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Entries in Sedan (2)

Wednesday
Mar272013

The Fastback Sedan

Design by Bill Michalak mid 70's from Dean's GarageThe other day we were reflecting on a dark green metallic 1963 Buick Wildcat 4 door Hardtop, with front bucket seats, and a console. This goes back to the days when with the appropriate "connections" GM would enable the build of cars with options that did not exist in the regular option list. Namely the front bucket seats in a sedan. 

From a time when sedans with a post were considered boring cars, to the 4 door hardtop being a less boring car although having a few more rattles and squeaks with the stand up post to hinge the rear doors. To fastback coupes which always had a cool factor. 

Lets break this down...

 

  • Sedans with a post were boring, utilitarian cars
  • Hardtops the 4 door versions were less boring
  • Hardtops with a cool factor were interesting

 

What made the Buick interesting, back in the day a Buick made a strong street statement, it had tinted glass, it had bucket seats and a console which drove the cool factor through the roof, and obvious it had a nailhead, dual exhaust, power windows, an air conditioner, and the sedate automatic transmission. 

There was "something" special about that Buick compared to a 4 door post sedan car. 

Subsequently sedans languished for many years in the 3 box design, all looking the same, while coupes always presented a challenge to access the rear seat. Unless it was a luxury sedan with a F...You factor...most sedans had a boring although utilitarian factor. 

When Mercedes-Benz a few years ago revived the fastback sedan with the CLS it was the right design, the right car, at the right time. Yes the car struck a chord, and although the rear seat was not as accessible as a regular 3 box sedan...it was hyper cool.

Look around today, and every manufacturer has a version of the fastback sedan that looks like a coupe, and after countless years and styling exercises, the sedan has from our perspective finally acquired an additional cool factor. 

Where is the dark green 1963 Buick Wildcat 4 door Hardtop with the bucket seats?

 

 

Thursday
Feb282013

Rear Wheel Drive V8 Sedan

Have you noticed the North American infatuation with rear wheel drive V8 sedans. Have you noticed that its almost an exception today to have an RWD V8, while at one time there were multitudes on North American roads.

What is it about RWD cars that captures the imagination. When you think about it, its simple, the front wheels steer, the rear wheels power, and all four stop the car. Yes...rear wheel drive cars were made popular in geographic areas with wide spaces, that easily accommodated bigger than smaller cars, and implied covering longer than shorter distances.

Agreed back in the day it was probably easier to design and engineer a rear wheel drive layout, than a front wheel drive, even if a drive shaft running the lenght of the car is cumbersome.

Yes...the V8 is (was) a North American preference for decades.

In 2013 what is it about RWD that captures the imagination? 

We all know that you cannot pack serious power in a FWD configuration, the torque steer becomes annoying, the back of the car is constantly telegraphing that its a litle light. The AWD configuration which is very popular in Canada, is a constatnt reminder of something more useful, practical than fun. Agreed you can pack serious power in an AWD configuration. 

Should we mention that FWD was for years associated to an econo box, and AWD was a 4x4 pick up, should we had diesels in the mix to truly make it interesting.

Anyone seeking a fast car that could/can accomodate adults to this day gravitates to a RWD configuration with a V8, and if you need to go faster the V8 is bigger or you had turbos. 

Somethings never change...

From back in the day, the inline 6 cylinder sedan with an automatic transmission (3 speed at best) is comparable to our current FWD V6 sedan.

From back in the day the cars with V8's always had a special allure, a distinctive sound, captured the imagination.