[V8] 2 more of the ten best - Roger's list

Seamus O'Carey cheshirecatsbox at gmail.com
Tue Nov 24 16:42:42 PST 2009

My brother loved Triumphs and owned about 8 of them.  If I remember
correctly he had several GT6's, a couple Spitfires and I'm not sure what
else.  I don't remember if he had any of the TR's, though.  Anyway, I'm just
happy that Triumphs at least got an honorable mention here.

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Brian K. Ullrich
<bullrich at ullrichsys.com>wrote:

> Is it just my folly to think ANY Triumph could appear on this list? They
> were my first love as a car enthusiast...the TR-250 IRS springs to mind.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Woodbury [mailto:rmwoodbury at roadrunner.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:59 AM
> To: V8 at audifans.com
> Subject: [V8] 2 more of the ten best - Roger's list
> I find I am rethinking the last four on my list.  But having said that and
> after driving around yesterday, I find that I am less inclined to change
> much.  Here are two with my personal thoughts.
> --Mazda Miata up to 1995.  --  This is the sort of car that everyone who
> loved sports cars loved in the 1960's.  Back then there were many of
> them...Triumphs, MGs, Morgans, Lotuses, and for the well heeled, Porsches
> and even stone slow Mercedes 190's.  Mine was a Triumph TR-3 (1961), and I
> came very, very close to buying a Lotus Elan that needed help in 1967.  The
> thing about a Lotus was that it handled like nothing else and until and
> unless you have driven one, you have NO idea what handling is all about.
> Unfortunately, the Lotus Elan was impossible to maintain, with its
> electrical and mechanical quirks that only a demented Englishman could
> love.
> Then along came the Miata in a moment of genius by the same people who had
> the nerve to use a Wankel engine in a small coupe, then cabriolet at a time
> when everyone knew that you shouldn't do that.  My second wife had an RX7
> as
> her car, until I got goofy and insisted that we lease her a new 944.  The
> 944 was a vastly superior car and probably a better value: almost as much
> sheer acceleration and far superior handling and ride for not a whole lot
> more money.  And better fuel mileage if you had your foot in it.  Which my
> wife did, quite a lot of actually.  But I digress.  Anyway, the early Miata
> was light, and successful as a basic car.  The pop-up headlights were
> really
> neat, and the cars were rugged and reliable.
> But after the first series they gained weight, and lost the distinctive
> headlights...oh, I know, I know...for 'safety' reasons.  Eventually they
> gained more power and got heavier and "better" still, and are still a nice
> enough car, but the early ones were the best imho.
> --And speaking of sports cars, I guess I need to get down to it and pick
> another one.  I know that it has been predicted that I would want to
> include
> the Porsche 928 here, and perhaps so.  I personally do think that it is the
> best Porsche ever built, but I am not entirely sure that I want to call it
> one of the best cars that has been built in my lifetime.  The 928 has some
> "issues" that Porsche has refused to address, and never will now that the
> car is so old, but major issues existed that could destroy the engine
> through no real fault of the owner and no amount of "scheduled, scripted"
> maintenance could prevent.  I am referring to the dreaded thrust bearing
> failure that allowed the crank to be pushed forward against the webbing
> thus
> destroying the engine block.  This seemed to occur in 1986 and forward 928S
> and S4 cars with automatic transmissions.  The fix was to inspect the
> forward most part of the torque tube and the pressure plate.  If it had
> crept forward, then pushing it back, retorqueing and applying loctite
> seemed
> to fix the problem, but this was not a fix that was invented by Porsche.  I
> believe that the problem was that the car was never intended to be driven
> in
> US style traffic with sudden starts, relatively high acceleration and then
> sudden stops in traffic or with such large numbers of traffic lights
> regulating the traffic flow.  This placed a substantial strain on the drive
> line itself, and eventually allowed the driveshaft to migrate forward.  The
> problem didn't seem to exist in older cars nor in the late GTS's although I
> think the problem is one of documentation and not of mechanical history.
> The problem occurred primarily after 65,000 miles, when the cars had long
> since left warranty and for the most part were no longer serviced by
> Porsche.  While the 928 was a wonderful riding and handling long distance
> car for two, with spectacular performance in all aspects, this is a serious
> engineering defect and below the standard for Porsche.  I have owned two of
> these cars and would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have another one, but probably
> will
> not.  Relatively late 928s are either VERY expensive with low miles or are
> cheap with medium to high miles and spotty histories.  A 1988 through 1990
> 928 with less than 60,000 miles is rare, but they do exist as there were
> quite a few 928's produced.  Anything with the Porsche crest on it is very,
> very expensive and makes Audi V8 parts seem cheap in comparison.  I am
> debating whether to include it on this list or not because there is
> something else out there that makes me very, very curious.....and it is
> .....The BMW 850.  Actually, there are several BMW 800 series cars that
> picque my curiosity.  Like Porsche this was a clean sheet car for BMW.
>  This
> is the first car by BMW (and almost every manufacturer for that matter)
> that
> was largely designed by CAD program from the beginning.  A number of other
> very special treats came with this car...the "drive by wire" system for
> throttle control in the 12 cylinder cars, for instance.  Originally it was
> thought to be the Ferrari fighter from BMW, but in the early stages the car
> simply did not have the power or performance, which in actuality is exactly
> what BMW wanted.  This was a car being produced for the upscale touring
> market and not for the vroom-vroom children who liked the loud Weber
> carburetors on their 2002's.  It was disappointing to the BMW "enthusiast"
> who had bought into the marketing hogwash about "the ultimate driving
> machine".  But it was and is a great long distance touring car for two,
> primarily for where the weather is bland, or at least where there is no ice
> and snow.
> Eventually BMW did get this car right with the BMW 850CSI, which rode lower
> and had much more power and torque....five or six speed manual transmission
> only, and offered for only two years.  This is a REAL "BMW", whatever that
> means.  Unlike the Porsche 928, this car had no real quirks, and with
> relatively inexpensive maintenance the fleet is running pretty well.  Not a
> commercial success,and because it was a failure with the vroom-vroom set,
> the cars are remarkably cheap as we speak.  Ten to twelve grand will buy a
> very nice example with less than 75,000 miles.  That's the good news:  the
> bad news is that there aren't a huge number of them anywhere.  Eventually
> one might find it way into my garage as a primarily summer car.
> If I ever actually get to a place when I want to buy one, it might be an
> 840i.  BMW produced this car with a V8 engine and the late model
> years...1994-97...had the "good" V8 engine.  Almost as quick as the twelve
> cylinder and without the very expensive and sophisticated engine control
> system, the 840 is a great buy and a bit more plentiful than the twelve.
> Still and all, there is something about having a twelve cylinder coupe in
> the garage that makes me drool just a tad....sigh:  maybe if I win the
> lottery.
> OK.  So now I have vented about the BMW 850/840 cars.  In the end, on my
> list will be the Porsche 928S4 Automatic from 1987-91.  I will omit the 928
> GT (1989-91) and stick with the S4.  The cars were better as long distance
> touring cars and with this much power and torque in my opinion, there
> exited
> no reason to use a manual transmission.  What makes these cars so
> remarkable
> is that the design work for this car was begun in the early 1970's.  To be
> able to produce a car with this kind of handling and performance without
> modern computers is an accomplishment that exceeds the leading edge CAD
> process that BMW used for the 850.
> I haven't driven a BMW 850.  I would like to and sometime will make a point
> of it.  It is entirely possible that it is one of the best cars ever built
> in my lifetime.  But for now, I KNOW that the 928 is the best Porsche ever
> built, and the best Porsche is good enough to be included on my list.
> Roger
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