Greetings true connoisseurs of classic cars 1980

Ferrari F40

 

Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40

As legend has it, the creation of the car was preceded by the phrase "Let's do something special to celebrate next year the way we've done it before." The reasons were twofold. Firstly, Enzo Anselmo Maria Ferrari himself was, to put it mildly, at a respectable age - on February 18, 1988, he was to turn ninety. At the origins of motorsport: Enzo Ferrari first appeared as a racing driver in 1919!

Secondly, his company was to turn forty. Yes, the number is not a favorite for many people, but given Ferrari's age, he might not have lived to see Ferrarri's fiftieth birthday. Secondly, forty years is still a great number to celebrate. Especially in the mid-eighties, when you can respond in this way to the Germans with their Porsche 959 or their fellow countrymen from Lamborghini, who had Countach. The main goal of the Commendatore was the 959 - the new Ferrari model had to become faster than Porsche. Or the fastest in the world.

Back in 1984, Nicola Materazzi proposed to Enzo Ferrari to use the engine from the group's rally car in "civilian" supercars. Since Enzo no longer controlled the manufacturing part of the process in the business, Materazzi had to get permission for such a project from CEO Eugenio Alzati. The answer was positive, but only on the condition that the work would be done outside of working hours from Monday to Friday. Thus, a very small team developed the GTO Evoluzione on Saturdays.

Initially, the 288 GTO with its distinctive prefix was developed specifically for the new "Group B" series of races, participation in which implied the fulfillment of the so-called homologation - that is, the production of at least two hundred copies intended for use on public roads. However, after the Lancia Delta S4 crew consisting of driver Henri Toivonen and his navigator Sergio Cresta died as a result of an accident on Tour de Corse Rally, the International Automobile Federation FISA (now FIA) abolished the class B, and as a result dozens of formidable monsters were left out of business. This included the 288 GTO Evoluzione, five examples of which were built but never took part in any stage of the rally due to its closure.

For Ferrari, it meant the loss of an opportunity to win back and remind of themselves against the background of the Germans' achievements. After all, earlier it was the Porsche 959 that took away the title of the fastest car in this class from the "ordinary" 288 GTO, as it was able to overcome the threshold of 319 km/h, accelerating to the first hundred in 3.7 seconds. And that was only slightly faster than Ferrari's 305 km/h and 4.1 s/100 km/h respectively. But nevertheless it was faster, and after the cherished three hundred every kilometer had almost sacred meaning - as well as every tenth of a second.

Therefore, on the slope of years Enzo set his engineers a task: to make the best car in the world again as if it was happening for the first time. And at the presentation of the model, marketing director Giovanni Perfetti, after the words of Commendatore that "the best car in the world should be here", added that "the F40 will be designed for true enthusiasts who need nothing but pure performance". After all, some customers even claimed that the company's cars had become too "plush" and sport had been sacrificed in favor of comfort. Oh, in the last years of his life, Enzo decided to return to his roots - and in this he was helped by the enthusiasts who worked for him.

After all, firstly, there was something to return - in the memory of Ferrari and millions of fans of the brand were alive sporting successes of the brand, which, however, in the eighties it did not shine in the same Formula 1. Secondly, the notorious Germans with their "nine hundred and fifty-ninth" well spoiled the mood of the great old man at least by the fact that their motor was five tens of horses more powerful, which provided superiority in dynamic performance.

The desire to regain the title of the fastest was irresistibly strong, dominant. Ferrari cars were often reproached for sloppy assembly or uneven gaps - but this time such criteria were practically not taken into account, because the car was built for and around its majesty of speed. To be more exact, for the sake of revival of greatness of the brand itself. In this Ferrari himself saw the role and task of "Effe-Quaranta", as the name of the model sounds in Italian.

By the way, the name was suggested by Gino Rancati, a friend of Enzo. When asked by general manager Razelli what he would call the new model, Rancati replied that "since forty years have passed since the first Ferrari car was released, and the priority market for the brand is the United States, an English name like Ferrari Forty would sound good". As a reward for his brilliant creativity, Rancati received a silver plaque that read, "Gino Rancati for a brilliant idea" to the right of the galloping stallion.

Since the main goal of the new car was to achieve maximum speed, the development began not with engine power, but with aerodynamics and weight. The body design, based on the "professional athlete" of the B 288 GTO Evoluzione, was rethought by the engineers with the participation of designers from the Pininfarina atelier.

In order to reduce weight, Kevlar, carbon and aluminum were widely used in the construction of the space frame, which was a real technological innovation for that time. Windshields and side windows were made of Plexiglas, and "optional" interior details were decided not to be installed at all. Everything for speed, everything for victory.

The body was initially drawn so as to provide the car with maximum streamlining with reliable stability at high speeds. Maximum flat front end, low center of gravity, huge antifender at the back - the car looked like it was specially created for posters and posters, on which it was then painted at least the whole next decade. The drag coefficient Cx was only 0.34 - a very good figure for such a wide body and huge wing.

But everything was in order with the power of the novelty. With not the largest working volume of 2.9 liters V-shaped "eight" thanks to the double turbocharger of the Japanese manufacturer IHI with increased pressure developed mind-boggling 478 hp and 577 Nm, spinning up to 7000 rpm. The weight of the car was only 1100 kg - that is, "space" technology, already tested in Formula 1, worked in this case. And till 1990 Italians managed to do without catalytic converters, and only new ecological requirements forced them to put a "platinum cord" on the throat of their demonic V8.

It is possible to add twin triangular levers on both axles, and also super sensitive steering rack without GUR, with which on sharpness could argue only Lotus Elan. In fact, we are talking about Ferrari GTO Evoluzione in a different body, that is, the soul of the rally monster was simply transplanted into an even more beautiful body. Most likely, Maranello has carefully read the 1985 book by German playwright Patrick Suskind "Perfumer. The Story of One Murderer", after which they used the forbidden recipe for the preparation of "the fragrance of absolute beauty".

