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CMT - The reboot


#21

1967 - The big offensive


Nobody bought the CMT City anymore and the Libra was a good car, no question, but the buyers started looking for newer cars with a more contemporary design, better economy and lower price. CMT reacted and launched the radically new City II which was not a fun car as the City I but a serious attempt at a subcompact, offered in a wide trim range and not looking cheap in any way even if the prices were pleasantly low for CMT habits. Radically new because CMT banned the solid rear axle for a beam axle and fitted gas dampeners in all models. The only 3,5 meter short car offered accetptable interior space and a good build quality.
The start for only $6400 was the 1100 a four-door five seater, with basic interior and a simple radio and no power steering. The car recieved the Bingo engine, adressing those that considered a Bingo as not practical enough. The car accelerated even slower, reaching 100 after 19,9 seconds and with 125 kph the same top speed as the Bingo despite a 126 kg weight gain. Even if the three-speed manual was the same, the consumption was a liter less with 10,5 liter, as engineers optimized the City II as much as possible.

The sales were good, being the smallest utility car, even suiting for a family. For better scores, the 1100 lacked comfort and power. It was mainly the budget choice.

For a $6950 cheque the 1400 stood in front of your door. The car was a three-door four-seater, more suitable for city use and going away from frugal utility. It as a standard interior, featuring a passenger sunvisor, temperature gauge, a glove compartment, interval wipers and a passenger side mirror. The car still had only a three-speed, but a stronger engine derived from the CI204-64, delivering 58 horsepower, allowing for 140 kph topspeed and 14,9 seconds accelleration with even better economy of 10,2 liter, but the serive costs were significantly higher as the 1100 was aligned to low cost all the way.
The sales were not bad, not as high as those of the 1100, but the trim was a good balance between low price, some comfort and reasonable power.


To replace the City I with a similar fun model, the “1500 S” trim was created, using the same engine as the 1400, but just with a little more volume. The car was intended as a pony car on a minimum scale. Basing on the three-door body, it featured a two-tone paint with a sidestripe in contrast color, transparent indicator glass, a better standard radio with two speakers, a premium interior with rev counter, cloth door panel, adjustable driver seat height and steering column, fake wood dashboard decor and power steering. The 1,5 liter engine recieved a fourth gear, making the car 147 kph fast and propelling it to 100 in 13,5 seconds, much faster than any other car in the 3,5 meter class, although 10,9 liter are a lot for the small size as well as the $8120 price, but not too much if you consider how fast it is, beating most family sedans easily, but on the other hand - the Astrona III 2000 was available for not even $1000 more, so the car sold only as pony or city premium car in comparatively low amounts.


Targetting the Libra buyers, the five-door body recieved the same engine and trim as the 1500S, creating the 1500L. The transparent indicator glasses were swiched back to yellow ones and the three-speed ComfoShift automatic was added as well as painted hubcaps, raising the price to $8400. But do not forget what you get here: Sedan comfort in a subcompact, an engine still capable of reaching 100 after 14,8 seconds and 144 kph top speed, great utility and the well-known almost perfect CMT handling. 11,8 liter consumption and 705$ annual service cost made it an alternative for those who were tired of looking for a rare parking spot. The unknown-in-this-class comfort made it the #1 city premium car worldwide except Dalluha, and in Dalluha it became the “best fleet car award” as the Astrona III wagon a year ago, returning good reliability for the price wanted. It even succeeded in keeping the former Libra buyers going for a CMT, as it was usable as “full” family car despite the tiny dimensions.

With the last Astrona III models, the Familia has become obsolete. But shortly before this would be the case, CMT released the “CS” model, a completely redesigned car that came as two-door sedan. The four-meter car was planned as a link between the City II and the Astrona III, featuring the standard interior from the City 1400 as well as it’s 58 horsepower engine and the three-speed manual, but no radio and still no power steering to be offered at a price of $7900.
The performance of the el-cheapo-Familia was not impressive, reaching only 136 kph and 100 after 17,3 seconds and that needing 12,7 liter. Maybe it looked not bad and more “adult” compared to the City II, but the car was an answer to a question nobody asked and therefore failed on the market, disappearing in summer 1970.

Three new Astrona models arrived, but as a surprise, these were not all six-cylinder cars.

The 2000iS was CMTs first car with fuel injection, using a licensed copy of the Frosch Jetronic mechanical system. The engine gained 10 horsepower, now 100 in total. The car was basically a 2000 L as four-seater with slightly different suspension, black roof, black hubcaps on one inch larger rims. Furthermore it has a black grille frame and also a black paint below the bumpers. Even if the car would have had a better drivability without, it featured a fifth gear for its manual transmission, adding prestige and sportiness to it.

The 2000iS was an experiment to test fuel injection systems, as this car is able to run on the newly-available unleaded fuel. It was offered for $11.100, still accessible for a car with high-tech features. The 168 kph top speed was ok, and 11,5 seconds to 100 were not much back then. Another benefit was the 13,1 liter consumption, not really less than the 2000, but considered the better trim it shows that injection systems will be important in the future. Its sales success was not overwhelming, as many buyers feared the new technology and assumed that it will be prone to failure.

The six-cylinders went for different layouts, a curiosity for a car. Both feature the good L trim added with two-tone paint and square headlights to underline the upmarket position of the more powerful models. The 2400L aimed the elder or conservative people that want a classical sedan, not too expensive, but smooth and comfortable. The suspension was a little softer, and the again updated 2.4 that has its origin in 1950 was pushed to 120 horsepower, allowing for solid 178 kph top speed and 10,3 seconds acceleration time. But the 16,2 liter needed for 100 km show the age of the engine, although the overall $11.160 price of the car was not too much. Although the 2400L was the gentleman car, it was sold with a four-speed manual instead of an automatic to leave enough space for the 3000L.

It was no surprise that the top-of-the-line Astrona features the same engine as the base Excelsior model. As it performs very good in the larger car, buyers expected superb performance in the midsize car - and were not disappointed. Although having an automatic, it accelerated as fast as the 2400 with a stickshift and reached a little higher 184 kph top speed? So, where is the evolution? Look at the fuel gauge. The 3000L with automatic needs less than the 2400L with a manual, and 15,9 liter were not bad for the overall performance of the car.

$11.730 were 800 less than the Astrona II with the same engine and gearbox, but the specs were slightly worse, as the car became heavier. A comparison made by the motor journalists showed that both cars were nearlly identical, the Astrona II was more comfortable and did better on bad roads, the Astrona III was sportier, had a few more safety features and a hint more space.


As expected, the 3000 with V6 outsold the 2400 with the old I6, but both were no low-performers on the markets, as reasonnably priced midsize sedans with sixpacks between 2,5 and 3 liter were welcomened premium cars in the second half of the 60s.

For the Gasmeans that hyped strong and overpowered cars, CMT took the Excelsior chassis and switched the panels to aluminum ones. Thandor first thought to launch a coupe variant of the Excelsior, but the Indianapolis needed a replacement and so they agreed on building a new car.
The Daytona abandoned rear double wishbone suspension and recieved the solid axle like the Excelsior. The car became quite large, with a length of 4,8 meter and - thanks to the aluminum panels - 1650 kilogram, mostly a fault of the engine. To outdo the competitors, CMT took the 6.2 liter block and maxxed it out to 7 liter. The engine was called CV8-62-70HO, as HO stood for high output, although it could also be named high octane, as it broke with the CMT philosophy to run all engines on regular gas - this one needed premium leaded. The result were enormous 395 horsepower - it could have been more, but CMT worried about the consumption of this monster. The flatplane layout was abandoned to give it a proper GT touch, and forged parts keep it reliable at higher rpm.

It was offered in two different trims, the 7000GT with automatic, 16 inch steel wheels and all premium four seat interior. To differ it from cheaper similar cars, the handling was still only for skilled drivers, but the car suited for more than just a straigt line. To remove the widow-maker reputation, proper brakes stopped the car within 40 meters. The $22.600 price was hefty, but not too much for former Indianapolis buyers that wanted refinement in a premium muscle. CMT wanted to sell it worldwide, but the aluminium parts limited the production numbers, and the demand in Gasmea was so high that it was hard to deliver enough vehicles. But how fast is it acutally? 6,78 to 100, 238 kph top speed and quarter mile in 15,19 seconds. So the 7000GT was no cannonball, but there are not many situations where it does not provide enough power.


To push everything to its limits, CMT offered the 7000R for $25.750, a monster created by the devil himself to seperate the men from the boys. It even featured mirrored “C M T” letters in the grille, allowing drivers of cars in front of you read whose intake will suck them in. The engine remained unchanged, but the ComfoShift was replaced with a five-speed manual and absurdly wide sports compound tires on magnesium wheels desperately fighting against the 593nm torque.
The sport interior with premium radio underlined that this is a serious attempt at a performance vehicle, and it was - at least in this league, were single seconds matter - much faster, reaching 100 in 5,7 seconds and capable of reaching 250 kph. The consumption of 21 liter is relatively low compared to the overall performance and the time period it was built in, mainly a reason of the absurtly long gearing (306 kph), neccessary to avoid extreme overpowering in lower gears. Quarter mile time is 14 seconds for the stock car, special dragster tuned versions were capable of going very close to 10 seconds. Sales were of course not as much as of the more civillian GT trim, but the R had a lot of fans.

The engine was just enough to power CMTs top model, the Excelsior 70, recognizable by additional external foglamps and its “70” badge on the rear. The heavy 1930 kg weight and the automatic make it a lot slower than the Daytona’s, but with 256 kph top speed it was still the world’s fastest mass-produced sedan. Reaching 100 in 7,6 seconds, the car left many confused sports car drivers behind. The luxury interior featured a phonograph with six speakers, automatic dual antenna, equalizer and a needle that was immune to shocks, as it was mounted on a special bearing not to scratch the vinyl when hitting a bump. The passengers enjoyed a hydropneumatic suspension, using a license from Citrone. Candyllac and Washington were shocked - what to answer to this superlative? $ 32.300 indicate a serious markup, but the people it adressed in Gasmea did not care - this was a car for self-confident millionaires that do not ask for a price tag and throw a blanco cheque on the desk, so not only Gasmeans loved it. Every second car in the $30.000 class sold in Dalluha was this vehicle! Only Archaneans were not able to enjoy it, as premium gas was a rare sight there. Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a CMT?


#22

1968 - filling all gaps

As CMT sold a lot of cars and was present in almost all segment, they decided to go for more refinement and swap the 62V8 against the 50V8.

The Excelsior 62V8 sold very good and was considered an excellent car, but back in 1965, chief engine developer Eddie Lamont suggested to CEO Thandor that 250 horsepower would be more fitting than 288 and more smoothness and economy could be possible.
In 1968 the CMT Excelsior is still a car the people turn their heads after, an effect that will surely fade out after its fifth or sixth year, so Thandor did not want to lose time to make it the segment leader.


The engine size of the CV862 was reduced in the 5068 variant to 5 liter, a reasonnable size for a premium car as well as the wanted 250 horsepower and the flatplane layout was abandoned. Forged internals and two quad carburetors turn it into an adequate engine for such a high-quality car. The engine sound was quite lusty, indicating power and fun. Despite a 400 nm punch, the car had no wheelspin and was from now on also fitted with gas dampeners. 10,4 seconds acceleration and 221 kph top speed were totally premium, but not more. 22,5 liter consumption disappointed a little regarding all the effort in that engine, so that the old 6.2 had been not less economical and the $21.000 price was only $100 lower. But who cares? The car feels overall more refined than before and still increased its sales.


The same engine was perfect for a muscle car - good manners, smooth power line, appealing noise. The next CMT sports car was the Adelaide, basically an Astrona coupé with an individual front design and sportier suspension. To offer a good driving experience for enthusiasts, CMT copied the Daytona R layout and gave it adequate brakes and a 5-speed manual transmission. The interior of the four-seater was the same as in Astrona “L” trim models and therefore very comfortable. The engine allowed to throw the car to 100 after 7,7 seconds and up to 222 kph - that is medium muscle range as well as 19,1 liter consumption. The $16.000 price was a bit more than average range, but handling and comfort were better than most competitors. This resulted in good sales, even worldwide, but most went to Gasmea and the least to Archana.

The engine was also selected for a renovated CMT Explorer, now with a little more sophistication for its front styling. Most remained unchaged - four seats, premium interior with many features seen in no other offroad, standard radio and absurd ride height, built for extreme Archanean conditions. The car still featured a four-speed manual and a manual locker to allow the driver to intervent as much as possible. The $18.250 price was exactly $1000 more, 8,35 seconds to 100 and 197 kph top speed even better than before and ensured that the Explorer stayed the fastest offroad car of the world. 22,7 liter consumption almost remained the same.


With the facelift the Explorer was sold not only in Archana where it kept a good position, it also jumped from zero to success in all other countries except Frunia, as Frunians consider such an extreme car as useless.

CMT also cared about the opposite - with the end of the Monza and the Speedolet in 1967 no convertible was left. CMT took the Astrona 3000L, cut the roof and improved the interior even more, with exclusive materials, cooling box for cold drinks when cruising in the sun and a lot wood and leather. 11,3 seconds were nothing to compete with sport convertibles like the Speedolet, but the sense of the Astrona “cabriolet” was more a cruising car. 179 kph were enough to ruin your hairstlye, and 16,8 liter should not be a problem if you can spend a pricey $13.850 for it. Automatic-Luxury-Comfort - this is a true Gasmean layout and the reason why it was only sold there with satisfying sales.



#23

1970 - focussing on deliveries

1969 saw no changes, as the last years were a hard time with a lot of pressure to grow that fast. In late 1968, Eddie Lamont complained about too much work and decided to retire. His successors became the Gasmean John Frieder as engine designer, assisted by his sidekick Klaus Holtmann, a young Frunian who recently promoted about fuel injection. Jacques Grenaud as product manager completed the new leading team, now responsible for the translation of the Thandor family’s wishes to the staff.
But all that transformation needed time, and so CMT decided not to hurry for new models as the portfolio featured a lot of young and modern models, most of them selling very well.

The first new 1970 model was another makeover of the evergreen Torpedo, now facing its 24th (!) production year. The XL20 recieved the original CI420-64 engine with 90 horsepower as the Astrona 2000 and also a new basic AM radio in the restyled interior, now with only two seats, as the stronger engine allowed for better highway delivery and therefore longer distances, resulting in more comfort.
The exterior still quoted the original 1946 model, but with some changes. Details like the ancient door handles show the car’s age, but overall it was a neat makeover.

The XL20 managed to reach 157 kph, more a theoretical feature, but 13,6 to 100 help a lot when loading the car to maximum, as there are far more reserves than before. The consumption dropped from 15,3 liter to 14,6, so the performance of this car made $9050 accteptable but not a bargain. Under the historic shape the car features front disc brakes, power steering, gas dampeners and other modern features. For all that do not need the giant 7890 liter cargo area of the Torpedo, CMT launced the Cargo, a city delivery with a length of only 4,12 meter and 3300 liter cargo space.

It was equipped with the same engine, consuming 14,2 liter and reaching 100 kph in 13,3 seconds. The car was only 100 kg lighter, so the top speed was even the same.
It had independent front suspension with McPherson struts instead of a coil spring solid axle and coils on the rear, unlike the Torpedo with leaf springs - in simple words: It was much better to handle, but as CMT asked for $8530, most sticked to the Torpedo as it had more value for money when focussing on cargo space and running cost.

So the Torpedo still sold good considering it’s age and the Cargo only overtook it sales wise in Dalluha, so CMTsoon abandoned the idea of building a whole Cargo model family.


#24

1971 - recovery is over!

CMT renovated both factories in 1970 and increased their size, as well as opening another small factory in Hetvesia - a step in the last minute, as customers started to complain about the delivery times up to six months.

Product manager Grenaud urged for a car to fill the gap between the subcompact City II and the midsize Astrona and created a car with the following specifications:

  • Length around 3,8 meter
  • Power around 70 horsepower
  • Trims to cover fun, city and family, but not attacking the smaller and larger models.
  • After Bingo and City II the third car with front-wheel drive
  • independent rear suspension, a torsion beam
  • front disc brakes and power steering
  • running on unleaded gasoline (except the GT that was not planned back then)

Klaus Holtmann insisted on fuel injection to offer it for the masses and not only in higher end models where it was originally planned by the boss, although the Astrona 2000 iS was not really an expensive car. The reliability it had made Holtmann stick to the Frosch Jetronic, fitting it to the 1400 ccm engine from the City II, going for exaclty 70 horsepower. To give this advanced technology a proper hull, Gaetano Cembarelli went back to the minimalistic-futuristic design known from his first car, the Astrona II and called the result the Nexus. This was the moment when Grenaud had the urge to create an ahead-of-its-time vehicle, giving it a galvanized chassis.

