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Good old days?

I'm just leafing through some old booklets of Autocar road tests from the early 1970's. The test data make an interesting comparison to present day figures.

Ford Escort 1300 2-door. 96 mph max, 28 mpg.
Hillman Avenger 1500 91 mph max, 28 mpg.
Renault 6-1100 79 mph max, 34 mpg.
Triumph Toledo 83 mph max, 32 mpg.
Austin Maxi 1750 89 mph max, 28 mpg.
Citroen GS Club 90 mph max, 26 mpg.
Morris Marina 1800 TC 100 mph max, 25 mpg.

I know road testers thrash the cars a bit, but these are quoted as 'typical consumption' figures. I can just about remember when 30 miles per gallon was considered economical. Now small/medium cars with diesel engines achieve double these mpg figures, are heavier and have brisker performance.

One wonders what car performance will be like in 30 years' time!

cheers, Sofa Spud

Comments

Imagos    on 23 March 2005

Proof of how prehistoric the A series Marina engine was.. Just 4mph faster and 3mpg less than a Escort engine which is 500cc less!

Pugugly {P}    on 23 March 2005

But the old A series TC was quite a horney motor when it got going, plenty of torque and a healthy noise, which I would happily have paid for at the time...(not attached to a Marina though !)

Sofa Spud    on 23 March 2005

Yes - except one pedantic point - the 1.8 Marina had a B-series engine - like a scaled up A-series. The B-series was fitted to Austin Cambridge, MGB, BMC J4 van etc. Was 1500, then 1600 and finally 1800cc.

Cheers, SS

Imagos    on 23 March 2005

Yes - except one pedantic point - the 1.8 Marina had
a B-series engine -


What can i say except... D'OH!

L'escargot    on 24 March 2005

Proof of how prehistoric the A series Marina engine was.. Just
4mph faster and 3mpg less than a Escort engine which is
500cc less!



Top speed and fuel consumption also depend a lot on mechanical friction and aerodynamic drag. Older cars which were perceived to be "aerodynamic" were mostly just nice to look at. The drag coefficient of an E-type was nothing out of the ordinary for it's era, and was beaten hands down by the humble Hillman Imp. With the ever increasing knowledge of vehicle body aerodynamic characteristics, the drag coefficient of today's cars is in a different league entirely. Other aerodynamic coefficents (yaw, pitch and roll) contribute greatly to vehicle stability.
--
L\'escargot by name, but not by nature.

madux    on 24 March 2005

Top speed and fuel consumption also depend a lot on mechanical
friction and aerodynamic drag. Older cars which were perceived to be
"aerodynamic" were mostly just nice to look at. The drag coefficient
of an E-type was nothing out of the ordinary for it's
era, and was beaten hands down by the humble Hillman Imp.


Do you have the figures to back that up?
My old Dad, a well-known motoring journo. in the sixties, keeps reminding me that his E-Type was the first production car to be designed in a wind tunnel. (hence the carp Jaguar cooling and ventilation). And Imps were, erm, rather brick shaped!

SlightlyFatRep    on 23 March 2005

About 3 years ago my wife and I had a Capri 2.8i Special with the V6 engine. 170hp apparently and when all the filters cleaned and running well it shifted.

However, it drank like a fish with a drink problem and nowadays 170hp isn't much for most cars. My imminant diesel car will have 163hp from 2.4 litres!

Amazing what time brings forward.

What fascinates me is things like the old Cinquecento (the 'round' ball-shaped one) with something like 20hp!

We had a Punto with 55hp that scarcly moved, so 20hp sounds like it needed a push!

I supose weight is a bigger factor now with all this (welcome) safety malarkey..........

Pugugly {P}    on 23 March 2005

Agreed who would have thought that a 2.0 litre diesel could crank out 166 bhp

L'escargot    on 24 March 2005

Maximum power is not the be all and end all of car performance in this country, especially at speeds within the legal limit. The relationship between torque and engine speed is far more important.
--
L\'escargot by name, but not by nature.