And they were trying to resist a truly "supercar" - the Porsche 959 with its electronically controlled active suspension, all-wheel drive transmission with torque distribution "on demand" and other electronic tricks. Ferrari simply did not have such innovations, but they had Enzo and his team, as well as no less high racing technologies taken directly from Formula 1 and Group B rallies. For example, Pirelli's 245/40 ZR 17 tires at the front and 335/35 ZR 17 tires at the rear, specially designed for the F40 by Ferrari. Using its experience in Formula 1 between 1980 and 1985 and using Kevlar as a carcass, Pirelli developed an asymmetrical tread pattern that would allow the supercar to handle and be predictable at speeds familiar only in the world of professional racing.

Therefore, at the presentation of the F40, its creators could call this car the fastest in the world with peace of mind and a pure heart. After all, it was this model that overcame the mark of 320 km/h - a figure unattainable and unthinkable for serial road cars of those years.

And 323 km/h "maximum" - not everything, because up to the first hundred scarlet body color Rosso Corsa accelerated in only 3.5-3.7 seconds, and to reach the figure of 200 on the speedometer required only 11.5 seconds. Perhaps, no one really could overpower these achievements of Enzo and his team at that time.

Thus declared almost 20 liters of gasoline consumption per hundred in the city and about 14 on the highway nobody really worried, because a pair of fuel tanks with total volume of 120 liters had to provide the supercar with sufficient range.

During the test, measurements of the American magazine Car and Driver showed that up to 60 mph in real tests this Ferrari accelerated in 4.2 seconds, 100 mph it took for 8.3 seconds, and "quater" passed in 12.1 seconds and showed 196 km / h at the finish line. The top speed was 317 km/h.

The Ferrari company initially estimated its treasure in 400 000 dollars - the amount at that time is almost prohibitive even for such a car. However, it turned out that even at such a cost the demand for F40 significantly exceeded the supply and plans of Italians to produce only 400 copies, because in the end they had to make and sell 1315 cars. It should be noted that the cars were deprived not only of such elements of luxury and comfort, as power windows or full-fledged windshields, but also of interior upholstery, noise and vibration insulation, as well as door handles.

Moreover, "Fortieth" was deprived of such "secondary" elements of design as power steering and brakes, not to mention ABS. In a word, it is easier to list what F40 had - strong, beautiful, streamlined and light body, and also compact, but powerful motor.

In fact, these two components of racing success worked always and everywhere - both in big professional motorsport, and on the unlimited German autobahn, where the "galloping stallion" could show his big spoiler to anyone willing to compete with him in speed. On a flat road, it is an astonishingly fast car, demanding but not too difficult to drive. It has solid grip and a fine balance of handling and good manners.

However, the halo of greatness of this model was certainly connected with the charisma of Enzo himself, who even at the end of his life remained the same great Ferrari. Besides, the "40th" really turned out to be fantastically beautiful - very clean externally, not overloaded with unnecessary secondary elements, but at the same time quite brutal, aggressive and yet graceful. The Ferrari - Pininfarina combination with the personal participation of Pietro Camardella shot especially well this time. And if we remember Henry Ford's opinion that 80% of the beauty of a car is connected with its wheels, then in the case of F40 the multi-tire rims of O.Z. Racing increased its appeal. Racing wheels increased the appeal of its appearance at least 40 times.

Ferrari F40 was produced for quite a long time - from 1987 to 1992, and in our time for copies "in preservation" (are there others?) sometimes ask up to 1.5 million dollars. However, this is not the limit: for "time capsules" with mileage from three to fifteen thousand kilometers at auctions like Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby's last year gave almost four million (!) dollars for each.

Yes, this car turned out to be not only a great gift for the anniversary, but also a successful project of Enzo from all points of view - both as a preservation of the historical heritage of the brand, embodied in Kevlar, carbon and aluminum, and as a profitable investment. If, of course, someone had an extra 400 thousand dollars 30-35 years ago.

 

Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari Testarossa

If you stop a person on the street and ask them to name a Ferrari model, they will most likely answer, "Testarossa". The Testarossa is one of Ferrari's most famous road-going models. It immediately became a bestseller, and during production it underwent two facelifts, resulting in the 512TR and 512M modifications. This model, which replaced the "BB-512" from 1984, was named after the famous sports car of the 50s. It successfully combined the inimitable style of "Ferrari" and modern design and engineering solutions. Distinctive features of the external form are horizontal side ribs, which as if give the direction of cooling air to the radiators, built into the rear part of the body. The front grille, on the other hand, provides air flow only to the passenger compartment air conditioner and for cooling the front brake disks.

Thanks to the central location of the radiator in the Testarossa model, the frontal area was reduced and the usable volume for passengers and luggage was increased. Compared to the BB-512, the Testarossa is 71 kg lighter. The body, with the exception of the steel doors, is made of aluminum alloys designed by Leopoldo Fioravanti of Pininfarina. As on the "BB-512", here was used a 12-cylinder opposition engine, but with four valves on each cylinder and four overhead camshafts, which provided the car with acceleration from a place to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds. By the time of its introduction, the Testarossa was the fastest car in the world, and was received by the public and the press with great enthusiasm. Over 7,000 cars were sold during the years of its production.

