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An audiophile and petrolhead's journal: Buckle up! - Page 305

post #4561 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

I remember Leno talking about it, he loves the Corvair, and he said one problem was that the front tires on a Corvair shouldn't be inflated over 20psi, but Americans didn't read the manuals and inflated them to 35 or more. So they'd bounce around on the road and never find any grip on the front. Remember, GM still sold over 1.2 million of them, so they really weren't a failure, they simply weren't as popular as the Mustang or Impala. It's a shame too, because it really could have sparked a revolution in Detroit and changed the course of US car design, in fact they didn't try to go that route again until the Fiero and that was... not their finest hour (though the Fiero GT is an underrated sports car and better than the press led people to believe).

Anyway, yeah Nadar was a windbag, sure he helped bring about seatbelts as standard equipment, but he also held back American car development by 10 years, and we just now are clawing back to parity with the Japanese and Europeans.

Only true if you consider Toyota to be the largest American car company. Still miles to go before they sleep. Sleep they do, almost on a predermiined cycle Chrysler goes BK GM introduces 10 of the same model and dies on the vine and Ford just stops selling..

Windbag would have to be the most charitable description of Nadir I have ever heard. Self promoting careerist azzhole extrordinaire, we can thank him for paving the way for subsequent generations of feces spewing humanioids culminating in Michael Moore.

 

Back to the Corvair, poor mans 911 it was. Zuffenhausen would have done well to licence it instead of foisting the 914 on the world. I never met a Corvair owner that wasnt in love with it. That goes back to the late 60' early 70's as well, even housewives loved driving that car. Thing is if that whole scenario was played out again now GM would hire some image jockey to torpedo the naysayers and pony up a zillion pages of stats to prove it's safety record was as good as any  at the time (and a damn sight better than some swing axle designs of the era)

 

The Fiero GT threatened the allmighty Corvette and that had the sporty crowd at GM (same guys who essentially stonewalled DeLorean on about a billion ideas) rattling their sabres. Aside from the arcane service procedures, that car was a pure winner all round.

post #4562 of 9498

I agree completely about the Corvair, but I have to argue your point on the Fiero. It's not really a good car; its engine isn't nearly powerful or light enough to make it fun and everything else came straight off commuter cars. GM had the form right, but they couldn't be bothered to develop decent parts to put in it.

post #4563 of 9498
Thread Starter 
Specifically I was talking about the late model Fiero GTs. In typical GM fashion, they finally turned it into a halfway decent car, then unceremoniously dumped it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

Only true if you consider Toyota to be the largest American car company. Still miles to go before they sleep. Sleep they do, almost on a predermiined cycle Chrysler goes BK GM introduces 10 of the same model and dies on the vine and Ford just stops selling..

I'll get to this soon. The landscape is shifting, has shifted, and Asian and European carmakers are taking notice, in a major way.
post #4564 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssrock64 View Post
 

I agree completely about the Corvair, but I have to argue your point on the Fiero. It's not really a good car; its engine isn't nearly powerful or light enough to make it fun and everything else came straight off commuter cars. GM had the form right, but they couldn't be bothered to develop decent parts to put in it.

There was nothing horrendously wrong with the GT particularly at its price point. Had they actually gone into the 90's with what had been planned (suspension changes turbocharged powerplant) it would have been an amazing platform. As it is If you can get a GT cheap enough and put an aftermarket turbo on it it becomes quite respectable.

 

There used to be a Mera up the road (haven't seen it in a while) and at first glance it's easily forgivable to mistake it for a 308.

post #4565 of 9498
Thread Starter 
I'd buy a nice Mera, if it were cheap enough, just as a conversation piece. The first time I glanced at one I thought it was a 308.
post #4566 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post
 

There used to be a Mera up the road (haven't seen it in a while) and at first glance it's easily forgivable to mistake it for a 308.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

I'd buy a nice Mera, if it were cheap enough, just as a conversation piece. The first time I glanced at one I thought it was a 308.

Same here; the first time I saw a Mera was in Kill Devil Hills, NC, and I also thought it was a 308 upon first glance.

post #4567 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

I'd buy a nice Mera, if it were cheap enough, just as a conversation piece. The first time I glanced at one I thought it was a 308.

