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Front-Drive Cars - What Are Your Favorites?  
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39670 posts, RR: 75
Posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 24390 times:

With all of this talk about front-drive versus rear-drive, I thought I’d start a thread about front-drive cars.
Front-drive cars are not liked by car enthusiast, hence why high-end luxury, performance and industrial grade vehicles are all rear-drive. I’m not a fan of front drive cars but there are a few that I do like.


1987 Chrysler Lebaron convertible.

Several years ago I started a thread about converting one of these to rear-wheel drive and dropping in a 360cu" V8. These cars were designed with a cut away under the body to accommodate a rear drive shaft.



I love that electronic instrument panel display. Electronic voice alert system with classic simulated cherry-wood grain and rich Corinthian leather seats.






1986 Chrysler Lebaron Town & Country convertible




1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
This is a photo of the Bi-Centennial Edition. It has red interior, white exterior paint and blue pinstripes and only 200 were made commemorating the United States 200th birthday.

1991 Cadillac Seville 4 Dr STD Sedan
1991 Cadillac Seville
Probably the fastest, most luxurious car to get more than 30MPG. Very tight steering radius and because it's so small, it's very easy to park and zip around in big congested cities.
Although this body style was around from 1986-1991, the final year had the potent 4.9 liter V8 and didn't have the problems that the first few models of this generation.


http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/reatta-ad.jpg
Buick Reatta.
These cars had really cool, futuristic instrument panels.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/29/1974_Citroen_DS23_Pallas.jpg/796px-1974_Citroen_DS23_Pallas.jpg
Citroën DS


Lada Zastava


Also the Volkswagen Rabbit diesels deserve special mention. They're still the most fuel efficient traditional cars. 50MPG without any hybrid gimmicks.


Bring back the Concorde
69 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6069 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 24305 times:
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I always liked the 1979-85 Oldsmobile Toronado, Buick Riviera, and Cadillac Eldorado. I used to own a 1985 Riviera and it was one of my favorites. The 4.1 V-8 Cadillac being my least favorite. The Olds 307 V-8 wasn't peppy by any stretch of the imagination, but was a lot better engine than the 4.1. I never drove any of those models with the V-6 (which was the base engine in the Toronado/Riviera until 84).

http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb309/NWA747/1985BuickRiviera.jpg

I like the other full size GM FWD cars of the 1970s too. The Oldsmobile Toronado of the mid 70s is the one I like the best.

Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
1986 Chrysler Lebaron Town & Country convertible

Not exactly a reliability award winner, but I alwasys thought they were nice looking cars.

I always liked the 85-93 Cadillac De'Villes too. They had terrible engines, but the rest of the car seemed to hold up well. You still see them in Detroit that are not rusty. I briefly owned a 1992 Sedan DeVille. The 4.1, 4..5 and 4.9 engines weren't too great, but I still liked the car.




My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7084 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 24299 times:

Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Lada Zastava

That's not a Lada, it's a Zastava 101 which was a Yugoslavian license built version of the Fiat 128.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Fiat_128_2_door_Graham_Ruckert.jpg

Mine are the following

Mk1 Golf GTi

http://www.classicandperformancecar.com/front_website/octane_interact/modelpicture.php?id=3442

MINI Cooper 1275 S



MINI Clubman 1275 GT (the Aussie built one with the Cooper 1275S engine)

http://www.minimania.com/images/oct-mini-more-4.jpg

Ford Focus RS500

http://www.topgear.com/uk/assets/cms/bff9dab9-5067-4834-8dd6-55016615b7e1/670x377Image.jpg?p=100329_04:47

Alfa Romeo Brera



User currently offlineConfuscius From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 3829 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 24294 times:

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado



1930 Cord L-29

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/1930_Cord_L-29.jpg

[Edited 2011-12-18 11:09:06]


Ain't I a stinker?
User currently offlineTripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1115 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 24293 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Lada Zastava

Actually, this isn't a Lada - the manufacturer is Zastava ("flag") from Kragujevac in Serbia, and the car pictured is the Zastava 101. It is derived from the slightly boxier Zastava 128, which was a license-built (and slightly modified) Fiat 128 saloon. Ah, fond memories... my family used to own one, but ours was a "special version" (and in ocher at that) . Usually the 128 was both manufactured and assembled in Serbia, but ours was a limited edition that was manufactured in Italy and only assembled in Serbia, so it was of a higher quality. But even the regular models were known to withstand quite a beating...



You can still occasionally see them on the roads, though the 101s are more frequent.

EDIT: KiwiRob beat me to it . The confusion between the Zastava and Lada is understandable: the Lada Riva was a modified Fiat 124, and had looked remarkably like the Fiat 128 on which the Zastava was based.

[Edited 2011-12-18 11:07:09]

[Edited 2011-12-18 11:11:49]


No plane, no gain.
User currently offlinestasisLAX From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3280 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24154 times:

1967 Cadillac Eldorado


This one!



