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CMT - The reboot


#41

1987 - Another model offensive

The new brochure published in January left out two older CMT vehicles - the Le Castellet was finally cancelled after 13 years and two facelifts, the major one in 1982, and the Listra offroad van was no longer available for ordering, also having the last update in 1982.

The annual auto salon in March saw a gigantic CMT stand - the new company president Marcus Thandor proudly presented not less than 16 (!) new cars.

After seven years, the City III looked bland and the 1973 engine design was overtaken by some small car specialists like Daihatschi. Designer Yamaguchi gave the car a sportier look, relating to the front design of the Mantra and refreshing the rear as well. John Frieder developed a new generation of three-cylinder engines, basically by increasing the displacement marginally to 1,2 liter and by adding a new cylinder head with four valves per cylinder instead of three and changing the SPI to the more advanced and meanwhile common MPI system.
A converter had not been mounted, as the more advanced construction featured low emissions and the engine should remain cheap. The output were quite powerful 73 horsepower and 103 nm @3400 rpm.
The trims of the car had also been renewed.

What to tell? All City III models became a little safer and the suspension setup was improved for at least a little riding comfort.
The new base model was the LX, featuring a frugal basic interior with a basic stereo, and progressive springs, power steering or ABS were not even available at extra cost. That car allowed for no options, not even a passenger side mirror. But the $13.000 were real budget car range, and the performance was more than just basic: 11,8 seconds to 100 were quite fast for a budget car with three cylinders and a four-speed manual, and 154 kph top speed allowed for a secure ride on the highway, overtaking trucks with ease. 7,8 liter regular pleased the empty pockets of college students, single parents or seniors with a tight pension.

The DX trim for $14.100 was already noticeably less affordable, but came with a standard interior that added coolant gauge, foldable rear seats, glove compartment and a center console with ashtray and lighter as well as variable power steering and a passenger side mirror. While the top speed remained the same, the speedup to 100 was now done in 12,2 seconds. The consumption increased to 8,6 liter which was in no way economical anymore, but the comfort was a lot better compared to the LX.

The DX was also available with automatic, also featuring progressive springs for $14.900 which was already slowly starting to leave the budget segment. Drivability and comfort were very good for a mini car, and 13,1 seconds and 152 kph were better than almost all competitors with automatic. The 9 liter consumption were not such a big jump like from LX to DX.

Especially for Gasmeans, the EX which based on a DX Automatic added premium features and materials, such as rpm counter, power mirrors and front power windows as well as center locks. A standard cassette radio pleased the occupants as well as tinted window glass. An unique feature in this class was standard ABS. The ride comfort was excellent for its wheelbase, and 9,2 liter consumption beat most larger cars featuring a similar comfort. 13,9 seconds and 151 kph were a tribute to the rich trim, but still more than enough for city use. But $16.700 were rarely spent for a minicar outside Gasmea. It was a common sight in crowded areas like Liberty City, easily maneuvering through traffic jams and finding a parking spot almost everywhere.


The refreshed City was an immediate success, letting sales climb up sucessfully worldwide as the use of 91 RON fuel was possible in Archana. The Maxi and the three-door CS saw no return for 1987 as the Maxi took away buyers of the larger CMT family cars, so the City Maxi was blamed for the Mantra’s weakness. As the new engine made more fun, the need for a sport model was no longer urgent enough to justify a further production of the CS.

A completely new developement was the Hypro, intended to replace the Mantra, but finally sold alongside it. Yamaguchi gave it a slightly sporty styling, and indeed, it was more fun to drive than the Mantra that was still based on the 1971 Nexus platform. The hatchback was only 3,8 meter long, the sedan had a lenght of four meters - as the Mantra. The wagon was not much larger with 4,1 meter.
The aim was to attack the Bürgerfahrzeug Wolf and Appell Fähnrich once again, as the compact class had been a too important market to leave it to the competition. One main change compared to the Mantra was the use of the Astrona rear axle for better driving.


The Mantra City has never sold well, as the Mantra with a trunk that had been cut was of no interest for the customers, it was deleted for March 1987 in favor of the Hypro CE. CE - that meant pure entry-level. The car was equipped with the 73-horsepower inline three from the facelifted city, and that power was definitely sufficient for a base trim, as 12,3 seconds to 100 and 168 kph were well above the competitors in the 1200ccm class. 7,4 liter consumption were also a benchmark, surprisingly better than the smaller City III.

The five-seat interior was standard and not too simple, having glove compartment and center console, tray folds in the door panels, rev counter and other small things at no extra cost. Aiming at families, the car surprisingly featured standard central locks. The basic stereo was a little outdated though. The car came with a four-speed manual, and neither power steering nor ABS were available, but a 900kg car was also drivable without power steering. For $13.800 it was a good deal, and especially in Frunia the car sold quite ok, definitely a lot better than the Mantra City that was rolled into the Hall of Shame. The Hypro had low service cost and good reliability and quickly established.


