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Lert's Talk About Cars (other people can join the discussion, I suppose)

Lerticus

Senile Old Coot
☭ Communism ☭
Not enough general discussion threads around here, so I will make one for one of my hobbies. Vehicles.

Cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles (I guess). Post your opinions, questions, or trivia here for all things that go vroom (or coil whine noises, if that's your kink).

To begin, a random topic: What is a shooting brake (not "break", the spelling of which should be punished with flogging), and how does it differ from the station wagon?

Car terminology can be a tricky thing to navigate, even for those of us who are around it a lot. And sometimes it’s not very clear even if you understand that there is a difference – AWD versus 4WD, anyone? Of course, there are also some terms that people just generally take for granted and don’t give much consideration. Like, for example, that here in the States we call small 4-door cars with a trunk ‘sedans,’ whereas they’re called ‘saloons’ in England and other parts of the world. And while we’d love to clear everything up, there’s one term we’d like to focus on specifically here.

That term is, of course, ‘shooting brake.’ If you’ve spent any time in the car world – obsessed collectors and casual fans alike – there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen it at some time or another. But, unless you took the time out of your day to hunt down the meaning, origin, or other examples; you likely just looked right past it. Well, believe it or not, the term ‘shooting brake’ actually has some interesting history behind it. And that’s what we’re here to illuminate today: what, exactly, is a shooting brake? From its origins, to its evolution, and to contemporary examples, we’ve mapped it all out in the following article.
I must disagree on one crucial piece of information however. A McDonald's cheeseburger and a Wendy's Baconator are nothing alike.
 

Jakarta

Cutest Mod
Moderator
I want to know what it's like to drive a GAZ or a Lada or whatever cars produced in the Soviet Union. Fully honest.

If not for it's reliability, then at least for it's experience, wanna see if the car is really worth waiting 20-30 years to drive around.
 

t-dugong

Beach bum, Esq.
I want to know what it's like to drive a GAZ or a Lada or whatever cars produced in the Soviet Union. Fully honest.

If not for it's reliability, then at least for it's experience, wanna see if the car is really worth waiting 20-30 years to drive around.
Not very comfortable but easy to repair if it does break down, if those Youtube car reviewers are correct.
 

Lerticus

Senile Old Coot
☭ Communism ☭
I want to know what it's like to drive a GAZ or a Lada or whatever cars produced in the Soviet Union. Fully honest.

If not for it's reliability, then at least for it's experience, wanna see if the car is really worth waiting 20-30 years to drive around.
OK, so this comedy-style video is not actually incorrect.

Yes, it is not fast. You do not want to go fast, that is dangerous. You also will have a not-great time stopping, so stay away from long downhill stretches.

But is it reliable? Oh, yes. Which does not mean that it cannot, or will not, break down. But repairs are simple and cheap. Keep a small toolkit with some common-sized wrenches and such, and you are golden.

The fun aspect is where the car shines, at least for me. It is made as a basic commuter car, so it is not fast, but no power steering and manual transmission make you feel fully connected to the car and to the road.

---

The two closest comparisons I can think of are to the VW Beetle, and to WWII jeeps.

The jeep comparison (small "J", since it used to be a commonplace term for similarly styled "GP" general purpose vehicles made by many manufacturers) is firstly appropriate because that is a large part of Soviet car DNA.

No, the 'Murican propaganda is (obviously) not right, and they did not win the war by themselves, or by the lend lease program. They shortened the path to the war's inevitable conclusion, but that is a far different thing.

However, those jeeps were a starting point for much of the Soviet automotive industry. The USSR, in addition to receiving vehicles, gained the ability to make more of the same sort. Far from identical, but the underlying mechanics were very similar. The advantages were naturally the ability to drive away from a depot with a mechanics shop without a lot of breakdowns, and being simple to repair.

So, after the war, the US went back to making themselves land whales to drive around. These were far from reliable vehicles, and it is the reason why for decades every small town of a hundred people or so had a mechanic shop, many of them attached to gas stations. Without reliability, they instead valued the ability to get repairs almost everywhere. This is why that industry is dying today, since vehicles are getting both more advanced than a home-grown kid with a set of wrenches can provide, and because the least reliable cars are still far less likely to break down than the ones of a few decades ago.

