In our article on page 150 of the February, 1984 issue we published a photograph described as “Not what it seems to be : a blower Bentley for sure, and many parts were built in 1929 / 1930, but it spent most of its life as a drophead coupe, not the 4-seater Le Mans car it purports to be.” We were, of course, wrong in that the photograph, which was printed in error, was actually of the concours winning 1934 Le Mans Aston Martin now owned by Mr Jack Bishop and until recently owned by the driver shown in the photograph, Mr Ian MacGregor. We apologise to Mr MacGregor for any impression we may have given that this car was not 100% original, and we of course acknowledge its originality. We also apologise to Mr Jack Bishop for having in error printed a photograph of his Aston Martin instead of the intended Bentley. ‘
Audi 200 Turbo goes on sale
The latest version of the Audi 200 goes on sale this month, with the Injection version to follow in April. Faster, more economical, and notably more flexible than its predecessor, the Turbo breaks new ground for the VAG group in its pricing structure, the manual version costing £17,013 and the automatic £17,793. Into this previously uncharted territory, dominated by Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar, Audi intend to sell 600 Turbos and 1,000 Injection models in the remainder of 1984. The Injection (normally aspirated) version will cost £13,411 in manual form or £14,191 with automatic transmission.
The new version of the 200 is based on the award winning 100 model, with sleek and aerodynamic lines. Bigger, 15-inch diameter alloy wheels with wider tyres, the addition of an air dam with brake cooling vents and a larger radiator area increase the drag factor from 0.30 to 0.34, still better than all its rivals and representing a 24% improvement over the previous 200 Turbo model. With an intercooler added to the specification, and a knock sensor enabling Audi to increase the compression ratio to 8.8:1, the 2.2-litre five-cylinder engine’s output is increased by 12 bhp to 182 bhp, resulting in significantly higher Performance. The 0-60 mph acceleration time is reduced to a claimed 8.2 seconds and the maximum speed is raised to 143 mph. The power unit, overhung at the front and driving the front wheels, is what Audi engineers call their third generation turbo. It does not incorporate the latest Bosch “Motronic” engine management system, favouring the K-Jetronic injection system and full electronic ignition control, together with the knock sensor. The main benefit is a greatly improved torque curve which virtually eliminates the so-called turbo surge, the driver finding copious power and torque from 2,000 rpm upwards. This is particularly evident on the automatic version, still a three-speed box but having a torque converter which keeps the engine speed at 4,000 rpm, well into the power and torque bands, as the Audi accelerates.
A second-generation ABS brake system is fitted as standard equipment, this having the on/off facility. When would you not want anti-skid braking? On fresh snow, or on gravel, we learn, the build-up “damming” effect of sliding tyres can actually improve the retardation. Fully automatic air conditioning will be standard equipment on the Turbo, which bristles with luxury features.
Oh Dear Department
In the letter from Innes Ireland (February, 1984, Page 183), someone else tried to be helpful by adding to the original letter but got it wrong. The small Australian that lnnes referred to saying “. . . I cannot remember his name” was Ken Kavanagh, not Murray Rainey. The story about the shortened chassis is rather suspect and Richard Bergel, who brought the car back from Italy, maintains that the cockpit was the same size as every other 250F, though he does confirm that the wheelbase was 1 1/2 in shorter on one side.
In our Renault story (February, 1984, Page 147) it was said that the RE40 appeared late in 1984, which should have been 1983.
With the adoption of the Bosch “Motronic” engine management system for the Alfetta “Gold Cloverleaf” model, Alfa Romeo’s engineers have pioneered an interesting system of variable valve timing which leads to better engine flexibility and much improved fuel economy in the Urban Cycle.
The Italian manufacturer calls the system VIVT, which stands for variable inlet valve timing. The Motronic system manages both the ignition and injection settings, but offers the third function which Alfa Romeo has exploited, of reducing the valve overlap at low speeds.
The central computer system, which controls a 256-element map of engine requirements, also controls via a solenoid a hydraulic piston which can turn the inlet valve camshaft by 16 degrees, thus “unwinding” the overlap for starting and low-speed running.
At a steady 56 mph the two-litre, 130 bhp engine is five per cent more economical due to the efficiency of Motronic; at 75 mph it is some three per cent more economical, yet in the official Urban Cycle (town running) figure the car is 28% more economical, the consumption improving from 22.6 to 28.8 mpg.
The Alfetta Gold Cloverleaf, top model in this range, has a new front grille, front spoiler and bumpers, the latter being colour-keyed to the gunmetal grey and electric blue exterior finishes; the third available colour, Alfa Red, would have grey bumpers. The price is £9,150 inclusive.
The Ides of March
THE outcome of the FISA Executive Committee meeting in Lisbon on March 12th should be of particular interest, the two main items on the agenda being the ratification of the Monaco Grand Prix, and to consider proposals for ending the dispute between FISA and IMSA over endurance racing regulations.
Until the meeting, the running of the Monaco GP is in doubt since the organisers have signed away the television rights which, under the “Concorde Agreement” have to be given to the FIA and FOCA. FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre has put together all the information concerning the dispute, and states: “Nobody can prejudge what will be the final decision of the Executive Committee, given that certain pieces of this dossier seem to lend themselves to various interpretation.” Balestre went with Pierre Aumonier to Daytona in February to discuss the IMSA situation with John Bishop, and as outlined in “Matters of Moment” had to find a way through a minefield of conflicting regulations which were as much to do with attitudes as with technicalities. If agreement can be announced it will renew interest in the World Endurance Championship on both sides of the Atlantic.