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The Car Shopping Round (Round 64): Tears in Heaven





Apart from the sloping nose, are there any other differences between the pre-facelift original Vindicator and the trim submitted for CSR49? At any rate, it would have looked like little else on the road… and felt that way as well.

I understand why the V6 version (built purely to simulate a supercharged I4) didn’t make the cut - it would have most likely been over budget.


1 of 3 billboards.


Genua-Beneventi Fabbrica S.p.A. was already enjoying success with the Prolusio. It’s first production model. But the company was preparing to broaden the brands appeal with two new models. Duccio Beneventi wanted to compete against the larger rivals and his former employees.

While the new Mansio GT would attempt to fight against the high end of Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Erin and even Ferrari. The all-new entry level Viato would compete with the new designs. Coming from Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and internationally.

Unlike the competition. The Viato retained a traditional rear wheel drive setup. The engineering package was developed by German Klaus Lange. The body styled by Lazzaro Milano with assistance from ItalDesign.

The car was aimed to compete with the Lancia Beta, Fiat 124 Coupe and Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT. While internationally it faced off against fierce competition. From vehicles like the Rennen Caelum, Adenine Vindicator, Revera 2700C and Erin Civera.

The model lineup would expand from a 3-door fastback to a 4-door hatchback. Throughout its lifecycle, a number of trim and engine options were available. From the Base Inline, four cylinder 1600cc to the mid level 1800cc. Later a high-performance V6 option became available.

Despite its advanced features and unique styling. The Viato failed to capture the all important American market. Perhaps due to its higher price. Its poor dealership networks or lack of advertising funds.

Beneventi Automobili S.p.A
2017 Automation EOTY Awards

Zeal CS200 '74


  • Engine: 2.0L with 98hp
  • Economy: 28.7 mpg
  • Weight: 874.6 kg
  • Drive type: RR (rear mounted engine and rear wheel drive)
  • Price: $7,800.00


Entries are closed.

There are 40 entries, making this the 2nd most popular round so far, if I’m not mistaken.

The list of entries will be posted when I get home tomorrow afternoon, about 16 hours after this edit. Real life is being that much of a bitch.


I’m looking forward to the reviews… It will be too close to call given the sheer number of entrants!


I can almost guarantee though i’ll probably be binned early on :stuck_out_tongue:


I could have gone crazy with my entry and dropped an Albury V8 into the nose of the K23 to create an even faster Super trim:

It would have been much quicker in a straight line than what I actually submitted, even though its weight distribution was more front-biased. However, considering that an actual muscle car would have been the last thing on an American car buyer’s mind back in 1974, the fuel economy - or rather, the lack of it - made me backpedal on the idea; if it wasn’t enough to dissuade me from doing so, the increased emissions did. Fingers crossed the I6 version does well in the reviews…


You could, but you can’t. No need for those theoritical stuffs.


Mate, anybody could have submitted all manner of cars, but do you see them talking about what they may or may not have done this round?


Entry list

If your name isn’t on the list below, send me a PM with the file asap.
It’s also worth mentioning that I haven’t checked if all the pms had the files attached, or if the mods work, so stay tuned for any possible issues that may arise.


First batch of reviews will come this evening.


EcaMobile Donau

Travel like a Tycoon.
Don’t pay as much as one !

The Donau will drive you over every road!
The 2L V8 moving you with ease !
8 Track player !
3 Speed Auto !
Room for 4 people !
Folding seats in the back !
And all this for 10k !


CSR49 - First batch of reviews

October, 1974. Watergate had come, Nixon had resigned and been pardoned. The embargo by the oil-producing countries over the US market had been lifted, but fuel prices were still at all time highs. The stock-market was very much screwed and the Vietnam War had been ongoing for 19 years. Fun times then. At least for a certain couple coming out of college it was. Life was working out really well for Steve Miller and Debbie McCord. Having met in college in their sophomore year, they had been together since. Both had completed their degrees just before summer started, he now held a Batchelor of Arts degree in Economics, while she had completed a Chemistry degree. Both were now in stable jobs in major companies, the money enough to pay for their student loans, afford their bills and even have some left over. With that, they decided they should replace her old 1961 Baltazar-Bush Basil 1150L with something brand new, where as his 1969 Znopresk Z325 sedan would be kept for a few more years.

On that, they decided to go shopping. Since they still lived in Berkeley, the main San Francisco city was the place where all the car dealerships were. A short half-hour trip through Oakland, with the Znopresk stereo blasting some great music, and over the bay put them in the Lower Pacific Heights district.