"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
User currently offlinetz757300 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2867 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 24134 times:

K-Car (this specific model used to be mine... lol)




LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39670 posts, RR: 75
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 24045 times:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 4):
The confusion between the Zastava and Lada is understandable: the Lada Riva was a modified Fiat 124, and had looked remarkably like the Fiat 128 on which the Zastava was based.

Sorry about that.

Quoting Confuscius (Reply 3):
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Have you seen that blue one in San Francisco that still has a Nixon/Agnew bumper sticker?

Quoting stasisLAX (Reply 5):
1967 Cadillac Eldorado

That seems to be a lot of people's favorite.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 1):
The Olds 307 V-8 wasn't peppy by any stretch of the imagination, but was a lot better engine than the 4.1.

Those also came with an available 350cu" gas-to-diesel engine. I'm still trying to find a 1985 or 1985 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with that diesel engine. Then run it on bio-diesel. That would really freak out a lot of treehuggers.

Quoting tz757300 (Reply 6):
K-Car (this specific model used to be mine... lol)

Those K-cars are addicting.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3065 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week ago) and read 23974 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 7):
Quoting falstaff (Reply 1):
The Olds 307 V-8 wasn't peppy by any stretch of the imagination, but was a lot better engine than the 4.1.

Those also came with an available 350cu" gas-to-diesel engine. I'm still trying to find a 1984 or 1985 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with that diesel engine. Then run it on bio-diesel. That would really freak out a lot of treehuggers.

Were the diesel engines available in the convertibles? If not, it shouldn't be too hard to find a complete '84 or '85 diesel-equipped Toronado to serve as an engine donor for an '84 or '85 Eldorado convertible with a blown (as in "blown apart", not as in "supercharged" ) 4.1 liter.

Back to the original question: My favorite FWD cars. As with everything else, I have odd taste.

First off, I've always liked the '80-'85 Pontiac Phoenix... the Pontiac version of the Chevrolet Citation with a much better-designed dashboard. Yeah, they share the Citation's problems, but the worst of those problems were fixed on the '82 and later models.
http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/1980-Pontiac-Phoenix-interior.jpg

http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/1980-Pontiac-Phoenix.jpg

I also like the '79-'84 Subaru Leone GL & DL. Subaru's first step toward relative normalcy, these cars still had enough genuine Subaru cleverness (or strangeness, depending on your point of view) to keep them interesting from an engineering point of view.
http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h65/tbcboo/P1000383.jpg

In a tangental reference to Subarus, most of which use "boxer" engines driving the front wheels, I've often wondered why Volkswagen didn't go with a similar layout in the original Golf. After all, in the early 70s who had more experience building boxer engines mated to longitudinal transaxles than Volkswagen? Surely it couldn't have been harder to come up with a (then) modern, water-cooled boxer 4-cylinder and to turn the transaxle 180 degrees in the chassis than it was to design an inline 4 from scratch as well as a brand-new sideways transmission?



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39670 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 23956 times:

Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
'79-'84 Subaru

A Subaru was in my dream last night. Don't ask me why!   

Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
Were the diesel engines available in the convertibles? If not, it shouldn't be too hard to find a complete '84 or '85 diesel-equipped Toronado to serve as an engine donor for an '84 or '85 Eldorado convertible with a blown (as in "blown apart", not as in "supercharged" ) 4.1 liter.

The diesel was available in all the E-bodies from 1979-1985.
By 1984, the report cards were out on those cars and very few were sold the last few years. I can't imagine a frugal diesel buyer wanting a flashy convertible but I'm sure some do exist.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1259 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 23931 times:

Quote:

Zastava 101
Fiat 128

Until the late 1960s, front drive cars were definitely not the norm, and until 1959, they came in basically one variety only - a north-south engine with the gearbox the wrong way, or with a very unusual set of drives. The most sophisticated of these kinds of cars was the Citroen DS. The most powerful was the Olds Toronado. The largest, the Cord L-29.

In 1959, the Mini began the trend of the transverse-engined FWD car. Now, this had been attempted before in pre-WW2 France and Germany (specifically by DKW), but due to the onset of war and the relative obscurity of these older designs, the Mini is really the first successful version of this layout. As anybody who's ever seen a (real) Mini can attest, the transverse layout is MUCH more space efficient than the traditional layout. BMC spread this layout to the 1100/1300 in 1962 and the even larger "landcrab" 1800 in 1964. But BMC had problems almost immediately with it's gearbox-in-the-sump arrangement. Peugeot's first front drive car, the 204, had it's gearbox directly below the engine. More reliable, but necessitating quite a bit of height.

The first car to have what we think of as the "modern" arrangement was the 1964 Autobianchi Primula, which put the gearbox on the side of the engine, mounted transversely. Fiat developed this but marketed it as an Autobianchi, in case it bombed. It also had a great deal to do with Simca's use of a similar arrangement for the Simca 1100, which debuted in 1967.

