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Madman Of The People

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  1. Glad to see it's gone to a good home. It deserves to be saved and preserved. The Alliance/Encore were everywhere in the 1980s and then suddenly, sometime around 1990 or 1991, they all suddenly vanished. Renault threw away a golden opportunity to be a major player in America. With Jeep in it's product portfolio, they would have been well placed to ride the 1990s-to-present SUV boom. They also missed the chance to buy Volvo in the early 1990s, which would have given them a premium brand with it's corresponding higher profit margins. Oh, to think what might have been.....
  2. I've had only 21 cars since 1985. I'm a rank amateur compared to some of you. 1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe saloon 1976 Ford Pinto 2.8 V6 Coupe 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit C 3-door hatch (Pennsylvania-built Mk 1 Golf) 1980 Fiat X-1/9 1975 Volkswagen Transporter 1979 Chevrolet Caprice Classic estate 1983 AMC-Renault Alliance DL saloon (Wisconsin-built R9) 1985 Merkur XR4Ti (Americanised Ford Sierra) 1985 Peugeot 505 Turbo saloon 1990 Peugeot 405 DL "Sportswagon" (One of only around 1,000 405 estates exported to the US) 1987 Volvo 240 DL saloon 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo saloon 1991 Volvo 240 saloon 1997 Honda Odyssey LX (AKA Honda Shuttle) 2000 Volkswagen Golf (Mk 4) GLS 2.0 5-door 2001 Cadillac Catera (Rebadged as a Vauxhall Omega) 1998 Ford Escort SE saloon (The ugly USA-Escort) 2003 Volkswagen Passat GL 1.8 Turbo estate 2010 Mazda 5 Sport (now owned by my daughter) 2011 MINI Cooper (mostly driven by my son) 2015 Ford Escape SE 2WD (AKA Ford Kuga)
  3. Here's another oddball US-market SUV for you to enjoy: the Volkswagen Taos. What is it? It's a Seat Ateca with a Volkswagen nose. Hencho en Puebla, Mexico, of course.
  4. The Eagle Talon was born of a collaboration between Chrysler and Mitsubishi, known as Diamond Star Motors. In addition to the Talon, the DSM project also spawned the Plymouth Laser and the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Renault had no involvement with DSM. Chrysler very quickly ridded itself of any Renault ties shortly after the acquisition of AMC. Production of the Alliance/Encore (R9/R11) was halted immediately upon the buyout. Imports of the Medallion (R21) ended a year later. However, it took a few years to get the LH cars ready to replace the Premier. Although the LH cars may have been inspired by the R25-based Premier, they relied exclusively on Chrysler engines and technology. Once the Renault based cars were gone, Eagle continued with a mix of rebadged Mitsubishis and Chryslers. By 1998, Eagle was shut down and the Jeeps which shared the showrooms with Eagles were transferred over to Chrysler showrooms. I think Eagle was only ever intended to be a temporary stop-gap to buy time for Chrysler to consolidate the former AMC-Jeep dealers with Chrysler-Plymouth dealers.
  5. Here's an even rarer Saab SUV, the 9-4x. What is it? It's a rebodied second generation Cadillac SRX built in Mexico. Only 814 units were built before Saab went bankrupt, making this one of the rarest Saabs ever made! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_9-4X
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_9-7X The 9-7x used the body panels and side window profile from the discontinued Oldsmobile Bravada with a new nose clip incorporating the Saab grille. Unlike the Saabaru 9-2x, GM actually took the trouble to move the ignition switch to the centre console!
  7. I should also mention how Francois Castaing played a pivotal role in both the story of the Premier and the Chrysler LH cars which followed, not to mention the Jeep Cherokee XJ. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran├žois_Castaing In short, Castaing was a Renault engineer sent to AMC in 1980. He joined Chrysler after their buyout of AMC and became Chrysler's Vice President for Vehicle Engineering. Castaing's contributions were instrumental to Chrysler's successes in the 1990s.
  8. To give you some idea of how hasty the last-minute rebranding of the Premier was, this early dealer training video should give you some indication. "The film you are about to see was produced using early prototype vehicles prior to the recent decision to adopt the Eagle emblem. Based on that decision, production models of the Premier will display the Eagle emblem in place of the early "diamond" emblem wherever it appears." Notice the word "Renault" was never mentioned! As for the Medallion, this was a Federal-bumpered Renault 21 imported from France. It was launched Stateside in late 1986 as a 1987 model as a Renault Medallion. After the Chrysler takeover, it too became an Eagle. It was dropped after 1989 due to poor sales. Running examples of either the Premier (or it's short-lived Dodge Monaco twin) and the Medallion are near nonexistent today. I have not seen either one in years, probably decades in the case of the Medallion.
  9. I've heard that same theory, too. Allegedly, GM led AMC up the garden path by promising to supply them with a two-rotor Wankel engine they were developing, so AMC bet the farm, along with what little cash they had, by designing the Pacer around this engine. AMC had made a name for themselves by making smaller cars at a time when Detroit was obsessed with "Bigger-is-Better" and, the story goes, GM saw them as potential threat against their own small cars. If GM really did want to bankrupt AMC by encouraging them to develop a car with no engine, the plan certainly worked. Development, tooling and production costs associated with the Pacer were cited as the main reason why AMC sold itself to Renault. And we all know how well that went! As for the Gremlin (which later evolved into the Spirit) I suspect it's because the car continued to sell well. Since it was basically just a Hornet with the boot sawn off, it was cheap to build and the tooling was already there and paid for. You also have the remember the fact the Pacer divided opinion like few cars before or since. Plenty of people hated the way it looked and would never have bought it. For those shoppers, AMC had the relatively "normal" looking Gremlin sitting across the showroom. Sort of like how British Leyland sold Morris Marinas to people who thought the Austin Allegro was too radical looking!
