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Reborn classics - your choices?

Upon the news that Jaguar could make limited numbers of old cars (C-type, D-type, Mk2) based on modern mechanicals, what would you like to have in the way of an old car reborn and (perhaps) redesigned for the modern age? Forget about brand ownership issues for a minute...

Here are my choices:
Rover P6 (how did you guess?) with modern small V8 (wot no-one makes! Boo hiss), perhaps 2.8-3.2L - V8 torque with six-pot economy. Ideally modern fully independent rear end instead of that ironmonger's shop the original had.

Rover P6BS - put a V8 right in the middle, not off to one side as on the original, come up with a prettier reinterpretation of the P6BS/P9 body, use proper modern suspension and hey presto, goodbye Mr. Boxster! Yes, I know the original never made production. Also, David Bache's front-engined fastback version, the Alvis GTS, known as Gladys, and the very little-known Issigonis-penned Alvis T350 (30MPG out of a British saloon with a 3.5L V8 - in 1954! Long before the Buick - later Rover - V8 had been built. T350 had hydrolastic suspension, too) would be able to put the wind up the Germans...

Rover P5B - based on Ford DEW98 platform as on Lincoln LS/Jag S-type/XF (so a bit bigger than the original) with (if it would fit) Range Rover 3.6L diesel V8, maybe even Audi A8 4.2L diesel V8. I'd even quite like an estate version *flame war begins*

Rover SD1 - base it, again, on DEW98 platform. Stylish, practical, fast, this time even great to drive - what's not to like? The Mondeo would have a fight on its hands, as long as the build quality was up to scratch.

Range Rover Classic - simply because it was so good and the modern Rangey is so unaffordable

Triumph Stag
Might keep the rollover bar, would definitely get rid of the fore-n-aft bar linking rollover bar with top of windscreen. Modern FIRS+V8. Shooting brake anyone?

Triumph TRanythingupto6, GT6, Spitfire - no more separate chassis, go for monocoque, plus straight-six engines.

Triumph Dolomite Sprint - the original everyman's sports saloon. To use BMW 1-series underpinnings, ideally a rev-happy Honda four-cylinder engine such as in S2000. Estate version would look good, too!

Austin 1100, ideally using my favourite badge-engineered version's name, Riley Kestrel - roomier alternative to a shouty all-uppercase MINI! A Countryman version would be possible, too.

Austin-Healey 3000 - suitably modernised, that'd give the Z4 a run for its money!

Ford Cortina - to show that cheap, practical RWD thrills are still possible.

Ford Capri - ditto. Not that awful Focus-based FWD thing they're planning.

Alvis TE21 - if I had to explain, you wouldn't understand, so here goes. Simply the definitive luxury coupé, short of a David Brown Aston. If only it was prettier...

Citroen DS - still one of the most beautiful cars EVER. This time, sort out the six-pot, maybe even RWD?! Flame war steps up again! Safari version would be, as the original is, fantastic.

Volvo Amazon - solid, respectable, notably pretty, good to drive, reliable as Toyota's CEO's Swiss watch. Still the best small Volvo ever.

Lancia Delta Integrale - if that fails to succeed in reviving Lancia, then nothing will ever do it.

Alfa Romeo 75 - practical, RWD, etc. This time, get the reliability sorted too. Same goes for most old, RWD Alfas - lovely to drive, from all I've heard, very pretty, dreadfully built. Alfa needs that character back, but with better quality.

BMW Z8 - I know, never a great car, and pretty recent, but it looked gorgeous. Now, we just need to sort out the handling issues...

Mini (the lowercase Issigonis original). I really, REALLY don't need to explain. Issigonis' even more visionary X9001 - see www.aronline.co.uk/index.htm?ado17storyf.htm - would also be fantastic.

Right, yet again, a RoverP6B braindump. Sorry folks! Ideas on the back of a postcard, or better still, on this forum.
MG Midget/Austin-Healey Sprite, MGB. Ditto. Goodbye Mr. MX-5!

Comments

Avant    on 30 July 2009

1939 Lagonda drophead. But perhaps that would be sacrilege.

Martin Devon    on 30 July 2009

Goodbye Mr. MX-5!

Phew!

Rover P6B    on 30 July 2009

Goodbye Mr. MX-5!
Phew!


Phew as in phew, I've finally reached the bottom, or phew as in I don't like the MX-5?

focusman    on 30 July 2009

re ford cortina
after passing my test in 1971, first car was a ford anglia, shortly followed by a cortina mkII, put on the rostyle wide wheels and in a deep blue it looked lovely. but i always wanted the 1600E but could never afford it or the insurance. i would love to be able to get one now. although it would have to have power steering, if not a 1600E perhaps a TR6 again it would need power steering

stunorthants26    on 30 July 2009

Dodge Charger with a 5-series chassis and Koenigsegg V8. Oh yes :-)

Alby Back    on 30 July 2009

What a pleasing thread. A mind wandering inspiration. We could probably benefit from more of that these days. Reality is a bit too sobering at present.

Staggering back to topic, it reminded me that on the M1 the other day my thoughts drifted to how bland most current cars looked. Efficient no doubt, safe most probably but just a bit of a yawn. Some of the models you have reminded us of had real style and individuality. Some of them undoubtedly had their downsides too.

It does seem thouigh that we are enduring a period of aesthetic famine in our car designs. Perhaps that will be cured in due course.

ifithelps    on 31 July 2009

...It does seem though that we are enduring a period of aesthetic famine in our car designs...

Said the man whose preferred car body shape is a shoebox on wheels. :)

Alby Back    on 31 July 2009

Aye, true enough, guilty as charged but if I could find a Citroen DS Safari which could be made as reliable and viable as my Mondeo estate I wouldn't have to think too hard about my choice !

ifithelps    on 31 July 2009

...as reliable and viable as my Mondeo estate...

Humph,

You and I both know there is nothing made in any shape or form that is as reliable and viable as a good Ford.

Martin Devon    on 30 July 2009

Phew as in phew I've finally reached the bottom or phew as in I don't
like the MX-5?

Phew as in I like your stamina and agree in part. As a young man I travelled many miles in V8 P6 Rovers both manual and Auto' and loved them to bits. Those early memories stay with one. Also SD1.

Best regards,

Martin.

Altea Ego    on 30 July 2009

Jenson Interceptor FF. with aircon.

Reliant Scimitar GTE. with a steel galvanised body.

Lancia Beta HPE - with everything galvanised.


Hmm I seem to like sporty estate thingies,


Robin Reliant    on 30 July 2009

Mk1 Cavalier. Pleasing to the eye, roomy and nice to drive.

Lotus Elan. What a sports car should be, small, light and excellent handling.

Rover P6B    on 31 July 2009

Reliant, re the Elan, we'd just need a mild restyle of the MX-5... But a Cavalier? Are you out of your mind? It was a dreadful car in every way! Not to mention hideous...

Harleyman    on 1 August 2009

Mk1 Cavalier. Pleasing to the eye .

Saw one at a classic car show t'other week, and the same thing crossed my mind.

Westpig    on 30 July 2009

I've just put my old Triumph back on the road, after a 4 or 5 year sit in the garage (1968 Triumph 2000 mk1 auto). I blame the XJS threads recently.... couldn't justify spending out on something like that when there was something sat in the garage.

