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    SALES FORCE / SURVIVOR’S GUIDE / WORDS PAUL WAGER / 40 YEARS OF THE CAVALIER / #2015 / #1975 /

    We chart four decades and three generations of the Cavalier, the car which finally allowed #Vauxhall to topple Ford in the fleet market. #Vauxhall-Cavalier / #Vauxhall-Cavalier-MkI / #Vauxhall-Cavalier-MkII / #Vauxhall-Cavalier-MkIII / Vauxhall / #GM / #Opel-Vectra / #Opel / #Opel-Ascona / #Opel-Ascona-B / #Opel-Ascona-C / #Opel-Vectra-A /

    Back in the ’50s, the US influence brought to bear on the previously rather dowdy Vauxhall range by its parent company General Motors was by and large a good thing. A dose of transatlantic glamour, a touch of chrome and even fins on the bigger models all suggested Detroit rather than Luton and all that held the firm back was its rather unfortunate reputation for rot.

    Into the ’60s, the recipe continued to work well but as the decade wore on, the need to downsize became more apparent as changing tastes and wider car ownership dictated smaller, more efficient cars. The first fruit of this thinking was the Viva of 1963, which was the smallest Vauxhall model to date and sold well. Crucially, it sold more to private buyers rather than the growing fleet market and the FE Victor failed to appeal against the slick marketing and pricing of the 1962 Cortina and even the still appealing BL products. Suddenly a neater European style was fashionable and the flamboyance of the US-influened Victor started to look outdated. The marque’s reputation for rot didn’t help things and GM knew a solution was needed.

    The answer was to more closely integrate its British and German subsidiaries, with Opel having been a part of the GM fold since 1931. The two firms had tentatively collaborated on the Viva and Kadett back in the early ’60s with both models featuring similar specification, while the FE Victor already used the Opel Rekord floorpan and this time the idea was to integrate the British and European products more closely.

    The result was that the Opel Ascona was picked by management as the basis for a proposed new Vauxhall midranger: it was the perfect size for a Cortina challenger and its conventional longitudinal engine and rear-drive layout would be a fleet-friendly recipe.

    Unlike the Victor though, budgets ruled out an entirely new body style and design director Wayne Cherry was asked to simply rework the Ascona. Cherry had already shown himself to be a fan of the dramatically wedgenosed designs and despite not being given free rein to develop something in the mould of his previous Firenza, he was able to adapt the front end of the recently-launched Manta (itself also developed on the same structure) to create a fresh-faced shape very different from the Ascona. Under the skin, the British car was identical to its German counterpart, which meant wishbone front and live axle with trailing arm rear suspension and the cam-in-head engines from 57 bhp 1.3 to 100 bhp 2-litre.

    The Cavalier was launched at the London motor show in 1975 and the timing couldn’t have been better: the Cortina was still in its MkIII incarnation which still had a year to last until the MkIV would arrive. The Coke bottle styling which had seemed so fresh in 1970 was now looking dated and the Cavalier’s neat European look was something new.

    Coupled with its fleet manager-friendly mechanical layout, the Cavalier sold well, with UK production coming on stream from 1977 at which point it could also be considered a ‘buy British’ choice. Certainly road testers of the day rated it highly, placing it above the Marina and even the Cortina. With the smaller Chevette slotting in below it in the range (also largely based on the Opel Kadett), Vauxhall once more had a competitive line-up.


    Of course Ford didn’t rest on its laurels and in 1976 unveiled the MkIV Cortina, meaning that Vauxhall was once more playing catch-up. This time though, it was starting from a more promising position in the shape of GM’s ‘J-Car’ project – one of the first attempts to create a ‘world car’ design which could be adapted to different markets with relatively little redesign.


    Development was a transatlantic affair, with teams based both in Detroit and Rüsselsheim and the car itself was intended as essentially a larger version of the MkI Astra/Kadett platform. Transverse engines and front-wheel drive would give it a modern flavour, while the cam-in-head engines would be replaced by a newly-developed family of OHC powerplants. With an alloy crossflow head and hydraulic tappets together with Varajet II carb and electronic ignition, they were designed for low-maintenance costs and improved fuel economy, while power outputs were up across the board: the 1.3-litre now developed 75 bhp which was equivalent to the outgoing 1.6.

    Elsewhere, the MkII Cavalier also boasted a famously neat piece of design in the sliding input shaft which allowed the clutch to be changed in just 65 minutes – at least, according to the1981 press release. Underneath, the MkII boasted MacPherson strut front suspension and coil-sprung rear with space-saving ‘Minibloc’ springs.

