Was The 80’s the Death of the American Petrol Head? (Part 2)

**The GLHS**

The GLHS was the fastest with 175 horsepower and 175 lb-­ft. This wasn’t a tool for the track, it was a weapon of mass destruction. It had a modified Garrett Turbo I engine, a long runner tuned intake (2 pieces) manifold, and an intercooler. The engine had a compression ratio of 8.5:1, a maximum boost of 12 psi. Because of all this, it could do the 0­60 mph in an incredible 6.70 seconds and the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 94 mph. It also pulled.88 g on the skid pad.

Rather than continuing to produce Shelby inspired Dodges, Carroll began to build actual Shelbys at his new facility in Whittier, California. These were cars he purchased from Dodge, modified, and then sold himself through select Dodge dealerships. These vehicles were produced in limited numbers. Each model was a one ­year­ run and all were given a numbered dash plaque.

The suspension was reworked with adjustable low-pressure gas charged Koni front struts and rear shocks. The standard 1­in. front and 5/8­in. rear swaybars were retained, as well as the factory brakes and steering. Shelby Centurion 15×6 in cast aluminum wheels were surrounded by 205/50VR­15 Goodyear Gatorbacks.

With the additional power, it now had a top speed of 130 mph. All of this bundle of brilliance for what cost? At the time, it was only 11 grand. It wasn’t just Shelby tuning Dodges though, as Dodge themselves got into the game with products of their own. Products like the 1984 Dodge Colt Turbo. Sure, it may have been a Mitsubishi, but that didn’t deter this vehicle from being fast. Sure, it only had a 0­60mph in 8.9 Seconds and only 103 horsepower. That wasn’t the point of the Colt. It was a handling machine meant to be more of Lotus Elise, then Chevrolet Camaro.

It was lighter than Alfa Romeo 4C light. It may have had only 103 horsepower, but it only weighed 1,896 pounds (or 860 kg). It also had a top speed of 112 mph. Not much, but like the Miata… It doesn’t need to be.

“Now, in this corner, we have the Dodge Omni GLH Packing 110 horsepower (82 kw).

In the other corner we have… Where did they go? Were they scared off?

Apparently so… “

The Omni GLH was a great hot hatch. It was fast, fun, light, nimble, cheap and frivolous. This is a classic. It’s not as much of a classic as the GNX; yet still a classic in its own right.

This car is a fast little bugger stock, it’s a jammy bugger when you modify it. This is also a very light car, weighing in at less than 2,400 pounds. While we don’t see many of these, they still prove that Dodge can make a proper small car… A proper hot hatch, but the GLH wasn’t the only “GLH” in the series.

You then had the GLH­T. It was basically a GLH with a turbocharged engine. Though it was much more powerful, power was now raised to 146 horsepower (108 kw) and 170 lb-­ft. Making it one of the faster cars in the trio, this car went from 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds and a quarter mile in 16.2 seconds at 85.5. It could reach a top speed of 119.

The GLH turbo was upgraded to equal length half shafts. Even though it was just (pretty much) an engine upgrade, that didn’t take away from anything. It was still an amazing hot hatch.

Then we have the car that nobody remembers. The Dodge Shadow ES, while the ’87 looks better than the ‘ 89, they are good cars either way. These are very fun cars to drive too. Like many of the cars on this list, the Shadow was (and still is) a very light car. Weighing in at 2,535 pounds (or 1150 kg) it had 146 horsepower and 170 lb­-ft.

This car was less powerful than some of the cars on this list, and a bit heavier. But this wasn’t a Shelby tuned Shadow. So it wasn’t going to be as racing focused, despite that they were still very good fun to drive.

This is the canvas Shelby used to craft the CSX from his very hands. And it’s a good little packet from the factory. He essentially turned the Shadow into an Evo except without the AWD. Much like almost all of the cars on this list, it is turbocharged. It uses the same engine in the following cars:

Omni GLH/GLH­T/GLHS

Dodge Shelby Charger

Shelby CSX

Shelby Lancer

Dodge Daytona

That’s a lot of cars to have the same engine. But once 1989 came around, the power was increased to 150 horsepower and 180 lb­ft. While it wasn’t as good looking as the previous year, he did a little surprise with the refreshed model.