The base car, the Nexus S, was a five-seater three-door with four-speed manual, standard interior with basic AM radio and went to 100 in 13,3 seconds and to a maximum of 155 kph needing 10,3 liter. Holtmann was a little disappointed, as he hoped for better economy. The car was not bad as fun vehicle, but the very high price of $9850 was somewhere between Astrona 2000 and Astrona 2000L - the Nexus S was only appealing to those that focus on handling, like the small size and want a high build quality.

The Nexus C was basically the same car, only different in having five doors and square headlights. For $10.000 it was still costly when targeting the family utility and passenger fleet segment - so again no success. The onroad specs were similar to the S model, needing 13,7 and 10,5 liter.

The next car was the GL, differing significantly from the C with chrome window frame and bumpers, hubcaps and a rear wiper. It featured a premium interior with rpm counter, center console, doorlights, better carpet and automatic transmission as well as a better standard radio unit. This was not helpful for the performance, as the car needed 11,4 liter for 16,5 seconds acceleration and 151 kph top speed for $11.000. It was the best-sold Nexus, as many people thought if they can spend $10.000 for a spartan compact car, they could also spend a thousand more to get a decent trim.

Gasmean-only was the 2.0 GT, an S model with GL interior and even better premium radio and the engine from the facelift Astrona 2000 (you will see it later), available for $10.400 and reaching 100 after 10,4 seconds, a 170 kph top speed and needing 11,6 liter - it was faster than any other car of its size and everyday-usability on the Gasmean market, as well as offering excellent handling. The sales expectations for this exotic car were not high, but they were fulfilled as it was a good sport budget alternative.

The S and C trims were non-sellers, leaving the GL as the only car to leave the dealerships frequently, and the Nexus was completely avoided in Archana - Jacques Grenaud was under heavy pressure for his next projects, as boss C.M. Thandor told him that he accepted only one disaster and not a second one…

The Nexus influenced the Astrona, starting a month later with it’s facelifted variants. The Adelaide was a seperate model and not changed, although internal documents name it “Astrona 5000 RS” and not “Adelaide”. The cheap-and-practical wagon and the convertible were unchanged, but 2000, 2000L, 2000iS, 2400L and 3000L were dropped for only three new models to make the Astrona more efficient. As CMT had larger, but not really large capacities tightening up the portfolio was not a bad idea if done right.

The entry-level sedan was now the 2000 CL, featuring the former L trim, but with a standard radio. This was neccesary, as the expensive Nexus needed the Astrona to go more upmarket, now starting from $10.050 when ignoring the station wagon. The engine still provided 90 horsepower, but got new high-tech conrods for a smoother character, raising comfort to be an adequate substitute for both the 2000 and 2000L.


!

Designer Cembarelli gave it a sporter look by moving the indicators up in the grille and making the inner headlights a little smaller, but the acceleration was even marginally slower with 12,8 seconds although the car still featured a four-speed manual, 164 kph topspeed and 13,1 liter were still well in the usual range of the 2,0-liter-class-family-sedans, but the worldwide sales became only average.

CMT kept the exterior differences between four- and six-cylinder models, as the sixpacks still came with square headlights, now a little smaller than before.
As the 2,4-liter inline six was completely outdated now and the Astrona should be a family sports car (and not a senior premium) the 2400L gave way to the 2200 CSi. This model tried to merge the market place of both “the not-so-expensive smaller six-cylinder” and the fuel injection four-cylinder sport model, unifying 2000iS and 2400L for $11.370, a price that was quite in the middle of 2000iS and 2400L.

The V6 with a 2,2 liter displacement delivered 115 horsepower, five less than the 2400L, but was a lot more responsive. The suspension was the same as the 2000 CL and not stiffer, mainly to keep former 2400L buyers. The trim was also the same as in the CL to keep a price and prestige distance to the three-liter-engine.
To justify the “CS” instead of the “CL”, the car kept rear disc brakes and larger 15-inch-wheels like the 2400L had. The fifth gear the 2000iS featured was removed. The 2200 CSi became totally conventional, and the motor press called it “boring”. Totally average like the performance, going to 100 in 11,2 seconds and reaching 174 kph with 13,5 liter regular unleaded, being not really faster than the 2000iS for similar consumption. A one-year-old 2400L easily shakes it off on the highway until it needs to refuel… And this is why it sold neither good nor bad, with a second place as family sport car in Hetvesia for a few months as only highlight.

The 3000 GL was now the car to aim for pensioners, featuring a little softer suspension and a better premium radio. It was (ignoring the convertible) the only Astrona with automatic transmission, aiming at family premium buyers. To make the V6 smoother and more fitting for premium cars, the 3 liter variant also recieved the hightech steel conrods like the 2,0 I4 engine. The updated engine now returned 157 horsepower that allowed for minor performance improvements, now reaching 100 after 10 seconds and going 190 on the highway, enough to shake off the one or other police vehicle. 15,4 liter regular leaded were half a liter less than before, a good argument for former 3000L buyers to look for the new model as the headlight wipers were not the only new thing. The worldwide sales were good especially by scoing in the family premium segment, where $12.200 were not too much, although $470 more than before.

In the new decade the Excelsior lost a little prestige, as many of them were on the road and the people got used to the formerly unique and appealing design. It did not age a lot and may have served until the end of the model run, but in the end Grenaud decided that a visible makeover would help to attract new buyers.
The car was changed to a much sportier, although still expensive look, but removed it’s lordiness. Therefore CMT only facelifted the 30 and 50 models, leaving the 70 untouched for 1971.

All three models had different target groups, so V6 and V8 models recieved a slightly different front design, like on Astrona I4 and V6.
The 30 model came with round headlights, finally with gas dampeners and minor safety changes in the interior like a new steering wheel with a proper plump pot instead of a chrome horn ring, but remained a six-seater. Besides that, only the engine was switched to the new 157 horsepower unit from the new Astrona GL, allowing for 12,2 seconds to 100 and 189 kph top speed at 17,8 liter consumption. The Excelsior profited a little less from the update than the Astrona, but the slightly better smoothness was welcomened. $16.430 were some $230 up, not much in this class, so Gasmeans still bought the car in large amounts, and also Frunians and Hetvesians with a preference for large, gasmean-styled cars bought it in the family premium and family utility premium segment, the latter was a segment where the Astrona GL was not present, and there was still a huge price difference, so there was not too much cannibalism.


As the 50 recieved his engine back in 1968, it was not changed for 1971. The car remained exactly the same, besides the new safety steering wheel, better seatbelts and a fuel pump that automatically shuts down after a crash, just like in the V6. To differ it visually from the V6 model, it recieved square headlights. The price was $21.825, making it a quite affordable and therefore very successful luxury car worldwide - just like it has always been. The onroad performance increased due to another gearing, now running to 100 in 9,7 seconds and going under the magical 10 seconds limit. The top speed dropped to 209 kph, as CMT thought that the car would accelerate more often than going for topspeed, as these vehicles rarely went over 160 as comfortable long-distance highway cruiser. The shorter gearing raised consumption to 23,1 liter - not really thrifty but no gas-guzzler looking at the competitors that have similar mileage.


It was a very ungrateful job to change a design that everybody liked - and the public opinion was mixed. It was a good idea to wait with the restyling of the 7.0 liter top model before ruining it, as the exterior design counted even more than horsepower, leather smell and maximum temperature of the heated seats.


#25

now your cars are really stepping up


#26

1972 - Emission restrictions

C.M. Thandors oldest son Jack is now 32 years old - and urged his father for more influence, as he needed the practice to follow his already 62-year-old father later in the hierarchy. Thandor suffered from a heart attack he had in late 1971, so he gave his son half a year to lead the company while he relaxed in his beach house in southern Frunia, driving a 1946 Touring Special, the first car ever produced by CMT.

Jack had a vision of a budget sports car. As the Astrona facelift has a small V6 engine, there was not much left to do. The good handling of the CMT cars was mainly a merit of Ulrich Schmidt, chief chassis designer since 1956. As the number of FWD cars increased, Schmidt wanted to test a semi trailing arm rear suspension, as a simple torsion beam was currently the only technology they had besides the complex double wishbone suspension. They took the test chassis, McPherson in front and semi trailing arm in the rear.

Jack Thandor, who loved convertibles, crizicized the Gasmean setup of the Astrona cabriolet. So he thought that the new sport budget car would make a good convertible.
The last that lacked was the design, and Jack Thandor sent some amateur drafts to Gaetano Cembarelli who styled the car similar to the Nexus to establish an own CMT Frunian design language, differing from the cars by Harold Keller. An unique feature was that window frame and pillars were optionally painted in contrast colors.

C.M. Thandor never got really along with Jacques Grenauld, as the two had always different ideas of what a car must be like. Jack tried to find the middle and defined the trims on his own. As Jack lost his beloved, but 290.000-kilometer-Astrona 2000iS to the evil rust, he follwed Grenaulds urge for galvanized chassis steel. “This will pay of in a few years, when the cars of the competitors fall to dust and ours last.” was the justification for the introduction in the Nexus.

The 4,2 meter four-seater coupe, called the Brands Hatch, was inexpensive for a sports car with a price of $10.500. Engine and four-speed gearbox were taken from the Astrona 2200, but the car was given front-wheel drive. The car needed 9,8 to 100 and went up to 175 kph, which was enough to leave the similar-priced Nexus 2.0 GT behind. The Nexus GT also provided the premium interior with standard radio. The 12,6 liter consumption were reasonnable.

Astrona engine, Nexus interior, using a test-car chassis - the Brands Hatch used many existing parts and was therefore developed in only four months - a record. But to everybodys disappointment, the car stood like lead in the showrooms. Although built for the Frunian market, it sold there the least together with Archana, making it a flop as bad as the Nexus and even worse.

The convertible for $11.250 had no change except for the roof, and it sold not good, but a lot better. Having the same top speed, it needs surprisingly long 11,1 seconds to 100, a fault of the 100 kg more weight that was caused by the reinforced chassis structure, also pushing consumption to 13,5 liter. But it was affordable, stable and reliable.

Things were better in Gasmea, although the problems were big. The government surprised with strict emission laws, threatening the large V8 cars that dominated the market. The Daytona was on the red list as well as the Excelsior 70.
Jack Thandor called the engine team what can be done. The competitors lowered the compression and mounted two-way catalytic converters, killing almost all performance. John Frieder built a test engine following this way and was horrified. He wanted to avoid a converter at all cost and asked his assistant Holtmann for a test engine with injection and capable of running on unleaded fuel. It passed govermental approval very close, but it passed. And it lost only few power - 370 horsepower were a lot more than the castrated competitors. Together with reduced wheelspin this allowed for superb acceleration, going to 100 in only 5,95 seconds. The Daytona 7000iS was one of the few cars that managed to do it under 6 seconds, only a handful cars that were more expensive or less comfortable were faster. The top speed dropped marginally to 243 kph and the quarter mile mark was passed in 14,35 seconds. The Daytona was the only Gasmean muscle that became overall faster with the 1972 model. Economy dropped a little to 21,8 liter, but the running cost became cheaper as premium gas was no longer needed.


The engine was very costly in production, although the extra cost caused by injection was not dramatically high as many CMT models share the components: Four Nexus trims, both Brands Hatch models and the Astrona 2200 use an identical Jetronic system. The magnesium wheels were a cool feature, but too expensive and were often replaced by aftermarket alloys when damaged by curbstones. This led to the descision to offer the Daytona with alloys straight from the factory. As the factory itself became larger and offers more capacity, the number of prouced cars could be doubled and the gained experience with the alloy panels allowed for an improved manufacturing process. The higher efficiency in production allowed for an even lower price of $24.300, now offered worldwide.
While the new revolutionary engine and the lower price propelled the car to performance and sales records, the front styling was a little changed, the grille was flipped vertically and the headlight size increased. It was not only faster but also more refined, threatening the 7000GT. The GT was eleminated as the sales of the iS skyrocketed even in Frunia, where Gasman-spec cars are usually avoided.




For that reason, Jack Thandor had an unusual idea and called for an urgent meeting with Jacques Grenauld and Harold Keller.
The GT was dropped and the GTS was born. The GTS was a Daytona with a four-door body, inspired by the Lord Thunderbolt, but a lot sportier. The car came with ComfoShift automatic, the 70i injection engine and all-premium interior with heated leather front bucket seats, aircondition and a lot of wood from the plastic tree for $20.800, similar to the Excelsior 50 but having a totally different target group. Despite being 20 cm (or 7,8 inch) longer than the Astrona, the interior was noticeably tighter, especially in the rear. But the five doors made the car easier to justify in front of your wive and it just looked extremely cool. The flat roof let it look like a hotrod, and the double square headlights gave it a reminiscence of the Excelsior V8. The flat rectangular taillights were copied from many contemporary muscle designs, but looked good on the sedan-style body. The car was light for its power, reaching 100 after 7,5 seconds with zero wheelspin. as the ComfoShift was geared to suck all the unneccesary overpowering to meet the comfort and drivability expectations of the GT class. With 237 kph top speed it was able to outrun a lot of cars, and 22,6 liter consumption were not more than the competitors that were not that fast.

The Daytona GTS was a huge success, and soon the delivery time increased to eight months, although the production was doubled. The car was offered worldwide, as the new Hetvesian factory was chosen to produce only the Daytona GTS, as wealthier Hetvesians bought it almost by passing a CMT dealership. It was Archanas number one GT car for over one and a half years and Dalluhans demonstrated in front of the local CMT representation to get the Daytona. Celebrities were often seen in a GTS, mostly rock musicians and actors. Another famous customer was the Gasmean highway patrol that used the car as undercover vehicle, but the cars were often dented in service and the frequent repair of the aluminum panels became too expensive, so the GHP ended ordering in 1974.

As the Excelsior 70 was on the emission redlist, the car had to be facelifted. C.M. Thandor feared the removal of the lordiness from the car, as happened last year with the “regular” models. Keller bought all magazines with recent reviews of the facelifted Excelsior models and found out that the new design was controversely discussed, but one thing all discussed the most was mounting indicators in the grille. Keller reacted and fitted the indicators in the vent below the headlights, leaving space to integrate the foglights fluently instead of mounting external ones. This small and simple measure let the 70i look a lot more conventional than the two other models.

By clever detail work, Keller gave the styling of the top-of-the-line CMT that little bit extra sophistication needed in the $30.000 range.
Besides getting the 370 horsepower injection engine, not much has been changed. The phonograph disappeared for a luxury 8-track-stereo with six high quality speakers, the new steering wheel from the '71 models was adapted, but came with leather finish. The complex hydropneumatic was kept, as many buyers worshipped the flying-carpet-like ride.
Other than in the Daytona GTS, the engineers were unable to eleminate wheelspin completely, but it was bearable compared to the immense power. And unlike the Daytona iS, the performance did not improve - the Excelsior 70i needed 8,1 seconds to pass 100 kph, and the top speed sank to 252 kph, although this was still a lot faster than acutally needed for a fullsize luxury car - 230 would have been enough.

CMT did not talk a lot about the consumption of the 70, but the 70i was officially stated with 25,9 liter, but again the running cost did rather decrease than increase as premium gas was no longer needed. J. Thandor and Grenauld decided to keep the markup high, as lowering the price for a new model in this class would indicate that there must be something wrong with it. Now the car started from $32.500 - almost the same price as before - and the slowly, but steady decline of sales was stopped, the 70i established on a still very good level.

So CMT was losing money with Frunian products but earning immense cash with Gasmean cars. When Thandor came back after almost a year in late 1972, he thought about firing the Frunian team, but wanted to wait a year to observe it in order not to make a hasty and ugly cut.

Here a comparison between the 1967-1971 70, 1972-onwards 70i and 1971-onwards 50.


And here all three cars featuring the 70i engine, offered in a wide span from $20.800 to 32.500.


#27

1973 - Think small

The Bingo started to suffer from declining sales in the early 70s as his design was still good and competetive, but the technology and especially the engine were outdated. Many Frunian basic budget cars in 1972 still had less than 50 horsepower, but the Bingo really needed an update.

