Archive for August, 2007

All Wheel Drive Turbo: Only a Few Choices

Posted in Auto Articles, General News with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2007 by consortiumoffools

“I’m Leif, Leif, Leif, Leif, I want this, I want this car and that car and any turbo car…”

I now must disclose the possible origin of the above quote. I really do want every car ever: I want a Unimog, a Miata, a MazdaSpeed 3, I want a Ford GT, and a GT3, and a Super Charged Range Rover Sport, and any M3. But recently I’ve really wanted something in AWD with a turbo.

The first two cars that come to mind are the Lancer Evo and the STi. They are each 300 horsepower, each all-wheel drive, and each pushing $30,00 per price tag. And each horribly ugly. With their atrocious rear wings ready for flight, their offensively large hood scoops (which even the Hemi Dart pulled off better), and their “street tuner rice box mod” appeal make me sick to my stomach. Sure they have power and AWD, but you’d expect that from their overbearing styling. Everyone over-rates the Evo and STi, claiming that they are the Alpha and the Omega, the Cream of the Crop, the (insert any cliche about anything overrated here), yet cars of this nature have been here this whole time. They’re just a little bit harder to find.

Take the Audi Quattrro Turbos of the 80’s. Here was a family sedan with turbo and AWD from a well respected German manufacturer. Do you want to stay in Japan? Then the Mazda 323 GTX is the best fix. AWD, hatchback that’s turbo charged. It was made in Japan for years, and was imported to the US for only 2 years. Between 1988 and 1989 only about 1,400 of these cars were sold. Ford has some potent AWD Turbos from over the years, but all were sold in Europe. The Cosworth Sierra and the Cosworth Escort were AWD Turbo beasts.

What do all of these AWDT’s have in common? They are all production cars made by car manufactures to get into rally. The WRC (World Rallye Championship) is a huge world-wide on-and-off road timed extravaganza. Well, not really an extravaganza, it’s just a race. But it’s the most badass race of all time! It tests skills of drivers on snow, ice, dirt, sand, rain, and tarmac. The race is so trying that the drivers have a co-driver to tell them what the road ahead is like.

So how does all of this apply to me, me, me, me? Well, I want a rally car, duh. A car that I can put huge fog lights onto, a car that I can custom fabricate street sign skid plates, and a car that I can actually take onto the dirt, not to mention over speed bumps. My current vehicle is street only, and some days feels like it should be track only. I’ve already complained about mentioned its rough ride. A pseudo Jeep with the power of forced induction ripping through gravel up the west side of the Sandias is what I dream of. Something that looks mean, but not extravagant; powerful, yet not overstated.

Sadly if I even follow through with my car dream of the month, it’ll probably have to be a Subaru. The $30k cars are too expensive, the Mazda is too difficult to find in good condition close to home, and the UK Fords cost thousands to import. I hate the way all WRXs look. If only a 2001 Impreza Wagon could be found for a good price. Then engine swapping we shall go.

Subaru 22B