About 12 years ago I drove a Simca 1208 estate (in the US, this car was either an 1104 or the larger engined 1208, but very few were sold in America). It was vastly more modern than other front-drive cars of that period that I had driven, namely the Citroen DS and the Oldsmobile Toronado. The Toro is a big flashy thing but only useful in a straight line, it's a pure boulevardier. The DS is softer than any Cadillac and eerily smooth, but slow and a bit vague to handle. Body roll that will throw you into the next time zone, but you never notice it in side the car, it's so supportive.

The Simca was a slug, honestly, but in a 1,800 lb car 1.2 liters isn't so bad. Not a good bet when loaded up with people though. The gearshift was better than the DS's looney-tunes Citromatic or the shift-on-the-column version, but not a patch on conventional rear-drive cars of that time, which are characterized in European cases by rifle-bolt precise gearshifts a-la MGB.

A couple of years later I traded an MGB for a Fiat 128 sedan, with the 1290-cc engine. Still slow, but MUCH faster and rev-happy than the Simca.

The 1969 128 was the Autobianchi Primula adapted for Fiat's mass appeal. In many ways, it set the pattern for most modern front-drive cars. All struts, front-engined, transverse, FWD, side-on gearbox. The 128 loves to be thrashed hard, but it's best in narrow confines. A great city car, useless on the open highway where you'll be pushing it right up against the redline all day and cruise at 67 mph in a four-wheeled echo chamber. But around manhattan, or on tight twisty roads, lots of fun. The transmission here is still characterized by a sloppy shifter that might as well be a ladle in a pot of gruel. I've had three 128s and they were all the same. They were all from the latter 70's, a bit heavier than the originals and with 1290-cc (earlier cars had 1116-cc engines, though a more wide array of engines was available for Europeans).

In 1974, Volkswagen took the 128's formula and created a more livable car - the original Golf, which like the 128 had a sporting version, the Scirocco (the 128's first coupe was the SL, then the hatchback 3P). I've had Sciroccos and Golfs (or rather, Rabbits) and they were great cars to drive. Eager like the 128, but often more powerful and - and this is key - with far more usable torque. The Fiats were great but they were all top end, nothing at all below 4000 rpm. The Rabbit combined the virtues of proper amounts of torque (though hardly V8 brawn) with all the good things about the 128's handling. And the hatchback body was much more useful than the 128's boxy sedan. Zastava would later catch on to this and offer a 101 hatchback. The Rabbit is an evolutionary step up from the Simca and the 128, and the gearbox was getting better by this point. The Rabbit's gearbox feels more like that of the Lancia Beta, which is another step up from the 128. Still not precise, but much better than the 128 and the Simca.

After that, there came a car that had all these virtues. That's the Fiat Strada. I've driven many Stradas (called the Ritmo in Europe) and loved them all. 1.5 liters, fuel injection, rabbit-like hatchback body, 5 speeds instead of four, interior styling that looks right out of Syd Mead's fantasy world, it's a great car. Unfortunately, the Strada is such a poorly made car that most of them dissolved into dust years ago, or had the quality of a third grader's papier mache science project. A good car let down by extremely poor execution. Extremely poor.

This quartet of cars, the Simca 1100, Fiat 128, VW Golf I/Rabbit, and Fiat Strada are some of my favorites, but I like alot of FWD cars.

Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Front-drive cars are not liked by car enthusiast

I know you like a certain type of car, and I like that too. In fact, I own one. But...this just isn't true.

I'm going to name ten cars here, and all of them have LEGIONS of fans, most of whom would consider themselves car enthusiasts.

Peugeot 205 GTi
Citroen CX Turbo
Peugeot 306 GTi-6
Alfa-Romeo AlfaSud Ti
Lancia Flavia HF 1.6
Saab 900 mk1 Turbo
Volvo 850 T5R
Mini Cooper S
Honda CRX Si
Volkswagen Scirocco

Now, there's a limit to the horsepower that can effectively channeled through the front wheels. The closer you get to 300 hp, the less good a front drive car gets. They can still be very good at this threshold, but the car has to be really well set up, and not many are.

A good example of a bad FWD car with tons of power would be the 1998 Cadillac Seville. It's too much power and too much front-heavy weight for a front drive car.

But at it's best, a front drive car can be just as sharp as a rear drive car, and just as controllable. The Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 is probably the best example of this. 130 hp sounds like nothing to today's ears, but the 205 GTi has impeccable poise - you can drive it all day and not get tired of it, and it never gets boring unless you drive a boring straight road. The old CRX Si is very similar.

A small, light rear-drive car is great too, but rear-drive cars aren't all like this. For every Miata there are dozens of Morris Marinas, Talbot Tagoras, or AMC Pacers.

A 427-powered Biscayne will roast a Peugeot 205 GTi alive in a drag race. But the outcome is reversed if you're having them both race up Stelvio Pass. And both will get hammered by any number of things (Mercedes R129? Olds Cutlass SX? Saab 9000 Talledega?) with longer gearing if it's a contest that involves going beyond about 110 mph.

They are not "better," they are not "worse" - they are "different."

[Edited 2011-12-19 00:47:18]

User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39670 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 23921 times:

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
The most powerful was the Olds Toronado.