When engine chief developer John Frieder found old documents from Eddie Lamont that an 800 ccm alloy I3 engine was originally planned, he was excited as this was just the right idea. As alloy engines were no exotic car feature anymore, as many companies started to use alloy cylinder heads in their mass produced cars, Thandor gave its ok.

The light 83,6 kg AI311-7360i kept the 1100ccm size, as it should also be suitable for other models than just the Bingo. To increase economy, it came with the costly injection system already proved in many CMT models. 16,8% was not bad at all, but besides the complex injection the engine had other flaws: It was loud as CMT only mounted two straight-through mufflers and it was not really smooth as I3s were not as refined as today back then, so it did not suit comfortable cars. The output were good 60 horsepower, with a maximum torque of 88 nm - enough for the Bingo with only 625 kg.
Now the dwarf car really made use of its good handling, reaching 100 kph after only 12,5 seconds, as fast as an Excelsior 30. The 143 kph top speed finally made it not a loser on the highway, but this was torture as the car still features no comfort. The basic interior recieved only minor upgrades, and the Bingo is the only new CMT since 1970 that came without laminated safety glass. But CMT added a at least a basic radio and gas dampeners as well as a four-speed gearbox. The lighter engine improved the balance, and the very stiff suspension might throw off your third teeth, but allowed for a perfect handling for such a simple construction. The exterior recieved a more modern front with rectangular headlights, but the car lost a little of it’s 60s-southern-Frunia-charme.


It was not avoidable that the price rose, but CMT eleminated the markup to be able to sell this car in the budget class, so $5900 remained stable. Frunians went wild considering the huge performance improvement and almost assaulted CMT dealers, Archaneans and Hetvesians also liked it. In Gasmea it was a rare sight, as the low comfort made it a track tool for enthusiasts, but it was no fail, the same could be said for Dalluha. Tiny, nimble and fast - a thrifty serious fun car for the price of any small eco car, as last but not least the rather disappointing consumption was lowered to 8,6 liter. This might be still a lot considering all the effort in the engine, but it might be a fault of the car itself that lacked some detail refinement, as the larger City with the old 1,1 I4 also needed less than the Bingo with an identical engine.

Another cut

If you wanted a four-door CMT City from 1974-on, you had to go for the L trim and automatic transmission? Sounds dumb? Maybe, but CMT needed to decrease the number of different cars, so not only the 1400 disappeared for the 1100C, but also the 1100 fourdoor a year later after a short co-existence.


The markup was kept, and for that reason the car was offered starting from $7100, but it had at least a standard interior. It recieved slightly different headlights, became a four-seater and had no power steering, as the weigt on the front was reduced. The 142 kph top speed was similar to the Bingo, and 13,5 seconds to 100 were still impressive for a three-cylinder subcompact. 8,4 liter consumption were a noticeable improvement over the 58-horsepower predecessor that has been slower. The car was still good to handle and a lot more comfortable than the Bingo, pushing worldwide City sales a little up, but it was not the revolution that CMT hoped for.


In mid-973, when the scenario of an oil crisis threatened the world, CMT decided to offer also the Nexus with the new engine. In October, when the embargo started, the Nexus 1.1 rolled into the showrooms, replacing the 1.4S. The interior remained unchanged, but the car recieved square headlights like the five-door models. The $8830 price tag were 1000 less, a lot in this class and finally making the car interessing for non-premium compact car buyers. 14 seconds to 100 and 150 kph top speed were a little less than before, but still well in the range of compact cars and 8,6 liter consumption, identical to the facelifted Bingo, were really ok. As the City 1.1 was only a four-seater, the larger Nexus kept the three-seater rear bench. To reduce the price and as the front became lighter like in all other 1.1 models, CMT removed the power steering. It sold more units than the 1.4S before, but was far away from being popular, an ashaming fact as fuel-efficient cars were sought-after in late 1973.


#28

1974 - Going new ways

In early march 1974 the “Auto Salon de Genovo” in central Frunia opened its doors - and the CMT stand was crowded than never before, although only two new vehicles, going on sale these days, were shown.
The public gazed incredolus at the new Astrona IV - a hatchback! Some Frunian manufactors, mostly Merdault, did this in the midsize class - but the sporty Astrona III design changed to something like a dented pear, also lacking refined details.

And as 90 horsepower marked the entry to the Astrona III, they now were the strongest engine available. But the people understood why: The oil crisis was not fully over and the car was a little smaller with 4,4 meter length instead of 4,5 and much lighter, even offering more interior space. Another shock for the public was the fact that the Astrona switched to FWD and a traverse engine. The chassis was basically a Brands Hatch, but the engineers considered a longitudinal FWD as needless for a totally-reasonnable family car. The entry level model was even offered with the 60-hp three-cylinder, something no other manufactor dared in this class. All shown Astrona IV had a four-speed manual - automatic drivers were shocked.

The base model was sold for $9400 with standard trim and basic radio, offering noticeably less comfort than the Astrona III 2000 CL for only $640 more. A reason for the high price was the use of a galvanized chassis and rust resistant panels, making the car almost immune to the environment in a time when a car was rusted to dust after five years. As it was found out later, the first Astrona IVs failed the roadworthy check due to rust in 1979, and that were only the worn-out ones.

The three-door ECO needed 9,9 liter for 100km distance, as the main developement goal was to keep the car under 10. The crowd thought that the I3 in such a large car would be undriveably slow, but the test vehicles outside the hall showed that it was acutally drivable, reaching 100 kph after 15,4 seconds, outrunning most competitors with an I4. Only the rather low 146 kph top speed showed that the engine lacks a fourth cylinder performance wise.

The handling of the car was a reason why to go for the new model - maybe the only one. The well-tuned suspension profited from the experience made with previous FWD models, and it was even better to drive than the already nimble Nexus, not as hard and stiff as the smaller brother but with identical handling capability, even a little more responsive. The sales reflected that, they were not good but also no disaster. The Astrona 1.1 ECO was at least a welcomened commuter car in Hetvesia.

For those that wanted to make use of the good handling, the ECO recieved the drivetrain from the Astrona III CL and was rebadged as “S”, making a direct comparison of the stats possible. The consumption dropped from 13,1 to 12 liter, the acceleration improved from 12,8 to remarkable 10,7 and topspeed from 164 to 166 kph, making the Astrona S selling acceptable as family sport car in Frunia and Hetvesia for $9800.


As three-doors were not the optimum in practicality, there was also a five-door L version, intended as classical family car and offering the same standard interior and basic AM stereo. But it’s 1,4 liter injection engine was an odd choice, as 15,2 seconds and 151 kph were not much more than the ECO although the car consumed 11,4 liter and needed a hefty $10.650, so the Nexus was mainly a victim of the too-pricey engine. The L sold in minimum doses, somehow frequently seen on the road only in Hetvesia. The 90-hp-carbutetor engine would have been miles better and CMT understood that soon. As chief engine designer John Frieder felt like the old CI4-420-64 from his predecessor Eddie Lamont was outdated, he started working on a completely new 2,0 liter four.
The Gasmeans puked when they saw what should be the new Astrona, and CMT accepted orders for the Astrona CL and the station wagon until the 30th of September 1974, improving Astrona III sales a little to the end as all that did not like the new model bought the old one as long as it was possible. And as the V6 models lacked a successor, the 2200 GLi and the 3000GL as well as the Adelaide and the convertible were given another year.

As the five-door came - like all other Astrona IV - with a large tailgate, C.M. Thandor saw no need for a wagon. But Grenaud gave green light and construction started with a short delay, and this was why the “Carry” was available on sale in May. It came with the same uniform interior trim like all other Astrona IV and featured the drivetrain from the S model, using the 2.0 90hp engine. As the Astrona SW was unchanged since 1966 it’s recent sales were low, but the $9230 price was almost a bargain in 1974.
The Astrona IV Carry was offered for $10.325, over a thousand more althoug having no automatic transmission anymore and the useful feature of two foldable seats in the trunk was abandoned. The speedometer hit 100 kph after 11,6 seconds and 160 kph, but 12,8 liter consumption were almost one more than the five-door hatchback. The sales were a disappointment, but the wagon was the best-sold Astrona IV in Dalluha, good as fleet and family utility car.



But what was the other car seen on the car show? It was the Le Castellet

The idea behind it was taking a proven mass-produced engine and starting with it on a white sheet of paper in order to build a sports car that is reliable, affordable and incredibly fun to drive but has no supercar approach at all.
To fulfil that, designer Cembarelli gave it a very simple styling that said “I am not oversophisticated but well-engineered and affordable but not cheap”. It looked a little dated in 1974 as its design was already done in late 1971. It took the 3,0 liter V6 known from the Astrona and the Excelsior and mated it to a five-speed gearbox. But the rest of the engineering took much longer than planned. Grenaud and his son Jack convinced C.M. Thandor not to go for a front-engined car, and the longitudinal mid engine layout was something never done before, and most of the work was spent on brakes and suspension to balance the car between great fun for professionals and controllable for amateurs, relying on a double wishbone suspension for all wheels and aluminium panels to keep the weight low.


The 4,3 meter car came with sport interior and standard 8-track stereo and even power steering, although purists considered at least the power steering a goof. But for most people this was well-accepted comfort. On a twisty road the car was incredible fun, never offering too much power to make it unstable but never lacking punch so much that the wish for a larger engine plopps up. On the highway it keeps up with most V8 cruisers until 170 kph and it was nowhere nervous in the city, not bottoming out if used carefully. 8,1 seconds to 100 were not really impressive for a sports car but still fast for a mid-70s car, and 209 kph were not too slow as these cars are rarely used to go straight on the highway. 14 liter consumption were quite bearable for a sports car, indicating that it is accessible for the crowd, although the service costs were high. For a price of only $17.000, the car was almost torn from the hands of CMT dealers, even selling great on the difficult Archanean market. Only Dalluhans considered it a little bit too low-end. Frunians bought it in surprisingly high amounts, and Gasmeans bought even more as the balance between good remaining comfort and great driving experience was just perfect for them, but the most went to Hetvesia where the car was actually hyped.

Although the Le Castellet excelled all expectations, C.M. Thandor fired Jacques Grenaud, but leaving him half a year to finish his last project, the L-Class. Thandor told him that he understands the need for an overall change of the portfolio, but the sales drop on the Astrona was too high to further trust him, especially considering the Nexus disaster.


#29

1975 - C.M. Thandors legacy and a gap-filler

As the Astrona IV became too Frunian for the Gasmeans and the remaining Astrona III models started to show their age soon, Thandor urged for a classical RWD sedan that kept Gasmean traditions but could also keep the RWD-six-cylinder-Astrona buyers.

The car was called L-Class and the last car planned by Jacques Grenaud. The design was another competition to external designers as Harold Keller took a sabbatical to collect some creativity as an art painter. The winning draft was a really good-looking car, carefully balanced between sportiness and elegance, modern but not extravagant. The L-class was 10 cm longer and somewhat heavier, but still pleasantly compact for Gasmean habits. The suspension layout was copied from the Excelsior, and the car recieved a galvanized monocoque.

The base trim for the average-earning family man was the L300, available only in Gasmea, featuring the well-known 157 horsepower unit the now discontinued Astrona III had in it’s top model 3000 GL. The 10 seconds to 100 remained identical, but the top speed dropped to 178 kph and consumption increased by one liter to 16,4. The good acceleration was a merit of the new automatic gearbox, called C(omfo)S(hift) II. It had now a fourth gear and an improved torque converter. $12.550 were 350 more than for the Astrona, and the interior was totally standard. Only the base model came as six-seater. Although the car was flawless and more than quick enough for an entry-level car, the scores in the family utility premium segment in Gasmea were disappointing.

The next step upwards was the L300i, featuring mechanical injection on an almost identical engine, returning 160 horsepower. The suspenion was a little lowered and firmer compared to the carbureted six-seater 300. The car featured an all-premium five-seating interior, targetting Mercurio and Newsmobile. The heavier weight made the car slightly slower, now needing 10,4 seconds. The consumption increased to 16,9 liter - not really bad, but not much better than other I6 cars, but it ran on unleaded fuel like all CMT injection engines. The $15.800 price was higher than for the Excelsior 30, but nevertheless the L300i sold good as family premium car in Gasmea. The firm ride and the “international” look also attracted Frunians and Hetvesians, making the car the so-long-awaited success in the midsize sedan market. Archaneans considered it as family sport premium and bought some, and as the price was a lot for them the sales were nothing to complain about. In Dalluha it became even the best-selling family sport premium car.


For the people that wanted a V8 in their car, CMT digged out an oldtimer, as the CV840-54 died out in 1968 with the Explorer facelift. The 4.0 DAOHC engine recieved injection and a little revision, but sticked to cast iron internals, being a reliable lowtech engine that Gasmeans want. 211 horsepower output were nothing special, but the 317nm torque pushed the L-Class with ease. The engine made an oldschool roar just like back in the 50s, fitting the car surprisingly well. Besides the engine, the rest was identical to the 300i. The car was a lot faster now, clocking 100 kph after only 8,35 seconds and going to 200. But the dated engine design messed the economy up, as the car needed 20,6 liter, although the power gain seems an adequate compensation for 2,7 liter more. The car was available for $17.200, but not in Frunia where V8 midsize cars do not work at all. It selling acceptable in all remaining regions, as Archaneans saw it rather in the GT class where they had the money to buy it.


The discontinuation of the remaining Astrona III models also affected the standalone Adelaide, now lacking a muscle car below the mighty Daytona. Grenaud was a little lazy and created a four-seater two-door variant of the L400i with alloy wheels and named it Sebring. The performance was very similar to the Adelaide with the slightly more modern CV862-60 engine design in its five liter variant.

In contrast to the tame sedans, the Sebring was prone to oversteer, as the customers loved it when their V8 rockets are acting up on a handling course. But the Sebring remained overall controllable if driven normal. As the Adelaide, the Sebring came with manual transmission. The five-speed allowed for adequate performance, speeding up to 100 in only 7,14 seconds and running 205. 19,3 liter consumption were no real performance compared to the sedan with CSII, showing how good automatic transmissions have become. For $17.000 - 1.000 more than the Adelaide - it became an excellent-selling muscle car in Gasmea, sucessful right from the start. In the other regions it still was a selling car, but Muscles were not as popular there anymore.



C.M.Thandor was facing his 70th birthday in late 1975, and his health no longer allowed for the CEO position, as he escaped a second heart attack in the last second. As he wanted to leave an outstanding car annihilating the competitors, he worked like a maniac on a superb car, a figurehead for the whole brand. He did not let anybody else work on it. The Excelsior still sold strong, but Thandor created a totally different car that had nothing in common with its predecessor now rolling into retirement.

As it should be CMTs crown, he called it the “Regent”. Unlike the Excelsior, the car had no longer a solid axle, trading in the coil spring axle for a semi trailing arm. It featured aluminium panels to save weight - it should be as nimble as the L-Class although being a lot bigger. The styling was no longer pure Gasmean, it was indeed a very international one that just looked good for all people. The dimensions were almost identical in lenght and width, as the car was only a few centimeter shorter, but the car was a lot flatter to look and feel sporty. As Thandor wanted it to come as soon as possible, the Regent used L-Class drivetrains.

The car striked in like a bomb and the WOW-effect of the Excelsior 10 years ago was even excelled. The handling was even tending to understeer than to oversteer and miles better than the Excelsior. The premium five-seat interior came with a choice between walnut, chestnut or eucalyptus wood trim with a single bar that goes around the dash and the doors, standard leather, central locks and superb seats as well as a premium 8-track stereo. The Regent 3000i was featuring the engine found in the L300i, going to 100 in 9,3 seconds and reaching 188 kph with 16,6 liter consumption. A surprising fact was that the car had a manual transmission, as Thandor himself liked to shift even in a premium car and the advanced suspension layout allowed to throw it around in a sporty manner.
The people tried it out and it sold good for only $17.000, but the manual really hampered the sales, but an automatic would have cannibalized the L-Class, so at least for the portfolio it was a good descison to give it a stickshift.


