Showing posts with label German Cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label German Cars. Show all posts

BMW 2002 Turbo

BMW 2002 Turbo 1970s German classic sports car

Sadly, the BMW 2002 Turbo was not a success in the showrooms. To be fair, the timing of its launch could not have been worse. In '73, petrol-pump prices almost doubled - because of the OAPEC fuel crisis. Motorists panicked. The 17mpg 2002 Turbo never stood a chance. BMW became very anxious, very quickly! In only the second year of its production run, the 2002 Turbo was dropped. Just 1,672 cars had been built. Bad luck, basically! In different economic circumstances, the car could have been a best-seller.

The 2002 Turbo was inspired by a BMW works racer. Its raison d'être was to breathe life back into BMW's entry-level saloon car slot. To that end, the Turbo's top speed stat of 130mph was bang on the automotive money. Peak output was 170bhp. The 2-litre 4-cylinder engine was fuel-injected. And was kitted out with a KKK turbocharger. At low to medium revs, there was little to split the Turbo and standard version 2002. That all changed, though, at 4,500rpm. When the boost kicked in, you knew about it. Thankfully, the Turbo had been prepped for the extra stress. It had beefier driveshafts and bearings than standard. Suspension spring rates were wound up. Bilstein dampers were fitted at the back. Anti-roll bars were fitted, fore and aft. Wheels were fat Mahle alloys - shod with Michelin XWX rubber. The front two were stopped by 4-pot ventilated disc brakes. Big drums brought up the rear.

The Turbo's gleaming paint-job - and racy decals - dazzled onlookers. Seventies chic, so to speak. The interior, too, was cut from the same glam cloth. Bucket seats were a snug fit. A bright-red instrument fascia focused attention. The turbo-boost gauge sat in the middle of the dash. A thick-rimmed 3-spoke sports steering-wheel topped it all off. Boy racer style, all the way. BMW's 2002 Turbo was the right car - at the wrong time. Ultimately, it could not get enough of what it needed most. The crippling cost of petrol, at the time, meant it simply could not survive!

Porsche 356

Porsche 356 1940s German classic sports car

The Porsche 356 was the start of a design dynasty. Ferdinand Porsche opened his studio in '31. It would be a further fifteen years before the first Porsche production car. When it arrived, it was no coincidence that the 356 was similar to the VW Beetle. Dr Porsche had penned that car, too. The 356's compact and rounded lines oozed understated charm. In the Fifties, it was the small - but perfectly-formed - 356 which cemented Porsche in the public eye. Right up until '65, in fact - when the Porsche 911 hit centre stage.

For the first four years, the 956 was manufactured in Austria. It was fitted with a flat-four push-rod engine. Rear-mounted - and topped off with a cute grille - the air-cooled motor kept time in pleasingly pulsating fashion. With a capacity of just 1,100cc, it made a mere 40bhp. Top speed was 87mph - pretty good, considering. Suspension was via trailing-link up front - and high-pivot swing axle at the rear. The gearbox was a 4-speed affair. The 356's split windscreen was the most notable design flourish.

The Porsche 356A model was released in '55 - in Germany. Bodywork-wise, it was less rotund than the first version. The new car came with a curved, one-piece screen. Front suspension and steering were revised. A bigger engine had been installed. 1,600cc was a half-litre up on the original. 356 B and C models duly followed. Roadsters, a Karmann coupé, and the Super 75 and Super 90 continued to uprate the technical spec. There was also a 356 Carrera. Indeed, even after the 911 series took over the Porsche reins, the 912 still had a foot in both camps. It was powered by a 356 engine - in a 911 shell. In terms of its legacy, then, the Porsche 356 was pretty pivotal to the Stuttgart marque!

NSU Ro80

NSU Ro80 1960s German classic car

The NSU Ro80's styling was ahead of its time. At first glance, the masses of glass seemed straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile. Its 'low front, high back' stance would influence automotive design for years to come. For a 5-seater saloon car, the Ro80 was highly aerodynamic. Cruising at speed, then, was a breeze. So well-sorted was the NSU outwardly that it barely changed in the ten years of its run. Only tail-lights were modified, over time.

Handling-wise, the Ro80 was just as impressive. FWD and power-steering kept things nicely aligned. Long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. New-fangled disc brakes were fitted all round. A 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through gears with aplomb. Top speed was a creditable 112mph.

Nothing, though, is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get cars into showrooms - said motor was under-developed. Which is when the problems started. A mere 15,000 miles was all it took. The Wankel's rotor-tip seals wore out. Frustrated owners cited less power - and more fuel consumption. As wear increased, the engines grew harder to start. If the car could be coaxed into life at all, it was with thick smoke billowing from the exhaust pipe. Even in less environment-sensitive times, that did not go down well. To be fair, NSU settled claims with alacrity. Indeed, it was not unknown for it to stump up double-digit engine replacements, in due course. Which only serves to show what an alluring overall package the Ro80 was. A car which caused so many headaches - and was still in demand - must have had something going for it. And - in terms of looks, at least - the NSU Ro80 most certainly did!