Decent Sprucewood, Rocket Wrist
How to name your Pacific Rim Jaeger
Sébastien Bourdais came second in the IndyCar race in Toronto yesterday, and was accordingly given a trophy. Said trophy proceeded to completely fall apart and bounce away from his hands before shattering. It looks like they don't make trophies like they used to.
what a doucheeee
the steering wheel is so rad on these
It’s time to scoop out some more detritus from the inner reaches of the Carchive, this time from the bowing shelf marked Japanese and JDM.
I’m a massive hypocrite, I’ve suddenly realised. In so much of what I write I offer much salutation to those marques who manage to keep their product simple and effective. Needless complication and the addition of strange and peculiar ingredients rarely makes for a nicer tasting dish. On the other hand, I remain absolutely fascinated by those cars that came embellished with every single gizmo the company could think of, just because.
The Subaru XT, for example, which turned gadgetry into an art form.
“Subaru precision and performance has never been more breathtaking than it is now in the form of the new 4WD XT Turbo “
This is a 1985 brochure, for the first of the XTs to make it to British shores. Ours were simply named XT, not Vortex or Alcyone, and as far as I know all came with the four-cylinder engine. It also came with the most astonishingly linear wedge-styling. The vast majority of design-houses had moved onto CAD technologies by the mid-80s, one can only assume that Subaru used a studio full of Etch-A-Sketches and had regular paper-dart folding competitions. However, it certainly didn’t share any of its looks with any production car, prior or post.
The looks actually did amount to a functional objective. Subaru were after aerodynamics, and the XT managed a Cd of 0.29. That was pretty good, though I’m pretty sure this could have been managed without having obeyed their straightedges and set-squares quite so slavishly. Actually, if you look at the rear windscreen they actually left a curve in the glass just aft of that slim “C” pillar. I can only assume this was an accident, as the rest of the car is resolutely free of voluptuousness.
“Four-wheel drive takes on an exciting new dimension. Now it means extra safety, extra traction for rain, mud or snow”.
You could have a choice of all-wheel-drive or two-wheel motive power from the front. The FWD variant came only with the 5-speed manual transmission, and the reduced drivetrain losses gave it a 5mph top-end advantage over the 4WD version. If you wished for further blunted performance, or had just the one leg, you could opt for the automatic, which seems a shame but is actually quite nicely in keeping with the tech-heavy demeanour of the thing.
There was other technology, too. Foremost was the electro-pneumatic suspension system with the aim of improving “control and stability”. It also offered automatic levelling from front-to-rear, side-to-side. You could also, of course, raise and lower the height depending on road speed, and the firmness of the ride could also be fiddled with.
“Subaru’s new turbocharged engine is designed for smooth response even at important low-to-medium RPMs”
Well, hang on; that doesn’t seem very exciting, does it? A look at the spec reveals the 1.8 litre Boxer to have just 134hp to say for itself, happening at 5600 revs. 125mph could be coaxed out of it, though, thanks to the windcheatingness of it that motorised-cheddar styling. I would have to assume that the engine was tuned for economy, emissions and tractability rather than all-out thrills. In fact, the six-cylinder model only pumped out a dozen or so more horses when that arrived. But anyway, the Killer Feature for the XT wasn’t actually anything to do with the shape, the tech or the grunt.
“A high-tech interior is a Subaru Tradition”
Or, a bewildering scattering of random controls and sake-influenced styling cues has come to be expected of anything from Fuji Heavy Industries; well, until the Impreza came out and everything went a bit boring. CHECK IT OUT! Madness prevails throughout, from the “gun-grip” joystick gear shifter (W or W/O AWD selector button in RED on the top), utterly mental asymmetric steering wheel for, er, no explainable reason and fingertip controls for those features you don’t really need immediate access to, while the stereo requires that you take an eye and a hand off the wheel to operate. There is also seat fabric that looks like Garry Gasparov’s worst nightmare.
But, of course, the defining characteristic is THAT (optional) LCD instrument cluster. With the ride-height indicator dead-centre, because it was THAT important, a turbo gauge that illuminated like a fairground test-your-strength machine, and two equally crap tachometers. Crap? Well yes. One of them worked as a reverse bar-graph, the forced-perspective computer-game display reading data in the wrong direction to be useful, and the other one was a real-time read out of the actual number of revs the engine is spinning at, the drawback of which being that the display will simply read 888, 1888, 2888, 3888 as the digits whiz frantically round under heavy acceleration. Even the temperature and fuel gauges had an amusing 3D look to them. Conversely, the ODO and trip-meters were good old-fashioned mechanical rotary tumblers like on your ’70s cassette tape-counter.
“The Subaru XT Turbo is fun to drive no matter what your physical build”
Well, that’s a relief, because I’m a really strange shape. My knees are as high off the ground as some buildings and my tib, fib and femurs seem to have kept on growing while my torso packed it in when I hit 16 or so. Also, because I’m a great lover of beer and pies, and having reached a certain age, my waistline has now reached amber alert status and need to be kept in check lest I become a big fat bastard (BFB). The kindly Subaru folk reckon all this is OK, and thanks to their adjustable steering wheel angle I should slot in just fine.
This is good news, because I’d love to try one of these strange and compelling vehicles. Racking my brains right now I think I’m OK to say I’ve never seen one in the flesh. In my mind I want it to sound like an STi (the car, not the consequence) and look fantastic. If you’re reading this and have one of these, and live within inexpensive-to-travel distance of Colchester, please hit me up.
There’s a lot of XT love in the Hooniverse and throughout the wider web beyond, more now than then, I imagine. During its production life most people thought the XT to be “a bit silly” and kept on buying more humdrum, proven machinery instead Nowadays, though, we can celebrate the flying chisel for what it was. And, as used to be quoted in R.A-S.H (remember that?), whether or not I ever get the chance to drive an XT, At Least I Own The Brochure.
(Disclamer: All images are of original manufacturers publicity material, photographed by me. Copyright remains property of Subaru, who owe us a ludicrous sports car. The BRZ doesn’t count)
almost everything i share is jacked from reddit, might as well keep it going :P
so i guess they just check the rss feed for X number of entires, date be damned? cause i've got some shit from 2008 in here haha