The real money was made with the Regent 4000i, featuring the drivetrain of the L400i. It added heated front and rear seats, automatic aircondition, an early version of a trip computer, electronic car check system including features like retarded light shutoff after door closing and car locking, again being a four seater with a cooling box behind the armrest and many more features like an excellent eight-speaker stereo with an equalizer. The hydropneumatic formerly exclusive to the 7,0 liter model of the Excelsior made a return, giving the V8 Regent an incredible ride comfort. The car was as fast as the L400i, with a top speed of 200 kph and 8,82 seconds to 100 at 23,8 liter - more than the Excelsior 50i with more power, so CMT already planned a stronger-engined variant.
But the specs of the Regent 4000i were already good for the things it features, and the sales skyrocketed immediately, taking the lead in the luxury segment worldwide for a fair $25.400 price.



#30

1976 - The ultimate CMT year

In 1976, CMT celebrated the 30th “anniversary” and C.M. Thandor finally retired from the CEO chair. To celebrate both, CMT doubled its engineering and production capacities since 1970.

But the year started with a disaster. Dalluha was hit by a giant economy crisis, completely destroying the purchase power, and the country formerly full of wealthy carbuyers now focussed on lowest-budget cars - or used ones. CMT had no option and started to withdraw.

There was really a car that was already in the very first 1946 portfolio - the Torpedo. CMTs evergreen recieved another makeover, although the sales of the 1970 XL20 model were totally ok. But a 30th was really a reason to celebrate the brand and the car and improve it further.

A new four-cylinder engine, the CAI420-76 was finally something really new in the CMT engine history, as it left the until-then totally conservative builds. CMT early featured OHC engines, but that was it.
The predecessor, the CI420-64 was very reliable and still not completely outdated, but to set apart from the competitors it was necessary to go new ways. That meant in this case three valves per cylinder and an alloy head, as the all-alloy three-cylinder was not really unreliable. The new engine came in two variants, a carbureted 1600ccm one with 82 horsepower and a 2000ccm injection unit with 106 horsepower.

The Torpedo XL16 featured the smaller one, allowing for 14,9 seconds acceleration and 155 kph top speed, so it was a little slower in acceleration. The real improvement were 12,8 liter consumption, almost two less.

The exterior looked a lot more modern, although the door handles, window shapes and other things show the age. Nevertheless the sales improved once again, making the Torpedo a popular choice for $8980. All cars build in 1976 were called “Edition 30” models and featured two-tone paint.


Nobody thought that CMT would really dare to offer a successor to the Nexus. But they did, as the Bürgerfahrzeug Wolf and its rivals sold in large numbers. And the Nexus improved it’s sales year by year, although on a very low level. As the City II ended a quite succesful eight-year-lifespan, there was gap between Bingo and Astrona. Comparable in size to the Nexus and only grown by a few centimeters, the Mantra arrived in showrooms in February. Instad of having four and more trims, CMT only offered two and only one body style - the five-door hatchback. The entry-level CL recieved the well-known 1.1 liter I3 with 60 horsepower mated to a four-speed manual for bearable $8000. The five seater kept the Nexus suspension and a similar standard interior with basic radio, now with 8-track drive. The I3 was still a good engine, allowing for 14,9 seconds to 100 and 144 kph top speed, so it never felt underpowered but offered not more than economic transportation, although 9,8 liter were not less than the larger Astrona ECO. Power steering and galvanized chassis made it a considerable option in the city car segment, and therefore it sold maybe not really good, but a lot better than the Nexus.


For those that want more comfort, CMT offered the GL model, having the new 82 horsepower I4, but using a CSII four-speed automatic. Not too expensive for $10.200, very easy to drive, quite comfortable with premium interior and standard 8-track and powerful enough as it ran to 100 in 13 seconds and reached 154 kph while needing 12 liter, the GL was a good family car and sold even good. C.M. Thandor had to admit that Grenauds idea of a compact car might not have been as wrong as he thought, as the Mantra was nothing else than a slightly cheaper and more comfortable Nexus.


As the Mantra CL aimed for Astrona ECO buyers, that model was abandoned to underline that the Astrona is superior to the Mantra in the hierarchy. The S model was also abandoned, as the engine needed unleaded fuel which started to be considered as not contemporary.

The Astrona L’s sales were hampered by its costly injection engine, and so it recieved the 82 horsepower 1600ccm engine as well and was called CL from now on. There was no difference to the old model except a new basic 8-track stereo and the engine, now the car reached 100 after much shorter 12,3 seconds and 161 kph top speed were good. The consumption remained the same with 11,4 liter, but the price dropped a little to $10.460, being an also-welcomened family car next to the Mantra GL. It was even considered the best family car around $10.000 by the leading Hetvesian motor magazine.


As the V6 models of the Astrona III disappeared with the introduction of the L-Class, there was a need for more upmarket versions. As the S as a sporty model has been dropped, it was immediately succeded by the costlier GT trim. It was the only three-door Astrona as ECO and S ended, and $11.050 were no bargain for a car with the same rather standard interior like the CL. A five-speed gearbox indicates some power, and the new 106 hp engine was really delivering some.
Jack Thandor, who was still product manager until his father handed him in the CEO chair, aimed at the buyers of four-cylinder sport coupes that wanted something more practical without having a car that looks and feels like a family carrier. $11.050 were still affordable for a midsize car. The GT had black bumpers, a black grille frame, black window frames and darker taillights but still the large tailgate. The engine pushed it foward in a sporty manner, as 9,3 seconds to 100 feared drivers of cars in the L-Class league and made use of the excellent handling of the Astrona IV. With a top speed of 177 kph, the car was able to keep up on the left highway lane, and 11,5 liter consumption were quite low considering how fun the car was and still is today.


If you wanted some luxury in your CMT, you had to go for the automatic. This was again the case in the Astrona, and luckily the CSII was not a bad gearbox. The excellent 106hp engine matched the CSII perfectly, allowing for solid 11,2 seconds accelleration and still good 172 kph top speed. 12,6 liter consumption seem not as outstanding as the GTs economy, but the automatic came with GL trim which meant chrome, comfort and five doors. Velour cloth interior, a wooden bar on the dashboard, a second interior light for the rear seats, a rear wiper (which only the wagon had before), center armrests in front and rear, a standard 8-track stereo and many other small things make it a really comfortable car for $13.200. As the car was still light although spacious and practical, it became a worldwide success for those who want a premium family car, being one of the top three on the family premium market in Gasmea, Frunia and Hetvesia, selling a lot better than the L300.


In April 1976, CMT polished the top end of their program with the Regent Oro. The 4000i targeted the Perpedes-Glänz S model and Candyllacs, but the superb Regent should also hold up against Molls-Boyce. For that reason, there was again a 7-liter-model. The high-quality internals necessary to endure the massive power lowered the emissions, and more refinement allowed for carburetors to go under the maximum emissions allowed by the governments. The dual four-barrel system made some 368 horsepower, almost the same as the 370 of the 70i models. The Oro was only available with a two-tone metallic paint featuring the color “Aztec Gold” and “Moondust Dark Silver” and a chrome grille frame. The interior was handmade individually after the wishes of the customer. The official company car of Jack Thandor as new CEO delivered in 1977 had mahagoni wood on dash and doors, heated front and rear seats, a car telephone, an unique velours-leather combination, digital gauges and many more unique features just like every other Oro. The immense engine power flinged the heavy car to 100 in just 6,79 seconds, and 239 kph top speed were unbelievable fast for those days. Just in case you ask the question nobody asks: 25,2 liter. The car was available for a hefty $38.300, affordable only for movie stars or entrepreneur dynasties, but as it looked totally different from a stock Regent, it really scored in the luxury premium segment and was often seen in front of golf courses, five-star-hotels and bayside mansions worldwide.


If you thought that this was the ultimate car, CMT had something even more exclusive in their brochures. There is one number: 38.800, the price of a decent family home in a good area. Or of the CMT Landaulet, not sold under the Regent name although it was evident that it was a Regent Oro with a convertible top for the rear seats.
The car had a totally different styling, as Harold Keller had the task to let it look conservative and “looking like million dollar banknote”. The Landaulet was available in different two-tone paints unlike the Oro, and was the number one car for dictators or those that considered the Oro too progressive. The elegant sportiness of the Regent gave way for pure aristocracy. The reinforced body raised the weight well above two tons. As it was unusual to publish specs in that league, CMT avoided that as well. Motor magazines were allowed to tell that the quarter mile time was 15 seconds and that the soft top was still surprisingly quiet if going over 220 kph.


After the decline of muscle cars, personal luxury vehicles became the trend in Gasmea. These cars were luxorious two-door sedans with good power and exclusive trim. As almost every old man who archieved something in his life had one, C,M. Thandor asked himself why he had not - and created the Regent GT for himself and the public.
The two-door was little shorter with 5,18 meter, and it also featured handmade and custom-tailored interior for $33.300. It also featured the hydropneumatic like 4000i, Oro and Landaulet, but had another engine, a rework of the 5.0 liter variant of the CV862 family, this time with injection and returning 265 horsepower, enough for 215 kph and 8,3 seconds to 100 with 23,4 liter consumption. The car became a worldwide success in the GT Premium segment, helping the Regent to become the best-selling car of its class from 1976 to 1979 and making a lot of cash for CMT.


As the Astrona wagon was no longer a seven-seater and left practicality for handling and some comfort, a 4,7-meter people carrier was worth a try. The construction was as simple and effective as possible: McPherson struts and engine in the front, a cheap leaf spring solid axle in the rear and no galvanized steel. The van was called Listra and came in three trims.

The basic Listra was the CL, recognizable by round headlights and equipped with the 82-horsepower-engine. Instead of foldable additional seats, it featured a real three-seat bench in the third row. The interior CL meant - like in most cases - standard interior with basic 8 track radio. For $8900, the car was not bad, and in a time when the el cheapo buses were really slow 15,9 seconds to 100 were no bad thing at all. 150 kph top speed were a little ambitious, but 130 were a realistic long-time highway speed. 14,3 liter consumption were surprisingly high, mainly a fault of the bad aerodynamic. Although it was no real strong seller, it was a good alternative to the Astrona if practicality was your main interest and a good addition to the CMT portfolio.


There was also the GL with the 106 horsepower engine and CSII automatic aiming for large families with larger income and higher demands. The interior was nicer, with real door panels and not some cardboard, a center console, plushier seats and other goodies. The basic 8-track remained unchanged compared to the CL. For $12.200 it became a good family utility premium in Gasmea and Archana, but in other countries the sales were nothing to talk about. The specs of that pricey shoebox were a lot worse compared to the Astrona GL, 13,6 to 100 and a maximum of 160 for 15,8 liter.


A very special vehicle was the 2000iO, a GL with offroad suspension and two foldable rear seats instead of a three-seater bench,
It was not expected, but the attempt was serious: Offroad tires, four-speed maniual, manual locker (even if rather needless for a 2WD) and offroad tires and skidtray help it a lot, getting far offroad considering it is a FWD bus.
For $11.700, it lived from its fans that bought it a lot more often than caculated before.


The Daytona GTS survived the oil crisis quite good, as its design was the incarnation masculine coolness, it was surprisingly good to handle, really fast and quite affordable. Harold Keller had the difficult job to update it for the second half of the 70s.

As the GTS was a cash-cow, it was expanded to two trims in August 1976: The GTS50i offered the 265 hp engine known from the Regent GT for $22.160, more than the former GTS70i. To justify that, the car had a new premium 8-track, the four-speed automatic and the one or other detail change. It jumped to 100 in 8,1 seconds and up to 221 kph and needed 20,7 liter - totally average for a power sedan. The sales were still good, but as the Daytona is basically a 1967 car, the real hype was over.



As the “old” GTS has been ordered by the highway patrol in Gasmea until 1974, this gave the car some prestige. CMT knew the car must be outstanding to compensate the repair cost of the aluminium panels. CMT fitted the 368 horsepower engine from Regent Oro and Landaulet. The 70i from 1972 had a strange gearing to be drivable without wheelspin… yes it was powerful and incredibly fast but the engineers were not able to get the full potential. The ComfoShift II with four gears allowed for better spreading, and the speedometer showed 100 kph after only 6,18 seconds. With 242 kph it was able to chase any villain. 22,4 liter consumption were totally ok for the outstanding performance. $24.100 were not the main problem, but the high service costs were. Nevertheless, the police showed interest once again, and from 1976 to 1978 some 5.000 cars were ordered to protect the highway, mostly given to experienced senior detectives. The public bought 50i and 70 in 50/50 relation, but as said - the glory days were over and CMT kept the car alive as long as it’s still a decent seller.



#31

1977 - Let’s go for Schporrrt!


Even if on sale since october 1976, the facelifted Explorer counted as 1977 model. The car swapped to CSII automatic, but kept the manual locker and its ride height, still able to climb and run where all other cars fail. The engine size remained 5 liter, now with the Regent GT engine. 8,47 seconds acceleration and 200 kph were still outstanding while 22,9 liter consumption were average and the sales were improving to quite good again, but the Explorer was not the only luxury jeep anymore and the competitors became stronger and stronger, so CMT had written off the car after this last facelift, selling it until late 1983 when more and more newer and more modern cars were available for the $20.700 price tag.

In february 1977 another old model recieved it’s last update, the Daytona came in a new RT trim with the 368 hp V8. If using the five-speed manual correctly, the driver can speed to 100 kph in only 5,47 seconds - the Daytona RT was a supercar-beater and 253 kph outrun most cars for the double price. 13,7 seconds for the quarter mile are impressive for a stock production car, and the sport interior with premium 8-track fits the everyday car for serious track use quite good. For $25.250, the sales were as good as ever, and the muscle dinosaur still sold excellent in its 10th year. Even for many sports car drivers the RT was interessing, as the handling was still a good point and the car is well drivable for its power, and 20,9 liter were almost low for the outstanding performance.


But CMT offered a lot more for sporty drivers. The reason was an experimental engine - with a turbocharger. The new 2000ccm four with 106 horsepower was a good base to start with, and the charged variant reached respectable 170 horses, but it needed leaded premium gas. CMT offered the turbo cars in Hetvesia and Frunia only in 1977 for that reason, as leaded ban came in 1978 and nobody wanted to buy a car where refuellng needs double the time with lead additives. In Gasmea the turbo models were on sale until late 1981.

The first of them was the CMT Jarama, a Mantra two-door sedan with unique styling. It had rather rare sales, as the suspension was brutally stiff and hard, and the engine had a huge punch between 2800 and 4500 rpm. The Jarama was the ultimate driving machine in the $12.500 price range. The engine propelled the light car to 100 in 6,9 seconds, and 209 kph were a respectable top speed. The punching engine was not a drunkard as most other early turbos, as 10,2 liter were not bad for a sporty car. Affordable, hard, fast - young people liked the Jarama.


For those who wanted a turbo with more everyday drivability, the Astrona RS offered more space, good practicality and a still firm but not painfully stiff suspension that allowed for surprisingly high remaining comfort despite the fun and easy handling. The car was basically an Astrona GT, but totally black as it was the only color available. The trim was rather low, as there wer no upgrades compared to the GT beside unique alloy wheels. The RS sold surprisingly good for $11.800 , as 6,9 seconds, 204 kph and 10,5 liter were excellent specs and the slightly heavier body dampened the boost attack a little without being slower than the Jarama.

Jack Thandor did not want to give up the Brands Hatch, especially the convertible despite the low sales. The coupe disappeared, and the convertible was facelifted, with a front design similar to the Daytona GTS. As the Astrona III convertible, the last one of that model since 1975, was also taken out of production in early 1977 the car had to be good as it was the only remaining convertible except the hyper-luxury Landaulet. Not intended as pure driving machine, the Brands Hatch turbolet (a reminiscence of the 60s Speedolets) featured only a four speed manual and rear drum brakes as well as all-premium interior. The balance between sportiness and comfort was good, and $13.400 were a good price for the overall package. 8,1 seconds to 100 were miles better than the old convertible, and 198 kph show most other mass-produced convertibles the taillights, and 11,8 liter were quite ok.
This meant the late breakthrough for the Brands Hatch that now sold like expected back in 1972, becoming one of the more liked convertibles in Gasmea.

The Donnington - State of the Art

Most CMT sports cars do have certain compromises. The Jarama is affordable fun but terribly uncomfortable, the Daytona has brute force but is large and turns perfect for a muscle, but not for a real sports car, the Le Castellet is expensive to maintain and has no practicality, the Brands Hatch is a convertible and the Astrona RS is actually a normal family car. Why not offering a perfect allrounder?

