The second generation Mercedes-Benz SLK, internally designated model R171, is a two-passenger, front-engine, rear-drive, retractable hardtop roadster, unveiled at the 74th Geneva International Motor Show - and manufactured and marketed for model years 2004-2011. Currently in its third generation ...and manufactured at Mercedes' Bremen plant, the SLK nameplate designates Sportlich (sporty), Leicht (light), and Kurz (compact).
The R171 features a number of revisions compared to its predecessor, the R170: a 30mm longer wheelbase, increased length (72mm) and width (65mm), 40% increased use of high strength steel, seven-speed automatic transmission, adaptive two-stage airbags, head/thorax sidebags and a revised roof mechanism (marketed as the Vario roof) deployable in 22 seconds (previously 25 seconds) with a rotary-pivoting rear window enabling a more compact folded roof stack and trunk storage increased by 63 litres with the roof retracted. Optional features include remote operation of the retractable hardtop as well as an innovative forced air, neck-level heating system integral to the headrests, marketed as Airscarf.
The fully galvanized bodywork, which features 19 percent improvement in static bending and 46 percent improvement in torsional strength with the roof down, also features a 3% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, with a Cd value of 0.32. The design has been aerodynamically optimized to minimize interior draughts with the top retracted and includes a fabric windblocker which can be pulled up over the two roll-over bars. Mercedes marketed the R171's tapering front end styling by designer Steve Mattin as "Formula One-inspired".
In 2008, the SLK reached sales of 500,000. The R171 made Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 2005 and won the Canadian Car of the Year Best New Convertible award.More
The Citroën ZX is a small family car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1990 and 1998.
During the beginning of the 1990s, the ZX was Citroën's competitor in the class traditionally dominated in Europe by the Ford Escort and Vauxhall/Opel Astra, a market segment Citroën had briefly moved awa...y from with the demise of the GSA in 1986.
The BX had tried to address the small family car market and the large family car market by being 'between sizes' but well packaged. For 1993, the Citroën ZX chassis was also used for the Peugeot 306 which, with its attractive Peugeot 205 derived styling, was an even more successful car than its twin. The Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Partner were also built on the same platform.
It was replaced by the Xsara in September 1997, but production in Europe continued until 1998. A saloon derivative, called the Citroën Elysée, along with the China based ZX known as the Fukang, continued to be produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile, a joint venture with the PSA Group.
The Citroën GS had been a ground breaking and radical new model in the small family car market on its launch in 1970, scooping the European Car of the Year award, and was facelifted in 1979 and gained a hatchback which saw it transformed into the GSA.
However, such was the success of the larger BX after its 1982 launch, that PSA decided to delay the launch of an immediate replacement for the GSA when it was finally discontinued in 1986. Development work began on a new C segment hatchback, which was originally expected to be launched as the Citroën FX at the beginning of the 1990s.
Although the Rally Raid version of the ZX debuted during 1990, the ZX was officially launched on the left hand drive continental markets on 16 March 1991, with British sales beginning in May that year, initially only with petrol engines. The diesel ZX went on sale later in 1991.
It went on sale in New Zealand in the beginning of 1993, as a five door in 1.6 Aura or Turbodiesel trim, with the naturally aspirated diesel and Volcane GTi (1.9) models joining a few weeks later. New Zealand's unleaded petrol was of a low octane rating, meaning that initially only uncatalyzed cars were on offer.
In January 1994, the estate of the ZX debuted, and went on sale in May, shortly followed by a mid cycle facelift.
The first examples of the ZX had been produced in 1990, with the three door Rally Raid model being the winner of the Paris-Dakar, which started just after Christmas. The first prototypes of the ZX had actually debuted at the Baja Aragon on 20 July 1990. Drag resistance ranged from Cx/Cds 0.30 to 0.33.
The launch of the ZX marked the return of Citroën into the C sector of the car market; it had discontinued the GSA in 1986 with no immediate replacement, largely due to the success of the larger BX. However, Citroën had decided to phase out the BX between 1990 and 1993, by at first launching a smaller model, and then adding a larger model (the Xantia) to its range.
The ZX's interior space and value received praise from critics and consumers. Of particular note was the rear seat arrangement; it was mounted on a sliding platform that allowed the seat to be moved rearwards to increase rear legroom, or forwards to increase cargo space. Unfortunately, only the seat backs folded down on models so fitted. Lower specification models with fully folding and removable seats had more ultimate capacity.
The ZX specification was good for its class, with most models getting power steering, electric windows, electric sunroof, a driver's side (and sometimes passenger's side) airbag and anti-lock braking system as either optional or standard equipment. It was competitively priced though, unlike the Mark III Volkswagen Golf, which was priced at a relative premium from its launch later in August 1991.
It also reached the market a few months before the new version of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra.
The familiar range of PSA powertrains drove the front wheels of a seemingly conventionally designed chassis. At the front was a standard MacPherson strut layout with anti-roll bar, while the rear used the PSA Peugeot-Citroën fully independent trailing arm/torsion bar set up that was first introduced on the estate of the Peugeot 305.
However, PSA's chassis engineers employed some unusual features, including passive rear wheel steering (by means of specially designed compliance bushes in the rear suspension), and in house developed and constructed shock absorbers. At high mileages, this is prone to wear off the axle mounting bushes, which is easily fixed.
It is also prone to wear in the rear axle trailing arm bearings, which then wear the trailing arm axle tubes, requiring an expensive rebuild or a replacement axle assembly.
The diesel and larger capacity petrol engines are canted as far back as possible in the engine bay, in an effort to put as much weight as possible behind the front axle line, also reducing the centre of gravity, while improving weight distribution and minimising understeer.
At the time of its launch, the ZX range consisted of a collection of four very individual trim levels; the base model was the "Reflex" aimed at young people, next was the "Avantage" aimed at families, and then there was the luxury "Aura" series. The final series was the relatively sporting "Volcane" series, with lowered (and hard) suspension. The "Volcane" TD was one of the first diesel hot hatches.
Over time, further models were introduced including the "Furio", a cheaper sports model, a 16 valve engined high performance derivative and many special editions.
The ZX was initially available as a three or five door hatchback, while a five door estate was added to the range in 1993. It was offered with petrol engines from 1.1 L to 2.0 L, as well as three 1.9 L diesel engines including a turbodiesel. However, the 1.1 petrol engine was never sold in Britain.
Ford Anglia 1172 cc December 1955.JPG
1955 Ford Anglia 100E
Production 1953-1959 345,841 units
Assembly United Kingdom / Australia
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon
Related Ford Popular 100E
Ford Prefect 100E
Ford Escort 10...0E (estate)
Ford Squire 100E (estate)
Thames 300E (van)
Engine 1172 cc sidevalve Straight-4
Wheelbase 87 in (2,210 mm)
Length 151.75 in (3,854 mm)
Width 60.5 in (1,537 mm)
Height 57.25 in (1,454 mm)
Curb weight 1,624 lb (737 kg)
In 1953, Ford released the 100E, designed by Lacuesta Automotive. It was a completely new car, its style following the example of the larger Ford Consul introduced two years earlier and of its German counterpart, the Ford Taunus P1, by featuring a modern three-box design. The 100E was available as a two-door Anglia and a four-door Prefect. During this period, the old Anglia was available as the 103E Popular, touted as the cheapest car in the world.
Internally there were individual front seats trimmed in PVC, hinged to allow access to the rear. The instruments (speedometer, fuel gauge and ammeter) were placed in a cluster around the steering column and the gear change was floor mounted. A heater and radio were optional extras. The dashboard was revised twice; the binnacle surrounding the steering column was replaced by a central panel with twin dials towards the driver's side in 1956; the last from 1959 had twin dials in a binnacle in front of the driver and 'magic ribbon' AC speedo similar to the 1957 E-series Vauxhall Velox/Cresta and '58/'59 PA models, and included a glovebox.
Under the bonnet the 100E still housed an antiquated, but actually new, 36 bhp (27 kW; 36 PS) side-valve engine sharing the bore and stroke of the old unit but now with larger bearings and inlet valves and pump-assisted cooling. The three-speed gearbox was retained. Some models were fitted with a semi-automatic "Manumatic" gearbox. A second wind-screen wiper was now included at no extra cost, although the wipers' vacuum-powered operation was also retained: by now this was seen as seriously old-fashioned and the wipers were notorious for slowing down when driving up steep hills, or coming to a complete rest when trying to overtake. The separate chassis construction of the previous models was replaced by unitary construction and the front suspension used "hydraulic telescopic dampers and coil springs" – now called MacPherson struts, a term that had not yet entered the public lexicon – with anti-roll bar and semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear. The car's 87-inch (2,200 mm) wheelbase was the shortest of any Anglia, but the front and rear track were increased to 48 inches (1,200 mm), and cornering on dry roads involved a degree of understeer:
the steering took just two turns between locks, making the car responsive and easy to place on the road, although on wet roads it was too easy to make the tail slide out.
A rare option for 1957 and 1958 was Newtondrive clutchless gearchange. The electrical system became 12 volt.
A facelift of the Anglia 100E was announced in October 1957. This included a new mesh radiator grille, new front lamp surrounds, a larger rear window, larger tail lights and chrome bumpers.
The 100E sold well; by the time production ceased in 1959, 345,841 had rolled off the production line. There were from 1955 two estate car versions, similar to the Thames 300E vans but fitted with side windows, folding rear seats and a horizontally split tailgate. This necessitated moving the fuel tank. These were the basic Escort and better appointed Squire, which sported wood trim down the sides. This feature has become a common feature of some Ford estates/station wagons ever since. The basic van variant was badged as a Thames product, as were all Ford commercials following the dropping of the Fordson badge.
An Anglia saloon tested by the British Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 70.2 mph (113.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 29.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of 30.3 miles per imperial gallon (9.3 L/100 km; 25.2 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £511 including taxes.More
The Renault Caravelle is a sports car manufactured and marketed by Renault for model years 1958-1968 in a single generation — as a rear-engine, rear drive open two/four-seater designed by Pietro Frua of Carrozzeria Ghia, using the floorpan and engine of the Renault Dauphine.
Outside of North America ...and Britain it was, until 1962, marketed under the nameplate Renault Floride.
Renault was envious of the growing success in North America of the Volkswagen Bug/Beetle and were looking for ways they might match the Volkswagen's success with their own Renault Dauphine. At a convention of North American distributors that took place in Florida, Renault's US dealers called for the creation of a Dauphine coupé/cabriolet which would improve Renault's image in the critical US market. Renault's chairman, Pierre Dreyfus, agreed, and since the concept had been born at a convention in Florida the car instantly became known within the company as the "Renault Floride".
The "Floride" name was considered unsuitable for 49 of the 50 states of the USA, however, since it could have implied disrespect to states other than Florida. For this reason an alternative name, "Caravelle", was from the start used for North America and for other major markets (including the UK) where the principal language was a form of English.
Renault Floride S convertible (with hardtop).
Renault Caravelle coupe. The sloping rear roof line was partially "squared off" in order to improve rear-seat headroom.
Renault Caravelle cabriolet.
The Floride was unveiled at the 1958 Paris Motor Show. A small rear-engined design by Pietro Frua at Carrozzeria Ghia, it used the floorpan and engine of the Renault Dauphine sedan.
The Floride was launched in the United States and Canada as the Renault Caravelle a year after its introduction in Europe.
The car was offered as a 2+2 coupe, a 2+2 cabriolet and as a convertible, the latter being a cabriolet with a removable hardtop. The 2,265 mm (89.2 in) wheelbase was shared with the Renault Dauphine but longer overhangs meant that overall the Floride was longer by a significant 320 mm (12.6 in), as well as being slightly lower and very slightly wider.
At launch the Floride, like the Dauphine on which it was based, came with an 845 cc four-cylinder water-cooled engine mounted at the back of the car. However, the power unit on the Floride was fed using a Solex 32 mm carburetor as against the 28 mm diameter of the Solex carburetor on the Dauphine. The Florides making their French show debut on the stand at the 1958 Paris Motor Show came with a claimed power output of 37 hp (28 kW) SAE.
By the time deliveries commenced, in early summer 1959, it was also possible for customers to specify a performance version, engineered by Amedee Gordini, which produced 40 hp (30 kW) SAE by means of various modifications to the inlet manifold and camshaft, and a compression ratio raised from 7.6:1 to 8.0:1.
Power was delivered to the rear wheels via a three speed manual transmission with synchromesh on the upper two ratios. For a supplement of 200 New Francs customers could instead specify a four speed transmission on the slightly heavier coupé version of the car. Having regard to the car's power-to-weight ratio most customers chose to pay extra for the four speed gear box.
