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Cars and Motorcycles

Of Europe




Traveling through Europe is a visual treat for car lovers.  Over half of the cars on the road are not sold in the USA.  As a general rule, the Germans prefer efficiency and function over sheer size.  You very seldom see one German driving alone in a huge 3-ton SUV, preferring smaller, more maneuverable vehicles.  Part of the reasoning may be the higher speeds Germans typically drive, making ponderous SUVs very undesirable.  The $4.00 per gallon gas may be another reason.  Last, the parking spots in most European cities are quite small, as most Americans find out when they have to take up 2 spots to park their big rigs.


As for cars, fast and good-handling are the best selling points.  Mercedes, Audis and BMWs are as common as Chevys in the states, and for good reason.  When you see these cars passing you on the autobahn at speeds in excess of 125 mph, you know the Germans appreciate good machines.  It’s also interesting to see how much Americans overpay for German cars.  Here, you can buy a Mercedes C-Class sedan with a stick-shift, cloth seats (not leather), manual crank windows, etc etc – you remember basic cars – for about  $18,000.  The same car in the states (with leather and power everything) sells for well over $30,000.  It’s all about image.  How would Americans that spend $50,000 for a Mercedes E-Class sedan (the mid-size model) feel when they step off a plane at Frankfurt Airport and see the large line of Mercedes E-Class taxis lined up out front.  Ha!


One interesting item found on the majority of European cars that I would like to see again in the states is the diesel engine.  These are not the noisy, slow diesels of the 80s.  The new engines have such high tech features as direct injection, catalysts, and electronic controls.  Except for a very slight “pucka-pucka” when idling, you would have a hard time telling you are driving a diesel.  I drove a Ford Focus diesel in Italy, and it pulled up to 150 kilometers per hour (about 95 mph) so quickly I found myself going much faster than the local speed limits more than once.  I have seen these Focus diesels pass me on the autobahn going much faster than my usual 85-90 mph.  And they are still getting 35-40 mpg. When they slow down to my speed, they’re getting more like 40-50 mpg.   Perhaps Americans would buy diesels if the price difference was as great as it is in Europe:  Gasoline is $4.00 per gallon (regular grade), and diesel is “only” $3.20.  That adds up when you pump in 20-30 gallons at a time.  I’ll be watching for diesels to re-appear in the states!


OK, the moment you have been waiting for – the cars and motorcycles of Europe!


Auto Museums of Europe


Skip Down to New European Cars


Skip Down to the Kaiserslautern Motorcycle Show




Automobile Museums

Sinsheim / Autostadt / Autoworld



039 Autostadt Benz 1886

It all started here.  The 1886 Benz, the world’s first gasoline-powered car.

German engineer Gottlieb Daimler and German inventor Wilhelm Maybach mounted a gasoline-powered engine onto a bicycle, creating a motorcycle, in 1885.  Another German engineer, Karl Benz, produced his first gasoline car in 1886. In 1890 Daimler and Maybach started a successful car manufacturing company, The Daimler Motor Company, which eventually merged with Benz’s manufacturing firm in 1926 to create Daimler-Benz. The joint company makes cars today under the Mercedes-Benz nameplate.

(Photo from Volkswagen Autostadt museum – Wolfsburg, Germany)



Brussels autoworld 1906 Fondu

The 1906 Fondu was the first mass produced Russian-Baltic car.

The woodwork was incredible.

(Photo from Autoworld Museum, Brussels, Belgium)



Brussels autoworld 1910 Minerva car

This 1910 Minerva belonged to the Belgian Court in the days of King Arthur.

(Autoworld – Brussels)



Brussels autoworld  Minerva Motorcycle

Minerva also manufactured motorcycles.




Brussels autoworld motorcycle 3

Another old motorcycle (make unknown) at the Autoworld Museum in Brussels.



Sinsheim Powered wheel 1

I don’t know if you would consider this a car or motorcycle?  It’s a powered wheel operated by a driver with a very good sense of balance (and humor!).  The seat and engine remain stationary (hopefully) while the engine drives the gear on the inside circumference of the wheel.

(Photo: Sinsheim Museum)



Sinsheim 1926 Hanomag Kommisbrot

A 1926 Hanomag Kommisbrot.  Produced in Hannover, Germany, the Kommisbrot (named for its resemblance of a loaf of “Army Bread”) was powered by a 1-cylinder engine.  It was very popular.




Brussels autoworld 1930 FN - 2

The 1930 FN Type 1400 was a Belgian car made at the request of the Shah of Persia.