That’s right! We got a convertible. In 1991, Dodge introduced the convertible Shadow. It was a pretty good convertible at that! You could get an ES trim level, meaning you could get a convertible with 150 horsepower and 180 lb­ft. Since it was light, it was pretty quick.

But wait, there is more!!!

Could it be? Yes, Another sedan! The Dodge Spirit R/T with 224 horsepower and 218 lb­-ft. This was the Charger Hellcat of its time. Because it has the most power of all the vehicles on this list, it has the highest top speed. It has a top speed of 141 mph. That’s 190 E territory. It could do the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds, at 97 mph. This was tubular in its day. (Yes I had to look that up). Its heads were also designed by Lotus. At the time, it was the fastest four door sedan in America. It was also fuel efficient, reaching 26 mpg on the highway.

It was very, very cheap. Making it one of the fastest cars you could get for less than 20 grand. As great as this was, it’s not as memorable as the other cars on this list. (Aside from the Shadow and Colt)… Though, they are still fairly popular within a certain group of people. **Cough**

TurboDodge guys **Cough**

The Dodge Daytona is one of the coolest vehicles on this list. It produced 146 horsepower (109 kw) and 170 lb­-ft. It is a bit heavier than some of the other vehicles on this list. It weighs 2,701 pounds (or 1225 kg). It handled so well, it beat the Porsche 924.

Don’t believe me? Here you go:

http://www.allpar.com/model/daytona.html#handle

Read it and weep or admire. It had a Garret T3 Turbo. With 2 valves per cylinder. A lot of people love this car to this day, someone even swapped the 2.2 Liter turbo for a 5.7 Liter Hemi in theirs and converted it to RWD. But that is beside the point. It also got a T-top option for ’86. Later on in its life, it gained pop­up headlights and a new variant. It was called the Shelby Z. It gained more horsepower from 146 to 174 horsepower (130 kw), and 200 lb­-ft, as well as a heavy duty A555 transaxle with Getrag gears. (If you want more info, I’ll provide links at the end of the article).

The Dodge Caravan ES Turbo, the total sleeper. Much like some of the vehicles on this list, it makes 150 horsepower and 170 lb­-ft. Not the lightest vehicle on this list, it weighs in at 3,086 pounds. It’s lighter and faster than some of the vehicles to come. It has a top speed of 110 mph, not very high. But for a van in the 1980’s, that’s pretty brisk. Combine that with a 0­60mph in 9.4 seconds, and you have the makings of a sleeper for sleepers.

Ford came along for the ride. They showed that the 80’s weren’t the end with the Foxbody Mustang. Foxbodies are very popular now, they’re known as a good platform for pretty much anything. They are the lightest of all the Mustangs. Once upgraded to a Dart block, can easily handle 900 HP. But these go beyond just drag racing. Because they are light and small, they make good budget track cars.

You could get a whole armada of engines. Here is the list:

2.3 L (140 cu in) 86 hp I4

2.3 L (140 cu in) turbocharged I4

3.3 L (201 cu in) I6 85 hp

2.8 L (171 cu in) V6

3.8 L (232 cu in) Essex V6

4.2 L (256 cu in) V8

302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8

Quite a lot, isn’t it? It was also chosen as the pace for the Indy 500, they also made a special edition celebrating this. Over 10,000 were made. Unlike the Daytona, you could get a convertible or just a standard Coupe. The Fastback was the option if you wanted a sportier Mustang. The Daytona was just a fastback/ hatch from the factory.

There was also a variety of transmissions. From a 4 or 5 speed manual or a 3 or 4 speed automatic. But who could forget the Mustang SVO? This is the Foxbody we all remember. It had 200 horsepower, 240 lb-­ft. and the new (for the time) “aero” headlights. The Mustang wasn’t the only car on the “Foxbody” platform though, we also had the Thunderbird. Think of it as a Chrysler 300 Coupe. It was bigger than the Mustang and more luxurious. In a weird way, it reminds me of the Bentley Continental.

