Dies Irae: the Definitive Driver's Magazine

Dies Irae was the one most popular automotive magazine in central Europe from it’s founding in 1929 to it’s rebranding to Car! Magazine in 2004, when people assumed that Dies Irae had been taken off of shelves rather than rebranded. In 2016 the magazine was brought by Autocar magazine and once again rebranded to Dies Irae: the Definitive Driver’s Magazine. The magazine has been releasing monthly copies ever since.

Dies Irae tended to focus on 2-3 cars per magazine, with smaller segments about goings on in the automotive world taking a backseat to detailed explanations and descriptions of cars. Very little of the magazine was taken up by advertisments, most of them being crammed onto a 2 pages at the back of the magazine. Dies Irae also featured artwork and posters in every issue, all created by the best of the best when it came to automotive artwork. These artwork and posters would vary from postcard size to fully-blown wall posters, and sometimes you would even get an exclusive gift like a badge or, in later years, a fridge magnet.

The cars reviewed and looked at in Dies Irae ranged from small, compact econoboxes to classic racecars, all reviewed by a small team of 5. This team, hand selected from a special test, ensures that all reviews are engaging and entertaining to read. In addition to this, the magazine only cost (circa latest copy July 19th, 2021) £1.50, or $2.06 in USD. This was significantly cheaper than most other magazines for the simple fact that the total team working on the magazine was roughly 10-11, discounting the various artists brought in throught it’s lifespan. This made it more accessible to people, and typically meant that it was more widespread than others.

Despite most of the older copies being available for purchase online, either via eBay or Facebook Marketplace (in varying conditions) it can be quite hard to come across them, and any one past 1988 tends to be more than it’s really worth.

Therefore I shall be reprinting the main car reviews for each magazine in this thread, along with the original artwork. To see the whole magazines, I might do them in the future if I ever get a Patreon set up. So stay tuned for that.

Basically, just feel free to relax and read some car reviews, and please feel free to leave a comment if you feel displeased about anything about my magazine at any point in time. I’m typically quite open to criticism.

That’s all for now, remember to take care and stay safe!

(FYI the little # and a number correlates to the month, eg. 1 = jan 2 = feb etc.)
-Void

8 Likes

Will be interesting to see what you can come up with.What kind of cars are you looking for to review, and how do you want them sent in?

1 Like

Dies Irae #10, 2016
Zephorus Blueberry HPX review

"A bit of an oddball"


The earlier generation Blueberries won rally championships. Can this one live up to their legacy?

When I was first sent the email telling me that I would be test driving the all-new Blueberry HPX, I didn’t entirely know what to think. I had seen adverts for the regular models previously on TV, but had never actually clocked that it was a new Blueberry, since it looked nothing like Zephorus’ older cars. Which, as a brand just 2 years in the process of being rebuilt, made perfect sense.

Of course, the best thing to do when attempting to pool funds to create a larger business is to tap into whatever is popular at the time, and what has been the rage for the last few years and for the forseeable future is mini - SUV’s. And that’s exactly what the Blueberry HPX is. It’s a neat little five-door compact that has been lifted and given cross-country modifications. In theory.

On paper the HPX looks to be just about the best car Zephorus has ever made. Jam-packed with many the latest technologies available to Zephorus and using Zephorus’ trade secret engine tech to get incredible mpg and horsepower output. However.

The FWD powertrain, partnered with the sport-tread tyres causes for an underwhelming offroad ability. This also causes for the car to experience snap oversteer when cornering at high speeds, and the brakes seem to be too small for the car’s power, resulting in brake fade and a high stopping distance. The suspension’s tuning also causes the Blueberry to lean massively, and negatively affects the handling, and the short, top-heavy dimensions also negatively affect the handling, causing the HPX to go up on two wheels at high speeds. At higher speeds the steering has seemingly no input on the direction, and at lower speeds it steers far too much. Despite this the Blueberry is very fun to drive, and the model I was given handled well despite it’s faults.

The interior however, didn’t fare as well. Despite being a brand-new car I managed to similtaniously get my coffee cup jammed in the cupholder, and broke the cupholder in an attempt to remove it. The interior also did not retain heat very well, often being freezing cold in the early winter mornings on which I drove it. However, I must say that the heating worked very well, warming up the car much faster than my current ETK 800 Coupe, and the heated seats just put the cherry on the top. The seats were surprisingly comfortable, despite being mostly plastic and faux leather, but the lack of shoulder braces lead to me sliding out of the seat whilst cornering which wasn’t particularly pleasant. Despite that the fully adjustable seat led for a comfortable sitting position, no matter your height or size and a moveable steering wheel only improved that further. The gauges and buttons are easy to access and well-lit at night, proving for an easy driving experience. Overall the interior, despite being plasticy and cheap looking is a well-put together, comfortable, easy-to-use interior that serves it’s purpose very well.


The turbocharged inline 4 creates a smooth, torquey ride that still accelerates well

Overall, the Blueberry HPX is a good car. It has it’s faults, but then again every car does, and the HPX’s faults don’t affect it all too much. If you’re looking for a small, sporty hatchback with some decent offroad and load-carrying ability, then the Blueberry is the only car in it’s class even worth looking at, and for just $34,000 for the top-trim spec it’s not massively expensive. The unique exterior makes the HPX stand out no matter where you are, so if you like to be the centre of attention this car makes a good option for you. However, due to the fact that it’s a relatively small car it can make it hard to fit some things into the less-than-ideal sized trunk. It’s not the car for me, to be entirely honest, and for $34,000 I would rather get another ETK. But, it fills a niche and it fills it well.

thanks to @Riley for the car, it’s a neat little package that i enjoyed a lot. i look forward to see where Zephorus goes for the future!

8 Likes

i don’t mind what cars are submitted, the more and diverse the better imo! as for submission, either dm me on the discourse or on discord with the .car file and any lore you would like me to stick to

2 Likes

And year does not matter either, I guess, since the magazine has been around since 1929?

Another question, do you test them in beam or not?

yes. practically all the testing is done in beam so unfortunately 3-wheelers won’t work (unless someone else fixes them for me lmao idk how)

2 Likes

Not a bad start to this thread - informative and honest all the way through. Keep it up!

2 Likes

Dies Irae #2, 1976
IP Pandora 2000 GTX review

"Diamond in the Rough"


The Flaire, the Pandora’s ‘big brother’ was extremely successful at it’s launch, can the Pandora do the same?

The Pandora is truly a wholy remarkable car, really showing the high quality come to be expected of IP in recent years. While the Pandora in itself is not their most luxurious car IP has ever made, nor is it the fastest, or the most reliable, it certainly ticks all those boxes, and ticks them well. And, for just £5150 (£12,800 in 2012 GDP) it’s not expensive either. And what do you get in this £5000 package?

Well, for starters the 2000 GTX takes the trusty IP 4L inline 4 and completely reworks the tuning, taking it from a mild fill in horsepower to a snappy 97.8 horsepower. Couple this with a weight of just 955.1 kilos and the Pandora accelerates to 60 mph in just 10 seconds, and can top out at 121 mph, which aren’t exactly supercar numbers but are still high for a cheap sports sedan. Despite the sport-oriented tuning the GTX still manages 26.3 miles to the gallon, so it doesn’t drain money out of your pocket either, which in current times of high fuel prices is vital to a car’s success.

The car’s suspension and wheels have also been completely overhauled, the springs being made stiffer and the stickier tyres have been fitted to custom alloy wheels to give it a stiffer, more responsive ride. A manual 5-speed makes the 121 mph top speed easy to reach without straining the car too much.

The modifications aren’t just internal either. Paired with the Pandora’s already striking styling is paired with front and rear spoilers, unique GTX stripes and a pair of foglights, creating a truly beautiful car.

However, the clutch is still the same from the base model, which is famously easy to short-shift and destroy the gearbox, meaning that despite the slick gearstick movement and the minimal power dropoff from changing gears is cancelled out by the precision and carefulness you have to use to ensure you don’t break the clutch.

In addition to this, the gearstick in question is quite far away from the seat, and especially considering the position of the seat compared to the steering wheel and pedals. The interior is also somewhat more sportier than the standard, but the proportions are weird and uncomfortable. The seats are far too low down compared to the rest of the car and the steering wheel is oddly close to the seat. Aside from this the interior is decently comfortable, and is surpisingly spacious for the actual cabin size.

