Thursday, December 30, 2010

Renault Dauphine, 1957

Renault Dauphine, 1957

The Renault Dauphine was an automobile produced by the French manufacturer Renault from 1956 to 1962. A luxury version, badged as the Renault Ondine was sold from 1960 to 1962.

The Dauphine was launched in 1956 to replace the highly successful Renault 4CV. Like the 4CV, the Dauphine used a single-shell monocoque body. It was a four-door sedan design as was the 4CV (but it lacked the rear-hinged "suicide doors" of the 4CV). It was also heavier and 12 inches longer than its predecessor, but used the same engine, albeit a version increased in size and power from 760 cc to 845 cc and 19 hp to 32 hp (14 to 24 kW) (the Dauphine was infamously slow: Road & Track magazine measured the Dauphine's 0-60 mph acceleration time as 32 seconds). The Dauphine was originally intended to be called the Corvette, but was changed to Dauphine (the female form of the French feudal title of Dauphin) to avoid confusion with the recently-launched Chevrolet Corvette.

Two limited editions of the Dauphine tuned to get more power from the engine were launched during its lifetime: firstly, Renault performance guru Amedee Gordini (who was to later produce high performance versions of the Renault 8, Renault 12 and Renault 15 among others) engineered a version of the Dauphine tuned to 37 hp (27.2 kW), which was sold as the Dauphine Gordini. Also, the final run of Dauphines, a limited edition of 1000 called the 1093, were similarly tuned to 55 hp (41 kW) and featured a twin barrel carburetor, rear track rods, five-speed manual transmission and tachometer, and had a top speed of 140 km/h. The 1093 was only available in white with two blue stripes down each side. A luxury version of the Dauphine called the Ondine was sold during the last two years of its prodution run.

A version of the Dauphine Gordini, called simply the Renault Gordini, was manufactured in Brazil under license by Willys-Overland.

Among the many aftermarket options available for the Dauphine were a supercharger designed by American company Judson Research & Mfg. Co, sold in 1958 for US$165, and designed to be installed in about two hours without any chassis or body modifications.

The Dauphine's legacy is somewhat dominated by both its infamously poor performance as well as its poor reliability: in many markets (particularly the United States and the United Kingdom) the car became notorious for mechanical problems and rust issues. In 2002, the auto enthusiasts' website Car Talk voted the Dauphine the 9th Worst Car Of The Millennium, calling it "truly unencumbered by the engineering process". Nevertheless, it remains popular as an antique/classic car, particularly in Europe.

Renault 4 CV Sport, 1954

Renault 4 CV Sport, 1954

The Renault 4CV was an automobile produced by the French manufacturer Renault from 1946 to 1961. An economical "people's car" inspired by the Volkswagen Beetle, it was the first French car to sell over a million.

The 4CV was originally conceived and designed covertly by Renault engineers during the German occupation of France during World War II, when the manufacturer was under strict orders to design and produce only commercial and military vehicles. A design team led by Fernand Picard, Charles-Edmond Serre and Jean-Auguste Riolfo envisioned a small, economical car (similar to the Volkswagen Beetle) suitable for the economically difficult years which would inevitably follow the war. The first prototype was completed in 1942 and two more prototypes were produced in the following three years, with the 4CV ultimately presented to the public and media at the 1946 Paris Motor Show.

On the 4CV's launch, it was nicknamed "La motte de beurre" (the lump of butter) due to the combination of its shape and the fact that many early models were painted with sand yellow-colored German army surplus paint intended for the Afrika Korps. The 4CV was powered by a 748 cc engine producing 17 hp, which was coupled to a three-speed manual transmission. Despite an initial period of uncertainty and poor sales due to the ravaged state of the French economy, the 4CV had sold 37,000 units by mid-1949 and was the most popular car in France. The car remained in production for more than a decade afterwards; it was intended to be replaced by the Renault Dauphine, launched in 1956, but the 4CV in fact remained in production until 1961, only a year earlier than the more expensive Dauphine was discontinued. In event, it was replaced by the Renault 4 which used the same engine and name as the 4CV and sold for a similar price.

1,105,547 cars were produced; the 4CV became the first French car to sell over a million.

The 4CV was easily modified and was used extensively as a racing car, winning both the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Mille Miglia. The first collaboration between the Alpine company and Renault, a partnership which would go on to win the World Rally Championship with the legendary Alpine A-110 in later years, was the Alpine A-106 which was based on the 4CV.

