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Mickey Richaud
07-12-2008, 08:49 AM
OK - the New Beetle seems to be a hit, and now the new Fiat 500 is making waves. These were once rear engine, but the new ones are front engine, front wheel drive. Does anyone else wonder about the practicality of rear-engine design, and whether it might return? My first car was a Corvair Monza, which I enjoyed until it suffered a fatal transmission collapse. Then I "graduated" to VW's, owning several, including a Ghia convertible that I loved driving to work and college in New Orleans way back when. Built a couple of fairly hot engines for them, and still enjoy hearing one clatter by on rare occasions.

Just musing on a Saturday morning...

martx-5
07-12-2008, 10:36 AM
Well, I think that we won't see anymore rear engine, rear drive designs coming forth from any major auto makers. The fact the Porsche has been able to make the formula work for all these years is a testament to their engineering prowess. The layout is not freindly for the average driver. Just too much inherent oversteer. The front engine, front drive set-up is much more forgiving. Understeer is much easier to control for the average driver. The weight advantage of having the engine over the driving wheels in slick and snowy conditions is always a plus. Having that over the STEERING wheels enhances the ability of the car to negotiate snow. The only disadvantage of FWD is that you are asking the front tires to do alot of work. Steering, traction and most of the braking. Trying to do all at once in snowy conditions will result in a continual straight line trajectory. At least you will see beforehand what you're gonna hit. :yesnod:

Of course, ABS and now traction control, all but eliminates these problems. I drove my brother-in-law's Porsche Carrara S with traction control, and despite the incredible power, no matter how hard I tromped on the gas going through a turn, the back end stayed planted. He wouldn't let me turn it off. Maybe just as well. :laugh:

tomshobby
07-12-2008, 12:06 PM
Over the last 45 years I have had rear engine rear wheel drive, front engine rear wheel drive, front engine front wheel drive, and front engine all wheel drive vehicles. Among these have been family cars, muscle cars, pickup trucks, and LBC's.

My preference over all is for front engine rear wheel drive.

TR6oldtimer
07-12-2008, 12:59 PM
In my opinion, it is a matter of economics for the manufacturer. Front engine front wheel drive is less expensive (labor wise) to assemble and install. Rear engine rear wheel drive, as has been mentioned, is found only in expensive limited production performance vehicles.

GregW
07-12-2008, 06:03 PM
Rear engine rear wheel drive, as has been mentioned, is found only in expensive limited production performance vehicles. Like the Beetle?

TR6oldtimer
07-12-2008, 06:19 PM
Rear engine rear wheel drive, as has been mentioned, is found only in expensive limited production performance vehicles. Like the Beetle?

The last I heard, the Beetle's only production plant in recent times was in Mexico for local consumption, the production of the original Beetle there was phased out in favor of the "New" Beetle.

Shane
07-12-2008, 06:40 PM
Doesn't the new Beetle have its engine in the front?

I think that since most of the automakers use a single platform for multiple makes and models has something to do with it. It's easier to hide a Neon under a PT Cruiser body with the engine in the front. You're rather restricted from a design standpoint to mass produce two distinct models with a rear-engine/RWD platform. It's definitely possible, but I think the accounting departments don't want the risk.

coldplugs
07-12-2008, 08:06 PM
While we're musing on this: Since this is a British car forum, can anyone think of any rear-engined British production car other than the Imp?

Baz
07-12-2008, 08:16 PM
MGF.

Steve
07-12-2008, 08:30 PM
MGF is supposed to be a "mid-engine" configuration, but I get Barry's point. Can't think of any others.

aeronca65t
07-14-2008, 12:01 PM
Rear engined production car built in England?

The Isetta?

As for "modern" rear engine cars, the <span style="text-decoration: underline">Smart</span> car!

weewillie
07-14-2008, 01:23 PM
Rear engined production car built in England?

The Isetta?



only under license from bmw

Shane
07-14-2008, 01:53 PM
While we're musing on this: Since this is a British car forum, can anyone think of any rear-engined British production car other than the Imp?


Noble M15?

aeronca65t
07-14-2008, 02:57 PM
Rear engined production car built in England?

The Isetta?



only under license from bmw




OK, well how about the DeLorean?

weewillie
07-14-2008, 03:20 PM
Rear engined production car built in England?

The Isetta?



only under license from bmw




OK, well how about the DeLorean?

actually built about 20 mls from where I lived in Northern Ireland (not England)although it is in the British Isles
There are also the Peel microcars built in the Isle of Man. There was one on Top Gear a while ago

Just after checking the peel I guess you could call it mid engined LOL

GregW
07-14-2008, 04:37 PM
I think the Atom could be classified as a rear engine car. They're coming out with a 500 HP V8 version by the way.

swift6
07-14-2008, 08:40 PM
The Noble(s) and the Delorean are mid-engined. the Atom is close but the final drive off of the transaxle is still behind the engine making it mid-engined too. Remeber, true rear engine cars have the transaxles forward of the engine.

aeronca65t
07-14-2008, 09:46 PM
The Noble(s) and the Delorean are mid-engined.....


Hmmm?
Unless the trans is really skinny, I'd say a Delorean is rear-engine (see below)

https://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/2690/2808324060068976669S425x425Q85.jpg

kennypinkerton
07-14-2008, 09:49 PM
That's gotta be the best looking DMC engine I've ever seen.

swift6
07-14-2008, 11:21 PM
The Noble(s) and the Delorean are mid-engined.....


Hmmm?
Unless the trans is really skinny, I'd say a Delorean is rear-engine (see below)

https://inlinethumb03.webshots.com/2690/2808324060068976669S425x425Q85.jpg

You would be correct, I spoke too soon. Should have accessed a different memory bank since I've been up close and personal to the underside of one of 'em. The Delorean is indeed classified as a "Rear engine, rear drive".

MadRiver
07-15-2008, 03:46 PM
Technically, my Elise is considered a mid-engined car, but certainly the engine is closer to the rear than to the front! :smile:

bugimike
07-15-2008, 03:51 PM
If the engine is ahead of the rear axle, it is mid-engined, if it is aft of the rear axle, it is rear-engined!

WhatsThatNoise
07-17-2008, 06:23 PM
While we're musing on this: Since this is a British car forum, can anyone think of any rear-engined British production car other than the Imp?

One of the Ginettas used the Imp engine...

The G15?

It was real RWD

UPDATE...

Found a pic.
https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/new/310359.jpg

WhatsThatNoise
07-17-2008, 07:17 PM
I've been up close and personal to the underside of one of 'em. The Delorean is indeed classified as a "Rear engine, rear drive".

Indeed...

They 'snap-spin' like a rear engine also <<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/grin.gif