The old girl has many faults despite being in exceptionally good condition (not least of which are two different colours of fluids on the garage floor, which means EXPENSE... and a dynamo instead of an alternator)... but... I think i'd rather have her as she is, warts and all...i'm not convinced i'd want one with a modern engine and a back end that didn't suddenly lurch for an inch or two when you went round a corner, or the impossibly large and heavy steering wheel, the wholly ineffective heating system, the one speed wipers... I love the old girl for what she is, not what she could be

where would you draw the line?

datostar    on 31 July 2009

back end that didn't suddenly lurch for an inch or two when you went round
a corner


That must be the identical model to one I had some years ago. Did you get a sound effect with the lurch? Mine used to clonk and garages always told me it was OK.

Westpig    on 31 July 2009

That must be the identical model to one I had some years ago. Did you
get a sound effect with the lurch? Mine used to clonk and garages always told
me it was OK.


yes mine does the same...and has done for the 19 years i've owned it. I'm not very technically minded unfortunately, but i've been told it's a spline or something...and it's meant to do it....but it was a tad disconcerting when it first did it, although i've totally got used to it now...and i consider it all part of the charcater.

Maybe someone on here can explain it more thoroughly

datostar    on 31 July 2009

Maybe someone on here can explain it more thoroughly


Have a look at t2000.kvaleberg.org/t_faq.html

Apparently a design feature!

Westpig    on 31 July 2009

Have a look at t2000.kvaleberg.org/t_faq.html
Apparently a design feature!


Cheers, that explains it nicely

Rover P6B    on 31 July 2009

Altea Ego, regarding the Scimitar, surely Jag XJ-style light aluminium monocoque (or even an all-carbon job) would be better than steel?

Tornadorot    on 4 August 2009

Jenson Interceptor FF. with aircon.
Reliant Scimitar GTE. with a steel galvanised body.
Lancia Beta HPE - with everything galvanised.


Seconded! I've always admired the styling of the Scimitar GTE - sporting, yet practical.

Actually, someone does seem to be planning to revive the Interceptor:

www.jensen-cars.co.uk/sx.html

Although it looks like it might still be at the pipe dream stage.

1400ted    on 30 July 2009

Well, I've had a P6, aP6B and a P4 and jolly fine motors they were.
Of course, I have to ask for a Jowett Javelin, no changes to the body styling, but please, a good conventional engine with double the 50 bhp it already has. Disc brakes but I like the 16 inch wheels, so keep them but develope some 5.25 radials.
Might need power steering then. Add a few goodies, like screen washers and a decent heater/demister and I'd be Mr Happy.
No chance though !
I was also very fond of the HA Viva...nice sensible second car if upgraded.

Ted

bell boy    on 30 July 2009

i want a hb viva
with a nice zetec
power steering
air con
black bonnet with vents
and a usb hi fi

Robin Reliant    on 31 July 2009

Air con is for wimps.

Open a window.

bell boy    on 31 July 2009

Having driven **** for most of my life there is no way my weekend car can not have aircon'
Its so last century dorling not to have it
I love cruising the back lanes with my toes cold and my arm on the door frame warm,
try it.
Im not a wimp either ;-)

madux    on 31 July 2009

Electric windows are for wimps. What is wrong with winding it down by hand?
You don't even have to take your eyes off the road - but you do to look for the button......

Fullchat    on 31 July 2009

BB Very brief glimpse of of the bonnet area of a Viva GT in Le Mans blue during Ashes to Ashes. Never saw it again. Probably without the Zetec :-)

Edited by Fullchat on 31/07/2009 at 02:08

b308    on 31 July 2009

If it were to be the P6, then a VAG big diesel would be made for it... a GT with power and economy, very nice...

Another vote for the Stag...

And a 1300GT please...

Oh, and a Maxi with smooth gear change!

mike hannon    on 31 July 2009

>Upon the news that Jaguar could make limited numbers of old cars (C-type, D-type, Mk2) based on modern mechanicals<

Dear oh dear, will they never learn? We've already seen a modern interpretation of the Mk 2 - the ugly and largely unloved S Type - and that should be a warning.
The past is the past. If some of us want to put our money where our mouth is and indulge in it for what it was, then fair enough.
But shouldn't it be realised that many of the cars mentioned by posters above are remembered fondly now for what they were then - examples of progress in styling and/or engineering that were desirable for those reasons? They were instrumental in moving motoring forward.
Motor manufacturers who have now run out of ideas and live by fashion statements and gizmos shouldn't be encouraged to dabble in what may have been their more illustrious past.
If the rate of progress in styling and engineering of 30 years ago and beyond had been maintained we'd all be travelling in individual rocket-propelled, water-fuelled pods by now, not daydreaming of computer-controlled relics.
Does anyone really want a Vauxhall Viva with automatic wipers or an Austin Maxi with tiptronic gears? They must want their bumps felt...

lotusexige    on 31 July 2009

- mike hannon
As I remember the Mk2 was in fact pretty horrible to drive. An uncle of mine had a couple of them and compared to the things that I would normaly have been driveing at the time, Lotus Cortina and BMW 1600, I found them to be closer to a truck than a decent car. The first Jag that I thought was actually nice to drive was the Mk2 XJ6, I found the steering in the earlier one to be over servoed and lacking in feel. The later one could raelly be chucked about. That is not to say that the arly one was a load of junk by any means, i just did not like it to drive.
On the idea of a D type revival,very nice but I do remember one time in the 70s when a motoring jurnalist took a D type and an XJ6 to a circuit. The XJ6 was several seconds a lap quicker.

Rover P6B    on 31 July 2009

Dear oh dear will they never learn? We've already seen a modern interpretation of the Mk 2 - the ugly and largely unloved S Type - and that should be a warning. The past is the past. If some of us want to put our money where our mouth is and indulge in it for what it was then fair enough. Does anyone really want a Vauxhall Viva with automatic wipers or an Austin Maxi with tiptronic gears? They must want their bumps felt...


The new MkII would be outwardly identical to the original, not a reinterpretation like the actually rather pretty and very under-rated S-type (though its dash was awful). I think the Viva and Maxi are poor examples, but the cars that I named were, and remain, genuinely desirable.

perro    on 31 July 2009

Ford Corsair but with the V6 engine.

Mark 1 Opel Manta

Triumph Dolomite Sprint

I could go on!

alfalfa    on 31 July 2009

alfasud with galvanised body and Bosch electrics.

alfalfa

Happy Blue!    on 31 July 2009

I like Kamm tailed small cars. So.....

Citroen GS and/or Alfasud with rust proof bodies and (as they we both flat engined as well) fitted with a Subaru Forester 2.0 Turbo engine.

bintang    on 31 July 2009

For sheer good looks in a small roadster, the Swallow Doretti outshone the original MGF (last of the Midgets) and the later MX5. It was bult on a Triumph TR4 chassis and I believe Swallow was the orginal (pram) coachbuilder for Jaguar. I'll always regret not quite being able to raise the money to buy a Doretti when they were new, in the 1960s.

Tornadorot    on 31 July 2009

For sheer good looks in a small roadster the Swallow Doretti outshone the original MGF
(last of the Midgets) and the later MX5.


I saw one of these at the Glamis Castle extravaganza the other week. Absolutely mint it was. Never heard of them before. TR2 gubbins actually.

