Posts from ‘Renault’
If you were looking for a diverse collection of affordable sporty cars, you’d probably want to set the time-machine dial for 1984. You would be hard pressed to find a broader collection of fun-to-drive rides at any time other than the mid Eighties.
Well into the early 2000s, Lexus vehicles still came standard with cassette players. I mention this because it’s an example of a classic paradigm clash. Almost 30 years after the first CDs were making their way into the hands of audiophiles, Lexus was still catering to conservative car shoppers who were in no hurry to replace their Robert Ludlum cassette audio books.
If you’re into music, you probably remember the swing revival that took place in the late Nineties. That particular retro trend probably peaked in 1998, when Gap commercials populated by dancing khaki-clad youth famously featured a Louie Prima cut of “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.”
by Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the June 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
The Renault 5 went on sale in France in 1972, but the car wasn’t available in America until 1976. The front-drive subcompact was 141.5 inches long and rode an average wheelbase of 95.2 inches. Yes, average wheelbase. The independent rear suspension used transversely mounted torsion bars, and for simplicity they were mounted one in front of the other. This resulted in the wheelbase on the left side of the car being 1.2 inches longer than on the right. Curb weight was 1819 pounds no matter what side the scale was on.
As far as recessions go, the economic dip of the early Eighties wasn’t much of a downturn. Apparently the Fed overdid it a bit, and tightened the money supply a bit more than banks and lenders liked.
With American car buyers scrambling to dump their sedans in favor of crossovers, it would seem logical to assume that a desire for functionality is a driving force behind the movement.
The American auto market place tempts many a foreign car builder, and for good reason–Americans buy a lot of cars, and well-equipped cars at that. Margins on cars sold in China, for example, are about half that for vehicles sold here in the States.
By 1986, car shoppers were looking for a little more than basic transportation. And while cheap/affordable cars were still the best-selling models, they were generally equipped with such conveniences as automatic transmission and such niceties as FM radio and air conditioning.
Our culture is ripe with inappropriately used adjectives. Marketers toss the word “turbo” around with reckless abandon, even though most applications of the Latin root have little to do with air, much less forcing air into an internal combustion engine.
Cancelled after just 22 episodes, Mr. Merlin was a sitcom starring Barnard Hughes as the legendary wizard Merlin working as a mechanic in modern-day San Francisco. The show’s saving grace was the casting of the lovely Elaine Joyce as one of Merlin’s fellow sorcerers.