Were those posi-traction front-drive?
Didn't they keep that set up all the way till the 1978 model year?

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
Now, there's a limit to the horsepower that can effectively channeled through the front wheels. The closer you get to 300 hp, the less good a front drive car gets. They can still be very good at this threshold, but the car has to be really well set up, and not many are.

That leads me to another question. Which front drive had the best power-to-weight ratio?
My 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel was only about 80HP but the car was so lightweight that it didn't seem that powerless unless I turned on the air conditioner.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
For every Miata there are dozens of Morris Marinas, Talbot Tagoras, or AMC Pacers.

Wait, are you implying that the Miata is better than an AMC Pacer?  Wow!
Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
Honda CRX Si

Those are popular again. Aren't the engine bolt patterns the same as the newer Honda V-tec engines?
The original CRX only put out 90HP but the newer V-tecs put out over 200HP and easily fits in the CRX.


Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
Mini Cooper S

Retro factor.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
Saab 900 mk1 Turbo

Oh yes I forgot about those.

[Edited 2011-12-19 01:04:09]


Bring back the Concorde
User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7084 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 23871 times:

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 10):
Now, there's a limit to the horsepower that can effectively channeled through the front wheels. The closer you get to 300 hp, the less good a front drive car gets. They can still be very good at this threshold, but the car has to be really well set up, and not many are.

I don't think 300 is a barrier anymore, drive a Ford Focus RS or RS500, both with over 300 hp, they are very impressive cars to drive. 300hp plus hot hatches will become the norm in the next couple of years, I doubt it will be long before the first 400hp hatch is produced, probably by Ford.


User currently online747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3477 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 23771 times:

Let me start first, by saying that a RWD car, would gets more respect from me than a FWD car.



Here my choice.

Nissan Maxima

Honda Accord

Chevy Impala ( With a name like this, a Impala should be a RWD car.)

Ford Fusion


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6069 posts, RR: 29
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 23747 times:
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Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
Were the diesel engines available in the convertibles? If not, it shouldn't be too hard to find a complete '84 or '85 diesel-equipped Toronado to serve as an engine donor for an '84 or '85 Eldorado convertible with a blown (as in "blown apart", not as in "supercharged" ) 4.1 liter.

Why would you want that! Those engines are terrible. They don't do well with biofuels either, as a friend of mine learned (and he is an expert in the field of bio fueled cars, trucks, buses, and boats). The 5.7 Diesel has less horsepower and torque than the 4.1 gas engine. You would be better off putting a 307 in the car, or a 368 Cadillac motor. I knew a guy that put an Oldsmobile 403 in one and that was a lot better.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 7):
Those K-cars are addicting.


They were junk, but turned out to be ok. In the book "Critical Path", which is about Chrysler) it talks about how 50% of the K cars had problems right off the assembly line and needed repair before they left the plant property, especially in the early days. They were junk new, but didn't get worse with age like most cars. The parts are cheap and they are easy to fix.

Quoting TSS (Reply 8):
'80-'85 Pontiac Phoenix... the Pontiac version of the Chevrolet Citation


There is a very clean one I see around Trenton, MI. Other than that those cars are extinct in metro Detroit.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 11):
Were those posi-traction front-drive?
Didn't they keep that set up all the way till the 1978 model year?


I don't know, but they did have a somewhat normal differential so it would be possible. They kept that going until 1978. The 79-85 is similar, in the fact that do not have a transaxle, like most FWD cars.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39670 posts, RR: 75
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 23727 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
Why would you want that! Those engines are terrible. They don't do well with biofuels either, as a friend of mine learned (and he is an expert in the field of bio fueled cars, trucks, buses, and boats).

Simply for the wacky factor. It would be a big, stylish American luxury convertible that is eco-friendly.
A simple 350cu" gas engine would be just fine. Ideally the LT1 that was on the 1994-1996 B-body sedans & wagons.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
The parts are cheap and they are easy to fix.

They're cheap but the 2.2liter turbocharged versions can be very difficult to work on. Particularly replacing the starter, water pump and timing belt.
The convertible top was amazingly easy to replace. I did it in less than 2 hours. That included the glass window with electric defroster.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
I don't know, but they did have a somewhat normal differential so it would be possible. They kept that going until 1978. The 79-85 is similar, in the fact that do not have a transaxle, like most FWD cars.

I think those Toronado and Eldorados could peel out on both front tires.
They're also the only front-drive cars that uses a flat floor interior.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3065 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 23669 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
Why would you want that! Those engines are terrible. They don't do well with biofuels either, as a friend of mine learned (and he is an expert in the field of bio fueled cars, trucks, buses, and boats).

Simply for the wacky factor. It would be a big, stylish American luxury convertible that is eco-friendly.
Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
The 5.7 Diesel has less horsepower and torque than the 4.1 gas engine. You would be better off putting a 307 in the car, or a 368 Cadillac motor. I knew a guy that put an Oldsmobile 403 in one and that was a lot better.

