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Old 24th June 2013, 12:52   #76
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Originally Posted by rxpaul View Post
Well my choice is a mix of most of the existing posts. So here goes (in order of preferances) :......................
Every enthusiast's dream car, but you should still see that the thread is for 'unconventional auto preferences'.
Your thread looks like the wishlist of every enthusaist. Nothing unconventional in them
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Old 24th June 2013, 13:23   #77
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Car Design - Unconventional from the non petrol head's point of view, but may be in line of what others think over here at Team BHP.

Ford Fiesta 1.6 S over the current Fiesta.

Pajero SFX over Pajero Sports

Pre Gen Toyota Fortuner over the Current Fortuner (They have simply destroyed the appearance)

The Pre Face lift Laura over the current gen Laura.

The list is endless.

Coming to the engine, I prefer naturally aspirated engine. This is why bikes excite me, still. You ride your bike the same way as your grand dad & hopefully if your grand son would be lucky, he too would enjoy his share.

Cars? Almost everything has changed & will continue to change & maybe your grand son would have to wait for sun to come out to charge his Car or wait for electricity (we are in India) & enjoy a silent drive (Sorry Bridgestone)

And BTW, I prefer everything stock, maybe save for tires & a good 5 spoke ally wheel.

Along with that prefer black interiors with leather inserts over chrome/walnut finish. Aluminum touches are okay.

And yes, add Tata Safari (pre gen) to the list of good looking Cars over the current gen.

Somehow, the bike's designers put a lot of effort & pull out stunning designs even today.

Spot on! I could not have agreed more with you on the points you mentioned. First generation looks have always been better for all the cars you mentioned and many more. They take out the boxy, butch, raw, rugged appeal in them and give them curves! Thankfully the Ford Endeavour hasnt got the Fortuner/Storme treatment and still retains its boxy looks.
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Old 24th June 2013, 14:03   #78
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Driving position.
Don’t seem to like any at all.
The vento is too much cramped. No knee room. The steering adjustment lever fouls while lifting the lest leg. Taking the driver's seat to the lowest position somewhat mitigates the issue but still not satisfactory. The Beat has a very high seating position. Feels like you are driving an elephant. And with the soft underdamped suspension, it iexactly feels like that. Palio has got a wierd seat. Never able to rest my back comfortably. The new Swift is horrible. I have hurt my shin several times.
There are a few cars which are good though. The old Zen, Figo. Even the Old Swift was better though the driving position was a tad too high.

The Noise.
Unfortunately we don’t have any decnt straight six melody or V8 bellow available to common public. A base Ford Mustand retails for around 23K $. Ans in US even the Base versions are better equipped than out top of the line variants. So honetly speaking most engines sound more or less average and there is nothing to choose here. One the reason why bullet is doing so well is the noise and I am sure there would be such kind of market in the car industry as well.

Rest everything pretty much is conventional choice. A big powerful engine, good handling and grip, safety features, looks, built quality and features.
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Old 24th June 2013, 17:13   #79
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

The usual fare of speed, reliability, service apart, the absolute *must* features for me are:

Tensile strength/sheet metal thickness: Given that most cars on Indian roads are of Asian origin, the touch-me-not thin sheet metal is the norm. Even though tensile strength is hardly publicized and compared, I've seen that the European and American cars have a better tensile strength and also sheet metal thickness. How does that matter? My wife backed up my Punto into the side of a brand new Swift Dzire once. Punto had a few paint scratches and the Dzire's fender was so out of shape, it had to be replaced under insurance!

Doors closing sound A door closing with a thud is music to my ears! Any car that has doors closing with a metallic clunk like the Godrej steel cupboards is strict no-no.

Steering feel If the steering doesn't resist me when I'm turning a hard right on the Suman Nagar flyover, Chembur, I may ask for a full refund! The steering needs to give me a solid road feel for me to be happy. Like an old colleague used to say, the the steering is just a tool, the real 'power is in the arms'. I abhor the zippy steering!

Center of attention Ok, this one gets very unconventional. I like having a car which gets a lot of attention on the road. I absolutely loved it when I bought my Punto even before there was an RTO code registered in Mumbai and was asked at every traffic stop about this brand new good looking car from Fiat. A looker on the roads with novelty as added feature is definitely a turn-on for me.

Gadgetry I really find it strange when I test drive cars like VW Polo or drove my wife's Etios for the first time. What's with their onboard computers? They are just relics from 20th century. They can do much better than that! If it doesn't let me adjust the brightness of the lights on my instrument panel, it feels ancient

That's it for now!
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Old 24th June 2013, 18:34   #80
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

My list of quirky preferences:

No ICE. I personally do not like playing CDs/radio in the car. VCD players or screens totally banned - even for passengers. Of course I do have an audio player in the car - more for the checklist item of having one. Whenever I drive alone (which I do a lot), and whether I'm driving the 0.8L alto or 1.6L palio, I prefer to listen to the engine, tyres and wind and watch out for any new rattles, squeaks

Black colored (unpainted) bumpers. Somehow, I think the black provides a good contrast on most body colors. Black unpainted mirrors too.

All anolog gauges including analog odo and the oil pressure gauge with clear illumination (no red, blue, orange or violet - I dont know any car that uses violet though)

Inspection lamp in the engine bay

Round headlamps, metal reflectors with glass lenses and halogen bulbs (No projectors, xenons or HIDs)

Solid build with maximum steel usage (as opposed to plastic/FRP) - weight and fuel efficiency be damned

No LED lamps anywhere, no clear lenses indicators (It has to be a clear bulb with an orange cover)

Start by turning the key - no push buttons

Even no. of cylinders - I would particularly avoid 3 cylinder engines. Never had a chance to get my paws on a 5 cyl though.

Petrol, carburated. Impossible, I know...

Few not-too-unconventionial preferences:

Indicator/headlight control to the right and wiper to the left. No-no to headlight switches on the dash.

Product reliability over easy/efficient service. The less no. of times the service blokes touch my car, the better.

Chunky four spoke steering wheel, (somewhat like the Toyotas) with the horn pad covering half the wheels area; short throw gears

Simple, DIY friendly (Should not require a laptop to figure out why a fuse blew) and all manual controls.

Large wheels 15in or higher

I could go on and on but then I'd be typing till tomorrow morning. So let me end this here
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Old 24th June 2013, 19:55   #81
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Ask any enthusiast what he / she likes in a car, and the answers will be predictable. A sweet engine, slick gearbox, sure-footed handling, well-weighted steering etc. A layman would tell you that he values fuel economy, brand value, cost of ownership, image & styling, among others.

Hello All,

Leather seats are my must have feature.

Though they are a bitch to maintain they are lovely to use.
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Old 24th June 2013, 21:08   #82
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Loved the RD-350, Standard 2000 and the Pajeros from the 90's. But by the time could make some moolah... some were long gone and some still outa reach. Drove BIL's Verna D once and was hooked, but when a little version of the hooligan was available, started collecting money to get one but was duped again as it went out of production. Nevertheless persisted and got a used Getz-D for a premium and all who know me still think I am crazy. 'Should have got a Swift for that money' kinda comments used to be the norm. Some horses have run away but it can still out run any hatch and sedan out there. For me nothing else matters.
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Old 25th June 2013, 07:35   #83
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

I appreciate fine engineering. I am an engineer and a keen, rather fast driver. So Hondas are excellent cars, in my opinion - except for the fact they leave me cold. They do what it says on the packet, as it were, but don't stir my soul.

I appreciate economy, comfort, style, roadholding, a fine engine and subtle details. So Alfa-Romeos are awesome to my mind - especially those from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Little has more effect on my emotions than a spirited drive through glorious countryside on good, fast roads in a well-sorted Alfa. There is no need for a radio, maybe just a rather attractive female to complete the perfection of experience, and to minimise the let-down when the journey is over.

However, I also rather like reliability and longevity. So although a W124 Mercedes doesn't stir the soul so much, it is a devastatingly accomplished (and timeless) piece of engineering. The company is still trying to emulate the qualities it once had. I use one day-to-day as a tool when journeys are too mundane for anything more interesting.

Since we live in a world of mass-production, mentioning the delights of Lotus, Alpine, NSU and the rest is largely pointless. But I miss the diversity which existed 50 years ago - not least in engine layout, which today is almost universally to the god-fearing (and high-profit inducing), vibration-prone and buzzy small capacity, lightweight inline four cyliner lump. If it's a Honda, though, I generally forgive these sins!

One mass-production motor manufacturer stands out head and shoulders above all others - and it is French, although most of its iconic products had a heavy Italian influence. For those of you who know your motor industry history, it is obvious who I am referring to. They built the world's first modern car in the 1930s with engineering which nobody else had begun to consider - which most hadn't bettered even by the 1970s. They were known for their massively superior aerodynamics, amazing braking, toughness, longevity, awesome roadholding and comfort, their huge value-for-money and were the first manufacturers to recognise the importance of a dealer network. They were so good, even the British used them - we don't generally 'get on' with French engineering.

At one point, most road signs bore the company's logo - as did the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They were Europe's answer to Ford, without Henry's fascist private police who whipped (and killed) the workforce into submission and hard work. In complete contrast, this French giant took care of its workers like no other company had ever done. By the late 1920 they were massively rich - by the 1950s their mass-produced family car made even the very finest racing Mercedes-Benz appear to be the work of 'laboured shed mechanics' (that's the best I remember Setright's quote, not totally accurate to the word but conveying the gist).

The name is CitroŽn. Their cars from the 1930s to the 1970s were on a totally different level from any other bar none, from an engineering perspective. Even scathing British journalists decided their smallest car, intended for peasant farmers, was more comfortable than a Rolls-Royce. Their engineering was made possible by the cash-rich and hugely conservative Michelin tyre company brothers Eduoard and Pierre; it was the result of a gifted aeronautical and Grand-Prix engineer called Andrť LefŤbvre and an engineering architect born to a family of Italian sculptors called Flaminio Bertoni.

To those who rarely drive at high speed or for any distance, who have little more appreciation of the motor car than that of an 8 year old boy, whose mechanic is/was of low intelligence and aptitude, then the cars make little sense. But once you have driven one, everything else feels quite inadequate. Note I am not referring to Peugeot Citroens (Peugeot bought out CitroŽn in the early 1970s) which are utterly banal and as cynical as any other modern machine.

Thses are the cars which I place above all other - the DS, SM, CX, GS and even - especially - the peasant's 2cv. They solved problems which others chose to endure for another half-century, some of which manufacturers are still struggling with.

They are, almost, conventional machines by today's standards, with chassis-less construction, rising-rate, adjustable and self-levelling suspension which allowed the tyres to grip the road like no other suspension, safe and predictable roadholding in all conditions, disc brakes on all four wheels with braking distribution directly proportional to load on each axle (equivalent of today's EBD), advanced aerostability with very low aerodynamic drag, other-worldly comfort, headlamps which steer round corners, ergonomically designed controls, steering which alters its assistance according to road speed, the use of plastics both under the bonnet and for body panels, and so on.

It is unusual if an engine doesn't reach half a million km without a rebuild, all four springs and dampers can be replaced within an hour even on the most complex upmarket model, cruising speeds of family models was on a par with sports and high performance cars of the time, fuel economy was often as good as that on other cars which were a size below.

So how is this my *unconventional* automotive preference? Well, they were generally too good for their time for the average car-buyer to appreciate, unnecessarily good. The levels of superiority were so massive that they were almost incomprehensible. Less capable garage mechanics struggled to understand the subtleties. So they were labelled as unconventional, helped by a hydraulic system which not only operated the clutch and gave the brakes abilities beyond those of many racing cars but which also powered the car's suspension and steering.

I suppose starting an engine, then waiting for the car to rise up on its suspension is pretty unconventional, no matter how logical and how perfect the engineering. As is driving over speed humps/sleeping policemen at any speed, with no movement in the body, just the distant thump of the wheels articulating. Until you've driven a well-maintained CitroŽn DS, SM, CX or GS, you are missing something which could change all your expectations of a motor car. It is interesting that the latest, most expensive Mercedes-Benz appears to have suspension which approaches the comfort of a CitroŽn DS.
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Last edited by FlatOut : 25th June 2013 at 08:03.
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Old 25th June 2013, 08:42   #84
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

@flatout - Delightful insight into Citreon. I never knew they have done so much or were so good. Definitely more interested in knowing more about this French company now.
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Old 25th June 2013, 09:16   #85
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Here's my list of "unconventional" preferences that i have in cars. I have tried to stick to the "unconventional" bit as much as possible.

Steering wheel:
I hate big steering wheels. I was driving a Chevrolet Aveo for a while last year and hated the size of its steering wheel (amongst other things in that car) which was just unnecessarily large. For me a steering wheel has to be as small as it practically can be (think Ford Ikon 1.6).

Seat recliners: There used to be a time when most cars came with those scroll type seat recliners. What a boon they were. Over the years in the interests of costs most manufacturers have done away with them and replaced them with a piddly lever which never gives a precise adjustment.

Coat hooks: I need to wear a suit to work once in a while. And while at it I have realised that German cars make the best coat hooks (the small hook on the B pillar)! They ensure that your coat stays wrinkle free whatever the duration of your drive.

Bi-Parabola headlamps (Fiat Palio/Ford Fiesta etc) get my vote over the conventional single barrel ones. I prefer the bigger beam spread that they offer due to the fact that they have a different focal length for the two beams.

Engine NVH: I am yet to come across a single 3 cyl engine that is as smooth and vibration free as a 4 cyl mill. Not driven the eco boost as yet and I am willing to change my opinion but for me a 3 cyl engine just sounds and feels incomplete.

Seat covers: This is one accessory that i have never had on car that I have owned and dont think I will. I like to use the stock seats. The logic of putting seat covers to prevent the stock seats from getting spoilt is something I have never understood.

Low seating position: I dont need to see the corners of my car. What i need is to sit as close to the ground as possible and hence in all the cars I have driven my seat is at its lowest position.

Safety: I would prefer buying a smaller car with all the safety equipment (ABS, Airbags) rather than a bigger car without it. Status of a big car is not important. Safety of the occupants is.
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Old 25th June 2013, 14:00   #86
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

@FlatOut - Thanks a bunch for the crisp info on this beauty. DS is truly the mother of all modern cars. Imagine a car with all the gadgetry, a good 50 years ahead of others. 50 years prior to DS, we were being driven around by horses!
Googling around a bit gave me this video of a manual version of DS with the awesome display of hydraulics. Should be sweet to own even today.

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Old 25th June 2013, 14:51   #87
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Beige Interiors - something which many look for but I personally dont like because it looks good when new but is a hell of a task to keep it clean

Design - definitely, prefer the octavia to the laura. Like more lines than curves on my ride.
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Old 25th June 2013, 15:08   #88
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Conventional or UnConventional ..U decide

My takes.

1. Body. I prefer a Well-proportioned sedan, No Hatchback's for me.. I feel they are some how incomplete with 20% car missing.
Clean lines not curvy, boxy stuff for me.

2. Steering.
Has to be small and chunky to hold, should be hydraulic with plenty of feedback. Somehow felt that the Ford / Fiat hydraulic steering spoils you with the point and shoot kind of experience with the feedback that it is very difficult to get it with the Japanese (e.g. Honda)

3. Driving Position:
Should be lowest possible with clear frontal visibility. I like to be grounded . No high seating for me.

4. No rear view camera...

5. No ICE. Engine sound and driving should keep you entertained, else you are in the wrong car.

6. No gadgets e.g : Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlamps, automatic climate control.

7. If only they had memory seats in all cars, it would be so convenient. Every time some one else takes the car you need to adjust the height, back rest to get back to your position. Or you give for service and these guys push the seats forward to such an extent that I cannot even get in. At least push it back before getting out..

8. 2-door coupe option. Why do you need 4-doors if you mostly travel alone for those days when you have people in back seats have a front sear slider option.

9. Why not have floor pedal's in all cars for accelerator, so that you can rest your heels and literally floor the pedal. Most current cars have a suspended pedal which you need to push back.

10. Best choice of cockpit is the Honda Civic. The speed in digital in the front and the rpm's and other information cleanly separated. Why not all have these instead of 2 round dials with multiple weird colour combinations.

11, No Beige interiors, Black only. The dashboard has to be black, Beige if at all should be for certain panels to enhance the black effect.

12. Engine choice : Needs development based on following criteria:
Free revving as petrol.
Torque as in diesel.
Refinement and silence of Petrol.

Can think of only these many as of now !!

P.S: All choice's are NOT NECESSARILY Practical and NOT based on EASY TO USE.


Last edited by mkpiyengar : 25th June 2013 at 15:13. Reason: added additional point
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Old 25th June 2013, 17:57   #89
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Highest end of a car model - I always go for the highest end of any model. So the car will come fully loaded and no need for any after market additions.

Auto down windows - You need not keep pressing the down button. And auto up fro driver window too. This is one thing I appreciate and enjoy everyday, in my Punto.

Armrest for the driver - This I miss in my current Punto and I wish it were there. Everyday.

In-built Bluetooth connectivity - now I am so used to this feature.

Seat covers - NO NO. No seat covers or steering covers.
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Old 25th June 2013, 18:44   #90
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Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
@flatout - Delightful insight into Citreon. I never knew they have done so much or were so good. Definitely more interested in knowing more about this French company now.
I may start a thread regarding classic CitroŽns when I have time - in the English-speaking world the company was so unknown. They are still regarded as odd-ball by many enthusiasts, although the true cognoscenti recognise their greatness even if they don't appreciate the raw logic. Thanks for your positive comments.

Originally Posted by WindRide View Post
@FlatOut - Thanks a bunch for the crisp info on this beauty. DS is truly the mother of all modern cars. Imagine a car with all the gadgetry, a good 50 years ahead of others. 50 years prior to DS, we were being driven around by horses!
Googling around a bit gave me this video of a manual version of DS with the awesome display of hydraulics. Should be sweet to own even today.
Thanks, WindRide. Actually, the 'modern' car has never caught up or used the technologies of the DS - as the infamous motoring journalist LJKSetright noted, "it is probably the most advanced car, ever", the implication being that nobody will ever match its abilities and the use of high technology from construction to material technologies to hydraulic tech. (Also that its successor the CX is probably therefore beyond the pale.) The CX was the last in the trilogy of 'big' CitroŽns. It was the first, the Traction Avant, which is actually the mother of the modern motor car. Each car lasted about two decades in production and each was more advanced than the very best of the competition when replaced.

In 1934, narrow tracks, body-on-chassis construction, feeble braking, unpredictable and often poor roadholding, short wheelbases, low life-expectancy and rattling bodies were the norm. CitroŽn introduced a car which was not only engineered like no other, but went like no other. It also happens to be one of the finest pieces of automotive sculpture ever put into production, one reason black suits them so well - the reflections are even more beautiful than the form, such are the subtleties of shape.

With a wheel at each corner of the monocoque construction, a wide track, long wheelbase, low centre of mass, strongly-located suspension with rising-rate springs, accurate steering and rugged mechanicals, nothing was able to keep up with a Traction Avant, unless it was a powerful Mercedes-Benz on a smooth. long straight. (The Germans weren't allowed to develop aero-tech after WW1, so the Nazis poured money into motor engines.) When Germany overran France in WW2, the Germans ditched their powerful Benzes and drove the faster CitroŽns - which had a third of the amount of power under the bonnet.

The British loved the cars in North Africa - no other car prevented the sand and dust from entering the cabin, none was so comfortable, reliable or fast. Well into the 1960s, there were few cars which could keep up with a Traction - or keep running for so many years without major repairs.

Perhaps it was a French postman who summed up the car's capabilities more than anyone else - he drove 400,000km in one year, a record which stands to this day.

The car was totally unconventional in 1934 with driving the power through the front wheels.
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