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What Car? Best Company Cars 1991 - Which would you pick?


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Photos taken from a What Car? supplement that dates back to 1991. By using the immense wealth of knowledge that we all posses, which cars would you chose and wish to own today?

My choices are:

Up to 1400cc, under £7k - Proton

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - Citroen BX

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - VW Golf

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - Audi 80

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - BMW 318i

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - Alfa 164

Under 2000cc, under £25k - BMW 525i

Over 2000cc, under £29k - W124 260E (obviously!)

 

 

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They did a 1.4 Cavalier! Bet that was a ball of fire!

I'd have the XM V6, smooth, refined and quick.

The Peugeot 605 must weigh a lot more than the XM, as its 2 seconds slower to 60 with the same drivetrain!

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I think that most of my choices would be different, were this actually 1991! A lot of these choices were because of nostalgia/family links

 

Up to 1400cc, under £7k - Had to think a bit. On balance the Metro just because I have a soft spot

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - Citroen AX GT

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - Renault 19 GTX. Big soft spot for a 19

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - I kind of want the Onion Ghia

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - Montego

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - 190E

Under 2000cc, under £25k - Rover 827

Over 2000cc, under £29k - I'm struggling between the Carlton GSi and the XJ6 4.0. I think it would have to be the XJ6, just

 

Edit to add: This is a great game, Peter C!

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What a great find that magazine is, a complete splaff-fest!

I'm viewing in 'phone-scope', so can't really make everything out but either of the Uno's, AXGT, BMW525i, Citroen BX, Carlton GSi, BMW 730i, Cosworth and Range Rover would be at the top of my list.

I would genuinely be happy with a reasonable example of any of them now though, so nostalgic.

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15 minutes ago, Cento16v said:

They did a 1.4 Cavalier! Bet that was a ball of fire!

Honestly these weren’t bad and certainly never felt as slow as the performance figures suggested. I thought the 1.4 8v engine was surprisingly torquey for what it was and if the car was unladen it was perfectly adequate. The 1.6 and upwards really felt fast and in my experience absolutely destroyed contemporary Fords.

@Cavcraft you must have driven a billion of these things?

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Up to 1400cc, under £7k - Peugeot 205 (Close run thing with Proton)

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - Clio 1.4 RT (Close run thing with BX)

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - Honda Concerto

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - Peugeot 405 (Audi 80 a close second)

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - Toyota Carina

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - Citroen XM (190e strong value!)

Under 2000cc, under £25k - Jaaaaaaaaag

Over 2000cc, under £29k - W124 260E

Enjoyed that! Cheers for uploading.

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Obviously the 525, just head and shoulders above the competition at the time. 

The vauxhalls of the era were always a step above the Ford "equivalent".  A 1.3/1.4 vx was a match for a Ford 1.6, the 1.6 vx embarrassed 2 litre Ford's. 

The BX reminded me of a colleague at the time who had a flat red new one in 1991.  A horrible, slow, ugly thing.  His choice, as he made every three years, was to call up Arnold Clark leasing and ask what the cheapest 5 door lease car he could have. 

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My choices are:

Up to 1400cc, under £7k - Polo

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - Citroen BX

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - Citroen BX

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - Citroen BX + Automatic

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - Citroen BX + Automatic

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - Audi 100

Under 2000cc, under £25k - Citroen XM + Automatic

Over 2000cc, under £29k - BMW 730

Last time I had a company car, I chose a BX! 

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Great post!  Oddly enough I had to choose a company car in late 1990 - I went with a Rover 214GSi which had an insane list price of something like £12k.  But not before I tried quite a few of the cars in the article.  And the thing about company cars was that some other bu**er paid the bills and they went back after a couple of years or 40-50k miles.

1.4 7k - Pug 205 

1.4 9k - Citroen BX

1.8 10k - Fiat Tipo (mmmm, digital dash....)

1.8 10k+ - Renault 21

2l 15k - Toyota Carina

2l 10.5k - Citroen XM

2l 25k Saab 9000

2l+ 29k - Jag XK6 

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For me:

Up to 1400cc, under £7k - Citroen AX

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - Citroen BX

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - Vauxhall Cavalier

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - Citroen BX

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - Montego

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - Citroen XM

Over 2000cc, under £25k - BMW 525i

Over 2000cc, under £29k - CARLTON GSi

Above are my choices now, in 1991 it would have been Ford and Jaguar where possible. 

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2 hours ago, Ian_Fearn said:

Honestly these weren’t bad and certainly never felt as slow as the performance figures suggested. I thought the 1.4 8v engine was surprisingly torquey for what it was and if the car was unladen it was perfectly adequate. The 1.6 and upwards really felt fast and in my experience absolutely destroyed contemporary Fords.

@Cavcraft you must have driven a billion of these things?

Just one! Briefly owned it about 4 or so years ago and sold it to a mate. Iirc it turned out to be the last carb'd one in the road 

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Up to 1400cc, under £7k - Polo breadvan 

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - later Polo breadvan 

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - Golf Driver

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - Audi 80

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - Passat

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - Granada Ghia

Under 2000cc, under £25k - same as above

Over 2000cc, under £29k - Volvo 940 turbo.

 

None of these let me chose the Sierra Cosworth!

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What a great idea! Was this something What car did often? It could be fun to look at different years as well. It’s also interesting to see how cars compared price wise when they were new; it’s surprising to me how big the gap between some cars and their competition is.

