SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Simca

Simca was a French automaker, founded in November 1934 by Fiat and directed from July 1935 to May 1963 by Italian Henri Théodore Pigozzi. Simca was affiliated with Fiat and, after Simca bought Ford's French activities, became controlled by the Chrysler Group. In 1970, Simca became a subsidiary and brand of Chrysler Europe, ending its period as an independent company. Simca disappeared in 1978, when Chrysler divested its European operations to another French automaker, PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA replaced the Simca brand with Talbot after a short period when some models were badged as Simca-Talbots. During most of its post-war activity, Simca was one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in France; the Simca 1100 was for some time the best-selling car in France, while the Simca 1307 and Simca Horizon won the coveted European Car of the Year title in 1976 and 1978, respectively—these models were badge engineered as products of other marques in some countries. For instance the Simca 1307 was sold in Britain as the Chrysler Alpine, the Horizon was sold under the Chrysler brand.

Simca vehicles were manufactured by Simca do Brasil in São Bernardo do Campo and Barreiros in Spain. They were assembled in Australia, Chile and the Netherlands during the Chrysler era. In Argentina, Simca had a small partnership with Metalmecánica SAIC for the production of the Simca Ariane in 1965. Henri Théodore Pigozzi was active in the automotive business in the early 1920s when he met Fiat founder, Giovanni Agnelli, they began business together in 1922 with Pigozzi acting as a scrap merchant, buying old automobile bodies and sending them to Fiat for recycling. Two years Pigozzi became Fiat's General Agent in France, in 1926 SAFAF was founded. In 1928, SAFAF started the assembly of Fiat cars in Suresnes near Paris, licensed the production of some parts to local suppliers. By 1934, as many as 30,000 Fiat cars were sold by SAFAF; the SIMCA company was founded in 1935 by FIAT, when Fiat bought the former Donnet factory in the French town of Nanterre. The first cars produced were Fiat 508 Balillas and Fiat 518 Arditas, but with Simca-Fiat 6CV and 11CV badges.

They were followed during 1936 by the Simca Cinq or 5CV, a version of the Fiat Topolino announced in the Spring, but only available for sale from October 1936. The Huit, an 8CV version of the Fiat 508C-1100, appeared in 1937. Production of the 6CV and 11CV stopped in 1937, leaving the 5CV and the 8CV in production until the outbreak of World War II; the firm remained connected with Fiat, it was not until 1938 that the shortened name "Simca" replaced "Simca-Fiat". Of the businesses that emerged as France's big four auto-makers after the war, Simca was unique in not suffering serious bomb damage to its plant. There were persistent suggestions that Henri Pigozzi's close personal relationship with the Agnelli family and Fiat's powerful political influence with the Mussolini government in Italy secured favourable treatment for Simca during the years when France fell under the control of Italy's powerful ally, Germany. Despite France being occupied, Simca cars continued to be produced in small numbers throughout the war.

Following the 1944 liberation, the company’s close association with Italy became an obvious liability in the feverish atmosphere of recrimination and new beginnings that swept France following four years of German occupation. Shortly after the liberation the Nanterre plant's financial sustainability received a boost when Simca won a contract from the American army to repair large numbers of Jeep engines. On 3 January 1946 the new government’s five-year plan for the automobile industry came into force. Government plans for Simca involved pushing it into a merger with various smaller companies such as Delahaye-Delage, Bernard and Unic so as to create an automobile manufacturing combine to be called “Générale française automobile”. With half an eye on the Volkswagen project across the Rhine, the authorities determined that GFA should produce the two door version of the "AFG", a small family car, developed during the war by the influential automobile engineer, Jean-Albert Grégoire. Grégoire owed his influence to a powerfully persuasive personality and a considerable engineering talent.

Regarding the future of the French automobile industry, Grégoire held strong opinions, two of which favoured front-wheel drive and aluminium as a material for car bodies. A few weeks after the liberation Grégoire joined the Simca board as General Technical Director, in order to prepare for the production of the AFG at the company’s Nanterre factory. For Simca, faced with a determinedly dirigiste left-wing French government, the prospect of nationalisation seemed real. Simca’s long standing Director General, Henri Pigozzi, was obliged to deploy his considerable reserves of guile and charm in order to retain his own position within the company, it appears that in the end Pigozzi owed his survival at Simca to the intervention with the national politicians of his new board room colleague, Jean-Albert Grégoire. In return, Grégoire obtained the personal commitment of the surviving Director General to the production at Nanterre of his two-door AFG, it is easy to see how the two-door AFG looked, because its four-door equivalent went into