This model traces its lineage back to the 365 GT4 BB of 1973. For the first time it was equipped with a compact 12-cylinder opposition engine. Ferrari solved the problem of layout and achieved better aerodynamic performance, so the "recumbent" engine was very useful - it helped to lower the hood and reduce the cross-sectional area. Ferrari 365 is the first production model, which the famous Italian company equipped with an opposition engine, before that the power unit of this design was used only on the racing car in 1964. In 1976, the 365 was replaced by the BB 512 model, and in 1984 the "i" letter was added to the index: the engine was equipped with fuel injection instead of carburetors. Testarossa became its direct successor. The name came from the 50's - this was the name of the famous racing car of "Grand Tourismo" class - Ferrari 250 TRS model. On its account a number of loud victories, including in Le Mans in 1958.

The cylinder heads of its engine were painted in the traditional color of Italian racers. However, let's return to the last "Red Head". Why this particular car is so often remembered, although a lot of time has passed? Apparently, it became an important stage in the history of the company. Indeed, unlike the 512, the 12-cylinder motor received four valves per cylinder, a new injection system, a lightened cylinder block, but this is not the main thing. Testarossa became one of the most memorable Ferrari models due to its characteristic appearance. The two-door body was created at Leo Fioravanti's Pininfarina.

Like the overwhelming majority of successful design decisions, the key element of Testarossa style - the famous "barred" sides (for the first time something similar we saw on the Mondial model in 1980) appeared not just for beauty, but were quite justified by the design. Massive sidewall hides radiators, and longitudinal strips are a kind of protective and reinforcing grille for their air intakes. Because of them, the car became wider by 127 mm, but in this way it was possible to successfully direct the air flow. Having passed through the radiators, it comes out from the back up behind the driver's compartment - here at speed a rarefaction zone is formed. In the body parts of Testarossa widely used such material as Kevlar, which had just appeared and was insanely expensive (however, even today it is not cheap).

Opposite 12-cylinder Ferrari engine developed 400 hp at 6300 rpm. Power unit Testarossa 400-horsepower 48-valve, is made according to the standard scheme of a supercar - with a dry sump. Transmission is a mechanical five-speed. The whole structure was mounted on a powerful welded subframe, as a result of which the rigidity of the body was preserved. Four camshafts were driven by toothed belts, and above them rose two huge "pipes" of the intake system, painted in red, with the inscription "Ferrari Testarossa". For all mid-engined cars, the difficulty has always been the placement of the exhaust system. To quiet the "roar" of a powerful engine, Ferrari specialists had to squeeze three "cans" of mufflers between the engine and the rear body panel. Therefore, the total length of the exhaust system turned out to be much less than on the cars of the classic layout. The howl of the "Red Head" was heard before it appeared in front of your eyes.

The suspension is made on a double wishbone scheme with the use of a pair of shock absorbers on each wheel. It is known that when approving the final version, the designers did not dare to leave the received settings for a long time, because they seemed too extreme. By the way, later the German company "Koenig" was not afraid to go further and create on the basis of Testa-rossa a monster with almost "formula" suspension and aggressive design. Having woken up from hypnosis of "Ferrari" technical delights, it is worth to transfer to the interior of Testarossa, more precisely to the cramped two-seater cockpit, which, however, cannot be denied in refinement.

The second variant differed mainly in the central part: square holes for air supply better fit into the general style. In the enlarged console there were compartments-shelves for small things. That seats have anatomic profile and are covered with the best leather, it is possible to guess at the first mention of the brand of automobile. Seating at the wheel, piloting comfort - this has always been the main task of interior designers. Accuracy of fitting of seats was provided by electric drives built into their frame. Even today, in "serious" cars it is extremely rare to find longitudinal adjustment of the seat cushion separately from the backrest or servo drive of the hamstring.

Due to problems with the layout of gearshift drives, the handbrake lever, as in many sports models, is located at the driver's door. Having made yourself comfortable, you can also take hold of the steering wheel with the invariable stallion on the hub. The already mentioned tightness helped the owner to "grow in" faster with the car's organism, otherwise how to control this lump of energy, striving to get free from the taming hand by all means?

When they talk about Ferrari style, it is Testarossa that most often corresponds to this idea. It is perhaps one of the most classic Ferraris. Simple, even a little archaic, according to today's ideas, instrument panel (speedometer, graduated up to 320 km/h, and tachometer - up to 10 000 rpm), gear lever, moving along the open slots, and the famous side mirrors on openwork legs - all these old-fashioned elements are recently more and more often found on AVtomobiles of other companies: this fashion, perhaps, is based on the fact that each of them wants to be a little "Ferrari". Testarossa was produced unchanged for eight years. In 1992 it was renamed the 512 TR, although the car, except for a few details, remained the same.

Testarossa was popular. It is worth noting that in 1986, production reached 17 units per week - for a supercar costing 250 thousand dollars it was almost a record. To the delight of Ferrari connoisseurs 7183 copies of Testarossa were produced, and despite the newest models of the company, this car will make you turn around and admire and listen to the lulling song of the best Italian baritone.

 

Jaguar XJ-S

Jaguar XJ-S

In the mid-1970s of the last century, Jaguar Cars went through black days. The company's management was stripped of its management powers and even nominally the company ceased to exist. The new owner, British Leyland Motor Corporation, prudently retained the Jaguar brand name and the ornamental powers of some of the former Jaguar Cars management. However, British Leyland was doing so badly that the Labor government decided to nationalize the corporation.

The former management resigned, a crisis manager was appointed and a different life began for the Jaguar brand. The need to develop a new car to replace the much-loved Jaguar E-Type was recognized by British Leyland management and engineers, and by September 1975 the new Jaguar XJ-S appeared. Work on the XJ27, later to be called the XJ-S, began as early as 1969. To replace the Jaguar E-Type, a bit outdated and tired, but loved and adored by all, was incredibly difficult. The public's cool and even indifferent attitude to the new Jaguar was evident, and the press met the XJ-S with a hostile reception.

