Do you want the Road Tax system to change? Do you have thoughts on the potential changes to the Road Tax system? | No thanks
Rear wheel drive - Marc
I'm looking for something with a bit of go, must be rear wheel drive - can't do with front driven stuff! Call me old fashioned (or maybe just old) but I grew up with rear drive mk2 escorts in particular the RS2000 and it was fun!!
Money available is only a couple ish grand, less preferable but I'm trying to be realistic. Thoughs are for something like a Sierra 2.0 GLSi/GT/XR4i etc. which would be cheap to run/service etc. I guess a BMW 3 series is possible but may be more expensive to run? Need back seats too.
Would appreciate any ideas on a suitable gem I may have overlooked!
Thought about a mk2 Golf GTI 8 or 16v but it's fwd.......!!
Re: Rear wheel drive - Tomo
Hello Marc!

It may well be that something like the Sierra is as good as anything. The problem is that anything with rear wheel drive (even the Zaporojetz) IS better, and so costs more!

Good luck and best wishes!
Re: Rear wheel drive - honest john
Scorpio Cosworth 24v. But worry about its mile long timing chain. Or my dad's 260,000 mile 87E Merc 190E 2.6.

Re: Rear wheel drive - ladas are cool
lada's are rear wheel drive ;-)
Re: Rear wheel drive - Marc

Lada may be cool, but it's less embarrasing getting out of the back of a
sheep !!!!!!!!!
Re: Rear wheel drive - Piers
I'll second HJs suggestion of a Scorpio Cosworth 24v.

My dad had the Granada Scorpio 24v which I inherited. It was a fantastic car that didn't attract much attention at all but had some character to the engine, plenty of poke and a very good chassis - very nice steering and a controllable back end (watch the gears when the back end power slides - it changes up. I assume as a RS2000 driver power slides are normal wet roundabout exit techniques!). My father replaced it with a Merc E class but he misses the old Granny.

It had 213000 miles on it when sold. Only thing was it went through tyres but as my other car at the time was a Mk 1 Escort it got driven in a similar manner!

I got £1400 for it (J reg met Blue cloth trim). There aren't many around but I've seen FSH 100000 milers advertised privately for under £2000 - probably dropped even more now.

The only car to come close was the 24v Senator, but they weren't as cheap to buy at the time.

Re: Rear wheel drive - Richard Hall
Going sideways fast - brilliant fun. The old rear drive Toyota Corolla GT would be a lot of entertainment but you'll have trouble finding one. A well-cherished Rover 3500 Vitesse? Vauxhall Senator 3.0 24V? Possibly a bit big, but both awesomely quick and comfortable with it.
Re: Rear wheel drive - Tomo
I have to argue with Richard! The Corolla GT coupe (AE86) was better than
just entertainment!

I only came in here to warn against the AE82 and AE92 which might lead to a serious miatake by the uninitiated, being FWD.
Re: Rear wheel drive - Marc
I'm the other Marc (!) I'd suggest that you look for a Mercedes 190E. Two grand should buy you a decent one these days but it may be up on miles. Look for a good original unmodified example that's been serviced regularly (preferably on schedule) and it should give good service. It's mechanically better than the old BMW 3 in my opinion - no service warning lights and the benefit of a timing chain (double linked after 89F) as opposed to a belt. They also seem to resist rust and wear extremely well unlike the BMW 3 which are starting to look rusty and tatty now. These are the reasons I bought one. Don't expect a "thrilling" drive mind

Maybe HJ's father's one is worth a look???
Re: Rear wheel drive - ladas are cool
yes your right, have a look at honest johns car, as he would not sell it if it was a dud, after all he doesnt want to called dishonest john.
good merc. £1000, FSH, low miler. - ladas are cool
if you go to and click on automotive, then click on classic cars, someone is selling a mercedes 190E, the current bid is £945, and its got about 70,000 miles, and FSH, its a sort of light green, and looks like its in very good condition.
Re: good merc. £1000, FSH, low miler. - ladas are cool
sorry thats not right, its 124,000 miles, but with full mercedes service history.
Re: good merc. £1000, FSH, low miler. - Marc
That'll be "Thistle Green met" methinks. Circa B reg?
Re: Rear wheel drive - Gotta be a Nissan 200SX - Jonathan
Nissan 200SX
1.8 Turbo - 170bhp

I've had one of these (the mark I) and they are super quick, fairly reliable (if properly maintained) and cheap cheap cheap. You should have no probs picking one up for 2 - 3k, just make sure the turbo has been looked after, and if needed flush the oil and replace.

Re: Rear wheel drive - Gotta be a Nissan 200SX - GY
I agreed with Jonathan fully.

I am driving the 200SX, ... yes, they are a bit of misery for most drivers. But they are fun, reliable (2-3K can get you a good one, look for the unmodified one with regular services), easy to drive (as long as you don't push over the limit - this is the case of all cars!), relatively economical (28mpg or higher if you don't press the accelerator to the floor all the time, group 16-17 of insurance).

Good luck.

Re: Rear wheel drive - Richard Hall
One more idea - Alfa 75 3.0 V6. Not easy to find these days, but most are now in the hands of Alfa enthusiasts who have looked after them. Despite which, they still aren't worth much.
Re: Rear wheel drive - Alwyn
Years ago, we were told that front wheel drive was better in the snow.

I recall one dark evening trying to ascend a snowy hill in my Maxi.

I was most miffed when a Cortina drove cleanly past me as my fwd slid towards a kerb. Never did get up that hill. Had to get home another way.