Also, the Oldsmobile 350 was available in the '79 models, so that should bolt right up.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
A simple 350cu" gas engine would be just fine. Ideally the LT1 that was on the 1994-1996 B-body sedans & wagons.

Back when Pontiac Fieros were still common, there was a micro-fad of mating Chevrolet small-block V8s to Eldorado/Toronado drivetrains and mounting that setup in the back of Fieros. If I recall correctly Chevrolet V8s use a different bellhousing bolt pattern than their Buick/Olds/Pontiac brethren, so an adapter plate would be a necessity along with a custom-made oil pan and pickup tube to clear the front axle. One would probably also need custom headers to route the exhaust around the drivetrain components.
In that same vein, a Buick 350 in a '79-'85 Riviera might be a fun project, albeit one with the same challenges except for the transmission adapter plate.

[Edited 2011-12-19 10:25:35]


Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1259 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 23645 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 11):
Were those posi-traction front-drive?
Didn't they keep that set up all the way till the 1978 model year?

I'd have to look into it to see if they had the equivalent of positraction, but they kept the north-south setup through the end of 1985. I had an '85 Eldorado and can concur with earlier sentiments that the HT4100 was a dog through and through. The Buick-based 4.1 V6 was a better engine, but still underpowered for such a heavy car.

I'm not sure that they had any sort of limited slip capabilities. GM probably relied on the weight up front to provide most of the traction.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 14):
or a 368 Cadillac motor. I knew a guy that put an Oldsmobile 403 in one and that was a lot better.

Both good engines. The 368 doesn't get much attention because it was only around for two years, and it bore the stigma of the failed Eaton 4-6-8 system. But it was the last of the really good traditional Cadillac V8's. Everything after that was either bad (HT4100) or newer tech. The 403 was a nice engine too, big torque, understressed.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 11):
That leads me to another question. Which front drive had the best power-to-weight ratio?

That's an interesting question. As KiwiRob indicates, there are newer FWD cars with BIG specific outputs. And some of them are really good (when I mentioned that the car has to be set up really well for 300+ HP, I was thinking specifically of the cars he mentioned) - but they also weigh alot more than the older machinery. Cars have gotten much too fat over the years, and the old 1,900 lb. 205 GTi doesn't exist anymore, not really.

Back in the heyday of Turbo lag, I'd have said that the Renault R5 GT Turbo would've been a good bet here. This isn't the mid-engined Turbo everybody thinks of, but rather the second-gen front-engine, front-drive turbo. The block was a rock-tough pushrod four with a Garrett T2 hooked to it. This shotgun approach yielded 115 hp from 1.4 liters, which back then was a big number. But thanks to turbo lag it didn't so much have a gas pedal as an on/off switch. It also had all kinds of reliability problems. I think the R5 GT turbo in Euro-spec form was about an 1,800 lb. car.

The Turbo also meant that Mitsubishi once got 60 hp from just 660-cc in the Dangan ZZ of 1989, and that was only a 1,200 lb mini-car. But that isn't a great ratio, it's just a great specific output from such a small engine.

In modern times, the second-gen Euro Focus RS500, with 345 hp, has to be near the top of the list. Even though it's a much heavier car than these others, that's just a huge number. The fact that the car was so good to drive is a testament to Ford's team. Because most cars that hit that number driving through the front wheels are a mess to drive.

Renault always produces lighter-weight versions of their hot hatches, but I don't think anything can top the RS500.

The Clio 182 Trophy had about 180 hp (figures vary) but weighed in at about 2,350 lbs. That's really light for a modern car. The RS500 is about a 3,150 lb car, but the specific output is so high, I think it wins.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 11):
Those are popular again. Aren't the engine bolt patterns the same as the newer Honda V-tec engines?
The original CRX only put out 90HP but the newer V-tecs put out over 200HP and easily fits in the CRX.

Vtecs are a bolt-in, and yeah, they'll make a CRX into an honest-to-goodness rocket. But me, I'm more of a purist. The CRX is best enjoyed for it's handling, not it's out-and-out speed.

That the thing about today's cars - I can't drive a 350 hp car safely in most places. But I can have fun all day in a 120 hp car and not get into too much trouble.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 11):
Retro factor.

I was actually thinking about the old one. The new one has great appeal as a mainstream car, but the old one is a legend and always will be. None of the retro cars (New Mini, New Beetle, New Fiat 500) will ever have the impact that their predecessors did.


User currently offlineaero145 From Iceland, joined Jan 2005, 3071 posts, RR: 21
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 23564 times:

For me there is nothing better or more fun than the VW Golf GTI, give me anything with Golf and GTI (Golf 5, basic, ED30, Golf 6, ED35, anything), preferrably with the manual gearbox, although the DSG isn’t a “slouch” either, although it has its drawbacks.

http://files.vau-max.de/gallery_pictures/2008/04/170e8dfea7751b9dd999da471ace5e53.jpg



User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 927 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 23544 times:

Quoting aero145 (Reply 18):
For me there is nothing better or more fun than the VW Golf GTI, give me anything with Golf and GTI (Golf 5, basic, ED30, Golf 6, ED35, anything), preferrably with the manual gearbox, although the DSG isn’t a “slouch” either, although it has its drawbacks.