Meanwhile, the USSR for the most part used the same reliable technology found in those military vehicle in their civilian vehicles. You didn't have thousands of service bays to fix your car, you fixed it yourself. But you probably didn't have to do that too often, or it was just a quick, common, repair that you got used to doing. Instead of pursuing more horsepower and fancy gadgetry and such, it has mostly been easier to stay slower and more reliable. When they wanted new models they just bought some tooling/ specifications from a company with a similarly rugged and repairable underpinnings.

Which is where that comparison to the Beetle comes into play. It could break down, but it was not so often as contemporary vehicles, and most owners could fix it themselves. I have listened to thousands of stories of people who though that the engine was running a bit rough, so they pulled it out and rebuilt it on the dining room table as a weekend project, then had it back in and ready to go for the beginning of the workweek. They also were not meant to go very fast, but you can feel the road better, which leads to fun.

---

So, do you want to drive an old farm truck/Beetle? That is what you likely will be getting. Some people will never get it, but it is a simple joy that you find in being self-sufficient with repairs, and in feeling like the car is more a part of yourself (or close family) than yet another appliance that cars have become over the years.

That is the real deciding factor, how you view your vehicles, much more than a fancy paint job or leather interior with 312 speakers on your audio system. If you want a friend that is mostly reliable, who tries real hard even though they are often not the most capable, and who can be helped back on their feet with some kind words and the smack of a mallet, then these cars are that kind of friend.

EDIT: Bonus video.
 
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Eliar

Well-known member
If I remember correctly, since Jugoslavian ladas were a big thing here for a long time, they were hardy. tough but woe to those caught in one when it rained :p
 

Jakarta

Cutest Mod
Moderator
This is fascinating, their philosophy fascinates me.

Tehnically, I can get a Toyota Land Cruiser and get the best of both worlds, reliability and comfort. But now I want to drive a Soviet Made car even more.
 

Rubick

Well-known member
However, those jeeps were a starting point for much of the Soviet automotive industry.
In what way ?

What hampered Soviet civilian automobile industry is that without the politburo say so it was hard to create a new model of car. let alone a range of cars especially when blank sheet design was required. Add to that the infernal Gosplan and various other agencies. Civilian automobile industry had it's knee's capped and it's arms broken. much from the beginning to the end.
 

Wakko

Well-known member
I want to know what it's like to drive a GAZ or a Lada or whatever cars produced in the Soviet Union. Fully honest.
I've driven a Lada (don't remember the actual type, there were many over the years and several of them were imported into CSSR). First of all, they were small. All cars made in the Eastern Block and meant for mere mortals were small. You had to be a Party animal or a policeman to get to drive something larger. Ladas were popular around here because they had more powerful engines than our Skodas, and they were faster. That was why our police used them a lot. For the time and place they were pretty OK, but hard to come by, and expensive (but heck, color TVs and fridges were expensive too). And some of them are still working today, you can still see them on the road from time to time - and not some pimped-up, pampered garage ladies but visibly old, tired, rusty, yet still working veterans.
If I had a choice, I'd want to try a Volga (GAZ-24). Compared to the common cars, it was a beast, also was larger and more comfy, but was reserved for policemen, taxis, high-ranking factory managers, etc.
 

Rubick

Well-known member
If I had a choice, I'd want to try a Volga (GAZ-24). Compared to the common cars, it was a beast, also was larger and more comfy, but was reserved for policemen, taxis, high-ranking factory managers, etc.

The one I tried had body roll that almost rivaled early 70's god-awful Lincoln Conti. And the way you sit. your not actually quite aligned to the pedals or the steering wheel. It's not as bad as in some Italian cars I tried.* And frankly fit and finish and interior design felt like something out of BMC stable. Which granted to me isn't a good thing. Also felt very underpowered but that could be on account of the engine loosing quite a bit of power due to mileage.


* Being in Alfa and BMW/Alpina motor club with mostly old geezers you get to drive some rarities on occasion.
 

Jakarta

Cutest Mod
Moderator
Speaking of American Cars.

I wish I can like, have a green card or something, there are some cars in the US that I just WANT to try out, at least ride it out for a day or something. I mean, yeah, admittedly, older American cars can be maintenance hogs, still, I want to try them out.

One example of a car I really want to try out but probably don't wanna own.

Mach 1 Mustang. 1969 model.

Something about that car oozes fun for me. And importing them to Indonesia isn't what I would call a sound plan by any standard. Well, one person can dream.
 

Lerticus

Senile Old Coot
☭ Communism ☭
* Being in Alfa and BMW/Alpina motor club with mostly old geezers you get to drive some rarities on occasion.
Yes. We need to have backup vehicles, for when the garage kings and queens are not available. Same with Jaaaaags and Land Rovers.

Which could lead to another rant, honestly. Some manufacturers are admittedly high maintenance, but the majority are relatively the same in needing routine maintenance and driving like a normal human being. Some particular models have a host of issues, but rarely does it become something that affected the entire brand.

Can't say how many time I have heard "[BRAND] sucks! I have a a bad story to yell about!", only to find out that they can't drive worth shit and all their vehicles are some sort of fucked up from their bad habits.
 

Rubick

Well-known member
Yes. We need to have backup vehicles, for when the garage kings and queens are not available. Same with Jaaaaags and Land Rovers.

Which could lead to another rant, honestly. Some manufacturers are admittedly high maintenance, but the majority are relatively the same in needing routine maintenance and driving like a normal human being. Some particular models have a host of issues, but rarely does it become something that affected the entire brand.

Can't say how many time I have heard "[BRAND] sucks! I have a a bad story to yell about!", only to find out that they can't drive worth shit and all their vehicles are some sort of fucked up from their bad habits.



Jag's deserved their lousy reputation though even up until this day. Rovers I don't know in general. Besides the P7 which i would like to own one day. But anything post 60's automotive at least from Britain is generally regarded as ill designed or ill manufactured garbage for the most part.



The Italians however don't deserve their reputation for the most part. Yes, Italian cars up until the mid 70's or so. Tended to (but not always) have thinner body metal then any other euro brand or Merican brand cars. So rust,.. which was an issues for all car brands was especially for some of the Italian brands and their models.



The shielding also tended to be much thinner so wore out much quicker. Also the wiring in Italian cars tends to run in the oddest places and not the best places..


But otherwise besides the exotics. Especially Ferrari's. Which I can speak from personal record since i did look into acquiring a Ferrari in 2006 when the likes of Ferrari 208, 308, Mondial and even Testarossa were still cheap to buy before the generally hike up in prices for classic cars (especially Ferrari's) The build quality of said Ferrari's and the material used was frankly substandard. And top it all off. They were far from what one would call well sorted drivers cars.

Otherwise Italian cars we're fairly reliable especially pre 70's.


FIAT only got their reputation post war due to dumb Americans although to be honest end of the 60's FIAT did try to live up to that reputation. Granted most of their models by mid lifetime were generally sorted out and decently reliable.

Lancia post war, pre FIAT take over built some of the best goddamn cars in terms of fit and finish and quality material to match. It made Merc look like Lada's.. They were also very technically sophisticated cars sometimes just for the sake of it. A prop rod to hold the bonnet up ? Forget about it! Auralia and Appia has an complex mechanism to do so. Interior lightning that's simple and is meant to be operated by a single button ? Not on a bloody Lancia! Both the driver and and the front passenger has their own interior light with options.

Then there is Alfa Romeo, Only really got bad reputation due to AlfaSud and it's rust issues thank to setting up production in Italian version of Ireland. That and wire shielding plagued Alfa's up until now even. (Bar the 159). Otherwise Alfa's unreliability are exaggerated as hell.
 

Rubick

Well-known member
New trailer for Grand Tour special/episode

 

Rubick

Well-known member
And utterly inaccurate. Especially for people that claim to be Lancia fans.

But anyway I hope it won't be to scripted. The last 3 episodes of season 3 were ace especially the Mongolia Special. Unfortunately they went back to the same habits in season 4 I hope this episode will be better.
 
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