Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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LaLD Car Week: French Freedom Friday! [1/64 - 1/43]

On this French Friday, we first start with a British car.

Wow, what a rare barn find!
Wow, what a rare barn find!
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This is the BMC 1800 Pininfarina, as I’m sure several of you are aware. It was designed on the humble underpinnings of the Austin 1800 and, despite being taken rather seriously by Pininfarina, was little more than a design exercise.

Unfortunately it doesn’t run, but what did you expect, it’s an old British car...
Unfortunately it doesn’t run, but what did you expect, it’s an old British car...
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It was released to great fanfare in 1967 with no hope for production since the 1800 had come out only three years prior and BMC was too frugal to revamp the lineup so soon after the original car’s debut.

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It was one of the last designs that Pininfarina would do for BMC because as they were applying this curvaceous bodywork to the soon-to-be released 1100, the Italians pulled out, sensing that BMC was about to be bought by BL, who had no interest in an Italian-designed compact.

Illustration for article titled LaLD Car Week: French Freedom Friday! [1/64 - 1/43]
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Another reason the 1800 and 1100 were never put onto market was because BMC always had inhibitions that such rakishly styled cars would be too radical for the brand.

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Citroen, on the other hand, had already embraced the look and had sold thousands of DS and ID models. In 1970, Citroen released what they thought would be the DS’s successor: the SM.

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Being French, they figured that what the world wanted after a wildly radical family car would be a wildly radical sports car. Predictably, they were wrong, and so the CX and GS (which, incidentally, copied the Austin 1100) were released to become volume sellers, albeit with less of the revolutionary fanfare than their predecessor.

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Fast forward to the 21st century and Citroen still sells their updated hydropneumatic suspension, seen here on the first gen C5 Tourer.

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Unfortunately, the new ‘Avant-Garde’ DS 5 cuts short the legacy of Citroen hydropneumatics, but if we’re lucky we might get a new and improved suspension in a few years’ time.

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So which of these four marvelous Citroens gets my French Friday pick?

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The SM, of course! We’ve had a Lesney every other day, can’t stop it now!

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Plus, the detailing on this casting is superb from the double chevron grate on the hood to the slatted rear window.

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But wait, what’s that giant thing next to it? Why, its big brother of course!

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In the 1/43 department, we have the equally well-done SM from Lesney’s Super Kings Line!

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This gorgeous cherry red accompanies the full-length transparent strip across the front, representing the classic SM beak.

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Inside it isn’t the most accurate, but we do get a very conical steering wheel with some very yellow upholstery!

Illustration for article titled LaLD Car Week: French Freedom Friday! [1/64 - 1/43]
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I hope you enjoyed LaLD Car Week with me, and from the depths of my father and my Lesney collection, I thank all of you for showcasing your best castings this week. It has been a pleasure, and I encourage you to always share your stories, your tips, and above all, your diecast cars. Thanks for looking, and see you around LaLD!


Sources:

[http://www.landcrab.net/mainframes/mai…]

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%…]

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