how far engines have come.

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securespark said:

410bhp from a naturally aspirated 3 litre engine? Not bad for what was basically a cut down version of a 1950s V8! And the engine from the 6R4 went on to be used in the Jag XJ220, never knew that! :cool:

I remember reading in "Max Power" some years ago about how the Renault 5 Turbo Type 2 (the mid-engined rally version) was not that different from the road car. Apparently all you have to do is turn the transaxle upside down, and the standard engine mounts bolt into the back of the car. Turning the transaxle upside down obviously prevents the car from having 5 reverse gears and one forwards!

There is a V6 Clio around here, not a great car but follows in the spirit of the mid-mounted V6 supermini. I have often wondered about the fun possibilities of a tidgy car with a big engine, but looking at the figures for some of the modern offerings (eg Clio 182) m they appear to have problems with traction at low speeds and aerodynamics at high speeds hence you would be better off with a slightly bigger car with the same engine.

The most recent risk to my bank balance and licence is the Alfa Romeo 156 GTA... £30K+ brand new, but because they are Italian they devalue like bu**ery and you can buy an 18month old fully loaded example for about £17K. I keep telling myself "It's just a Fiat Tipo with a 3.2 litre 250bhp V6 bolted in!", but the appeal of a car that can do 0-60 in 6 seconds dead for that kind of money, especially one that so few people actually know about. With a Focus RS, Astra Turbo or Seat Cupra you probably have the Nova brigade challenging you at every set of traffic lights. With this you could drive around all day and just be happy in the knowledge that you haven't seen anything as quick all day. Gorgeous interior too.
david and julie said: this the real reason they went to Iraq?

It was an accident. They were using one to tow a C17 transport plane onto the taxiway, the guy's foot slipped on the throttle and by the time he realised his mistake he had spun the earth round 90 degrees. There they were, in Iraq ;)
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Well, the value of a mainstream Italian car is rather buttery, in that it melts rather quickly as soon as you take it outside. :LOL:

Thing is, it's all about perceptions I reckon. Traditionally Italian cars are meant to be poorly built, unreliable, rust quickly, be a butter to start on winters' mornings. But from what I have heard of the newer Alfas, they are very well built and reliable. People still have the old perceptions of them, so they are harder to shift hence the faster depreciation.

From what I have heard, recent Mercedes are rather poorly built. Even Jezza, who is a big fan of AMG cars, made several remarks about it in the last series of Top Gear. Yet they still retain their value because everyone thinks "Hey, Mercedes! Shall I buy a 100,000 mile example or should I get one that has been fully run in?"

Thing is, the dealers have cottoned on to this so the prices on used 156 GTAs bear no resemblance to the Parker's price guide! That reckons a tad under £15K for a 1-year old, 10K mile example, fully prepared from the dealer. I haven't been able to find one of that age under £19K. Wait a tick, just checked the information on Parkers and that is referring to "target sale price", not "sticker price". Could come in handy for haggling! Plus I think those £19K cars might have extras.

Wait until you have got a house with a garage, Adam. Just wait! :LOL:
Just found an amazing example of Italian devaluin':

2004 156GTA. 2400 miles. Would have cost about £30K new, a few months later (2400 miles?!) it is in an AR dealer on sale for... £19,995! :LOL: