[s-cars] A little S-car philosophy

Dave Forgie forgied at direct.ca
Wed Jan 7 02:38:11 EST 2004

S-car Gruppees:  Just before the New Year, I posted the following to the
AudidoodiWorld list (where I thought I contribute some S-car
knowledge).   I know that some of you (Hap, Sean, etc)  saw the posting
there and responded. After the help that I just got on my rear brake
calper problem, I thought that it was appropriate to post here.  Don't
worry about the details I used for examples,  just think of the overall
sentiment.  I hope you like it:


The recent discussion the S-car design prompted me to renew some
thinking about the
 UrS-car, its design, depreciation, the cost of parts replacement,
addiction and love/hate relationships.

 The UrS-car is really a technological marvel. There is a tonne of
engineering in the car. A scary amount when  you (I) think about it.
Lots of really great designs. Some of which can be "fatal" when they

 For example, the engine group engineers must have been given the task
of finding more horsepower for the  AAN over the 3B. One of the main
ways they did that was to improve the ignition system. This involved
replacing the distributor, Hall sender and single coil of the the 3B
with the Power Output stages (POS), the  five coil Coil Pack and the cam
position sensor (CPS) that we now "enjoy". This gained 10 hp over say,
the  3B (or equivalent) in the 1991 200 20vtq. At what cost? Now, as the
cars age and out live their design lives  (say, 10 years) we have issues
with POSs, the coil packs and the CPS. Personally, I have had the CPS
go.  This means the car is dead (only resting) until you spend $300 for
the parts (plus labour).

When the car was  new, these new and special parts represented only a
small fraction of the overall cost of the car. Now, these parts
represent a  much higher percentage of the cars residual value.

 A good example of this is the dual mass flywheel. Obviously, somebody
in the drive train design team  thought that this was a great idea when
compared to the convention single mass flywheel and spring clutch
plate. Sure there were extra costs but, hey, a $1000 part system at that
time (1992) represented only about  2% of the overall retail cost (say
around $50K). However, now, as the cars depreciate, the clutch and dual
mass flywheel system still costs about the same but the car has
depreciated to $10K (or less). Now these  parts represent about 10% of
the value of the car. The AAN motors now represent, say, 30% to 40% of
the  remaining value of the car. And on it goes.

 I can see now why these cars depreciate so rapidly. On the open market
to the unknowing car buyer,  these cars represent more of a liability
than an asset in the sense of the potential absolute and relative costs
to fix the car increase with each year the car ages.

 Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint), to the
informed, the S-car now represents an  unbelievable value in terms of
performance and luxury when compared to most other used cars and even
many new 2004 cars at the dealer. Its just that once the car has you, it
takes a hold of you like an addiction or  a really high maintenance
woman. It just needs, needs, needs. Buy me this. Buy me that. And on it

 This evolves into some kind of wierd love/hate relationship. I "love"
my car (I love my wife more - but its close  some days). But I hate my
car when the fuel pump, or the CPS or serpentine belt tensioners die
with no warning,  stranding me wherever I happen to be, convenient or
not. That's when nasty thoughts of selling "my  Prescious" come to mind.
But then it gets fixed and everything is wonderful again.

 Conclusions: I don't have any. I think this list is sort of the "AA"
group for S-car
 owners. ("Hi, my name's Dave and I am addicted to my S-car". S-car
Gruppees:: "Hi, Dave").

 And like "AA", we need the support to carry on. Unfortunately, its not
to break the addiction but to support it.  But, hey, I can quit anytime.
If I wanted. Really. Trust me. Honest. ;>)

 Dave F (in snowy Vancouver BC) (Where's my rain, Dude?)

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