The wood is hand-carved, and there is a liberal amount of aluminum used in the construction.  Certain accessories throughout the car are made of silver.

(Autoworld – Brussels)



Brussels autoworld 1930 FN woodwork

A close-up view of the woodwork on the 1930 FN Type 1400 pictured above.



Sinsheim 1934 Mercedes 500K

A 1934 Mercedes Benz 500K at the Museum in Sinsheim, Germany. The 5-liter, Inline 6-Cylinder engine powered the car to over 100 mph.  Only 354 of these cars were made.




045 Autostadt 1935 VW Prototype

A reproduction of a 1935 Volkswagen Beetle prototype.  Three were built to test the design, but were later destroyed over fear the competition would steal them and copy their design features.

(Photo:  Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany)



048 Autostadt 1935 VW Prototype

A view of the rear of the 1935 VW Beetle prototype.  Luckily, when the real model came out, it had a back window.  I can only imagine how poor the view out the rear was.




059 Autostadt 1936 BMW 328

While VW was trying to perfect the design of the Beetle in the mid 1930s, BMW was building this beautiful car.  This is the 1936 BMW 328.  Top speed was over 90 mph.  By the way, the Germans pronounce BMW as “Bay-Emm-Vay”.  BMW was originally a manufacturer of airplane engines, as is evident by the propellers on the wheels.  (Photo: Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany)



067 Autostadt Auto Union 1936 Type C

1936 Auto Union Type C Grand Prix race car.  Of the 16 races entered in that year, this car won 9 races.  Powered by a 6-Liter V-16 engine, it reached a top speed of over 210 mph.  In 1936!!  Auto Union was one of the four companies that later joined to form Audi. 

(Photo:  Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany)




058 Autostadt Auto Union 1936 Type C

A view of the 1936 Auto Union Type C race car and V-16 engine.



Sinsheim 1938 Mercedes G4  2

1938 Mercedes Benz G4 (as in 4WD).   Note the 4 rear wheels on 2 axles.

Only 38 of these were ever produced, primarily for the upper military elite of the 3rd Reich.  One was given to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and others were used in the occupation of Austria and Czechoslovakia.  After the war, they were used in fire brigades.   It was probably the first SUV. 




Sinsheim 1939 Horch 830  BL

1939 Auto Union Horch 839 BL.  Powered by a 3.5 liter V-8.

(Photo:  Sinsheim Museum, Germany)



Munich tech museum Adler Diplomat

The 1939 Adler Diplomat was a showpiece of German ingenuity.  Because of the scarcity of fuel

during and after WWII, this wood-burning gasification car became quite practical. See notes below.

Originally, I thought this was a steam-powered car, but two gentlemen wrote to tell me about the gasification process. 

Thanks to Matthias and Neil,  I learned something new and interesting.

(Photo:  Munich Technical Museum)


The following notes are from the website:

Gasification* is the cleanest, most efficient combustion method known. It has been used for decades where clean heat is required. Examples include the thousands of vehicles which were directly fuelled by Gasifiers during the Second World War, or the coal gas "works" which were common in cities all over the World before natural gas. These produced gas which combusted so clean it was used in chimney-less household appliances such as cookers and heaters, without adverse effects.

WOODGAS POWERED VW'S AND OTHER VEHICLES - Fuel shortages during WWII prompted searches for alternative fuels in England, Germany, Scandinavia and many other countries. One of the most unusual solutions involved the modification of vehicles for use with wood, charcoal, or coal. Typical modifications included A) a gas generator; B) a gas reservoir; and C) carburetor modifications and additional plumbing to convey, filter, and meter the gas into the engine.

The gas generator was an airtight vessel into which was introduced a charge of wood, charcoal, or anthracite coal. Heat was applied to the fuel either internally or externally to initiate a self-sustaining gasification of the fuel in an oxygen deprived environment. The resulting "woodgas" was piped to the reservoir, or in the case of small engines, directly to the engine carburetor. Wood-gas modified vehicles were therefore technically a "dual fuel" vehicle in that a self-sustaining gasification of the wood charcoal, or coal required another fuel to start the process.

Gas reservoir sizes depended upon vehicle, engine, and gasifier size. Small vehicles and engines could be supplied directly from the gasifier, thus eliminating large reservoirs. Larger, more powerful vehicles required separate gas reservoirs to compensate for gasifier outputs which were less than the fuel consumption rate of the engine. These larger reservoirs usually took the form of gas bags that were attached to the roof or rear end of the vehicle. The largest mobile reservoirs were gas bags fitted to busses which were often several feet in diameter and as long as the vehicle.






