Two vintage automobiles (Horch 1932 and Packard 1929) which I regrettably did not buy - and a few other vehicles which came in my way.

My father’s first car. Photo missing, may have been any model AUBURN from 1922 to 1927. Being a 2-seater, it was replaced by the 4-5 seater Renault "NN" - probably in order to accommodate a new family member, me.


The ugliest car ever made? Its design may have been influenced by vehicles used in the first World War 1914-1918.

This photo was taken about 1932, and it is probably the first picture showing me in an automobile.  However, I am hardly visible. Click here to enlarge.
The next family car was a Ford "A".  Here shown with my parents on a trip in Norway in 1934 or 1935, with my grandparents.  The Ford stayed with us until 1937, when it was replaced by the Dodge.

DODGE 1934

My own legal driving history started in Norway - with my father's Dodge 1934, bought in 1937.  I drove it illegally first time on May 17 1945, meeting vague protests from the local police in view of my age.

However in 1948, I reached the age of 18 - and could get my driving license behind the wheel of the Dodge.
During summer months 1947-1949 I was "employed"  by my grand-uncle Efraim as driver of his 5+2 seat Cadillac, style #7523.  A rather heavy machine with a wheelbase exceeding 3.5m.


Due to petrol restrictions in Sweden in the 1940-ies, the Plymouth 6-cyl engine was fed 50% petrol and 50% kerosene.  The result was a mere 80 km/h top speed.

Hence it was reserved for local transportation, saving the Cadillac for longer hauls.
The Jaguar belonged to my uncle Filip but it was my dream to own one.  I drove it a few weeks during the summer of 1951 - feeling on top of the world.

During 1952-54 I worked as an apprentice at the SAAB airplane factory in Linköping, Sweden, taking part in the assembly of about 400 pcs of the J29 ('Flying Barrel') jet fighter.  It was time to acquire my own transportation means.
NV175 1952

My first own motorized vehicle was the NV175.  A 175cc Sachs engine, the rest of the bike was a product of Nymans Verkstäder in Uppsala, Sweden.
Came winter, I started to look for a car. Back in 1953, the expensive vintage cars of today were practically given away.  I was offered a Horch cab in 1953, at the remarkable price of SEK 800 by a car dealer in Linköping, Sweden.  An 8-cylinder 5-litre engine running smoothly, an unharmed body and no serious rust.  Today, the same car in the same condition might be interesting to a collector - even at price levels of several hundred thousand SEK.

But the leather upholstry was in very bad condition and the canopy looked a bit sloppy, so I did not buy...
Alas, I have no photo of the Horch that was for sale in 1953.

However, the one pictured here is the same model 780 - built in 1932 - but this one has been restored to condition as new.  In comparison, the appearance of the car I refused to buy did not compete in the same league.

There is a video on YouTube:
 Horch 780 1932


Instead I bought a Buick 1939 Sedan in Imperial Blue.  Inline-8 engine - it became my first own car.

See the model on Youtube:
 Buick 1939
The Buick had shock absorbers that leaked and I had to refill oil before each road trip.  They were of a very special type (cylinder and arm, like automatic door closers) and replacements could not be readily found.

After all, a motorbike was more fun and less expensive to drive.  Or so I believed, at that time.  I traded my Buick for the Horex Regina - made in Western Germany by Horex Columbus Werk.

The Horex Regina with its 350cc 4-stroke 18hp engine had a top speed around 115-120 km/h. Weight 160 kg net. If you ever heard the mighty idling sound of its long stroke engine with dual exhaust outlets and mufflers, you will remember the Horex during the rest of you life. The bike was only 1.5 year old but the previous owner had made it look and work like 10.  I did restore it to mint condition.


See the videos on Youtube. You will need, however, a computer sound system with powerful bass reproduction by a 5" subwoofer or larger, in order to get a lifelike sound. The built-in speakers of portable computers will NOT do.

 Horex Regina 350, idling
 Horex Regina 350, test drive
 Horex Regina 350, owner's pride

Did you say you never heard about the HOREX?  In 1953, the HOREX Regina became Europe's best selling bike in its class. HOREX designs inspired Japanese manufacturers. In 1956, the bottom fell out of the MC market - the HOREX Regina production was discontinued.

For a moment, we jump to more than 50 years later - to compare the HOREX Regina of 1953 and the HOREX VR6 of 2011.

In 2010, after half a century, HOREX returned with a futuristic 200Hp model, the VR6. See HOREX GmbH

See the videos on Youtube:

 Horex VR6 1200cc, 2011 exhibit
 Horex VR6 1000cc, landsväg och ljud. New version 2012.

The later VR6 offers 161Hp at 8800rpm and Nm137 at 6800rpm from a 1000cc V6 engine with supercharger. Top speed 250km/h. Thanks to aluminum frame and engine, the scale stops at 249kg. ABS breakes.  No, I have not bought it - yet.

My wife-to-be Marianne and her father's BMW 501.  We were driving it during part of the summer 1953.  He traded in a new car every year.  The following year he lent us his new Chevrolet 1954 - for a vacation trip to Norway:
BMW 501 V8 1953


In 1954, the hat was an essential garment for a fashion-conscious young man.  That is, when driving a car and not a motorbike.
In the beginning of the 50-ies, scooters were popular.  However, a friend owning an ISO scooter became intensely interested in my Horex 350CC bike.  His ISO scooter was in perfect condition - like new.  I said OK, let us swap.

The ISO had larger wheels than Vespa and Lambretta - and felt safer to drive.

Straddling the ISO scooter, I left Sweden in 1954 - returning to Norway to continue my studies.

Back in Norway, I got rid of the scooter and used my father's Opel for transportation.

In May 1957 I got my Norwegian radio amateur licence, call sign LA8ZF.  I had been a second operator with LA8RA Helge since 1946 and thought it timely to legalize my own station.
In 1958 I went back to marry and stay in Sweden - where we started with a SAAB 93B and went on to buy a new car, the Karmann Ghia.
The SAAB 93B had a two-stroke
3-cylinder engine, 33 hp at 4200 rpm.  It was the improved successor of SAAB 92.


The SAAB 93B was replaced in 1958, by the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

A standard Volkswagen chassis with a 36 SAE HP boxer engine in the rear, and a top speed around 120 km/h.

A rather impotent machine, in spite of its sports car look, but it really was a beauty.
Some enthusiasts found the 36HP to be inconsistent with the looks of the car. They installed a Porsche 911 engine to improve the performance of their Karmann Ghia. As a curiosity, see the video on YouTube:

 Karmann Ghia 911

In 1960 I bought a new Volvo Amazon, then another Amazon, then a 1964 Mercedes 220 SEb.   Thereafter, I bought Volvo again.

Out of the 2 Amazons plus 7 other Volvos from the 140(1), 240(2), 160(2), 740(1) and 850(1) series - none ever stopped on me.
Two Amazons followed the Kharmann Ghia.  The first in "fallow-deer brown", the second as pictured.  The Amazon body design was an ageless hit. Close to 50 years later it still looks attractive.

In October 1963 I was awarded a Swedish radio amateur license as SM5HF, based on my Norwegian certificate.
After the two Amazones, the wish was for a bigger car in 1968. I found the 1964 Mercedes 220 SEb, as new after about 20.000 km.

The Mercedes was disappointing.  I had to call a tow truck twice to pull me home.  In 1968, after 80.000 km, the front wheel suspension and bearings were worn out, and the injection pump started to misfire at high speeds.  It was time to get a new car again.
One Volvo 142 and two Volvo 164 followed the Mercedes, then came two Volvo 240, one 740, one 850 and finally one V70 Classic.
I seem to remember that I paid SEK 24,000 for the new  '142, fresh from factory.  Today, it may seem inexpensive but salaries were low, too.

Or, in other words, during the period 1968-2008 the Swedish "krona" lost more than 90% of its car purchasing power.

VOLVO 142 1968

It became obvious that a second car was needed, my wife and I had workplaces located in opposite directions from home.

The BMC was burdened by typical English quality, we kept a bag onboard to collect door handles and other things that kept falling off.
BMC 1100

One of the more spectacular events was the demise of the BMC accellerator retraction spring in the middle of city traffic.  Fortunately, no lives were spilled.  Prepared for the inevitable by experience, the driver's first reaction was to reach for the ignition key.
VOLVO 164 AUT 1972

Two six cylinder Volvo 164 came next.  The first in blue metallic, with a carburettor engine.  The second as pictured, with an electronic injection engine and 165 SAE HP.

The BMC second car was, as mentioned above, not of superior quality.  We found it due for retirement and let a new Volkswagen take its place.  The price of a new VW 1974 was SEK 14,500.


VOLVO 240 1976

Most car manufacturers had problems with their 1976 models - and Volvo was no exception.  Some rust-preventing chemicals had become forbidden and rust was eating the cars.  Volvo repainted my 1976  '240 twice under guaranty.

In 1978, Volvo and most of its competitors had restored their reputation and rust was not the big problem anymore.
VOLVO 240 1978

VOLVO 740 AUT 1984

I kept the 740 for 10 years and 160,000km - a dependable car.  Apart from normal replacement of brake pads, tires and silencer parts - repair was limited to the replacement of a single relay.
The Volkswagen second car had done its job and was due for replacement.  The Nissan Sunny filled the vacancy.

The body design was attractive and it eventually proved to be a very dependable car.



The Packard 12 was offered to me in Moscow in 1990 at the US$ equivalent of SEK 90,000.  It had obviously been stored indoors all its life.

Original condition - as new - but I did not have the money available at the time....

The passion for motorbiking came back nearly 50 years after I got rid of the last of my previous machines, and made me buy the Yamaha YP250 Majesty.  It was of course a mistake, I was too old for this kind of open-air transportation.  After 500 km, I sold it to another and 25 years younger enthusiast.
With a 250cc 20hp watercooled engine and automatic stepless transmission, the Majesty could beat most cars when the red light changed to green - in spite of its 160 kg plus my 95.

Oh, that's not me in the photo, I forgot to take a picture during my short period of ownership.

VOLVO 850 1994 AUT

In 2007, my -94 Volvo 850 was still going strong after about 105,000 km.  I bought the 850 after my retirement, and as an average it rolled less than 10,000 km/year.

It was faultless and I thought it would become my last car.
One really hot day, however, after leaving the AC-less 850 parked for hours in the sun, I decided to get a new car - with full air conditioning (ECC).  Although a new V70 model was already in the factory pipeline, I chose the well proven Volvo V70 Classic.

I wanted a 140Hp 5-cyl engine and automatic transmission as I had in the  '850.  I am not a rallydriver - and 140 Hp was more than enough.

However, in spite of the present energy saving trend, I had to order the 170Hp engine which was the smallest engine that Volvo offered with automatic transmission for the V70 Classic.  A very strange policy, considering the global energy-saving trend.  And even more strange since the 170 and 140Hp engines have later been reported to be identical - save for the control software.

According to my own findings, and based on the information provided by the V70 driving computer, the resulting increase in petrol consumption was about 1.3 litre per 100 km on long hauls (170Hp/9.1L compared to 140Hp/7.8L).
The V70 used to be a great choice if you wished to come closer to being an average car owner in Sweden, where the V70 has been the best selling car model for quite a number of years.

It's my 10th Volvo and I have faith in the idea that it will last longer than myself. In the year 2010 my 80th birthday was passed.

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