The Turbo Coupe had a 2.3 Liter OHC (Over Head Cam) engine with EFI, an Air to Air Intercooler and a 5­Speed Manual transmission with overdrive. This was a luxury coupe with a dark side. At first, the engine produced 142 horsepower, but was then later increased to 155 horsepower. As expected, this was heavier than the Mustang. It was also bigger. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the Mustang was more of a sports car, the Thunderbird was more of a cruiser. A GT car if you will.

Sadly, this is a much underrated car. Not getting as much love as the Foxbody which is ironic really, given that it’s based on the same platform. It’s just a cast away, losing the glory it once had to the merciless mistress of time. Destined to a life of misery… it’s a great shame, because had people seen the potential in this car…
We may have seen more cruisers from this forgotten beast.

A Chauffeur Driven Car Is an Important Part of Your Stay

A chauffeur driven car is an important part of your stay in the beautiful city of London. While visiting the city, you must make sure you hire a chauffeur driven car service for yourself to enjoy your stay and most importantly, to enjoy your travel in the city. As a matter of fact, London now provides chauffeur services and limousines to the travellers visiting the city for work or pleasure purposes and it is not difficult now to find a chauffeur company in London which can provide you with all the great facilities. But it is always better to hunt down a chauffeur company in London which would provide you with the best of facilities and fulfil your needs to the best of their abilities.

These chauffeur companies have a lot to offer to all the visitors whether they are out for a business trip or even for a leisure trip. People out on business trips would love to travel by a limousine or even on a leisure trip, you must travel in a limousine and visit the city lavishly in a royal manner to the places which you are here to visit, like music concerts, movie premiers, corporate events, etc. Chauffeur driven Limousines adds a special classy touch to your presence in the particular event. Many people would look out for a good chauffeur company in London to provide them with world class cars and chauffeurs.

When you are looking for a chauffeur driven cars service providers in the city, the first thing that you must know is what car you want. For instance, whether it’s a limousine that you want or is it a smaller car or even more luxurious? Chauffeur companies are firm on the kind of vehicle they offer for services. Most chauffeur companies in London offers three kinds of limousines, Executive limousine, prestige limousine and wedding limousine.

Executive Limousine services are the best suited for all those looking for a luxurious royal and comfortable transport and all those out on a business trip. Besides the executive Limousines, there are other cars also which are available like Mercedes Benz E Class along with S class models and spacious cars like Viano. Prestige Limousines, also known as the VIP limousines are the more expensive ones as they offer the most ultimate experience of travelling in every respect. Cars like Rolls Royce Phantom are the most famous ones in this category. Then there are the wedding Limousines which are the best suited for wedding purposes for the bride and the party.

A Car Buying Story – Part Four – The Dealers

You know, while researching the cars, I read a lot about dealing with car dealers. People generally have a negative attitude towards them and the whole car buying experience, and you can find tons of information on how to avoid their scams, how to lower the price, how to negotiate with them, what to tell them, etc, etc. An excellent website to inform yourself on all aspects of car buying is Car Buying Tips: (http://www.carbuyingtips.com/). Now with all the great info and details I learned from various sources, I still thought that generally the prevailing attitude is not realistic. I mean, you almost get a feeling that if you pay anything more than a factory price, you made a bad deal. You can certainly succeed in lowering the price apparently to a large extent, but it is the fact that the dealers have to make money too. Ok, sometimes just selling the car, e.g. to meet their projected numbers, is beneficial to them, and they might give away even the whole of their profit for that sake. But come on, I can consider such situation just a crazy luck, not my goal! Anyway, I think that the current craze about “beating” those prices down to the floor is just as unrealistic and aggressive as the dealer’s craze to take as much money from you as possible.

However, after this buying experience, I lost pretty much any respect and sympathy for the dealers. And I will always advise anyone never to become one. Of course some of them were great examples of normal and pleasant behaviour, but unfortunately I must say that most of them have taken the activity of deceit and aggressiveness to such extent that for an honest and well meaning man the idea of going to a dealership must be repugnant. I very quickly got such a strong feeling of insecurity about everything I was told by them. I think everything was a lie, smaller or bigger. A lot of what I’ve heard I don’t believe, and none of it I trust.