Edited by Typ 8L on 31/07/2009 at 17:13

Alanovich    on 31 July 2009

Blimey, Espada! You've named my two favourite all timers there. I'll not be able to concentrate on work today, thinking about what could be if these fabulous cars were revived, but with proper build quality. Man oh man. The GS would have to be air cooled though, just wouldn't sound right any other way. And the current 1.4 T-Jet FIAT engine in the 'Sud please.

mark999    on 31 July 2009

Saab 96V4 and Saab Sonnett

glowplug    on 31 July 2009

Citroen DS.
Cortina Mk 1 GT.
Cortina MK 2 GT and 1600E.
GM EV1.

Steve.

lotusexige    on 31 July 2009

GT40 Contiuation, available now. Not even expensive by supercar standards.

lotusexige    on 31 July 2009

BB Very brief glimpse of of the bonnet area of a Viva GT in Le
Mans blue during Ashes to Ashes. Never saw it again. Probably without the Zetec :-)

You mean it had a Zetec transplant? The problem with it as it came from the factory was that the great big lump of cast iron in the front made it suffer from terminal understeer.

Cheeky    on 31 July 2009

Well, call me odd, but I remember the Ausitn Princess 2 2200HLS Auto as a fabulous car back in its day. Smooth, well equipped (it had an FM radio/cassette) and supremely comfortable.
The Mk2 Alfa Spider would get my vote too in 2.0 TS guise.

A nice SD1 with anything bigger than a 2300cc engine too.

And I agree with the vote for a decent Maxi too.

Yes, I know I'm odd, but I do admire nice examples of 1970's and early 80s British Leyland.

davidh    on 31 July 2009

None. I'd leave 'em as they are.

If I had to make a concession, just give me servo brakes.

b308    on 31 July 2009

Ausitn Princess 2 2200HLS Auto as a
fabulous car back in its day. Smooth well equipped (it had an FM radio/cassette) and
supremely comfortable.


I had a manual 2.2 and all it needed was a 5th gear... shame it never got one!

Mick Snutz    on 31 July 2009

Some good suggestions on this thread but surely any so called reborn classic will only be a name from the past being reborn through rose tinted specs? It won't be the same car and I doubt there'd be the same thrill of driving and ownership.
Manufacturers are quick to resurrect a name from the past and market the product accordingly but there's no special thrill in driving a BMW Mini or a modern VW Beetle.

If you want a classic car and all the smells, sounds and memories that come with ownership then keep an old classic running.

Failing that, keep the current car you've got for another 35 years and you'll have your classic car.

Farmer Boy    on 31 July 2009

Mini (the lowercase Issigonis original). I really REALLY don't need to explain. Issigonis' even more

Yes the original mini. It was a revolutionary design, cheap and economical. Which is why it was one of the best sellers ever. Something that the 'new' one is not, it's just vaguely the same shape!

Keep it simple, basic and unsophisticated but iron out the problems (corrosion etc) and dont fill the inside with plastic trim. Give it sliding windows and door pockets. It doesnt even have to look like the old one!

I might be a nutter but I dream about them.

retgwte    on 31 July 2009

farmers boy, wouldnt u end up with a citroen AX alike? which wouldnt make it onto the roads cos the reason they stopped selling them was they cannot pass up to date crash regulations, and we wouldnt want another Marc Bolan style death?

my fantasy list would be something like

Capri 2.8 S
RS2000 Escort

both to have 4 wd and ABS, as their handling would be too unsafe for my taste these days

you will laugh at this, a late MG Metro with the running gear out of something like a Fiat Panda 100 hp in it

circa 1989 Suzuki Swift GTI with mechanicals from modern Swift sport

late XJS with the fuel consumption of a Panda Multijet, ha ha

I worked at Jag, so one of the cars I had built to test various things would be nice to see

Old Mark II but obviously with proper power steering and so on

air con and ABS would seem pretty essential now though

dreams dreams dreams

Lud    on 31 July 2009

A modern 2CV equivalent would be good.

Light weight, favouring primary over secondary, passive safety; decent aerodynamics; great fuel economy but long legs over distance; no pretensions to silence but an agreeable noise; good roadholding and brakes; long-travel suspension for speed bumps but better controlled than in a 2CV (which had an annoying way of banging the front crossmember on the road burring the heads of the engine mounting bolts).

Obviously it wouldn't look anything like a 2CV and would be several decades better. Citroen used to be able to do this kind of thing. Who can now?

More importantly perhaps, who would be allowed to? If I were a car engineer I would head for the Far East.

perro    on 31 July 2009

>>> A modern 2CV equivalent would be good. <<<

When I road tested the Citroen C3, albeit in automated manual form - I thought to my self this is a 21st Century 2CV ... idiosyncratic, but I quite enjoyed driving it.

Optimist    on 31 July 2009

As AE said, I'd go for the Jensen Interceptor with the Ferguson 4WD and, IIRC, a brushed stainless steel roof.

Class!

Bagpuss    on 31 July 2009

A very entertaining thread and well done to the OP for starting it.

Some rubbish cars though. Vauxhall Viva? Austin Maxi? I drove both of those extensively when they were still in production. Keep them dead and buried.

Triumph Stag? A mate had one, nice cruiser but in a traffic jam he had to park up and wait for the traffic to clear to save the engine from melting. Actually wasn't that brilliant to drive either if I'm being honest.

Can identify with the Alfasud and Citroen GS. Shame noone apart from Subaru and Porsche makes boxer engines any more.

I would love an XJ6 V12 Coupe made with a modern chassis and an engine that didn't need servicing every 3 miles.

Or the above mentioned Citroen DS with a 6 cylinder engine but keeping the wacky 60s dashboard of the original.

alfalfa    on 31 July 2009

A Renault R4 with Fiat 1.3 multijet engine and (once more) decent rustproofing would be an attractive utility car. If the original ventilation system was kept then air conditioning would not be necessary. I would also like to see the sliding windows retained as they were light and the doors were the only part of the car that didn't rust. Oh, and the dash mounted gear change was easy to use and freed up floor space.

I think what many of us want is the simplicity and character of the past with modern reliability and resistance to tin worm. It's certainly what I would welcome. I think currently the Fiat Panda comes closest.

alfalfa

Harleyman    on 1 August 2009

I think what many of us want is the simplicity and character of the past
with modern reliability and resistance to tin worm. It's certainly what I would welcome. I
think currently the Fiat Panda comes closest.
alfalfa


I think that sums it up well. If the new Fiat 500 has had its alleged handling issues sorted it might not be far short of the mark.

Harmattan    on 31 July 2009

Lud. Is that what you are after?
tinyurl.com/l97ud5
Guess the project leader's personal transport at the time.

Everyone else can have a look at the Mitsuoka back catalogue to see the design risks. I have been driven in the Nissan Micra-based Mark II look-alike and it was embarassingly rattly and awful.
tinyurl.com/2oybyh

Or track down a Panther J72? Wasn't there an ex-Elton John one for sale recently?

Lud    on 1 August 2009

Is that what you are after?


Thanks Harmattan, but no, I don't think so. That looks to me like a modern small car styled to recall the 2CV. It's sort of cute, but it's probably just a Micra.

As I said, the car I am thinking of in general principle wouldn't look anything like a 2CV. And to be useful it would need to be a size bigger than that. I am thinking of a car that might have to go long distances, on bad roads, and survive.

There was a guy in Namibia who used to make fast off-road spaceframe pick-up trucks for hunting antelopes in the desert. They looked all right. A productionised version of one of those as a capacious 5 seat hatchback, with some sort of radical engine solution (the Namibia guy used Toyota Corolla engines I think). The very long-travel, expensively-damped suspension could be shortened a bit for road use.

