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The familiar sound & smell of shite motors


Morgan84

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I was following a red (ish) E plated XR3i tonight,and before I was even close enough to the red lights in the distance,there was a lovely smell of old motor;that lovely slightly oily smell,which only older motors without cats fitted can produce.The old motor wasn't being thrashed at all,and when pulling away didn't leave any plumes either,but it was nice to get that old scent which used to be a daily occurance.

 

Certain cars though have a 'trademark' smell,like the smell of a 90's Rover. What cars can you recognise by certain characteristics,such as sound or scent ? A MK1/2 Fiesta is unmistakable,as is the rasp of a Morris 1000. We have over 30 cars,yet I know almost each car by sound alone !

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Not car specific, but the smell of diesel fumes, hot oil and metal evokes my days in the HGV workshop back in the mid to late 1990s :D

 

My old Vectra always had leaks at the back, bootlid, rear windows and rood joints. All sealed up but the carpet was fooked and if you hadnt been in the car for a few days it always had a funny musty smell, not unpleasant though.

 

A MK3 Volvo Ailsa has a very distinctive sound. The Vioth transmission together with the clackety nasal note of the Volvo TD70 engine. Wonderful!

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Yeah, I know that familiar hot oily smell too, you do get used to it after a few decades... :wink:

As for sound, the Viva HA is distinctive (I used to be a roadsweeper and these were the supervisors' vans; I knew them from several streets away!); Ford V6s have a recognisable tappety growl, the Colognes seeming more overtly aggressive than the Essex; the Volvo 240/740 is individual too,as is the clang of a Jag XK starting up. And then there's the good ole Detroit-built V8. Even Blondie doesn't make such sweet music! :D

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its the whole experience of an old motor which keeps me going, sounds of old motors are unmistakable be it the slight rattle of a pinto cam followers, the squeal of a fan belt on a rainy day and as you say the slightly oil/fuel smell of the emissions

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80s & early 90s fords (in particular Fiesta and Escort) have a certain smell as described above that i always recognise. They also have a certain sound thats familiar as well.

 

My lasting memories of late 80's & 90's rovers was the amount of water that come out the exhaust pipes, possibly due to lack of drain holes to keep the exhaust quiet.

 

I agree Reliant three wheelers have their unique rasp as well.

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Call me a perv if you will but I'm missing the smell of dirty old diesel vans in London since the LEZ. Love the smell of my old Pinto too though I mostly get the fix from various old motorcycles at the minute due to the Cortina being off the road.

 

I still find 2 stroke the most evocative smell (and sound) of all and can't see that ever changing.

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In the Rover 200/400 XW series,you could always tell if it was the Honda lump,or the K-series as soon as it was started;the central locking also had a very distinctive " Clunk ... Errrrr " sound.The same can be said for the central locking on 80's and 90's Fords;very distinctive. With regards to the A-series engines,they do have that lovely slightly oily petrolly scent,which I'm sure if someone could reproduce it as a perfume,or air freshner,would sell !!!. I find newer diesels don't smell the same,and have a almost sweet scent about them,where as the older ones were more pungent;damned catalytic converters and more recently DPF's ruining it for us all !

 

Another favorite of mine is the fumes from a Rolls Royce 6.7 V8 carb model;very rich smelling,you feel like you could be showering in the vapors !

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PSA diesels (proper ones, not HDi shit), Transit Di engines, Vauxhall 8V engines being wellied and old Ford V6 engines all easy to tell from a distance.

 

After having worked at a car auction I could still sit blindfold in some cars without touching anything with my hands and tell you what it was, due to the interior smell.

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I've always found the interiors of 80s VW to smell the same, my Gti certainly smelt like my Ryder, which inturn smelt like my mates 16v.

Also, my Prelude had that 80's (and later) Honda smell inside.

Conversely, escRot had a smell all of its own, hot oil, unburnt fuel and musty dampness. Lovely.

 

For sounds, I can only echo whats already been said, DI transits, mk1/mk2 and xflow powered mk3 Fiestas (but strangely, not xflow powered FWD Escorts)

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The sound of a Triumph 6 cylinder saloon car starting with it's flywheel giving a "dong!" like a church bell.

 

The smell of a car which has been stood, that smell of mildew is something you can never forget...yet somehow it raises the pulse in that you know that no one has started or sat in it for ages.

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When i was a kid I knew 99% of car makes by either looking at them or hearing the engines running. Everything used to be distinctive.

Interiors had their own smell, our cars were generally the smell of vinyl and child vomit as my sister used to get car sick.

Mind you the dog did to but we wont go into that.....

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The rasp of a Morris Minor triggers many happy memories of my dad's - it was a convertible so you could really hear its delightful noises. Bit of an odd one but a whiff of gearbox oil mixed with musty velour makes me think of Mitsubishi Space Wagons as a previous owner had spilt some in the back of one of ours and the smell never went away. A Gardner diesel on startup is something to savour and I really miss the throaty roar of an old fully laden Leyland Leopard.

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After having worked at a car auction I could still sit blindfold in some cars without touching anything with my hands and tell you what it was, due to the interior smell.

 

All Cavaliers have their own smell, it's a kind've plasticy/clothy smell that never goes away even after 20 years.

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