Cold Start: The 1990s Were Full Of Globes

Cs Twingo

You know what I think I forgot about the 1990s? Globes were everywhere. Any time a photoshoot could shove a globe in there, they did. Globes were on logos and murals and silkscreened onto T-shirts and were in peoples’ hands and printed on kickballs and probably would get tattooed on your shaved head if you sat still long enough. Man, we loved globes.

I mean, I still enjoy a good globe – I have an illuminated one right here not four feet from where I’m typing this, for example, and I always thought one of those huge ones that had a bar inside it would be cool.

Anyway, those first-gen Twingos sure were incredible. Did you know the antenna was mounted to the side mirror to save on cable length? It’s true!

Twingo Ant

So clever, so friendly, so Twingo.

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29 Responses

  1. The word mondo seemed to come up a lot in product names and marketing materials, which is supposed to be a corruption of mundo, so, yeah, the ’90s fascination with globes does seem to have been something of a thing.

  2. I’ve always wondered – what’s the offset hood-vent-looking element for?

    A cool bit of style for sure, but is it actually functional as well? (betting it is, as it’s European not American)

      1. Thank you – I love the simple, low-tech nature of it, and how it likely lets you get a decent amount of direct-temp outside air.

        I love using the vents in my cars, but since the air has to pass through the engine compartment, it’s never as cool as it could be.

        Frustrating when it’s beautiful outside but I can’t get that inside the car w/o using the a/c.

          1. I guess one reason might be lack of space below the windshield. Of course this place also has disadvantages. The Ram Air Effect on the cabin air is higher, which means, the faster you’ll drive, the more air will come into the cabin.

    1. This first gen was never officially sold in the UK, but a surprising number got imported (in LHD of course). I pass one on my way to work.
      I still find it slightly odd that so many people went to the effort of importing a small cheap car. It’s not like we couldn’t easily buy other small French cars, in RHD too.

    2. Me too. I would totally drive one. Very neat little car. Saw a 1995 Twingo at a show this past Sunday. Was impressed with the under hood access for such a small car, and some of the clever things done to optimize the packaging such as how the brake master cylinder reservoir was shaped to fit around the left strut tower.

    3. I’ve long been bitter that we don’t get any interesting French cars here anymore. I’m curious how the entire country’s output came to be maligned in the US as singularly weird and unreliable, given how much junk the driving public puts up with and smiles.

      1. They did it to themselves, with terrible parts support and a bad dealership network* – once you bought a car, TS, you were on your own, too bad if something happened. The dealers were often gas stations or shady used car lots with a temporary office trailer, who parked a couple of new Peugeots out front at the edge of the road and sold one once in awhile. The handful of good dealers were mostly on their own for advertising, with little support from the automakers, and had the same issues getting parts and training as anyone else.

        *at least for Peugeot & Citroen, Renault made a serious effort by buying control of American Motors, but they were hemorrhaging cash at home and investing meager resources on growing the US business was not a popular idea with the French government or French labor unions when French workers were being laid off, so they had to cut and run from that to shore up things at home

  3. How does putting the antenna on the mirror save cable length compared to putting it on the front fender? It has to run across the dash and it has to be long enough to feed through the door with enough slack for the door to open. On the fender, it can run through the firewall and then make a straight shot to the final location.

    1. This photo shows the location of aerial mount better: https://www.lhdplace.co.uk/img/vehicles/lightbox/13949.JPG It’s mounted on the external rear-view mirror housing.

      Same idea with Mercedes-Benz incorporating the side turn signal repeaters in the mirror housings—starting with W220 S-Class in 1998—as to save the cost of punching the front fenders and installing the separate cables during the assembly process, especially for the countries, such as Italy, that require the repeaters.

  4. By the way, if y’all have never heard Jay Foreman’s song “Twingo”, look it up on YouTube. One would not expect a song about an econobox to be best described as “wistful”, but… Look, just listen to it.

  5. Why come blond girl didn’t get a car? It’s like Oprah came in and “you get a car!” “you get a car!” “you get a car!” “you get a car!” and then “you… get an inflatable globe.”

    You can see it in her face. The four in cars have genuine smiles but she’s sitting there holding her beach ball with a look that says “I’m just happy to be here.”

  6. Anyone else remember the days when telescoping antenna were mounted to the a-pillar? I remember rolling down the window and pulling out or pushing in the antenna depending if you were listening to AM or FM stations. And you definitely didn’t want to forget to push it all the way in if you were going through a car wash.

  7. Those first-gen Twingos are amazing little cars. They are surprisingly roomy and practical inside, and in a European city context where smaller external dimensions are most definitely better, they work brilliantly. Even here in the States I wouldn’t mind having one to putter around locally.

  8. The first gen Twingos were by far one of the best small vehicles on the European market.
    Foldable and movable rear seats, rather much space for such a small vehicle…and so on.

    We used to have 4 in the family, currently just one is left. Easy to maintain, very good milage (usually between 4,5 and 5,5 Liters/100km (so between 45 and 50 MPG).

    The only problem was the rust issue with the very first models, but things got better with the models from 2000 on.

    1. BTW: It is actually one of the fewcars with a very good and reliable solution for the foldable roof. We never had any issues with water/moisture. On so many other cars with similar roofs (e.g. BMW E36 compact and many other compact vehicles from the 90ies) there were problems with water.

      And in fact, the roof can be deinstalled and installed in other vehicles very easily. A friend of mine buys these roofs on ebay to put in various different cars.

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