The Golf GTI was a great car, at one time - I'm not so sure these days. I've driven all six GTIs, and I would have to say that my favourite overall would be the Mk2, followed closely by the Mk1. The Mk5 is OK, as is the Mk6, but they're so different from the original GTIs that I have a hard time putting them in the same category as the originals. As for the Mk3 and Mk4 GTIs, well, let's just forget they ever happened.

As for my favourite FWD car, I would have to say that the Acura Integra Type-R is by far the best driving front-driver I've ever experienced. I'd love to own one, but most of them today have either been stolen a million times, riced to hell and back or had their engine chopped out and replaced with a bog standard Civic engine.



Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8182 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 23537 times:

I have to admit that I have reached the age (and medical) where comfort is more important than FWD/RWD (except when there is ice & snow on the road.

These days the ease of entry& exit becomes important

Both of the above preferences after having radiation after the surgery showed the tumor had reached the margins on the prostate, That changes the lower back a bit.   

Basically that brings today's preference to larger, heavier cars & SUVs. The 2002 DeVille fits the bill pretty well for me. It's not over styled. Easy for me to drive and I can stay comfortable on most trips.

Except for those factors I'd probably be driving a Mazda 3.


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6069 posts, RR: 29
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 23475 times:
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Quoting TSS (Reply 16):
If I recall correctly Chevrolet V8s use a different bellhousing bolt pattern than their Buick/Olds/Pontiac brethren, so an adapter plate would be a necessity

That is correct. Buick, Olds, Pontiac, and Cadillac had a different bellhousing. One is flat on the top and the other is more pointed.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 17):
The 368 doesn't get much attention because it was only around for two years

I had a 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that had the 368. It was a good engine and moved that car around just fine. The 1980 is the best of the entire decade, becuase it looks like all the rest of the 1980s models, but has the 368/THM-400 combination which makes it reliable.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 17):
I'm not sure that they had any sort of limited slip capabilities

They did, at least in the 1980s.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39670 posts, RR: 75
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 23430 times:

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 20):
These days the ease of entry& exit becomes important

It's important to me as well and I'm 38. I hate having to duck my head and get in to a fetal position just to get in to a car. That is why I'm looking to buy a used Toyota Crown or Nissan President. Most of the small cars here are too small and getting in & out of the back is even more of a challenge when the C-pillar slopes very low to give a the car a 'sporty' look.

Quoting TSS (Reply 16):
If I recall correctly Chevrolet V8s use a different bellhousing bolt pattern than their Buick/Olds/Pontiac brethren, so an adapter plate would be a necessity along with a custom-made oil pan and pickup tube to clear the front axle. One would probably also need custom headers to route the exhaust around the drivetrain components.

That is so typical of General Motors. They over complicate the the most trivial things. Ford had it right with using the 5.0 on all of there larger sedans, coupes & wagons.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 17):
The 403 was a nice engine too, big torque, understressed.

Were those an option for the last rear-drive G-bodies? (1982-1988 Cutlass Supreme Brougham, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Regal).

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 17):
That's an interesting question. As KiwiRob indicates, there are newer FWD cars with BIG specific outputs. And some of them are really good (when I mentioned that the car has to be set up really well for 300+ HP, I was thinking specifically of the cars he mentioned) - but they also weigh alot more than the older machinery. Cars have gotten much too fat over the years, and the old 1,900 lb. 205 GTi doesn't exist anymore, not really.

The car that comes to mind is the 1993 Dodge Daytona IROC and Spirit R/T IROC. Those cars were lightweight (2200 lbs.) and had a 224HP 2.2turbochaged 4-banger.
Also the Dodge Omni GLH-S was less than 2000 lbs and had that same engine, right?
I know the new Focus weights a lot more.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 17):
Vtecs are a bolt-in, and yeah, they'll make a CRX into an honest-to-goodness rocket. But me, I'm more of a purist. The CRX is best enjoyed for it's handling, not it's out-and-out speed.

A lot of young Chinese guys in California does that with their CRX. A friend of mine had a 1986 CRX and last year the engine finally died at 410,000 miles. A teenager bought it from him for $2000!
The kid just wanted the body and he dropped in the V-tec engine and riced it all out.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 17):
I was actually thinking about the old one. The new one has great appeal as a mainstream car, but the old one is a legend and always will be. None of the retro cars (New Mini, New Beetle, New Fiat 500) will ever have the impact that their predecessors did.

The originals have become more popular since the retro versions were released.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 21):
I had a 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that had the 368. It was a good engine and moved that car around just fine. The 1980 is the best of the entire decade, becuase it looks like all the rest of the 1980s models, but has the 368/THM-400 combination which makes it reliable.

Didn't the 368cu" last until 1984 as a fleet edition?

[Edited 2011-12-19 19:56:37]


Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1259 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 23364 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 22):

Were those an option for the last rear-drive G-bodies? (1982-1988 Cutlass Supreme Brougham, Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Regal).

