ROVER 2000 TC AND AUTOMATIC
Introduced to the European and North American markets last spring, the high-performance TC version of the Rover 2000 is now available in Britain. Also announced in time for the Paris show, and Earls Court, is an automatic version using the Borg Warner system and a torque converter.
Since 1963 the Rover 2000 has become well established as a comfortable enthusiasts’ car with such handling and roadability that it can easily cope with extra power. This has now been achieved by redesigning the cylinder head and raising the compression ratio to 10:1; a pair of SU HD8 carburetters are fitted and new four-branch exhaust rnanifolding takes care of the breathing. Maximum net power output has been upped to 114 b.h.p., giving the TC a claimed top speed of 112 m.p.h. with 0-80 m.p.h. acceleration in 20.5 seconds. This version costs £1,415 including tax, and wire wheels are a £47 option.
A less highly tuned version of the o.h.c. engine, developing 90 b.h.p. net, powers the Automatic Rover 2000. The Borg Warner box has three speeds, and a special oil cooler is fitted to prevent transmission overheating. This model has a claimed top speed of too m.p.h., and costs £1,452 including tax.
NEW STYLE VIVA
With more interior space, a bigger and more powerful engine, the Vauxhall Viva has moved up into a larger class for the coming year. These popular small cars appear with completely new two-door styling, which features the GM “rising wingline” treatment, and the engine is bored out to 1,159 c.c. Power output is up to 56.2 b.h.p. gross for the ordinary Viva, 68.7 gross for the Viva “90” which is distinguished by different grille treatment and interior styling improvements.
The most significant feature of the styling is the riddance of square, boxy lines, replaced by more flowing lines suggesting coupe influence. Track, wheelbase, overall length and width have all increased quite substantially, mainly to give more interior width and a seating capacity for five people, albeit occasionally.
Mechanically there have been a number of improvements. Coil-spring suspension replaces semi-elliptic springs at the rear, which combined with the greater track are said to give a real benefit. Optional disc brakes, standard on the “90,” are larger and have bigger calipers. The rack and pinion Steering is also revised.
There is more comfort for the occupants. The suspension changes have considerably reduced the body roll factor and completely new seats are fitted, designed to give extra lateral support. Fresh air ventilation, with individual directional inlets, is fitted, and all the instrumentation is new.
SAAB 96 V4
Bowing to the waning popularity of two-stroke engines, Saab have fisted the 1,498 c.c. Ford Taunus V4 engine into their existing bodyshell as an, extra model to the range. This is an interim measure, since the Swedish company will be using a new unit developed by Standard-Triumph next year, when it is expected that a new Saab will be announced.
The German Taunus engine practically doubles the capacity of other cars in the Saab range, and although the V4 unit, developing 65 b.h.p. net, is not much more powerful than the Monte Carlo two-stroke, it is far more flexible. Assisting economy, the free-wheel mechanism is retained. The Saab 96 V4, as this car will be called, is priced at £801 in Britain including tax.
All the Saab models are now fitted with front-Wheel disc brakes, and have improved interior fittings, 2-speed wipers, locks on both doors, and an alternator in place of the dynamo.
2-LITRE TRIUMPH VITESSE
An uprated version of the 1,996 c.c. six-cylinder unit powering the Triumph 2000 is now standard equipment for the Vitesse, moving it up into the 100 m.p.h. class. Outwardly the new car is distinguished by the addition of a reversing light and new emblems front and rear, but mechanical improvements include a larger clutch to cope With the extra power and larger-diameter disc brakes at the front. Seating has been improved and the threespoke steering wheel has .a leather Cover. Price of the 2-litre Vitesse is increased to £839 in saloon form, £883 as a convertible, including tax.
Uprating the capacity by 25% has made a substantial difference to the performance, giving it more torque and power in the middle range. The Vitesse is claimed to reach 60 m.p.h. in 12.5 seconds instead of 17.1, and be a good 10 m.p.h. faster on maximum speed.
On a test drive at the Mallory Park circuit the Vitesse impressed us with its power out of the corners, quickly reaching 96 m.p.h. on the straights, and this was confirmed on the road later. The combination of a 6-cylinder engine and the optional overdrive makes this a thoroughly refined small car well equipped to take advantage of road conditions.
