Hooniverse Asks: What Car Has the Most Unfair Negative Reputation?

Joan-Jett-4
Whether you’re a high school teen or a model of car, an un-earned bad reputation can be a hard thing to shake. Today we want to know your opinion on which cars and trucks have been most unfairly maligned with a negative rep. What do you think are the ones that really didn’t deserve their repute?
Image: BeWytchMe

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  1. neight428 Avatar
    neight428

    The prospect of owning anything German gives me the heebeegeebees, but they win so many accolades that I occasionally think that I am unfairly giving them the short shrift. Then I look at the depreciation that they incur and feel my prejudice is entirely justified.

    1. nanoop Avatar
      nanoop

      The view North America has on German electrics is the same Germans have on French electrics. I wonder why Germans don’t lament too much about lumpy circuits in their own cars: do they simply accept it, or do they somehow get better cars?
      The answer is probably complicated, and I don’t want to defend Piech AG by any means.

      1. Alff Avatar
        Alff

        In my experience “Bosch” is German for “fire”.

      2. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        I know a couple of Germans who would praise the Volkswagen AG for what it’s worth. One of them with whom I had lost contact with, suddenly turned up in a Mazda 626: “It’s so easy to own this!”, he exclaimed, telling me how much maintenance his German cars had needed. Which was, basically, the same song I had sung for a decade or so before.

        1. crank_case Avatar
          crank_case

          My experience is that VW is far better at percieved quality than actual quality. Strategic placement of rubber bungs to make the doors go thunk, soft touch plastics and an air of conservatism that feels reassuring, but if you look at the reality of the last few years, a lot of their petrol engines have had issues, and there’s the dreaded engine light for no apparent reason.
          Similarly with BMW, an aquaintance of mine who goes through a lot diesel repmobiles has had more issues with his 3 series than most other cars, this is a man who ran an Opel Insigina and a has a Peugeot 309 for fun, he’s getting a Jag XE next…
          Recently I was stunned to see a W220 S-class rotten with obvious rust that made my pre-repair MX5 mk1 look good (all fixed now), I’d heard it was an issue, but I took it with a pinch of salt (as did this mercedes bodywork it seems). It’s a shame, because unlike VWs vastly overrated reputation, there was a time when Mercedes really were built to last in the “hewn from granite” cliche sense.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar
            Sjalabais

            Oh, agreed. This is a 1996 C180, pretty much a base model, but it still looks much, much worse than a 20 year old Mercedes is supposed to look like. My wife got her nervous eyes when I took that photo this summer: “Why this?”, but I just felt it was such a nice illustration of the demise of Mercedes Benz. Finally I got a use for it:
            https://s18.postimg.org/bv2u8mlih/20160712_145112.jpg

          2. longrooffan Avatar
            longrooffan

            Just here to say that there is nothing wrong with random automobile images.

      3. crank_case Avatar
        crank_case

        Funnily enough the only part of my supposedly “delicate” Peugeot 205 GTi that let me down, apart from one alternator bracket, were the electrics, the only German bit in the car, made by… you guessed it…. Bosch

    2. mfbseth Avatar
      mfbseth

      I think some German cars definitely fit the bill for cars that one would deem a maintenance nightmare (anything from Audi or BMW with more than 6 cylinders comes to mind) but I’ve owned three used VWs consecutively, I have a least 5 friends who drive VWs of similar vintage (all around 10-15 years old) and I’ve never experienced any of the problems people tend to complain about. I would say they’ve been the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned. I mean, if you don’t know you need to have a timing service at certain intervals, you’re gone have a bad time, but inability to maintain a car isn’t the cars fault. I guess that’s why every other car I see is a Camry or RAV4. Depends on what you’re after though. I think German cars have the most rational and appealing designs inside and out, and for me, that’s real high on the list. Behind fuel economy and ability to find with a manual.

  2. Kiefmo Avatar
    Kiefmo

    The Ford Pinto.
    Stop laughing!
    What you’ve got is a compact RWD car with a great front suspension design and an engine bay that will gladly hold anything from a hot I4 (if corners are your thing) to a small V8 (if straightline schpeeeeeed is your bag).
    Look, Ford fixed the ‘splodey-behind problem (and if that is a true concern of yours, I’d invite you to never ride in a Panther car either).