Upon arrival, the first dealership that stood in front of them was Bogliq. Bright blue cars galore, tons of headlights all around, and, somewhat weirdly, quite a few rusty bolts by the sidewalk. Their attention was drawn to the Dingo Arrayo. Unlike a Dingo, this car failed to be cute. The designers clearly tried to make it robust, maybe to hide the tiny dimensions. Overall, it feels like a missed opportunity, to have a cute and small convertible off-roader. When it comes to the mechanicals, fuel eco is a miserable 19 mpg from the 78 hp 2.5 inline 4.Such little power, combined with the somewhat heavy weight meant acceleration was glacial. Apart from the convertible top and the unnecessary 4x4 system, there were no redeeming features. And with that, they left not to come back.



Right next to Bogliq, there was the Omega dealership. Only it was empty. No cars inside, no salesmen, nada. The couple went around the block to see if there was a different room, but nothing was to be found. There was a big image of a large ute pick-up, 2-seats, low ride height and a bed. They weren’t willing to buy such a car anyway, so they decided not to bother looking for an Omega dealership that had actual cars.


Next up, this silly man’s dealership. Right in front, there was a brand-new Sasa. Apparently, it’s built in West Germany. Why the brand was called after some Asian dish, it was beyond them. This silly name aside, the Sasa seemed quite an advanced car. The hatchback bodystyle was the newest trend in Europe and it brings a lot of versatility to these small cars. Keeping the advanced theme, the Sasa had a very modern drivetrain, with front wheel drive and fuel injection, both of which helped with efficiency. Fuel economy is an adequate, but not outstanding 24 mpg. Inside, the car comes with seat belts, safety glass and cloth seats. The highlight is the radio, with FM an@VicVictory 8-track player. The couple was left intrigued by the car, and took a brochure to study it more closely at home.


The Japanese from Suzume were next. Who’d have thought the Japanese could make cars and how they would even try to sell them off in America. On first inspection, the Shizuka was just a crummy compact. The front had a weird grille, with integrated indicators and the badge was positioned well below it. The rear was much more tidy, with a classical elegance to it. Being a wagon, the Shizuka was aiming for practicality. 5 seats were available, with a cheap feeling vinyl cover over them and lots of exposed metal parts inside. Weirdly, the Asians had equipped it with an 8-track player and some safety equipment, perhaps electronics are cheaper to make across the pacific. The mechanicals seemed up to standard, with independent rear suspension and a 4x4 drivetrain, all powered by a very standard 1.8 overhead cam inline 4 engine, with an unusual and modern multivalve set up, 3 per cylinder here. Overall, the Shizuka doesn’t set anyone’s heart on fire, but the cheap purchase and running costs and overall ruggedness means it deserves a closer look.


Onwards to the Kramer dealership. Inside there was the K23 Sprint. Intreaguing thing it is, the body is very much reminiscent of the late 60s and fits the early 70s well, however the lights were strangely square, front and rear. Meanwhile, the sides were featureless and bland. This is supposed to be a sporty little coupe, 8.2s to 60 mph and 120 mph top speed, provided by the 126 hp 2.8 liter inline 6 engine. However, this car seems to be known for its weird handling characteristics, and a lawyer is even saying he will pull out a class suit action over this car’s unstable handling. Since they wanted a daily driver first and foremost, our couple were scared away from Kramer.


Directly across the street, there was a weird unmarked dealership. Inside, only one car. It was a gold MR coupe, the kind that wouldn’t look out of place being used as a submarine. There was a small plaque next to it with Sparrow written on. Once inside, they were greeted with a run of the mill interior with a simple AM radio. Nothing special. However, under the rear glass cover lied an engine. Steve was already anxious to find some fire breather engine that revved to the moon. Afraid not. What stood there was a measly 2.0 inline 4 engine, with exactly 100 hp. 0-60 was quoted as over 10 seconds and top speed was just 122. All show no go, that was a clear no go.


Just before lunch, Debbie and Steve decided to have a look at the BMA dealership. Blue Marlin, already owned by European giant Znopresk, was introducing their new small wagon, appropriately named California. Underneath, it was very European, and very Znopresk, with advanced stuff like FWD, semi-independent torsion beam rear suspension and a 5-speed manual gearbox. Perhaps it was way too advanced for its own good. Under the bonnet, the car had, again, a very Italian engine. The 1.7 unit had twin-cams and was made from aluminium and even with the carbs, didn’t need a catalyst to pass CARB emissions standards. The advanced powertrain meant a massive 30 mpg was claimed, with a not so sluggish 11s 0-60 time. They would sure check this one out more carefully.


