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British and European Car Spotters Guide - 1979

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1979 British and European Car Spotters Guide

Technical progress in 1979 could be summed up as the world-wide spread of front wheel drive. It certainly opened the door to a new decade awaiting an energy revolution and acceleration of evolution. General Motors' exciting 'Xick Skylark, Chevrolet Citation, Oldsmobile Omega, and Pontiac Phoenix were front-drive models (with transverse engines) which typified US 'down-sizing', and the (expensive) quest for dramatically reduced fuel consumption in line with tough legislation.

The launch of the cars, one of the US automotive industry's most important and significant events for thirty years, underlined world acceptance of front wheel drive, popularised by Andre Citroen in 1934. GM, through its German subsidiary Opel, also changed to front drive with the high volume Kadett models. The same observations applyed to Toyota and its Tercel model, the Japanese being forced to produce technically advanced cars in an attempt to win the arms race that was being fought in Europe by the world's manufacturers.

In 1979 Chrysler decided to pull out and sold to the Peugeot-Citroen group, who adopted the "Talbot" name for some light commercials. The truck making side didn't fit in with Peugeot and was sold to Renault, and truck making continued, first as Dodge and then re-badged with the familiar Renault diamond, but in 1993 building had ceased, bringing an end to the Rootes story.

Also see: 1979 Japanese Car Spotters Guide
1979 Alfa Romeo 6
Italy

Alfa Romeo 6

  Also see: Alfa Romeo Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Italy

Alfa Romeo Alfa 6

  Also see: Alfa Romeo Road Tests and Reviews
 
Alfa Romeo's in-line 'six', the 2600, was discontinued in 1969, so for ten years the Milanese manufacturer lacked a six-cylinder flagship. In early 1979 the place was filled by the Alfa 6 saloon, at the time of writing the only six-cylinder Italian car in realistic production. In characteristic manner the famous Italian company conceived the new car around the power unit - which was also completely new. In the interests of space saving, compact build, and maximum stiffness of crankshaft Alfa Romeo opted for a 60-degree V6.
1968 Alfa Romeo GTV6 Balocco Edition
Italy

Alfa Romeo GTV6 Balocco Edition

  Also see: Alfa Romeo Road Tests and Reviews
   
1968 Aston Martin V8
UK

Aston Martin V8

  Also see: Aston Martin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Aston Martin V8
UK

Aston Martin V8

  Also see: Aston Martin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1968 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
UK

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

  Also see: Aston Martin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1968 Aston Martin Volante
UK

Aston Martin Volante

  Also see: Aston Martin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1968 Audi 100
Germany

Audi 100

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Audi 100
Germany

Audi 100

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Audi 100 GL50
Germany

Audi 100 GL50

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
   
Audi 200 5T Turbo
Germany

Audi 200 Turbo

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
 
At the September 1979 Frankfurt Car Show Audi officiallly unveiled their long-rumoured super-100, designated '200', and in 5T form sporting a turrbocharger on the five-cylinder 2.2-litre ohc engine. Using the basic body and running gear of the '100', the turbocharged model had the impressive maximum power-output of 170 bhp (127 kW) at 5400 rpm (identical to the Porsche 924 Turbo), but, more importantly, maximum torque was increased some 46 per cent over the unsupercharged 2.2-litre Audi five-cylinder motor. The torque was notable at 195.21 Ib ft (27 mkg/261.77 Nm) with engine rpm at a mere 3200. There is also an unblown, injected '200' which developed 136 bhp DIN (101.41 kW), both cars having modified suspension and dampers to cope with the increased performance.
1979 Audi 5000 Diesel
Germany

Audi 5000 Diesel

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Audi 5000 S
Germany

Audi 5000 S

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Audi Fox
Germany

Audi Fox

  Also see: Audi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Austin Allegro
UK

Austin Allegro

  Also see: Austin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Austin Allegro
UK

Austin Allegro

  Also see: Austin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Austin Allegro Estate
UK

Austin Allegro Estate

  Also see: Austin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Austin Maxi
UK

Austin Maxi

  Also see: Austin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Austin Princess 2200
UK

Austin Princess 2200

  Also see: Austin Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Bitter CD
Germany

Bitter CD

   
   
1979 BMW 3-Series 323i
Germany

BMW 3-Series 323i

  Also see: BMW Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 BMW 7-Series 733i
Germany

BMW 7-Series 733i

  Also see: BMW Road Tests and Reviews
   

BMW 728i / 745i
Germany

BMW 728i / 745i

  Also see: BMW Road Tests and Reviews
 
If there was not a state of war between Munich and Stuttgart, there was certainly an arms race! It was BMW which first displayed its weaponry, launching lighter, more powerful 7 series models, and impressing all who examined and drove them. For 1980 all 7 -series cars were equipped with Bosch L-Jetronic electronic ignition, the 728 becoming the 728i, and the 730 being replaced by the 732i (ex-733i of 197 bhp/147 kW). The 733i became the 735i, powered by the 3.5-litre ohc in-line six-cylinder engine from the 635 CSi coupe.

The moves were accompanied by a string of technical innovations, including the equipping of the 732i with a microcomputer which optimised injection and ignition timing, resulting in increased economy, more power, and a cleaner exhaust . The system, manufactured by Robert Bosch GmbH, was called Motronic. The 735i, in manual form (a ZF automatic is also available) had five speeds but, unlike the 635 CSi coupe, the fifth gear is selected by a 'forward -and -to-the-right' movement. Fifth gear on the 7 -series car was for fuel economy and quiet running - more of an overdrive.

Equipment for the new cars was lavish: the dashboard featured electro-pneumatic controls, a digital clock was linked to an optional 'remote-control' heating programme, the door locks were electrically pre-heated to avoid icing problems, there was an anti-silicone injection system for the windscreen washer, and the external mirrors had electric de-icing equipment (which warmed to 55 C./131 F.). Anti -lock braking (ABS) was an optional extra. In 1980 BMW launched the turbocharged 745i, a 255 bhp/182 kW 7-series saloon with 3.2-litre in-line 'six' engine (Due to the climate of conservation and anti-pollution, BMW had dropped their plans to manufacture V12 and V8 car engines).
1979 Citroen GS
France

Citroen GS

  Also see: Citroen Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Citroen Mehari 4x4
France

Citroen Mehari 4 x 4

  Also see: Citroen Road Tests and Reviews
 
Citroen's useful and amusing plastic-bodied, 2CV-engined Mehari (Camel) became an even more useful vehicle when it was endowed with four-wheel-drive in 1979. The ageless air-cooled twin-cylinder baxermator (602 cc, 29 bhp/21.62 kW) was attached to a gearbox with drive-shaft to the rear wheels, and hey presto, the 4WD Mehari was created. The famous French manufacturer minimised production costs by utilising a reinforced Ami Super estate floorpan, and suspension from the same model. The rear axle had disc brakes mounted inboard, and was protected by a tubular cage. The layout resulted in good ground clearance (9.44 in/24 cm unladen, 8.26 in/21 cm laden) in keeping with the type of car it was. Instrumentation was very complete, a tacho being included which was a safeguard feature for the time the car is in four wheel drive.
1979 Citroen GS-A
France

Citroen GS-A

  Also see: Citroen Road Tests and Reviews
 
Launched in 1970, Citroen's GS was their smallest saloon to be equipped with the marrque's celebrated interconnected hydropneumatic all-independent suspension. From the outset, however, the GS suffered from lack of power as well as above-average noise from the air-cooled 'flat-four' engine. Citroen introduced the GS-A series in parallel with the 'Special' models, the new cars being modified at the front to incorporate synthetic bumpers and a drag-reducing spoiler. The completely redesigned rear-end incorporated a lift-up hatch which not only improved visibility but offered a vast load area, particularly when the rear seat was folded. Citroen opted for a high body lip, however, presumably to maintain structure rigidity, a feature which made for ome lifting of suitcases, etc.