085 Autostadt VW shipped

The first import by German manufacturer Volkswagen AG, advertised as the Beetle, arrived in the United States in 1949. Only two were sold that year, but American consumers soon began buying the Beetle and other small imports by the thousands. That prompted a downsizing of some American-made vehicles.




091 Autostadt 1951 Lancia

This 1951 Lancia Aurelia (B10) was left in the exact condition, cobwebs and all, as it was found in a barn.  It was the world’s first car with a V-6 engine and a rear-axle-mounted transmission.



Brussels autoworld 1952 Bugatti Type 57

1952 Bugatti Type 57. 

(Photo:  Autoworld, Brussels, Belgium)



Brussels autoworld 1952 Bugatti Type 57 rear

A rear-view of the 1952 Bugatti Type 57.  Pretty futuristic for 1952, eh?

I wonder if this is where they got the idea for the 1960’s Plymouth Barracuda?





Brussels autoworld Messerschmitt car - 1

1955 Messerschmitt KR200.  You may recognize the name Messerschmitt as the company that built fighter planes for the Germans in WW II.  After the war, the company reverted to building cars.  Professor Willy Messerschmitt designed this single-seat, 3-wheel car, called the “flitzer” (dart), to motorize war invalids.  Its popularity caught on with the general population, as it cost only half the price of a VW Beetle.  Powered by a 1-cylinder air-cooled engine, the 600-pound car could reach a top speed of about 55 mph.  The aircraft heritage of Messerschmitt can be seen in the lift-up canopy top, similar to its fighter planes.

(Photo:  Brussels Autoworld)




This shows the size of the Messerschmitt KR-200.

(Photo:  Volkswagen Autostadt)



Sinsheim 1956 Goggomobile Coupe TS 250

1956 Goggomobile Coupe TS 250.  Cute name, eh?  Powered by a 400cc engine,

it reached a top speed of about 65mph.  We actually saw one of these on the autobahn.

(Photo:  Sinsheim Museum)





Sinsheim Zundapp 1958 Janus 250




Sinsheim 1958 Zundapp Janus 250  2

…..or going?  The 1958 Zuendap Janus 250 was named after a Greek God with two faces. 

Very appropriate for a car that looks like it’s coming at you from both directions.

Notice the rear-facing back seat.  (Barf!!)

(Photo: Sinsheim Museum)



Brussels autoworld 1962 BMW Isetta - 2

It’s a Beemer!  Yes, a 1962 BMW (pronounced Bay-Emm-Vay in German) Isetta. The front of the car is the front door.  The steering wheel and dashboard swing out for easy access.  Powered by a 1-Cylinder engine.

Could this have been the Yuppie-mobile of the 60s?



Brussels Citroen Duck

The Citroen 2CV (France) was produced with few changes from the late 1950s through the 1990s.  There are thousands of these “French VW Beetles” still running around Europe.  This one was photographed in Paris.

Not all “Ducks” are timid commuter cars, though.  Check out the next picture.



Sinsheim Citroen Duck racer

VAROOOM!!  A hot-rod “Duck” with a Chevy V-8!

You won’t see many of these on the US dragstrips.





The Austin Mini is one of the most-produced cars in the world, having been in production from 1959 until just last year.  This 1965 model was the 1-millionth Mini off the assembly line.

(Photo:  Volkswagen Autostadt)




Picture_18 cropped

Just another 1967 VW Beetle?  No – this was John Lennon’s personal VW that

 was pictured on the cover of the Beatle’s Abbey Roads album.

(Photo:  Volkswagen Autostadt)



075 Autostadt One more than Model T

This 1972 VW Beetle is a record-holder.  It was the 15,007,034th Beetle off the assembly line.  What’s the big deal?  Well, up to that point, the Ford Model T had been the most-produced car in history with 15,007,033 produced.  This car made the VW Beetle the most-produced car of all time.

(Photo:  Volkswagen Autostadt)



Brussels autoworld 1972 Citroen SM

This 1972 Citroen sedan (France) featured air suspension that lowered the car when it wasn’t running (which, being a French car, was quite often!).  Pretty futuristic for 1972, eh?

(Photo:  Autoworld, Brussels)




Sinsheim VW Karmann-Ghia

A beautiful VW Karmann-Ghia from the 70s.  They sold these in the states.

