Tag Archives: Pillarless

Minivan Pillarless Coupé – Renault Avantime

They say fortune favours the brave, unfortunately the brave fall over every once in a while before they find success if they survive long enough at all.

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Just as Matra had gone out on a limb in 1977 to bring the public the Minivan sized SUV Simca / Talbot Ranchero I looked at last week a concept which Matra later evolved into the Renault Espace minivan in the 1980’s, in 1999 Matra showed a car for a new post minivan market segment which envisaged former minivan customers who’s kids had fled the coop who wanted something minivan sized for the superior view, but with only two doors and 140mph GT performance.

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Patrick le Quément was responsible for the styling, which was loosely based on the upmarket Renault Vel Satis, that featured lots of heat reflecting glass to afford a panoramic view, the complete absence of any B-pillar and double hinged doors that take up less road space than smaller conventional doors when open for ease of entry and egress.

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Initially the Avantime was to be powered by the 3 litre / 183 cui 24 valve 207hp Renault V6, later options included a 2 litre / 122 cui turbo and diesel variants.

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Children were not expected to be carried but the rear features two separate full size seats, instead of the regular bench seat, that are mounted higher than the front seats offering what Renault called “theater seating”.

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The Avantime certainly broke the coupé mold with it’s minivan size, fantastic all round vision and futuristic styling but….

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… it had no competition except from genuine coupés that were smaller, more agile and less quirky to look at, meaning only 8,557 examples were built from 2001 to 2003 and of those only 450 were imported into the UK, much to the disappointment of Matra who called time on their car manufacturing aspirations.

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In light of the vast fleets of highly polished sports minivan sized Chelsea tractors with only one or two occupants one sees flying up and down Britain’s motorways Renault might perhaps have been better aiming the Avantime as an alternative to sports utility vehicle segment.

The Avantime seen in these photographs earlier this year in Ware, Herts is a 3 litre / 183 cui V6 powered model with the 5 speed automatic transmission, it was first registered in the UK on the 2nd of September 2002.

Thanks for joining me on this “Minivan Pillarless Coupé” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Wagon Wednesday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Pillarless Coupé – BMW 327/28

The BMW 327 was a short chassis version of the BMW 326 manufactured originally in cabriolet form in 1937 and from 1938 it was also available as a Coupé.

BMW 327/28, Palo Alto

The 327 built with either a standard 55 hp 6 cylinder motor as used in the BMW 326 or with the 80 hp from the higher state of tune 6 cylinder found in the BMW 328. Cars supplied with 80 hp motors like the one in Geoffrey Horton’s photographs taken at Palo Alto are known as BMW 327/28 models.

BMW 327/28, Palo Alto

This pillarless coupé is one of just two known to have been built from more than 560 cars built with pillars until 1940. It was acquired by a US serviceman in Germany in 1958 who shipped it to NY and then drove it to California where it has remained, changing ownership just once since then.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for the fabulous photo’s.

Wishing all GALPOT contributors and readers in the USA a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanks for joining me on this pillarless edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’. I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Perfect Daily Driver – Daimler Sovereign Coupé

Today’s post is dedicated to yet another GALPOT Birthday Boy Racer187 who some of you may know as the Rowdy Racer with a Daimler SP 250 I blogged about late last year.

Daimler Sovereign Coupé

Today’s vehicle in featured vehicle in honor of Ryan is a Daimler Sovereign Pillarless Coupé which of the badge engineered Daimlers is my personal favorite.

Daimler Sovereign Coupé, Goodwood Revival

This particular Right Hand Drive (RHD) 4.2 liter six cylinder model, described by the owner a a ‘Perfect Daily Driver’ appears to have been driven around 500 miles from Remscheid in Germany all the way to the Goodwood Revival.

Daimler Sovereign Coupé, Goodwood Revival

The Daimler Sovereign Pillarless Coupé was in production from 1974 to 1978 and apart from its fluted grill and badges was externally identical to the Jaguar XJ Coupé but less than a third of the Jaguar / Daimler Coupé’s were Daimler variations.

Daimler Sovereign Coupé, Goodwood Revival

Due to issues with the paint going brittle as it oxidized and flexing in the pillar less roof vinyl roofs were standard on both variants of the Coupé to hide the cracked paint where the roof flexed. The vinyl roofs then acted as moisture traps when the paint beneath did crack causing rusting issues. Modern paints do not become so brittle and some restorations of these models have the vinyl roof removed.

Daimler Sovereign Coupé, Goodwood Revival

This particular car has been subjected to a fully documented bare metal restoration which includes being repainted in Jaguar Squadron Blue.

Daimler Sovereign Coupé, Goodwood Revival

What I particularly like about this restoration is that it features the correct vinyl roof and XJ / Sovereign Series II bumpers, all of the XJ / Sovereign Coupés were built with Series II bodies and chassis.

Wishing Racer187 aka Ryan Smith a very Happy Birthday.

Thanks for joining me on this Sovereign Pillarless Coupé edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !