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Thread: The Rear Wheel Drive Resurgence

  1. #1

    Exclamation The Rear Wheel Drive Resurgence

    The Rear Wheel Drive Resurgence

    https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2019...ve-resurgence/

    By eric - August 23, 20198579

    Two things once defined American cars.

    They were almost always rear-wheel-drive – even the economy cars – and they sometimes could be had with V8 engines. Or at least they fit.

    The Pontiac Tempest was one such. Add a 389 and it became the 1964 GTO.

    Slide one into a Vega or Pinto . . . even a Chevette.

    Many did.

    The economy car became a high-performance car after a weekend’s knuckle-banging in the garage. One capable of outperforming high-end European cars. Which were defined by one other thing:

    Their (usually) high prices. Not many Americans could afford an E-Type Jag, Mercedes SL or a Ferrari Daytona. But many could afford a Camaro.

    Almost anyone could afford a Nova.

    And either – plus many others – could give an E-Type or Daytona a run for the money . . . for a lot less money.

    And then it all went away. Or at least, mostly. Vengeful oil cartels made gas impossibly expensive . Government termagants (of both sexes) made gas mileage expensive via heavy fines for cars that didn’t deliver it. This changed the landscape almost overnight – and seemingly forever. Those who lived through it will remember – and shudder.

    American cars became like Japanese economy cars. We learned to Drive 55 – and speedometers read no higher than 85.

    Rear drive and V8s gave way to front-drive and small fours – maybe a small six, if you paid extra. A big V8 wasn’t offered and wouldn’t fit anyway – not without serious welding – because the engine bay was meant for a tiny and sideways-mounted engine. A V8 engine was much too long. Even if you managed to knuckle-bust one in there, there was no room left for the transmission – which in a front-drive car is likewise mounted sideways (it’s called “transversely”) and combined with the drive axles, packaged together into something called a transaxle.

    Not, as Seinfeld likes to say, that there’s anything wrong with that.

    The FWD layout takes up less space overall – leaving more space inside the car for passengers. It is cheaper to manufacture – and it gets the weight of the drivetrain over the driven wheels, which aids traction. Pulling the car rather than pushing it helps on that score as well. It’s the reason why Citroen called its first front-drive car, the 1934 Traction Avant, just that.

    The name means traction forward.

    But FWD is also the broccoli of car design. It may be good for you – and good in snow – but a ribeye is better for you.

    And rear-drive is the ribeye you’ve been craving.

    It’s the right way to burn rubber, obviously. A FWD burnout is always clumsy because the wheels you’re trying to steer the car with are skittering and bouncing all over the road as they try to put the power to the road.

    There’s also a limit to how much power the wheels that steer the car can take before they fly off the car. It is why there have been very few truly powerful FWD cars. To keep things from breaking, the power must be limited or dialed back electronically or some of it shunted to the rear wheels through an all-wheel-drive system.

    But now you can’t do a burnout at all – which is no fun, even if the car is powerful.

    And besides, you still have most of the weight of the drivetrain over the front wheels – which messes up the balance. FWD is nose heavy, tail-light; cars of this type are prone to understeer, which is to driving fun what broccoli is to dinner.

    It is also why almost all race cars and serious high-performance cars are based on a rear-drive layout. You can steer with the rear wheels – using the accelerator. Countersteering with the front wheels – via the steering wheel.

    It’s what car people crave.

    And it’s making a comeback.

    American cars – and SUVs, even – are returning to the rear-drive layout. The Ford Explorer is one such that was rear-drive in its heyday, transitioned to a FWD layout but is now – at last – rear-drive again for 2020.

    Ford plans to expand on this, too.

    There is a hopeful rumor that Lincoln – Ford’s luxury division – is going to go back to the RWD layout as well.

    Chrysler’s cars (and their Dodge-badged cousins) are all rear-drive, which probably accounts for their rampant popularity, despite aging designs. The 2020 Chrysler 300 and Charger sedans are ten years old, basically – but thjat is why people love them.

    They are built like they used to make ’em – and you can can still get ‘em.

    Rear drive also thrives among American trucks – which remain the most popular and profitable vehicles on the road. In fact, the only reason there still is an American car industry is because of big trucks. They subsidize the FWD (and electric car) loss leaders – which are manufactured mainly to keep the government termagants off the car industry’s back.

    None of these trucks has ever been front-wheel-drive.

    All of them have always offered V8s.

    Some of these trucks are quicker than the European exotics of not-so-long ago.

    The 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 pick-up has the heart of a Corvette: 6.2 liters and 420 horsepower. It gets to 60 in about 5 seconds – enough to scare a Lamborghini Countach back to Bolognese.

    Speaking of Corvette.

    The new mid-engined one that just made its debut casts a heavy shadow. Its pushrod, two-valve V8 – which still drives the rear wheels – makes 490 horsepower in standard trim (more is available) for a base price of $58,900 – which is just a bit more than half the price of a new Porsche 911 with a 443 hp six with four valves, overhead cams plus turbos.

    There are also the survivors, like Ford’s Mustang – which somehow made it intact through the dreary ’80s and ’90s. Its survival encouraged the revival of Camaro – which had been down for the count – and the Dodge Challenger, now available in Redeye form with almost 800 supercharged horsepower – all of them searing the asphalt via the rear wheels, as the Motor Gods intended.

