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Arna


forddeliveryboy

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Slag arena, the autocorrect decided. In its world, Saab becomes Satan, Volvos Bimbos. It should know better for those famous Swedish brands, possibly not with the Italian-built, heavily modded Nissan Pulsar which the British importer initially refused.

 

Yes, the Nissan Cherry Europe or Alfa Romeo Arna, the 'rebadged' car intended to help out a struggling old brand, more like rebodied Sud, minus it's back axle. Which motoring journalists described as what should have been Italian flair allied to Japanese dependability but was worse than the opposite, whatever that meant. I've always thought the Japs have shown huge flair and all my Italian cars from the 80s were as reliable as anything German (probably helped they were autoshite when purchased).

 

I only ever drove one once about 15 years ago. It was a low tune version with low mileage and went like stink, cornering as well as they were reported to not do. Back to back with my SudSprint, it was different not inferior, I even slightly preferred its behaviour to later Suds on poorer roads at speed.

 

I still don't know the full facts - was it 33 suspension links given the outboard discs? Yet every 33 I drove never matched the Sud's sweet handling, so perhaps not? Who engineered it, the Italians or Japanese? And how did the Nissan version differ?

 

I'd love one today, but they're apparently a little rare.

 

post-4845-0-56194200-1517695289_thumb.jpg

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Ratdat seems to own most of the Arnas and Cherry Europes left in the UK. I think he's got three of them.

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It is an Alfasud front end, though I'm struggling to recall where the front brakes are. They should be wherever they are on a 'Sud as it is literally a Cherry body and rear suspension with an Alfa subframe, engine and steering column. I found it fantastic to drive - far more engaging than the Cherry also pictured.

 

EDIT - fun fact. Ratdat's Nissan Cherry Europe is the only Nissan to have won an Alfa Romeo concours. It wore Alfa Romeo badges for that...

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It was weird sitting in a Cherry which didn't smell Japanese. The seats (Alfa) were a bit big for the Nissan body, making rear access poor on 3 door models

 

As I mentioned, I remembered the discs being outboard - but could be completely wrong.

 

Have another interior shot, I've always preferred lhd.

 

post-4845-0-89968000-1517698245_thumb.jpg

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I dont know when the Alfasud Sprint went to outboard brakes but it was about then so it could be argued they are sud hardware still!!!

The 33 had a slightly different front suspension which was transferred onto the Sprint in about 1985, generally reckoned not as good as what went before despite being pretty similar.

 

It's very likely the Arna had this, the question being why did it (well, the one I drove) corner more sweetly than any 33 I've driven.

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Saw this one being used as a car and not much else in Palermo a few months back. Probably not worth a great deal in Italy if anyone fancies importing one, that'd be a neat thread, right?

 

Hmm....Palermo. So who'll be the one making an offer the other can't refuse?

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i had an aflasud 1.5Ti as my first car or second car; I inherited it from my mother; my old man having bought it at an auction; I also had a Chrysler avenger- I cant honestly remember which I had first; I used to work in the old man's furniture biz, n instead of paying me at the end of the summer he just bought me a car... I can remember the 'sud not 'lasting long' - rust killed it- it was an 83; it was a real thrill to drive; probably the worst car you can give a beginner driver, as it could get round a corner carrying a lotta speed, n make the young driver feel like a real pro pilot...

 

.... I was aware of the Arna at the time, n saw one on a day trip up to dublin but I never knew the shared actual mechanical bits with any Alfa - I just thought it was a rebadged cheery; which there were thousands of over here at the time - I thought they'd just supplied bits like the sud steering wheels n rear spoilers to be fitted to cherry's...

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But... they've done away with the orange text on everything!

 

That was the thing me as a 7 year old thought was coolest about the Cherry we had (C plate 1.3SGL Maxima) in two tone metallic blue and silver. The handles on the centre console for the rear windows were pretty cool too.

 

I'd love one now... they're rarer than Ladas now though!