Just a daydream...

Farmer Boy    on 3 August 2009

farmers boy wouldnt u end up with a citroen AX alike? which wouldnt make it
onto the roads cos the reason they stopped selling them was they cannot pass up
to date crash regulations and we wouldnt want another Marc Bolan style death?

>>
I did say iron out the problems. If a two seater 'Smart Car' can comply surely they could do something with a mini? Who's Mark Bolan anyway

JH    on 31 July 2009

All of the above. Well almost. I'll certainly second the Triumph TR series and add the Lotus Elan to it. The proper one, the Emma Peel one. ('scuse me, a quick cold shower is now needed).

Anything from Alfa and Lancia.

I wonder what a properly built BMC 1800 would be like? Go on, do one of them, just out of curiousity.

A Citroen DS with modern panel gaps, rather than the huge openings they were built with.

Errr, probably loads more. What a great idea for a thread!

JH

tintin01    on 31 July 2009

The original Ford Mustang - not a particularly big car, this could easily be rebuilt with modern engineering, I would have thought. Other muscle cars like Chargers or GTO's would be nice to see reborn but I don't know if there would be a big market for such large sports vehicles today.

Maybe a decent reissue of a 1960's Lotus elan or Sunbeam Tiger would be nice too. I think there would be a market for cars like this, though I guess the MX5 has kind of fulfilled that role for many small sports car fans.

Mick Snutz    on 31 July 2009

There are some godawful suggestions for cars to be re-born.
Thank goodness manufacturers don't take notice of forums like this and go and actually build them!

Some of the cars suggested in this thread do actually exist but just have different body styles and names so why the urge to rebuild old looky-likey rubbish?

As I posted before, some people just view the world through rose tinted glasses and imagine we could all be riding around in some modern day facsimile of an Austin Maxi with an airbag.

Complete rubbish.

b308    on 31 July 2009

imagine we could all be riding around in some modern day facsimile of an Austin
Maxi with an airbag.


or Renault 16...

Already do, look at an modern Family Hatch (Focus, Golf, etc)... thats what they were based on... even the shape is the same!

bell boy    on 1 August 2009

austin maxis were good cars though,anyone of the era recognises that
i was reading the top 20 cars on virgin the other day and it was written by a respected motoring hack,i actually tried to find a link to tell him about all the errors he had published because he had obviously got his information from the web rather than people who had been there and had one

DP    on 1 August 2009

austin maxis were good cars though anyone of the era recognises that


Even today, my dad still acknowledges the one he owned in the early 80's as one of the best all round cars he has ever owned. Reliable, practical, cheap to own, and even pretty lively performance wise for what it was.

perro    on 1 August 2009

How's about an Austin Aquila then ~ www.aronline.co.uk/index.htm?ado14indexf.htm
scroll down page until you come to it.

Bagpuss    on 1 August 2009

austin maxis were good cars though anyone of the era recognises that


Nope, I'm of the era and I just remember the two Maxis my Dad had. Bought new due to a misguided sense of patriotism, I remember them being uncomfortable compared to the Cortinas my mates' Dads had and spending lots of time at the side of the road waiting for the AA. Followed by lots of time stuck in the garage waiting for some spare part to be supplied.

I then learned to drive in one of them and was then shocked at how different the driving school Fiesta was. The Fiesta had a clutch biting point you could feel, the steering didn't need a workout in the fitness studio to be able to turn and it didn't suffer from what I later found out was called "terminal understeer". Oh, and the syncromesh on the gearbox still worked on the Fiesta despite it being more than a year old. My driving instructor also assured me that no, the paintwork on the Fiesta hadn't started to peel off after 6 months, the suspension had never collapsed, the inlet manifold had never come loose and the exhaust never needed welding.

The failed syncromesh on the Maxi gearbox (no Sir, the car is 13 months old and outside warranty) had its advantages though - I learned to double declutch at 17!

Dreadful cars Maxis.

datostar    on 1 August 2009

Mega sniquote!!!!
Dreadful cars Maxis.



Oh, purleeze! Those cars were obviously mistreated, run with incorrect tyre pressures and goodness knows what else. I bought one 18 months old, ran it 7 years and never had any expensive repairs or breakdowns. It didn't rust and the paintwork didn't peel, the inlet manifold never came loose and the exhaust never needed welding. It did get replaced as you'd expect over 8 1/2 years. The synchromesh never failed and I never managed to provoke 'terminal understeer'. Nor did anyone else by driving properly. My arms were obviously well up to turning the steering wheel. On that subject, I had a coachbuilt motorhome at the time on a Leyland Sherpa 250 chassis cab. No power steering. Now THAT was what you call heavy. Both hands on the same side of the wheel to pull it out of tight spaces. Back to Maxis - my brother had two - must have been a real glutton for punishment!

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 01/08/2009 at 22:20

Old Navy    on 1 August 2009

My only knowledge of a Maxi was a next door neighbor whose Maxi oil pump drive snapped, it was driven from the camshaft on the opposite end of the distributor drive shaft.

Edited by Old Navy on 01/08/2009 at 20:43

Bagpuss    on 1 August 2009

Oh purleeze! Those cars were obviously mistreated

By my Dad? LOL. I don't think in his entire life he's ever exceeded 50mph.
run with incorrect tyre pressures and goodness knows what else.

Both Maxis serviced regularly, and expensively, by BL dealers.
I bought one 18 months old ran it 7 years and never had any expensive repairs or breakdowns.

Well, the exception proves the rule.
Back to Maxis - my brother had two - must have been a real glutton for punishment!

The word masochism springs to mind. Followed by the words Golf, Passat and Cortina which were the names of some of the considerably more desirable competitors ca. 1980. My Dad finally got rid of the second Maxi by part exchanging it for an Escort. He had wanted a Golf but the VW dealer wouldn't take a Maxi in part ex.

Harleyman    on 1 August 2009

or Renault 16...


Had one, a 1972 TS automatic. Tinworm notwithstanding, an absolutely lovely car. Comfortable, well-equipped, easy to work on, and reasonably economical. Only downside was that if pushed into a corner too hard, like all Renaults of that period it rolled like the town drunk.

DP    on 1 August 2009

Ford Capri - ditto. Not that awful Focus-based FWD thing they're planning.


Yes please!

RWD with choice of Volvo 5 pots from the Focus ST/RS and the V8 from the Mustang.

Maybe even the Ford / PSA 2.7 V6 diesel as well (which would leave the original 2.8 V6 petrol for dead, and probably rev sweeter too!)

Edited by DP on 01/08/2009 at 16:58

mike hannon    on 1 August 2009

Please, people, get those rose-tinted specs off now!
The Austin Maxi was emphatically NOT a good car - I should know, I owned two. Like many Austin/BL motors of its era it was basically an extremely good idea that failed in the making, for reasons too boring to go into yet again.
I guess at least 90 per cent of the people here can't or don't want to remember what cars of that era and beyond were actually like to drive - and modern accoutrements would not make them any more acceptable.
Cars from the past should be accepted for what they are - history. Interesting to some people - and I'm one of them - but best seen, as I said above, as representatives of what technology was then. We should be lookiing forward and demanding that manufacturers go back to making genuine technological and styling progress, not dabbling with 'retro' looks and loading their products with pointless electronic gizmos that actually serve to shorten the service life of the cars they produce.
Why aren't we riding around in eco-friendly, low emissions, high efficiency personal transport modules? Because we are sentimental enough to accept the tosh from manufacturers who have not only run out of ideas but don't even bother to employ the sort of people who might have them.

perro    on 1 August 2009

>>> Why aren't we riding around in eco-friendly, low emissions, high efficiency personal transport modules? <<<

What, like your 12 cylinder XJS?

Rover P6B    on 2 August 2009

Why aren't we riding around in eco-friendly low emissions high efficiency personal transport modules?


Because they've been made and they're awful. Electric cars have been made to high efficiency standards and they lack sufficient handling, flexibility, space, performance, range/endurance, reliability or quality to compete seriously with mainstream cars. Let's face it, a BMW 116D gives a bit of space, lengthy range, huge quality and reliability, nice handling, half-decent performance (though it's by no means rapid) and better fuel economy than a Prius.

Rover P6B    on 2 August 2009

We should be looking forward and demanding that manufacturers go back to making genuine technological and styling progress not dabbling with 'retro' looks


What I had been suggesting with my ideas was to come up with new cars with something of the character of the originals, tipping no more than a respectful nod to the past.

LikedDrivingOnce    on 2 August 2009

I'll probably get laughed at for this, but I'd love an updated Vauxhall Calibra.
Yes, I know it was a "Cavalier in a party frock", but it suited me down to the ground. Great cruiser, handsome looking, practical (hatchback & genuine rear seats), cheap to run on Vauxhall parts, gutsy engine when you needed to overtake, and a manual gearbox that even I (a die-hard automatic bigot) liked to use.

DP    on 2 August 2009

I'll probably get laughed at for this but I'd love an updated Vauxhall Calibra.


The original (before they started "facelifting it") is still a beautiful car in my opinion. Up there with the 406 Coupe as one of the best looking mainstream production cars ever.

The Cavalier chassis I truly believe was bad enough that an "ordinary" driver could easily find its limits (a wet roundabout or tightening slip road bend usually did it), but not much wrong with it otherwise, I agree. Well made, fast, reliable, comfortable, and stunning to behold.

Was a continent crusher with a V6 under the bonnet. A mate had one, and the serenity and effortlessness of its cruising capability was something very rare. At 100 mph one could hold a conversation without raising voices at all.

perro    on 2 August 2009

One car that brings back fond memories for me is the Datsun 240Z, I 'stepped up' to that one from an MGB roadster ... so it would be nice to see that fine model reborn.
Lo and behold - it has come to pass ~ www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/index.htm?md=1520

perro    on 2 August 2009

>>> so it would be nice to see that fine model reborn <<<

Obviously the coupe is more 240Zish ~
www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/index.htm?md=1459

captain chaos    on 2 August 2009

If you'd prefer the real thing, however...
tinyurl.com/ntbju5

perro    on 2 August 2009

>>> If you'd prefer the real thing, however...
tinyurl.com/ntbju5 <<<

Yeah! Great shape for its day, I was just a goon on the 11th floor of a block of council flats back in the 70's but ... I had a 240Z (WHOA!)
To me then, it was like a Ferrari :-D
I've worked out that the money I've lost (on papyrus) on this house in the last 2 years would pay for a Nissan 370Z coupe :(
P.S. I'm still THAT goon :)

captain chaos    on 2 August 2009

Citroen 2CV with aluminium body, 1220 GS engine and power brakes
Citroen DS decapotable with aluminium body, straight six 4.2 Jag engine and power top
Mk 1 Capri with traction control and 289cu in Ford V8
Fiat 127 Sport with aluminium body. What a hoot those things were...

mike hannon    on 2 August 2009

>>>>> Why aren't we riding around in eco-friendly, low emissions, high efficiency personal transport modules? <<<

What, like your 12 cylinder XJS? <<

I don't ride round in it every day, more's the pity.
I would drive around in something like I've mentioned here if such a thing was available. Then I would be doing what the contributors on here don't seem to have grasped - being sensible, eco-friendly and up-to-date while preserving something from the past to show other people what things were like then, and how much things have changed. Whether for the better or not is, of course, another issue.
But it seems folly to me to try and combine the two.

mattbod    on 2 August 2009

Just in regard to the OPs point on modern small V8s: It is not somthing that has been very successful recently. The mid 90s BMW 3.0 v8 was known for poor low down torque(was taken out to 3.5) as was the Jag 3.2 v8(also taken to 3.5). I

I too would love to see a proper no frills runaround for very little money like the 2cv. I await the Tata Nano with interest.


retgwte    on 2 August 2009

the modern 2CV is the Panda Diesel

I really think in 20 years time we will be talking about how great the Panda Multijet was

Rover P6B    on 3 August 2009

Ah right. I have a solution, and it's called forced induction. Stick on a supercharger or a turbo or two and that sorts the torque problem. The old small-blocks (Buick/Rover 3.5L, Triumph 3.0L, Daimler 2.5L) generally didn't have torque problems, though, so I don't know why the modern engines do. I think that the Daimler engine was a pushrod unit, and the Rover one certainly was, but I don't know about the Triumph one. Also, I think that the small diesel V8 is hugely underrated. The only sub-four litre one available now is the Range Rover 3.6L - why can't we have, say, a 3.2L? There'd be no torque problems with those!

A no frills cheap runaround? Never heard of Dacia or Perodua? Me, I'd rather walk. And that goes for the terrible, dreadful, generally awful little 2CV too. I once had a ride in one and going round a double hairpin bend at 25mph, both front doors came open uncommanded. It was ugly, slow, desperately unsafe, dreadful to drive, etc. My friend who had one had to abandon it after too many things began to go wrong and was so sick of it that he actually took it to his father's builders' yard and used a grabber to smash in the roof and then got in a bulldozer to finish the horrible little thing off. That's how much grief it gave him. The Tata Nano sounds interesting, but it's a shame it's so ugly and so tall. Why can't we make a good, rigid structure for a car about the size of an Issigonis Mini?

Lud    on 3 August 2009

How young you sound Rover P6B.

perro    on 2 August 2009

>>> I don't ride round in it every day, more's the pity.
I would drive around in something like I've mentioned here if such a thing was available. <<<

All is forgiven then Michael - but ONLY if it is a convertible (which I believe it is)
other than its 3 Hail Mary's & 4 our Fathers I'm afraid :)
Anyway ... I hereby predict that we'll all be driving around in the likes of this pretty soon ~
www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/index.htm?md=1545

captain chaos    on 3 August 2009

I've seen worse...wonder if there's a 440cu in hemi option
I might buy one

Avant    on 3 August 2009

Hopefully an improvement on the last car that was known as a Leaf - the Lea-Francis. Presumably through lack of funds, they used pre-war engineering in post-warcars for rather too long, and went bust.

Most of the cars mentioned on this thread were good for their time, but rather than re-create them we need to look carefully to see what's available as their modern equivalents. I had two Maxis from new - both reliable over high mileages - but when I looked at getting a third, the same design faults were still there. Sadly, I had no more British Leyland cars after that (1978).

Maybe the best modern equivalent to the Maxi (and to the Austin Devon and Cambridge, which were uncontrovertibly good cars) - that sets out to do a similar job and succeeds - is the Skoda Octavia.

