So far ahead and then, well, British Leyland……….

nigelr

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 28, 2014
1,977
Switzerland
All this reminds me of a funny story back in the 80s when I was getting a Vauxhall Cavalier fixed.

My dad dropped me off at the garage at the edge of town to pick it up after yet another repair, but it was lunchtime, and I was early. I was just hanging around and saw this German Shepard dog slowly coming towards me. I grew up with a pet dog, but was still uneasy around strange ones, and this was a fully grown male, obviously the garage owner's dog that was left inside the office (old caravan) and had managed to get out. Luckily for me, he picked up a plastic ball and dropped it at my feet, so I would kick it, and he would bring it back. We did this for 10-15 minutes until the owner arrived, and he was not happy that I was playing fetch with his guard dog.

He kept telling me how lucky I was, normally he wasn't a friendly animal.
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
3,696
Maine
BMW bought Austin-Rover (previously BL) from Honda, and shut down everything except Mini. A mate of mine worked at the engine plant, which were basically assembly lines using BMW parts and Peugeot gearboxes.
So many semi related auto makers round the world that I do not understand.
Seems some Brit cars swapped parts between companies or brand names?
US seems simpler with GM owning numerous brands and swapping parts, or not.
Ford is more of a curio with English Ford, and stuff like the I believe English Ford propane V4 used in fork lifts being borrowed and cast as a V6 then used in the German made Mercury Capri.

Clearly Austin used some same motors as MG, and maybe this was British Leyland "owning" all those car companies?
Or was it a subcontractor company making motors for several auto makers?

Funny how Chrysler became Daimler Benz and we saw Mercedes parts in cheap Dodge cars then that fell apart.
But we still have newly built work vans that look identical and are sold as Mercedes or Dodge.
I have a junk Volvo Volvo, currently drive a Ford Volvo, and my next car will probably be a Swedish investment group Volvo.

I like Volvo because rich folks buy them then at 100k get scared and sell them but poor folks are also scared of "Volvo mechanics" who charge $600 (plus labor) for an alternator etc etc.
(Comfy leather too!)
Also they dont rust in the snow belt, like alla those cars claimed to run 400,000 miles that fall into dust at 150,000.
Dummies in Maine still seem to think a rusted out Tacoma with 250k on the clock is worth $2000?
Poor people thinking!
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,476
Murfreesboro, TN
Although Musk started Tesla converting Lotus Elises, I dont think cramming batteries into lightweight MGs or TRs would work. It would be like putting a dozen bags of cement in them.

It's been done, many times, and is pretty well documented. I just watched a video of a converted Midget driving, this particular one had 11 good-sized lead-acid batteries, it looked like it accelerates better than the ICE car (remember this thing only had 60-70 hp in the first place). They claimed 35 miles range.



Figure removing the ICE equipment (engine, gas tank, radiator full of fluid) saves roughly 350 lbs. Electric motor is about 80 lbs, and then...I'm guessing 50 lbs each for those batteries, so 550 lbs of battery. You end up with a car roughly 300 lbs heavier than stock. That's not nearly so bad as I expected, but this is a short-range and modest performance build. Still, adding 300 lbs (3 bags of Portland cement) is going to effect how it goes around corners.

Lithium-ion batteries have about 3 times the power density of lead-acid. The same amount of electrical storage as the example above would need only 183 lbs of battery--and end up with the whole car weighing less than it did in the first place. Or better yet, make up that difference with more batteries--keep the weight the same and have a little more range.
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
3,696
Maine
That is pretty much the story of the UK. Take the Industrial Revolution. Born & bred in the UK, the ideas behind it were nicked by various other countries which produced similar stuff at lower cost, undercutting UK manufacturers. It's not a new phenomenon.

And then the Americans (or Henry Ford to be precise) invented & perfected planned obsolescence, which is the root of our current highly wasteful society.
Not to argue but identifying details?
I had the impression the industrial revolution wuz borne in the USA?
Guess it depends on at what point do we say last year it was not then the next year it was.