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I had 'suds in few flavours, and 33s - still have a mk1 33 today

 

Arna was a real misfit, they were unsaleable new and used, but I still want one. Doubt I'd keep it long though

 

Rear end of the 'sud gave way to the 33 single-beam set up and spoiled things a tad, but I wouldn't say 33 was 'not a patch' on Suds, depends on what you were driving:  My 33 Cloverleaf was a far better drive than my Gold Cloverleaf Sud, due to the spring rates and gearing. Besides, 33 had a longer wheelbase so would drive differently

 

Did you see the 1000€ Arna I posted in the Ebay thread

http://autoshite.com/topic/30703-ebay-tat-volume-3/?p=1410669

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I remember my old primary school teacher Mick Weir having both a Cherry & Cherry Europe at the same time (both bought new), he was a pure shite-ist, as before that he drove a blue Avenger estate, and a Fiat 126, bearing in mind he was 6ft, so seeing him in the 126 was hilarious

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....it was the first car I 'broke for spares' the 'sud; I had decent tyres on it so I sold the rims n tyres to my uncle; the seats I gave to my sister as she n her mate took out a lease on a unfurnished house, as students - sold the extra gauges, but I still have the twin 36DRLA dellorto's to this day, on the shelf on the lock-up; god knows how they've survived many house moves of my folks over the years...

 

....I could never understand Alfa teaming up with Nissan/Datsun for that shape cherry; the body shape was a huge let down in comparison to the previous 'generation which had a coupe, liftyback sporty looking coupe, n 4 door body platform, with different front end grille's style for each.... we also had the 'centra' booted version of the later/ arna era cheery here - those actually looked better than the hatch - they were always sold with some type of big grille badge celebrating 20/30 years of Datsun/Nissan, or a million made or something- memory fails me now what it denoted; it looked like a show'jumping horses rosette in plastic on the front grille...

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Fuck me. An evening in the pub supping assorted rums, a filthy kebab and now an Arna thread.

Arnas were built at the all new Avellino plant and were a Cherry shell built in Italy using some imported panels and used 33 front chassis legs and bastardised 33 inner wings. 33 front suspension and drivetrain, Cherry interior trimmed in Alfa fabrics and Nissan plastics, 33 column, Sud wheel and a mishmash of Nissan and Alfa Electrics. Cherry rear axle and drums. For all that it drove well enough and was NOT that heap various smartarse journos make them out to be.

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The 33 had a different front suspension which was transferred onto the Sprint in about 1985, generally reckoned not a patch on what went before despite being pretty similar.

 

It's very likely the Arna had this, the question being why did it (well, the one I drove) corner more sweetly than any 33 I've driven.

Same front suspension as Sud, just outboard discs. 33’s had no front anti roll bar until later. 33 back axles were tubular beam but with similar location and softer springs and dampers.

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....I could never understand Alfa teaming up with Nissan/Datsun for that shape cherry

 

Political motive - it was Nissan that sought to get a foothold in Europe due to volume import tarifs, etc.  Alfa Romeo were state-owned at the time, were hemorrhaging cash and needed a new body to compete with Golf. The agreement was signed in Oct 1980 in Tokyo, the N10 Pulsar body was current by the time the prototype was signed-off.  The stunt perhaps pulled off, as we have witnessed the success of Nissan in Europe since, and AR survived long enough for the 1985 FIAT buy-out.  In an alternate world, it could easily have been Nissan-ised Talbot Sunbeams or Nissan-ised Maestros instead 

 

 

Late 1984. Sud and 33 boxes don’t interchange either.

 

They can, if you tap the 33 box casing to take the inboard brakes - the casting has the mount points there, but blanked-off.  Short-track racers put the Alfasud 1.2 gearboxes into their 33s, not that it was a strong box to start with

 

 

Same front suspension as Sud, just outboard discs. 33’s had no front anti roll bar until later. 33 back axles were tubular beam but with similar location and softer springs and dampers.

 
Yes - base, Gold Cloverleaf and Giardinetta did not, however Green Cloverleaf had front ARB reinstated in the following June.  The mk 1.5 Cloverleaf 1.7 had a thicker ARB and that was the one to swap-in if dropping the subframe to pull the engine and box out from underneath to do the clutch, as HBOL advised.  How can I remember all this when I can't fathom what happened last weekend.
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