Other possible icon equivalents -

2CV - Panda (as mentioned above)
Triumph 2000 / Rover 2000 - BMW 3 and 5 series, Audi A4 and A6
Triumph TR - maybe Nissan 370Z or BMW Z4
Mini - MINI or Fiat 500
Ford Fiesta / Escort / Cortina - well it's obvious isn't it. This is a big strength of Ford: having a clear line over many years, and adding the C-Max and S-Max to fill gaps.

I suppose Jaguar. Land Rover and Volvo can claim the same strength. The X-type never quite made it as the equivalent of the Mark 2 Jaguar - BMW can claim that one too.

Edited by Avant on 03/08/2009 at 00:34

LikedDrivingOnce    on 3 August 2009

The Ford Ka is an icon as well, IMHO. So is the Citroen DS. Maybe the E-type Jag as well.

Avant    on 3 August 2009

Agreed on those. Modern equivalents may be harder to find: the jury is out on the new Ka. What city car:

(a) looks like nothing else?
(b) is a hoot to drive?
(c) is cheaper than a MINI which ticks (a) and (b)?

The original Ka ticked all three.

Lud    on 3 August 2009

The original Ka ticked all three.


Pity it looked so like a cow pat though.

Avant    on 3 August 2009

I always thought more like a deerstalker hat on wheels. That has the advantage of good headroom - but to call a Ka 'pretty' would be on the optimistic side.

Rover P6B    on 3 August 2009

The problem with the Octavia is it's front wheel drive. Why can't we make a simple, cheap, RWD family car? The old BMW E30 3-series had a good ride and good handling, for all that it had a cheap rear live axle - its only snag was that it was a bit tail-happy in greasy conditions. The reason I mentioned most of these cars when I started this thread was because too many of the modern equivalents have FWD and look bland. The Rover P6, for example, remains a distinctive-looking car without looking old. Re-interpreting that style for the 21st Century needn't look 'retro' like the X350 Jag XJ.

I'd agree that the Panda is an icon. It's tough, reliable, blockishly stylish (just avoid the base models with all that unpainted grey plastic). The Rover P6's nearest equivalents are the BMW 3er and Jag XF, neither of which is a distinctive-looking car. The XF looks like a horrible mish-mash of Aston Martin DB9, Lexus GS and Subaru Legacy - it just doesn't have real visual presence. The 3er is just plain ugly. The Triumph 2000/2500/2.5PI was, for all its faults, a good cruiser, RWD with lots of space. Today's cars seem just as cramped inside as older ones even though they're much bigger. Look at Rover P5 vs Jag XF - the P5 had a 110.5 inch wheelbase, the XF has 114.5. The old Rover is roomier.
The equivalent of the old Escorts and Cortinas are today's BMWs, I'm afraid. The Focus and Mondeo are fine cars in many ways, but they lack the sportiness of the Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts and Cortinas. The Mk2 Jag is very over-rated and the XF is its nearest spiritual successor - or the old S-type or one of the modern retro XJs. Volvo sold its soul to FWD - the great thing about the 200/700/900s was that, with the estates, you could put a big, heavy load in the back and the car's traction would, if anything, improve. My father once borrowed a friend's 240GL estate and used it to lug a quarter of a ton of gravel in the back and said it just made the steering a bit light. Try doing that with a V70 and I bet it won't cope so well. Bring back RWD Volvo wheeled wardrobes!

At least BMW, whatever incredibly efficient, soulless and ugly cars they make, can claim always to have taken an existing concept and developed something better from it (except for when it comes down to character). Yes, I know the X6 is a stupid addition to the range which came out of nowhere, but the X5 is a fine car in many ways (but for the lack of a low-range gearbox it would be the German Range Rover) and the 5GT is hardly out of nowhere (2002 Touring, anyone?). BMW has had a clear line ever since the 1500 came out in 1962.

datostar    on 3 August 2009

>>BMW has had a clear line ever since the 1500 came out in 1962.

Talking of 'classics' (tongue firmly in cheek), Soviet agents acquired copies of the plans of that engine. They copied it and even claimed to have improved it by fitting replaceable cylinder liners and making an all aluminium alloy head and block. A Weber copy twin-choke carb topped the ensemble. Problem - what to do with it? Well, tart up the old Moskvich 408, put the new engine in, voila, the Moskvich 412 which ended up grossly overpowered and actually had quite a bit of rallying success. Not many left now, but they do have a following. Not one for a rebirth, though!
One I would like to see reborn is the Borgward Isabella. Never common in this country, I used to think the odd ones we did see around absolutely beautiful in terms of styling. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borgward_Isabella for some good pics.

Bagpuss    on 3 August 2009

Talking of 'classics' (tongue firmly in cheek) Soviet agents acquired copies of the plans of
that engine. They copied it and even claimed to have improved it by fitting replaceable
cylinder liners and making an all aluminium alloy head and block. A Weber copy twin-choke
carb topped the ensemble.


Well almost.

Actually BMW originally supplied Moskvich with the engine from the 1502 for the Moskvich 412. The relationship went belly up and Moskvich built the engine themselves.

No soviet agents I'm afraid. They were probably too busy spying on their own population to bother with trying to steal stuff from BMW anyway.

Bagpuss    on 3 August 2009

The old BMW E30 3-series had a good ride and good handling for all that it had a cheap rear live axle


Wash your mouth out - the BMW E30, like the E21 before, had fully independent rear suspension using semi-trailing arms!

You mention the BMW 5GT in your post. I had the opportunity to kick the tyres on one recently. Very very nice and I want one quite badly.

LikedDrivingOnce    on 3 August 2009

You mention the BMW 5GT in your post. I had the opportunity to kick the
tyres on one recently. Very very nice and I want one quite badly.

Where was this, Bagpuss? Was it in the London area by any chance? If so, and it is near, I wouldn't mind going to see one.

Sofa Spud    on 4 August 2009

I'm not a fan of retro-pastiche cars. If it hadn't been for their 'provenance', the new Mini, new Beetle and new Fiat 500 would have been laughed out of court as Noddy cars.
Morgans, who still make the real thing, for some reason had to create possibly the worst looking retro-pastiche of all with the Aero 8.

If we're talking about reviving the real cars from the past, but with modern mechanicals and possibly a few small visible changes, but remaining faithful to the general look of the original, there is only one car that I would like to see revived. That is the MGB.

To my mind the MGB was perhaps one of the prettiest cars ever built, even if it wasn't one of the best.

Edited by Sofa Spud on 04/08/2009 at 14:38

Lud    on 4 August 2009

MGB was perhaps one of the prettiest cars ever built, even if it wasn't one of the best.


Very subject to trim levels and suspension settings. There are good-looking MGBs and silly-looking ones. There's a nice battleship grey MGC GT that lives around here. It's got wire wheels and is a shade high at the front end, but it's a nice post-war MG all right.

Personally I prefer the looks of the B's predecessor the MGA. I think you could get an aftermarket hardtop but they were all convertibles. There was a twin-cam hot model but the engine was troublesome and took a lot of maintaining, like a Ferrari in those days. But an ordinary MGA 1500 with a bit of judicious engine tweaking would be a very nice car of its era. For modern use a front disc conversion would be a good idea.

Bagpuss    on 4 August 2009

Where was this Bagpuss? Was it in the London area by any chance? If so and it is near I wouldn't mind going to see one.


Sorry LDO, this was close to where I live, in Munich.