The Pandora 2000 GTX is proof that a car doesn’t have to be extravagant to evokes feelings in any petrolhead and simple buyer alike. It can also similtaneously blend into a cityscape and stand out from the crowd at any car show, creating a truly unique experience. And the signature IP ruggedness shines through once more in the Pandora, you’d think it was indestructible with how many hits it can take and still drive on fine. The RWD drivetrain makes for a fun driving experience nonetheless.

Overall, the IP Pandora 2000 GTX is a great car, it’s somehow so bland that it become exciting and nothing else really comes close. It has it’s flaws and quirks, but it’s just so hard to notice those while driving the Pandora. And I know the taboo with buying a car you review, but I simply had no choice. It’s just too good.

You want my advice? Buy one.

big thanks to @Knugcab for the car, it was a joy to drive and extremely enjoyable to throw around all types of terrain. i might have to engine-swap one of these for uhh… research purposes.

that’s all from me, see you in the next one! - void.

8 Likes

Sorry for the delay on the next article. Been swamped with schoolwork and personal issues. Should be up by next week

4 Likes

i’m back! for real this time!

Car! Magazine #11, 2004
Brubeck Sunshine 3.3 Select - 1996 Facelift review

"Cheap kicks for under $7000"


Often selling for less than $7000, this interesting insight into the South American car market is certainly worth a look.

Upon first glances the Brubeck Sunshine 3.3 Select may just appear to be an oridinary 90’s family car: cheap, safe and rather unpleasant to look at. However, the “3.3” in the name alludes to the thing that makes this car special. For, instead of your typical 1.5 litre 4 cylinder engine, you get a mighty 3.3 litre V6 that produces over 175 horsepower - all delivered to the front wheels.

However, the 3.3 Select is by no means difficult to drive. Far from it in fact, as at low revs the engine is only using about 90 of it’s horsepower, on par with a car of it’s time. However, once you put your foot down, the Sunshine is a different beast entirely.

Hints of understeer are felt in normal driving, but once you open up all 175 of it’s horses it’s very obvious that the car is understeering in quite a dramatic fashion. In fact, I almost crashed our purchased car 3 times upon speeding up, which of course is not very desirable.

Despite the large V6 and top speed of a whopping 175 mph (factory claim. wether it can actually reach that is still up for debate.) it still manages to get 25 UK MPG, pair this with the 450L of cargo space and 2970L of passenger space it’s still very practical and capable as a family car. The doors and boot are easy to open and open nice and large, allowing for ease of access no matter who or what you are trying to fit inside.

However, all of this is overshadowed by the unfortunate nature of the engineering. Being from South America, the car can feel… cheap, at times and is fairly poorly put together. Despite being the luxury model, with leather seats, cupholders in the front and rear, a sunroof, a CD player and even a digital Heads-Up-Display, the car is very obviously put together on the cheap, with almost all of the dashboard, door panels and steering wheel being cheap plastic. The leathers seats are cracked and worn (the previous owner, a lovely Polish man had only done around 50,000 miles with little to no passengers or cargo.) and have severe water damage from where the sunroof had leaked due to poor sealing. The CD player worked decently well, but had a tendancy to skip parts of songs, presumably due to a poor reader. The digital HUD didn’t work at all, and had been replaced with manual units from the base 1.6 model.

The car is relatively safe though, with 3-point seat belts and airbags all-round. The windscreen and rear window have toughened glass while the doors have shatter resistant glass. Crumple zones are utilised.

The suspension is suprisingly comfortable, being very soft and springy - not exactly what you want from a sports car but very nice to have in a family sedan. It has MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam in the back, a stereotypical FWD layout.

Overall, if you’re looking for a family car that doubles as a somewhat sporty sedan for cheap then it’s a great choice, if you’re willing to have the occasional odd rattle or squeak, and are happy to have the leather seats refurbished every couple of months, even more so if you have young children. They’re relatively common on places like eBay or other online car shops, and typically aren’t very expensive. So, if you’re looking for a cheap thrill, look no further.

Just… maybe don’t drive it like a Lamborghini, or you might end up in a tree.

thanks for @Hilbert for the car! it was an interesting one to review for sure. hopefully the schedule should be slightly better now. there won’t be another 2 month wait, i promise!