My choices:

Up to 1400cc, under £7k - 205, but it was a tough call between that and the Metro

Up to 1400xcc, under £9k - AX GT

Up to 1800cc, under £10k - Concerto

Up to 1800cc, over £10k - Sierra, but only just. The Rover 416 is a close second

Up to 2000cc, under £15k - Cavalier SRI (I couldn’t see the BMW on this one - is there a page missing?)

Up to 2000cc, under £19.25k - Alfa 164

Over 2000cc, under £25k - 525i

Over 2000cc, under £29k - Sierra Cosworth (whether other not I’d choose this if it was still 1991 is probably another matter, though)

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4 hours ago, Cento16v said:

They did a 1.4 Cavalier! Bet that was a ball of fire!

Probably not too bad with a 75 bhp engine. I think one or two on here have experience a 1.4 Cav. Although a mandatory catalytic converter would have turned it into a sloth. Vauxhall probably had the common sense to drop that engine at that point.

I would have had that issue of What Car? magazine. They liked their supplements back then. 

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3 hours ago, The Mighty Quinn said:

Fiat Uno 45. Such an enjoyable, fizzy thing to drive.

999 ccm FIRE was great in Mk1, but it seemed weak/unresponsive in Mk2. Dunno why, maybe because my Mk1 45 still had a proper carb (after all those years, I still remember its type - Weber 32TLF 😁), while my 45 Mk2 already had SPI. Or it may be that Mk2 was simply heavier.

Anyway, Mk2 60 with 1108 ccm FIRE I had as my third Uno was, again, nicely nippy.

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I'm surprised that review doesn't mention just how comfy the Scorpio 2.9i would have been. I remember driving one at the time and not wanting to get out of it at my destination.  I also don't remember the 2.9 being especially coarse or noisy - it was way better than the 2.8 that preceded it.   

The E34 5 series was probably a better car overall, but some of the seats they used to fit in BMWs of that era were like sitting on a park bench.

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37 minutes ago, Cento16v said:

My dad's 1995 2.0 16v SRi one wasn't that quick, which I why I couldn't believe they did a 1.4 8v!

Maybe it depends what you were used to 😂

 

It was only the 16v red tops that went like stink, not the later Ecotec.

The 1.4 Mk3 Cavalier went just fine.

I drove a 1.3 MK2 Astra Merit, plain Jane dark blue with the paint going milky and it was so fast I had the service manage check it was really only a 1.3!

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39 minutes ago, Six-cylinder said:

It was only the 16v red tops that went like stink, not the later Ecotec.

The 1.4 Mk3 Cavalier went just fine.

I drove a 1.3 MK2 Astra Merit, plain Jane dark blue with the paint going milky and it was so fast I had the service manage check it was really only a 1.3!

16v redtop were bloody brilliant. I loved the soundtrack of mine housed in a mk3 Cavalier GSi shell.

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16 minutes ago, Dick Longbridge said:

16v redtop were bloody brilliant. I loved the soundtrack of mine housed in a mk3 Cavalier GSi shell.

I loved my company Calibra 16v red top, book said 150 bhp and it felt like 170 bhp.

I started at the Vauxhall dealer when we still had a MK2 Astra 16v on the road, that was a mad car. The engine completely overwhelmed the chassis. 

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5 hours ago, Ian_Fearn said:

Honestly these weren’t bad and certainly never felt as slow as the performance figures suggested. I thought the 1.4 8v engine was surprisingly torquey for what it was and if the car was unladen it was perfectly adequate. The 1.6 and upwards really felt fast and in my experience absolutely destroyed contemporary Fords.

@Cavcraft you must have driven a billion of these things?

Can't argue with that, vauxhall made some great engines back then, loads of bhp per litre compared to the asthmatic ford's (and I'm a big Ford fan). 

 

 

However in the spirit of the thread :

1.proton

2.ax gt

3.tipo

4.orion

5.torn between alfa and 605 but I'll say alfa

6.saab

7.cossie

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26 minutes ago, Six-cylinder said:

I loved my company Calibra 16v red top, book said 150 bhp and it felt like 170 bhp.

I started at the Vauxhall dealer when we still had a MK2 Astra 16v on the road, that was a mad car. The engine completely overwhelmed the chassis. 

Torque steer galore? The Cavalier was prone if provoked. It had a habit of chomping front tyres too. I'd love another, or Astra.

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The company I worked at in 1991, had a list of cars for each management grade, but you could choose a lesser car and add options to the value of your grade.

This led to some odd spec cars , usually chosen by someone intending to buy the car after 3 years/60k miles . As the options were worth bugger all at disposal time. I remember one guy having a BX GTi with alloys, leather and aircon  instead of a 2.0 GL Carlton/ Granada, the only BX I’ve ever seen with aircon.

Me ?  I had a  BXTZi estate, that was a hand me down from the Heinz baby food poisoner, Rod somebody or other, when he was sacked and jailed. He worked at our company as security manager, an ex copper.  Something Argos managed to keep  out of the press. He specced a great company car , anyway. Although I was always expecting a tug as he used it during his crimes .

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3 hours ago, Cento16v said:

My dad's 1995 2.0 16v SRi one wasn't that quick, which I why I couldn't believe they did a 1.4 8v!

Maybe it depends what you were used to 😂

 

If the ecotec 16v was your benchmark then I totally get why you’d think that! I had the 2.0 16v ecotec Cavalier (not the red top) and it was about as average as average gets. I was so disappointed with it after my 8v experiences. Give me a 2.0 8v or even a 1.6 8v anyday.

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