Actually, BMW have now taken to exhibiting the 5GT at airports around Germany, presumably to give people the chance to get used to the idea of a hatchback BMW before the actual product launch. They also did this with the the X6, though that was probably to get people used to a BMW that manages to make even a Porsche Cayenne look tasteful.

My impression is that it is a great looking car in the metal but rather unusual from some angles, especially for a BMW, and with distinct overtones of the Rover SD1. It is also enormous, longer and higher than the present 5 Series Touring which itself is no shrinking violet.

The front is probably close to the new F10 5 Series, and very attractive. At the back it has one of the those pointless but beautifully engineered split boot lid/ hatchback thingees as pioneered on the Skoda Superb but even more beautifully and pointlessly engineered here. The real treat is the interior. BMW have finally got round to angling the centre console towards the driver like in the good old days, and the i-Drive screen is particularly nicely integrated into the dasboard. The materials used feel much nicer than in my 6 month old 5 Series, especially the wood stuff, and the cabin reaches an almost implausible level of classiness.

In my opinion though, BMW could have saved all this. I would buy it just because all 4 doors have frameless windows.

Rover P6B    on 5 August 2009

Wash your mouth out - the BMW E30 like the E21 before had fully independent
rear suspension using semi-trailing arms!
You mention the BMW 5GT in your post. I had the opportunity to kick the
tyres on one recently. Very very nice and I want one quite badly.


Really? My father had an E30 318i Touring and, having looked under it on several occasions, I'd been sure it had a live axle - and its handling traits suggested LA too - it was gloriously tail-happy in greasy conditions. It was in every way a better car than the E46 318i Touring that first joined then replaced it (except crash safety). The E30 rode better, it transmitted less road noise, even had a quieter engine (if those damn tappets weren't rattling - the car was only ever happy on and soon after a good long run), had more internal space (or so it seemed), was better built, more reliable, was much easier to self-maintain, more economical thanks to its lower kerb weight, etc. The only other thing the E46 was better at was it reined in the tail - except that made the car soulless in a way that the E30 wasn't. The E30 was probably the last truly characterful BMW. I still want one myself (320i or 325i Touring in dark green or dark blue with Lattice - ie fake wire - alloy wheels) and you can get good examples criminally cheap on eBay nowadays.

The big problem as I see it with the 5GT is that the window sill line is far too high and becomes even higher, so the bottom of the rear windscreen is WAY too high and, with, say, a new MINI parked behind you, you won't be able to see it. Like, not at all. The great thing about the E30, E34 and E39 (can't comment from experience of the E36, never having ridden in one) is that they have fantastic all-round visibility (though, again, I can offer no comment on the E39 saloon, only the Touring, and it's obvious that convertibles of all kinds are compromised on visibility with the top up). The E46 is so lousy in this respect that my parents both reported constant neck ache from straining to see out of it when reversing and that since the arrival of our E39 520iT they have both noticed a huge reduction in neck pain. The new E91 Touring and also the E60 5-series Touring are just as bad as the E46 in this respect, according to the people I know who have them. Also, why does the forthcoming F10 5er get a six-speed manual as standard and yet the 5GT only gets a lazy woman's slushbox auto? I mean, no self-respecting driver, less still a self-respecting BMW driver, has an auto out of choice, only if their driving necessitates it. I think the 5GT - and the forthcoming 3GT - will prove just the same horrible flops that I'm praying as a BMW purist that the X6 will be. On the other hand, an ordinary Mondeo-shape hatch based on the 3er and/or the 534, I wouldn't mind that... it's these stupid SUV - sorry SAV! - crossover things that I hate.

Bagpuss    on 5 August 2009

Really?


Really really!
The big problem as I see it with the 5GT is that the window sill line is far too high and becomes
even higher so the bottom of the rear windscreen is WAY too high


You are right, rear visibility is basically zero, as is the modern trend. The sales guy claimed you can order a rearwards facing camera.
Also why does the forthcoming F10 5er get a six-speed manual as standard and yet the 5GT
only gets a lazy woman's slushbox auto? I mean no self-respecting driver less still a self-respecting
BMW driver has an auto out of choice only if their driving necessitates it.


You know how to make friends and influence people, LOL. I ordered my 5 Series with automatic. I do miss changing gears sometimes, but increasingly less. Maybe it's an age thing.

b308    on 4 August 2009

The problem with the Octavia is it's front wheel drive.


So whats the problem?

Even though I've been driving since the early 70s the vast majority of cars I have driven are fwd, I raced a rwd for a while and out on the open track I'd probably prefer rwd, but on the road give me fwd any day... I always wonder why some people seem to think that unless its rwd its not a proper car...

Avant    on 4 August 2009

Agree with b308. I wonder what percentage of our motoring population don't know whether their car is FWD or RWD. My wife and daughters, good drivers all, are among that goodly number.

In fairness to them, how often in everyday driving does it make any difference even if we do know? I drive an Octavia and an old Z3 and I can't say I'm always being reminded of that particular difference between them.

Rover P6B    on 5 August 2009

I know this much that not one single driver I know would fail to identify the difference in handling - and I know several dozen, all the way from newly-passed teenage boys and girls to highly experienced road drivers and even one with racing experience. What's more, every one of them would have read enough about their cars to know. I think that the rebirth of Top Gear, with its anti-FWD slant, going only for RWD or rear-biased 4WD, has done much to make young drivers aware again of the difference. Watch the episode where they put a Golf R32 against the Alfa 147's hot version around their track and the 4WD Golf gives it a good thrashing when it comes to handling - the Alfa understeered much, much more than the Golf.

Again, I remind people of big FWD estate syndrome - poor traction. Many I know have found this from experience which is why I would only ever have RWD.

captain chaos    on 5 August 2009

FWD is fine if you like playing "scrabble" :-)

b308    on 5 August 2009

Again I remind people of big FWD estate syndrome - poor traction. Many I know
have found this from experience which is why I would only ever have RWD.


Rather a pointless argument... a few years ago the road into Brum had a nice solid covering of snow/ice - despite my car being fwd I had no problems, that rwd BMW 3 series I passed slipping and sliding all over the show did... I'm sure everyone can come up with similar, both pro and anti fwd/rwd...

I appreciate that you prefer rwd, Rover, that is obvious, but that does not make those of us who prefer fwd lesser drivers, or fwd being any way better or worse than rwd, its just different... Perhaps you need to remove that chip off your shoulder and learn to live and let live?

Tornadorot    on 5 August 2009

Again I remind people of big FWD estate syndrome - poor traction. Many I know
have found this from experience which is why I would only ever have RWD.


Well, yes, if you're going to load up your estate until the nose is pointing skywards, then you are going to lose a bit of traction if it's FWD :-)

But when people wax lyrical about RWD cars, I always remember the time an old boss came to work in a BMW 3-series company car after a heavy snowfall... after several attempts at trying to park, he gave up and drove back home :-)

Rover P6B    on 5 August 2009

For a short while back in the Nineties the familial Peugeot 205 Roland Garros was u/s and our E30 318i Touring was joined by a Pug 405 diesel estate. The handling difference was vast and, for all that the 405 could carry a bigger load, the handling and steering went to pot because there was almost no traction. Why do you want FWD on the road? RWD offers all the benefits of FWD - the space thing doesn't apply because with FWD you still have to have a transmission tunnel for structural rigidity - without any of the drawbacks, such as nose-heavy handling (RWD has the weight of the propshaft, diff, etc at the rear to balance things), torque steer, understeer... the only place for FWD is in small hatches (the Pug 205 did very well handling-wise and was more nimble than the 318i). Oh, and I'll tell you this much - a neighbour of mine who regularly tows a heavily-loaded trailer and/or carries a heavy load in his boot runs a Volvo 940 Estate - for a while, I am told, he tried an 850 and got rid of it smartish because it couldn't cope with the loads he was throwing at it.