(Photo:  Sinsheim Museum)



Dresden Trabant

Trabants were mass-produced by the former communist-bloc countries including East Germany.  This well-preserved model was photographed in Dresden, Germany (formerly East Germany) when we visited in the summer of 2000.  These inexpensive, poorly-made cars featured 2-cycle engine technology straight out of the ‘50s, and were usually followed down the road by a long dark blue cloud of burning oil smoke.  Thousands were abandoned along the roads of East Germany when the Berlin Wall fell as people fled the communist areas in search of freedom. 




Sinsheim Countach front

The front of a Lamborghini Countach (Italy).  Powered by a V-12 engine to over 180mph, this

1980s sports car dominated the European autobahns for years.  Cost - $200,000.00.

(Photo:  Sinsheim Museum)



Sinsheim Lamborghini Diablo 1

The Lamborghini Diablo replaced the Countach a few years ago, and now rules the

European autobahns with its 200mph top speed.  Just for your information, the last time I heard, a tune-up for a Diablo costs over $1,500.00, which is probably cheaper than the monthly insurance bill.

(Photo: Sinsheim Museum)




Sinsheim Countach and Diablo backs

A contrast of styles.  The 1980s Lamborghini Countach (red, left) and the

Late 1990s Lamborghini Diablo (yellow, right) viewed from the rear. 

The sharp angular lines of the 80s have softened, but not the performance.

(Photo: Sinsheim Museum)





New Cars For Sale In Europe Only

(Model years 2000-2002)


Alfa Romeo (Italy)


Citroen (France)


Fiat (Italy)


Ford (Germany)


Lancia (Italy)


MG (Great Britain)


Mercedes-Benz (Germany)


Opel (Germany)


Peugeot (France)


Renault (France)


SEAT (Spain)


SMART Cars (Switzerland/Germany/France)


Toyota (Germany/Japan)


Volkswagen (Germany)






Alfa Romeo 147 front

The Alfa Romeo 147 is a new model available in 2-dr and 4-dr hatchbacks, with gasoline and turbo-diesel engines.  Prices range from about $16,000 to just over $20,000.



Alfa Romeo 147 dash 3

The interior of the Alfa Romeo 147.  Very comfortable, very stylish, just like an Italian suit.

Note the 7000-rpm redline on the tachometer!



Alfa Romeo Convertible 02

For those with more sporting tastes, the Alfa Romeo Spider Convertible offers

 sharp-looking, red leather inserts on its seats and door panels. 



Alfa Romeo Spider 01

Unfortunately, the cars were parked so close together in the small showroom, I could not get a picture of the entire car. So, I copied this picture of the Spider off the Alfa Romeo website.




Alfa Romeo 166

The Alfa Romeo 166 Sedan is a Camry-sized sport sedan.



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Citroen Xenia

The Citroen Xenia wagon.  Visibility must be great out of those huge windows.




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The Fiat Multipla wagon is one really cool car!!  I think this is the one European car I wish I could buy and take back to the states.  With the available turbo-diesel, it gets 40 mpg.  Look at those running lights at the base of the windshield!  Look at the huge windows!  I want one!




The dashboard of the Fiat Multipla features a handy gearshift mounted not on the floor, but in the middle of the dashboard where it does not interfere with the middle passenger in the front seat. 




Fiat Seicento

The Fiat Seicento Sport is a 1500-pound Italian rocket.  It sells for under $10,000.



Fiat Marea 01

The Fiat Marea is a nice compact station wagon.  I drove one of these (with a turbo-diesel engine)

 around northeast Italy for a week and loved it.  I calculated we averaged just over 40 mpg, including

LOTS of idling with the A/C running (it was about 100 degrees and humid) and LOTS

of “Autostrada” running at 140 km/hr (about 85 mph).




Fiat Marea 02

The interior of the Fiat Marea.  Very comfy!




Fiat Van 02

Fiat also makes a nice Mini-Van, available with gasoline or turbo-diesel engines.



Fiat Van 01

The interior of the Fiat Mini-Van.   Note the center-mounted gauges, and the stick-shift mounted

 on the center console instead of the floor. There’s also an LCD panel above the steering wheel column. Remember this picture- you’ll see it again.



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The Ka is the smallest Ford sold in Europe.  This 4-seater starts at about $7,500.

Made in Portugal.



The Ka’s dashboard is rather creative.




The new Mondeo.  The old Mondeo is what Ford sold in the states as the Contour. 

Too bad this new model didn’t make it across the Atlantic.  It’s HOT!

Engine choices include a 4-cylinder, a V-6, and a Turbo-Diesel.




The new Mondeo is also available as a really sharp wagon.




Here’s a familiar name – the Ford Galaxy.  Except,  Ford used the name on a 1960s sedan.

