Voitures Classiques Dans Votre Région: Part Deux

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Fiat Croma 2 Fiat Croma Peugeot 305 2(1) Peugeot 305 Renault 25 2 Renault 25

Ooh and, if you will, la la.

Patrick ‘Carspotter’ Cummins concludes his vintage snoop around Lorient, France with three deceptively tasty Euro jammers.

1. Fiat Croma: “Here is an example of a Fiat Croma which dates from some year between 1988 and 1991. This is still Fiat’s most recent large family saloon and I’m not sure it was ever sold in the Republic of Ireland. Fiat purchased the fledgling Alfa Romeo marque in late 1986 at a time when Fiat-owned Lancia were beginning a partnership with Swedish car-maker Saab.
“This quartet of motor companies pooled resources which resulted in the Tipo Quattro project. Out of this platform came the Lancia Thema, Saab 9000, Alfa Romeo 164 and Fiat Croma. Croma production lasted from 1985 to 1996 by which time it never really took off and had a bad reputation for reliability. The Croma badge resurfaced in 2005 on Fiat’s crossover wagon.”

2. Peugeot 305 GR: “France is, unsurprisingly, inundated with old French cars that are rare as hen’s teeth outside of mainland Europe but this classic once had a very good name in Ireland. Peugeot launched the 305 to replace the older 404 saloon and the new number designation for this car class caused considerable confusion initially.
“Designed by Italian company Pininfarina, it featured a mostly conventional exterior and fairly mundane interior. An all-round McPherson strut suspension and particularly comfortable front seats made it a pleasing car for Irish drivers in rural areas. The 305 was also available as an estate and van and all engine variants proved particularly sturdy. Diesel variants gave remarkable reliability and returned incredible MPG figures. The ‘GR’ designation on this model leads me to believe that it is an entry-level 1.3L petrol version with a 4-speed gearbox and the front-end facelift implies a 1983-onwards model year.”

3. Renault 25: “Aiming their new motor at the luxury car market with high ambitions to match the Germans, Renault launched the 25 in 1983. Aesthetically, in my opinion, it is a beautiful car with gorgeous curves and lines aided by its famed ‘wrap-around’ rear window. However, enter the cockpit and things get a little sour. Usual rotary knobs were instead dropped for an angular design philosophy which made it appear a bit like a sound engineer’s mixing desk. A funky, avant-garde feature was voice warnings for such things as blown bulbs, overheating engine and oil pressure.
“However, it’s boggling as to why they didn’t include a warning for leaking fluid from the automatic transmission cooler! The automatic variants weren’t bad in themselves but, due to the issues with the cooler, the gearboxes suffered premature failure with no warning. Electrical glitches further hampered the 25s attempts at topping the executive sector and, after a 1988 facelift, production ceased in 1992. Strong points on the 25 were it’s comfort, ride, economy and aerodynamic efficiency. Unfortunately, there was no model-type designation badge found on this example but it’s a pre-facelift model in any case.”

Previously: Première Partie

Pics: Patrick Cummins

12 thoughts on “Voitures Classiques Dans Votre Région: Part Deux

  1. Caroline

    That Renault 25 reminds me of the Fuego, nearly sure it had the same rear window. My mum’s friend had one, it was de absolute business back in the day.

      1. Caroline

        Indeed, its cheeky curves and fiery temperament were luxury heaped on luxury. But even back in the day there were few residents of the badlands of North County Dublin who didn’t scare up some sort of transport. North of the Kilshane Cross there be monsters, you see.

  2. Jess

    He’s probably too nice a bloke to plug himself but Paddy is in one of the best trad bands around, Skippers Alley, go see them whenever yous get a chance.

  3. pdmc

    1. The FIAT Croma was definitely sold in Ireland. I for one remember them on the roads. I can also vividly recall the Lancia Thema, SAAB 9000 and Alfa Romeo 164 sister cars in reasonable numbers on our roads….with the SAAB probably being the biggest seller, followed by the Alfa and the Lancia and FIAT taking the smallest share of sales. Of the two Italians, the FIAT was probably a more common sight. Also, the original Croma was not the last large FIAT saloon, since the FIAT Croma nameplate reappeared in 2005 and soldiered on until 2011. The late model Croma famously being Michael Schumacher’s choice of family car transport. It too was sold in Ireland but its stay in the new car market may have been short-lived due to total lack of buyer interest.

    2. In 1986 Alfa Romeo was 76 years old and had been, up to the previous decade, an industry leader in both motorsport and the creation of class leading road going rwd sports cars (Giulietta Sprint/Giulietta Spider/Duetto/Spider/Montreal), rwd sporting saloons (Giulietta and Giulia), rwd coupés (GT Junior/GTV/GTV6) rwd executive cars (Alfetta/Alfa 6/Alfa 90/Alfa 75) and even fwd hatchbacks and coupés (Alfasud/Alfasud Sprint)…as well as many, many more models I can’t begin to recall.

    Hardly “fledgling” now was it?

    1. 'Carspotter'

      1. Thanks for the clarification on the sale of the Croma. I’d never come across one here but I was very young during their production period.

      2. Alfa had been successful in Grand Prix/Formula 1 racing during the early part of the 1950s and then, perhaps, in some much smaller forms of motorsport less internationally recognised. As for their sports-car production, they may have been beautiful cars but the reality was that some way into the 1970s Alfa Romeo were financially suffering from not enough sales. The Alfasud was a relative success but sales numbers were below expectations and, whether or not you consider them ‘fledgling’ by the 1980s, the sales numbers didn’t rack up and they needed a buyer. Ford put in an offer and came close to sealing the deal until Fiat stepped in and agreed to buy it in one foul swoop rather than Ford’s offer to buy into the company gradually.

      I’ve always liked Alfa Romeos and I bought my first one only last week. I’m delighted with it. But there’s no point in avoiding the fact that Alfas are a cult car and, for now, are seen as “off the beaten track” in any class. That’s not a particularly welcome accolade when trying to sell cars to the general public.

  4. Mr. T.

    “Electrical glitches further hampered the 25s attempts at topping the executive sector”

    That. And just being a Renault.

  5. Joe835

    The Fiat Croma was sold here alright, probably in minuscule numbers though. Back when Fiat thought they could offer a range of cars as opposed to variations of the 500 like they do now!

    The Lancia version could be got with a Ferrari engine, the 8.32.

  6. Jones

    In 20 years will Broadsheeters marvel at the likes of the 2005 Toyota Yaris, or the 2004 Nissan Micra??

    Boring cars when they’re made don’t become interesting.

    1. 'Carspotter'

      I find them interesting for their nostalgic value and for the stories behind their manufacture and demise. If you don’t then it’s your loss for being picky ;-)

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