Here are some of the examples, more or less funny, from my recent experience:

Systematic approach

I enter a dealership, with the intention of exploring a car that really caught my attention simply by offering all of the basic features I wanted. So I wanted to see it, test drive it, and ask a couple of questions. So I ask the dealer: “I’ve read that the crash test scores for this model are not that good, most are graded 3 out of 5. Now, I know that there are different tests, and you can’t judge simply by the grade. Do you know more details about those tests and the scores? What is tested exactly, and how did they score the cars?”

The answer was: “Yes, yes I know, the scores are not the best possible. I know. But you know — what do they mean really? (And I’m thinking — yes, that is exactly what I asked) You see, a grade of 3 is really not that bad. It’s almost like 4. What is the difference? Almost nothing let me tell you. And also, all of that means something only in most severe crashes!!”

Well, no kidding!! What a thorough explanation. Now I understand and my worries are gone. And what a relief. So, if a car is simply parked on a lot, I shouldn’t worry that it will suddenly open the hood and hit me right in the face!

Bonding

A question occurred to me about a car, and I decided to drop by a dealership to ask. My visit was about 10 minutes long — of course we exchanged numbers, I got the brochure and usual stuff. Tomorrow morning, my cell phone rings, I answer and I get this:

– “Hey Michael, Jord here from the dealership.” – “Hey Jord, how are you, what’s up?” (I thought he might have just gotten some good used car) – “Nothing, nothing…just wanted to see how are you.”

Huh… If this doesn’t sound as a start of a beautiful friendship I don’t know what does!

Then he goes on: – “So have you made a decision on which car you want?” – “No, not really, not yet. I told you I’ll need some time, and I’m not rushing really.” – “Ok, tell me, what’s blocking it? Can I help?”

Man, of course you can! Go do something else instead of asking me questions…

Landing on all four whatever happens

I wasn’t sure about a size of a trunk of one of the models, so on my visit to the dealerships I brought couple of boxes and a cart that I use often to see how they fit into the trunk. Now this was one of the smaller cars, so I wasn’t sure about the trunk size. And I tell the dealer what I’d like to do and he says no problem. So I take out the stuff and he laughs:

– “C’mooon, how can you doubt it — that will fit without a problem. Don’t worry!!” – “Wait, wait, let me try, I know what I’m talking about.”

And then I try, and he tries, but it doesn’t go so easy — the cart is a bit long and the boxes a bit high. Separately they go in no problem, but together, not that easy. Finally, he laughs again and remarks:

– “And you really thought ALL OF THAT will fit into this trunk??!!”

Wha…??

Get all the money you can

I receive a long talk describing how I should buy the replacement insurance. And the more expensive one (“better” in the jargon), which covers you for a longer time and gives you the value of the new car, rather the amount that you paid. Ok, that is a fine product. Now I also get a long description on how I should absolutely buy a VIN engraving package where they engrave the VIN on all windshields so that the thieves are less likely to steal it (they can’t sell the windshields for parts). It’s about $300. Well, I gave both of these things a good thought, but tomorrow I realized a simple thing: Why do I need two protections? If I get the replacement insurance, and if they are going to give me a new car if mine is stolen, why would I then protect it even more?? Damn, I should also probably buy two cars in case one is stolen after all.

And on top of that, I found on the internet that the engraving kit, very simple to use and apply, can be bought for mere $20.

Get all the money you can — again

This one is well-known, and usually titled as a “dealer scam”, but I decided I put it here anyways just as another example.

So I finally decide to buy the car and I arrive to the dealership at around 6:00pm. I expect the process to last about an hour. However, little thing here and there and I end up at the dealership for four hours. I think ok, nobody’s fault, there are simply a lot of things to do and a lot of people to involve — the dealer, finance guy, insurance girl, then the finance guy again, then the manager because there was an error, etc. So, I get the contract with all the figures there, and everything looks fine: all the figures match almost perfectly to mine that I calculated before. Except one thing — $900 of loan life insurance. So I ask:

– “Why is it there? Is that mandatory?” – “Well, we made such an application to Company’s Finance.” – “Ok, but is it mandatory?” – “We could reapply and see what happens — if you have life insurance elsewhere.”

Now, you see, I am not too easy to confuse, but it was late and I didn’t want to repeat the whole process again, so I’m thinking: “Ok, I’m going to think about it tomorrow.” And I let it by. Now good thing was that I had the contract with me (I had to take it home for my wife to sign), so I wasn’t too worried.

Anyhow, in the morning I realize that not only it is not mandatory to have the insurance and that I definitely do not need life insurance elsewhere, but another application without it will certainly go through. And, at that point I sincerely doubted that they need to make another application at all. So I get really angry and I go there and I get the exact same answer again. So I say:

– “Let’s apply again; I am sure the application will go trough. I simply don’t want it and I never wanted it and I never asked for it. And if it doesn’t we’ll see then what we do.”

And she does the paperwork, and seeing me irritated, remarks: “Don’t worry I’m sure it will go trough.” Of course it will — and it does.

Get on customer’s side — even if you overdo it

One of the dealers was affirming every little thing I said. It got funny and a bit annoying:

He thought that the features I wanted are absolutely the only important features in the car.

He was also in computer business just a few years ago.

The funniest was when we discussed payment options. He told me that leasing is a better option if I want to change the car every couple of years. So I say:

– “You know, I am more the other type of buyer, at least so far. I drive one car for years before I buy a new one, so I probably won’t go with the lease.” – “I understand, I completely understand. You know, the worst part of the auto business for me is that you simply have to change the car every 1-2 years. I hate that. If I wasn’t selling cars, I would do the same as you.”

Well, this really made me feel like home. C’mon guys, we just met and will probably never see each other again; don’t do these things.

Advertise what you have

This one was not really on the negative side, it was just funny. I went to Subaru and dealers there were actually very cool. They were very cooperative, and without the aggressive edge. And they never called me to push or ask whether I’ve made a decision. They also have a great program where you can take the car for 24hr test drive. I had really a good experience with them.

Anyhow, I told this dealer that I know that their cars use specific technology in their engine that is different from all other cars, and that repairs can be expensive. And he says:

– “Yeah, it’s so called Boxer engine where pistons are opposed horizontally instead of vertically. But we are not the only ones to use it… Porsche uses it — you know Porsche Boxster. … And some smaller planes.”

Well, that much for the affordable repairs…

Then he also added that it’s an old technology that has been well perfected so far and that I shouldn’t worry really, which was a bit more reassuring.

Always fish for customer’s weak spots — even in the dark Honda was giving rebate and they advertised it everywhere: that was very important sales pitch. Now I come to a dealership, and one of the first things the guy tells me is: “You know, I’ll tell you one thing: we will give you a good rebate, and it’s Honda’s rebate but most of the dealers won’t even mention it.”

He made it as if he is letting me know a secret, and not only that it isn’t, but it’s all over radio, their website, everywhere. But I might have been uninformed and careless and would think that I’m getting a special deal.

Lie like there’s no tomorrow and hope you don’t get caught

I was quite close to buying a car so I called some dealerships inquiring whether they have a certain model and the color on the lot. I told them I don’t want the car to be brought from some other dealership. I want to see the car and get the one I saw. This is because I don’t want to get into whole new set of issues and questions. For example, one dealer told me that they charge extra delivery fee if they bring the car from other dealership, which is by the way ridiculous and perhaps deserves story on its own. It can also happen that the car that arrives is different in some detail than what you wanted, and you already signed the papers. Etc.

So I made sure they know what I want, and then came to one of the dealerships. We chat a bit and then I say:

– “So let me see the car.” – “Oh, I was afraid you were gonna ask me that. I really don’t know exactly where the car is.”

I laugh: “But I told you I want to see the car before I buy it.”

– “Oh, don’t worry — it’s here, I’m just not sure where.” – “Ok, I’ll go outside and look for it.” – “But our lots are really big.” – “I don’t mind, I have the time.” – “But they are not really all here — we have two lots a few blocks away.”

I just don’t like arguing that much — in cases like these I give up and simply walk away.

A good guy

The positive highlight was a young dealer for which I could quickly tell that he is not (yet) turned his abilities into a deceitful routine — he even gets confused a bit when I ask him a stupid question. To me that is the normal reaction. And when I asked him what he drives, he said: “an old Volvo, you know it’s a really good car.” I am really sorry that cars he was selling were not suitable for me — I would have been very happy to buy one from him. And I didn’t even feel like negotiating with him at all.