In Europe, the Galaxy is a sharp mini-van available with gasoline or turbo-diesel engines.





The Ford Galaxy minivan features 4 sedan-like doors.  Lots of room!



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Lancia is the “upscale sport” division of the Fiat group of manufacturers.


Lancia Phedra 03

The Lancia Phedra Mini-Van.  A very nice 7-seater.  Available engines include a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder

and 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engines, and a 2.0-liter or 2.2 liter turbo-diesel 4-cylinder.

That’s Spencer in the driver’s seat, by the way.



Lancia Phedra 04

The Lancia Phedra dashboard.  Remember the Fiat mini-van picture?  You can tell these two

 vans were designed by the same parent company. Gauges in the middle, stick-shift on the center

 console, and LED above the steering wheel.



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(Great Britain)


MG new1

The MG sports car has “grown up” since the 60s and 70s when they were sold in the USA.

Note the right-hand drive.



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Mercedes A 01

The A-Class Mercedes is the entry-level model (if there is such a thing at Mercedes). The base model starts at $14,450 (not including the 16% German Tax). The most expensive model starts at just $21,950.  Engine choices range include 1.4, 1.6, 1.9, and 2.1-liter gasoline engines and 1.6 or 1.7-liter turbo-diesels. 



Mercedes A 02

The interior of the A-Class shows typical Mercedes luxury. I like the cloth seats!



Mercedes A 03

The A-Class may be small outside, but it’s very roomy inside.

Note the excellent headroom.





Mercedes V 01

The Mercedes V-Series vans are full-size models for up to 9 passengers.



Mercedes V 02

Another view of the roomy Mercedes V-Class.



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The Opel Speedster is a $30,000 “sports” car with no carpeting, no radio, and a Chevy Cavalier engine. Ho hum.  It looks sharp, but it’s overpriced and can’t deliver what its looks promise.



Opel Agila 01

The Opel Agila is just the thing for city driving.  Over a foot shorter than a Ford Escort, it still has tons of carrying space, especially with the rear seats folded down.



Opel Agila

Another view of the Opel Agila (From website)

Pastel colors are quite popular in Europe.



Opel Corsa 02

The Opel Corsa is a best-selling small car here, as the price is thousands less than a comparable

Volkswagen Polo or Golf.  It is available with gasoline or diesel power.



Opel Coupe 02

Just in time for Christmas is this Opel Cabrio Convertible.  Sharp!



Opel Coupe 01

Following Alfa-Romeo’s styling lead, the Opel Cabrio features red-leather

 inserts on the seats and doors.




Opel Meriva

The Meriva is Opel’s new “tall mini-wagon”.



Opel Signum 1

The Opel Signum is the “Business Class” midsize sedan/hatchback.



Opel Zafira 1

The Zafira “mini” mini-van.  It’s a three-quarter size mini-van for

easier parking in Europe’s tight spaces.



Opel Zafira 2

Another view of the Opel Zafira mini-van.



Opel Vectra 01

The Opel Vectra is a new mid-size model that will be the basis for the new Chevrolet Malibu due out in a year or so.  It is available with a 1.8 or 2.2-liter 4-cylinder, or either a 2.0 or 2.2 liter turbo-diesel 4-cylinder. The turbo-diesel gets about 45mpg and still has a top speed of over 125mph.  The really hot GTS model is powered by a 3.2-liter V-6 that takes the car up to almost 150mph. 



Opel Vestra

Two more views of the Opel Vectra.





Opel Vivaro 1

The Opel Vivaro is the new full-size passenger van. I like the smiley-face front end. The Vivaro is available in up to 9-passenger seating configurations, and gets over 30mpg with the 1.9 liter turbo-diesel engine.




Opel Vivaro 2

A side view of the Vivaro full-size van.  Check out the raised roof above the front seats.

There’s more headroom and legroom in this van than American full-size vans.

And check out the huge windows!  Nice view.



Opel Vivaro 3

The dashboard of the Vivaro van is quite interesting.

Note the position of the 6-speed gearshift.



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Peugeot Emblem 01

The Peugeot lion emblem.


Peugot 01

A couple of Peugeot 307s parked in front of the dealership.


Peugeot 206 01

The 206 is the next to the smallest Peugeot model (the smallest is the 106).  It is available in 2-door and 4-door hatchbacks as well as a station wagon.  Engines include 1.1, 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engines, and 1.4 and 2.0-liter turbo-diesels.  The 1.4 turbo-diesel gets an amazing 60mpg/highway!!