The Jaguar XJ-S was designed by Malcolm Sayer, but for the first time it was styled without William Lyons. Sir William had an innate sense of style and thanks to it he was able to capture the tastes of the public without fail and this determined the success of most Jaguar models. This is probably one of the reasons why the Jaguar XJ-S didn't make a very successful debut.

Few appreciated the gracefully beveled rear pillars that enhanced the aerodynamics of the XJ-S. They did not suit the tastes of most Jaguar fans. The Jaguar XJ-S is perhaps M. Sayer's most original creation. The XJ-S was unlike its predecessors, but it was also unlike any of the cars contemporary to it. The Jaguar XJ-S stood out, drew attention to itself, it left neither admirers nor opponents indifferent. Despite the fact that the interior of Jaguar XJ-S lost its former luxury, the car turned out to be beautiful and stylish. Only a few years will pass and Jaguar XJ-S will turn from an ugly duckling into a swan and will become a universal favorite. But this is another story.

In the spring of 1980, production of the Jaguar XJ-S was stopped. The reason - the demand for the car, which ate 20 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers of travel, tended to zero. Fans and loyal fans of Jaguar cars were not poor people, but few people owned an oil company. Only being the owner of an oil company could feed the new XJ-S. From 1975 to 1980, only 16,000 Jaguar XJ-S cars were produced - a kind of sales record.

A year of hard work was not in vain. By early 1981, the Jaguar XJ-S had reduced fuel consumption from 20 liters to a slightly more reasonable 18 liters per 100 km. The engine remained the same - V12 with electronic fuel injection with an output of 285 hp, but the interior became different. Instead of plastic and vinyl there were wood (dashboard) and leather.

However, the growth of Jaguar XJ-S sales began only in 1983, when a model with a 3.6 liter AJ6 inline aluminum engine with an output of 221 hp was introduced. Combined with a price of £20k, fuel consumption of 15 liters per 100 km and a choice of manual or automatic transmission, the Jaguar XJ-S began to be bought.

In 1985, the so-called XJ-S Cabriolet was launched, although, as Tim Lambert suggests, it would be correct to call the open-bodied XJ-S the 'targa'. The soft top could be removed, but the body pillars and side window frames could not. The XJ-S Cabriolet did not arouse much interest among buyers and for 3 years only 4000 such Jaguars were produced.

The history of Jaguar XJ-S creation is the history of overcoming difficulties, in the creation of which the company's management took an active part. The world crisis and internal policy of Labor and Conservatives made their contribution.

Oliver Winterbottom, the designer of the Jaguar XJ-S, said in an interview: “... as people get older, as management gets older, the products start to appeal to older customers. You can't have 20-year-old designers coming up with products for 60-year-olds and 60-year-olds creating for 20-year-olds. So every company goes through a life cycle.

The Jaguar XJ-S was created in an era of transition for Jaguar Cars. The old guard was gone and the new forces were caught up in the intrigue and ambition of British politics. We will tell about how the fate of the XJ-S after the conclusion of the “water truce” next time.

Strangely enough, but the greatest success of Jaguar XJ-S came to the last 8 years of the car production. What was the reason? There is no unambiguous answer to this question. Maybe it was a change in the tastes of Jaguar fans, who finally appreciated the fast and comfortable Jaguar GT class. Suddenly, the design of the Jaguar XJ-S has become revered as a model of good taste and moderate conservatism. The long body lines and low stance, understated and elegant, without a hint of pretentiousness, set the XJ-S apart from similar cars of the late 1980s.

Interestingly, but not the least role in changing the fate of the Jaguar XJ-S, played another change in the American norms of passive safety. After a long hiatus, open-top cars were allowed to be sold in the United States again. Jaguar Cars, traditionally oriented to the American market, quickly responded by releasing the XJ-S Convertible - a two-seat roadster with an electric mechanism for lifting the soft top. Completing the picture was an aluminum V12 High Efficiency engine with 291 hp and electronic fuel injection.

The Jaguar XJ-S Convertible had an automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive and fully independent suspension. The interior of the Jaguar XJS finally got rid of the vinyl and plastic so revered by the British Leyland management. Seats made of tweed with leather inserts, tinted glass, control panel made of wood, heated rear window, seat belts, air conditioning, on-board computer. Here is an almost exhaustive list of Jaguar XJ-S optional extras.

The XJ-S was constantly improved, but the most impressive changes were made in 1991. Completely changed taillights became horizontal, the quality of assembly was dramatically improved, the hyphen disappeared from the name XJ-S and the car was called Jaguar XJS. The volume of V12 engine increased to 6.0 liters, automatic transmission became more reliable.

But along with these useful changes and innovations, Jaguar XJS lost the most important feature - attractive price. Unfortunately, it was not possible to solve the problem of corrosion resistance of the Jaguar XJS body. The hardy V12 engine was expensive to maintain, with cylinder pressures, etc. requiring close attention. The Jaguar XJS requires a reverent and attentive attitude from its owner. Jaguar XJS was recognized as a classic car “while still alive”, which is rare. This “long-lasting” Jaguar was not just a car, it embodied a lifestyle.

 

DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12

When talking about this car, everyone first of all remembers “Back to the Future” and then the founder of the brand and the creator of the car “named after himself” John DeLorean. At the same time, motorists who are far from the history of the American automobile industry, as a rule, are superficially familiar with the biography of the American engineer and manager. Therefore, it is often possible to hear the opinion that John Delorean in his time was about the same enthusiast-startup as Ilon Musk. However, there really is as much of a gulf between these two personalities as there was between 1985 and 2015, in which Marty and Doc alternately found themselves.

