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Automotive Diversity


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Recent comments about Lancia Fulvias on another thread set my head thinking about how diversity in family cars has declined steadily over the last 40 plus years, and is set to plunge further as we rush headlong into an electrified future. Such are the small differences between manufacturers now that the main point of difference seems to revolve around the infotainment system.

Casting my mind back to childhood, and the period from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's feels like the richest period for diversity. Yes there was stodge and dross, step forward the Wolseley 1500, but there were also cars of real difference and interest. From my extended family's back catalogue there was, amongst others:

Hillman Imp Californian

Fiat 128 Rallye

Lancia Fulvia Berlina

Mazda RX-3

Alfasud

Saab 95

Alfa Romeo Alfetta (according to my Uncle the best handling car he has ever driven)

BMW 1602, and 2002 Touring (the 3 door one)

Austin Maxi

All this and the ubiquitous Mini, Austin 1100, Ford Cortinas and Escorts. Yes, many had their flaws; both rust and unreliability, but they were genuinely different from each other. 

I think that for any of us, if were placed blindfold in the passenger seat of a Focus/Golf/Civic/whatever we would be hard pressed to discern a difference when driven along. Is it any surprise that teenagers show little interest in cars except as basic mobility?

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You are not wrong. I find modern cars duller than a grey thing on an overcast day in January. There is no doubt they do their thing very well and for a family mover they are the best choice. But would I have a new sports car over a classic, no. Would I have a new small run around over a mk2 Golf, not if I could get away with it I wouldn't.

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Maybe it was because there were more independent manufacturers, less focus on safety so more scope for design and cars were simpler and so easier to have a different point of view and execution? (That's a big sentence: not sure if it makes sense to even me...:wacko:)

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44 minutes ago, Dr Rock said:

Maybe it was because there were more independent manufacturers, less focus on safety so more scope for design and cars were simpler and so easier to have a different point of view and execution? (That's a big sentence: not sure if it makes sense to even me...:wacko:)

Makes perfect sense and probably very true.

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Conform or you will be assimilated................................................................!

Modern cars a technically brilliant, safe, economical, etc etc, but with a few exceptions, they all seem to lack character and soul - Perhaps its just an age thing......................now where did I put my pipe and slippers

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For those of us of  a certain age, how about adding your memorables from that timeframe? As you can tell from our family list, there was quite an Italian bias, but French cars were a no-no.

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In no particular order as I can't remember dates: 

Wolseley 6/90

Hillman Imp

Hillman Hunter

Mark 2 Cortina Estate

Mark 3 Cortina GXL

Mark 1 Transit van

Rover P5 3 litre Saloon

Rover P5 3.5 Coupe

Mark 3 3.1 Capri

Mini 1000

Mini Estate

BMW E28 528i with M Spec interior and suspension

Renault 5 TL

Peugeot 205 diesel

Citroen CX

Fiat 126

Mini Metro

Smart ForTwo

BMW E30 318is

BMW E46 318i

Saab 93 Turbo LPT

Saab 93 Turbo Hot

Porsche 911.3.2

Porsche Boxster 3.2 S

Porsche Boxster 3.4 S

Rover 600

Honda CRV mark 2

Honda CRV mark 3

Suzuki Vitara CZ5 all grip

Merc SLK 350

Mini Cooper S R57 convertible

Mazda MK5 mark 3

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My father actually liked his cars but with three kids money was really tight so he had a series of 'just past bangers'.

The Austin Big 7 (GR5949) was the car I decided to step out of when it was driving along when I was about 3 - no seatbelts or kiddie seats then! We graduated to a Fiat 1100 which took us to Cornwall on family holidays - we did all go on the bus from a campsite into the nearest town to get a distributor part at some stage - an adventure as a kid but dad was stressed a bit. Graduated to a Ford Corsair (XGR86) in white with a red interior which the back street garage cleaned with petrol before sale so it always stunk of the stuff. Vauxhall Victor followed (the coke bottle one) then he bought a NEW Mazda 1300 in 1971 for £908! Great car in its day and it was the first car I had the chance of driving on the road. He then went through three Honda Accord's - all new - a 1976 blue one, A 1978 red one and then a 1980 blue one - we were off his hands by then so he has some more cash! He followed these up with a Volvo 340 which we ribbed him about mercilessly until he changed it for a white E30 BMW 318i. He then had a Saab 900, A Honda CRX, and a Jaguar X type, flirted with rebuilding a Sunbeam Alpine and had just bought himself an MX 5 when he passed away.

I've probably forgotten something but it's good to remember. If he was alive today I'd try and buy him the Morgan he lusted after all his life!