LikedDrivingOnce    on 5 August 2009

>>Why do you want FWD on the road? RWD offers all the benefits of FWD ...

I have driven a mixture of RWD and FWD cars in my driving career. Not as long as some, I must admit - but 30 years is a decent time to build up a valid opinion.

My current car is a RWD estate and is the best handling car that I've ever had IN THE DRY. However in poor conditions (very wet, or slippery) it is just about the worst (except for a Capri) that I've ever had.

So don't give me any of this smug superior "purist" guff about RWD. It just smacks of the arrogance of the self-annointed connoisseur.

Rover P6B    on 5 August 2009

I have driven a mixture of RWD and FWD cars in my driving career.
Not as long as some I must admit - but 30 years is a decent
time to build up a valid opinion.
My current car is a RWD estate and is the best handling car that I've
ever had IN THE DRY. However in poor conditions (very wet or slippery) it is
just about the worst (except for a Capri) that I've ever had.


I defer to your much greater driving experience. What is your current car? I'm surprised that its handling in poor conditions is so unstable. My own experience being as small as it is, I can only tell you what my father tells me, having owned seven RWD cars (MkIII Cortina, MkII Capri, Rover P6 3500S, Volvo 340, BMW 318i Touring x 2 - one E30, one E46 - and a BMW E39 520i Touring), learned on his father's (an ex-demo MkII Humber Sceptre which, being the demonstrator, had had the combustion chambers reshaped to give more power) and driven others (Volvo 240 and Mk1 Ford Granada 3.0L) that all of the good ones (the BMWs, the Rover and the Volvo 240) were/are completely unflappable in wet conditions and that only the E30 318i was unstable at all, and even then only in greasy conditions. I've ridden with him in all three BMWs, though none of the others, and can vouch for the fact that, even on occasions when we should have stayed at home and built an Ark, they've been far more stable than the FWD cars I've ridden in in similar conditions (Peugeot 205, Mk1 Ford Focus saloon, Toyota Avensis Mk1 spring to mind, can't think of any others).

LikedDrivingOnce    on 5 August 2009

What is your current car? I'm surprised

A BMW 320d Touring. I've experienced the back end stepping out on wet roads in midsummer at 20 mph. The dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree as the electronics kick-in to stabilise the car (which is something I suppose). As for snow and ice - forget it! Take the bus instead!

I've travelled the same roads in the same conditions in FWD cars with no problems whatsoever.

I've also found the same handling charactteristics on a 320d Saloon and a 330d Touring - so it isn't just my car. But they were all from the same dealer - maybe that is a common factor.
I'm surprised that its handling in poor conditions is so unstable.

So am I. Though, as I say, in the dry it is incredibly good.

captain chaos    on 5 August 2009

Way back in the early eighties enough 3 series' went BeeEmming backwards into hedges for the German TUV to investigate
The ultimate driving machine

Rover P6B    on 5 August 2009

A BMW 320d Touring. I've experienced the back end stepping out on wet roads in
midsummer at 20 mph. The dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree as the electronics
kick-in to stabilise the car. As for snow and ice - forget it! Take the bus instead!
I've travelled the same roads in the same conditions in FWD cars with no problems
whatsoever.
I've also found the same handling characteristics on a 320d Saloon and a 330d Touring
- so it isn't just my car. But they were all from the same dealer
- maybe that is a common factor.


Are we talking the E46 or the E90/91 here? I have no experience of the latter. All I can suggest is that diesel engines tend to be made of iron, and have the added weight of turbos, whereas the engines in my parents' E46 and E39 are naturally aspirated inline petrol engines made from aluminium: having less weight over the front will clearly shift the CofG backwards, which may aid traction... although we've not had a chance to test the E39 in snow and ice, it's absolutely fine in everything from dry to mildly wet to monsoon conditions and the E46 has only ever wavered when beside a lorry on the M4 in July 2005 and the lorry dumped a massive load of water on top of the car, temporarily removing all visibility - and even then, it sorted itself out within moments, seemingly not even needing the traction control (no Christmas tree dash). Likewise, it's been driven up moderately steep hills in snowy and icy conditions no bother, even without rear passengers and only a quarter of a tank full (though I do remember once hearing the machine-gun fire of the ABS kicking in). In all the time we've had it - since February 2002 - I can barely remember the traction control ever being called upon and certainly the ABS has only ever come into play once. It barely sounds like we're talking the same type of car here... and, while it was fine in snow and ice, I saw many Mondeos, Focuses and Golfs slithering all over the place and generally getting nowhere...

Rover P6B    on 5 August 2009

Oh, I should add, of the three BMWs we've had (E30, E46, E39), none have ever got stuck anywhere - the E30, in particular, was able to get out of extremely muddy fields in a way that many FWD cars couldn't manage. I remember one occasion where many FWD cars were just getting bogged down and were being towed out with a tractor, whereas our RWD E30 just cruised out. Oh, and the E46 drives fine in snowy and/or icy conditions even with and without rear passengers and with small and large fuel loads - and, I might add, we've never fitted it with winter tyres or chains!

L'escargot    on 4 August 2009

My choice would be a reborn 1998 McLaren F1.

Westpig    on 5 August 2009

when London had a very heavy fall of snow earlier in the year...i was working. One decent hill was virtually impassable. I got up it in a Vx Astra (just...and it was 'just'). The BMW 3 series a colleague was driving simply wouldn't do it.. and it wasn't for the lack of trying.

The same evening a chap in a 6 series couldn't get it out of a petrol stn, he got stuck in the slip road. The Astra went right around him.

Several years back I went to watch my brother doing some Motocross. My mother got her car stuck in the parking field. My car a Rover 620 went straight out. Her car would not despite my best efforts (i even tried backwards with 2 of my brothers mates in the hatchback boot), so it was tractor time, like all the other RWDs.

there's loads more examples....rear wheel drive on the slippery stuff is noticeably inferior to front and I drive a RWD, just to show there's no bias.

Bagpuss    on 5 August 2009

Well there are rwd cars and then there are BMWs.

BMW go a long way out of their way to approach a 50/50 weight distribution when designing their products with as much mass as possible moved towards the middle of the car. The reason the engine is so far back in the chassis isn't because BMW deliberately want to upset rear seat passengers by reducing rear legroom (to almost nothing in the case of the E46), it's to ensure the engine mass is as close to the middle of the car as is technologically possible.

There are various other drastic measures such as use of aluminium for the chassis extremities and these are reasons why BMWs handle so well and are so much more agile than anything else, even rwd competitors such as Mercedes. The downside to all this (apart from inefficient use of space) is notoriously poor traction on slippery surfaces. The multilink suspension setups have long since stopped them going through hedges backwards like in the days of the E21.

The snow problem is well known but I use winter tyres during the winter and snow chains when driving in the alps to ski resorts.

I presently have an Audi A6 on extended loan and it is like driving a tank compared to my BMW, though doubtless it would be better getting me across a muddy field;-)

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