After all, by the mid-sixties, John Zachariah Delorean, an engineer of Romanian-Hungarian origin (his family came from Austria-Hungary), not only made a brilliant career at General Motors, working first for Chrysler and Packard, but also managed to bring the Pontiac and Chevrolet brands to the leading positions in the then ultra-fashionable segment of oilcars. In fact, Delorean was the man who came up with the idea to offer a powerful engine for an ordinary Pontiac as an option for $295, which resulted in a “muscular” modification of the Pontiac Tempest GTO. GM bosses were against such a car. But Delorean got around the ban by offering a “big” motor for the Pontiac Tempest GTO as a paid option.

Further, thanks to the same John, the affairs of the companies included in General Motors, go so well that only Chevrolet in 1971 was sold three million (!) copies, and Delorean himself quite deservedly became vice-president of GM. And suddenly in April, 1973 John unexpectedly (but not for himself) resigns, which was a real shock for others and a reason for a lot of gossip. However, it was quite in the spirit of personality and character of Delorean himself, known for his eccentric actions.

In general, if Delorean was similar to Musk in some ways, it was only in the boldness of actions and some statements, but the “initial technical base” and practical experience before the founding of their own automobile companies these two Americans were quite different. However, we can draw another parallel: like the founder of Tesla, John Delorean did not lack money even after leaving General Motors, having received as a “bonus” a whole Cadillac dealership in Florida. However, we should also give credit to Musk: although he did not build cars before Tesla, he also managed to do a lot - for example, not only to program a little, but also to sell his shares in various companies founded by him for tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is well known that one meets people by their clothes. Delorean's swift and slumped to the ground, but at the same time wedge-shaped and angular silhouette left few people indifferent, dividing the audience into two camps - as they say, “love it or hate it”.

At the same time, there were much more fans, because the squat “something” looked catchy, bold and modern. But not everyone thought that it was balanced and beautiful. Employees of British Lotus and Marcello Gandini, who worked in a similar style of “cut paper” (folded paper), were often written down as involved in the design of the car. This flat-parallel design with large angles of inclination of surfaces and a minimum of transitions was in demand and relevant at the time, but John Delorean was able to distinguish himself here as well.

After all, when John organized DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) in 1975, he had the idea to create a very nontrivial car, the concept of which he designated as Ethical Sportscar (“Ethical Sportscar”). Beauty and speed are the key ingredients of its potential success. He turned to professionals to make sure the project didn't become a project. Technical documentation for DMC was prepared by Lotus Engineering specialists under the guidance of Colin Chapman, but in general for the realization of the technical part was responsible William Collins - a specialist with whom Delorean worked well in the “Pontiac” times. Well, and the exterior of the car ambitious father-founder decided to order nothing more or less from Giorgetto Giugiaro - then still very young and promising, but has already managed to create their first masterpieces for all times, for example, such as Volkswagen Golf MKI. The American dream is prepared like this: you need to take a French motor, stick it in the body drawn by the Italian and try to put it all together in Ireland on the money of the British government.

It is difficult to say what prompted Delorean to turn to Maestro Giugiaro, who at that time was not a maestro at all, although he had already gained worldwide fame as an automobile designer. After all, the world was full of other, no less famous body ateliers, where no less talented artists worked. For example, what is worth only one bundle of the same Marcello Gandini and the atelier of Nuccio Bertone himself! However, history is not subjunctive, and DMC-12 in its recognizable form was born only one year (!) after the foundation of DeLorean brand. By the way, we can seriously consider the version that impulsive DeLorean turned to Giugiaro because this Italian had earlier drawn the American's favorite car - Maserati Ghibli.

Interestingly, the first sketch version of the exterior became the final one, practically not undergoing any changes on the way from the running prototype to the production car. The car received an ahead of its time flat profile with a pronounced double-sided wedge, developed sidewalls and even “gull wing” type doors - a solution that was very rare at that time and associated in the world with such sports cars as the legendary Mercedes 300SL Gullwing.

It is interesting that the chassis of the running model was borrowed from FIAT X1/9, four-cylinder engine was taken from Citroen GS, and suspension elements - from Ford Pinto/Mustang II. Although initially John's plans were quite different: he saw Chevrolet Corvette as a donor of aggregates! But the final “divorce” with GM put a cross on the very idea of using any aggregates from cars of this concern. After all, the powerful bosses, after Delorean's plans became public, immediately “stepped on his tail”, turning on the financial “tap” of deductions.

For those who know movies better than cars, DMC-12 is firmly associated with the movie “Back to the Future”. Therefore, when the matte-shining car first appeared on the wide screen, ordinary viewers immediately had a version that it was developed specifically for “moviegoers”, that is, for use in the film. However, such a statement breaks the chronology of events: to work on the first version of the script Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis began in 1980, the second version was ready in April 1981, well, and the third and fourth versions with known to the viewer storylines appeared in 1984.

And in the last part we found out that the running prototype was ready almost a decade before that, that is in 1976. Well, and the first serial DMC-12 came off the assembly line in the Irish town of Dunmerry, a suburb of Belfast, on January 21, 1981 - that is, exactly 41 years ago, when the screenwriters of “Back to the Future” just offered its first version to Columbia Pictures (it happened in September 1980).

Belfast had an unemployment rate of up to 30%. That is why the UK was ready to provide DMC about 100 million pounds. Not without Colin Chapman - though not in the best sense of the word, because later he was involved in financial fraud.

Alas, at the time when Gale and Zemeckis were polishing and honing the script, John DeLorean's company was already facing serious problems related to customer disappointment. After all, the car's futuristic appearance didn't correlate well with its road behavior and dynamic performance, which we'll discuss separately. After hundreds of orders were canceled, the company had no money to pay suppliers of components and its own workers. As a result, by the beginning of 1982 DeLorean Motor Company had accumulated almost a million dollars of outstanding payments on interest alone, because of which it was recognized bankrupt, appointing an external manager - consulting and auditing agency Coopers&Lybrand. It was not the end, but it was already the beginning. John himself did not give up and tried to get the missing 20 million dollars to regain the chair of the top manager of DMC, but in October 1982 Delorean was arrested in a room at the Sheraton Plaza in Los Angeles, and not in connection with any non-payments or debts, but on charges of drug smuggling. As a result, John did not care about his own brainchild, because he lost not only the company, but also his freedom.