Imagos    on 23 March 2005

The ironic thing is that the Escort's engine the now ancient 'kent' crossflow 1.3 is still about in modified form and size in the Ka.

What goes around....

Pugugly {P}    on 23 March 2005

At least the A and B series passed away quietly....

Sofa Spud    on 23 March 2005

>>At least the A and B series passed away quietly....

They served us well for 3 decades, though, from Austin A30 to Austin Metro.

Cheers, SS

Retro    on 24 March 2005

Over the last few months, I have been thinking of getting a Mini van or pick-up, ditching the A-Series engine and putting in a tuned Suzuki Hayabusa one.

The logic was you would have a car that was as rapid as you like with a full sequential gearbox and with the driving position and lightweight would be as close to a road legal go-kart as you could get.

The good old days with a modern twist....and massive oversteer on the power and not just lift-off.

Roger Jones    on 24 March 2005

The average fuel consumption of my Capri 2.8i is 27.37 mpg since restoration 18 months ago, which I wouldn't say is drinking like a fish and which is not that far short of what my 1996 2.8 Golf VR6 gets. On a long trip last week I got 33 mpg from the Capri -- not bad for a 2.8 engine 20 years old, methinks. Perhaps the Optimax and VW fuel additive help, and my driving style is fairly gentle, although I do tend to cruise at 80.

cheddar    on 24 March 2005

Re MPG a lot is down to aerodynamics.

cheddar    on 24 March 2005

..... as is top speed!

SlightlyFatRep    on 24 March 2005

I suspect I have a heavier right foot! :)

When one of the head gaskets went I used two tank fulls of Petrol to get me from the Capri Show just North of Banbury back home to Wilts.

Thats about a 2 hour drive..............Now thats what I call a drink problem!!!

Stargazer {P}    on 24 March 2005

Having driven a 1973 Escort alongside a more modern Ford Fiesta 1.1 (1986) the figures also hide a lot.

The Escort weighed less than the Fiesta despite being longer (but narrower). It was only 56bhp and I never took it over 75mph since to get to that speed it had to be unloaded which made the car very tail happy (rear wheel drive and a lightweight rear dont go). Then there were the brakes, single circuit drum brakes all round, certainly required a lot of brake pedal pressure. I forgot this after switching to the Fiesta with servo assisted front discs and immediately locked all wheels at a T junction.

The Escort consistently managed about 37mpg on long journeys at a steady 60-65mph with terrible road noise and no radio. On similar journeys in the Fiesta I managed 42 mpg if I kept the speed down, but with quieter interior, stereo and higher top speed it was easy to let the speed creep up upto 75 and the economy dropped very rapidly to just over 30mpg.

Those were the days!


StarGazer

daveyjp    on 24 March 2005

My 1981 vintage mark 1 Fiesta 1.1L (don't foget the L as that meant I had a rear wiper!) used to get 40+ mpg. And at that time it was over 20 years old and had done close on 100,000 miles.

mfarrow    on 24 March 2005

My 1981 vintage mark 1 Fiesta 1.1L (don't foget the L
as that meant I had a rear wiper!)


We had a 1.3L Escort ('75) and I could never work out what the 'L' was for (I think it was carpets and the 1.3 litre engine with front disks).

It never liked hills, especially as it got older (coked up?) and the steering wheel used to shake above 50mph. We never got MPG figures for it though it mostly did town driving.

--------------
Mike Farrow

oldpostie    on 24 March 2005

"They served us well for 3 decades, though, from Austin A30 to Austin Metro".

Maybe I was unlucky. My A30 was perhaps the most reliable and economical, the A40 was OK but fell apart through rot, the A55(Farina) always had something going wrong. It did 26mpg around town, and 33 on a run. Wow. I got towed off the M1 (by an artic !!!) once when the top end fell to bits. I had a complaint made against me because it made so much noise trying to start, in the police station yard after nights. I wonder why I tolerated it so long, as I certainly would not now.
In comparison, my old petrol Mondeo Mk1 2.0 had few problems, was always smooth and quick, with good economy.
The difference between a 1961 car and a 1999 car !

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