The 403's last year was 1979. It had a huge bore relative to the other Olds small blocks, which is why it has a big-block displacement number. Mostly it was an Oldsmobuick option, but could also be had in the Trans Am, the last big GP in 1977, and some other Pontiacs if you were ordering in Colorado or California (strangely). It didn't last long, replacing the big block but not lasting into 1980. Some might have made it into early 1980 cars.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 22):

The car that comes to mind is the 1993 Dodge Daytona IROC and Spirit R/T IROC. Those cars were lightweight (2200 lbs.) and had a 224HP 2.2turbochaged 4-banger.
Also the Dodge Omni GLH-S was less than 2000 lbs and had that same engine, right?

I actually had to go to my library to look it up, but the weight of the '93 Daytona IROC R/T is listed as 3134 lbs (C&D, 10/92), so about what the Focus RS500 weighs. I don't think there was a Spirit IROC, though there was a Spirit R/T - which is basically the same engine put into the heavier Spirit body. Under the skin, the Daytona and Spirit are both K-cars.

The Omni is actually based on that old Simca I mentioned. In 1977, Chrysler borrowed the European Simca Horizon as a basis for the Omni and Horizon. This car was basically a refined version of the old Simca 1100, the same way the Fiat Strada was a heavily refined Fiat 128. The Omni was very light, owing to this design, but the GLH/GLHS was still almost a 2,300 lb car when new.

A more sorted machine which hasn't been mentioned was the Shelby CSX, a Dodge-shadow based machine that had power somewhere between the GLH (146 hp) and the Daytona IROC R/T (224 hp) and weight between as well. It's a shame Chrysler really didn't do much to promote the CSX.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 22):

A lot of young Chinese guys in California does that with their CRX. A friend of mine had a 1986 CRX and last year the engine finally died at 410,000 miles. A teenager bought it from him for $2000!

The prices have gone way up as the feed stock of clean CRX's has nosedived. A factory-original CRX Si is going to be a genuine collectible, because there are very few good ones around.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 22):
The originals have become more popular since the retro versions were released.

Well, in the sense that having new versions of the cars out does revive interest in them, yes. But they built 3.8 Million original Fiat 500's and almost 5.4 Million original Minis. I have a hard time believing the new ones will ever get to those numbers. They were genuinely popular cars, and even 20, 30 years after production ended (for the Fiat), they were common in Europe. Still are.


User currently onlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7084 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 23335 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 22):
The originals have become more popular since the retro versions were released.

The original MINI, 500 and Beetle have always had a massive following, the launch of new versions hasn't changed this one bit.