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      Good on ya. I spent a lot of time in a Pinto Wagon and a Mercury Bobcat that belonged to friends. They were reliable, fairly fun cars.

    2. Scoutdude Avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah the statics showed that the Honda Civic of the same era was way more likely to explode on impact than the Pinto. Of course there were like 10 times as many Pintos on the road and Ford made the mistake of identifying and documenting a way that they could potentially far exceed the safety standards that were in effect at the time, with a yet unproven technology.

  3. 0A5599 Avatar
    0A5599

    Just because nobody ever saw one off-road, doesn’t mean it isn’t capable. If more Hummers had been seen with battle scars than with bling (chrome everywhere, 7 TV screens, neon, etc.), the brand would probably still be around.
    http://images.hgmsites.net/med/hummer_100169276_m.jpg

    1. neight428 Avatar
      neight428

      The H2’s held resale value really well. It did not hurt that it was essentially a Tahoe (super popular on fundamentals of the design) with upgraded 3/4 ton running gear smattered about. They emerged right as gas prices started to spike and enviro-righteousness was starting to hit its stride. Bad timing is bad. That and you had the classic GM limitation of doggedly sticking to a formula of only stepping out on a good idea so far and then regressing back.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar
      Kiefmo

      The Hummer versions of whatever chassis they were slapped on were the most capable versions of that chassis, from an off-road perspective. Though I believe the H2 really needed beefier tie rod ends, as they were prone to snapping.

    3. Maymar Avatar
      Maymar

      I do think they’d be a lot more respected if they looked like Chevy Tahoes than what GI Joe would drive when he had kids and moved to the suburbs.

    4. Ross Ballot Avatar
      Ross Ballot

      I’m not totally on-board with the H2, but I do dig the H3 (esp. in Alpha guise). Very capable rigs marred by a frowned-upon brand logo (and 5-cylinder engine).

  4. Alff Avatar
    Alff

    I never met a car I didn’t like.

    1. Kiefmo Avatar
      Kiefmo

      My wife dogs on me all the time for finding the good in the worst car and defending it against all logic.
      They’re like puppies to me. There are no real bad ones, and the “bad” ones just need extra love.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        There are some cars though that migh just as well benefit from the love of others.

    2. crank_case Avatar
      crank_case

      I felt the same til I met the Opel Astra G
      http://automobilio.info/auto/Opel-Astra-G.jpg
      I’ve experienced dull cars, I’ve had horrendously unreliable cars, I’ve had cars that damn near broke me financially, but I’ve never had a a car that combined so much utter mediocrity with such a terrible ownership experience..

      1. Alff Avatar
        Alff

        Maybe that’s the issue – I’ve never hit the trifecta. BTW, that Opel became the most interesting Saturn.

        1. smalleyxb122 Avatar
          smalleyxb122

          The Saturn was the next generation Astra (H).
          And you mean the second most interesting Saturn, right? The Sky has to have it beat.

          1. Alff Avatar
            Alff

            No, the Sky was the second most interesting Miata.

          2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

            I thought the 124 Spider was the second most interesting Miata?

          3. smalleyxb122 Avatar
            smalleyxb122

            Thanks to the 124 Spider, it is the Miata that is the second most interesting Miata.

          4. Alff Avatar
            Alff

            I wish that were true. I’d rather have the Mazda.

          5. smalleyxb122 Avatar
            smalleyxb122

            I guess that’s why both of ’em exist. I’d much rather have the Fiat.

          6. Alff Avatar
            Alff

            It is today.

        2. Maymar Avatar
          Maymar

          My money’s on the Ion Redline – supercharged and suicide doors trump general goodness.

      2. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        But………..what did you expect? You knew of Opel’s reputation when you got this, right?