Honda Accord Hatchback, 1976

Honda Accord Hatchback, 1976

The Honda Accord is an automobile manufactured by Honda. The Accord was introduced in 1976 as a compact hatchback, with styling similar to an upsized contemporary Honda Civic. A four-door sedan was debuted in 1977.

First generation (1976–1981)

The first generation Honda Accord was launched in 1976 as a two-door hatchback with 68 horsepower, a 93.7-inch wheelbase, and a weight of about 2,000 pounds. It was larger than the tiny Civic at 162 inches long. The Accord sold well, due to its moderate size and great fuel economy. In 1978 an LX version of the coupe was added which came with air conditioning. In 1979 a four-door sedan was added to the lineup, and horsepower went to 72 horsepower. In 1980 the optional two-speed automatic of previous years became a three-speed automatic. In 1981 an SE model was added for the first time, with leather seats.

Second generation (1982–1985)

In 1982, the Accord was redesigned, and it became the best-selling Japanese nameplate in the US, holding that position for 15 years. Modernizing both the interior and exterior, the second generation Accord was mechanically very similar to the original, using the same 75hp, 1751cc EK1 CVCC engine. Fuel economy was increased by nearly 15%. Vastly improved quality control, however, made this one of the most reliable cars on the US market, a position it still holds today.

In 1983, Honda used a four speed automatic transmission in automatic models, a major improvement over the three speed Hondamatic.

By 1984 Accords sold in the eastern US were being produced at the new Marysville, Ohio plant with quality considered equal to those produced in Japan. The body was restyled with a slightly downward beveled nose, and the slightly more powerful ES2 1829cc CVCC powerplant was used, bringing 86hp. The LX offered most features typical of a mid-price Buick or Chrysler such as velour upholstery, cassette stereo, air conditioning, power brakes & steering, power windows, power locks, powered sunroof and roof pillar antenna, along with thick black belt moldings and integrated bumpers. Flush plastic mock-alloy wheels covers instead of caps on steel wheels that resembled the trend-setting Audi 5000. Supplies were tight, as in the Eastern states, the wait was months for a graphite gray sedan, a then-popular color. These models are still common on US roads today.

In 1985 the luxury SE-i was added, which had leather seating, bronze tinted glass, and 14" alloy wheels. A fuel injected, 110hp non-cvcc A2OA1 made its debut. This 12 valve, 1955cc engine was the first non-CVCC engine used in an Accord. The same basic engine was used by Honda until 1989.

Third generation (1986–1989)

The third generation Accord was introduced in Japan and Europe in 1985 and the rest of the world in 1986. The Accord had a very striking shape, and looked more akin to a sports car than a conventional 3-box sedan. It bore a resemblance to the second and third generation Prelude. One notable feature was the flip-up headlights, extremely unusual for a sedan. A fixed headlight version appeared in 1987 for European and Japanese markets. The fixed headlight version also had a different tailight cluster.

The 3rd Generation's suspension was a double wishbone setup, which was derived from Honda's work in Formula one. While this setup was more expensive than competitors' Macpherson Strut systems, it provided better stability and sharper handling. All 86-89 Accords Have front and rear stabilizer bars. The Accord's brakes were either Large 4-wheel discs with twin-piston calipers ( as in the JDM Si model), smaller 4-wheel discs with single piston calipers, or a Front Disc/Rear Drum system. ABS was also available as an option on the 4-wheel disc brake models, although this was never offered in North American versions of the car. Base model Accords rode on 13-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, with more expensive models having the option of 14-inch alloy wheels.

The most recent addition to Honda's museum of used cars, a 1989, third generation, Honda Accord SEI owned by U.S. resident Jason Wong has survived through numerous crashes caused by blatantly bad driving, and has over 400,000 miles on it.

Honda Civic CVCC, 1975

Honda Civic CVCC, 1975

The Honda Civic is an automobile manufactured by Honda. It was introduced in July 1972 as a two-door coupe, followed by a 3-door hatchback version that September. With the transverse engine placement of its 1169 cc engine and front wheel drive, like the British Mini, the car provided good interior space despite overall small dimensions.

Early models of the Civic were typically outfitted with a basic AM radio, rudimentary heater, foam cushioned plastic trim, two-speed wipers, and painted steel rims with a chromed wheel nut cap. The current Civic has become much more luxurious with satellite-linked navigation, a six-speed manual, power locks and power windows available. Still, many regard the Civic as representing a good value for the money, combining good performance, reliability and economy, as well as a very low rate of depreciation.