A huge step up price wise for $16.400 was the CL. The five-door hatchback added variable power steering and a standard cassette radio. Power came from a new 1,6 liter variant of the well-known CAI420-76 engine, returning clean 93 horsepower thanks to a three-way converter. With the same four-speed manual as the CE (but a longer gearing), the accelleration did not change much with 11,6 seconds, but on the highway the four-cylinder set itself apart, archieving 181 kph, respectable for a 1.6 liter compact car. But 10 liter consumption showed that the four-cylinder engine is less advanced than the AI312-87 of the CE, although it wasn’t too much considering the converter and the better trim.

Gasmeans avoided it as it was not really comfortable for the price and more focussing on the sporty part, but for Frunians and Hetvesians it was definitely more successful than the Mantra, although a well-equipped Mantra GL with 115 horsepower was available for $16.600, only 200 more.


The typical Gasmean family car was a sedan with automatic, and therefore CMT changed the CL into the LS. Except the body and the transmission nothing was changed, but the $17.300 LS allowed for a direct comparison to the Mantra GL - the suspension was a lot better and more comfortable, the drivability noticeably better and the interior was a little more spacious. The LS accelerated in 12,5 seconds to 100 kp and went up to 183, and 10,2 liter consumption were low for Gasmean family cars.

The LS sold as planned and was among the most successful family cars, also great for commuting. Surprisingly, the LS was even more popular than the CL in Hetvesia and Frunia. In poor Archana the LS was considered as premium family car and became one of the market-leading cars.


Based on the LS CMT offered a Hypro LC, and the C stood for “carry” - the usual CMT wagon title. For $18.400 the LC added standard ABS, but otherwise it was nothing else than a more spacious LS with good utility. 12,8 seconds, 179 kph and 10,5 liter together with the higher price made it less popular in Frunia and Hetvesia where the price was considered not as expensive but not as a bargain, but in Gasmea the LC sold excellent.


As the better equipped cars always sold better for CMT, there was no surprise in offering a “LE” trim. Compared to the LS, it added a premium interior with high quality cloth, power windows for front and rear, ABS, a small wood bar on the dashboard and arount the gear lever as well as power windows. The standard cassette stereo remained the same. The exterior looked a lot more expensive with painted bumpers and mirrors and a lot of chrome trim.
The biggest change was under the hood, as the car came with a five-cylinder - totally unusual in the compact class and a standalone-feature. The engine was the same as in the Monza CS, so it had no converter, but 124 horsepower that propelled the car to 100 kph in 9,3 seconds and allowed for strong 196 kph. The complex engine altered the service costs, but the economy was great as the LE needed only 10,1 liter. Price: $21.500 - not a bargain, but the car was really good. Gasmean sales were strong, and also Hetvesia and Frunia saw quite a few of them driving around.


Propably the most stereotypical “Family sport” was the Hypro LT that shared only the shape with the ultra-reasonnable LS. The “power for money” rating would be A+++. The interior was the same as in the LE. From the exterior, the car was quite showy with two-tone paint, standard alloy wheels and grille in “satin black”. Painted door handles and a slightly lower ride underlined that this car is acutally not another pampers-carrier.
The car had only four seats, with front sport seats and a contoured rear bench and a five-speed manual. A turbo engine was not used, as CMT thought the potential buyers would not pay too much attention to driving it warm and cold as they should and the punch would definitely stress the driveshafts too much.
Instead of that, CMT took the brilliant 1982 turbo engine and removed the turbocharger while adding a three-way catalytic converter. 152 horsepower were left, and the 2.5 NA engine featured 205 nm @2600 rpm - enough for such a light and small vehicle. The 60/40 weight distribution was not really perfect, but the car was not made for the track but for showing a little of while the daily driving to work.
The tires were changed to medium compound to avoid wheelspin, and the front discs were upgraded to vented ones. The drums on the rear increased a little in its size to avoid fading.

For only $21.700 the car offered superb performance, needing only 7,6 seconds to 100 kph and going 220 kph on the highway. All that combined with a superbly low consumption of 10,2 liter made it an attractive package. The service cost with annualy $860 was a lot higher than in other Hypros, but quite affordable compared to other cars with a similar performance. The test track time of 2:35,29 showed that the Hypro chassis might not be a true sports car, but for what it was intended to be the car was just a really good one.
So the car sold with overwhelming success in the family sport range and the young people that wanted it could even get it by the bearable costs. For that reason, the Mantra-based Zandvoort which was offered for the same price was dropped after only four years.


