There’s something doubtlessly special about understated, overlooked, high-horsepower, tire-burning five-door estates. It’s a niche market, but those who find themselves in it tend to commit, through and through. From factory offerings to garage built beasts, hatchback sedans are rarely described as more than “unassuming.
Roadtrip ideas usually come about after a fair amount of beverages. Usually some time in the early hours of the morning and usually surrounded by good friends. Sometime in the depths of winter, dreaming of summer days and classic racecars, a few mates and myself came up with the fantastic idea to roadtrip 8 hours from Germany, rent a huge house to sleep us all and enjoy the Le Mans Classic. Basically an epic automotive pilgrimage.
So six months later here we are.
The legacy started decades ago in the United Kingdom. The Suez Crisis left the UK to ration fuel once again, and sales of large vehicles began to plummet. In response to the fuel shortage, Sir Alec Issigonis was tasked with the challenge of developing a small, efficient car that was still capable of transporting 4 adults and their luggage.
Coachbuilt cars are, in most ways, a thing of the past. Remaining from a time before unibody vehicles, machine-stamped body panels, and mass-produced model ranges, coach building now represents the pinnacle of automobile craftsmanship, design, and creativity. Touring Superleggera is one of only a few remaining names, with its home tucked away behind brick walls in Milan, Italy.
I distinctly remember the first time I saw one of Paul’s cars while walking the sweltering aisles of Waterfest in Englishtown, New Jersey. He was toying with a mysterious switch box and it left a lasting impression on me that I still remember to this day. While now-a-days it seems that white Volkswagen MK5s must have rolled off the factory lots with air suspension, back in 2007, air suspension was nearly unheard of at euro shows.