Edited by Roy M
Grammar
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My Dad’s cars:

1960 Red MGA
1962 Red MGA Twin Cam Roadster

1965 Green Hillman Minx (from Grandad when he stopped driving)

1971 Blue Mk1 Escort

Irish beige Hillman Avenger (hockey stick taillights)

 

1976 Blue Chrysler Avenger

1977 Brown Austin Princess

1980 White Mk1 Fiesta 1.0

1973 Orange MGB Roadster when he retired: couldn’t afford another MGA :rolleyes:

1998 Dark Green Fiesta

Mum had:

’71 pale blue Beetle

’72 red Beetle

’66 red Beetle

’65 blue Beetle

2000 Polo

2012 Hyundai i10

Edited by Dr Rock
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My Dad had lots of cars around as he was a photographer for Ford , they weren’t always Fords either .. my greatest memory is me standing out the sunroof of his Granada 2.8i sport estate swearing my head off thinking he couldn’t hear .. he could 

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In the late '70s, my group of mates (so not family cars): Sunbeam Alpine, Mk 1 Capri, Morris Minor (with a supercharged A-Series engine), 1600 Beetle, Bond Bug, Ford Pop (with 2.0 Pinto engine), and two of us with Mk1 Escorts.  Diverse indeed.

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I've had company cars for the last decade or so and have always struggled to find something decent.  My current daily workshorse is a Golf GTD.  It was essential that it had a manual box, as I still dread the complete lack of engagement an auto gives you.  The Golf is brilliant, economical, pretty nippy for overtaking, comfy with the DCC suspension pack and a great stereo.  However, it completely lack all form of soul. 

In terms of cars i've bought and owned personally, they've all had soul and driver feedback.  I don't regret buying any of them and wish I was rich enough to never let them go. In order of ownership:

S1 Peugeot 106 Rallye

Mk1 Mazda MX5

Toyota Starlet GT Turbo

Nissan 200sx (S13)

Nissan 180sx

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera (still own)

Mk3 Mazda MX5 (still own)

Ford Escort RS Cosworth BIG turbo (still own)

 

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lol Petrolheads always remember the old mans cars!  I even remember some of the reg plates.  I would get mega excited when Dad was getting a new car, although he wasn't really into cars he did sometime go a bit left field.  Oddly my children aren't bother whatsoever, I collected a new car yesterday and neither of them were particularly bothered.

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I'm liking this thread. For my birthday my other half had commissioned a painting of cars I have owned in the past. Excluding the numerous BMW's, Lancia, Peugeot, Golf's etc. etc.

So I narrowed down the selection to just 7 cars, my first car upto the CS I still own.

IMG_6165.jpg

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1 hour ago, Nige said:

lol Petrolheads always remember the old mans cars!  I even remember some of the reg plates.  I would get mega excited when Dad was getting a new car, although he wasn't really into cars he did sometime go a bit left field.  Oddly my children aren't bother whatsoever, I collected a new car yesterday and neither of them were particularly bothered.

Exactly the same here. Wonder if that is partly to do with our children’s friends getting new pcp cars, and really just treating them as simply consumer items (same with phones, TVs, games consoles, etc.)?

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My father was a dedicated Ford man so when growing up a string of Consuls,Cortinas of various types,Granada and then he bought a Rover 2000TC which he loved..then went 3500 SD1 which he hated so back to the Fords.

i had the usual succession of heaps held together with filler and wire..Minis,Cortinas etc. Then Company cars where I had no choice what I had..Allegro 1300 , Fiestas  and Mk 2 Escorts, then a Cortina MK 4 GL.At 29 I started my own business and had choice..VW Scirocco Gti (2) XR3i,Porsche 944 and then Kids and practicality so had XR4x4, Mitsubishi Shogun, Mercedes 280 Sport. Jaguar SType, and then BMW X5’s 4 of those so I liked them obviously . the 911,s came onto the scene in 2002, always as my fun car and on second one of those now. At the end of 2018 my X6M50d developed a turbo fault which took BMW 3 months to fix, during which time they gave me am M140i shadow edition.. As modern cars go it’s an unbelievably fun car to drive.RWD 340bhp, 0-60 in 4.5 seconds....I was sad to give it back and though I still have the X6 now, last November I bought an M140i.

since then I’ve upgraded the suspension, fitted an LSD and underbody brace, flashed the ZF 8 speed auto box, and gone stage 1 tune map so now 380bhp. Its fun again in a modern car ..as quick as an M2 competition, more comfortable more practical and not a wallet buster either.  Plan is to track it later this year. 

 

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My dad had a succession of crap cars in various states of disrepair as there was nothing like an MOT test where we lived, what the rust didn't eat, or the heat would perish, the termites would finish off...

Mini 1000, written off by a drunk in a Mercury Cougar 🤕 

Mk2 Cortina Estate, we had a tree growing in the drivers foot well until my mum accidentally trod on and killed it 😪

VW Beetle, I fell through the floor, stood up to push the front seat forward, next thing I'm stood on the road, bodge repair done but we never let our dog lie down on the floor again 😲

Best car was a Mk2 Jaguar, impulse purchase, sold on quickly for a profit 😎

First UK car was a poverty spec. Renault 9 I learnt to drive in, often had a bollocking for driving too fast on my own, could never work out how he knew until he told me about his wellies for farm visits he kept in a cardboard box in the boot. When he drove, the box never tipped over, when I drove, the wellies and box were scattered all round the boot 🤣

Only car of my dad's I'd love to own was a brand new Clio 182 he bought in his sixties as he always wanted to own a Mini Cooper, all the rest were hateful, examples of motoring diversity and best forgotten

 

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