Alfa Romeo Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whilst discussing GTA suspension it occurred to me the 147/156 GTA is a flawed diamond - gorgeous looks, amazing acceleration, lovely interior and an engine to die for, but 'could do better' suspension setup and worrying NCAP rating.

That got me thinking about other flawed diamonds, e.g.

NSU RO80 - lightweight rotary engine and advanced suspension gave it phenomenal handling for a 60s saloon, the futuristic styling made it look about 30 years ahead of it's time (I remember one being used in a 'noughties' car advert as a generic car), and it's primitive selespeed-style transmission (it had a manual box with an electronically controlled torque converter operated by putting your hand on the gear stick) worked better than many modern alternatives. But oh, that engine! It needed 20 years more development and a lower octane fuel type to make it viable, and the cost of repairing the blown engines left NSU so weak they were swallowed by VW and disappeared forever.

Citroen Xsara VTS (mk1) - superb revvy engine, stiff lightweight chassis and excellent suspension design made it one of the most enjoyable 'b road' or track cars ever, but the tacky interior fell to bits and it looked like a really ugly Astra, so it bombed everywhere but France. Very little chance of finding one whole now - the value of the engine and suspension was recognized by car modders, and since their resale value was so poor, almost every one was broken for spares. Quite literally a car which was less than the sum of its parts...

So which are your favourite flawed diamonds?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40,082 Posts
My Giulietta...

With better build quality and materials and a better ride/handling it would be top of its class.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,769 Posts
Same here.

The 147 was and still in some aspects still is one of the best hatchbacks out there.

Excellent interior, excellent handling, relaxed ride that picks up when you need it to, lovely design, unique.

All it needed, as I reiterate was either a tiny supercharger on its TS or had a detuned version of the TBI given to it. That would have solved all of the problems I have with mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ah yes, I guess all Alfas are flawed diamonds, must be part of their charm ;)

Thinking about it there's another reason why the RO-80 is a flawed diamond, when VW took over NSU they released NSU's new saloon, the RO-80-based K70, as a Volkswagen. That gave them just enough money to set the design team (now including all those insanely clever NSU guys) loose on creating the Audi 80 / VW Passat platform, which was the start of VW's recovery. If the RO-80 had succeeded and NSU had remained independent, VW could well have died with their clattery Type 3 / 4s in the 70s, which some may now argue would have been a good thing...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Citroen GS
Oh yes, most definitely a 'might have been' car :)

It was a great little car as-is (despite the rust, wheezy little engine and complex suspension), but just imagine if BMC had used the GS design for the Allegro rather than letting it go to Citroen, imagine if the GS Birotor (another rotary which would have left all other similarly sized cars for dead) had worked, or just imagine if the GS had originally been released with a hatch...

Citroen would definitely have survived by itself, and may be the no1 car manufacturer in the world by now :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
77,425 Posts
Oh yes, most definitely a 'might have been' car :)

It was a great little car as-is (despite the rust, wheezy little engine and complex suspension), but just imagine if BMC had used the GS design for the Allegro rather than letting it go to Citroen, imagine if the GS Birotor (another rotary which would have left all other similarly sized cars for dead) had worked, or just imagine if the GS had originally been released with a hatch...

Citroen would definitely have survived by itself, and may be the no1 car manufacturer in the world by now :)
Exactly my thoughts. :beer:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
Is there such a thing as the "ideal car"? Not sure there is, or at least nothing springs to mind.

My 156 SW 1.8 TS has its quirks*, but that's what makes it interesting IMO.


*The engines are fabulous. The only caveat on the smaller engines is the variators. The 'quirks' I'm referring to are occasional iffy suspension and electrical oddities: My previous one used to eat lightbulbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is there such a thing as the "ideal car"? Not sure there is, or at least nothing springs to mind.

My 156 SW 1.8 TS has its quirks*, but that's what makes it interesting IMO.


*The engines are fabulous. The only caveat on the smaller engines is the variators. The 'quirks' I'm referring to are occasional iffy suspension and electrical oddities: My previous one used to eat lightbulbs.
History's full of car designs with a few minor quirks or faults which give them 'character', complete dogs (e.g. almost every car made by Leyland), and worthy-but-boring cars. But I'm thinking about the cars which should have been world beaters or style icons, which bombed due to a major flaw of some sort.

For example, imagine if the fabulous E type Jag had been made to look like a brick. Or imagine the world-changing Mk1 Golf (under)powered by a clattery VW air cooled engine. Or imagine the car which put the Japanese on the world map, the Datsun 100A Cherry, rusting to bits in 5 minutes and having dustbin lids for wheels. Er, hang on...

Ok, here's another example - the BMW 2002 touring. The world's first hot hatch, beating the Golf GTi by 5 years, but sales were hampered by awkward rear-end styling and being released during the fuel crisis. Or the Triumph Stag - a truly spectacular car with a rubbish, under-developed engine; the owner's club has since fixed the fault which always killed the engine, and if a bunch of amateurs can fix it, why couldn't Triumph?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Nice thread my friend, you sound a very knowledgeable car historian:thumbup:
Thanks :) Nah, I'm just an old car geek.

There is another car I can think of which seems to fit this category, but puzzles me a bit - the Brera / 159.

The Brera was closely based on a well-received concept car, and the 159 capitalized on the well-liked 156 whilst addressing it's major flaws - poor passenger safety and floppy chassis. But yet sales dwindled to nothing and I can't work out why; was the GM association really that poisonous? :confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Trying to put myself back into 'night shift mode' so I've been Googling around the 159, and found this flame war on Pistonheads which sums it up perfectly - the GM association was poisonous (esp for the 1.9 jtd) and the 'sluggish / heavy ' reputation of the first cars did stick, i.e. first impressions last.

So in short, the 159 / Brera definitely belong on this list - a great car series scuppered by poor initial reviews, and the impression it was based on a shared GM platform / engines.

Wonder if the primary anti-Alfa poster (daemon) is eating his words about VWs now? ;)
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top