I also think planned obsolescence is an obsolete term!
Maybe stuff in computer tech still exhibits that, but there it really is a matter of hardware and software codependence and in ten years the latest hardware and software really has evolved past the requirements of the older tech.

But my take on modern wasteful society, and the resulting out of control landfills plus polluted ground water, etc etc, is more that manufacturing tech has devised ways to make stuff break long before it is obsolete!
That has been going on for a very long time though, I think by 1970, engineers were universally directed to design in non user serviceable weak points with carefully calculated life spans, to ensure stuff lasted through the warranty period then died ASAP after the warranty expired.

Which is not really related to the shift from first world products made by first world citizens who then had decent manufacturing job incomes and could afford to buy what they manufactured; shifted to domestic corporate execs realizing they could increase profits by firing all their neighbors and paying Chinese factories where workers cannot afford to buy what they make (or in many cases cannot even afford basic survival) and where those in charge there do not care if the stuff they make works because it is not made under their brand name.
Oh, what?
Now the laid off US wokers who build middle class lifestyles on US auto maker jobs ALSO cannot afford basic survival?
But after losing their middle class homes and moving into tent cities, they can get jobs flipping burgers as long as they bathe in a fire hydrant before work?

Yeah corporate has some interesting ideas about how the world should work to satisfy their addiction to greed.
Greed AKA prioritizing profit over all else, is presumably taught in business schools now?
How can economists calculate idealized profit strategies that break down the larger infrastructure including things like lost skilled labor jobs, lack of clean water as luxury use wastes, landfills piled high and diminishing options for recycling as it costs too much to ship junk to China.
Either that or they avoid any TV news that tells them how the bottom lives in Murica, how their greedy wealth based waste uses up natural resources faster than resources replenish, how moving polluting over a continent is still on the same stressed planet; and keep pretending everything and everyone is fine.
If everyone is doing OK then greed is good.
More than what tech, a question is why corporate greed keeps raising the standard of wealth and success to a point where waste is seen as a desired asset in life?

Every solution seems to assume we can keep using wasteful practices as our emblems of success.
 

Beerevermore

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 25, 2022
58
Durango Colorado
I bought a 72 240Z back in about 78 to install a Scarab v8 engine and Chevy transmission in. It had a 400+ hp 327 and 1000$ worth of Muholland suspension. It came in around 2000 lbs. The acceleration was unbelievable. 0 to 140 mph in 10 seconds and it cornered like a race car. I would tape a 20$ bill to the dash and if you could lean forward while I hit the throttle in 2nd gear you got the bill. Never lost one! Pure animal. Damn I miss that car.🥹
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
4,512
Cypress TX
Not to argue but identifying details?
I had the impression the industrial revolution wuz borne in the USA?
Thomas Newcomen, English, invented the steam engine, at least in the west, in 1712. That's 64 years before 1776 and all that. Richard Murdoch invented a high pressure steam carriage in 1784.

It was, arguably, the steam engine that gave birth to the industrial revolution.

Next youll be telling us Eddison invrnted the electric lightbulb and Elon Musk built the first electric car. Newsflash - they didn't.
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
4,512
Cypress TX
It's been done, many times, and is pretty well documented. I just watched a video of a converted Midget driving, this particular one had 11 good-sized lead-acid batteries, it looked like it accelerates better than the ICE car (remember this thing only had 60-70 hp in the first place). They claimed 35 miles range.



Figure removing the ICE equipment (engine, gas tank, radiator full of fluid) saves roughly 350 lbs. Electric motor is about 80 lbs, and then...I'm guessing 50 lbs each for those batteries, so 550 lbs of battery. You end up with a car roughly 300 lbs heavier than stock. That's not nearly so bad as I expected, but this is a short-range and modest performance build. Still, adding 300 lbs (3 bags of Portland cement) is going to effect how it goes around corners.