    Vauxhall also knew that Ford wouldn’t be replacing the Cortina until 1983 and so knew that if they could get their all-new Cavalier into production by 1981, they would steal a march on their Detroit rivals, with a car which made the Cortina look decidedly old-hat.


    As luck would have it, initial public reaction to the Sierra was also muted and the MkII Cavalier gave Vauxhall its big chance in the fleet market.

    Launched in summer 1981, the Cavalier was available as a two-door (later dropped) or a four-door saloon, but also a five-door hatchback which gave it something the Cortina couldn’t offer.

    Its neat styling, pleasant driving manners and decent build quality won it many ‘conquest’ sales as the Cortina was wound down and the biggest prize for Vauxhall must have been the 1984 sales figures which placed the Cavalier in second place with the Sierra down in fifth – a terrible showing for a brand new model, although Ford could take comfort in the fact that its Escort was rarely shifted from the number one spot.


    Initially just two engine options were offered: a 1.3-litre rated at 75bhp or a 90bhp 1.6, with trim levels ranging from basic, L and GL through to GLS and the sporty SR. In 1983, the range was expanded to add a fuel-injected, 115bhp 1.8-litre engine available in the new GLSi, CDi and SRi models as well as the rather lacklustre 54bhp diesel engine and a voluminous estate created by using panels from the Australian-market Holden version of that world car design.

    The SRi in particular was something of a halo model for the range with its boot spoiler, alloy wheels and checked Recaro seats and notably more sporting than any of the Sierra models. In 1985, the Cavalier received a first facelift with a chunky new chip-cutter grille, restyled rear lights and revised specifications. It worked well without detracting from the neatly understated style, but Ford was also fast catching up with the Sierra which after a slow start was really gaining ground.


    In 1987, the grille was revised once more with a slatted style and the top engine was upgunned to an injected 2-litre good for 130bhp with the SRi now renamed ‘SRi 130’. The Cavalier remained an attractive product to the end, but with rivals like the Pininfarina-styled Peugeot 405 on the market, coupled with the increased attractiveness of entry-level BMWs, VWs and Audis, the writing was on the wall for the MkII which ended production in 1988. Its swansong was the Calibre special edition, created by in-house tuner Irmscher which took the SRi 130 in four-door saloon form and added a chunky Tickford-penned bodykit, sports exhaust and sports suspension. A limited edition of 500, it boasts a survival rate far higher than the average MkII but is still a rare beast. With over 807,000 examples sold and cars even exported back to Europe, the MkII reversed Vauxhall’s fortunes in the British volume market but the big question was what exactly to replace it with.


    The answer was of course, more of the same. The MkIII Cavalier unveiled at the British motor show in 1988 was in fact a heavily facelifted version of the MkII and carried over much of the engineering but looked like a bigger, more grown-up car. Once again, its styling was neat but inoffensive and was identical between Opel (now badged Vectra) and Vauxhall versions. Careful attention was paid to detail engineering and the new car had a feeling of solidity which set it apart from the MkII, with chunkier plastic mouldings and improved corrosion protection. The engine range was now larger too, kicking off with a fuelinjected 1400 option which just a few years ago would have seemed too small for a car this size but which offered 75bhp – the same as the original MkII’s 1600 unit. Further up the range was found the 1600, 1800 and the 2-litre, the latter now available in 150 bhp 16-valve form as used in the Astra GTE.


    More was to come though: in 1992, a 167 bhp 2.5-litre V6 and a 204bhp turbocharged four-wheel drive model were added to the range, with a new trim level bringing with it full leather trim and the 4x4 also available as a regular L model. ABS and airbags also featured on the menu, making the Cavalier a thoroughly modern offering. Meanwhile, further down the range the diesel option was improved with the addition of the Isuzu-sourced 1.7-litre engine in both 57bhp and 82 bhp intercooled turbo versions.

    The MkIII version represented the pinnacle of the Cavalier and despite Ford’s best efforts the Sierra was looking increasingly dated against the Vauxhall, even if the lairy Cosworth did gain a cult following which the more subtle Cavalier 4x4 Turbo lacked. The MkIII also spawned the Calibra which was a more glamorous, two-door Cavalier and offered a stylish coupe sitting below the Corrado and 3-Series in price.

    The MkIII would continue in production until 1995 and remained competitive right to the end, but in the face of new opposition GM had no choice but to embark on a further update.