The 1979 GS's length was increased by 2.75 in (7 cm) to 13.78 ft (4.2 metres). The interior had been extensively reworked, finish being much improved, seats of better shape standardised, and a new and original switch gear of 'Visa' type fitted with 'satelllite' controls which enabled the driver to operate buttons, etc. without removing their hands from the steering wheel. The heater too was uprated. In the Japanese manner, the facia carried an outline facsimile of the car at eye-level, coloured lights signalling various malfunctions to the driver.

All 1979 GS-A models were powered by the 1300cc, 65 bhp DIN (48.47 kW) X3 engine, and the X3 had a five-speed gearbox as standard. The Palllas variation had the five-speed unit on option. Gear ratios were different, close and sporting on the X3, and more widely spaced on the four-speed Pallas, but performance and economy gains were hardly significant when compared to the basic four-speed GS gearbox.
1979 Citroen CX Reflex-Athena
France

Citroen CX Reflex-Athena

  Also see: Citroen Road Tests and Reviews
 
By 1979 Citroen had at last shed their ageing two-litre pushrod ohv motor in the CX range, replacing it with the celebrated light-alloy overhead camshaft 'Co-op' unit from the Renault-Peugeot factory at Douvrin. Originally designed for the Renault 20 TS, the Type 829 motor replaced the old ohv engine in the lower end of the CX range, and also saved a little weight. The Citroen installation was transverse, and the motor was also inclined forwards at 15 degrees. The crankshaft revolved in the opposite direction to the Renault application, and it embodied other modifications to fit in with its 'east-west' mounting. The oil dipstick was located at the front of the motor, the ignition distributor was at right angles to the camshaft, the latter being longer to drive the high-pressure hydraulic pump etc.

Cubic capacity remained at 1995cc (bore/stroke dimensions 88 by 82 mm), compression ratio is 9.2: 1, and carburetter induction was used. The new motor developed a maximum of 106 bhp DIN (79.04 kW), some four bhp (2.98 kW) better than the previous two-litre unit, but more importantly, torque was improved to 117 .05 Ib ft (16.9 mkg/156.96 Nm) at 3250 rpm. All that and a reduced weight of 98.10 Ib (44.5 kg). The less lavishly equipped Reflex model came with four-speed manual gearbox, and the luxury Athena had a fiveespeed box as standard. Compared with the original two-litre CX models the 1979 models had superior performance but were also quieter and more economiical. They also cost less!
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Italy

Ferrari 400i

  Also see: Ferrari Road Tests and Reviews
 
It was perhaps a paradox that the house of Ferrari, long regarded as a shrine of automobile development. should have adhered to carburetters for the GT range for so long. The 400 2+2 coupe, introduced in 1976, styled by Pininfariina and perhaps the then most 'touring' of the Ferrari range, had a 4823 cc 60-degree V12 engine, originally fed by six double-choke Weber carrburetters. In 1979 the 12-cylinder motor was equipped with Bosch K-Jetronic indirect injecction, mechanically controlled, with constant flow, operating on air pressure. The engine, although less powerful at 310 bhp/231 kW (was 340 bhp/254 kW with carburetters) still had a performance to satisfy the most enthusiastic motorist, while exhaust emission as well as fuel consumption was significantly improved. The makers still claimed a maximum speed of 153 mph (245 km/h) with the optional five-speed gearbox (standard equipment was the General Motors Turbo-Hydraamatic automatic), and the standing kilometre could be covered in 27.9 seconds.
1979 Fiat 127
Italy

Fiat 127

  Also see: Fiat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Fiat 127
Italy

Fiat 127

  Also see: Fiat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Fiat 131 Racing
Italy

Fiat 131 Racing

  Also see: Fiat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Fiat Ritmo
Italy

Fiat Ritmo

  Also see: Fiat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Fiat Spider
Italy

Fiat Spider

  Also see: Fiat Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Italy

Fiat X 1/9 1500

  Also see: Fiat Road Tests and Reviews
 
Bertone styled the very pretty 'targa-top' mid-engined sports two-seater from the vast Italian manufacturer, but when the original model was launched in 1972 motoring journalists who tried the car were unanimous about its lack of power. It was unquestionably under-engined, for the design would have coped with more power, and safely. For 1979 the X 1/9 was endowed with the 1488 cc ohc engine which had been developed for the Ritmo/Strada, but with output increased to 85 bhp DIN (63 kW), 13 bhp (9.69 kW more than the old 1300 motor) the car was transformed. With the Ritmo/Strada-type five-speed gearbox the 1500 could reach 112 mph (180 km/h), and covered the standing kilometre in 33.2 seconds. Aerodynamics were good, the X 1/9 having a moderate thirst (37 mpg Imp.j7.7 lit/1 00 km at 75 mph (120 km/h). To keep in step with the new found performance the 1500 had a way-out instrument panel, and stouter bumpers.
1979 Ford Cortina Crayford Conversion
UK

Ford Cortina Crayford Conversion

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Ford Taunus
United Kingdom

Ford Taunus / Cortina

  Also see: Ford Cortina Road Tests and Reviews
 
Ford-Europe claimed to have spent about £50 million (approx 110 million US dollars) on the Taunus/Cortina range for the 1980 model year, but then European Ford chief Bob Lutz apologised at the September Frankfurt Show for the lack of a brand-new model. He promised 'something exciting' for the 1980 Paris Salon, however, referring of course to the forthcoming front-drive 'Erica' (code name), the replacement for the rear-drive Escort. The Taunus/Cortina had been introduced in 1970, and had since sold in colosssal numbers, with engine capacities from 1300 cc to 2.3 litres (and 4.1 litre six cylinder versions for the Australian market), both in sedan and station wagon guise.

The last complete body redesign was carried out in 1976, and the 1979 round of changes consisted of extensive modifications to existing bodywork and engines rather than a series of new models. With increased fuel economy in mind the engines were equipped with viscous-coupled cooling fans, and the smaller four-cylinder engines (1.3 and 1.6-litre) were fitted with Ford's excellent Motorcraft 'VV' (variable venturi) carburetter - a cleverly designed constant-vacuum instrument which also incorporated an accelerator pump for rapid pick up, and a 'sonic' slow-running layout, which due to the ultra-high velocity of the ingoing air atomised the fuel droplets in a highly efficient manner and reduced fuel consumption in that critical area.

Ford's 2.3-litre V6 received new cylinder heads and electronic ignition, compression ratio was raised (to 9:1), larger valves were standardised' and with new ignition timing and carburetter settings, the maximum power went up from 108 bhp (81 kW) to 116 bhp (86.5 kW). Generally speaking, power was increased on the engine range, but fuel economy was improved at the same time. By 'flattening' the roofline, Ford designers were able to dramatically increase glass area and visibility, and there were modifications to bumpers and grilles. Heating and ventilation systems were modified, and new seats on lightweight steel frames were adopted.

The 1979 Cortina/Taunus models were the first with Ford's extensive new anti-corrosion treatment. Better riding qualities were claimed due to front spring rates being reduced by 9 per cent, but rear springs (variable-rate coils) were stiffened 5 per cent in initial movement. and 9 per cent at full load. To maintain good handling the front anti-roll bar diameter was increased. The entire range was more economical due to the various modifications, and improvements of up to 7½ per cent were claimed by Ford.
1979 FSO Polonez
Poland

FSO Polonez

   
   
1979 FSO Polonez
Poland

FSO Polonez

   
   
1979 Innocenti de Tomaso
UK

Innocenti de Tomaso

  Also see: The History of Innocenti (USA Edition)
   
1979 Innocenti Minitre
UK

Innocenti Minitre

  Also see: The History of Innocenti (USA Edition)
   
1979 Jaguar XJS
UK

Jaguar XJS

  Also see: Jaguar Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Daimler Double Six Mark 3
United Kingdom

Jaguar XJ6 / XJ12 SERIES III

  Also see: Jaguar Road Tests and Reviews
 
By 1979 the Jaguar XJ series had eleven years production behind it, and was in need of some updating - however British Leyland didn't wish to deviate from the basic theme set by Sir William Lyons when he introduced the squat, handsome high-performance saloons in 1968. The British company were also well aware that modifications, rather than a wholly new model, would make more sense economically. For 1979 the changes, if not sweeping, were realistic and useful. The new roofline, raised at the rear, provided rear seat occupants with badly needed increased headroom, and the additional rake to wind-screen probably improved the aerodynamics as well as the appearance. Visibility was improved by deleting the metal strip in the front windows, the door handles were recessed, new-style black plastic bumpers were standardised, and more attractive road wheels were adopted.

In addition there was the inevitable restyled front grille with vertical slats, enlarged rear light clusters incorporating reverse lamps, re-angled rear window, and iode headlights were standardised. Equipment additions included electrically-adjustable rear-view mirrors, optional electric sun-roof, cruise control, time-controlled courtesy lights, rear window defroster, quadraphonic radio speakers, central locking etc. On the mechanical side, the evergreen 4.2-litre twin ohc six-cylinder engine was equipped with Lucas-Bosch (Bosch L-Jetronic under licence) electronic injection, and electronic ignition, both of which were claimed to increase maximum power output some 33 bhp (24.60 kW), although there was little eviidence of it in the road performance figures if you take the time to review car tests of the day.

Jaguar also claimed that the engine's maximum torque of 231 Ib ft (32 mkg) was obtained at the very low engine speed of 1500 rpm. No changes were made to the 5.3-litre light-alloy V12 (287 bhp/214 kW), the injected engine developing adequate power for almost any driver. Twelve-cylinder Jaguars (and Daimlers) came with automatic transmisssion only, but on the six-cylinder ranges over-drive had been discontinued in favour of a five-speed gearbox (a lower-ratio edition of the Rover SD1 and Triumph TR7 box). A Borg-Warner automatic was available on the 'sixes', but the V12s standardised on a General Motors unit. The Jaguar 3.4 litre (the original size of the highly successful twin ohc 'six') remained in prooduction, as did the Daimler Sovereign (4.2 litre 'six') and Daimler Double-Six Vanden PIas (5.3-litre V12).
1979 Lada 1600
Russia

Lada 1600

  Also see: Lada Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lada 1600 ES 4-Door
Russia

Lada 1600 ES 4-Door

  Also see: Lada Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lada 1600 ES Sedan
Russia

Lada 1600 ES Sedan

  Also see: Lada Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lancia Beta Coupe 1300
Italy

Lancia Beta Coupe 1300

  Also see: Lancia Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lancia Delta
Italy

Lancia Delta

  Also see: Lancia Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lancia Delta
Italy

Lancia Delta

  Also see: Lancia Road Tests and Reviews
 
Lancia's small hatchback, code-named Epsilon but renamed Delta after months of introduction delay due to the strikes that paralysed Italian industry, could well be regarded as a cousin to Fiat's Ritmo/Strada. The Delta followed on from the discontinued and well-loved Fulvia and was based on a chassis that had much in common with the Ritmo/Strada, with 8.10 ft (2.47 metre) wheelbase. Front suspension was similar, by McPherson coil-struts (but featuring greater triangulation, and anti-roll bars on all models) but at the rear it was entirely different. Rear suspension, also independent, relied on McPherson coil-struts but the wheel hubs were attached to two transverse links (per side), and the system was further located by single trailing arms (per side).
1979 Lancia Zagato
Italy

Lancia Zagato

  Also see: Lancia Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Leyland Mini Moke
UK

Leyland Mini Moke

  Also see: Leyland Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lotus Eclat
UK

Lotus Eclat

  Also see: Lotus Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Lotus Esprit
UK

Lotus Esprit

  Also see: Lotus Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
United Kingdom

Land Rover V8

  Also see: Land Rover Road Tests and Reviews
 
First started as an 'interim measure' to keep the old Rover Company in business during the material-starved post-war years, by 1979 the Land-Rover project had persisted for 32 years during which time more than a million 4WD Land Rovers had been built, and supplied to 182 countries! Progressively the ubiquitous vehicle had been given more sophistication, and there had been innumerable variations and derivatives, civil and military, leading up to the 'super Land-Rover', designated Range Rover in 1970 - the luxury variation of the 'field car' which had no real competitor.

The 1979 Land Rover V8 was really a Range Rover in workhorse guise, the four wheel drive transmission being permanently engaged (unlike other Land Rovers which had the choice of two or four wheel drive), and power stemming from the light-alloy 3528 cc ohv V8 engine which in this iteration was reduced in maximum power from the 157 bhp (117 kW) output of the saloon car motor to 92 bhp (69 kW). Torque however was massive at 166.29 Ib ft (23 mkg), obtainable at a mere 2000 rpm. Maximum power occured at 3500 rpm compared to the car engine's 5000 rpm. Externally recognisable by a new full-width grille and bonnet-top spare wheel, the 1979 Land Rover V8 came only on the '109' wheelbase (9.08 ft/2.77 metres), and was available with all-steel or canvas-topped five-door bodies. In five-door 'estate' form it was a competitor to the Mercedes/Puch 'Station Wagon' G -wagen.
1979 Maserati Quattroporte
Italy

Maserati Quattroporte

  Also see: Maserati Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Mercedes-Benz 6.9 Sedan
Germany

Mercedes-Benz 6.9 Sedan

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Car Reviews | The History of Mercedes-Benz (USA Edition)
   
1979 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE
Germany

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Car Reviews | The History of Mercedes-Benz (USA Edition)
   
1979 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE
Germany

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Car Reviews | The History of Mercedes-Benz (USA Edition)
   
1979 Mercedes-Benz 300-Series 300TD
Germany

Mercedes-Benz 300-Series 300TD

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Car Reviews | The History of Mercedes-Benz (USA Edition)
   
1979 Mercedes-Benz 300-Series 300TD
Germany

Mercedes-Benz 300-Series 300TD

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Car Reviews | The History of Mercedes-Benz (USA Edition)
   
1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL
Germany

Mercedes-Benz 450 SL

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Car Reviews | The History of Mercedes-Benz (USA Edition)
   
Mercedes-Benz G Series
Germany

Mercedes-Benz G Series

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Road Tests and Reviews
 
By 1979 Daimler-Benz were very experienced in the design and manufacture of four-wheel drive commercial vehicles, but for their first-ever essay into 'private' go-anywhere cars they co-operated with the old Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch enterprise in the design and production of such a machine. The result was a solid, well engineered vehicle with outstanding performance on both highway and off-road. Designated 'G Series' (for Gelaendewagen) the big new range had a massive separate steel chassis with live axles fore-and-aft. The axles were suspended on coil springs, located by links and Pan hard rods front and rear. There is a front anti-roll bar. In their customary manner Mercedes- Benz offer an almost bewildering engine choice - -three petrol, and two diesel with four, five, or six cylinders.

The 230 G model had four cylinders, carburetter induction, a capacity of 2.3 litres and a maximum power-output of 102 bhp DIN (75.75 kW) on a compression ratio of 9: 1 . The 280 G had Mercedes' delectable 2.8-litre injected twin overhead camshaft six-cylinder petrol engine (150 bhp DIN/111 kW) - the upmarket 'Range Rover' of the G series from Graz! The 240 G was the smallest of the diesel models, utilising Daimler- Benz' celebrated 2.4-litre four-cylinder oil engine with maximum power of 72 bhp DIN (54 kW). Top diesel was the 300 GD with the famous Stuttgart manufacturrer's intriguing five-cylinder oil unit of three litres which developed 80 bhp DIN (60 kW). Buyers had the choice of four-speed manual, or four-speed automatic transmissions.

Power was transmitted through a transfer box which provided a choice of 1: 2 or 2.14: 1 reduction. The G-wagen driver could select either two-wheel drive (road) or four-wheel drive in either normal (for tough cross-country going) or high-gear for rough terrain where the gradients were not of the freak variety. An unique feature of the Austrian-built Mercedes (the cars were sold as Puchs in some countries) was the two hydraullic locks for the front and rear differentials. The locks could be operated on the move, and when they were secured the G-wagen was virtually un-stoppable. G Cars came with the choice of non-powered steering (5.5 turns lock-to-lock), or with servo-assistance (four turns lock-lock). All models had disc/drum brakes and were equipped with 6.50 R 16, or 205 R 16 tyres. Body choice was wide, ranging from the short chassis (7.87 ft/2.4 metres wheelbase) to the long-chassis (9.35 ft/2,85 metres wheelbase). Body styles included canvas-top pick-up, closed van, and five-door station wagon with kerb weights that varied from 3864 Ib (1755 kg) to 4277 Ib (1940 kg).
Mercedes-Benz S Class
Germany

Mercedes-Benz S Class

  Also see: Mercedes-Benz Road Tests and Reviews
 
It was typical of Mercedes-Benz that the 1979 S-class models' design studies began seven years earlier - when the previous S-series had just been announced! The S-cars for 1980 were aimed at high perforrmance but the latest, more slippery bodywork promoted geater fuel economy too. The digniified body was subjected to intensive wind-tunnel research, the result being, in spite of its 'notchback' configuration, an aerodynamic co-efficient of 0.36 - the most streamlined volume-production touring car then in world prooduction. The 1979 S-class models were a little longer (1.37 in/3.5 cm) a little narrower (1.96 in/5.0 cm), and the luggage compartment was slightly smaller although Daimler-Benz were of the opinion that it was 'adequate', using Rolls-Royce terminology to emphasise the point, a raked grille, curved front end, and a notable lack of bulges and pockets had dramatically contributed to the body's low drag figure.

In the Mercedes manner there were two available wheelbases for the new cars (except the carrburetter-equipped 280S which was restricted to the 9.62 ft/2.935 metre wheelbase). and four alternative engines, two of them light-alloy V8s. One of those was an entirely new unit derived from the 240 bhp (182 kW) motor fitted in the 450 SLC 5.0 coupe. The 280 models were powered by the familiar twin ohc 2.8-litre in-line 'six', the 'S' version having the 156 bhp (116 kW) carburetter edition, and the SE and SEL long-wheelbase/10.08 ft/3.075 metres the Bosch K-Jetronic-injected 185 bhp (138 kW) unit. The 380 SE/SEL cars had the new injected 3.8 litre light-alloy V8 of 218 bhp (163 kW), derived from the five-litre 450 SLC motor, and the 500 SE/SEL top-of-the-range models were powered by the five-litre lightweight V8 which replaced the old 6.9-litre cast iron V8.

The highly advanced light-alloy engines were smaller than the engines they replaced (4.5 and 6.9 litres) but due to the intensive weight reduction and equally intensive wind-tunnel work, the new cars were said to be as fast as their predecessors as well as 10 per cent more economical of fuel. The two body types, normal (S/SE) with a length of 16.40 ft (5.0 metres), or long (SEL), with a length of 16,83 ft (5.13 metres) both had generous interior space and luxury, and the cars were from 110 Ib (50 kg) to 617 Ib (280 kg) lighter, dependent on model. They were protected by polyurethane bumpers and side-skirts. Six-cylinder models came with four-speed manual gearboxes but the V8s had a Mercedes four-speed automatic as standard.

The automatic was claimed to select gears at the optimum moment to provide the greatest economy of fuel consistent with high performance. An 'econometer' (manometer) was included in the dashboard equipment to enable the S-class driver to employ the most miserly throttle posiition under any conditions. The new Mercedes-Benz S-class cars were very well equipped, and in the tradition of the series, hydropneumatic suspension and anti-lock (ABS) braking were offered as optional extras when the cars entered production in 1980.
1979 Monteverdi Sierra 4-Door
Switzerland

Monteverdi Sierra 4-Door

  Also see: Monteverdi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Monteverdi Sierra Cabriolet
Switzerland

Monteverdi Sierra Cabriolet

  Also see: Monteverdi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Moretti Sporting 4x4
Switzerland

Moretti Sporting 4x4

  Also see: Monteverdi Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Opel Ascona 400
UK

Opel Ascona 400

  Also see: Opel Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Opel Kadett GTE
UK

Opel Kadett GTE

  Also see: Opel Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Opel Rekord
UK

Opel Rekord

  Also see: Opel Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Opel Rekord 4-Door
UK

Opel Rekord 4-Door

  Also see: Opel Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Germany

Opel Kadett

  Also see: Opel Road Tests and Reviews
 
Graphically illustrating the change of automootive thinking in the USA at the time, General Motors followed their highly significant range of 'X-car' compacts, featuring 'lssigonis-style' transverse engine/front wheel drive, with similar iteration European small cars from their European opel factories. Rear-drive opel Kadetts were manufactured, ty'pe after type, for 43 years, but the 1979 front-drive models used nothing from the old range apart from the optional 1.0 and 1.2-litre pushrod ohv engines, suitably modified for front-drive and transverse installation. Utilising one basic shape for the hatchback and saloon Kadetts, with choice of two or four side-doors, plus the option of very spacious three or five-door estate/station wagon models (Caravans in the opel catalogue), the range offered no less than six body options.

Around 13 ft (4 metres) long, the non-estates having a Golf look, but the front end was typically 1970's Opel with a Senator/Monza appearrance. Interior space was impressive, approaching the area offered by the Fiat Ritmo/Strada, then the 'record-holder' in its class. In the way of huge manufacturers, GM's technical men had obviously taken long in-depth looks at competitors' products. Front suspennsion utilised the familiar McPherson coil-struts, with wide triangulation of the lower wishbones, but the rear suspension bore more than a passing resemblance to the VW Golf layout. with torsional crossmember for the trailing arms. In addition, there were 'mini-block' conical coil springs (which demanded little space and did not make contact even when fully compressed) as well as vertical telescopic dampers mounted close to the wheels.

The 'mini-block' springs were of progressive rate. In many European countries Opel offered 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre ohv engines in addition to the 1.3-litre with flexibelt driven overhead camshaft, crossflow head, and hydraulic tappets (the first engine of such modest size to be offered with the no-maintenance feature). The new, advanced volume-production unit had 'over-square' bore/stroke dimensions of 75 x 73.4 mm, resulting in a cubic capacity of 1297 cc. In 'N' tune the lively unit developed a maximum output of 60 bhp DIN (45 kW), but in 'S' tune the power was raised to 75 bhp (56 kW). The high output engine had a higher compression ratio and the valve timing provided greater overlap. Engines were installed transversely, and inclined forwards slightly, and had their manual gearboxes mounted on the end of the crankshaft. An automatic transmisssion became an option around September 1980.

Steering was rack-and-pinion, brakes were front disc/rear drum with vacuum servo-assistance on some models, and the Kadetts bristled with useful service/repair features. The radiator was secured by snap fasteners, front wings were bolted on for easy replacement, the clutch could be removed in 65 minutes with the engine in place, and the latter could be extracted from the top or bottom of the car. The bodywork was extensively corrosion-proofed, and stamped seam edges minimised respraying time after body repairs. Model permutations were extensive, Opel offerring equipment packages from 'basic' via 'L' and 'GL' to the luxury 'Berlina' trim. There was also a sporting variant on the two or three-door body, powered by the 75 bhp/56 kW engine only, and designated 'SR', Finished silver and black and exuding a 'Mini-Monza' look, the SR also had stiffened suspension, more complete instrumentation and extra-wide Pirelli P6 185/60 HR 14 tyres on light-alloy rims.
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Germany

Opel Commodore

  Also see: Opel Road Tests and Reviews
 
Making the most of their engine/body permutations, General Motors-Opel slotted in another range between the Rekord (four cylinders and live rear axle) and the Senator (six cylinders and all-independent suspension) and revived the Commodore name for the new line. The latest Commodore (the name was of course also used by GM-Holden in Australia) utilised the Rekord's body and a live rear axle, but headlight and grille treatment was reminiscent of the Senator. The Commodore sedan was 15.45 ft long (4.71 metres) compared to the Rekord's 15.09 ft (4.60 metres), and the Senator's 15.78 ft (4.81 metres). The Commodore was powered by a six-cylinder 2490 cc engine, which, equipped with carburetters, developed a modest 115 bhp DIN (85.75 kW) and maximum torque of 129.41 Ib ft (17.9 mkg/173.53 Nm). There was a choice of four-speed manual or three-speed automatic, both versions being capable of 112 mph (180 km/h) in spite of a rather poor power-weight ratio.
1979 Peugeot 104
France

Peugeot 104

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Peugeot 104 S
France

Peugeot 104 S

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Peugeot 104 ZL Coupe
France

Peugeot 104 ZL Coupe

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Peugeot 104 ZS
France

Peugeot 104 ZS

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
 
Even if you were not a fan of small cars, the Peugeot 104ZS would have been able to win you over. The Peugeot 104, which was first launched in 1972, was offered as a four door saloon or a short wheelbase "coupe", and it was the latter that was the most potent and expensive. The two-door hatchback bodyshell was 11 feet long with a wheelbase of 7ft 4in - a handy size around town and just six inches more than a Mini Clubman - but a height of 4ft 5iin helped give taller drivers the room they needed. There was no doubt that its severely trunkated rear end endowed it with cheeky loo|s. Smart red paint with black side stripes and alloy wheels suited the car well.

The ZS was powered by the then new 1360cc all-alloy engine previously seen in the Renault 14TS. The block had removable wet liners, a single overhead camshaft and a five bearing crankshaft. Like the Mini, it had a transversely mounted engine, with which the gearbox shared its oil, and front wheel drive while the engine was heavily canted back to allow a short sloping bonnet line. A twin choke carburettor, and a 9.3 to 1 compression ratio squeezed 72bhp at 6000rpm from this slightly undersquare unit. Rack and pinion steering was featured and the turning circle was a usefully short 30ft. The suspension was independent all round using coil springs and Peugeot double-acting hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers, while there are front and rear anti-roll bars on the ZS.

There were large disc brakes at the front with drum rears and dual hydraulic circuitry - the ZS even employed a servo. Tyres on the ZS were 165/70 SR 13 radials. With this sort of specification on a pretty utilitarian vehicle it should, on paper, be transformed into quite a purposeful little car. And it was. In the UK the car sold for £4069 - reasonably cheap for a top speed of 99 mph and a 0-60 mph time of around 12 seconds - though it felt quicker on the road than these figures suggested. The Peugeot-engined Citroen Visa Super at £3,566 offered more room but performance was well down at 89 mph and 15 seconds. Falling mid-way was the £3,775 Fiat 127 Sport which gave 95mph and 13.8 seconds.

It was probably not fair to group these cars in the "Super-Mini" class such as the VW Golf, Talbot Sunbeam and Renault 5 as the latter were larger, and in their GTi, 1-6Ti and Gordini forms much faster and considerably more expensive. What set the Peugeot apart from its two natural rivals was its feel, its integrity, and its quality and in these respects, if not on sheer performance - it even took a tilt at many of the higher bracket "Super-Minis" mentioned too. The Peugeot was a brisk car and around town it employed its performance to great advantage being small enough to nip in and out of traffic queues. On the highway you would have been aware that the highly tuned engine was beavering away but it was only at speeds above the legal limit that noise levels intruded unduly and even then they were not bad for the class. Of greater importance was that the little Peugeot felt stable at speed and not about to take to the air - some road testers of the time felt it nearly as good as the VW Golf - high praise.

The steering was precise, as were all rack and pinion systems, with negligible kick-back, good feel and gearing aided by a pleasant three-spoked steering wheel. Strong torque reaction could be felt through the steering on lock but generally this was less prevalent than on many "hot" front-drivers. As befitted any sports car from the era, a slick four speed gearbox was developed which was a pleasure to use. Brakes were fully up to the car's performance with light pressure at the pedal, thanks to the servo. The handbrake lived between the seats. Peugeot struck an excellent compromise between ride and roadability. The suspension was hard enough to feel potholes and surface breaks at slower speeds around town but not so hard as to make occupants uncomfortable. At higher speeds the car took little notice of irregularities in the road.

In the handling department the 104ZS was virtually without vice. It neither understeered or oversteered dramatically, though it would do either gently when pushed hard at the driver's command, and was thus thoroughly safe, predictable and fun. In short it had much of the Mini's famed "chuckability" but it had suspension which coped with changing and poor surfaces. Inside the overall level of comfort from the seats, which complemented the "big car" suspension, gave untiring support even on long journeys. There was plenty of adjustment for a six footer, the squab was raked by a turn wheel and the headroom was generous for such a short car.

The rear seats are intended only to be for occasional use though they would suit small children happily on longer journeys than adults. All controls came comfortably to hand and the simple instrumentation comprised clear reading speedometer, small rev counter and fuel gauge. Services were controlled by large push buttons and the standardised Peugeot stalks worked nicely even if they looked out of proportion on such a small car. Heating and ventilation was simple but effective, and stowage space comprised a shallow well atop the fascia and a passenger side shelf at knee level.

A strange looking floor console housed the radio and speaker and the not very accessible controls for the electric window lifts - a real luxury though for this class of car at the time. Other nice touches included the digital clock mounted above the windscreen and the tinted glass all round. The space behind the rear seats looked small on opening the hatchback but would hold more than many would have thought - however with the squab and cushion moved forward the load space improved dramatically. Another space saving idea was to move the spare wheel to the engine bay where it rested on a cradle in deflated form. A compressor was provided for when duty called.
1979 Peugeot 304 GL
France

Peugeot 304 GL

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
France

Peugeot 305 Diesel

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
 
Although Peugeot had been compression ignition specialists for years they had not been without their problems with the 204/304 D engines. Faced with strong competition, particuularly from Volkswagen, the French company was forced to analyse the design and application of its own power units. The result was a new diesel, utilising an identiical block but with crossflow cylinder head, and with cubic capacity increased to 1549 cc. The uprate was gained by enlarging bore size to 80 mm, and lengthening stroke to 77 mm. The new motor had a maximum power-output of 50 bhp DIN/37 kW (identical to the VW Golf), an increase of nine bhp (6.7 kW) over the 304 D, and the torque figure was also improved at 63.62 Ib ft (8.8 mkg/85.31 Nm) at 2500 rpm. The new motor was fitted to the 305 G R D model which had a kerb weight of 2150 Ib (975 kg) and lower-geared steering to offset the increase of 110 Ib (50 kg) on the front wheels. Top speed was around 84 mph (135 km/h).
1979 Peugeot 305 GL
France

Peugeot 305 GL

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Peugeot 504
France

Peugeot 504

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Peugeot 504 Coupe
France

Peugeot 504 Coupe

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
Peugeot 505
France

Peugeot 505

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
 
By 1979 Peugeot's 504 had proved popular and well-proven, however it was undoubtedly due for replacement, although still being manufactured at the rate of 1000 per day. Peugeot took the least expensive course and introduced the 505, which owed much to the 504 and not a little to the 604. With McPherson coil-strut front suspension, an independent rear layout by coil springs, and fore-and-aft anti-roll bars, the 505 used the 504's running gear, even to employing an identical wheelbase of 8.98 ft (2.74 metres). The tracks had been widened, however, from 1.5 to 2.75 in (4-7 cm), and were nearly the same as the big 604. The 505 range consisted of no less than 12 models, with three engine choices.

The Basic model was the GR/SR with four cylinder, carburetter engine (as 1971 cc 504) with maximum output of 96 bhp DIN (68.70 kW). Models TI and STI used the new Renault 829 engine (1995 cc, ohc) equipped with electronic ignition and Bosch K-Jetronic injection (continuous mechanical), and with a maximum output of 110 bhp DIN (82 kW). Diesel models GRD/SRD were powered by the 504 GLD engine of 2304 cc, developing 70 bhp DIN (52.19 kW). All models had rear-drive, the carburetter and diesel cars being equipped with the four-speed gearbox (from the 504), but the injected verrsion had a five-speed box derived from the 604 TI.

There was an automatic option which utiilised the three-speed ZF transmission. Injected 505s had power-assisted disc brakes all-round, other models having disc/drum layouts. Pininfarina was retained to advise on body design and the end product was in the modern trend, well-balanced, and at 15.02 ft (4.58 metres) had a spacious interior. Big improvement (over the 504) is the 15.88 cu. ft (450-litre) luggage compartment. With increased comfort, a high standard of finish, and roadholding in the mould of the 504/604 models, the 505 was a very desirable Peugeot. Even the basic models (GR, TI, GRD) came with a high level of equipment, while the 'S' versions had power steering, tinted glass (electric front windows), 'tweed' seat materials, lavish instrumentation, and massive protection against side impacts.
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
France

Peugeot 604 Turbo Diesel

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
 
Peugeot can be credited for introducing Europe's first turbocharged diesel car-for European consumption, the 604 Turbo Diesel. Peugeot initially envisaged a three-litre oil engine for their biggest 604 model, but later decided that for reasons of economy (both of fuel and of manufacture) a supercharged verrsion of one of their existing power-units would suit the project admirably. Peugeot chose the then latest version of their 2.3-litre 504 G R D c-i unit, and added a Garrett turbocharger for increased power, the layout also offering realistic fuel economy if used intelligently. The exhaust -driven supercharger started to deliver at around 2000 rpm, blowing at around 8.7 psi (0.6 bar), and increasing only a little after that.

The cylinder block was strengthened for the extra stresses, pistons were cooled by pressurized oil jets, the crankshaft was of a different type with larger bearings, and the water-cooling circuit flow was increased. The new engine also had an oil-cooler (with oil-feed to the turbocharger), and developed 80 bhp DIN (59.65 kW), 14 per cent more than in 504 form. Outstanding progress had been made in the flexibility area, maximum torque being increased no less than 40 per cent, from 96.88 Ib ft (13.4 mkg) to 135.92 Ib ft (18.8 mkg). The 604 body and structure was specially soundproofed for the diesel engine, which was marketed with both four and five-speed manual gearboxes as well as a three-speed ZF automatic. In its fastest form the Peugeot 604 D-Turbo would exceed 96 mph (155 km/h), and all versions incorporated a high level of luxury and equipment. Power steering was standard.
1979 Peugeot 604
France

Peugeot 604

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Peugeot 604 TI
France

Peugeot 604 TI

  Also see: Peugeot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Porsche 928
Germany

Porsche 928

  Also see: Porsche Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Germany

Porsche 924 Carrera GT

  Also see: Porsche Road Tests and Reviews
 
A last-moment show surprise at Frankfurt in September 1979 was Porsche's competition version of the 924 Turbo, designated 924 Carrrera GT, heralding, said some observers, the end of the ageing 911. The 924 Carrera featured a lightweight body of improved aerodynamic shape with doors and bonnet of aluminium, and front wings as well as spoiler of plastic. Interior fittings were reduced both in number and weight, the various modifications adding up to a saving of some 330 lb. (150 kg) over the normal 924 Turbo. Bodywork was modified to accept wider sports tyres (Pirelli P7 205/55 front, and 225/50 VR 16 rear).

The 924 variant was powered by a turbocharged 1984 cc four-cylinder engine with single overhead camshaft, and a power output of 210 bhp DIN (157 kW). The engine had a completely different head from the normal 924, with intercooler, and the power-weight ratio of the new Carrera was around 330 lb. (4.75 kg) per hp (0.745 kW). Maximum speed was said to be about 150 mph (240 km/h), and there was a limited-slip differential, stiffened suspension, and larger brakes to cope with the increased performance demanded by the competition driver. At release, Porsche said the 924 Carrera GT was a 'study' aimed at the race and rally driver who liked to compete with a realistic chance of success.
1979 Porsche 928 S
Germany

Porsche 928 S

  Also see: Porsche Road Tests and Reviews
 
The very high performance of Porsche's 924 Turbo presented the firm with a problem, as it was proving to be quicker on the road than their highly expensive 928 V8. Of course the 928 was designed as a luxury sports car of distinction, but the 928 S was introduced to put the top car back in the top bracket. In 1979 Porsche release a new S-type, with the engine capacity being increased from 4474 cc to 4664 cc by dint of enlarging cylinder bores two millimetres (to 97 mm). Crankshaft stroke remained at 78.9 mm but compression ratio was up from 8.5 to 10: 1, and maximum power was increased 60 bhp (45 kW) to 300 bhp (224 kW) at 5000 rpm - 400 rpm higher than the smaller motor.

Maximum torque was improved to 283.41 Ib ft (39.2 mkg/380 Nm) at 4500 rpm - 900 rpm faster than the normal 928 engine. Bosch K-Jetronic ignition was used on both motors. Air-conditioning was standard equipment on the new model, brakes were more powerful with an effective pad area of 50.5 sq in (326 sq. cm), and there were spoilers fore and aft which were unobtrusive and did not mar the lines. With five-speed manual gearbox (an automatic was also available), the 928 S was good for more than 155 mph (250 km/h), and 0-62 mph (00100 km/h) acceleration was around 6.6 seconds.
1979 Renault 5 GTL
France

Renault 5 GTL

  Also see: Renault Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Renault LeCar
France

Renault LeCar

  Also see: Renault Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
France

Renault 20 Diesel

  Also see: Renault Road Tests and Reviews
 
Renault were slow to enter the 'European Dieesel Club', staying out of the private car compression-ignition field while all around them adopted the thrifty (but expensive-to-facture) oil burners. A last-minute surprise at the Frankfurt Show in September 1979, however, was a four-cylinder diesel from the nationalised French enterprise, a light-alloy unit developed from the two-litre ohc 'Co-op' unit, but with different bores, and a different cylinder head with Ricardo-type swirl combustion chambers.

New parallel valves were mounted in the cylinder-head which had its inlet and exhaust ports on the same (right-hand) side, while the injectors and pump (driven by cog-belt) were on the left. The Diesel 20 developed 65 bhp DIN (48.47 kW) and was for both the basic TD (maximum speed claimed at 90 mph (145 km/h) and super-model, the GTD with five-speed gearbox, power steering, electric windows etc. Originally, Renault were to have used the Sofim diesel (as adopted by Fiat's 131 and 132 diesels), but the idea was dropped in favour of adapting a lightweight oil motor from the units already produced by the Renault-Peugeot 'co-op' at Douvrin.
1979 Renault 5 5 Door
France

Renault 5 5 Door

  Also see: Renault Road Tests and Reviews
 
After nearly eight years, total production of the popular Renault 5 hatchback exceeded three million. Modifications over the years had prooduced a very comprehensive range which was extended in 1979 by a four-door hatchback. Renault-Spain manufactured a four-door model of basically '5' layout, but it is was a notchback saloon (with luggage boot), designated '7', and was 3.93 in (10 cm) longer. The French '5-5-door' retained its original length of 11.54 ft (3.52 metres) although there was a slight overall increase (0.59 in/15 mm) due to extended rear bumpers which protected the hatch.

The central body pillar was re-sited to acccommodate the four side-doors (which were from the Spanish '7' model), but the result was well-balanced and the styling was virtually unaffected. In a flurry of 1979 activity, the Regie modified the rest of the '5' range (11 models in all), equipping the cars with new, more modern dashboards, better shaped seats, and improved sound proofing. Steering was lightened by lowering the gearing of the rack and pinion from 20: 1 to 21.75: 1. Engine changes of unusual interest were made to the petrol-motored economy models: TL and GTL versions received the 1108 cc engine from the 4 GTL, but in 45 bhp DIN (33.55 kW) form thanks to a new carburetter. In use the cars returned petrol consumption figures of 57.65 mpg Imp (4.9 lit/1 00 km) at a constant 56 mph (90 km/h), and 44.84 mpg Imp (6.3 lit/100 km) around town.
1979 Saab 900
Sweden

Saab 900

  Also see: Saab Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Saab 900
Sweden

Saab 900

  Also see: Saab Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Seat 124 D 4-Door
Spain

Seat 124 D 4-Door

  Also see: Seat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Seat 128 3P 1430
Spain

Seat 128 3P 1430

  Also see: Seat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Seat 131 Supermirafiori 1430
Spain

Seat 131 Supermirafiori 1430

  Also see: Seat Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Seat 1430 Sport
Spain

Seat 1430 Sport

  Also see: Seat Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
UK

Sunbeam Lotus

  Also see: Sunbeam Road Tests and Reviews
 
In its Sunbeam guise, the 2.2-litre motor developed a maximum power-output of 150 bhp DIN (111.85 kW) at 5600 rpm on a compression ratio of 9.44: 1. There were two twin -choke Weber carburetters, and maximum torque was 149.661b ft (20.7 mkg) at 4500 rpm (more than the two-litre Lotus, but top-end power was inferior). To gain the required sporting ratios a five-speed ZF gearbox was fitted, and using the box energetically a 0-60 mph time (0-100 km/h aprox.) in seven seconds was possible by which time it had attained 125 mph (200 km/h approx.).
1979 Talbot Avenger
UK

Talbot Avenger

  Also see: Talbot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Talbot Horizon
UK

Talbot Horizon

  Also see: Talbot Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Talbot Simca 1510
France

Talbot Simca 1510

  Also see: Simca Road Tests and Reviews
 
PSA, the big Peugeot-Citroen group, after taking over the European Chrysler subsidiaries, finally decided to market their latest acquisiitions under the Talbot name which, until its dissappearance, was well known in both France and Britain, both countries having manufacctured Talbots over the years. With a new name, Talbot-Simca took the oppportunity of rejuvenating the appearance, and altering the designation of their highly successsful front-drive five-door 'upper class' hatchbacks from 1307/8/9 to 1510. The front end of the 1510 fell away more than its predecessor, the parking lights being extended to the sides, and the synthetic bumpers were better integrated. The new range included four models, as before, they being the: 1510 LS (1300 cc) with economy carburetter; 1510 GL with more upmarket trim and equipment; 1510 GLS (1400 cc). and top model 1510 SX (was the 1309) with 1600 engine, power steering, automatic transmission, cruise control, six-function facia computer etc.
1979 Triumph Spitfire
UK

Triumph Spitfire

  Also see: Triumph Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 TVR 3000S Convewrtible
UK

TVR 3000S Convewrtible

  Also see: TVR Road Tests and Reviews
   
Volkswagen Golf Cabrio Soft Top
Germany

Volkswagen Golf Cabrio Soft Top

  Also see: Volkswagen Road Tests and Reviews
 
Production problems magnified by safety legislation tended to wipe out the convertible in the late 1970's. Yet in spite of all the difficulties, Volkswagen followed their highly-successful Beetle Cabriolet with the Golf, still built by Karmann of Osnaabruck, but offering realistic accommodation for four with the front engine/front-drive configuuration. The familar Golf hatch disappeared to provide space for the furled hood, and had to accept an extra 992 Ib (450 kg) of reinforcement to the roofless structure. Most apparent of the stiffening medium was the steel roll-over 'bar' which not only provided occupant protection but also formed runners for the side-windows, and guides for the safety belts.

The soft top had a built-in glass rear window with electric defrost, and was made of five separate layers of material with a total thickness of 0.78 in (2 cm). It was easily folded down over the luggage compartment which was reduced to 9.88 cu. ft (0.279 cu. metres/280 litres) but it tended to restrict the driver's rear vision when stowed. There were no changes to the chassis or engine specifications: the Golf Cabrio was offered in GL (1100 cc-50 bhp/37 kW), GLS (1500 cc-70 bhp/50 kW, manual or automatic), or GLI (1600 cc-11 0 bhp/82 kW, injection). Equipment was of improved GL type, and included carry-all bars, adaptable to accept skis and bicycles.
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Germany

Volkswagen Jetta

  Also see: Volkswagen Road Tests and Reviews
 
In line with accepted German thinking about giving the option of hatchback or notchback model variations, Volkswagen further extended its 1979 range to include the Golf, or Jetta, as the luggage-booted variant was designated. Main Golf panels were used to produce the good looking body, but to provide identity, the Jetta had rectangular headlights, a new grille, and an updated dashboard. Rear portion of the body was extended some 14.76 in (37.5 cm), bringing the overall length up to 13.74ft (4.19 metres), and the impressive boot capacity up to 22.23 cu. ft (0.629 cu. metres/630 litres). In similar manner to the 1979 Golf range, the front-drive Jetta had three engine options. The 1300 developed 60 bhp/45 kW (basic model, plus Land GL), the 1500 developed 70 bhp/52 kW (S, LS, GLS), and the injected 1600 produced 110 bhp/82 kW. The injected models (including Golf and Scirocco) were equipped with five-speed gearboxes, and floating-caliper front disc brakes which, impressively, almost doubled the pad surface.
1979 Volkswagen Rabbit
Germany

Volkswagen Rabbit

  Also see: Volkswagen Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Volkswagen Scirocco
Germany

Volkswagen Scirocco

  Also see: Volkswagen Road Tests and Reviews
   
1979 Volkswagen Vanagon
Germany

Volkswagen Vanagon

  Also see: Volkswagen Road Tests and Reviews
   
Alfa Romeo Alfa 6
Sweden

Volvo 240/D-6 Diesel

  Also see: Volvo Road Tests and Reviews
 
Volvo, continuing an astute buying-in policy for components, including engines (Renault for the 343/345, and the 264 V6 from the Peuugeot- Renault 'Co-op') opted for a VW diesel as they were desirous of staying upmarket. The Volkswagen oil engine (from the commerrcial LT) gave the Swedish manufacturer a one-cylinder 'plus' on the opposition, the motor being a six-cylinder in-line with a cast iron block and (belt-drive) overhead camshaft head with Ricardo Comet V swirl combustion-chambers. As on the Audi five-cylinder in-line 5D diesel (also from the VW group), the rotary injection pump was positioned on the left, behind the engine, and driven by an independent toothed flexible belt.

The six-cylinder motor had identiical bore and stroke dimensions to the Audi 5D (76.5 by 86.4 mm), but with its plus of one cylinder cubic capacity was up to 2383 cc. Compression ratio was 23:1, and it had the highest power output of any unsupercharged European diesel car engine up to that time. Maximum power was 82 bhp DIN (61.14 kW), but at 103.381b ft (14.3 mkg) the torque could be rated highly for a 2.4-litre engine. The engine was smooth and well-balanced, however, and was offered on the 240 range four-door saloon (244), and the five-door station wagon/estate (245), mostly in the GL equipment sector. There was power steering, four-speed/overdrive gearbox, or optional automatic transmission. Weighing nearly 3086 Ib (1400 kg) the Volvo D could nevertheless exceed 90 mph (145 km/h), and accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in less than 18 seconds.
1979 Citroen GS
1979 Citroen GS.
1979 Citroen GS
1979 Citroen GS.
1979 Mercedes Benz 450SLC
1979 Mercedes Benz 450SLC.
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