Lithium-ion batteries have about 3 times the power density of lead-acid. The same amount of electrical storage as the example above would need only 183 lbs of battery--and end up with the whole car weighing less than it did in the first place. Or better yet, make up that difference with more batteries--keep the weight the same and have a little more range.

35 mile range. A Midget has a 7 or 8 UK gallon tank IIRC. At 30 to the gallon that's 200+ miles, or about so you'd need 6 times 550 lbs, or 3300 lbs of lead acids or 1100 lbs of lithium ions.
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,878
Altered States
...
Funny locals here LOVE their Subaru's and dont mind spending $3000 on big motor repairs after 100k mles?
Then they buy another and again justify motor problems.

Brand loyalty!

A mechanic friend of mine works on Japanese & Euro cars in his shop. Hates Subarus although he services plenty of them. He says that if you buy one, sell it at 80K - because they all need engine work after that. YMMV.
I've got my dad's 70 MG Midget out in my driveway. ..

It's a primitive design poorly executed, but still fun to drive. When it's working.

That what I used to say about Alfas I hobbied on. They were essentially Fiat mechanicals with tweaks by Alfa engineers for more performance. Fantastic cars, on days they were running.
 
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Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,097
Harlow, Essex, UK
Point taken, but BMW took a specialist high-performance design, based on a fairly cheap-and-nasty rust bucket car, and turned it into a well made vehicle.

IMO, every BMW Mini is better suited to the modern world than the original, which was designed to be affordable to drivers with far less money than today.

Believe me, the original Minis were not examples of great engineering. A fun drive, but not built to last. Cooper's guys certainly upped the acceleration, but they only fixed some of the problems.

As a younger, poorer man, I spent enough time driving and fixing Minis to know how basic they were.
You, Sir, were lucky. I opted for a Commer Imp (light van version of a Hillman Imp). Not much going for it except that when it went wrong you could access the rear engine from inside.
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
4,512
Cypress TX
You, Sir, were lucky. I opted for a Commer Imp (light van version of a Hillman Imp). Not much going for it except that when it went wrong you could access the rear engine from inside.
My mum had a Hillman Imp Sport. With the Coventry Climax engine in it. NBG on the motorways for sure, but on the twisty New Forest roads it went like stink and handled exceptionally well for a mass produced car of the time.
 

Bcorig

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2018
1,788
Somewhere in the 909
Yeah.....don't criticize British autos until you've owned a FIAT.

I had a 1976 124 Spyder. It broke down so often, the local towing company knew my voice on the phone (this was before cell phones, I had to use a PAY phone to report my car was busted, again.)
I'd call Thor's towing, and just say, "Hey, it's me."
"Where you at this time?"
"35th and Jacobsen."
"We're on the way."

My second-favorite car to drive (not necessarily to own) was my 1965 Sunbeam Alpine MK IV. I'd wanted a Tiger but didn't have the scratch. It was fun to figure out what the book meant by "positive-earth dynamo", "on-side wheel", etc. 1965 and it still came with a handcrank.

First-favorite was the '74 T-bird, completely on the other end of the land-yacht spectrum.
My nurse friend‘s was a ‘73 124 Spyder she bought used in 1975.
I remember her calling me at Midnight after her shift to ask me to pick her up at a gas station in El Monte after it broke down on the 605 Freeway.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,097
Harlow, Essex, UK
I drove a Marina Estate for work when I lived there in the late seventies and can confirm that every other vehicle I had ever driven before or since was preferable to it.

The handling was genuinely frightening, (thats saying something coming from the States), it floated and bobbed more than Muhammad Ali in a Buick and the spectacular understeer made every bend a lively adventure.

