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