New tyres too........ still no grip.
Re: Rear wheel drive - David W

Had just the same thing with my VW Jetta in 1986 on the one hill between home and work.

After this RWD heap passed me and crested the top with ease I did a three point turn and reversed up!!

Re: Rear wheel drive - Alwyn
Yer made me laugh. Thanks

"I'm going backward's to Christmas" as Spike Milligan would say.
Re: Rear wheel drive - Dan J
Where my dad lives, just outside his house you have to ascend what is quite a steep hill. One very snowy day our FWD Astra got half way up and then started going backwards, whilst in gear! It took the imaginative use of various neighbours and well gripped footwear to push the car to the top of the hill.

Sounds like a con to me. Realistically FWD is cheap to manufacture which is why it is used - If you lose control of a FWD car you've pretty much had it - at least RWD's maintain levels of controlability when driven exceptionally hard.

I KNOW there are good handling FWD cars out there, but you still will never beat a fantastic RWD in one...
Re: Rear wheel drive - David W

There is a difference here (FWD vs RWD) between experienced (nutty?) enthusiasts and sensible everyday drivers.

FWD handling balance is very fail-safe. The tightening of line when you take your foot off the throttle can be understood and managed by all. A power slide on a RWD car can be an impossible to manage, once in a lifetime, potential accident for many.

Take a large greasy roundabout. As you accelerate for the exit the FWD brakes traction with the potential to plough straight on. Just lift off and keep steering in the same place....calm is restored.

Do the same thing with RWD and lifting off isn't enough, sometimes armfuls of lock are needed and a real skill to prevent a serias of tail wags.

Years ago we owned powerful RWD BMWs, Volvos and Rovers that all showed a nervous trait driven fast on country lanes with the potential for wet leaves. About the same time we had a FWD Alfasud and it wiped the floor with the lot of them.

I would agree though FWD was a cost/design/space saving thing and not developed just for handling.

Re: Rear wheel drive - Dan J
Agreed - in everyday driving conditions it is probably preferable to driving power through the front wheels. Many modern 4 wheel drives (to mind Volvo and I think Audi) monitor what is going on but generally dump 90% of power to the front wheels unless there is a lot of excitement going on.

But to elaborate on what you say, if RWD was a doddle to manufacture and bung on the car and FWD was significantly more costly then you can bet your backside that your Citroen Xantia would be driven through the rear wheels instead, along with virtually every other car on the road!
Re: Rear wheel drive - Richard Hall

You're dead right about manufacturing cost. Take a look at the way a modern FWD car is put together - engine, gearbox, final drive, driveshafts, front suspension and steering rack all pre assembled on a single subframe. Lift it up into the bodyshell from underneath, do up about six bolts - job done. (Which is presumably why any front end mechanical work on a Mondeo is so awkward - they put all the mechanicals together before they fit them to the bodyshell.)
Build methods. - David W
Richard said....

"they put all the mechanicals together before they fit them to the bodyshell."

Spot on there Richard. I think Citroen have a set of feeler gauges handy when they drop the body on a Xantia to make sure there *is* any clearance between the turbo gubbins and the bulkhead.

And Dan you're spot on that we are driving what the bean counters have produced for us, just lucky that they have given us a huge choice of interesting vehicles.

Re: Rear wheel drive - Gotta be a Nissan 200SX - Dave N
Why not buy another RS2? Plenty of good ones around for £2K. Look in classic ford magazine. You can get al the parts aswell.

If nothing else, just buy the mag for a trip down memory lane and start dreaming again about twin 40 DCOE's, panard rod kits and capri 2.8 front struts!
Re: Rear wheel drive - ladas are cool
i still think ladas are good cheap rear wheel drive cars.
Re: Rear wheel drive - Guy Lacey
Go for the Golf - it will out-handle any RWD car of the same power.

Even Dave Lacey can't handle a RWD car..........
Re: Rear wheel drive - Tomo
One could write an essay on this one, but suffice it to say that there must be good reasons why all cars of reasonably high performance are RWD.
Re: Rear wheel drive - David W
There used to be a problem in transmission of straight line power with performance FWD, both in stability and mechanical reliability. Not so much an issue with handling.

The Americans laid that one to rest in the mid 60s though with the Oldsmobile Tornado (I'm sure that was it), a 6 or 7 litre V8 FWD monster).

Re: Rear wheel drive - Andrew Moorey
Sad thing is most regular punters are used to FWD now and its handling haracteristics, good or bad. Look how many BMW 3 series you see in ditches where the driver has been "caught out" by the back end letting go! Makes me sad when the advertising hacks make a selling point of the "perfect weight distribution" and fantastic handling capabilities. All it does is lull the driver into a false sense of safety leading to inappropriate and sometimes aggressive driving by some inexperienced owners. One of the reasons I dislike them so much. Sorry if I have offended anyone.
Re: Rear wheel drive - Lee H
I'd agree that the advertising is misleading - I've scared myself often enough in my youth to realise that there's a big difference between a good driver in a good car and an average driver in a good car.

The advertising seems to say that you'll be a better driver in a perfectly balanced car - bollards. A good car in capable hands is a powerful combination, the same car in the hands of an advertising enticed middle manager potentially lethal.

I know of a nameless person (not me!) who scared the hell out of themselves by spinning off a roundabout in their shiny MX-5. Luckily there was enough grass to slide into to avoid any damage.

The solution? Not examining the cause (excessive speed, poor judgement) and perhaps taking advanced driving lessons, but booking into a skid pan to learn how to handle skids. Obviously expecting some more then. Seemed to me the best idea would be to learn how to avoid them in the first place.

I am still rambling, aren't I?


Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car