile in all of it’s forms. It’s a place where you find a Triumph 2000 owner talking to the owner of an S2000 and instead of belittling each other or talking at each other, they are just enjoying each others company. I even had deeply enlightening conversations about the various coachbuilt variants of the Citroen DS and about the Bosch Jetronic fuel injection system.

Triumph TR3As

It isn’t just the Carbitrage staff and a group of our fans that love the meet. You’re just as likely to see a 17 year old kid losing their mind over a Honda BEAT as you are to find a white haired man with a beard doing the same thing over these Triumph TR3s. It reminds me of when I was a kid going to Hot Import Nights for the first time and getting jacked up on all of the free cups of NOS energy drink. Every car is something special, you feel like you need to look at every single thing.

Type 3 Front.jpg

That is another piece of the of the mosaic that makes this show so good, everything pays off to look at. Some cars that are obviously cool, like this Volkswagen Type 3. They immediately draw your attention and reward you when you get to the details. You go in expecting something excellent and you aren’t disappointed.

Humbler Super Snipe.jpg

Other cars in the show pay off once you get up close to them. To be entirely honest, I was even thrown off by this car and I pride myself on knowledge of the most obscure cars I can fathom. Richard Halkyard spotted it from half a block away, it is a Humbler Super Snipe. While it looks like an upscale Checker Marathon from the outside, under the hood it gets really interesting.

Humbler Engine

It sports an overhead valve inline six, which on it’s own doesn’t sound like much to write home about, but if you consider that it has hemispherical combustion chambers and a crossflow head design, it suddenly becomes very interesting. Now add that this was designed in the UK in 1958 and was put into a slightly upscale but still largely affordable car, it becomes even more noteworthy.

Super Snipe Badge

In 1958, outside of Chrysler’s Firepower V8 engine, a hemispherical OHV cylinder head could only really be found in upscale marques such as Jaguar, Porsche or the incredibly rare MG MGA Twin Cam. The crossflow design, where the intake is opposite of the exhaust on the head, is something we take for granted today but it wasn’t a common design on six cylinder engines until the 1980s, and it was still usually only seen on high performance vehicles for another decade.

Celica Supra Front.jpg

As great as cars like the Humbler Super Snipe were, going through a completely esoteric show full of things most car enthusiasts have never heard of can feel like it isn’t relatable sometimes. InterMarque wasn’t just completely bizarre European classics, cars like this Mk2 Celica Supra and NA Miata were in show as well. The Japanese representation is still small at InterMarque but it has been growing year over year. What is lost in quantity is made up for with quality though because not only were the cars like these two cars mere examples of great Japanese cars, but they were among two of the best examples I’ve seen yet in Minnesota. This Supra on it’s own could contend at Japanese Classic Car Show out in California and the Miata was no slouch either. Lining the block you could still find the occasional Datsun or Mazda tucked away in other spots as well and they were welcome just as much as the British roadsters were, it honestly felt really good seeing a show that didn’t discriminate one brand over another.

2CV Spitfire Rear

There was so much to see at this show, it could have not been any better, we will be updating with a second part that is more focused on the cars in show. It was just pertinent that we talk about what really made InterMarque great. The location, the attitude, the community, it isn’t just one aspect that makes a show great but everything put together. Like our real estate reference in the beginning said, the house, the yard and the location all make for perfection.  If you’ve never been to InterMarque, you’re missing out on one of the best shows of the year and you owe it to yourself to check it out next year.

MOTORCULT EPISODE 39 IS LIVE

On this episode of MotorCult Berger gets hassled by the police, Volkswagen discovers colors, the World Cup of Cars continues and we talk about the wheels on the Miami Vice Testarossa…

On this episode of the MotorCult podcast we start off with Berger’s story of getting hassled by a police officer, who turns out to be a very nice person. Ryan, Jana and Berger discuss if he was actually that nice though.

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Berger gives us a preview of Monterey Car Week when he went a week early. Despite being unintentional, he says the days before Car Week are a must see. Berger for possibly the first time, mentions a pre-war car not prompted by Ryan when he describes a Locomobile he saw at Laguna Seca. We prime the audience about what Ryan and Jana will be up to while they’re out there.
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In news Ryan covers an incredible barn find story, Brabus makes a 125 HP Smart FourTwo and Bugatti unveils their DiVo.Volkswagen makes cars with colors after the astonishing discovery that people like choices. They expand the color catalog of the Golf R from 3 to 43!

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Our Interesting Engineering topic is metric tire sizes, why they existed in the first place and why they went away.

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We come to the World Cup of Cars semi-finals with France battling it out against Iran and Japan taking on Sweden for a chance to compete in the final match of the World Cup of Cars.

To listen to the latest episode of MotorCult click the link below!

MotorCult Episode 39