Rassower Strom

The Rassower Strom is a waterway that lies at the tip of the tongue of land between the lagoons of the Wieker Bodden and Breetzer Bodden and is part of the North Rügen Bodden Chain. On its southern shore is the ferry boat landing stage between the villages of Vaschvitz and Fischersiedlung in the municipality of Trent, it separates the heartland of the island of Rügen, the Muttland, from the peninsula of Wittow in the north. At its narrowest point it is 350 metres wide; the Wittow Ferry crosses the Strom. It is a ferry service for foot vehicles. In severe winters, when the water surface of the bodden freezes over, the Rassower Strom remains ice-free as a result of the current to and from the Großer Jasmunder Bodden and provides a refuge for large numbers of water fowl

Verpa bohemica

Verpa bohemica is a species of fungus in the family Morchellaceae. Known as the early morel or the wrinkled thimble-cap, it is one of several species known informally as a "false morel"; the mushroom has a pale yellow or brown thimble-shaped cap—2 to 4 cm in diameter by 2 to 5 cm long—that has a surface wrinkled and ribbed with brain-like convolutions. The cap hangs from the top of a lighter-colored, brittle stem that measures up to 12 cm long by 1 to 2.5 cm thick. Microscopically, the mushroom is distinguished by its large spores 60–80 by 15–18 µm, the presence of only two spores per ascus. In the field, the mushroom is reliably distinguished from the true morels on the basis of cap attachment: V. bohemica has a cap that hangs free from the stem. Although considered edible, some attention should be paid to the correct preparation. Consumption of the mushroom, not prepared lead to reports of poisoning in susceptible individuals. Poisoning symptoms include gastrointestinal lack of muscular coordination.

V. bohemica is found in northern North America and Asia. It fruits in early spring, growing on the ground in woods following the snowmelt, before the appearance of "true morels"; the synonym Ptychoverpa bohemica is used by European mycologists. The species was first described in the scientific literature by the Czech physician and mycologist Julius Vincenz von Krombholz in 1828, under the name Morchella bohemica; the German naturalist Joseph Schröter transferred it to the genus Verpa in 1893. Ptychoverpa bohemica is a synonym, published by Frenchman Jean Louis Émile Boudier in his 1907 treatise on the Discomycetes of Europe. Boudier believed that the large, curved ascospores and the rare and short paraphyses were sufficiently distinct to warrant a new genus to contain the single species. Ptychoverpa has been classified as a section of Verpa; the section is characterized by the presence of thick longitudinal ridges on the cap that can be simple or forked. The species was first discovered in Canada by Alfred Brooker Klugh shortly before 1910 where it was referred to by another synonym, Morchella bispora.

The specific epithet bohemica refers to Bohemia, where Krombholz collected the species. The mushroom is known as the "early morel", "early false morel", or the "wrinkled thimble-cap". Ptychoverpa is derived from the Ancient Greek ptyx, meaning "fold", layer", or "plate"; the cap of this fungus is 2 to 4 cm in diameter by 2 to 5 cm long, with a bell shape. It is folded into longitudinal ridges that fuse together in a vein-like network; the cap is attached to the stem at the top only—hanging from the top of the stipe, with the lobed edge free from the stem—and varies in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown. The stem is 6 to 12 cm long by 1 to 2.5 cm thick, cream-white in color, tapers upward so that the stem is thicker at the base than at the top. Although the stem is loosely stuffed with cottony hyphae, it becomes hollow in maturity; the spore deposit is yellow, the flesh is white. Relative to other typical mushroom species, the spores of V. bohemica are huge measuring 60–80 by 15–18 µm. They are elliptical, sometimes curved, appear hyaline to yellowish.

The spores, which number two per ascus are characteristic for this species. The smooth, elliptical asci measure 275–350 µm long by 16–23 µm wide; the British-Canadian mycologist Arthur Henry Reginald Buller determined that the asci are heliotropic—they bend toward light. As he noted, "I cut transverse sections though their pilei, examined these sections under the microscope, at once perceived that in all the hymenial grooves and depressions the asci were curved outwards so that their opercula must have faced the strongest rays of light to which the ends of the asci has been subjected in the places where the fruit-bodies developed." This response to the stimulus of light is significant because it permits a fruit body to point and discharge its asci towards open spaces, thus increasing the chances that the spores will be dispersed by wind. The paraphyses are club-shaped, with diameters of 7 -- 8 µm at their tips. In Russia Verpa bohemica is a commercial species, it is sold frozen. No clinical cases have been registered within the Russian Federation concerning intoxications to this mushroom up to date.

Despite that, the edibility of this species has been source of different opinions. Although Verpa bohemica is eaten by many, consumption of large amounts in a single sitting, or on successive days, has been reported to cause poisoning in susceptible individuals. Symptoms include gastrointestinal upset and lack of muscular coordination, similar to the effects reported by some individuals after consuming the false morel species Gyromitra esculenta; the responsible toxin in G. esculenta is gyromitrin. Over-consumption of the mushroom has been reported to have induced a coma; those who do wish to eat this species are advised to parboil with copious quantities of water, to dry the specimens before eating, or, if eating for the first time, to restrict consumption to small port