    That competition of course came in the shape of the Mondeo which spearheaded Ford’s remarkable reinvention of its product range during the ’90s and which would take a state-of-the-art challenger to unseat it. And GM’s response? Ah yes, that’ll be the Vauxhall Vectra... the story of which deserves a feature all of its own.

    THE CAVALIER THAT WASN’T

    When the Cavalier was replaced by the Vectra in 1995, it represented more than a name change but a larger cultural shift. The Vectra name had been used for European versions of the model since the MkIII and replacing the Cavalier name was significant as it represented the end of a perceived need to engineer a different model for the UK market.

    An all-new model built on a 5cm longer wheelbase and with wider track and multi-link suspension, the Vectra B as it’s known in Vauxhall/Opel circles was in its own way just as neat as the Mondeo and a worthy successor to the much-loved Cavalier. Its styling was tidy if rather bland and the racy oval mirrors sweeping out of the scuttle line were an elegant touch. It was an easy-riding motorway pounder even if its chassis lacked the sparkle of the new Mondeo which appealed to road warrior types. The engine range was modern enough too, with 16-valve units standardised from 2000 at which point the chassis received a facelift too. So why was the Vectra a failure? Actually, it wasn’t: the car sold strongly across the fleet sector and it was only the sensationalist comments of a certain J Clarkson still keen to make a name for himself that placed that image in the public mind. The Vectra B was replaced by the squarer Vectra C in 2002 which was even more significant for Vauxhall, representing as it did a sad milestone. The new Vectra was produced entirely in Europe, which meant the end of car production in Luton.

    Top of the Cavalier range was the 204 bhp Turbo 4x4. A V6 option was also available, as was a luxury leather spec.

    Although the MkIII Cavalier was a heavily revamped version of the previous model, it sold well against the Sierra and early Mondeo.

    MkII seemed very modern compared to the Cortina, giving Vauxhall a great opportunity in the gap before the Sierra arrived.

    The second generation of the Cavalier proved a top seller for Vauxhall.

    The Cavalier was a comfortable and able performer and transported countless reps around our motorway network.

    The short-lived two door coupè is now highly sought after.

    The MkI's sloping nose is attributed to designer Wayne Cherry.
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    Sweden’s Volvo is now made in the new #Nova-Scotia

    A he first European automobile manufacturer to establish production facilities in North America is the distinguished Swedish firm, Volvo. After intensive study of locations throughout Canada, #Volvo chose Nova Scotia to build cars for the Canadian market.

    The president of the firm concluded, “We have done so because Nova Scotia affords all-year transportation, because of skilled and conscientious workers and enthusiasm and co-operation on the part of government at all levels.”

    Volvo is only one of the many new firms enthusiastic about Nova Scotia. If you have been thinking of re-locating or expanding your plant or factory, investigate the possibilities of the new Nova Scotia. The Department of Trade and Industry offers both financial and technical assistance to promote new business opportunities.

    In addition, the Nova Scotia Research Foundation, working closely with the province’s universities and industry, has established a fine reputation for its valuable technical assistance.

    Nova Scotia is an exciting place to work, live and play Family life is centered on the joys of the sea and the land. Everything is near at hand, unencumbered and unspoiled.

    For the booklet, “New Nova Scotia” and further information, write or visit: Department of Trade and Industry, Halifax, N.S. or Nova Scotia Information Offices listed below.

    The #1964 / #Volvo-122 / #Canada / #Volvo-Amazon

    An ad from the Province of Nova Scotia promoting their new Volvo assembly plant. Does anybody know what became of Volvo's Canadian assembly plant?
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    SURVIVOR’S GUIDE Volvo Amazon TANK COMMAND. The rugged ’60s Volvo is a practical choice but it still needs the right care and maintenance to survive. Words Paul Wager / #Volvo-Amazon / #Volvo / #Volvo-Amason / #Volvo-120-series /

    With its mixture of ‘60s style, solid build and rugged mechanical bits, the Volvo ‘Amazon’ – or 120-series to give its proper name – makes a very practical classic which is eminently capable of being pressed into daily service.

    That doesn’t mean it won’t need suitable care and attention though: the design first saw the light of day in the 1950s and rugged though it may be, it’s still a 1950s car underneath.

    In production for 14 years, the Amazon was a big seller for #Volvo around the world – of the 667,323 examples produced between #1967 and #1970 , over half were exported which means there are plenty around. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of running one as your classic.