        1. crank_case Avatar
          crank_case

          I didn’t to be honest, I knew Clarkson would slag off the Vectra being so mediocre, but I didn’t expect a car that failed in every single category. I at least expected it to be a functional appliance, even it was a Hotpoint rather than Zanussi. Something like a Focus only a bit less good.
          Here was a car where you feel a design brief got last in translation, where someone in the US said, give it a big car feel in a compact, but rather than giving it the virtues of comfort, ride quality, quietness, some interpreted this as imbue it with the unwieldiness of a Cadillac eldorada. I’ve never driven a car so compact that felt so crap as a city car.
          The engine was gutless, yet incredibly unecnomical, and it’s not like you could momentum drive it like most Golf sized hatcbacks because it just seemed to resist any attempt to deliver even the perverse pleasure of hooning the unhoonable. A total joy vacuum.
          It threw an engine light within two weeks of ownership and developed terminal hydraulic tappet/head issues three months later.
          Maybe I am being unfair on car that was bought as a stop-gap runaround for €2000, but by contrast, the €950 UK version Honda Accord that followed, which I was tipped off about by a friend was a sheer joy in comparison, You got the feeling that everyone involved in the Astra from design to quality control put in the minimum disinterested effort required before bunking off for their union sanctioned tea break the minute the alert sounded, while the folks who designed the Honda actually gave a damn. After a string of motoring bad luck and other stressful things at the time, it’s no exaggeration to say that Honda literally saved my sanity. It was not a car to excite, it was not quirky, or anything like that, but it was clearly created with car.
          It met its sad end at the hands of a tailgaiting Audi TDI driver, there’s some poetic irony in there somewhere..

          1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
            The Real Number_Six

            My folks had one of those Astras and the gutless yet uneconomical engine was an absolute marvel of lackluster engineering. The fuel consumption was shocking. During the brutal Northern Ireland winter of 2010/11, it proved so hopeless at basic stuff like window defrosting, I worried for my elderly parents’ safety. At least the piece of shit started in -18C, but it certainly never warmed up in that temperature.

          2. Sjalabais Avatar
            Sjalabais

            Unbelievable how something like that even passed QC. I had to rely on the mangled, tired, leaking engine of a 1977 Volvo 242 to get me from A to B in a cold winter, often starting at -30C. The only problem I had was that I occasionally was too slow to put the choke back in, flooded the engine with gas, and had to wait for that mess to dry up.

  5. CruisinTime Avatar
    CruisinTime

    Tesla and Elon Musk get kicked around a lot.

    1. nanoop Avatar
      nanoop

      Not a fan, but I think you’re right.

    2. crank_case Avatar
      crank_case

      They’re great cars, but I think his attitude he seems to convey of treating the development of cars like software, where you can “creatively” work around legislative issues like recalls or overstating progress on autonomous driving kinda irks people, as it does me a little. I think his almost 1950s nuclear age technological optimism is refreshing in these cynical times, but there’s a danger of going too far and coming across like the Cave Johnson character from Portal 2, because SCIENCE!!!

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar
      smalleyxb122

      Don’t those all catch fire?
      The propensity for catching fire was limited to a small percentage of first year cars
      Yeah, but they handle like shit.
      Compared to what? Even with its lowly Chevette and Citation sourced suspension, it handles better than your Ford Fusion.
      It was just slapped together with parts from other cars.
      And??? It wasn’t meant to be exclusive, and even if it were, it makes sense to use mass-produced parts wherever practical. No need to reinvent the wheel (or the rear view mirror, or the heater switch, or the dome light, etc.)

      1. crank_case Avatar
        crank_case

        Handling: Compared to What? Well, this for starters:
        https://d37nk263jfz2p8.cloudfront.net/image/5/1262/541/0/114/1470/630/uploads/articles/picture-13-54aeb53f7538c.png
        The Fiero was an interesting car, and I think they had just about finally got it right before killing it, but its main problem in life was that the jewel-like AW11 existed.

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

          But the MR2 was designed as a sports car. The thing to remember is that the Fiero’s initial concept was to be a compact, efficient urban commuter car. That role got confused over time because it looked like a sports car, but it actually filled its original role quite well.

          1. Scoutdude Avatar
            Scoutdude

            The Fiero was never intended to be a compact efficient urban commuter car, that is just what Pontiac told upper management to get the green light to go forward with development. It was intended to be an entry level sporty car.

          2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

            It was originally conceived as a sports car, yes. But it got the parts-bin suspension and the Iron Duke as part of being recast as an economy car with low MSRP and high fuel mileage. I would argue it ended up being exactly what they pitched it as.

          3. Scoutdude Avatar
            Scoutdude

            It got parts bin parts because GM and because it was supposed to be an entry level sporty car. If there true goal was a economy/commuter car there is absolutely no reason that they would have made it a rear mid-engine RWD vehicle with such a large engine.

          4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

            I concede. But for whatever reasons why it ended up being what it was, I think its a better car than its reputation.

          5. nanoop Avatar
            nanoop

            Just like the CRX – 800kg and a 16V , what were they thinking.

          6. crank_case Avatar
            crank_case

            The MR2 started from the exact same place believe it or not, toyotas was playing round with the idea of something that would be economical yet fun in the late 70s, with no clear direction on what they were going to end up with, onlly as the project progressed did it crystalize into being mid engined and a genuine sports car. Having a little input from both Lotus and Dan Gurney can’t have hurt either.

        2. smalleyxb122 Avatar
          smalleyxb122

          I’ve owned 2 AW11s and 3 Fieros. The AW11 is better, but not by nearly as much as everyone seems to believe.

          1. crank_case Avatar
            crank_case

            I bow to your superior experience, but I think the crucial differene is th AW11 was pretty much right first time in US/euro markets with only minor revisions while the fiero had a much more dramatic evolution, but first impressions last as they say.

          2. Sjalabais Avatar
            Sjalabais

            So the next question would be wether the AW11 premium in the used car market is worth it? If you even can find any of these two in reasonable shape.

          3. crank_case Avatar
            crank_case

            The answer to this question in my case, genuinely was Miata.

      2. nanoop Avatar
        nanoop

        Here is a nice article by former cohoonist Ateupwithmotor (lost him with IntenseDebate), and he is using real sources, too!

        Kill Your Darlings: The Birth and Death of the Pontiac Fiero

  6. Van_Sarockin Avatar
    Van_Sarockin

    Yugo. Oh, wait, their terrible reputation really was well deserved.
    So I guess I have to go with Hyundai. The first imports were truly horrendous, but they have made great progress since then – as has the pricing.

  7. GTXcellent Avatar
    GTXcellent

    Oh, so cute. Too bad it isn’t a real Jeep, and you can’t take it off-road.
    Quadra-Trac, limited slip diff, seats 4 and can tow 5000 lbs. This isn’t a Barbie car.
    http://image.fourwheeler.com/f/9538720+w600+cr1/111832_large%2b2002_jeep_liberty%2bpassenger_front_side_view.jpg

    1. Kiefmo Avatar
      Kiefmo

      But, but, muh solid front axle…

      1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar
        Cool_Cadillac_Cat

        Yeah, as the owner of a 1998 5.9L ZJ, the solid front axle can get old on certain pavement “textures”.
        At the same time, I point it where I want to go, and it does so.

    2. Ross Ballot Avatar
      Ross Ballot

      Always wanted to like them, never really could love them. They seem to have a cult-like following in the off-road world…tiny, but die-hard.

    3. Lokki Avatar
      Lokki

      I had a friend who owned one of these from new for almost 90 days. He still refuses to talk about it.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      When from here to there, and, for a second, wasn’t sure if the picture you used was really fresh indeed:

      Well Preserved Five Cylinder Diesel: 1980 Audi 5000

      1. JayP Avatar
        JayP

        I picked a 5000 which more than likely was an autotrans.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Surely some sort of award is due for the absolutely most wildly inappropriate use of Corvette style wheels on a car

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        It may be easier to think of them instead as an unexpected repurposing of a set of factory Dodge Colt Turbo wheels.
        http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__9TTj0s27Vk/Son20bcZQsI/AAAAAAAABcY/_f3a6-mSgxk/s400/ColtGT.jpg

  8. ptschett Avatar
    ptschett

    Chrysler PT Cruiser.
    http://i1.wp.com/hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/090507-02-Chrysler_PT_Cruiser.jpg
    It was meant to be a Plymouth; it wasn’t meant to hang on in production as long as it did.