And Delorean was subjected to a real harassment - most likely, it was a “response” from Detroit for the very book “On the clear day you can see General Motors”, on the pages of which John, together with Wright, pulled out a lot of dirty laundry.

During the investigation it turned out that the case of smuggling a centner (!) of cocaine worth 25 million dollars, of which Delorean was supposedly entitled to 1.8 million as a commission, was fabricated by the FBI with the assistance of their informant and Delorean's former neighbor James Hoffman. The investigation established that the “evidence” in the Sheraton room was due to the efforts of the feds, and John himself had nothing to do with it. Alas, the “acquitted” verdict, pleasant to the ear and from the point of view of justice, did not help DeLorean to pull the mincemeat back and make the meat of DMC-12 profits out of the patties of accusations.

The former GM vice president and founder of DeLorean Motors began to receive more and more lawsuits and accusations of fraud, financial fraud and tax evasion, and his own company remained in the history of the world automobile industry as a loser brand that finished at the very beginning.

So why was the DMC-12 the time machine that Marty and Doc flew back and forth in from 1855 to 2015? As Doc himself said in the movie, a time machine had to be stylish, and stainless steel was good for swirling time streams. The DMC-12 did that, even with all the twists and turns and passions that had happened to the Delorean company by that time. Most likely, not the least role in the choice of “starship” played not only the futuristic design of the machine, but also the hype around John Delorean and the DMC process, which reached its peak just at the time of the first part of the movie “Back to the Future”. The equipment of the “movie” version was markedly different from the original, as the DMC-12 had to travel through time and space from 1885 to 2015.

The success of the first part of the trilogy led to the fact that betrayed to oblivion small-series machine became not just a movie heroine, but a real cult object, which has a huge army of fans. And so the DMC-12 was able to move in space and time from its vague 1982 year for the brand and Delorean itself back to the future, and a bright one at that!

"The Ethical Sports Car was conceived to be light, sleek and powerful. Initially, Bill Colins and Lotus specialists relied on a mid-engine layout and low weight of the body, which was based on plastic created using Elastic Reservoir Molding technology. Yes, yes, it is high-tech plastic, not aluminum, although because of the characteristic color of the exterior panels many people thought that the DMC-12 body is made entirely of aluminum. In reality, three hundred panels of polished stainless steel were attached to the power frame.

Such a solution can be considered advanced, but not the most practical, cheap and technological. And in fact, the index DMC-12 indicated that the car, according to Delorean's plan, would cost 12 thousand dollars. Alas, in reality, the plastic body made by ERM technology, and the mid-engine layout, and the rotary-piston engine, and airbags did not survive to the assembly line, and the serial car by design and level of technology began to resemble a banal Lotus Esprit.

The price due to inflation and overheads “shot” over 25 thousand “green”, that is DeLorean DMC-12 was 25% more expensive than Porsche 924 Turbo and Chevrolet Corvette, only a little bit not reaching the price to His Majesty Porsche 911. In the American market, for the sake of which everything was planned, such a situation for DeLorean was simply murderous.

The gold-plated (!) version could only be purchased with an American Express gold card for a mind-boggling $85,000, which today is equivalent to $250,000. The plan was to make 100 cars, only five “gold” DMC-12s were made, and only two were sold.

Due to the fact that the design of the body was far from the planned one, the serial DMC-12 added a lot of weight - as much as 1250 kg against the estimated ton. And if Professor Emmett L. Brown in the movie used a nuclear reactor to overcome time, and the magnetic cushion allowed the car to fly, but in real life the DMC-12 had rather sad dynamics.

After all, the motor was not simply moved to the rear overhang: instead of rotary or simply powerful internal combustion engine there appeared quite ordinary V6 under the index PRV, which could be found on Renault, Peugeot and Volvo cars.

In spite of almost three liters of working volume, it developed ridiculous by the standards of sports cars 130 hp, which, according to the manufacturer, were to provide Delorean with acceleration in 8.5 seconds to 100 km / h and over 200 km / h “maximum”.

To travel through time, Doc claimed, the car had to accelerate to 88 mph. Because of this, the speedometer scale of the “movie” modification had to be “tuned” to the mark of 95 miles. This allowed the car to “fly” in the trilogy about 570 years!

In reality, it turned out that even with a manual gearbox the car gained the cherished “hundredth” almost in ten seconds - an eternity by the standards of cars of this class and purpose, and the coupe did not reach the 200 mark at all. Well, and with the ancient three-speed automatic accelerating really turned into a journey in time and space.

In addition, DMC-12 was not only slow, but also mediocre car from the point of view of controllability, because, despite the low center of gravity, the pedigree of reactions in twisty turns the car did not shine.

Due to the fact that the design of the car was quite crude and full of childhood diseases, and Irish workers did not have any special experience in assembling cars, the quality of production of the first batches of cars was frankly lame.

And even before the beginning of production the car was very much awaited in the States, and DeLorean Motors made contacts with 350 dealerships! In a hurry DMC management had to organize Quality Assurance Center in the USA.

And that's not all. Since the launch of mass production took place later than planned, and the cars did not shine with the quality of assembly and dynamic characteristics, disappointed customers soon began to refuse the already ordered cars. At the same time, Delorean had obligations to Lotus on production volumes, and the already high price of cars soon soared even more due to additional costs for their improvement and warranty payments.