If I ever run across it again I'll drop you a note.

post #4568 of 9498
I never had much use for the Fiero. I put it in exactly the same spot as the Toyota MR2 - a car that was pretending to be a sports car, but wasn't. It seems like they were both trying to be a Fiat X1/9 or Triumph TR7 (which seems like a dubious goal), but they didn't even achieve that...
post #4569 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I never had much use for the Fiero. I put it in exactly the same spot as the Toyota MR2 - a car that was pretending to be a sports car, but wasn't. It seems like they were both trying to be a Fiat X1/9 or Triumph TR7 (which seems like a dubious goal), but they didn't even achieve that...

 

Thing was it was projected as a commuter car. As such it's quite amazing it got as far as it did.

 

X1/9 suffered from weak powerplant. If they'd ever shoehorned the 2 litre in there it would have been a spiritual experience. You would be hard pressed to find a car at any price that handled better.

 

OOOOOOOOOOOh the TRash 7. Released without a motor, finally V8'ed up just in time to suffer the pangs of bad rep and be killed. Shame. Cheap enough (the local high school had a bare shell around that I really was tempted to make an offer on) If you could slide the Nissan or Honda V6 in there THAT would be a diabolically fun little vehicle. (Curiousley enough the service manager for Mercedes Canada used to race a TRash8)

 

(and as I typed that I could actually hear some Englishman somewhere spitting up a kidney):D

post #4570 of 9498
I always had a soft spot for the TR7 - I know it wasn't a very good car, but it was one of the cars I test drove when I was 18 and shopping for my first car. But, that is also why I still have fond (but misguided) memories of the VW Scirocco and Porsche 914. I was never that serious about the TR7 or the Scirocco, but I got real close to buying a used black 914 at a local dealer. I had been looking at it for weeks and finally talked my Dad into stopping there with me to take a test drive. Geez, that thing drove like cr@p! It sounded like a VW Bug and it drove like a VW Bug. My most vivid memory was after the test drive, when I put the 914 in idle and let go of the stick, and the stick was shaking back and forth from the engine vibrations. I drove all the way home telling my Dad how much that car sucked!
post #4571 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I always had a soft spot for the TR7 - I know it wasn't a very good car, but it was one of the cars I test drove when I was 18 and shopping for my first car. But, that is also why I still have fond (but misguided) memories of the VW Scirocco and Porsche 914. I was never that serious about the TR7 or the Scirocco, but I got real close to buying a used black 914 at a local dealer. I had been looking at it for weeks and finally talked my Dad into stopping there with me to take a test drive. Geez, that thing drove like cr@p! It sounded like a VW Bug and it drove like a VW Bug. My most vivid memory was after the test drive, when I put the 914 in idle and let go of the stick, and the stick was shaking back and forth from the engine vibrations. I drove all the way home telling my Dad how much that car sucked!

A schoolmates dad bought a 914 (surgeon) and within a year the thing had started to rust right through the bottom where the C pillar hoop is. Suspension sagged worse than a bug. He couldn't give it away, not even to his kid.

 

That Guigaro designed Scirocco was awfully pretty for its time, if it had been built by anyone but VW I would have considered one. The 7 well my distaste for British ground borne wheeled vehicles is no secret but I love the flying doorstop body.

post #4572 of 9498
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

If I ever run across it again I'll drop you a note.

No worries, there's enough on my plate as it is right now.



What was I saying earlier about US cars? Oh yeah. The new Corvette C7 is awesomely, amazingly good. Not just as an American car, or as a sports car, but as a car, in general. Ignoring some of the testosterone-fueled exterior styling, which I rather like, if any maker had developed this car, including the European marques, I'd be impressed. The fact that it's a GM, and sold for a comparatively paltry $56k (with Z51 package), leaves me entirely gob-smacked.

We were given a tester to play with Saturday morning, the guy from GM came by, handed over the keys to us, and then told us he had a meeting at a local dealership, "have fun with it, but if you can get it back to us in one piece it would be great". eek.gif So we did. After a cursory check, and a good looking over, we took it out and wrung its neck. It was a manual, of course, in that lovely Laguna Blue that's been all over the place.





