Planes, trains, und atomic dirigibles der Schweiz.

We already took a look at the new Boeing 787, but what about some golden oldies ? Let’s try these, from the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (Transportation Museum) in Lucerne :

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Elsewhere in the museum was this sunshine yellow Lamborghini Miura, the mid-engined car that former tractor-maker Ferruccio Lamborghini built after being snubbed by Enzo Ferrari, catalysing a rivalry that continues to this day. At the time, the Miura cost $20,000 and was the fastest production car on the road with a top speed of 275 kph.

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As far as trains go, while the logs already show my review of the intercity network, you’ll be pleased to know that the intracity railcars and streetcars are every bit as reliable and charming. In the Old Town of Berni were these American-made historic streetcars, which, in the first quarter of the 20th century, were also to be found most everywhere in the world, from the backwaters of Alberta to the peaks and valleys of San Francisco, until Goodyear and GM conspired to replace them with buses.

Bern extrawagon streetcar

In front of the opera house in Zurich was this Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta, the luxury-oriented model of the American firm’s sub-Corvette sports car. The well preserved and entirely out of place example seen here was from the model years 1979-81, though my eye isn’t discerning enough to tell whether it’s a V6 or V8. In any event, these cars were strangled by emissions regulations and were woefully underpowered and therefore not particularly valuable to collectors, certainly not compared to the late ’60s models. It might seem odd that a “muscle car” found its way to a land dominated by BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, but recall that Louis Chevrolet, the firm’s founder, grew up in Switzerland and only left Europe for North America in 1900, at age 21. He moved first to Montreal, in fact.

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Now say “Guten Abend” to this super-long Mercedes Pullman S-Class (W124) taxi ! I didn’t catch a ride in it because God gave me two functional legs and I’m all too happy to use them, but if I had 5 children and needed three rows of seating, a Pullman just might be kick Saddam out of my stable.

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In front of the The Fraumünster Church in Zurichii was this new Smart Fortwo, representing the first major overhaul of the iconic city car in 17 years,iii a singular feat in a car market now competing with smartphones for consumers’ attention. These will be in North America before long, but this is the first one I’ve seen in the metal. And in matte gray, no less !

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One car unlikely to ever find its way into my écurie is the all-electric Renault Twizy, of which I saw a white one and a black one in Bern. Only sold in Europe, these sexy little street-legal golf carts, seating the passenger in tandem behind the driver, apparently handle pretty sharply.

Renault Twizy - white and black

But enough new-school city cars, it’s not like post-post-modernity invented the fucking wheel. Check out this adorable original Fiat 500 !

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Lastly, it’s not a bird, nor a plane, but I’ll be damned if that’s not an atomic dirigible flying over Zurich !

swiss atomic dirigible

As I still have a few days left on the trip, this post may will be updated.

Update I :

Can’t say I’d ever seen or heard of a “Santana” before. Turns out they’re basically a Spanish-built Land Rover Defender competitor and that they’re defunct as of 2011. This here is the PS-10, as seen in Lausanne. It has a 3.0L IVECO turbodiesel.

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On the less rugged end of the Swiss spectrum is this Rolls Royce Wraith. If you ask me, if you’re going to show up in a Rolls Royce, the most prestigious of British automobiles, wtf are you doing driving it yourself ? Seriously, you have to be some kind of fucktarded “man of the people who’s too good to be driven” to drive a Rolls coupé. It’s the back seat of the Phantom or nothing at all. And yes, that means that the Ghost is also not worth the bother.

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But if it has to be British and you have to drive yourself, you could do worse than this elegant bruiser below. Yes, it’s “just” a run-of-the mill Aston Martin DB4 (1958 – 1963) and it’s nowhere near as rare nor as its pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor-because-it-hurts-your-naughty-bits-so-bad Zagato brethren,iv but you wouldn’t kick it out of bed, would you ?

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Though if you’re going to be a man of the people, what could be more pragmatic than a Citroen C4 Cactus ? Those bumpy door panel are unpainted plastic so you don’t have to worry about door dings when you’re elbowing your way into tight European parking spaces. As far as newer designs go, Citroen gets full points for un-beigeness. This ain’t no Toyota, making it forbidden (prole) fruit for North Americans.
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At least in Canada, the great thing about verbotene Frucht from across the pond is that we can import anything and everything once its 15 years-old.v This means that the early years of the Chris Bangle-designed Fiat Multipla,vi produced from 1998 – 2010 now have the green light ! Oft lambasted for it’s, shall we say, “unconventional” design, as may or may not be apparent from the picture below, it’s aged beautifully in person, taking a surprisingly wide stance and boasting panoramic daylight openings for improved visibility and a marked sense of spaciousness. It seems like it’d be a fantastic little family car for, say, coastal BC.

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Speaking of coasts and since transport is the subject matter du jour, check out the pirate flag on this ship in Lausanne’s Quai Jean-Pascal, just down the road from the lulz-a-minute Olympics Museum, currently celebrating the centenary between the city and the IOC. Seriously, the city might as well boast of its FIFA connections. Anyways, I dunno what it is about Lausannians and their pirate affectation, but a number of shop display windows had models with… eye patches. Just bizarre.
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  1. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. []
  2. Notable for its dazzling Marc Chagall stained glass windows.

    Marc Chagall stained glass windows - Fraumunster Zurich.jpgWhat do you mean there are no pictures allowed ? []

  3. To my eye, the “MkII” (2007-2014) wasn’t sufficiently visually differentiated from the MkI to warrant its own designation, though there were a significant number of changes beneath the skin, namely larger engines. []
  4. It’s truly one of the most striking and precious designs of the 20th century, to my eye. The DB4 Zagato is true automotive art. It’s like Bitcoin you can drive and with the scarcity already priced in. It’s something else. []
  5. Americans have to wait 25 years. Ha ! []
  6. Bangle, of course, also spent a profitable reign at BMW in the late ’90s and early 00’s, where he churned out the most compelling designs in that stupid fucking sausage company’s history. The E65 7-series (2001 – 2008) was definitely the jewel in his crown. []

6 thoughts on “Planes, trains, und atomic dirigibles der Schweiz.

  1. […] light-rail transit isn’t too shabby (though obviously not at Swiss levels) – and I take it now and again, as to many businesspeople – but the buses are […]

  2. […] shell corp “Vinumeris,” last known to reside in the otherwise lovely nation of Switzerland , and with the deeply lulzy G+ bylineiv […]

  3. […] (nevermind stroller-friendly!) streets are, in case you hadn’t guessed, a distinctly non-orc concept. […]

  4. […] what was truly fascinating was the impact that the LS460 in turn had on BMW. Under the guidance of Chris Bangle, the E66 broke new visual ground in the segment back in 2001, certainly enough to catch […]

  5. […] you’ve been to Singapore, Switzerland, or Israel. Perhaps you’ve also been to Egypt, Thailand, or Mexico. Then you’ll surely […]

  6. […] : Until they can both protect their borders, neither is anything at all. Switzerland is a nation, Israel idem, but anything the size and scope of US/EU is a belief system first and […]

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