As a result, a very spectacular looking, but not too reliable and frankly not fast car in life, as they say, did not take off. Until the bankruptcy of DMC (that is, from 1981 to 1983), about 9500 copies were made - and, perhaps, it is good that the company itself John Delorean ordered to live long before the glory of the market failure could gain the car itself. After all, it simply did not happen, as they say, for technical reasons.

As a summary, we can return to our comparison of the personalities of Delorean and Musk. While the former can be considered a talented engineer and manager, if not a genius, compared to Musk, who made huge money by reselling shares of his own companies, from a commercial point of view DMC-12 turned out to be a project, and Tesla literally and figuratively flew into space - more precisely, into the very future, which for the heroes of the cult trilogy was behind or ahead, but for us has already come long ago.

 

Vector W8

Vector W8

Historically, exclusive and ultra-high-speed cars are most often of European origin. As a rule, they come from Italy, Great Britain or Germany, where there are quite a lot of small-scale automakers. Overseas, the situation is quite different: in the USA, the “big three” - Ford Motor, General Motors and Chrysler - rule the roost. Of course, they produced sports models, but in most cases (except for Ford GT40) it was a mass product. Even the Chevrolet Corvette had already produced over 1.5 million units. However, there were enthusiasts who created real auto exotics, which were recognized all over the world. One of such brands is Vector.

Vector is the brainchild of a talented designer Gerald Wiegert. He was born in the heart of the American automobile industry - Detroit. Therefore, it is not surprising that since his school years Gerald began to be seriously interested in automobiles. And then he entered the faculty of industrial design in college.  Upon its completion in 1971, Wiegert founded the Vehicle Design Force studio and began to develop a mid-engine sports coupe The Vector costing 10 thousand dollars (for comparison, the Chevrolet Corvette then cost twice less). 

The futuristic car interested motorists and its image even appeared on the cover of one of the leading American magazines. At first, the designer planned to equip The Vector with a Porsche opposition “six”, then he opted for a rotary piston engine. However, the economic crisis and lack of funds forced to suspend the development of the project.

But Wiegert decided not to give up and continued to work on his brainchild. And in 1978 he presented a concept car Vector W2. Thanks to its wedge-shaped design with a pointed “nose”, a large antifender at the back, retractable headlights and upward rising doors, the coupe seemed to be an alien from the future. The height of the car was a little more than a meter. And the prototype was not a plastic model, but a full-fledged car, capable of moving.

This time the engineer did not think long when choosing a motor - he installed a proven American V8 from Chevrolet, and placed it in the base transversely. The 5.7-liter engine was supplemented with fuel injection and two turbines, which raised its power to an incredible 600 hp. It was paired with a 3-speed automatic gearbox, because no other transmission simply could not cope with the huge torque of 800 N∙m.

The Vector W2 had fantastic performance for its time. It accelerated to 100 km/h in 4 seconds, and its top speed exceeded 350 km/h! But despite the positive feedback from specialists and automotive journalists, it was not possible to find funds to start production. Many investors simply did not believe that the car worth 125 thousand dollars will find buyers. Both Ferrari and Lamborghini cost less at that time.

But Gerald Wiegert did not give up. He constantly modernized the design of W2 and tested the car. On tests Vector drove more than 160 thousand kilometers - not a bad result for a concept. The engine was boosted to 650 hp, and during the race on the bottom of the dried up Lake Bonneville the coupe developed 389 km/h.

Finally, in 1989, it was possible to find business partners and raise the necessary funds. The improved version of the W2 went into production under the name Vector W8 Twin Turbo. Its silhouette was very similar to its predecessor, but it was based on a new monocoque made of aluminum alloys, and body panels were made of carbon fiber and Kevlar. In addition, aerodynamics was improved - the coefficient of drag was only 0.32. The working volume of the engine was increased to 6.0 liters: the power reached 625 hp, and the maximum torque - 855 N∙m. Acceleration to 100 km/h took 4.2 seconds, and the top speed amounted to 354 km/h.

Dynamics has slightly worsened due to the increased weight up to 1506 kg. The matter is that the car was decided to equip thoroughly: there appeared power steering, electric drive of seats, sunroof, CD-player, adaptive shock absorbers. The interior was decorated with leather. Fully digital dashboard and plenty of toggle switches made it look like an airplane cabin.

The cost of the W8 Twin Turbo was 455 thousand dollars and at the time of its appearance it was the most expensive and fastest production car in the world. Of course, with such a price it could not be mass produced. Until 1993, it was possible to produce only 19 cars. One of the first owners of the coupe was the famous American tennis player Andre Agassi.

Meanwhile, Wiegert and his team were already working on the new Vector Avtech WX-3, a pre-production version of which was presented at the 1992 Geneva Motor Show. Its silhouette resembled the W8 Twin Turbo, but the facets were replaced by smooth lines. Along with the coupe, a convertible with a removable rigid roof was created. The base version retained a 6.0-liter 625-horsepower V8, but for the flagship modification was provided a new 7.0-liter twin-turbocharged motor. It could develop 800 or 1000 hp, and in the latter case the top speed exceeded 400 km/h, and acceleration to 100 km/h took 3.3 seconds. Even the legendary McLaren F1 coupe was slower.

Vector planned to produce WX-3 at a price of $685 thousand dollars. But these plans were not destined to come true. New investors - the Indonesian company MegaTech - took control of the company and fired Gerald Wiegert. He sued, but the proceedings dragged on for years.

MegaTech decided not to spend money on developing a 7.0-liter motor for the Vector Avtech WX-3. It is not surprising, because this company also owned a stake in Lamborghini. Therefore, the model decided to equip with a power unit from Lamborghini Diablo - 5.7-liter 490-horsepower V12 and 5-speed manual transmission. Of course, the dynamics from it worsened: 4.8 s to 100 km/h and maximum 306 km/h. But the price has decreased to 190 thousand dollars.