I personally drove it like I'd stolen it, and it was good, very good. The chassis is extremely rigid, allowing proper road placement and steering response, but the suspension does an exceptional job soaking up bumps. The magneto suspension is similar to what you find in the McLaren MP4-12C and responds in a like manner, if not quite so seamlessly. It's easy to get it sideways, but only if that's what you're trying to do, otherwise it's almost entirely neutral, which is an achievement for a front-engined car (it's still mid-engined because the motor is completely behind the front axle). During that time I was thinking about how astonishing it was and also how similar it felt. I was like, "I've driven this before", then it occurred to me, if I ignored the badging, body, and sound, and focused on the feel, the damned thing was a near carbon copy of the Ferrari 599GTB... with the exception of the 599's amazing power surge near the top of its rev band, of course. Yeah the Ferrari is more luxurious inside, but the `vette isn't bad at all, in fact it's worlds better than any other US car I've driven, although the CTS-V isn't terrible. It really does punt the C6 into next week, in that way. The overall fit and finish are outstanding, absolutely not what you'd expect in a sub-$60k sports car (easily on-par with the Cayman). There's no mistake that the Cayman is one of the C7's competitors, BTW, and in many ways it surpasses it. It's faster, more comfortable, and has more amenities. While the handling isn't quite as fluid, after a little time behind the wheel it makes a case for itself and definitely deserves to be included in the conversation of "what's the best sub-$100k driver's car". Something that GM, or really any American car, has never been able to do before. Despite brand perception, or how it sounds (it makes a thunderous noise), this is not a muscle car. Period.

The guy handed out a scorecard, asking for us to rate areas of the car on a scale of 1-10. Mine:

Handling: 8 (really an 8.5)
Power: 7
Brakes: 9
Comfort: 8
Ergonomics: 8
Appearance: 7 (really 7.5), looks better with the top off and I don't like the chrome wheels
Quality: 8
Value: 10

I handed it back and he seemed a little concerned. "You feel it's lacking in power?" I thought about it. "I wouldn't say it's lacking, as much as it seems that the chassis wants more. Once the torque runs out, there's not enough horsepower at the top to keep going to the redline, so it makes you want to shift to get back into the lower end torque, instead of enjoying the higher rev range." He told me that was nearly word for word what Randy Pobst had said about it. redface.gif He asked if I'm considering buying one, and I honestly told him that despite how much I like it, I don't feel that it differentiates itself enough for me to run out and immediately get one. "I'll really be interested in a Z07, that's where I feel this car will truly shine." He rubbed his jaw. "Tell you what, let me give you a card, you should speak with some people." So he did, and I read it. Callaway Motorsports "I know they're working on a C7 derivative." He shook his head. "No, they're done with testing and are quietly taking pre-orders. 670hp, 615ft/lbs of torque, 0-60 in 2.6s, and 200lbs lighter than the standard Stingray. It's faster than the Z07." So Monday I called them and we talked about it, and it looks like we're going to be doing some business. biggrin.gif

The Shelby Super Snake arrived too, and I'm not impressed. Compared to the new `vette it feels cheap and clumsy, despite having almost twice as much power there really is no question which one I'd rather drive.

(to be continued...)
Edited by Magick Man - 10/1/13 at 4:42am
post #4573 of 9498

If you pick up the Callaway on-site in Old Lyme, you can visit Sennheiser USA headquarters as well. They're in the same industrial park.

post #4574 of 9498
I am getting a little tired of the overly busy design features on new cars. They all seem to be trying to look like Transformers. I blame CNC machines - it is now far too easy to fabricate a more complex design by either computerized milling of the part directly, or of the molds for plastic/composite parts. They can almost go directly from the designer's SolidWorks model to the milling machines.

Pretty high praise for a GM car! When's the electric 'Vette coming out?? biggrin.gif
post #4575 of 9498
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post


Pretty high praise for a GM car! When's the electric 'Vette coming out?? biggrin.gif

 

I'm waiting for the diesel.....lol. 

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