    And for a relatively accessible $72,745.

    The good times – the American times – are back.

    Enjoy ’em while they last . . . .



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  3. #2
    Nothing wrong with front wheel drive , but they are one-dimensional , they can pull you
    around corners pretty well, that's about it, with rear wheel drive you have so much more control and
    more options, you can even do wheelies.
    You plant that rear end off the line, you can break it loose in corners when you need to ,
    better controlled skids, better burnouts.
    Corvette finally one upped rear wheel with the 2020 mid engine , a long awaited move that's been
    rumored and anticipated throughout the entire history of Vett production, now its here.

    But yea, Rear Wheel Drive rocks......

  4. #3
    Front wheel drives seem much harder to work on. Where are the spark plugs? Where would you find the clutch? Do you need to pull the engine to change the clutch? Gee I think changing the clutch on an old rear wheel drive was an afternoon job lying on your back in the driveway.
    Truth is Fallacy, Fallacy is Evil.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    Front wheel drives seem much harder to work on. Where are the spark plugs? Where would you find the clutch? Do you need to pull the engine to change the clutch? Gee I think changing the clutch on an old rear wheel drive was an afternoon job lying on your back in the driveway.
    The cast iron transmission will make ya' cry trying to stab it after 4-5 hrs and a six pack....

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    The cast iron transmission will make ya' cry trying to stab it after 4-5 hrs and a six pack....
    Pretty basic process that required no real know how just some basic tools and the will or need to get it done.
    Truth is Fallacy, Fallacy is Evil.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    Pretty basic process that required no real know how just some basic tools and the will or need to get it done.
    I'm talking about the weight.

    Most of us didn't have such things as transmission jacks when we were learning to wrench. It wasn't until the advent of cheep Chineasium tools that backyard mechanics could afford such luxuries...It was around that time that aluminum body transmissions became popular.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    I'm talking about the weight.

    Most of us didn't have such things as transmission jacks when we were learning to wrench. It wasn't until the advent of cheep Chineasium tools that backyard mechanics could afford such luxuries...It was around that time that aluminum body transmissions became popular.
    I will give you that they sure were heavy. But was pretty basic mechanics. Heck I worked on a 4x4 4Runner a couple years ago. Both a 5speed and automatic. Didn't have any trouble figuring out where the transmission was and was able to get it out without too much difficulty. Looked under the hood of a Cadillac and don't even know what I was looking at. Same thing with a Nissan Versa. Not saying I couldn't fix one but wouldn't even know where to start.
    Truth is Fallacy, Fallacy is Evil.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    I will give you that they sure were heavy. But was pretty basic mechanics. Heck I worked on a 4x4 4Runner a couple years ago. Both a 5speed and automatic. Didn't have any trouble figuring out where the transmission was and was able to get it out without too much difficulty. Looked under the hood of a Cadillac and don't even know what I was looking at. Same thing with a Nissan Versa. Not saying I couldn't fix one but wouldn't even know where to start.
    Try lifting a New Process 203 or a Muncie SM465 either is a bear by themselves...

    I've heard folks argue that the NP205 is "as tough" as the 203 but with a smaller shaft and aluminum case I don't see it.

    I've never worked on Jap trucks, don't expect I will either...



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    Front wheel drives seem much harder to work on. Where are the spark plugs? Where would you find the clutch? Do you need to pull the engine to change the clutch? Gee I think changing the clutch on an old rear wheel drive was an afternoon job lying on your back in the driveway.
    Mr A blew a tranny on my old van helping his friend move and considered changing it himself but decided not to after watching a tube. He changed a lot of them on his old Jeep and never had a problem but said the one on the van looked like a $#@!ing whore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    Mr A blew a tranny on my old van helping his friend move and considered changing it himself but decided not to after watching a tube. He changed a lot of them on his old Jeep and never had a problem but said the one on the van looked like a $#@!ing whore.
    Just trying to figure out what "changing" means in this context ...



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  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Just trying to figure out what "changing" means in this context ...

    He was thinking about changing out the blown tranny for one he hadn't yet blown.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    He was thinking about changing out the blown tranny for one he hadn't yet blown.
    Suz and her subtle, double entendres.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    He was thinking about changing out the blown tranny for one he hadn't yet blown.
    Advise him to check your State Laws regarding blowing Trannies before doing so......

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    Advise him to check your State Laws regarding blowing Trannies before doing so......
    I found a guy on the internet who takes care of all the legalities and gives us 150.00 for Mr A’s dead trannies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    This intellectually stimulating conversation is the reason I keep coming here.

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    I found a guy on the internet who takes care of all the legalities and gives us 150.00 for Mr A’s dead trannies.
    Good friends are hard to find. This guy sounds like a keeper.

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    I found a guy on the internet who takes care of all the legalities and gives us 150.00 for Mr A’s dead trannies.
    Sounds like a fair price.



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    I found a guy on the internet who takes care of all the legalities and gives us 150.00 for Mr A’s dead trannies.
    Link please. For a friend.
    I do not consent.

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    The cast iron transmission will make ya' cry trying to stab it after 4-5 hrs and a six pack....
    I dropped a chev 350 automatic on my elbow once, that kinda hurt.
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