Classic Car Corner - Scotland

  • Written by Tom Berg, Winderemere

Scotland Search: I was again urged by my dedicated readers to search afar for cool cars so off I went to Scotland in search of rare and unique vehicles. Since I had chosen to walk across the country mostly on paths and abandoned or rarely used roads my task was daunting.  

I hiked the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way stopping each day in small villages for the local pub and B&B, so only rarely saw any cars but was somehow successful in finding several unique ones. I first spotted a Morgan sport cars driving by but since they are still being made today and look the same as they did in the 50s I’m not sure of the vintage.  For the next six days I would see only the occasional Land Rover, Peugeot, Volvo or non-descript European cars I didn’t recognize. The country folk use alot of Land Rovers with canopies on the back. I never saw a pickup in my two weeks there.  It does rain in Scotland even more than here so I guess things must remain covered.

After a week I had hiked to Fort William, a good sized town and there were lots of cars to see. The only ones of interest were two Scimatars, one a convertible and the other a sharp looking hardtop. I had never heard of the Scimitar so when I got back I looked it up.

The Reliant car company started out in the 30s in England making mostly three-wheeled cars. They began making full size cars in the 50s and the Scimitar in the 60s and as many small car companies even though they made a good looking car they continued to struggle into the 90s when they finally folded.  There can’t be too many of these cars left and to see two in the same town was quite a coincidence.  

scotland bugattiAfter hiking a few more days along the Great Glen Way I arrived at Drumnadrochit (the home of the Loch Ness Monster) for the afternoon.   We didn’t see Nessie but parked in front of the local hotel was an early 30s Bugatti. I thought perhaps it was a modern reproduction because it was really nice looking for an 80-year-old car. I peeked at the front suspension which is very exposed in this type of car and saw that it had mechanical brakes, and since no one in his right mind would have mechanical brakes in a reproduction car I figured it must be the real thing. I was impressed. We then wandered out to the nearby castle and darned if I didn’t see another similar Bugatti. This one did have hydralic brakes so I wasn’t too sure of its vintage, but I felt it was probably an original car too.

This was not a big village and I had just seen TWO 80 -year-old Bugattis and the only ones I’ve ever seen here were in car shows.

To top things off, the next morning as I was walking out of town the two Bugattis drove out of town together convincing me that they were the real thing.

In Drumnadrochit I also noticed a great but odd looking car in a carport.  Scots normally just park in the open but this was a very nice looking car and I somehow recognized it as a Citroen.

If I had ever seen one before it must have been decades ago so I wondered if they had started making these again since it looked new. I cogitated this question until a few days later in another village I saw another one drive by and it looked new also?  As soon I got back home I looked up my mystery Citroen and found that they had made the French Citroen 2CV from 1948 to 1990.

It was designed much like the Volkswagon in Germany as a people’s car that almost anyone could afford.  Designed to be durable and economic it featured an air cooled 750cc opposed cylinder twin engine that got high mileage with low horsepower.  These cars were slated for production in 1939, but the war interrupted those plans so they finally were available in 1948. Soon thereafter there was a 5-year waiting list for one so used ones were actually more expensive than a new one.

scotland citroenDuring their 42-year production Citroen made almost 9 million of these cars and their derivatives but I read that there are just 3,382 left in the British Isles and I was lucky enough to see two of them. These are really cool cars but very rare in the states so if you ever see one around here it might just be me!
Stayed tuned readers because you never know where I may end up next in my search for the rare and beautiful cars of the world.

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