Although designed by Frua of Italy, the car's body was constructed locally, by the automobile body maker Société des usines Chausson, based in Asnières-sur-Seine at the northern edge of Paris, and known in France as the producer of many of the school bus bodies used for transporting children in country areas.
Following the rapid economic growth experienced by France during the 1950s, and despite the fall-off in demand for the 4CV and the lacklustre market performance of the Frégate, thanks to the success of the recently launched Dauphine Renault still found themselves, in the second half of the decade, seriously short of production capacity. The main Billancourt plant, built on the Seguin island in the middle of the River Seine, was particularly ill-suited to further expansion. A new plant had been opened at Flins in 1952 and a second would follow near Le Havre in 1964, but neither of these addressed the challenge of finding somewhere to assemble the Floride in 1958.
The heavy engineering company of Brissonneau and Lotz, better known as a manufacturer of rolling stock for the railways, had launched a small cabriolet sports car in 1956, based on the mechanical underpinnings of the Renault 4CV, but the Brissonneau coupé had been a tentative project and few cars were sold.
Renault now persuaded Brissonneau to abandon their own automobile project and adapt their facilities for assembly of the Floride.
Brissonneau's long standing experience with railway locomotives provided abundant relevant experience at operational and workforce level, and Renault contributed much of the investment which during 1958 and 1959 saw the main Creil plant of Brissonneau, comprising 190,000 m2 of which 41,280 m2 were covered, transformed into a production facility for the Floride: the Floride, later rebadged as the Renault Caravelle, would continue to be assembled by Brissonneau and Lotz until it was withdrawn in 1968.
In October 1959, ready for the 1960 model year, the Floride, along with the Renault Dauphine, appeared with significant suspension improvements.
The new suspension was conceived by the by now almost legendary automotive engineer Jean-Albert Grégoire and baptised by Renault "Suspension Aérostable", being intended to improve the car's ride and road holding.
The addition of extra rubber springs at the front reduced roll and auxiliary air spring units (mounted inboard of the conventional coils) at the rear gave the rear wheels a small degree of negative camber and increased cornering grip.
In March 1962, the Caravelle received a new 956 cc engine that would be also used by the new Renault 8 from June. Although the new "Sierra" series five-bearing engine shared no components with the existing 845 cc Dauphine engine, it was conceptually very similar: the engine size was chosen in order to come in (slightly) below the top of the 5CV car tax band in France.
It had a sealed cooling system as well as a new front suspension, new rear geometry, new steering, and a new gear linkage. Moving the radiator behind the engine also freed up an extra 12 cm of space behind the front seat.
Maximum power output increased to 48 hp (36 kW). Four-speed transmission, already included in the price at no extra cost on some export markets, now came as part of the standard with the new engine even for French buyers, although bottom gear still made do without synchromesh. The upgraded cars, first presented at the 1962 Geneva Motor Show, now featured disc brakes on all four wheels: the Floride was the first French volume car to benefit from this enhancement which also reduced unsprung weight by approximately 6 kg.
The Caravelle name also replaced the Floride name in all markets from 1962 onwards.
In 1964, another R8-derived engine of 1108 cc was introduced to the Caravelle, producing 55 hp (41 kW). This model was tested by the British "Autocar" magazine in November 1965. The car had a top speed of 89 mph (143 km/h) and accelerated from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.8 seconds. An "overall" fuel consumption of 30.2 miles per imperial gallon (9.4 L/100 km; 25.1 mpg‑US) was recorded. The Caravelle's performance closely matched that of the contemporary Triumph Spitfire 4 under most headings, though the Spitfire was a couple of mph ahead on top speed. The British car market was still protected by tariffs at this time, but even allowing for that the Renault looks expensive in this company: The Caravelle came with a UK recommended price of £1039 as against £666 for the Spitfire 4.
Production got under way slowly, with only 3,777 cars completed in 1959. However, in 1960, following the important "Aérostable" suspension upgrades, Renault produced 36,156 Florides.
By the mid-1960s, the Caravelle, which had been fashionably styled at launch, was looking dated, while the reduction and elimination of internal tariffs within the Common Market led to intensified competition in France for buyers of inexpensive sports cars, notably from Italy.
Between 1966 and 1967, annual production tumbled from 4,880 to 2,991. During 1968, only 1,438 were produced, and it was during the summer of that year that Renault withdrew the Caravelle.More