Add to that the random bits that would simply fall off without provocation on a regular basis and you had the makings of a vehicle that was classic in it's badness.
I inherited the Marina’s successor, an Ital. The Marina was the BL competitor to the Ford Cortina and, if I remember rightly, the Ital finished up head to head with the Cortina’s successor, the Sierra and Vauxhall’s Cavalier which ultimately won out due to it’s success as a rep mobile. The Ital was awful. At the time it was the newest car I’d ever owned, but it wasn’t anything like modern, even in it’s day. I remember loose trim, rough velour seats and woeful handling. Take a roundabout at more than walking pace and you were cornering on the door handles.
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
4,512
Cypress TX
@Butcherof Strats. The problem with Sh#tttish Leyland was that they tried to amalgamate so many brands, yet kept their identities, and their factories, and parts, generally, were not interchangeable. Except Morris Marina door handles, which appeared on Marinas, TR7s, the Mk. 1 Discovery and I daresay a couple of other models too. I expect they gad a watehouse full of them and needed to use them up.

There were thirteen or fourteen car and two or three truck brands amalgamated into Sh#ttish Leyland, often producing models that competed directly with others in the same stable, e.g. MG Midget vs Triumph Spitfire, MGB vs Triumph Stag,

Lest we forget, GM went bankrupt in 2009 and had to cull several of its brands too. Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn...
 

Guitarista

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 24, 2022
25
Texas
I grew up in the 70s and my dream car was an MG or Triumph....but my father, who is a sports car fanatic, warned me away from British cars.

But man, this just looks so sweet:
1976-triumph-tr6-main.jpg



and this one!
DSC04579-tiny-2048x0-0.5x0.jpg



and this:
car_photo_259194.jpg
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,476
Murfreesboro, TN
35 mile range. A Midget has a 7 or 8 UK gallon tank IIRC. At 30 to the gallon that's 200+ miles, or about so you'd need 6 times 550 lbs, or 3300 lbs of lead acids or 1100 lbs of lithium ions.

I usually got 25 mpg, but that's still 200 miles per tank. Yes, to get 200 miles of range on lead acid batteries you'd need ridiculous weight, and to get it with lithium it's still a lot.

Most Americans have cars that will go 350-odd miles, and we fill up roughly once a week or maybe every 10 days. The thing with an electric car is you can plug it in at home. And 35 miles worth of charge is about what you'd get overnight on a regular 120v extension cord. So you plug in when you get home and it's ready to go the next day. You don't need a week's worth of range, you need a day's worth. Plus maybe a little extra just for comfort's sake.

I drive way less than 35 miles most days. I drive more than that about twice a month. An electric car with a range of 35 miles would be sufficient for 93% of my driving; I'd still need a different vehicle for the other 7% of the time.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,097
Harlow, Essex, UK
M
My mum had a Hillman Imp Sport. With the Coventry Climax engine in it. NBG on the motorways for sure, but on the twisty New Forest roads it went like stink and handled exceptionally well for a mass produced car of the time.
Mine went straight on, pretty-much whichever way I tried to steer it. I put a couple or three cores from an electric storage heater in the front boot, which helped a bit. I vividly remember one morning on a greasy roundabout watching the kerb and a lamppost looming larger and larger through the windscreen whist I held the wheel on full right lock. Hit the kerb, missed the ‘post and bent the near side oleo leg back to the point where I couldn’t turn left, at all. Got home using only right turns, God knows how. Next morning got it to an empty lorry park with steel / concrete posts to protect the back wall of a factory. Tow rope looped around the post and bent suspension leg. About a ten foot loop. Nose to the post and then reverse like stink. Two or three goes and I could steer again. Mind you, got through front left tyres at the rate of one every 1,000 miles.
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
3,696
Maine
Thomas Newcomen, English, invented the steam engine, at least in the west, in 1712. That's 64 years before 1776 and all that. Richard Murdoch invented a high pressure steam carriage in 1784.

It was, arguably, the steam engine that gave birth to the industrial revolution.

Next youll be telling us Eddison invrnted the electric lightbulb and Elon Musk built the first electric car. Newsflash - they didn't.
Please sir, can I have some more?

-Mark Twain
 


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