Peugeot 206 Convertible 01

The Peugeot 206 is also available as a convertible.  The front view is much nicer than the view from the rear. The car is actually a folding-hardtop.  The metal top folds neatly into the trunk area on large hinges.



Peugeot 206 Convertible 02

Didn’t I say so?  The back of the convertible just looks clumsy to me.



Peugeot 206 Convertible 05

There’s not much room in the rear seats of the Peugeot 206 Convertible.

Maybe they should have just made it a 2-seater.



Peugeot 206SW 01

The Peugeot 206 Station Wagon.  Plenty of room for 4 people and it gets 60mpg!




Peugeot 206SW 04

The interior of the Peugeot 206 Wagon.




Peugeot 307 Break 01

Moving up the ladder, the Peugeot 307 Break offers more room and comfort. It is also available in 2-door and 4-door hatchbacks. 



Peugeot 307 Break 03

The Peugeot 307 Break offers as much room as most mid-size SUVs in a much more maneuverable vehicle. The diesel model gets almost 50mpg/highway.  Why don’t they sell these in the states instead of the 10mpg SUVs?



Peugeot Partner 01

The Peugeot Partner is a compact, but very room wagon/mini-mini-van.  It has tons of headroom,

and has as much room inside as 4 people could ever use.  And, it gets over 40mpg (with diesel)!



Peugeot Partner 04

The Peugeot Partner is also available as a 2-seater cargo van. 

Look at how much room is available in such an easy-to-drive vehicle.




Peugeot 706 Van 03

For the ultimate in room, the Peugeot 706 Van is the largest Peugeot passenger model.




Peugeot 706 Van 05

The Peugeot 706 Van dashboard.  Look familiar?  Go back and look at the Fiat and Lancia vans. Same center-mounted gauges, same LED on top of the steering wheel.  These companies must have designed their vans together to reduce development costs. 




Peugeot 706 Van 07

Another view of the Peugeot 706 Van interior.  Cloth seats!  I love cloth seats. 

Why do all of the American car companies think Americans only want leather seats?



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Pronounced “Ray-No”



Renault twingo 01

The Twingo is the smallest Renault.

 It is a 4-seater ideally suited to the small European parking spots.



Renault twingo 02

Another view of the Twingo.



Renault Clio 02

The Clio is the next size up from the Twingo.  It is available as 2- and 4-door hatchbacks.



Renault clio v6 01

If you want your Clio served up spicy, try the hot new Clio V6.



Renault Clio V6 03

This is the view most other drivers will see of the Clio V6.



Renault avantime 02

The Avantime is a new sub-compact sports coupe.

Sorry, this small picture is all they had on the website.



Renault vel satis 02

The Vel Satis is a compact, but roomy 4-door hatchback.




Renault Megane 03

The Megane is the size of a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.



Renault Megane Coupe 02

The Megane is also available as a coupe.



Renault Megane sedan 01

And, the Megane is also available as a sedan.  (“Saloon” in Europe)




Renault Laguna 01

The Laguna is Renault’s “big” (for Europe) sedan.  It is about the size of a Camry or Accord.

It is available as a 4-door hatchback.  Remember those?



Renault Laguna 03

Another view of the Laguna.




Renault Laguna Grandtour 02

If you need more luggage space in your Laguna, try the Laguna Grandtour.



Renault Scenic 4x4 2

Renault Scenic 4X4 pictured in Garmische, Germany. 

A nice SUV sized between a tall wagon and mid-size SUV.

Turbo-Diesel engine is available.


Renault Scenic 4x4 3

Another view of the Renault Scenic 4X4.




Renault espace 03

The Espace mini-van.  It is about the same size as your typical Chrysler mini-van.

By the way, notice the lack of any guardrail between the road and the 100-foot

dropoff into the water?  Only in Europe! 




Renault trafic 01

The Trafic (yes, that is the correct spelling) is Renault’s full-size 9-passenger van.

Does it look familiar?  Go back and look at the Opel Vivaro van. 



Renault trafic 02

Another view of the Trafic van. Notice the low rear bumper an low interior floor. 

This is because the van is front wheel drive.  Very roomy!!



Renault trafic 03

Tons o’ room!  Step right in, there’s plenty of room for everyone.



Back to European Car Index







Seat Arosa 01

The SEAT Arosa is the smallest car in the model line.  Built on a Volkswagen platform

(as all SEAT cars are), the Arosa is based on the VW Lupo.



Seat Arosa 02

Another view of the SEAT Arosa. Engine choices range from a 1.0-liter 4-cyl engine to a sporty 1.4-liter, 16-valve 4-cylinder gas engine, and your choice of 1.4 or 1.7-liter turbo diesels (good for over 65 mpg!).




Seat Ibiza 01

The Ibiza is based on the VW Golf model.  It is available as a 2- or 4-door hatchback.



Seat Ibiza 02

Another view of the SEAT Ibiza.




Seat Leon 01

The SEAT Leon is the Jetta-size model.




Seat Leon 06

The Leon is both sporty and somewhat conservatively styled.




Seat Leon 04

However, if you desire, you can have your Leon served up sporty!




Seat Toledo 02

The Toledo is a nice mid-size sedan.

One interesting note is the available 2.3-liter V-5 engine. Other choices include

 1.6 or 1.8-liter gasoline engines, or a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel good for about 50 mpg. 



Seat Toledo 01

A profile picture of the SEAT Toledo.



Seat Alhambra 03

The SEAT Alhambra Minivan is based on the VW Sharon.

Available engine choices include a 1.8-liter turbo gasoline engine, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder

gasoline engine, 2.8-liter V-6 gasoline engine, and a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel.



Seat Alhambra 01

The Alhambra minivan is slightly smaller than a Chrysler minivan.

Note the swing-open rear doors (instead of sliding doors).



Seat Alhambra 02

The loading end of the Alhambra minivan.








The SMART Car was designed by Swiss watch designer Swatch, engineered by Mercedes-Benz, and built in France.  It is a 2-seater powered by a 3-cylinder gasoline or turbo-diesel engine mounted sideways between the two rear tires.  The body panels are interchangeable plastic pieces (like a Saturn), so you can simply buy new fenders and doors to create a “new” car at any time, or to easily replace damaged parts.

 Cost – starts at $8,000.00. Mileage with turbo-diesel:  up to 60mpg. 




If the standard SMART car isn’t exciting enough for you, try the new Crossblade.  It features two swing-up protective beams for doors, and has a small token windshield to keep some of the bugs out of your teeth.




An Executive Model in business dress.



Munich car sign

This SMART car in Munich was a rolling billboard for….. either a dog

 kennel or fitness center.  Only in Europe!




Spice up your SMART car with fancy body panels.

Then switch back to the gray panels for your business meeting on Monday.



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(Yes, they sell Toyotas in the states, but not these models)


Yaris 03

The Yaris is the smallest Toyota sold here, but you would never guess it from sitting inside.

Although the exterior dimensions are compact, it’s very roomy inside for 4 people. Engine choices include 1.0, 1.3, and 1.5-liter gasoline engines, and a 1.4-liter turbo-diesel (65mpg!)



Yaris 05

The roomy Yaris interior features a center-mounted gauge cluster, which is becoming more and more popular throughout Europe.  It is supposed to be easier to see the gauges than trying to look through the steering wheel. The Toyota Echo is the only model sold in the US that has this design feature.



Yaris 01

The Yaris also features a convenient 4-dr hatchback design.

Prices start right at $10,000, including the 16% German tax.


Yaris Verso 04

If you want even more room in a small exterior package, try the Yaris Verso. 

It’s about 4 or 5 inches taller than the regular Yaris hatchback. 



Yaris Verso 05

The Yaris Verso also features center-mounted gauges.



Yaris Verso 07

Note the easy entry/exit design of the Yaris Verso. Prices start at $14,200.



Corolla 02

The next step up the ladder is the Corolla.  Yes, they do sell Corollas in the states, but not this 4-door hatchback model.  The back looks a lot like the German Audi A-3 models (not sold in the states).

(By the way, it is a Corolla, even though it’s parked on a Yaris mat)



Corolla Verso 01

Here’s another Corolla not sold in the states, the Corolla Verso.  Like the Yaris Verso, the Corolla Verso is about 4 or 5 inches taller than its sedan/hatchback counterparts.  With this model, you combine near-minivan interior room in an easy-to-drive size, and are rewarded with 44mpg with the turbo-diesel engine.

Prices range from $18,200-$22,500 (again, including the 16% tax)


Corolla Verso 05

A view of the rear -  Corolla Verso.



Avensis 03

The Avensis is a model sized between the Corolla and the Camry.

It is available in 4-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, and wagon styles. Very sporty!



Previa 01

The Previa is the family minivan model here in Europe. It is a much more contemporary

style than the Sienna minivan Toyota sells in the states.  I think this is sharp!




Previa 02

A view of the front on the Previa minivan.



Previa 05

Another view of the Previa minivan. Nice from all angles.

(By the way, that’s not a giant standing in front of the van, just a poster.)