6 Likes

ah, so we’re lying today, are we?

Dies Irae #1, 1978
Sandhurst Louisianno RT360 review

"In the time of the oil crisis, are American cars still worth buying?"


“This large blue cruise liner looks straight out of a 1960’s America - but believe it or not, it’s actually brand new.”

When one thinks of modern American cars one may think of crappy little Acers or Goblins, poorly-built thirsty cars that lack in power, comfort and quality, which is why you may just look at the Louisianno with distaste, believing that you’ve seen it all before. However, what we find out today may show us Europeans that yes, you can buy American in the modern age. Let’s have a look shall we?

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Louisianno is just how big it is. At an enormous 5.09 metres long (16.7 foot) it is practically bordering on cruise liner territory, and you’ll have a fine job parking this in your local supermarket car park. Or your driveway. In fact, the only place where the Louisianno seems to fit is on the motorway, which most of the time you’re on only to go somewhere else to park. It all seems to be overcompensation for… something. Maybe having a small penis. I’m not sure. At any rate the Louisianno is absolutely massive, and so you’d presume there’d be plenty of space inside, right? Wrong. Inside there’s about as much space as there is in a nightclub on a friday night a block away from a college. Seriously, if you wanted to take your family up the country for a nice holiday you’d have to cut your children’s legs off to be able for them to fit. Well, either that or you could put them in the boot, which seems to be around the same size as the county of Kent, although it might be a bit difficult explaining to the police why there are two children with no legs in your boot.

So then, as a family car it’s not particularly good. You can’t even order an estate version, so you’re stuck with the lack of room. However, how good is it as some sort of delivery vehicle?
Well, the rear seats can be very easily removed, provided you’ve got a sledgehammer or some sort of saw. And once you do that there is a thin layer of carpet-over-wood that you can easily rip open. After that you have a pretty reasonable amount of room to be able to put stuff such as wooden planks or boxes of food to deliver. However, this is an awful lot of work and seems rather unnecessary when you could just buy a van for half of the price of the Louisianno.

Speaking of, it’s actually surprisingly cheap. Being the high-end “RT360” performance model it costs just £1,495, which may sound amazing… until you realise that it only has 150 horsepower. And it only gets 19 miles per gallon. And it’s incredibly uncomfortable. Seriously, it’s like driving whilst you’re being tortured by some medieval torture device, at least at high speeds. And at low speeds the thing understeers like a bitch, like it’s attempting to drive in the opposite direction to where you turn the wheel. This is of course not helped by the all-round double wishbone setup, tuned to be extremely soft in a very unusual configuration for an American car.

Another thing you might notice about the Louisianno is it’s looks. I’m not saying that they’re bad, and they might look normal on American roads, but here in Europe it looks rather out of place. It rides seemingly weirdly high, not helped by the thin, high profile tyres. The rear end looks like some disgruntled alien and the side of the car looks quite empty. The rear window is obscured by a rather tacky louver that doesn’t seem to actually help with anything at all.

The engine is a 5.9 litre V8 mounted longitudinally under that airfield of a bonnet to a 5-gear manual gearbox, taken from the 1960’s Sandhurst Venturi Roadster, updated to fit in the modern car. Overall this gearbox is surprisingly nice, paired with a new McAlastor clutch developed specifically for the RT360 it makes gear changes smooth and easy to do. It also has new hydraulic power steering developed by Sandhurst themselves, however it does nothing to help with the frakly awful understeer the Louisianno develops.

The interior attempts to make itself appear more expensive and more comfortable than it actually is, with leather reclining seats, hidden wood-lined compartments and a modern 8 Track/AM Radio, however in testing it is no more comfortable of a regular European car.

Ultimately the Sandhurst Louisianno RT360 is not the correct kind of car for Europe. I’m sure it will do very well in America, but the uncomfortable ride paired with the low fuel economy, practicality and outlandish size don’t attribute themselves well to European roads. Would I advise getting one? No. However, don’t think that this car is completely without it’s faults, and if you’re ever in the states for a long time, keep your eyes open for one going cheap, it’ll likely be worth it.

thank you to @stm316 for the car, and apologies for the wait and sort of half-arsed review. my power has been blipping intermittently today, and although i wanted to get a review out i didn’t want to completely fuck up the car.

4 Likes