25 Post contains links and images trav110 : Thank you for bringing this up Superfly, I find your love of older cars and the features you point out to be fascinating Having not driven very many s
26 Superfly : Wow, that is a lot more than I thought. I assumed that my 1987 Lebaron convertible was one of the heaviest of the K-car variants at 2710 pounds, only
27 Post contains images TCASAlert : Well, I am biased since I own one, but this is my favourite front wheel drive car: Lovely little motor!
28 aerorobnz : as always anything in the last decade from Renaultsport. The current 200 Cup and 250 Cup are FWD hatches at the top of their game. They are proper per
29 Post contains images PHLBOS : IIRC, after 1977, the 403's availability was restricted to the full-sizes (B & C bodies); except Chevy (which offered no engine larger than the 3
30 Superfly : So you're saying that they were made as sedans with the intention of being stretched out? Could someone buy a sedan intended to be stretched but neve
31 Post contains links and images zippyjet : 1986 Toyota Celica GT I liked the coupe lookswise over the liftback. This was a fun to drive small car with a 5 Speed stick and I could get 40mpg on t
32 Superfly : Such a chick car. Those Rivieras were great cars but I prefer the stodgy Republican senior citizen golfer's land yacht. I thought it was Beatles, Bac
33 TSS : I think what PHLBOS is referring to is the "commercial chassis" version, which was your basic Deville with a heavy duty suspension, larger tires, and
34 Superfly : That is what I was referring to. Interesting. So there were larger engines available? I wonder if the 500cu" was put in to the limousines as well. I'
35 Post contains links zkojq : Ive always liked large French sedans and coupes: Peugeot 406 Coupe. (1996-2003) In my opinion it is one of the best looking cars ever made and the aut
36 KiwiRob : I had a rental 508 a few months back, it was a nice car, but noisey on the highway, loads of wind noise, tyre noise, not even close to Audi, BMW, Mer
37 zkojq : That is true, I probably should have compared the 508 to an Vauxhall Insignia, Ford Mondeo or SEAT Exeo rather than an Audi or BMW. That said, keep i
38 Post contains images 2H4 : Were Demand Media to acquire special airport cars, solely for the use of A.netters during meets and spotting trips, I would propose finding and restor
39 JJJ : Very, very few companies I know have BMW / Merc for sedan fleets. All I see is Mondeos, Lagunas and C5s. You used to see lots of Vectras, but not tha
40 Post contains images Superfly : That is one SWEET airport shuttle! If you look at the front fender, it is exactly the same as the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado above in reply #3 and 31.
41 na : Front-drive cars? How can anyone forget Alfa Romeo here! I´ve had several 164s and 166s, Alfas Top-of-the-line, all great cars (I only had bad luck w
42 Post contains links and images TSS : Those were made from 1968 Toronados, which use the same basic body as the '66-'67 models. Between 52 and 150 of the "Jetway 707" Toronado-based airpo
43 Post contains images KaiGywer : I really like my 2006 Chevy Impala. Roomy, comfortable and plenty fast to get me in trouble.... I don't know...I had one as a rental in DEN, and while
44 Post contains links 2H4 : Wow, thanks for the info. Very interesting! Edit: Found on on Craigslist! http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/pts/2738825834.html[Edited 2012-01-04 08:2
45 Post contains images Superfly : Interesting that a large shuttle vehicle would be based off a personal luxury coupe. The 1973 - 1978 GMC Motorhome was based off that Toronado. As yo
46 PHLBOS : To clarify; the decision to stretch a purchased standard sedan into a limo was made by the individual coach-builder no so much the car manufacturer i
47 Post contains links and images zippyjet : That is a cool ride! Though not FWD, an honorable mention for use by us A-Netters on a meet: Checker Aerobus! They had kick ass A/C (rode one from MI
48 Post contains links JJJ : The 159. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5zzwuiJLD0 People complained about weight gain over the 156, but it is a great, great car to drive.
49 Post contains images sccutler : That ain't mine, but it is pretty much identical. You know where I come down - had the Eldo out today, running like a dream. Real challenge was getti
50 Superfly : Makes me want to fly down to Texas and go for a spin! Are there re-manufactured, after market brands that make parts for the EFI systems on those? Ho
51 Post contains links sccutler : Just a hop, skip and a jump from Thailand, eh? You're welcome in these environs anytime. I have considered the conversion, but really, the only truly
52 Post contains images B777LRF : Lots of land yachts suggested here The best handling front-wheel drive I've driven is the Renault Clio RS - probably the closest thing you can get to
53 EddieDude : Until I bought a Benz in late 2007, we always had front-wheel drive cars in my family. We had Renaults and VWs from the 1980s, a 1990 Buick Century Li
54 Post contains images Superfly : Thanks and a trip in the Eldorado to a Texas steakhouse is a must! German parts in an Eldorado? That just doesn't sound right. Nice! Sounds like your
55 B777LRF : Whilst the VAG diesel burners are not bad engines at all, particularly after they ditched the rattly pump/injector system and went common-rail, you o
56 Superfly : You can't even give me a BMW. I'd turn around and sale it the next day. Not my kind of vehicle. Bland, under-styled, over-priced statues symbols. If
57 sccutler : 1. Bosch fuel injectors. Odd, but there you go. 2. 'Fly, you know you'd love to have a BMW diesel - a Mark VII Lincoln with a BMW turbo-diesel engine,
58 Superfly : That would be interesting! I saw one 2 years ago at a Fabulous Fords show. The man drive it from Tuscon, Arizona to SoCal. He said he got about 30MPG
59 Post contains links and images Aesma : I will stay on the looks side since I would not buy a FWD if I had the choice (which I haven't currently, but I didn't even buy my current car, it was
60 GuitrThree : My first car was the Oldmobile version of the X-Cars (Omega). It was an '82, but sorry to say, mine must have missed the 82 fix-revisions (bad camsha
61 PHLBOS : The Chevy Citation had a 104.9" wheelbase, an overall length of 177" and an overall width of 68.3". Your '82 Omega sported the same wheelbase and wid
62 GuitrThree : To use the word's "Omega" and "sported" in the same sentence made me laugh! Sorry. I forgot the Cobalt was similar to a G5, while the G6 was the Mali
63 Post contains images PHLBOS : The Citation had a height of 53.1"; your Olds Omega had a height of 52.4". In comparision to the more recent Pontiac compact and mid-sizes: Pontiac G
64 KingairTA : My favorite is the 97-03 Pontiac Grand Prix. Must be a coupe and have the L67. Granted it doesnt handle well but it will down right get up and go.
65 Post contains images 2H4 : Not front-wheel-drive, but an interesting visual on how cars have grown in size over the years:
66 Post contains links and images Superfly : I was going through my photo albums and realized that JetBlue used a 1966 front-drive Oldsmobile Toronado-based General Motors camper for an add campa
67 TSS : Not exactly a fair comparison, though, since one is a front-engine/RWD 4-seater and the other is a mid-engine/RWD 2-seater. However, it your case cou
68 Post contains links and images zkojq : Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Like a VW Golf or Ford Focus, but prettier. http://bit.ly/z6xBWb Alfa Romeo Giulia. Not on sale until later in the year. It will
69 Post contains images RayChuang : Here's what I drive and a favorite of mine: That's the picture of my 2012 Honda Fit Sport hatchback (US market model) taken one day after I bought the
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