The coupe was renamed to Vector M12 and from 1995 to 1999, 17 cars were assembled, among them were racing versions. But after the entry of Lamborghini into the Volkswagen concern, the supply of engines stopped. The production of M12 stopped, and the company was closed.

However, it is too early to put an end to the history of Vector, because Gerald Wiegert is not used to give up. In the end he won the court, returned the company to himself and started to develop a completely new coupe. In 2007, the Vector WX-8 made its debut. It became more impetuous in appearance, but retained family features like a large rear wing and upward-sloping doors. The engine, as before, was placed transversely. Since the car turned out to be very wide, the interior was made three-seater. WX-8 is equipped with a 7.8-liter V8, available in two variants - 750 and 1250 hp. In the long term for the model they plan to create and 10.0-liter 1850-horsepower motor. The more powerful version will be able to accelerate 440 km/h.

 

Porsche 944

Porsche 944

The Porsche brand is famous for its rear-engine models with opposition engines, such as the legendary Porsche 911 and its predecessor 356. However, there were also more traditional front-engined cars with inline engines in its history. One can remember a tourist coupe Porsche 928, but there were also more affordable cars. Thus, in the 70-90s, there was a whole “family” of inexpensive Porsche.

The history of available Porsche with a front-mounted engine began in 1973. The German company began the development of an all-new entry-level model to replace the Porsche 914. At first it, as well as 914, was supposed to be mid-engine. At the same time, Porsche specialists received an order from Volkswagen concern for the development of “Project 425” - a coupe of classic layout with an engine in front and rear-wheel drive. But when the “Project 425” was actually ready, the economic crisis broke out. Volkswagen felt that it is cheaper to produce a front-wheel-drive coupe Scirocco on the platform Golf and the development of Porsche refused. However, the model was so successful that Porsche decided to produce it by its own forces and assigned the designation 924. Moreover, it allowed to save money and not to create a successor of the 914. The first car came off the assembly line in 1976.

The Porsche 924 was a 4.2-meter four-seat coupe with a wedge-shaped profile. It attracted attention with a pointed nose with retractable headlights and a large panoramic rear window, which served as a third door. Strict chopped lines prevailed in the interior. Gasoline 2.0-liter “four” with fuel injection with an output of 125 hp and 5-speed manual gearbox was borrowed from Audi 100. The car weighing only 1080 kg accelerated to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds and developed 200 km/h. Among the options were air conditioning, a huge sunroof and 3-speed automatic.

Interestingly, the transmission was placed in one unit with the main gear, i.e. near the rear axle. Such a layout, called transaxle, contributes to better weight distribution on the axles and, accordingly, good handling. It, by the way, perfectly showed itself, so the luxury tourist coupe Porsche 928, also built on the scheme transaxle.

The car turned out to be very successful and for the first year more than 25 thousand 924 were made. Of course, an important role in the popularity was played by a low price of 9400 dollars - almost twice cheaper than the basic Porsche 911. At the same time, the model attracted by economy and was much easier to drive than 911. It showed itself well in rallies and European ring races.

Gradually, the model range 924 began to expand. So, in 1979, two new versions appeared at once, and with turbocharging. First presented 175-horsepower 924 Turbo, and then appeared 210-horsepower 924 Carrera GT. The latter was characterized by aerodynamic dodging and widened wheel arches. Carrera GT could reach 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and reach 240 km/h. Both modifications received disc brakes on all wheels, modified suspension and steering. And the real exclusive was 245-horsepower 924 Carrera GTS, produced in quantity of 60 units.

Meanwhile, Porsche was already in full swing working on the successor to the 924 - model 944. It was presented at the end of 1982. The coupe retained the platform of the predecessor and very much resembled it externally, but became wider. The interior was improved, and there were sports seats. And the base engine was a 2.5-liter 150-horsepower “four”. Interestingly, after the appearance of 944, the production of Porsche 924 was continued until 1988, and with the same 2.5-liter engine (version 924 S). In total, about 150 thousand 924s were assembled.

Soon a convertible joined the Porsche 944 coupe, and in 1985, a 220-horsepower Turbo version was presented, which could accelerate to 100 km/h in 6 seconds and reach 250 km/h. Then followed the atmospheric versions 944 S (2.5 liters, 190 hp) and 944 S2 (3.0 liters, 211 hp). Over time, the base configuration was supplemented with front airbags and anti-lock brakes ABS, and the list of options included electric drive and heated front seats. The final version was the 250-horsepower 944 Turbo S, shown in 1991. In just nine years, more than 160 thousand coupes and convertibles were assembled, which made the 944 the most mass-produced Porsche of its time.

In 1992, the world saw the successor of the 944 - the new Porsche 968. Despite the similar silhouette and common platform, 80% of the car's units and assemblies were completely new. Externally, the novelty could be distinguished by round retractable headlights, like the older brother of Porsche 928. The interior became a little more spacious, and air conditioning and power windows were installed in the base version. The power of the basic atmospheric “four” of 3.0 liters was raised to 240 hp thanks to the system of adjusting the gas distribution phases. There was a choice of 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

A limited edition was produced lightened by 100 kg version ClubSport with a rigid suspension and sporty front seats Recaro and without rear seats. Even more rare was a 305-horsepower 968 Turbo S, which accelerated to 100 km/h took 4.7 seconds, and the top speed exceeded 280 km/h. Only 16 such coupes were produced, while the total number of 968 was 12,800. Such a small “circulation” is explained by a rather high initial price of 40 thousand dollars and outdated platform. The model simply ceased to be available.

 

The Best-Looking Cars of the 1980s - VOTING

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