For that reason, CMT unveiled the 4,3 meter four-seater coupé with edgy and progressive styling in September 1977. While all other countrys had to buy the car with the 160hp 3.0 V6, Gasmeans had the alternative of the 170hp 2.0 turbo four-cylinder. Which one to take is hard to say, as both perform similar.

The 3000i for only 12.800$ went to 100 kph in 7,8 seconds and made 205 in top speed and needed 13,7 liter unleaded gas. Neither bad, nor impressive, but a good car for the price as power, handling and cost were well balanced and a test track time of 2:35,02 was really ok for a car with surprisingly good comfort even if only featuring standard interior with basic radio, and the rear seats were tight.
Nevertheless, value for money was a huge strength of the Donnington, as it featured rust resistant chassis and panels, five-speed gearbox, four disc brakes and all-independent suspension with double wishbone, power steering, progressive springs and gas dampeners as well as alloy wheels medium compound tires.
The turbo was more expensive with $14.100, but noticeably faster, going to 100 in 7,4 seconds and making 210 kph at 2:32,67 test track time and surprisingly low 10,7 liter consumption. But premium leaded was really a problem outside Gasmea…


The 3000i sold very good, and the low price attracted many buyers of other brands, conquering the market for low-end sports cars as the Donnington was very refined for its price. The turbo also had remarkably good sales in Gasmea despite needing leaded.

The leaded ban in most regions forced CMT to sort out the 157hp V6 in the Le Castellet in favor for the injected engine with 160 horsepower. As the design was a few years older than the actual 1974 car, Jack Thandor decided to combine the engine swap with a mild facelift.
The car itself changed not much, the price rose marginally to $17.300, the consumption increased to 14,4 liter and the performance remained identical, so the sales did not change in any direction and remained on a high level.

Although CMT had built up a massive sports car competence in 1977, the last car for October was a totally practical one: As station wagons slowly became more and more also lifestlye vehicles, the sucessful Astrona GL was also offered as wagon. The Carry GL became quite popular in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia for $13.250, and 11,5 seconds to 100 and 166 kph top speed were not bad for a wagon with high trim level and automatic transmission, although 13,2 liter consumption were more than expected.

Together with the latest Astrona model, CMT launched the facelift of the Cargo, now also featuring the 82 horsepower 1600 carburetor engine. The $8500 price was the same as before, but the car became thriftier with 12,7 liter, although 14,2 seconds to 100 and 152 kph were a little slower than before. The sales improved, but were still behind the oldtimer Torpedo.


#32

1978 - Heavy Duty

The whole company was exhausted after a firework of new models. For 1978, the only new car arriving in March was the “Deliveroo”, a pickup with V8 power, as that segment was further growing in Gasmea.
The layout was totally conservative, having a steel ladder frame, a large bed, two solid axles on coil springs and a 4x4. Offroad tires and cladding underline that the car can serve in professional use. The base model came with the 215 horsepower V8 from the Regent and the L-Class (it was stated 211 earlier due to an error in testing) for $18.800. Surprisingly, the car sold quite good as heavy utility worldwide, except Dalluha where the economy did not recover. (Damn these updates mess everything up, I try to adapt the storyline as good as I can to them)

But it was not flawless - the last pickup truck was from the early 50s, and CMT did not make any more experience since then. The over-the-top ride height known from former CMT offroaders was eleminated, but the rear drum brakes were not that strong when carrying heavy load (and the truck can take 1,5 ton!), the standard two seater interior with basic AM radio was not really comfortable, and Harold Keller had not idea how to design a fancy truck so the car was almost ready to be called ugly.
The old CV840-54 was a gas guzzler either, as 23,7 liter were thirsty, but 9,3 seconds to 100 kph and a top speed of 181 show that the old engine really makes a lot of use from the rather small four-liter displacement.


Another step up was the 7000HD featuring premium interior, standard 8-track stereo, two-tone paint and last but not least the mighty 368 horsepower engine. As the HD still had offroad tires, the accelleration suffered from overpowering leading to both wheelspin and not optimal gearing. Nevertheless the car clocked 100 after 8,1 seconds and ran astonishing 225 kph. Hard to understand, but there were still giant drum brakes in the rear and the design was still somewhat ugly. The people surprisingly bought these cars for $21.800 and accepted 25,9 liter consumption, today nobody knows why, but it was one of the better selling utility premium vehicles.


#33

1980 - Identity crisis

You thougt the prices for the Deliveroo were high? Yes, that’s the great 1978 inflation. So the new Bingo for $11.500 is still cheap although you got a Mantra for that in 1977. The car itself now got the Mantra headlights also seen before on the latest Torpedo, different taillights and - finally - front solid disc brakes. Progressive springs and - also finally - the latest safety features added more modernity to the meanwhile 15 year old car. The interior was also restyled but still totally basic, having only an AM radio and still no power steering as the car was still very light. Something really new was featured in the engine: Klaus Holtmann left CMT in 1976 for Tanaka Heavy Industries. There he learned a lot about computer-controlled features, microelectronics and other gadgets. When he headed back to his home area in late 1979, CMT offered him a better contract to make use of the Tanaka innovations.


The first thing was an electronic fuel injection, much cheaper than the costly Frosch Jetronic, maybe not as effective as the complex MFI system, but very good for lower end engines and more efficient than the latest sophisticated carburetors. Equipped with the “Computronic”, the AI311-73 engine now featured 64 horsepower, a minor gain, but was finally quite cheap to produce. The Computronic needed better fuel quality than the Jetronic, so the cheap Bingo now urged for premium unleaded Super 95 gasoline.

The Bingo now accelerated in brisk 11,9 seconds to 100 and made 145 kph, the consumption dropped to 8,3 liter. Different than before, the Bingo moved further in the “fun / pony budget” direction and away from a real cheap car for the masses, but it worked and still sold, especially in Frunia where the still low although better comfort was not that big problem. For an entry-level family and city car CMT had something more suiting now.

The newspapers often quoted the FATI boss, who said “CMT can’t build cheap cars”, a reaction to the fail of the Nexus and the fact that the Bingo was still more expensive than most FATIs. C.M. Thandor wanted to create a sub-brand for low end cars below the Nexus, so the “Neutrum” project was started in 1973 oil crisis - a car roomier and more practical than the Bingo for a similar price, although still fun enough to drive. But already in late 74, the big cars came back, and the engineers lost their focus on the Neutrum project. When Jack Thandor took place in the CEO chair, he feared the cost caused by building a new brand identity as well as an own retail and service structure and called the upcoming car “CMT City III”. C.M. Thandor finally agreed, but insisted on removing the badges, as CMT should stand for fancy premium cars, the reason why the Bingo was dragged further towards the fun car market.


In 1980, recession and again raising gas prices warmed up the demand for cheap and thrifty cars - perfect circumstances for the new City III that came in multiple trims. All of them featured the 64 horsepower inline three with Computronic as the Bingo and also a very high safety level, especially considering the market they targeted. With 3,4 meter length, the cars were some 20 cm longer than the Bingo, allowing for a five-door body and five seats. Their suspension layout consisted of front McPherson struts and - surprise - a sophisticated semi trailing arm in the rear. The handling was as good as in the Bingo, even if the car had a rather non-sporty shape being slim, short and tall and over 100 kilogram heavier. The design was a bit bland and conservative in the front and playful in the rear, as Gaetano Cembarelli had problems with the task “Don’t let it look like a CMT. It shouldn’t be a CMT.”

The base trim “C” for $12.100 was poverty on wheels. All basic interior with only AM radio, no power steering, not even progressive springs or gas dampeners. Only one mirror, only one sunvisor, cardboard door trim, the interior light was not even reacting to door openings… The typical budget car, scoring good in the family utility budget range, especially in Frunia, but also in all other regions - except Archana that had no premium unleaded fuel yet. The City C was the only car exported to Dalluha after the economy crash, selling some cars as family sport. The performance was quite good, as accelleration were some decent 13 seconds and top speed was respectable with 147 kph. The consumption was identical to the Bingo, as the shape was aerodynamically adapted.

For all that want more than the hardcore “Sparta” variant, but still look on the budget, the “CL” for $12.900 features a better standard interior, although still only the basic AM radio, and it has power steering as well as progressive springs for more comfort. The heavier car now needed 13,5 seconds to 100 at identical top speed, but urged for 8,9 liter premium unleaded, and the service costs were noticeably higher.

If you prefer practicality over the looks, and still go for a budget car with good handling, the CL Maxi might be your car. The newspapers described it as “Eat chili, buy a CMT City CL and fart in it and here you go.” Yes, it was really ugly, but offered incredible interior space. At 3,49 meter length, it accomodated five adults adequate. The technical part was also updated compared to the CL, as it added gas dampeners and a very innovative variable power steering. With 13,7 seconds to 100 it was still quick for a microcar, and 145 kph were enough to keep up on the highway. 9,1 liter were maybe a lot compared to the C model, but the City CL Maxi was a more serious “real” family car than you might think on the first looks. For $13.300, it sold brilliantly as family utility car and in Frunia even as “regular” family car.

The City is called city because it should handle well in the city. What do we need? Yep, automatic transmission. The CL automatic enjoyed a completely new “Digishift” four-speed automatic controlled by a CPU - another thing CMT learned from Tanaka and their microchip knowledge. Back then almost all other small cars with automatic had conventional three-speeds that killed any driving fun. This would have been a shame as the City III handles so good. The Digishift allowed for still good 14,8 seconds acceleration and 143 kph top speed - enough for a car designed to work well in crowded metropolitan areas. 9,3 liter consumption were good for an automatic car. The trim was identical to the CL Maxi, featuring all technological benefits. Testers were ultimalely pleased as it was really the perfect city car, and sales reflected that: For $14.000, the car jumped from zero to hero in Gasmea, and Hetvesians and Frunians also considered as the #1 city car, but it was already a little pricey for them. In return the not-yet-seen drivability made it outselling the Bingo by far in the fun segment, as the Bingo was more the fun budget car.

For the Gasmeans, there was even a GL trim, of course with the Digishift. In addition to the CL automatic, it had a true premium interior with goodies like central locks, better seats, adjustable steering column and a standard 8-track radio with two high quality speakers. The outside featured some chrome, and the $15.400 price might be already in the Mantra range, but that car was the perfect commuter car for the Gasmeans. And for all those that were willing to spend more for great comfort in a tiny city car. The GL even sold better than the CL automatic in Gasmea, although 15,5 seconds to 100 were far more, but 9,6 liter were even acceptable for all the comfort it offers.

After that firework for January, CMT continued in February with some tweaks on the Mantra 1.1 CL - but only for Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia, as Archana had no premium unleaded, they had to keep the 1976 model.


The 64 horsepower engine was the only new thing, as CMT considered the Mantra too young for a facelift. The power steering was even still the conservative one and not the new variable, as the Mantra CL was the lower trim and there was no need to modify anything on the fancier GL. The more expensive fuel was equalled by a slightly lower consumption, now 9,3 instead of 9,8 liter. And the performance improved marginally, now just 14 seconds instead of 14,9, and 146 kph top speed were two more. But that did not help, the sales decreased further, mainly an effect as most went for the City III Maxi instead. It might sound incredible, but the $13.200 price in 1980 was even lower purchase power wise than the $8000 back in 1976. Inflation is a mean thing…


In March CMT finally rolled the Torpedo into retirement, although still selling acceptable. But the safety requirements by CMT for their cars were so high that the old 1946 design could not fulfil them anymore (the car was fine with governmental ones, as it was always upated safety wise). And the latest facelift might have been good, but the drivability was now behind the competition. For that reason, CMT launched the Spedex, even larger than the Torpedo with impressive five meter length. The overall concept followed the Torpedo - large cargo area, simple engineering. The front solid axle was traded in for MacPherson struts, and the rear axle featured coil instead of leaf springs, which allowed for an excellent handling for a large delivery vehicle. Only two seats and basic interior, only with AM radio, no power steering, that was neccessary as the engine was already quite expensive: It was the 2.0 liter four-cylinder with 106 horsepower from the Astrona GL, and the mechanical fuel injection altered the production costs that had to be cut with the trim.
The journalists were fond of the car, as it was pleasant to drive unlike the Torpedo, it handled a lot like a car and the engine handled all jobs with ease, pushing the car to 100 in 11 seconds and allowing for 167 kph top speed, allowing for long-distance highway deliveries, and 12 liter consumption were bearable.

The styling was another adaption of the Mantra-style as Cembarelli always preferred a “family look”. It was clean and simple, but not too bland. $14.400 were a self-confident call, but the car was worth it. Reliable, strong, spacious - the Spedex had a good start and established CMT in the large delivery class even further, building a future on the Torpedo heritage.

In early 1980, the Astrona was finally well-established in the midsize class. The high quality, the good handling and the decent utility were well-known and the once rather unconventional design arrived in the public taste. Nevertheless, CMT facelifted some variants, in April 1980 the CL, GL and added an “Exclusive” model.

Cembarelli erased the four-headlamp design for two square ones, letting the car look a lot more serious and adult than before. He did not go for the Mantra-styled headlights as he wanted to keep the car’s individuality in its class. The Astrona facelift was his last work for CMT, as he retired after the launch of these cars. He felt tired, lacking creativity and wanted to do different things and not just cars and founded an own design studio.

In cooperation with Harold Keller, he created a new badge for CMT, used first on facelift Astrona IVs, as he felt the wanted image change towards a sporty premium brand like WMB needed support with a new logo and a new designer. Keller felt similar, but still had two years left as he did not want to leave the company before the contract ended.


As there was still nothing wrong with the 82 horsepower engine, all CMT did was adding the new variable power steering and upgrading the basic 8-track stereo to a standard one to seperate from the sales-loosing Mantra. $16.400 were medium range for a family car and acceptable for the package the improved CL provided. The acceleration was a little slower with 12,9 seconds, the top speed remained identical, as well as 11,6 liter consumption that were only 0,2 more. In Gasmea it established quite good even if still featuring a four-speed manual, Hetvesians also liked the car a lot, although Frunian sales were only average. Archaneans were not really buying it, but it did sell the one or other car.


The GL was running great, and so it was no surprise that the changes were marginally. It recieved the latest innovations, the Digishift and the variable steering, and that was it. The specs were unchanged, except for now going 174 kph (2 more). The $19.500 price was a clever placement, as the sophisticated driving experience and the modern technology concealed the rather compact size and small engine for a family premium, but exactly these things kept it relatively affordable. In Gasmea and Hetvesia it even led the family premium market and sold strong in the family sport, and Frunian family premiums sold were mostly an Astrona GL - this trim was still the most successful Astrona. Even Archaneans bought the one or other.

Uploading…

Jack Thandor realized that the L-Class was no real substitute for the V6 Astrona models and the plan went wrong. To check the potential in the market, he created the “Exclusive” for $20.300, featuring a 115 horsepower 2200ccm V6 just like the Astrona III, but this time with Computronic, and even running on regular gas. The only difference - except for the engine - between GL and Exclusive was that the latter had a premium stereo with digital equalizer and four high quality speakers.
The V6 allowed for the same performance as the GL, but needed 13,2 liter - the difference was only the better stereo and the better engine noise which gave it more subjective premium feel.
The car was a success, it was the #1 commuter premium in Gasmea and Frunia, also good in Hetvesia, as the car was the ultimate balance between power, comfort, practicality and running cost, carefully placed between “normal cars” and “real” premium cars. So it was compared to the four-cylinder GL, an even more sought-after family premium, selling close to its brother. A real surprise was its breakthrough in Archana, where it became the best-selling premium car. Appealing sound, comfortable high quality interior, a superb ride and bearable running cost for a well-balanced car really allowed for it being accepted there as a premium. As Archaneans were used to rather simple cars with unpretentious handling, the flawless ride of the Astrona was a surprise, now with a V6 dragging family sport premium buyers into CMT showrooms. It was the fifth-best selling car in Archana in the second half of 1980!

The things looked good for CMT in late 1980. The downsized, now extremely refined FWD midsize Astrona was just the right car in the recession time with again rising gas prices, as was the City III. Real flops were abolished, and the Mantra that declined the most at least started not too bad. Jack Thandor took a deep and relaxing breath, as he realized he kept his father’s company on the way to success.