At the speeds reached on a circuit the convertible model sets up quite a noise as the hood flaps, while the saloon is not immune from a fair amount of wind noise. The car is, however, quite a bit faster than was ever envisaged when the Herald was designed as a nice, quiet 1-litre saloon though no larger in carrying capacity.
With swing-axles at the rear, the Vitesse tends to lurch into its cornering attitude then hold a very steady and predictable line. understeering at low speed and just tending to oversteer at the limit of adhesion. It was a pity we tried the 2000, with its sophisticated trailing arm rear suspension, before the Vitesse because it is undeniably a better arrangement; it is, however, more costly and probably the difference does not show up so much on the road.
Fitted with the Usual twin Stromberg carburetters, the Vitesse develops 95 b.h.p. net (compared with 90 b.h.p. of the 2000). The car has enjoyed a notably level sales graph through the past two or three years and when he introduced it Mr. George Turnbull, Standard-Triumph’s general manager, reckoned that the increased capacity would improve its Status in Europe particularly.
Though General Motors frown on motor racing and profess to shun the power race (ostensibly by refraining from quoting performance figures), they certainly take a lively interest in the sports-car scene. The Chevrolet Camaro is a new offering for 1967, being a “compact” two-dour coupe or convertible model powered by a choice of engines up to 295 b.h.p. gross.
Clearly something had to be done about the Mustang, the success of which possibly took even Ford by surprise. The Camaro (pronounced Camairo) is very similar in size on a 9-ft, wheelbase, cleanly styled with commendable restraint, and for the British market is equipped with a 5,736 c.c. V8 engine. giving 295 b.h.p., 4-speed manual transmission, and front disc brakes. When he introduced it Mr. E. M. Estes, Chevrolet’s general manager, said it matched “the American public’s growing preference for individualised transportation.”
In common with other cars in the range, the Camaro has a separate frame and unitary body construction; front suspension is independent with coil springs, while a live rear axle is supported by leaf springs. The interior gives full accommosittion for four adults, with individual seats at the front. Special instrumentation is available, and a Rally Sport option includes two auxilary headlights concealed in the grille. Or if you want it, an SS 350 package gives you a special bonnet with twin simulated louvres, a 4-in paint stripe around the nose, and red-line tyre treatment!
The Camaro, which is available only with left-hand drive. will be seen at Earls Court.
Renault held a Press pre-view at the convenient rendezvous of the White City early in September, the latest Renault 4s taking over from the greyhounds and show-jumping horses as inmates of this famous arena, to which the full-scale Olympia Motor Show overflowed in 1922.
Renault are now the largest industrial export organisation in France and they intend to promote their long-established and famous name by dropping the “R” prefix to their various models—in future it will be Renault 4 and Renault 16, etc.— and by making RENAULT the most prominent name on garages and service stations dealing with these cars.
The all-purpose Renault 4, of which over 1,000,000 have been built, will dispense with its former tubular hammock seats in favour of individual, conventional-style seats for next year (and the Renault 8 is famous for seat-comfort), while the original spartan facia has been replaced by a more elaborate dashboard layout. The interior trim has been improved, brake-lining area increased to 65.6 sq. in., the rear suspension arms have been reinforced, and a cam on the rear torsion bars now gives progressive ground clearance adjustment. Thus the Renault 4, introduced in 1961, moves a stage further away from the Citroen 2 c.v. of which it was an obvious and rather blatant crib, now being endowed with greater refinement while retaining its ingenious and highly practical features of supple suspension, simple gear-change, go-anywhere ground-clearance and dispensation of servicing chores.
Moreover, in spite of these improvements, prices have been reduced, the Credit Squeeze notwithstanding, in anticipation of withdrawal of the final 10% temporary import surcharge next month. Prices now range from £422 for the Renault Fourgon van to £543 15s. 8d. for the Renault 4 estate car, inclusive of p.t. and including heater, de-mister, screen-washers and protective underspray. These price reductions also apply to the other Renault models—Renault 8, 1100, 16 and Caravelle. They are excused by Georges Basiliou, Managing Director of Renault Ltd., on the grounds that last year, whereas France exported only £4,811,000-worth of vehicles to Britain, we exported £13,017,000-worth of vehicles to France and because “Free movement of trade between nations is essential, particulaily where it concerns automobiles, because major manufacturers cannot progress on a home market alone.”
