Alfa Romeo Alfasud
The Alfa Romeo Alfasud is a small family car produced from 1971 to 1989 by Industria Napoletana Costruzioni Autoveicoli Alfa Romeo-Alfasud S.p.A, a new firm founded by Alfa Romeo and Finmeccanica. It was headquartered in Italy’s impoverished southern region as a part of the government’s labor policy.
The car was introduced to the public at the Turin Motor Show in 1971 and quickly garnered accolades from journalists for its exceptional styling. The Alfasud is regarded as one of the most successful models of Alfa Romeo, with a total of 893,719 units sold from 1972 to 1983.
Commonly referred to as the ‘Sud’, it revolutionized the small car segment and also delivered one of the finest front-wheel-drive cars in automotive history. It saw two redesigns, first in 1977 and another in 1980.
The four-door saloon was powered by a 1,186 cc Boxer water-cooled engine that featured a belt-operated overhead camshaft on each cylinder head. It also came with a sophisticated suspension system for a car in its class: MacPherson struts up front and a beam axle at the rear.
Other unique features include rack and pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes. The design of the engine allowed the cars to have a low bonnet line, giving them a low center of gravity and making them very aerodynamic.
Because of its design features, the Alfasud has superb performance for its engine size, as well as levels of handling and road-holding that won’t be equaled in its class for another decade. Some of its controls were eccentric, the lights, wipers, horn, heater fan, and turn indicators were all operated by pushing, turning or pulling the two column stalks.
BMW E30 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series is an entry-level luxury car produced by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG since May 1975. It succeeded the 02 Series and has been manufactured and marketed in six generations.
The first generation was only offered as a two-door sedan, but the model range has since grown to include the five door, hatchback, five-door station wagon, four-door sedan, two-door coupe and two-door convertible body styles.
In 2013, the convertible and coupé models began to be badged as 4 Series, so the 3 Series lineup no longer includes both trims. The 3 Series holds the distinction as Bimmer’s best-selling model, accounting for approximately 30 percent of the German automaker’s total annual sales.
The BMW 3 Series also bagged multiple awards throughout its production run. The M variant, known simply as M3, was unveiled in 1988 together with the E30 M3, which was originally produced in the two-door sedan body style.
The BMW M3 made its debut on the E30 platform. The E30 M3 was equipped with the S14 four-cylinder mill, which thumped out 235 horsepower in its final version. The 325iX model became the first in the 3 Series range to use all-wheel drive. The saloon iteration of the E30 was replaced in 1990, but the cabriolet and the estate models were retained until 1993.
The Toyota MR2 is a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car produced in Japan and sold worldwide by Toyota from 1984-2007 over three generations: the W10 from 1984 to 1989; the W20 from 1990 to 1999; and the W30 from 2000 to 2007.
Conceived as a small, lightweight and economical two-seater, the MR2 featured simple design elements, including transverse-mounted inline-four engines and MacPherson strut front and rear suspensions. The name MR2 stands for either “mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-seater” or “mid-ship, run-about, two-seater”.
The MR2 was based on a 1976 Toyota design project with the objective of building a car that would be fun to drive, yet still deliver good fuel economy. Design work started in 1979 when Akio Yoshida from the testing department of Toyota began evaluating alternatives for drive technique and engine placement.
Yoshida went for a mid-transverse engine placement and the car was called the 1981 prototype SA-X. From the original design, it evolved into a sports car, and subsequent prototypes were tested both in Japan and in the U.S.
All three generations of the MR-2 met the Japanese government’s regulations for engine displacement and exterior dimensions. The car was released at about the same time as the Nissan EXA, the Honda CR-X, the VW Scirocco and Fiat X1/9 from Europe, and the Ford EXP and Pontiac Fiero from North America.
Toyota unveiled its SV-3 concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1983. The car was launched in Japan in the second quarter of 1984 under the name MR2. It became the first mass-produced mid-engined car from a Japanese automaker.
The GS is a small family car produced by Citroën for the 1970 to 1986 model years in sedan and wagon body styles, through a single generation. The car was given a facelift in 1979 and was sold as the GSA in hatchback and wagon body styles from 1979 to 1986.
The GS was named the European Car of the Year for 1971 and was lauded for being technologically advanced, with class-leading aerodynamics, comfort, and safety. Its direct competitors in Europe included the Ford Escort, Fiat 128, Vauxhall Viva, and the Renault 6.
When the GS was launched by Citroen on August 24, 1970, it featured a ‘Berline’ body style which is basically a 4-door saloon with three lateral windows. It had a fastback design with a Kamm tail. The aerodynamics provided the best drag coefficient of any car at the time.
Outstanding aerodynamics enabled the GS to maximize engine output, but it nevertheless drew flack for being underpowered. Citroën engineers addressed the problem by introducing a larger 1,222 cc engine as an option in September 1972.
Projected power output increased from 55 hp to 60 hp, but it was the boost in torque that really underscored the more potent engine, and which allowed the bigger engined variants to raise the second gear ratio as well as the final drive ratio, thereby increasing the car’s speed per 1,000 rpm from 14.3 mph to 15.2 mph.
Visually the GS had little similarity to other cars on the market, until the Citroën CX was developed in 1974. The GS was available in three trims: GS Club, G Special and GS Pallas with full upgraded upholstery, tinted glass, side mouldings, and wheel covers as standard features.