#34

1981 - further rearrangement

CMT was still famous for their big powerhouses. But the second oil crisis and increasing governmental restrictions caused a problem: Both the CV840-54 and the CV862-60 would need catalytic converters, otherwise they would be banned soon. And these old engines were still surprisingly good performance wise, but their economy was a disaster by the newest standards. As V8 cas were the cash-cows, Jack Thandor wanted no experiments, he needed something new as soon as possible, better than the old engines, but simple to produce and reliable. As John Frieders CAI420-76 turned out to be a good engine, he just copied the reciepe and made a V8 out of it’s layout, but to save weight, the engine was all-alloy instead having a cast iron block. The AV846-81 was otherwise just like its small brother, having three valves per cylinder and simple cast iron internals, and as MFI would raise cost it came with the Computronic SPI.
In 1981 it started with two variants, a 4.6 liter unit with 263 horsepower and a smaller one with 3.8 liter and 202 hp. These engines were light and quite reliable, and they scored high in response, smoothnes and of course emissions.


In March 1981, CMT unveiled their new 1981 models. The Deliveroo might get the crown for the earliest facelift, as it was a 1978 model, but CMT found out that they had made a great truck by concidence without really knowing what they did, and they decided to use its full potential. The 4 and 7 liter versions were replaced by the new engines. And as everyone agreed that the design was shitty, Harold Keller overworked the car and gave it a look that was a lot more satisfactory.

The 38 model made use of the 202 hp engine and recieved the Digishift to offer iddentical performance to the predecessor. 9 seconds to 100 kph and 180 top speed were indeed almost the same, but instead of burning 23,7 liter, the facelifted entry-level car needed only 19,1 per 100 km, four and a half less! The variable steering was not included as that would be over the top in a truck and $19.800 were already quite a few dollars for a workhorse. The drivability of these cars was excellent, and the sales jumped up to excellent amounts in Gasmea as heavy utility, Hetvesia and Frunia as heavy utility and utility premium and in Archana as utility premium. Even if it was designed as offroad utility, it was way too expensive and overengineered for such a vehicle, but as offroad car it also sold some units.


Gasmeans love fancy trucks. They always did and always will. But the days of giant 7-liter-power plants was over for CMT. In fact, the 3.8 liter engine would have been sufficient even for the premium model for the Gasmean domestic market. But noone would trust a car with less than 4.5 liters displacement there. For that reason CMT mounted the 4.6 liter engine and mated it to the Digishift in the 46 model. The manual locker was switched to an in-gearbox differential as utility premiums are mostly found in clean driveways and onroad instead of mudholes and building sites. The premium interior recieved a better premium 8-track stereo and finally the variable steering as these vehicles where rarely bought for professional use and mostly spent their life as everyday vehicle. In addition to that, CMT intended to set both trims further apart from each other as the difference engine size wise became a lot smaller. Due to less wheelspin and the advanced gearbox, the acceleration was even better than with the 7.0 before.


Instead of 8,1 it now clocked 100 after 7,86 and as nobody would push a car over 200, the 46 just ended there instead of going 225 like the 7000HD. Of course the greatest improvement was the economy, as mileage improved from 25,9 liter to 20,3 which are more than five less! Needles to say that the 46 conquered the crown in the segment for $23.500.

Another car selling not too bad but not as good as it should was the L-Class. Harold Keller gave it an aerodynamically inspired sleeker look with a sloped front which not everybody considered as a stilistic progress compared to the original 1975 design, but the car looked a lot more modern, also due to new door handles and taillights and less ornamental stuff.


The Gasmean-only L300 needed leaded fuel and was also threatened by governmental regulations and therefore dropped. Its replacement was the L220 with the engine from the Astrona Executive. Although the horsepower for the base trim dropped from 157 to only 115, the 12,5 seconds acceleration were not too bad and 164 kph top speed were enough for relaxed highway cruising. In return, the consumption dropped from 16,4 liter to 14,9. Yes, not a large improvement considering the reduced performance and the fact the car uses the better Digishift, but the car was at least a consequent entry-level car, keeping the all-standard six seater interior and the “normal” power steering.




A Gasmean revue called it “propably the most average car I have ever driven, there is nothing wrong with it, John Doe won’t miss something and it consequently avoids for any highligt. Compared to the market-leading family cars it lacks comfort and practicality despite being a six-seater, but it is hard to beat when it comes to reliability and safety. This car pleases the philistines, but others would have more fun with the Astrona GL that feels overall more alive and offers better economy as well as more comfort.” The $18.700 price were indeed less than the Astrona GL but the now worldwide sold L220i never really scored and sales where in the middle of nowhere in the hitlist.

The more interesting model was the L380 featuring the new 202 hp engine and targeting the gap between the Astrona Executive and the Regent. With a hint of sportiness it scored well in the whole premium family something range, showing the Astrona the taillights in Gasmea and even selling some decent units as premium budget - exactly where it was aimed to score. CMT made no half job and fitted vented front disc brakes, all-premium five-seat interior, medium compound tires, variable steering and the digishift. In the family premium segment, the L380 won all comparative tests and for Hetvesians it was the best family sport premium and utility sport premium they ever saw, and dealers had problems to get enough cars for their showroom, as their L380s were even sold before they were rolled from the truck and even Frunians did not fear the V8 as it was rather modest in its size and thirst. And finally Archanean dealers had another success - the L380 sold better than ever expected.




The car jumped up to 100 kph in only 7,5 seconds, embarassing most sport cars of that era and reached 200 kph. The consumption dropped from 20,6 liter to much better 16,9. Yes the V8 might sound good but not as cool and oldschool like the L400i before - but the L380i is so much better that there is really no reason why not to go for the new model for $24.700.

As the Daytona RT was cancelled at the same time, CMT wanted to create a sucessor for both the Daytona RT and the Sebring. The Talladega was born, and it was equipped with the 4.6 liter AV846-81 engine. Still featuring a manual, that car was fast as hell. The odometer showed 100 after only 5,7 seconds, and 221 kph top speed were enough for a muscle. 14,23 seconds quarter mile time where hard to beat in the $25.700 class. Although 16,4 liter were sensationally good, the looks of the car were a mix between the old sebring and the new facelifted L-Class models, as the Talladega should be a reminiscence to the “good old glory days”. This meant for the late 60s-to-early 70s careless before-oil-crisis-feel the modern look of the renovated L-Class would be contraproductive. Especially the rear shows that the exterior is still mostly prefacelift.
The four-seat all-premium interior is -just as it was in the Sebring from the L400i - directly taken from the L380 but adapted for the two-door car, allowing for superb comfort for such a rocket. The five-speed manual was kept, as the Talladega aimed for fun buyers and even some sports car drivers that became older and looked for something more comfortable.


The car was another strike, as it was by far the #1 muscle, muscle premium and fun premium car worldwide (except Archana where the fuel was not available, the larger AV846 engine needed premium unleaded), and CMT had to drop a lot of models in late 1981 to get enogh resources to produce barely enough vehicles. As Gasmeans have a comfort-loving taste, the Talladega even became the best selling sports car there. It was even the first car that sold good in Dalluha after the 1976 economy breakdown, as this car was a perfect GT premium for them and some few Dalluhans still had much money - and almost all brought it to the CMT dealer.

Discontinued in September 1981 - half a year earlier than planned - were the Jarama, the Brands Hatch turbolet, the Donnington 2000ti and the Astrona RS. All needed leaded fuel and would soon have problems in their last habit (Gasmea) as well, so they were considered as dispensable. In February 1982 the Astrona GT, the Daytona GTS50i and GTS70, the Explorer (although planned to last until 1983) and the Cargo (originally scheduled to run out in 1984) followed.


#35

1982 - Turbo time and now playing in premier league

The next year was carefully planned and another “firework”. CMT decided to open it on new year’s eve with a BANG and show a new Donnington. While the affordable and rather simple 3-liter model was still kept, the turbo passed away last year. The new turbo model was a lot more set apart upwards and differed a lot, although the looks were still the same as CMT had only one designer left and the car was not considered looking outdated.

C.M. Thandor was still the companys president, and his job was talking to the press, visiting dealers and consulting his son in leading the company. Nothing too stressful for the old man, but allowing him for keeping influence. In April 1980 he saw a brand-new Horch Quadra in action, an AWD beast with five-cylinder turbo, that challenged him in his Regent GT. Although being an old man, he was still a skilled and courageous driver and accepted the duel. The already very capable personal luxury car with an engine twice as large was no match against the Quadra, so old Thandor asked one of his employees to buy one secretly to find out what is so good about it. But - the delivery time was one year as grandpa Thandor was not the first one who found out the Quadra was an impressive machine. But he underrated his wife. Mrs. Theodora Thandor, an attractive old lady with a warm smile, had a Horch sales manager in her senior sports club and after a few bottles of vine, they agreed to share a taxi to get to their homes, while the granny secretly stole the keys of the Quadra and passed them to a CMT factory worker. As the Horch sales manager had a painful hangover, he had no interest in taking home his car. The following day the Quadra was back in its parking spot and the keys were reported to be found at the bar, he must have lost them…

CMT found out that the car was an AWD five-cylinder turbo - an unusual layout, but obviously effective. C.M. Thandor told his son Jack: “Let’s build this, but better.” “Better?” “Yes, load it with the newest innovations no matter what the costs are. Nobody beats a CMT!”

Klaus Holtmann, just back from Tanaka, recieved an unlimited budget and free descisions. Jack Thandor knew that man was difficult to work with, but he was a genius if you let him to what he wanted. The AI525-82T was a masterpiece recieving countless engine awards, being the most innovative hightech engine in mass produced cars. It was made of aluminum with a displacement of 2498 ccm, featured a DOHC layout and four valves per cylinder as well as a ball-beared turbo that was perfectly balanced between punch and drivability and power and economy. In addition Holtmann, who was hyped for electronics in his Tanaka time, developed an improvement of the Computronic, the MCT, the Multi-Computronic with one throttle per cylinder, an MPI and no longer an SPI. The result were impressive 215 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 300 nm @ 3000 rpm, the redline was set at impressive 6700 rpm, as pistons and conrods were forged. Even more surprising was the fact that it was able to run on regular fuel to be sold worldwide in all regions.

The Donnington itself lost its back seats in favor of a large compartment for bags or other goods and recieved a new premium interior and a solid standard 8-track radio. The rear discs were vented now, and the next innovation was an AWD system with a 55/45 power distribution adapted to the cars weight balance and featured an in-gearbox differential. The variable power steering rounded off the impressive package. AWD and the AI525-82T engine were marketed as “turbo4” to give the “quadra” name a direct opponent.

How did it drive? O V E R W H E L M I N G !!! It dashed to 100 in 5,8 seconds, reached 218 kph and that wit h only 10,2 liter average consumption. And the handling was the benchmark at that time, even a hint better than the Quadra that featured 200 horsepower and needed 7,1 seconds but managed to run 222 kph. The car was sold out even on the first day, market leader worldwide in the rage from light sport over track to sport and the premium market segment for them. Even in poor Dalluha it was sold with noticeable success as supercar. The $26.700 price was even lower than for a Quadra, which came $30.000.

CMT needed again a restructuration of the portfolio to meet the demand and dropped the Listra CL and GL, leaving only the offroad version alive and the Regent Oro and Landaulet that needed a lot resources to be produced were also sacrificed and their production ended in March.

The Regent flagship no longer featured the newest innovations and an L380 was a lot more modern than a Regent 4000i - a state not to be accepted by C.M. Thandor as the Regent was his baby. A makeover was not even in need, as all Regents sold without a serious fade since 1975.

No wonder the facelift of the Regent was done by the senior himself, but as he still liked it the changes on the exterior were minor. The headlights became slightly larger and lost their chrome frame, the cars recieved a chrome grille instead. The taillights had a similar shape but a different design. That was it.


Thandor senior wanted to replace the 3000i with the new five-cylinder turbo, but a prototype showed that the engine lacked refinement for a distinguished large premium sedan. While he figured out something else for the 3000i replacement, Thandor junior had an idea how to use the new five-cylinder turbo in the Regent:
The 2500tiS was a new entry level not aiming the typical premium and luxury buyers. Instead, the $29.100 car aimed for premium family (sport) buyers - to keep the car under 30.000, it came with RWD and not as “turbo4” model. It was tuned for slight oversteering and had a rather rough suspension, mainly attacking the WMB 7-series model. All chrome except for the window frame was removed and the bumpers were made of plastic to give it a sporty look. A five-speed manual pleased the engaged driving businessman, and an all-premium five-seat interior underlined that even further. The worldwide sales were good, it was even a relatively good-selling luxury car in poor Dalluha, but it was admired the most in Hetvesia where the public welcomened sportiness in large premium cars and even Jack Thandor himself was wondered about the excellent sales report from there. And it played an important role for Archana, as it was the only model of the new Regents capable to run on regular gas.

The standard equipment featured variable power steering, high quality cloth, central locks, armrests for front and rear, dimmable “intelligent” interior light with turnoff-delay, power windows and mirrors, orthopedic front seats and automatically-adapting wiper interval depending on the speed you drive. The available wood trims were pear, piano paint and acacia.


The performance was more than adequate for an entry-level car and kept what the sporty appeal promised: Impressive 6,9 seconds to 100, 207 kph and 12 liter consumption - and service costs below annual $1.000, the upper limit for family cars.

The sporty part of the former 3000i was now living in the 2500tiS, so there was no longer the need to build the six-cylinder entry model with manual transmission. The Regent 3000ti recieved the Digishift automatic and an upgraded all-luxury interior, even better than the former 4000i. The 8-track stereo had eight speakers, digital equalizer, automatic antenna and a sound computer for different sound effects like stadium, concert hall and others. Leather interior, trip computer, aircondition, four power adjustable and heated seats, headphone plugin in the rear and other goodies. The wood trim offered a selection between mahagoni, cherry, chestnut, walnut , lime or padouk as the end of the “Oro” forced CMT to offer further possibilities for individualization in the “normal” Regent models.


As the five-cylinder was not fitting the car’s approach, John Frieder proposed using his new 202 horsepower 3,8 liter V8. But C.M. Thandor insisted on a six cylinder model, but urged for a turbo as the car should conceal the lack of low-end power of the old 1965 engine design and have V8-like characteristics in daily driving. Why they did not use a V8 then will always be C.M. Thandors secret.

The CV630-6582T engine quickly thrown together featured a ball beared twin turbo, forged pistons and the MCT multipoint injection as well as twin throttles. The car needed premium fuel - Thandor senior was never fond of the Archanean market and thought the 2500tiS should be enough and designed the 3000ti for Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia.
The result was - as planned - an evenly characteristic, not punchy, very distinguished but no lackluster, delivering 339nm @ 3200 rpm and 210 horsepower @ 5600 rpm, redline was 6100 rpm. The car was definitely slower than the 2500tiS, as it needed 8 seconds to 100 and reached 202 kph with 15 liter consumption. That showed the engine’s age, but the stats were still noticeably better than in the former 3000i with less fancy trim. It even showed the Regent 4000i its new taillights. $30.100 show how much cheaper to produce the engine was despite the twin turbo, as the $29.100 tiS model hat by far less standard features and not even an automatic. Yes, the car was not as fun to drive as the tiS, but the comparison to the old 4000i showed that there is nothing wrong with it except the engine reliability that was still not bad but not as good as the usually very high CMT standards. Even the oversophisticated all-alloy five-cylinder was more reliable.

The sales did not care: If the old models did not fade, the new ones had to go even higher.
As result, the 3000ti mowed down all competitors worldwide, and CMT even had to erease the Regent GT to be able to produce enough cars. Dalluhas president even drove the Regent 3000ti, as it was the most popular premium luxury car there. You want proof: Gasmean premium 165,5 score @ 84,1 %; Hetvesian 172 @ 81%, Frunia 165,5 @ 78%. But that was not the top, as the Donnington turbo4 had scores of well above 200.

The V8 had the difficuld task to be even better. The Regent 4600i recieved the 263 horsepower AV846-81 engine, allowing for 7,4 seconds to 100 and 217 kph, but 18,7 liter consumption were a lot more than the tiS. But comfort wise, swapping from 2500tiS to 4600i was like going from a camp bed to a kingsize water bed. The 4600i was basically a 3000ti but added a cassette drive to the radio and an air suspension, as the hydropneumatic introduced in the Excelsior 70i back in 1967 was considered as too complex and killing sportiness.