Back to the European Car Index




The top-selling car line in all of Europe, VW has several models not for sale (yet) in the USA.



013 Autostadt Lupo

The Lupo is the smallest VW.  Recently, a team of German engineers drove a 3-Cylinder turbo-diesel model around the world in 80 days, averaging just under 100 mpg.


014 Autostadt Lupo

The interior of the Lupo is plain but very comfortable.




009 Autostadt Lupo

If you want small and sporty, the Lupo is also available in a sporty GTI model.



008 Autostadt Lupo

Lupo GTI. Vroooom!



019 Autostadt VW Toureg

The Touareg is the new Volkswagen SUV.  It just went on sale in Europe in November 2002, and will be coming to the states sometime later in 2003. Engine choices include V-6 or V-8 gasoline engines, or a hot new Turbo-Diesel V-10 that’s good for over 155 mph.  Prices will range from about $35,000 to $60,000.



Copy of 020 Autostadt Toureg

A rear-view of the VW Touareg.


134 Autostadt VW Sharon van

The Sharan is Volkswagen’s European mini-van. 

It is comparable in size to the Chrysler mini-vans.



011 Autostadt VW Phaeton

The Phaeton is Volkswagen’s new full-size luxury sedan meant to do battle with the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series sedans.  Powered by  V-6, V-8 or V-12 gasoline engines (as well as a V-10 Turbo-Diesel), the car can reach a top speed of over 180mph, if you pay the dealer to remove the 155mph speed limiter. Cost ranges from just over $50,000 for the “base” V-6 to over $90,000 for a fully loaded Turbo-Diesel.  When the Phaeton is brought to the states in 2003, only the V-8 and V-12 gasoline engines will be available.



012 Autostadt VW Phaeton

Another view of the Phaeton.




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Kaiserslautern Motorcycle Show

Every summer, a large outdoor motorcycle show is held in Kaiserslautern.  Here, you can find a vast assortment of old and new motorcycles from all over the world, as well as spare parts or souvenirs for any of those bikes. 

Here is an assortment of pictures from the 2000 and 2002 shows.



Bike show entrance1




Bike show2

There were some really old motorcycles I’d never heard of.



Bike show4

There were lots of old BMWs like these 40s and 50s models.




Bike show 12 BMW 1952

1952 BMW.



Bike show 20 trike

Who says Germans don't have a sense of humor?





Bike show 21 MZ

MZ - unknown year.  See close-up below.

For more information:




Bike show 22 MZ

Close-up of MZ. 



Bike show 24 DKW 1932 190cc

1932 DKW.  The company produced motorcycles from about 1921 through the 1960s, when they merged with several other companies.  At one time, it was one of the largest producers of motorcycles in the world.  This is a particularly well-restored bike.  It looked brand-new. 


Bike show 26 DKW 1932 190cc       Bike show 29 DKW 1932 190cc

Hand throttle on the side                              Low miles!!  When's the last 70+ year                                                    of the gas tank.                                               old bike you saw with 19 km?






Bike show 13 BMW 1959

1959 BMW




Bike show Gillett Herstal

A Gillet Herstal.  These were made in Belgium from 1919-1959.



Bike show Gillet Herstal2

Close-up of Gillet Herstal. 




Bike show 44 Heinkel

Here's a quiz.  The manufacturer of this scooter produced

German WWII airplanes.  Answer is below.



Bike show 43 Heinkel

The scooter in the previous picture was made by Heinkel in the 1950s.

They produced German bombers and fighters during WWII. 




Bike show NSU

This NSU was made by one of the 4 companies that later combined to form Audi.




Bike show 6

A nice old BMW from around 1960.



Bike show 40 Horex

Horex.  German company that made motorcycles from about 1923-1960, when the factory

converted into a parts manufacturer for Daimler-Benz. 

For more information:




Bike show Horex2

Close-up of the Horex gas tank and emblem.





Bike show 1975 Honda 750

Japanese bikes, such as this mint condition 1975 Honda 750, were common.



Bike show KZ900

One of the original sportbikes – the Kawasaki KZ900 of the late 1970s.




Bike show CBX engine

Remember this engine?  The 6-Cylinder Honda CBX from the early 1980s.



Bike show CBX 2

Here’s the rest of the Honda CBX.




Bike show KZ1300

Not to be outdone, Kawasaki came out with their own 6-cylinder motorcycle.

The KZ-1300 was water-cooled and had shaft drive.




Bike show BMW 100RT

Outside the gate was this beautiful 1980s BMW100RT.




Hope you enjoyed

Cars and Motorcycles of Europe



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