Baby Hatchback plus an Imbert

Thought this would play a bit of inspiration to the Europeans on the site. It’s the size of car that I would consider charcoaling. I remember the Vauxhall Nova…

Yes NielC
Try Daniel Hagens yellow little beast. Much cleaner and compact. You can see it is Real from the tar goo stains. Would run just fine on pallet chunked wood fuel I’d wager. No fuss - no muss.

Do realize the US of A, Canada and Australia are huge continental sized with greater distances needed to travel not all worn out and RPM frazzled says this former mini-car driver (Austin 1098cc, Saab96 1495cc, VW Golf 1500cc and Suzuki 1300cc). A decent sized 6 or 8 cylinder just gets you there at our distances so much more smoothly, cumfortably and able to think pleasant thoughts when you do get there.
Also realize with these mini’s where’s the volumn of now 20 to 1 fuel bulk going to be carried?? Inside and on top!!

Steve Unruh

Steve, thanks for the YT link. I first saw this little happy yellow car in a picture on lowtechmagazine, driving along a road on the edge of a sunflower field. Great picture.

I do envy you Americans sometimes. You do have continent sized distances to amble along and justify large beastie vehicles. If you dare even think of a big engine vehicle in Britain the taxman knocks on your door and demands your wallet. A tasty Dodge V10 pickup like Waynes would hammer you about $1560 USD a year in road tax, then insurance (not sure how much though), then fuel ($9.61 US dollars per gallon, of which $4.23 is government tax). We have to go smaller.

Here’s a nugget of useless info for you. In GB, the furthest from the sea you can go is 70 miles, A place called Dale Farm if I remember right. Yu can’t drive far in a straight line without needing a paddle!

There is a saying that I read that goes England is a place where they talk about 100 miles as if that is far and America is a place where they talk about 100 years being a long time… Late night musings; sorry… Great link Steve

70 miles !! That is useful info … I grew up 6 miles from the Atlantic Ocean but am now around 1000 miles from it. Lake Michigan is the closest large body of water at around 130 miles. The Mississippi River is around 30 miles and so is the Wisconsin River.
One of my 91 olds maiden voyages … No goo down the sides yet … ML

Nice motor Mike. I love the “use what you got” effect, it’s how all of my projects turn out!

Here in Australia there are people who have to drive for 3 hours just to get to the front gate and 200 Km stretches of road as straight as a gun barrel. Big V8’s are very much a thing of the past due to the high running costs more so than the slightly higher registration fees. Even 6 cylinder family cars are close to going out of production.

Hey guys,

you know the old joke, where two farmers brag about their properties?

One says “When I get into my car, it takes me three days to drive around my property!”
And the other answers “Oh, yes, I can relate to that! I used to have a car like that, too!”

But honestly, if I’d drive three hours straight, I’ll be beyond my parents place, heading right for the Danish Border (having crossed almost 4 provinces (two of which are the town provinces of Bremen and Hamburg, though)…). And if I’d drive three hours in the opposite direction, I would drive trough a part of the Netherlands and end up in Belgium…

The utmost I can drive from my place without leaving Germany is probably 7 hours.
Quite a difference, eh?

Best regards,


Hi Guys
As a follow up. I will confess I spent two decades of my life working hard for 2-3 years then taking off one whole year living on accumulated savings, bicycling, chilling and western US states traveling. The 1200-1500 cc mini cars always needed a 5 gallon (19L.) extra gasoline can on board to get a traveling usable 350 miles/565km refueling range. AND listening to hour after hour of 4000 RPM engine screaming. The 1600-2000cc Volvo’s/BMW/Datsuns/Fiesta 4 cylinder class of vehicles I used were better. Only had to listen to 3000 RPM drone then and some even had quieter hot weather safer 15 inch wheels and tires. Some very good 2300-2600cc vehicles used also. But for the best economical overall balance of long distance touring were the six cylinders rigs in 170-200 CID/2.79L-3.28L. Then only 1500-2500 RPM and you could actually use the airconditioning and still make it over the mountain grades and kick back, listen to the music and actually enjoy the trip not being all vibration, noise and cop watching stressed out. My Mercian bike through all of these years de-wheeled and stuffed in back was my always my back-up plan C. Plan B was repair in place. Ha! Ha! Central Utah and Nevada always seemed to want to bite me! There a domestic vehicle was by far, far superior. Laugh, but my best favorites for this touring around were three different Ramblers. Two Americans and one Classic stationwagon. Then some fast trips in an AMC Eagle AWD Ferguson drive. Today it is one of the Chrysler mini-vans in a 3.3L V-6. Blend in with the prevalent flow and just cruise along.
Takes 6-7 hours just to cross most western US states. A weekend family/friends visit usually starts and ends with at least a 3 hour drive.
Always I think favor what is common, practical and reasonable for your area, conditions and useage. Avoid the expreme. Aviod the untimate fuel sipper made half a world away from you.
Like the one niegbor putting around in an old Fiat 850 Spider! VW bugs are now very uncommon and hard to get parts for out in the middle of most western states! A Smart car or a new Fiat 500 even worse! Wifes hairdresser had to have her sipping TDI towed 190 miles to the nearst place able to repair it out in eastern Or’eee(like the cookie)Gone(like the command to depart).

Steve Unruh

Steve, I think you’d like this 98 S-10 with the 2.2L SFI engine and 5 speed … It is great on the gasoline and even better on woodgas and even can pull the trailer at 30 mpg … ML

Gary, your just showing off on how much space you have. I always smirk when I watch programmes where Aussies state the size of their farms. Well here in Britain we have places that size too ya know. We refer to them as Wales and Scotland! Apart from straight up, I can’t drive for three hours without doing a U-turn to avoid the sea

Steve, I get what your digging. For comparison, when I holiday in Cornwall I’m there in under 4 hours. 1.4 - 1.6l mid hatchbacks are well suited for the climate. I did have a Volvo 850 estate for a while. 5 wide under the bonnet, 2.5l of pure Swedish engineering. It could eat up the miles, but it also ate up the fuel too. Around town it was a little cumbersome. It was like piloting a barge through the yacht club. It was a bit of a running joke too. If you ask a Brit to stereotype the owner of a Volvo estate, he will tell you Antiques Dealer. Well, I bought the car off my father-in-law, an antiques dealer! He even left the roofrack on for me. I eventually chopped it in for my 1.8td Escort van. Slow, basic and an absolute plodder, but just like a mule, if you let it do its own thing it will just keep on plodding.

I think our whole vehicle debate boils down to “horses for courses”. I’ll always pick small as the country’s small, and the government tax rates are greedy. I will however, yearn for something bigger and beastier. Wouldn’t say no to an original Range Rover with a +4l V8. Thankyou Solihull…