    BODYWORK

    It’s something of a misconception that old Saabs and Volvos were built to withstand such extremes of climate that they simply shrug off the UK weather and in reality they rust just as extensively as any other steel-bodied car of the era. In the words of one Amazon owner we spoke to recently: “They take longer to rust, but when they start they really go.” One common cause is leaky front screen seals which tend to dry out and allow water down the A-pillars to rot out the floors. The rubbers are both sealed and glued in place and it pays to keep an eye on their condition.

    Elsewhere, the front wings can start to bubble, while the arches will look tatty and rotten inner wings can get costly to fix. The boot floor can rot around the spare wheel well if the drain holes are blocked, while the sills and door bottoms can also be troublesome.

    ENGINE

    The B16/18/20 engines are rugged units but do suffer a couple of issues related to the age of the design. The first is the felt rear crankshaft oil seal, which tends to allow oil on to the clutch. The problem can be solved by upgrading to a modern neoprene seal which is done on an exchange basis – you buy a new seal with the neoprene already fitted and return your old felt unit for reconditioning.


    On older engines the fibre timing gear can also break up, but again a modern replacement will solve the problem and is available from specialists.

    TRANSMISSION

    The direct-acting gearshift is normally a positive change despite the lever’s long throw but if it starts to feel awkward then suspect the gearbox mountings may have failed. This allows the box to physically drop in the chassis and the cure is to fit polyurethane replacements.

    BRAKES

    The saloons and estates used #Girling front discs and rear drums and the system works well but discs can be surprisingly expensive: £184 each brand new, with an exchange price tending to vary. Essentially there’s just a single Swedish supplier for the parts and the hub is built into the disc rotor which explains the cost.

    SUSPENSION

    Everything you might need is available, although a change in the design of the rear trailing arms in 1966 means you’ll need your chassis number to hand if yours was built in that year. Uprated bushes are widely available to firm it up, while several brands including #Koni , #Bilstein and #GAZ can supply uprated dampers, with a big choice of springs also available.

    TRIM

    Most of the trim is available via Swedish supplier VP Autoparts (www.vp-autoparts.com) in the common colours. Dash tops tend to split and reproduction parts are available but since they’re glued and stapled in place it’s not a five-minute job.

    The front seats came with headrests from 1968, although all the cars will have the necessary fittings in the seat frame. The Amazon also came with standard-fit front seatbelts plus factory-fitted mounting points for rear belts.

    The window winders use chains and when they break you’ll need a special tool to set it all up again.

    Many owners also remove the factory-fitted soundproofing from the cabin as it tends to absorb moisture and encourage rust, replacing it with a modern equivalent like Dynamat.

    WHEELS & TYRES

    Tyre choice for the correct 165/80 rubber on the standard 4x15 wheels is limited, with the cheaper tyres not always well regarded. Suppliers like Longstone can supply the Michelin ZX which is a good choice, while some owners move up to 5” wheels which allows a much wider and cheaper choice of 195-section tyres.

    And speaking of wheels, the PCD is the same as the Ford Mustang which means there’s a good choice of aftermarket styles available.

    ELECTRICS

    The electrical system on these cars is robust and you can expect it to be reliable. Many owners do tend to upgrade the standard tail light bulbs to brighter LEDs since the lamp units themselves are small by modern standards.

    AMAZON CHOICE

    If you’re going to use the car every day then Amazon fans suggest a post-1968 car as the sensible choice, since they had the benefit of more power from the upgraded 118 bhp Volvo-B20 2-litre engine, plus dual-circuit braking and standard front headrests.

    AMAZON EVOLUTION

    The range grew to include four and two-door saloons plus the estate. The P1800 coupe was also based on the Amazon.

    Launched in #1956 as the #Volvo-120 , the ‘Amazon’ tag was used only in Sweden after motorbike maker Kriedler objected to Volvo’s original name ‘Amason’. The car kicked off the three-digit naming convention used by #Volvo until the late ’90s. Engineering of the Amazon was conventional, with a longitudinal fourcylinder engine driving a coil-sprung live rear axle. The 1.6-litre #Volvo-B16A engine was derived from that used in the Amazon’s predecessor, the Volvo PV544 and the car was initially offered as just a four-door saloon. In 1958 the twin-carb #Volvo-B16B engine provided 85 bhp, with the 1778cc B18 engine introduced in 1961 in 75 or 85 bhp trim. At the same time the 122S model debuted the 90 bhp #Volvo-B18D engine, subsequently uprated to 95 and then 100 bhp. The 123GT was introduced as a two-door only model in 1967 with the 115 bhp 1778cc engine, with the engine taken up to 1998cc in 1968 and good for 90 bhp in the 121 or 118 bhp in the 122S.