The car was sold for $37.300 which was really a lot of money - but not too much considering the opponents, as a Perpedes-Glänz 500S was slower, a Molls-Boye a lot more expensive and an WMB 745 not as comfortable and Candyllac and Washington were cheaper but hat nowhere the sportiness and performance of the Regent. The facelifted models starting in March were really the most successful CMT cars ever produced, and leaving out Archana with the 3000ti and 4600i was not hurting anywhere.

Listening to the customers

Surveys and tests showed the Le Castellet was still not a part of the old iron, but more power and a calmer handling were on the wishlist.
As it would not have made sense to develop an engine only for one car (no matter how successful it is), CMT presented an updated Le Castellet in June 1982. The 210 horsepower from the CV630-6582T were 50 more, and the calm characteristic of the engine fitted the drivability of the car by far more than the punchy five-cylinder. A rear spoiler added some downforce, and a direct comparison to an early 1974 model showed that the car had improved by far. Not to go for the new five-cylinder turbo was also a clever choice marketing wise, as it helped to offer a totally different anthargonist to the Donnington turbo4, so there were few overlaps.


Finally the car really suited track use, as 6,18 seconds to 100 were really fast. 226 kph were still no real thumb up but finally more than 210 before. The consumption dropped from 14,4 to 12,7 liter. Premium gas was needed, and so the Le Castellet disappeared from the Archanean market. The sales in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia were again more than excellent, almost as overwhelming as those of the Regent, and it also celebrated good sales as supercar in Dalluha, although $32.300 were hefty and nearlly $2000 service costs even horrific.

The Mix Car
A surprise was a new Astrona in August, as the current models were last upated in 1980. But again it was Horch that gave the kickoff. The Horch 8 quadra was a sedan with AWD and turbo - and CMT wanted to react. When the facelifted Astrona IVs rolled into the showrooms, CMT already started on the successor. It was totally mixed up in both styling and engineering, as communication in the company got lost as it grew fast and worked under maximum pressure.

The design was started by Gaetano Cembarelli who left in December 1980. He started with a wagon body and left some drafts to Marcus Thandor, another younger son of C.M. Thandor, who derived a sedan from it and accompanied the car until the early prototype stage in mid-1981. As CMT had not enough manpower in testing, Marcus Thandor was just kept in the prototype test area and got a new assignment there. Harold Keller took over on the Astrona V and finished it. So the car showed the handwriting of three people, and considering that the car still looked surprisingly consistent.


The exterior was all in all very conservative, especially compared to the avantgardistic predecessor. The Astrona IV is still loosely visible in the Astrona V wagons, as Cembarelli started with the Astrona wagon and made it edgier in his drafts. The front bumper vents with integrated indicators and foglights are clearly a Harold Keller feature, as it quoted the Excelsior 70 from 1972. The five door-shape was abandoned by Marcus Thandor as that design started to become completely uncommon again and a hatchback was making more sense in the Mantra-class compact cars. A conservative styling without innovation, not lighting up in the grey mass of midisze sedans, but wasn’t that their reciepe for success? The dimensions remained identical, but interior space slightly shrunk.

Technically, the car suffered worse from misscomunication and bad timing as the pressure to develop the car as fast as possible had been high. The first thing that was clear was that the car would remain FWD as the transformation from RWD to FWD in the Astrona IV turned out to be the right descision in the 4.5-meter-and-smaller midsize class. The RWD sedan marked was already occupied by the L-Class. Another descision was removing the rust-resistant panels to make the car cheaper and the fact that Astrona IVs lasted very long was not really dragging the customers back to the showrooms.

In late 1980 the engineering team tested a very early five-cylinder race-tuned engine in the car and complained that the MacPherson struts taken from the Astrona IV are more suitable for a car that has less power. The engine did not survive the test drive, they threw it out and continued testing with a 106-horsepower 2 liter four cylinder, but the change to double wishbone was approved. After that, an AWD system was tested with the two-liter-engine test car and also approved. In early 1981 it was stated that the car’s engine bay should accomodate “engines between four and six cylinders”. The engineers fitted a V6 in it and gave their OK. But they had put in a front wheel drive car…
When CMT wanted to test a turbo4 model in January 1982, Jack Thandor became furious with rage. Obviously, the change to double wishbone was made after an early I5 was tested. After that they built in a six-cylinder and thought as a 6 would be larger as a 5, the 5 would fit as well. But the V6 engine was more compact than the inline five and so… the engine did not fit in an FWD layout. And that meant an AWD system would also be impossible. But the existence of a turbo4 model that was not possible with the Astrona IV was the only reason why the whole car was built…
And the V6 turbo from the Regent that was tested as an alternative did not leave enough space for an AWD. As result, the Astrona V was damned to be a totally conservative FWD midsize sedan. And even that not as good as possible, as the engine had been mounted longitudinal, sacrificing interior space for the AWD system that never came…

Correspondingly joyless were the faces of the CMT responsibles at the public introduction party. At least the marketing team had done a good job and created a widely ranging trims, carefully distinguished from each other.


The CE was intended to catch the Mantra-promoters and cool calculators. As most simple sedans came in the 90-hp-range, it was fitted with an 1.8 delivering 92 horsepower with a single point injection. Mated to a four-speed and equipped with a standard interior with power steering, but no aircondition, only manual windows, no armrests but an RPM counter and a basic 8-track stereo, it was a balanced car for $16.200. A surprise were rear disc brakes as the public expected drums for the base trim. The performance was totally average as well, with an 0-100 time of 11,8 seconds and 171 kph top speed. 11,2 liter consumption were not really thrifty in the 90 horsepower class, but the car handled better than most competitors and ran on regular gas. In addition to that, the service costs were bearable. The sales were not overwhelming but not bad, as CMT was afraid that the car suited only for advertizing the price, but it sold ok, especially as fleet car.


The “real” Astrona started with the CL model.
Compared to the CE, it added a standard radio and a fifth gear as well as a two-liter engine. You could identify it by painted mirror caps. The 2.0 MFI with 106 horsepower changed to the 2.0 MPI with MCT computer-controlled injection and 115 horsepower. Meanwhile the trim level is not that large improvement, driving was a lot more fun, as the CE engine was quite effortless. The CL made the speedup to 100 in respectable 9,5 seconds and ran 184 kph - a benchmark in the two-liter class. The consumption of 11 liter was even slightly lower than in the CE. It had all features really needed, no affluence at all, and a decent handling with good power. The car sold good as affordable family sport sedan, as $17.000 were totally ok for it. The sevice costs were still not high, and the car was crowned “Best value for money choice for sport sedans” in Hetvesia.

CMT had the tradition that a really good trim level came with automatic transmission. As the Astrona V was aimed at sporty buyers, the GL still had a manual. The exterior looked more appealing with painted bumpers and foglamps and chrome grille frame, chrome window frame and a chrome frame for the taillights. The all-premium interior featured a good stereo, rear armrest, aircondition, front power windows, velours cloth, color glass, center locks and a little wood trim in the interior. The performance was still good with 9,9 seconds to 100, same top speed as the CL and almost the same 11,2 liter consumption. In Gasmea it was prized “The best buy family sport premium with a manual” as $18.600 were a sweet deal for it and in CMT’s new stronghold Hetvesia the car sold not only good but extremely good, in Frunia still very good.


Jack Thandor was well aware of the fact that for the still most important Gasmean market a car without an automatic transmission could never be a real success. The GLX model was therefore tailored for Gasmeans. It had the Digishift and also 115 horsepower - but coming from the 2.2 liter V6 known from the L220. Gasmeans hated four-cylinder engine sounds and the torque plus (173 nm @ 2700 rpm instead of 167 nm @ 3400 rpm in the four-cylinder) was another reason why to mount a larger, yet less economical engine.
Heavier weight in the front was also not helpful on a handling track, but the whole car was still sporty enough for Gasmeans, and the comfort was really excellent as the engine was smooth, the suspension soft yet nimble and the GL trim quite good, the GLX just added rear power windows and a variable power steering.
The car needed 11,8 seconds, a lot more compared to the GL, and 179 kph were maybe not really fast but on Gasmean highways you did not go over 130. The car was the aimed sucess for $20.400 not only in Gasmea but worldwide, and Archanas “Premium Car of the Year”. No wonder, as it was only $100 more expensive than the former “Astrona Exclusive” with the same engine, trim level and gearbox and it was faster and consumed 13,7 liter regular gas instead of 13,2. It outsold the $18.700 L220 by far, there was approx. one L220 for 14 Astrona GLX. The sales were almost as sensational than those of the Regent.


As the GLX was very affordable for a family premium, there was still enough space between the $20.400 GLX and the 24.700 L380 for a top-of-the-line Astrona. The Astrona 3.0 ELXt for $25.100 was even placed above the L380 as a “Regent light”, right in the middle between GLX and the Regent 3000ti ($30.100) and differing enough from the L380 not to cannibalize it that much.
It featured the biturbo 210 horsepower six-cylinder from the Regent 3000ti and added luxury interior that left no wish unfulfilled. While the L380 was a five-seater, the ELXt was a four-seater. On the exterior, it added chrome headlight frames and standard 16-inch alloy wheels. The performance was a benchmark in the family sport premium segment, as the car had 100 on the odometer after only 6,9 seconds. 216 kph were the maximum, and 13 liter were less consumption than the GLX. The car was another top-seller from CMT in Gasmea, as it aimed at those Gasmeans that feared the running and repair cost of a Regent but considered the L380 as too conventional. Every second family sport premium and premum car in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia sold in 1982 and 1983 was a CMT!
Another highlight was a comparison of a Frunian TV show, where the ELX kept up quite good with luxury cars for over $30.000 including the Regent, showing how good the “messed up” Astrona V really was.


After such high rising it is time to get back to the bottom end. CMT offered two wagons, the Carry CE
and the Carry CLX. The wagons were 10cm longer and as said earlier they quoted a little their predecessors in the rear styling. The CE for $16.200 aimed mostly at families with a slightly lower to average income or craftsmen. It was the slowest Astrona, but really not underpowered with 12,1 seconds to 100 and 170 kph, and 11,3 liter consumption were only 0,1 more than the CE sedan. Gasmeans rather avoided it, but in Frunia and Hetvesia the car was no non-seller.


For those that want a slightly premium wagon, the CLX had an interesting mix of CL and GL. It had the CL exterior but painted bumpers and chrom grille of the GL, the premium interior of the GL but the standard radio from the CL and all that mated to an automatic transmission and variable steering from the GLX for $18.800.
The car was faster and thriftier than the GLX, showing that the old CV630-65 engine was really starting to become outdated. The CLX had the 100 kph after 11,2 seconds and managed 181 kph, and all that for only 11,7 liter, noticeably less than the GLX. The CLX sold a lot better than the CE wagon, becoming a popular family car in Gasmea and a really common family utility premium in the other regions.

Another brilliant car just for marketing

As CMT conquered the worldwide leadership in premium sedans, there was no further need for another car, but C.M. Thandor wanted to establish the “turbo4” badge just like Horch did with the “quadra”.
And as the Astrona V did not work due to the rather unorganized developement, he came with an L380 and just told the engineers “Do it!”
The L250ti turbo4 might be not really fitting the drivetrain on the first look, but it was interesting how the car performed alongside the L380. The L380 was definitely not a simple lowtech car, but looked like a hammer next to a sushi knife. The turbo AWD model was even more expensive, as it was offered for $25.600 starting in September 1982. C.M. Thandor wanted a manual for it just like in the Talladega, but his son finally convinced him that a manual might be better in general for the “turbo4” concept, but definitely not in the L-Class.


The performance was identical to the L380, but the consumption was only 12,2 liter compared to 16,4 in the L380 despite having AWD, again balanced to the car’s weight distribution with 52/48. But the lower consumption was cannibalized by the much higher price and the higher service expenses. But CMT understood that downsizing could be a way for the future. That car sold excellent as well, but it took away Astrona ELXt and Regent 2500tiS buyers. At least they still went for a CMT and the “turbo4” sign became even more popular.

Very unspectacular was the last model for such an outstanding year. As the Listra CL and GL were dropped in March, and in November 1976 only the remaining GL offroad appeared as new, facelifted car. As Harold Keller left in December to start a career as free artist, he just slapped the “Mantra-face” on the van, making it look consistent to Mantra, Bingo and Spedex. No surprise was the engine swap from the old 106 horsepower two-liter to the 115 hp one. The only other change was the variable steering to improve the rather low onroad drivability. The stronger engine also helped offroad to pass gradients, and onroad the car needed acceptable 11,9 seconds to 100 and made 168 kph if anyone wanted to to long highway journeys with offroad tires. The consumption remained stable at 14,4 liter. Gasmeans continued love it for $17.500 as an offroad car, and it still sold in Hetvesia and Frunia.


#36

The L380 kinda looks like the LaFette. Just the rear is a lot better.


#37

1983 - no premium, please.

The transformation to a premium brand was succeeded - CMT could have dropped the Mantra without a successor. Instead, they kept the technical platform which was already a takeover from the Nexus and changed the car concept completely. As Bürgerfahrzeug Wolf, Lord Escorte, Appell Fähnrich and others were way more successful and there was no way to pass them, so CMT left the hatchback segment with only one exception. The styling was started by Marcus Thandor who had something rather usual in mind. But the new CMT leading designer, Takeo Yamaguchi, made the car look a lot sportier and more daring. Yamaguchi was wooed away from Tanaka due to a recommendation from Klaus Holtmann.


The Mantra became a sedan and grew to 4,06 meter - for former Mantra buyers that do not want to go down to the City III, CMT offered the Mantra City, a shortened 3,77 meter hatchback, coming only as three-door four-seater.
The boxy styling and a traverse engine allowed for good interior space. With a standard interior and a basic radio, the car offered not a lot of comfort despite the roomy interior. The car also lacked a power steering, as it was quite light. The Mantra City was supposted to be thrifty but agile, featuring a new turbo engine built on the 1100ccm three-cylinder, sending its power to a four-speed manual. The car accelerated to 100 kph in respectable 11,5 seconds, and 155 kph top speed were ok. The real surprise were only 7,5 liter regular needed by the 75 horsepower engine. The engine was quiet with two noise absorbing mufflers, but the reliability could have been better. But the $12.700 were an attractive offer. Gasmeans, Frunians and Hetvesians bought it as City Eco, but Archaneans avoided it even if it ran on regular.


As most commuters, especially in Gasmea, prefer sedans, the City engine was planted into the “real” Mantra, called ECO. The second oil crisis was not too long ago, so CMT saw potential. The only difference was a five-seating interior - the rest was identical to the City. The car needed now 11,9 seconds, but the consumption remained very low with 7,6 liter. In Gasmea, the car failed as they wanted by far more comfort in a commuter car. Few standard equipment, no power steering, a manual transmission and last but not least an - in contrast to the four cylinders with twice the size dominating the segment - shaking three-cylinder. Only the Frunians actually bought more than a handful of the ECO.


As CMT avoided using an engine in only one car, the next step upwards featured the 92-horsepower engine of the Astrona CE. The CAI420-1892 was often criticized for being unwillingly and thirsty compared to the latest two-liter variant, but it was relatively cheap to produce. As automatic transmissions became more and more common in commuter and family cars, and as the car had no sporty approach in contrast to the Astrona, the Mantra CL recieved the Digishift. Other improvements compared to the Eco were a power steering, larger 14 inch wheels with 185 tires and a better standard stereo.
The engine allowed for 11,7 seconds acceleration, and the top speed increased to 163 kph. A really downside were 11,6 liter consumption, disqualifying it as a good commuter even if the rest was fine. In Gasmea not many people bought it as a family car, and neither Hetvesians did, but the Frunians saw an affordable, roomy car that was easy to drive, and the engine reliability was good. Archana that was becoming poorer and poorer was a good market to sell it as Family Sport, and $15.800 were less than the $16.200 for an Astrona CE with a four-speed manual and a simpler stereo.


The popular 115hp two-liter was offered in the GL that was a real step up. The exterior featured painted mirror caps, chrome window frame, foglamps and a chrome grille. The premium interior added front power windows, cruise control and central locks, the stereo was still a standard one. For an automatic car for $16.600 the performance was more than standard, as after 9,9 seconds 100 kph were on the odometer, and 175 kph top speed were strong on the highway. The consumption was lower than in the CL, now needing 11,1 liter regular gas. Gasmean families preferred it over the CL, but for Hetvesians and Frunians the Astrona CL was a good alternative if an automatc and the few premium GL goodies were not needed - nevertheless the GL was an ok seller there. As Archaneans started to avoid the Astrona in the family sport premium segment due to its price, the Mantra became stronger there.