Completely redesigned with Michelotti styling, and powered by a bigger engine, the new DAF 44 will be seen at Earls Court. An 844-cc. unit developed from the previous 750-c.c. unit now develops 40 b.h.p., enough to give the car a claimed top speed of 76 m.p.h., driving through the ingenious Variomatic transmission.
The DAF 44 is 9 in. longer than the previous model, 3 in. wider, and the wheelbase has been increased by 7 in. This combines to give considerably more interior space, and a lot Of attention has been given to comfort with new seats and individual fresh-air ventilation.
The recently-announced Volvo 144 will he making its first appearance in Britain at the London Motor Show, though it will not be available until early next year. Completely restyled, the 144 is longer, lower and wider than previous models, and is powered by the well-established 1,780 c.c. 4-cylinder ongine developing 85 b.h.p. net in standard torn), 115 b.h.p. net optionally.
The 144 has disc brakes on all wheels, Coupled with a dual braking system which guards against complete brake failure.
Many safety features are included in the specification, including ready-installed lap and diagonal seatbelts.
Hard on the heels of Oldsmobile’s extremely successful Toronado, the Cadillac division of General Motors introduce a front-drive Eldorado. Though following the Toronado’s mechanical layout very closely, the Eldorado has quite new bodywork taking full advantage of the design, incorporating a flat floor and five or Six-seat passenger accommodation.
Against the trend, the Eldorado is smaller than its predecessor, being 18 ft. 5 in. long, an inch lower, and having a 10 ft. wheelbase instead of 10 ft. 10 in. The power unit chosen is a 7,031 C.C. V8 developing 340 b.h.p., making this the largest if not the most powerful 4-w-d car ever made. Automatic transmission and torque converter lie alongside the engine and work in reverse direction to transmit the power via a forward differential. Bodywork is set upon a “stub” frame supporting torsion-bar front suspension, and a dead beam axle at the rear is supported by single leaf springs and a dual damper system. Front disc brakes are optional, aided by a more powerful servo, and a facia warning light shows if anything fails in the hydraulic circuit.
The Eldorado, built on its own special assembly line in Detroit, has distinctive Cadillac features including a “cross-hatch” grille, the vertically-mounted dual headlight system being hidden behind a servo-operated shield when not in use. A new ventilation system has enabled the designers to manage without quarter-lights; the small rear-quarter windows sliding back into the bulky pillars.
REVISIONS FROM FRANCE
In time for the Paris Salon, Citroen announce that the ID 19 will be equipped with the 1,985 c.c. 5-bearing crank engine announced a year ago for other models. It develops 78 b.h.p. net and with exceptionally high gearing (22.56 m.p.h./1,000 r.p.m. in top) puts the car easily into the 100 m.p.h. class. All the cars will have a special mineral oil in future for the hydropneumatic suspension and hydraulic circuits.
Peugeot increase the power of the 404A saloon to 80 b.h.p. gross by increasing the compression ratio to 8.3. A rear anti-roll bar is fitted and the boot has been redesigned, putting the spare wheel under the floor, to allow greater capacity. Interior changes include a new facia layout and improved furnishings. For the 404C KF2 Cabriolet and Coupe, a new grille incorporates auxiliary iodine-vapour headlights. Fully reclining seats become standard equipment in the 204 saloon and estate.
It is truly remarkable how Volkswagen contrives to build-in improvements to its cars, so that they remain eternally desirable and in enormous demand and ever just beyond criticism. Lack of performance was matched by introducing the 1.300-c.c. version of the beetle. Now we have the 1 1/2-litre beetle, its still further enhanced performance matched by disc front brakes, criticism of handling qualities answered by revision of the swing-axle i.r.s. to give primary understeer, and attacks of the car’s safety factors met by a new interior devoid of sharp objects and injury-promoting projections in the event of a collision. The bigger models now have 12-volt electrics. and once again this incredible company has done all it needs to do to ensure continued domination of American and European export markets. The present range comprises :—