    The two-door model was offered from 1962, alongside a five-door estate and from 1959 the car was offered with standard front seatbelts – the first production car to offer the feature.

    Production finally ended in July 1970, when the car was replaced by the mechanically similar but squarer-looking 140 model.

    They're made of thick steel but can still rot alarmingly. Engines are rugged but rear oil seal upgrade is wise.
    All the panels you'll need for bodywork repair are available from specialists, as is much of the interior trim.

    TECH SPEC #1965 #Volvo-122S
    BODY & CHASSIS Monocoque four-door saloon
    ENGINE 1778cc OHV four-cylinder.
    Max power 100 bhp at 5700 rpm
    Max torque 129 lb ft at 3900 rpm
    TRANSMISSION Four-speed overdrive
    SUSPENSION Front, wishbone and coil springs. Rear, live axle with trailing arms and coil springs.
    BRAKES Front discs #Girling , rear drums
    WHEELS & TYRES 4x15 wheels with 165x15 tyres
    TOP SPEED 103 mph
    0-60 MPH 14.4 secs
    ECONOMY 35 mpg
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    Paul Wager
    Paul Wager created a new group Volvo Amazon

    Volvo Amazon Open

    Volvo Amazon

    View Group →
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    EIGHT ACE #Renault-8-Gordini

    It’s hard not to like this French fancy, especially as it’s Gordini powered. The #Renault 8 Gordini was one of the earliest Q-Car saloons but they’re rare today which is why one man created his own. WORDS Paul Wager /// Photography Rick Davy

    It might be hard to imagine now but there was once a time when the Renault 8 was a reasonably familiar sight on British roads. Launched in 1962, the rear-engined R8 was derived from the Dauphine with which it shared part of the basic body structure, but the angular body style was far more modern than the older car and boasted an all-new engine design.

    Like our own similar-looking rear-engined Imp, the R8 motor was an advanced design for the day, featuring an alloy cylinder head and five-bearing crankshaft, although valve actuation was by pushrod. Known as the Sierra engine, then Cléon-Fonte or simply Cléon after the name of its manufacturing plant and later simply the Renault C-Type engine, it remained in production until the ’90s where it last appeared in the Twingo.

    In its initial R8 guise, the 956cc motor boasted just 44 bhp, although this was later increased to 1108cc and 50 bhp for 1964 but the real gem was the Gordini performance model. Engine tuner #Amedée-Gordini had been working with both Renault and its #Alpine affiliate since the late ’50s and the Gordini-modified #Dauphine had been a success in the market, so it was no surprise when a Gordini-badged R8 appeared in 1964. This boasted 95 bhp from the 1108cc motor courtesy of a crossflow head, four-branch exhaust manifold and two twin-choke Solex carbs. The uprated motor drove through a modified close-ratio four-speed transmission and it sat on lower, stiffer springs with the rear end receiving a novel four-shock rear damper arrangement and the steering sharpened up from 3.75 turns lock-to-lock to 3.2.

    It was easy to spot a Gordini: they were offered only in a characteristic shade of French racing blue with go-faster stripes (supplied for the UK market as a roll of tape) and boasted larger 7-inch headlights than the regular 1108 car. For 1967 the Gordini was facelifted to receive a pair of additional driving lights and the engine grew to 1255cc good for 100 bhp on twin Webers. Incredibly, the R8 itself lasted in production until 1976 with Renault’s Spanish subsidiary, although French production ended in 1973.

    The real Gordini was very much a connoisseur’s car, much like the more extreme #RenaultSport models of recent years and it wasn’t the sort of car you bought by mistake: you had to really want one and they were costly, too. Throw in rampant rot and you can see why there aren’t many left here in the UK.

    One man who neatly sidestepped that problem was Alex Abadzis, who simply acquired a cooking R8 and turned it into a superb period racer using all the right bits. “I’d always wanted an R8 Gordini,” he recalls. “But to be honest, any R8 would do.” This particular example was bought online and as Alex recalls, it was a complete wreck and arrived home on a trailer.

    He already had plans for the car but his first task was to resurrect the frilly bodywork. “Lots of sill work,” he laughs, “and the inner door shuts were so badly holed you could see daylight through them. The rear arches were so rotten that if you stuck your head up inside the rear arches, you could see the back seat quite clearly!” Rather fortunately, Alex runs his own garage – Grove Garage in Weybridge, Surrey (www. grovegarageweybridge.co.uk) where he specialises in French cars of all kinds which meant resurrecting the Renault wasn’t the massive task it might have been – although as he admits, it still took the best part of a year.