For the same price there was also the GLX, a wagon variant. Its performance was similar, acceleration was now 10,3 seconds and 11,3 liter were needed for 100 kilometer. A good and not un-succesful, more comfortable and quicker than the Astrona CE wagon if the still spacious interior fulfilled your needs.



The Gasmean youth missed the Jarama, the hard, fast and affordable driving machine. The successor, the Zandvoort, did not really return as a similar car. The Zandvoort was by far more comfortable. It had the mighty five-cylinder turbo, but 215 horsepower were a lot for an one-ton car that was only four meters long. The front wheels were overstrained, and it was not possible to mount wider tires than 185 ones on the 15-inch alloy wheels. So the car came with standard automatic transmission, a sacrilege outside Gasmea for a sports car. The car traded in the standard tires for medium compound ones, and the car differed from the Mantra models by having a partially clad underbody and a four-seat interior, but nicer than in the Mantra City as it was based on the GL trim. The front disc brakes were now vented, and the power steering was variable.
The design differed a lot from the Mantra it was based on, as it featured the front and rear design originally planned by Marcus Thandor before Yamaguchi took over. To add more individuality seperating it from the Mantra base, it had a further inclined A-pillar for a sportier look.


The brilliant engine propelled the car in only 6,3 seconds to 100, and 213 kp were a lot for such a small and light car. The 10,8 liter consumption seem more than just thrifty considering the automatic and the immense force dragging the car foward.
For $21.700 it was the cheapest - and definitely not expensive - possibility to own a car with the almighty CMT AI525 engine. Despite the severe understeer it had, it became a successful car even if the platform was never designed for engines with more than 150 horsepower. Especially Archaneans were pleased, as the price was hot.

At the same time, CMT tried to establish a Bingo sucessor. Despite having a modern engine, latest safety features and front disc brakes, the Bingo looked and felt like yesterday even if being great fun, especially for the low $11.500 price.
The City III recieved a three-door variant, meant as sporty yet affordable car for young people. The main objective was keeping the Bingos Go-kart feel but adding more practicality and especially some comfort.
CMT took a City CL, added variable power steering for more fun, gave it the better-looking three-door body and fitted a fifth gear. The suspension became harder, and power came from the 75 horsepower engine from the Mantra City / Eco. The light car was kicked to 100 in only 10,5 seconds, and 158 kph were respectable for such a tiny car. 7,6 liter consumption were the same as in the Mantra Eco, even if having partially clad underbody. Nevertheless, the sales were quite acceptable, but $13.800 were really ok for the performance but a painful step up from the Bingo. For that reason, CMTs oldest current model remained on sale until december 1984.


The Regent GT ended in 1982 and the last dealer cars were sold - but what to offer in the GT class? C.M. Thandor wanted a facelifted one, but the aluminium panels and the generally complex car would need a lot of production units, and the giant success of the Talladega showed potential in the cheaper and simpler to produce L-Class platform. As compensation, the car featured another roofline allowing for more interior space, so that the rear passengers sat as comfortable as in the Regent GT.
Another reason to go for the L-Class as base car was that the Regent also had the currently strongest CMT engine, the 4.6 liter V8, and there was no possibility to set the coupe apart. The L-Class only had the 3.8 liter one, and the 4.6 unit also found in the Talladega added exclusivity. The car recieved AWD system from the L-Class turbo4, also with automatic transmission, and was called L460.

The car was very fast, 0-100 kph in only 7,2 seconds and 209 top speed at 17,6 liter premium gas consumption. The handling was surprisingly firm but comfortable, with great drivability, stable but not boring. The interior was all-luxury with comfort and extra features not found in any other L-Class based car. The remaining sportiness was not low at all, and that car pleased old men as well as yuppies. For $36.100 the car sold brilliant in Gasmea, in Hetvesia another hype started as no other car was that sporty while featuring pure Gasmean plush and comfort, and even Frunians that not really loved Gasmean-spec cars were more than just pleased and crowded CMT dealers. Even Dalluha reported success: The best-sold GT premium was the L460. C.M. Thandor tested it and summed up: “The Regent couldn’t have done it much better.”




#38

1984 - more turbo power

As the Astrona did not allow for a turbo4 variant with the almighty AI525 engine, CMT nevertheless wanted to make use of the concept in the midsize sport sedan. The longitudinal engine layout allowed for an engine based on the CAI420, so the next step was creating a new turbocharged inline four.

Unlike the 1977 variant with 170 horsepower, the new CAI420-84136T was tuned for tameness and drivability, making the turbo4 in the Astrona not a track performer but a car that you could rely on no matter on what road you go. But as the Astrona was a sport sedan, CMT avoided an offorad tuned suspension.


The 136 horsepower engine was responsive and quiet, although the reliability could have been better compared to the naturally aspirated engines. It used premium gas as the Archanean market became less interesting for CMT. The engine is today famous for being the very first CMT engine with catalytic converter straight from the factory. It was an innovative high-flow converter, minimizing the power loss caused by the clean exhaust. CMT was often criticized for staying only a minimum under the governmental regulations, and in times of acid rain and dying forests there was urgently a need for a progress in that matter.


The car itself was actually not really fast yet not sluggish. 100 kph were made after 9,5 seconds, and 185 kph were the top speed, and 10,3 liter consumption were the lowest among the Astrona V models. To keep a sporty image to the turbo4 models, the car had a manual transmission.
For a price of $23.100 the car offered a lot: It had the GLX interior and added futuristic unique alloy wheels and digital gauges. The sales were good, and most of them went to Hetvesia, and Gasmean sales were surprisingly strong for a car that had a manual transmission.

The engine was mild enough to serve as top-end variant for the Mantra II. To set it apart visually, the sedan styled by Takeo Yamaguchi recieved the front design from Marcus Thandor as seen on the Zandvoort, the only change was a more ornate grille. The alloys and digital gauges were directly taken from the Astrona turbo4. The rest was identical to the Mantra GL, including the automatic transmission, but recieved the premium stereo from the Astrona turbo4 and rear power windows. The AWD system was not added as the Mantra was never planned to feature one, so the adaptions would have been way too complex.

The Mantra TGL was quite fast for its average-family-car platform, reaching 100 kph after only 8,35 seconds and going as fast as the Astrona turbo4. The 10 liter consumption were less than in the slower GL, but $18.200 were over $1500 more and the urge for premium gas egalized the lower consumption. Nevertheless the TGL was an interesting alternative in the family car market and sold not too bad, but it was not as popular as the “conventional” GL. But the package you got might let you think twice before buying an Astrona GL for $18.600. In terms of value for money, even the highest-trim Mantra left a good impression.



#39

1985 - More sport for the company

With the beginning of the year the CMT brochures came without the Bingo although the sales were not really bad, but … the official CMT low end (ignoring the City III without badge) was now the Mantra City. Another car sacrificed for the 1985 lineup was the Donnington 3000i, as both engine and trim were outdated, leaving only the turbo4 two-seater as driving machine.

For the people that wanted a back seat - at least suiting for children - CMT had something new to order, planned to be released in February. CMTs designer Yamaguchi introduced a radically new styling, much more daring and modern than before, with rounded shapes unlike the edgy and boxy models like Deliveroo, Donningon, Astrona V or Mantra II.


The Zandvoort targeted young people, but a price of over 20.000 was just affordable for those young guys with wealthy parents or a good job right from the start. And the Mantra Platform was just too simple for such massive power.
A totally reasonnable sport budget car, at least a 2+2, using an already existing chassis layout and fitted with less powerful engines yet offering solid performance - that was what Jack Thandor wanted. The suspension was taken from the Astrona IV, as it proved itself as capable for the 150-horsepower-range yet being a secure understeerer but better than the Mantra platform.

The all new Monza, 4,3 meter long, arrived in two trims with different approaches, called CS and ST. The opinion was split, as some called it a “dented pear”, others a “piece of modern art”. With traverse engine and 2+2 layout, the vehicle provided spacious front seats as well as enough trunk space, allowing for bearable long-distance travels for a couple.

The CS was a totally average car, it came with steel wheels, totally standard interior, featuring manual windows but power mirrors, RPM counter but no cruise control, and so on. The safety features were state-of-the-art, and the car came with variable steering, vented front disc brakes (four disc brakes in total) and a partially clad underbody, but hard long life tires. CMT was criticized for lacking ABS in their cars, and the company finally reacted and fitted the Monza with such a system without extra cost.


The CS featured the highly-complex AI525 engine, but without a turbo and cut back to two liter. The result were 124 horsepower, just the right amount of power to create a sporty feel but not more. The noise was appealing yet really loud in this car, the characteristic pleasant, the reliability ok. The car accelerated to 100 in 8,7 seconds and reached 197 kph - solid values back then and a good output for 9,8 liter regular gas. This engine was the last new one without a catalytic converter, but the highly complex layout of the CMT five-cylinder allowed for low emissions even without one, totally fulfilling 1985 regulations worldwide. The price was rather a thumb down, as $20.000 were not really cheap considering how standard it was - the highly complex AI525 engine was the main reason, but the car made enough fun to sell great worldwide, even in Archana and Dalluha.

The ST trim recieved its engine from Mantra TGL and Astrona turbo4, but was also a lot richer than the CS. The exterior featured additional foglamps, chrome decor, another front bumper and alloy wheels with medium compound tires. The interior was more premium, adding cruise control, trip computer and other goodies, but keeping the standard radio unit. Although the car was even faster with 8 seconds to 100 and 203 kph top speed at only 8,8 liter (but premium) fuel, it was somewhat cheaper with only $18.400 asked by the local CMT dealer.


Although more quiet, faster and more comfortable for the lower price, the ST was not always the better car: The CS had the better drivability, featured more sportiness and was more reliable. But as it was the sweeter deal for most people, it sold even a lot better than the CS, leaving the I5 for enthusiasts - except for Archana where they did not have the fuel and had to go fo the CS only.

The next car was the Bathurst, a real four-seater that added the portfolio in June, replacing the Donnington 3000i. It kept the layout with all double wishbone suspension and partially aluminium panels and was as long as the Monza with 4,3 meter. The car did not fit an AWD drivetrain, so the 215 hp turbo engine almost tortured the rear wheels despite a visco differential when stepping with maximum force on the gas pedal from standstill. The handling was a lot more nervous and instable than in the Donnington turbo4, adressing at least experienced semi-professional drivers to get the maximum out of it.


That maximum were stunning 6,3 seconds to 100 kph and ambitious 236 kph top speed, while 9,5 liter consumption were low for such a fast vehicle. But all that fun had a price: $28.400, a lot more than for the Donnington 3000i, but the predecessor felt like a horse carriage in comparison. The success came quick, as the car featured a sporty interior with all comfort features usual in the $30.000 range as well as a premium cassette radio - and finally also antilock brakes. The car sold excellent worldwide, surprisingly especially in Archana where it was a daily usable, more practical alternative to supercars, yet payable in maintenance and purchase.


#40

1986 - minor changes

CMT still worked hard in the development center, but as a new offensive was planned for 1987, only a relatively small CMT stand was on the large car exhibition in March 1986.

As the Donnington went into its 9th year, the exterior started to age - and Marcus Thandor, assistant to Yamaguchi, refreshed the car without changing it too much. The front end now resembled somewhat his design for the Zandvoort, the rear end took the lights from the Deliveroo - and looked surprisingly good with them. As the engine was still an outstanding performer, no changes were made there. But the large hype was over, and the sales started to drop, even if from a very high level. The in-gearbox differential was changed to a cheaper visco one, but as compensation the standard 8-track stereo was changed to a newer and better standard cassette unit. Another change was the switch from medium compound tires to sport tires on one inch larger alloy wheels and minimally larger rear brake discs. Another significant addition was a standard antilock brake system, improving the excellent handling once again.


The test track time changed from 2:27,68 to 2:24,00 - mostly due to the tires, now using all the grip the AWD and the suspension can offer. The straight line performance became a little worse, acceleration dropped to 6,07 seconds and topspeed to 217 kph. The consumption slightly climbed up to 10,5 liter. To justify the rosen price, now $27.300, the car featured some chrome to look more premium.

The sales did not jump back into 1982 regions, but remained stable now, still selling great in all regions.

Although the AV846 engine was relatively modern and featured a quite good combustion, the environmental laws in Gasmea were tightened once again - As a new L-Class was in the works, that car would be updated soon anyway, and the end for the Regent was in sight although CMTs flagship still sold strong, so it was the Deliveroo that was facelifted a second time. As Harold Kellers 1981 rework of his rather ugly 1978 design turned out to be good, Marcus Thandor only changed smaller things, the hood was a little lower now, a fancier chrome grille was mounted and the headlights above the chrome bar had another shape, that was everything. For the enty-level 3800 nothing was changed except the engine, as the car sold good. The 3.8 liter recieved the multi-point injection and a normal three-way converter, now resulting in 196 horsepower - a little less, but still resepctable. 9,2 instead of 9 seconds to 100 kph were no real difference, and 178 instead of 180 kph top speed really did not matter in a truck. But the consumption drop from 19,1 to 17,2 liter regular did matter, although the same could be said for the higher $21.600 price, so the sales did not jump up but the car was ready for another five years in production.


CMT dared to offer the premium SE model now with the same engine and dropped the 4.6 liter variant - this resulted in the car being less powerful than its utility premium competitors. Nevertheless the price jumped up quite a lot to $25.400 although using a cheaper visco differential now. Where is the progress?
It is in the interior - the new dash not only featured a premium cassette radio but also finest materials, genuine walnut wood, treated leather that remained soft yet being hardy and long-lasting, power everything from heated seats to a cooled glove compartment and a wood-and-leather steering wheel, so the SE did not have to fear the comparison to a premium sedan. In this luxurious interior race driving was pointless, so most buyers did not mourn the larger engine formerly mounted, and 9,66 seconds and 182 kph were no sluggish values, not to forget the better economy.


Another car was finally a new one, actually the larger brother of the Bathurst, called Kyalami.
C.M. Thandor told in 1976 that he will do a 10-year job as company president but after that he would definitely retire. As his goodbye present from the CEO chair was the Regent GT he still had as main private car, his children Jack, Marcus, Albert and Lina decided to give him a modern interpretation of his beloved personal luxury car. His wife Theodora also told him that this “dinosaur” might better not be his last car, as the engine was thirsty, the hydropneumatic wallowy, the CSII automatic sluggish for modern standards and the scratches and dents from 250.000 Gasmean miles might not let the car look as representative as it once was when new. But the L460 was not the car of Thandor’s choice, so something newer and better was needed.


The suspension was taken from the Bathurst with all-around double wishbone suspension, but the partly aluminum panels were deleted for rust resistant steel as the old man loved the superior and heavy feel of his Regent GT, so the Kyalami should not become too light. But 1607 kg were still not too much for a 4,77 meter car and almost the same as his 5,18m and 1673 kg Regent GT.

The suspension allowed for comparable comfort even without the complex hydropneumatic, and a totally modern all-luxury interior gave the old man a similar comfort to what he was used to in his current car with handcrafted interior.
The engine was the 263 hp V8 with 4600ccm displacement, but mated to an AWD and automatic transmission for maximum drivability, as the reactions of the 81-year-old were no longer among the fastest. Variable steering and ABS were of course part of the standard features. Another innovation was a fully clad underbody, allowing for 247 kph top speed although C.M. Thandor avoided going over 200, a tribute to his age. The acceleration was surprisingly slow with 9 seconds to 100 kph, but enough for Thandor senior not to feel underpowered. The 16,9 liter premium gas consumption were a progress compared to 23,4 regular in his old Regent GT with 265 horsepower that accelerated in 8,3 seconds.

The Kyalami was available for everyone else at CMT dealerships, but the luxury four-seater required hefty $41.500 to obtain. The average age of its buyers was quite high, as the car was not too fast, but very comfortable and incredibly easy to handle on any surface in comparison to its power. The rear design might have been a little to sporty and ambitious for what the car turned out to be, but you looked definitely like a cool grandpa in it.


That was it for 1986, except that the new brochures distributed while the exhibition featured ABS as optional feature in the Astrona GL, GLX, ELXt and turbo4. The frugal budget CE buyers would definitely never spend that money, but some buyers that would have taken the value-for-money CL now had to buy a GL if they wanted that innovation.