After having a nice meal in a small diner, they found themselves in front of a Scarab dealership. Attention was drawn to the Comet coupe with its smooth flowing lines and elegant proportions. It is a very handsome car, if slightly too 60s. It doesn’t ooze new, but it was sleek nonetheless. To power this car, a proper engine, 6 cylinders in line, sending power to the rear wheels via a modern 5 speed manual gearbox. All-round independent suspension was present too, making this a probably handling machine. The interior was also a positive with an 8-track player and 2 small seats on the back, for occasional short trips or just for dumping luggage on weekend escapes. The couple liked what they saw here and would come back for a test drive.


The Petroskey saleswoman directed the couple to the Vulcan. Strong, aggressive name. Slapped onto a tealloured communist mobile. The exterior design would be called uninspired, if we’re being polite, half-assed if we aren’t. Inside, exposed metal and terrible looking seats match the simple radio, however full 3-point seat belts are present for the 4 outer seats. This basic machine should work on cheapness grounds, and the asking price sure is low, but the 19.7 mpg fuel economy drops it out of the running.


In keeping with the communist theme, the couple checked out the Aytoshy T1L. And they soon left. A small budget car would be fine, if it worked as a true rugged communist machine. However, for some reason, this car would only seat 4 people, despite the communist roots, which would request for the maximum number of people to be shoved into a car. Performance was also more than lacking, with 22s to 60 time and a top speed of just 80 mph.


Conte had a very bright, very yellow small sedan on their window. It looked suitably purposeful and interesting. Underneath, the 88 hp from the 2.0 inline 4 engine were sent to the correct wheels, via the correct gearbox, a 4 on the floor and independent rear suspension was featured too. Inside, decent cloth covered the 4 seats, which was a small problem, since this type of car should have 5. However, given the sporty credentials, they couple decided they would take a brochure of the car to look at it more carefully later.


From a sedan to a coupe, and a clearly british one at that. From the dark green hue down to the elegant and restrained lines, the Erin Civera displayed its origins proudly. In keeping with the Britannia theme, a straight six engine and RWD. Small seats in the back and a stonking sound system impressed Steve and Debbie, they would definetely study this one later.



From the elegant Erin to a Communistasia. In pink. Basic everything, ugly ass looks. This commie car must be all the rage in the USSR, but it doesn’t quite cut it in San Francisco. As the couple stepping out of the dealership, the salesman hushed to give them a brochure. 15 steps later, it was shoved in a bin.


Next, the LLA Banton. Nice looking thing, it sure is, and it has the extra cool factor of being a full convertible, something that is really well suited to cruising the Pacific Coast Highway. What isn’t, however, is the 2.1 3-cylinder engine. This just ruins the glamour of the experience, with huge vibrations. Had it twice as many cylinders and this could’ve been a serious contender.



The frenchies from Valois were strongly promoting their new small 4x4, the Calais. The styling was surprisingly American, coming from a European car. On the other hand, the engine was quite European, with just 4-cylinders and an advanced 16-valve head. 4x4 is present, as is a canvas roof. Both those things mean the car is heavy, which combined with the 3-speed autotragic, makes the car painfully slow. The Calais is a really good car, just not what the couple was looking for.


Another cabrio followed suit, the C1 Cabrio. And what a curious looking thing, as big as a Japanese kei car, yet quite cute looking. The engine is a measly 1.1 3-cylinder unit, but given the car only weighs 750 kg, wait, no. Performance is tragic, taking 17.2 seconds to go from 0-60 and an incredible 20 seconds to cover the average tiny quarter-mile long American onramp. To survive among American barges, cars need to be bigger, tougher and faster.

And that was it for the first day of car searching. After a whole saturday, they felt like they needed some rest for the day. And with that, they got in their Znopresk and went back to Berkeley, with the sun setting and with some Bowie blasting on the cabin.

Disclaimer: If they didn’t get a brochure, or wanted to test drive the car later, it means the car is out.


What a great start to the reviews - keep up the good work!

I could have installed an independent rear end instead of a live axle on the K23, but would have needed to reduce the level of brake cooling to keep it eligible. And it would have looked too bland from some angles anyway.


Great reviews!

Now I think that my car might have a chance in this world of patheticness - seems like Debbie and Steve aren’t keen only on the most cheapo options


There is no need for brake cooling, unless you’re making a race car or a super car.

Nice reviews, Leo!


I was thinking of entering a W16 Bugatti Robin…

But I couldn’t find a way of welding 2 V8s together and we can’t have 3 wheelers. :frowning:

But on a more serious note…

…my hopes are dashed once more because I used an even SMALLER engine than this font!!