    As far as sourcing parts is concerned, Alex reckons the situation is surprisingly good, as long as you’re prepared to order from France and he rates Mecaparts in Bourges as “fantastic” at getting him what he needed for the restoration.

    Closer to home, the Renault clubs, especially the Renault Classic Car Club forum was invaluable in sourcing obscure ’60s Renault bits and as Alex explains, “you put an ad up on the forum and a couple of days later you’ll get a call from someone with some great bits stashed away.”

    With the Renault’s bodyshell sewn back up again, Alex could address his original plan to modify the car and it was of course the Gordini style that he had in mind.

    Accordingly, the 1108cc motor was lifted out along with its gearbox and was replaced with a real Gordini engine – but not the rare R8 version, rather the later 1397cc, 93 bhp version as fitted to the Renault 5 Gordini, complete with 10.:1 compression and big valve Alpine head.

    In the Five this would have come as standard with a five-speed box but of course the later car is front-drive while the rear-engined R8 is rear drive. The solution was to enlist Gordini racer Stephen Swan to build up a suitable five-speed unit using the R8 casing and parts from an R5 five-speed box.

    Meanwhile, the chassis received the Gordini treatment with Gordini race coil springs all round and a recreation at the rear end of the four-shock set-up.

    Inside the car, the original dashboard was discarded and Alex made up a suitably period multi-dial affair as befits its performance status. The wheels are a superb choice and were taken from an Alpine A110. Made in France, they’re GT alloys and look just right under the R8, where they would have been a popular period accessory.

    Running with a fast road cam and twin #Weber 40s, that R5 motor now pushes out some 110-120 bhp and makes for an entertaining drive. Alex uses the car on the road and also for track days with the Renault Classic Car Club and laughingly dismisses an engine with twice the car’s original power output as ‘nothing too mad’... but then reveals that since our photos he’s started building up a 1550cc version of the engine, hoping to get to 150 bhp.

    Meanwhile, with the car you see here nicely complete, Alex has also finally acquired a genuine R8 Gordini, which he’s been busy restoring, but once again it’s running an R5 engine rather than the original, which has been carefully removed and stored should the need for originality ever enter the frame. What was that I said about the R8 being a rare sight..?

    THE GORDINI EIGHT

    Priced up at £983 in #1965 , the #Gordini was always destined to be something of a niche choice here in Britain but road testers loved it, both for its performance and its understated looks. In that respect it predated cars like the M3 and M5 by decades and one Autocar road test summed it up with the caption “Four doors, four seats and 106 mph - an unusual combination for an 1108cc car.” Indeed, the performance of the R8 Gordini was closely matched to 1275 Mini Cooper S but to get similar performance in a four-door car you otherwise needed to be looking at much more expensive cars like the Alfa Romeos or Jaguars. Those ’60s road testers were impressed by the Gordinimodified suspension’s grip too, reporting that they had to work hard to get the tail to step out, although they did find fault with its susceptibility to side winds at high speed. They also managed to boil the brake fluid and suggested to readers that they might want to use Renault’s competition fluid...

    A couple of years later when testing the 1300 version of the Gordini, Autocar was even more impressed, reporting that the brakes were now fade-free and that the handling was simply ‘superb’ while discovering that the absence of a rev limiter allowed them to hit 7500 rpm quite happily. No wonder they had to add a pint of oil every 500 miles. “A little bomb, capable of outsquirting almost everything around it,” they concluded.

    R8 fan Alexander Abadzis, now the proud owner of both this car and also a real Gordini.

    Multi-dial dash was fabricated by Alex to replace the plain original. R8 Gordini was one of the fastest small four-doors around.

    It's a real Gordini motor, but a later 1397cc R5-spec unit.

    TECH SPEC #Renault-8
    ENGINE 1397cc OHV
    POWER 110 bhp est
    0-60 MPH Est 12.3 secs (std Gordini)
    TOP SPEED 106 mph (std Gordini)
    GEARBOX Five-speed manual
    BRAKES 10.2 inch discs all round
    FRONT SUSPENSION Wishbones with coil springs, anti-roll bar and telescopic dampers
    REAR SUSPENSION Swing axles, trailing arms, coil springs, four dampers
    WHEELS & TYRES GT alloy wheels
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