The Civic evolved from having a 1170 cc engine (1973) to having engines with larger capacities and more creature comforts (air conditioning, power windows, etc.) through the 1980s, 1990s and into the 2000s.

First generation (1973-1979)

The original 1973 Civic had a wheelbase under 87 inches and an overall length of 140 inches

Initially the Civic was sold with either a four-speed manual or a two speed "HondaMatic" model. Later models went to a five-speed manual and a full four-speed automatic transmission. Like the Mini, the transaxle was integrated with the engine unit.

Second generation (1979-1983)

The second generation Civic had a new, sleeker body and increased wheelbase to 88.6 inches for the hatchback and 91.3 inches for the wagon. The two-door sedan was no longer produced. All engines was now of the CVCC design ranging from 1335 cc giving 55 hp to 1488 cc giving 67 hp. The transmission was either a four-speed manual, a five-speed manual or a two-speed automatic. In 1981 a four door sedan was introduced and the two-speed automatic gearbox was replaced by a three speed. In 1982 it was slightly restyled with rectangular headlamps and black bumpers. In 1983 the sportier Civic S replaced the 1500GL.

Third generation (1983-1987)

For the third generation the wheelbase was increased by 5 inches to 96.5 inches. A new 12 valve (three valves per cylinder) 76 hp 1500 cc engine was introduced. The base hatchback still used the 1300 cc engine giving 60 hp. Supension was updated to independent rear suspension. The CRX was a Civic with a slightly different body. In 1985 the CRX Si was introduced. It came with a fuel-injected version of the 1500 cc engine giving 91 horsepower. In 1986 the Civic got flush-mounted headlights. Other news for the year was a four-speed automatic and an Si version of the Civic hatchback.

Fourth generation (1987-1991)

Again the wheelbase was increased to 98.4 inches. The body was designed with lower hood line and more glass giving less drag. The Civics also got a new family of engines. A 1500 cc 16-valve engine giving 92 hp was used in the DX hatchback/sedan, new LX sedan and the wagon. The base hatchback had a 70 hp version of the same engine. All engines were fuel injected. All wheels had double-wishbone suspension. In 1990 the EX trim was introduced.

Fifth generation (1991-1995)

The fifth generation had a more wedge shaped body and the wheelbase was increased to 101.3 inches for the two-door hatchback and 103.2 inches for the four-door sedan. The wagon was also dropped.

Sixth generation (1996-2000)

Beginning in 1997, Honda produced the first iteration of Civic to receive the "Type-R" appellation (applied first to the Integra Type-R), with the EK9 chassis Civic Type-R. The EK9-generation Civic Type-R had a maximum output in the range of 180 PS JIS (177 hp/132 kW), increased over the more common 160 PS (158 hp/118 kW) B16A engine in the SiR/VTi models, and included various alterations to the chassis to improve handling and reduce weight (such as better welding of the frame, and removal of the radio and noise-suppressing materials).

Seventh generation (2001-2005)

In 2001, Honda announced the release of the Civic Type-R for the EP chassis, a more sporty variant of the most recent model of Civic and successor to the EK9 Civic Type-R. Unlike the EK9 version, which was produced solely in Japan, the EP Civic Type-R is produced in the United Kingdom and exported to Japan. The EP Civic Type-R has a specific output of 200 PS (197 hp/147 kW) at 8000 rpm, a six-speed manual transmission, a reworked exterior with a bullet-like hatchback design, aeroform bumpers, spoiler, and 17 in wheels. The interior of the Type-R includes Recaro seats and a Momo steering wheel, and the model also includes Type-R-specific badging, a helical limited-slip differential, and has been reported to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds (6.4 in facelifted model).

The hybrid version became available in 2003, which uses both a small (1.3 L) main gasoline engine and auxiliary electric motors. The electric motors are powered by a battery array which is charged by regenerative braking during deceleration, which reduces exhaust emissions and extends fuel mileage.

The new Sport Hatchback model with futuristic styling was unveiled in August 2005 for the European market only. This model featured from launch a 1.4 L I-DSI and a 1.8 L i-VTEC rated at 83 PS (81 hp/61 kW) and 140 PS (138 hp/103 kW) respectively, with 177 and 207 km/h (110 and 129 mph) top speeds and 14.2 and 8.6 sec 0-100 km/h sprint. The Sport Hatchback is also available with a 2.2 L I-CTDI Diesel engine from the Accord, Edix/FR-V and CR-V, rated at 140 PS (138 hp/103 kW) and is capable of 205 km/h (127 mph) and accelerating from 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds.
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