  10. Oooh, you've got the "i." The "i" stands for "I am bloody brilliant, I am quicker than you on the road." So says the fat bloke at 25 min, 40 sec.
  11. Let's not forget the saga of the much maligned AMC Pacer. After a deal to buy Wankel rotary engines from General Motors fell through when, at the eleventh hour, GM decided Wankels weren't worth their bother, AMC were forced to raid their own cupboard for whatever engines they could find. What they found was their stalwart inline six cylinder units which they were forced to shoehorn into an engine bay that had been designed for a Wankel. It was either this big lump of an engine or nothing as this was all AMC had to pick from. A poor choice for what was intended to be an "economy" car! But the story doesn't end there. That's because some bright spark working at AMC thought it would be a terrific idea to export the Pacer to Europe. At which point somebody suddenly remembered the British like to do things all back-arsewards and sit on the wrong side of the car whist driving on the wrong side of the road. So they moved the pedal box to the right and fitted linkages to operate accelerator and brake controls which were still located in the left footwell. But what about the steering wheel? Ahh, here's where things really get clever. The steering wheel, now relocated to the right of the cabin, turned a sprocket which operated what was essentially a glorified bicycle chain hidden behind the dash. The chain was connected to another sprocket on the existing left handed steering column! Voila, right-hand-drive done on the cheap! In addition, the longer right-side door, intended to ease rear seat access from the passenger side in LHD markets was now totally unsuitable for RHD Britain. Brilliant! According to this Telegraph article from 2020, there are only two Pacers left in the UK. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/uks-rarest-cars-amc-pacer/
  12. The 1978-83 Chevrolet Malibu Saloons and Estates and their A-Body (later renamed as the G-body in 1982) stablemates including the 1978-81 Pontiac LeMans, 1982-86 Pontiac Bonneville, 1978-86 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, 1978-81 Buick Century, 1982-84 Buick Regal. All were essentially the same car. These cars were textbook examples of egregious cost-cutting but the very worst "feature" these cars all shared were rear windows which couldn't be rolled down. Yes, you read that correctly. The rear doors had fixed windows which did not move! If your rear seat passenger wanted any fresh air, their only recourse were to crack open the little vent windows which were a poor substitute for proper roll-down window glass. Owners in southern states who didn't think to order their cars with air conditioning were guaranteed to get an earful of complaints from their passengers! Pre-facelift (1978-80) Malibu on the left with vent window in the C-pillar. Post-facelift (1981-83) on the right with vent in the rear door. Where's the window winder? Hold on. THERE ISN'T ONE!!!
  13. I agree. It's time for Oxford Bags to make a comeback!
  14. Interesting how the rally SD1s used the US-spec round headlights.
  15. Designed by the same people who made this? I see certain similarities in the roofline and the wheels.
  16. Looks like a P1 variant but I don't see the lower portion of the grille, where it extends horizontally into the wings. Can anyone blow up the photo where we can see the reg number? It looks like it says ERJ 560 or ERJ 580.
  17. Across the pond, we had our own version of the Vauxhall Signum. The sixth generation Chevrolet Malibu shared It's Epsilon platform with the Vectra C, which spawned the Signum. This gave rise to the 2004-07 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx. The Maxx was an odd, stretched wheelbase Malibu with a hatch in much the same way the Signum was an odd, stretched wheelbase Vectra. Although there were no interchangeable body panels, there are some vague styling similarities between the Signum and the Malibu Maxx. Maybe this is one for the "Cars you didn't know existed" thread?
  18. Simpson Sportique? Looks to have been designed by Homer Simpson!
  19. With the gigantic rubber bumpers, sealed beam headlights and front amber side markers, one could almost assume this was a US-market Corona. Until you notice it's right hand drive. The T130 Corona was sold here from 1979-83. They were fairly popular here, especially as the 1979 fuel crisis accelerated the tidal wave of American families abandoning their petrol-guzzling Detroit Dinosaurs in favour of more efficient and reliable Japanese alternatives. However, like all Japanese cars from this era, you could watch it dissolve away with rust right before your very eyes! In North America, Toyota replaced the Corona with the new front-drive Camry for 1984. Yours looks to be a particularly clean and original example. Almost museum quality, I'd say! It's been decades since I've seen one that wasn't completely rotten due to the aforementioned rust.
  20. Looks like a Rauch & Lang electric car. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rauch_and_Lang
  21. The early 1980s Buick Skylark it was based on on was no beauty, either. Given the overly ornate Felber grille, you'd think they would have kept the obligatory 1980s GM wire wheel hubcaps.
  22. During the 1980s, most Buick Regals were coupes. Saloons and even estates were sporadically available but the coupes were much more popular at the time. By the time the third generation Regal (the one shown above) was introduced in 1988, buyers started shifting away from coupes and towards four door saloons. Available only as a coupe for 1988 and 1989, Buick added a Regal saloon in 1990. The third generation Regal also marked a change to front wheel drive, which did not sit well with older, more traditional customers. Alas, the coupe version of the Regal died when production of the third generation model ended in 1996. the 1997 fourth generation Regal was only available as a saloon and was essentially a more posh version of the Buick Century. FYI, the fifth and sixth generation Buick Regals were rebadged Vauxhall Insignias!
  23. Also sold in the USA as the Pontiac LeMans. However, the Daewoo build quality meant these cars didn't last long on American roads. I'm pretty sure it's been decades since I've last spotted one!
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