    1. JayP Avatar
      JayP

      It did what it was advertised to do.
      Sergio promised to shut the line down but certainly after he saw how the PT was selling and how it made money… he hung onto it for a few more years.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      This is possibly the best video in the series:

        1. ptschett Avatar
          ptschett

          I’m still partial to yet another Chrysler vehicle video: the Dodge Avenger. http://youtu.be/klLSZooiirk
          (And I’d even be willing to own one of these, with the Pentastar engine…)

    3. Wayward David Avatar
      Wayward David

      It was essentially a gussied-up minivan. The novel styling seemed fresh in ’01, but remained unchanged for so long we all got tired of it. It was a bit underpowered and gas mileage was disappointing, but served well as a comfortable cruiser (as the name implied). And with the back seats removed it could hold a mountain of cargo. Mine was comfortable, handled well, and was rock-solid reliable right up to about 145,000 miles when the oil drain plug worked loose on my way home from work one evening, dumping the contents of the oil pan on the 710 freeway in Long Beach with predictable consequences for the engine.

  9. Jofes2 Avatar
    Jofes2

    Modern Lancias. (Apart from the Chrysler-based ones. Shove them down a volcano all you like.)
    http://auto-database.com/image/lancia-delta-13689.jpg
    I know, they’re not rally cars, but they still have a certain feel to them. My family and I rented a Delta in Italy a few years ago, and even though the ride was too firm and the backseat was an alcantara-upholstered concrete plate, it didn’t hurt my spine nearly as much while I rode it as it hurt my heart when I said goodbye to it after a week and a half.

    1. crank_case Avatar
      crank_case

      I’d take a Ypsilon over a cutesy retro 500 any day.

    2. cronn Avatar
      cronn

      A friend has one of these. It’s not bad, it’s just ugly. Most people will probably find the Fiat Bravo more pleasing to look at. The Bravo/Delta relationship is a lot like the Golf/A3 one.

  10. Borkwagen Avatar
    Borkwagen

    The Jaguar XJ, specifically the last XJ6 available in the US. Hear me out now:
    -Straight-six, RWD, (rarely) available with a manual
    -Despite its weight, it handles beautifully, but still maintains impeccable ride quality
    -Steering is very precise despite its lightness
    -Reliable, even by non-Jaguar standards; there are no abnormal weak points, yes even including electrics, which were being sourced from Denso etc. by this point.
    -Thirsty for fossil fluids (gas mileage is usually sub-20 MPG US and it takes 8 quarts of oil), but otherwise running costs are quite reasonable
    http://carinsuranceav.com/data_images/gallery/01/jaguar-xj6/jaguar-xj6-04.jpg

    1. crank_case Avatar
      crank_case

      Things actually went downhill a little after this with early V8 issues.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        As they did with BMW’s V8s too as they switched from the big sixes.

  11. Professor Lavahot Avatar
    Professor Lavahot

    http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/legacy_thumbnail/750×422/quality/95/http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/02/03-2011-chevrolet-impala.jpg
    They’re fine. Sometimes it’s okay to want a fast, invisible cruiser-couch with ~300 HP and ~30 hwy MPG.
    I still might get one.

    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      What’s not to like? I’d take one over pretty much any large FWD sedan we get over here in Europe. Even with its somewhat cramped 90’s throwback interior.

      1. Professor Lavahot Avatar
        Professor Lavahot

        Americans don’t want a car that doesn’t look like a Transformers prop.

        1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
          Dean Bigglesworth

          I’m not sure what Finns want, but we buy small crossovers, hatchbacks and wagons with small turbocharged four and three pot turbos. Anything even remotely interesting just gets too expensive too quickly. And nothing except luxury cars is available with more than four cylinders.

    2. Papa Van Twee Avatar
      Papa Van Twee

      I had one of these on vacation, and wound up getting about 27 mpg all told. The trunk swallowed mountains of stuff, and the two kids seats fit in the back seat and were easy to put kids in and belt them up. It’s not a sports car, but if one had fallen into my price range in good condition, I would have bought it.

  12. XRSevin Avatar
    XRSevin

    I’ve owned an Aveo and a Mercury Capri (and I will defend both), but I vote for my two current rides: A 1st gen Chevy Volt and a 2nd gen Chevy Corvair. Misunderstood and crippled by politics.

  13. desmo Avatar
    desmo

    Chrysler Crossfire. I could drive one occasionally and I dare say that it came close to “brilliant”.

  14. crank_case Avatar
    crank_case

    This might not mean much to US readers, but I’m going to go with the Fiat Punto MK2, which would be frequently dismissed with Fix it again Tony jokes and comments about headgaskets in favour of “sensible”, “reliable” cars like the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra or VW Polo, and referred to by my spoiled celtic tiger cub younger cousins sneeringly as a “dole” (unemployment benefit) car, as they were so cheap used.
    http://bright-cars.com/uploads/fiat/fiat-punto-sporting-18/fiat-punto-sporting-18-04.jpg
    First of all, the head gasket issues – it’s an Italian car, it doesn’t respond well to you pootling around like a Nun in a Yaris, let it warm up and then rev the nuts off it and you’ll be fine. Never had a hint of head gasket trouble with my 16v Sporting, or anything else really. After 4 years from new I passed it to my parents who ran it for 6 years, which sounds unremarkable until you realize they were doing interstellar mileage, with very little mechanical sympathy on some of the worst moonscapes of roads rural Tipperary could throw at it (it’s not a long way to Tipperary, it just felt like it before motorways), it was later bought by a mechanic from the dealer I purchased it from who later restored it, because things like door hinges had start to get a bit wonky from sheer vibration.
    It was not only as reliable as any other small car, but for similar money, compared to the punishment beating spec Toyota or VW would have thrown at you for circa 12000 Irish pounds (this was pre eurodollars), it was a much more pleasant drive. The interior was so much nicer, I got a kicking sound system, CD changer, alloys sunfroof, six speed box and a zingy and surprisingly torquet 1.2 16v engine, while yaris owners were wondering if their tape decks could rewind quicker than 1.0 litre sewing machine could get it to 60, if they didn’t fall over in a corner first.
    The Punto was just more fun, more special feeling, better handling (no Peugeot 106 GTi, but not bad), more refined and more confortable than many of its contemporaries. You could by a misery spec 8v model sure, but it didn’t take a lot of cash to spec a really nice car by the standards of the day.

  15. Sean McMillan Avatar
    Sean McMillan

    Edsel would be the obvious one, but I’ll go for one closer to my heart. The first gen Valiant and its sister the Lancer. Outsold in ’60-’62 by all the other compacts, yet they destroyed them in racing, first American cars to use alternators, unitbody construction, and of course the origin of the almighty slant six. The marketing and corporate politics hampered it, and the styling was unconventional, but with 54 years and still going, I love my Lancer.

    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      Here’s one from a cruise last year.

      1. Sean McMillan Avatar
        Sean McMillan

        Oz? I don’t recognize the license plate. American ones don’t have that marker light on the fender and the mirrors are different.
        here’s mine https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/1933726_1029115308430_4194233_n.jpg?oh=afbdd928a75c7227c6cd749c18e31631&oe=5848ADCA

        1. longrooffan Avatar
          longrooffan

          That ride is sweet!

          1. Sean McMillan Avatar
            Sean McMillan

            Thanks, I know the roof’s a bit short for your taste, but glad you approve.

        2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
          Dean Bigglesworth

          Finland, from before the plate colours were reversed.

    2. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      How to make a super-reliable motor. Design it to be made in the new wonder material of aluminum, despair of educating about corrosion control. Make it in cast iron, sit back and watch how you build up a reputation for bulletproof-ness.

  16. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Rover P6 in America. 50:50 weight distribution, decent independent suspension with no awkward, oversteer inducing, big camber change, semi trailing arms, radial tyres, four wheel discs, modern interior, survivability in a crash and unfortunately British build quality and lack of trained dealers. So a reputation for unreliability and the loss of the Rover name in the biggest colony.
    http://images.classiccars.co.uk/c/388/270//classifieds/4/8/48c0894ea1f7c66d5cab2bc9592248f5.jpg

    1. NapoleonSolo Avatar
      NapoleonSolo

      And if you’ve seen a lot of these in driving condition or rusting away in a field, you’ll know from the old decals in the windows that many were bought by college professors and aircraft pilots. I think this car was a bit ahead of its time for the USA market where gasoline and car insurance were cheap, many customer wants could be easily satisfied with girth and cubic inches, and interstate highways demanded so little of an automobile. My 1973 2000TC was my favorite P6 to drive, but I have always thought that the P6 with a simpler engine would be a dream car. I toyed with the idea of swapping in a more modern V6. There were several routine maintenance tasks that were needlessly complicated and often neglected with the inboard rear brake design and having to essentially remove the cylinder head to adjust the valves coming first to mind. However, these are wonderful cars with ride and road manners both way ahead of their time. They still feel very much like a modern car on the road, and I love the way the modified DeDion rear suspension settles in and just GRIPS when you drive too fast through a sweeping turn on the highway. My fantasy would be to have one of these properly sorted with a 90’s Buick V6 (as I have seen in a couple of MGBs) and a modern 5-speed manual gearbox. You might see something like that around if the Rover inline four didn’t simply run and run.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        Many European cars had trouble adapting their cars to the US market. Carburretted E3 and E9 BMWs are almost impossible to get to idle properly without ‘running on’ when turned off and BMWs never handled as well as the P6 till the 1980s. And they rusted even worse. And of course the French gave up the US entirely.
        One of the best driving cars I ever had were my 2000TCs and I wish a painful death and eternal pain and damnation on the bastards that stole mine.
        The engine to use is the EFI Rover V8 in a later larger capacity mated to a ZF Auto,(from a later Land Rover/Jaguar/ BMW) instead of the BW36/65 Auto or a five or six speed manual. I have discovered that by going to wet liners I can take a P76 V8 (the tall block version of the Rover V8, same bore but 4.4 l instead of 3.5 due to the longer stroke), out to 6.2 litres. Yes I could buy an LS but where’s the fun in that? That is my plan for a future P6.

        1. NapoleonSolo Avatar
          NapoleonSolo

          I assume you know that the 8-cylinder and 4-cylinder P6 base units were not identical. The 3500 base unit had to be redesigned to accept the V8 engine. I don’t know if you are in the USA or somewhere else, but it sounds as if you are building a 3500S, not a 2000TC. Your dream car would certainly have higher performance than what I am thinking of. I spoke with a P6 owner from Australia that installed a Mazda Millenia (?) 2L inline 4 with a 5-speed. This is the same engine/trans used in some Mazda and Ford Ranger pickups sold in the USA. It supposedly dropped right in, used the same engine mounting points, and poked its gearshift lever out in exactly the correct position. It may even have been an injected engine, but I wouldn’t swear to that. For me, this would preserve the feel of the TC while providing better mileage, more relaxed cruising and easier maintenance. That’s not your dream car! 😉 It’s a shame that the 3500S we got in the USA only came with the BW35 slushbox. The car was smooth and a great cruiser, but it was not as spritely or fun to drive despite the added power and uprated springs. A five-speed would have been nice but even the later SD1 5-speed trans was rather correctly described by one writer as “agricultural.” Not a slick-shifter, and who chose those ratios? My manual SD1 seldom got out of 3rd gear in town and barreled down the interstate at about 1500 rpm.

          1. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            Yes. But the differences are minor particularly on the series 2 models. Other than trim, the differences are 4 spider gears in the diff instead of 2, the cross member below the engine being moved forward, and in all the autos a larger transmission tunnel. And the locating arms for the rear suspension are ‘bent’ to clear the slightly wider tyres while the battery is in it’s own tray in the boot. There are also differences in the pressings around the engine and front guards, most of these changes were standardised with the fours in the series 2.
            I know of at least two 2000s that have had V8s fitted, like the original prototypes did. IMHO putting in the (alloy Buick V8 based), iron V6 is 90% of the hassle of installing the V8 with 10% of the appeal. Of course there was a UK V6 version of the V8 but it never appeared with Rover badges in the Metro 6R4 and Jaguar XJ220. And the Australians were looking at an alloy V6 version of their longer stroke 4.4 V8 of 3.3 l capacity
            I prefer the looks of the earlier P6s particularly the NADA TC with it’s Rostyle wheels, tinted glass and thin stainless steel trim strips. Air Conditioning is also a nice bonus on a European car of this age.
            One of my TCs was a Kenyan spec with 9:1 compression and slightly longer suspension travel with more ground clearance, my others were all ex UK spec apart from my favourite one, a Corsica Blue NADA TC sold new to a US Servicemen in Switzerland,serviced there, then in Germany, Oklahoma, Ottawa and then brought here to NZ by the then head of the US Antarctic mission, Operation Deepfreeze in Cristchurch. After two more owners, both academics, it came into my ownership. And out of it- while in the middle of a house move, it was stolen off the road. In hindsight I should have left the plates on it to show that it was registered. I still have the plates, (no. 2oooTC) and the six speed MX5 gearbox which was to have been fitted, the original 10:1 TC motor (swapped for a 2200 TC) and one Rostyle wheel. As far as I can ascertain it seems that the car was stolen purely for it’s steel content by one of the thirty five or so rogue operators that pwowled the streets back then in 2005 and perhaps still do. As it was 2005 it was just a little early for social media or the internet to help track the car down. But I still feel the loss keenly.
            I also owned a 3500S for about a week, but was offered more than I’d paid for it, and couldn’t resist the offer. The power steering made it nicer to drive, but though there isn’t as big a performance difference between the auto V8s and a good TC as some would think, with a manual or the later ZF the V8s can be quite quick, with the handling being about the same as should be expected given that the alloy V8 weighs about the same as the considerably less refined four. (There is a reason Mitsubishi developed balance shafts)
            I bypassed the SD1 as apart from the styling they never impressed me with their technology back flip,(brake drums?) or build quality but I currently own two XXs. The Legend twins are a 820 manual Liftback and a Sterling V6 Auto, but my main car of choice to drive are Mercedes Benz W124s, all 300s. In many ways they are like a P6 updated with good aerodynamics and, to me, have a similar feel to drive.
            So yes. I have some familiarity with Rover P6s and their context and without doubt will own another one or two to go with my current collection of Citroen BX and CX, Renault Espace S1, Lancia Gamma Coupe, the Rovers and the five Mercedes.
            Surviving picture of 3.3 litre alloy australian V6
            http://www.leylandp76.com/publications/clippings/vicmag/leylandv6.jpg

          2. Rover 1 Avatar
            Rover 1

            My big reply seems to have gone. Yes I am very familiar with these cars. I’ve owned more than twenty. I’m in New Zealand and my favorite of all of them was a NADA TC LHD which was stolen from me in 2005.

    2. NapoleonSolo Avatar
      NapoleonSolo

      Personally, I think the build quality was quite good on the P6 although we never got the later cars such as the 2200. Later cars may have gone downhill, though the one late French 2200 that I have driven is extremely nice and slightly more refined. Every P6 door always closed properly with a very satisfying sound. I remember getting my first P6 after having worked on MGs for several years and being amazed at the vastly superior quality, right down things like a little shutoff valve in the fuel line. Some of the relays, switchgear and other electrics were sub-par as were the identical parts installed on many other British cars. The P6 was a departure for Rover from cars like the P4 and P5, but it was still ALL Rover. They designed it their way, built it their way and took real pride in the P6 in all its variants.

  17. peugeotdude505 Avatar
    peugeotdude505

    My Galant is a perfectly cromulent automobile!

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