Badge engineering was quite common since the 50s, and CMT finally realized that the large amounts of different models were quite expensive. As the really great success came in the early 80s, CMT was everything but poor, but it is never wrong to reduce cost.
The Mantra was just cheap, the Hypro affordable and sporty, but relatively small, the next L-Class grew dramatically in size and the Astrona was a sporty and quite premium sedan, CMT lacked a car in the 4,5-meter class. In early 1986, CMT joined the manufactor Maxton, but as their new Senator was almost done the related CMT hardly differed from its counterpart. The engines were CMT ones, the trims had different features and the interior featured gauges and steering wheel from the Astrona, switches and buttons from the Hypro and the one or other Mantra part like the gearknob - a colorful mix from other CMT sedans. Even some parts from the 1981+ L-Class were used.
The exterior was almost completely unchanged and so was the suspension that had a quite similar layout. The CMT Senator came in two trims, the CL and the nicer GLS. The intention was both to replace the unsucessful L220 and to offer a car more fitting for the Archanean market.

Both trims were RWD cars and used engines from the reliable CAI420-76 four-cylinder family and came with rust resistand chassis and panels - that car was quite sturdy. The suspension was a lot simpler than in most other CMTs, a front MacPherson strut and a rear solid axle on coil springs. The Senator was built to last and undemanding.

In the CL, you got quite a large car for your money, as the $20.500 vehicle had a length of 4,64 meter which is the size of the now-ending L-Class, it had four disc brakes and at least a standard interior with front power windows, power mirrors and central locks. The radio was also standard - nothing wrong so far. The engine was the 115 horsepower unit from the Astrona and Mantra, still without converter, mated to a four-speed automatic. On the other hand, the power steering was not variable and ABS was not even available at extra cost. The car accelerated in 11,7 seconds to 100 kph and allowed for 190 kph - a lot faster than the L220, but mediocre in every way, as well as the 11,5 liter consumption.


The GLS was a huge step upwards compared to the CL and aimed at those who considered the new L-Class as too progressive and too large and disliked the higher prices. The all-premium interior was designed for Gasmean taste with excesses of plush and plastic, the steering was variable and ABS standard and changed hard long-life tires to medium compound ones.
The engine was now the 136 horsepower turbo seen in Mantra, Astrona and Imola - with clean exhaust. The car was not that much faster, but 10,9 seconds acceleration and 205 kph top speed at 10,4 liter consumption were not bad considering the high trim level. $25.700 were lot for a car with simple engineering, but the trim was rich and the build quality high - a really premium budget.


The sales were a disappointment. The simple suspension killed driving fun almost completely which was double the pain as CMTs were usually known for good handling. But as the car aimed for conservative buyers that would usually go for another brand the simple but sturdy Maxton had been chosen for a reason.
The CL was as unpopular as the L220, only Gasmeans bought more than a handful of them, and in Archana it was at least no total flop. But Frunians saw it as a lemon.

The GLS worked in noticeable amounts, but the Astrona ELXt sold much better in the price range and was honestly the better car. A Senator GLS buyer was mostly over 65 years old, elected the conservative party and hated children, loud noise and told everybody that everything had been better in the past. But to be honest, Astrona buyers were definitely not as young as CMT wanted. The average Astrona buyer was 54… Another problem of the GLS was the urge for premium gas, so it was not sold in Archana. In 1990, the demand for the Senator dropped to almost zero, and instead of giving it a rework to make it more CMT-alike the car disappeared as quick as it came. Even today the car has no real fanbase and the prices for an used 1989 Senator CL in acceptable condition are lower than for a similar 1989 Hypro LS.

CMT dared a lot with the new L-Class. As the L-Class, with exception of the L220, still sold strong although a 1975 debut and only a 1981 rework, the chassis was kept and became only larger, but the layout was still the same. The size increased dramatically, as the wheelbase was extended from 2,65 to 2,93 meter and the length from 4,64 to 5,25 meter, getting very close to the size of the Regent.
The design from Yamaguchi was also a complete 180-degree-turn as the formerly Gasmean baroque had been given up for a very sleek and aerodynamic look, and critics called it the “CMT Whale” due to its shape and size. The giant rear overhang and the fastback-like styling were definitely something to discuss as well as the front without a real grille.
On the other hand, the interior space of that car was really gigantic, and it accomodated five full-size adults with ease, and the trunk space was enormous, even compared to the Regent that car felt like a yacht.

The L-Class moved away from midsize to fullsize, but instead of aiming the premium and luxury buyers it was adressed at Gasmean families, giving up the will to serve as a “world car”. The engine was nevertheless quite Frunian, as it was the complex five-cylinder instead of a simple six-cylinder like in most lower-end fullsize cars in Gasmea. The engine was “borrowed” from the Hypro LT, and 152 horsepower allowed for 9,9 seconds to 100 kph and 204 kph - that was beating most six-cylinder opponents, and 13 liter consumption were quite good for such a large car. Despite the Gasmean-spec emphasis it was available on all continents. The base model, the L25 GX, was yours for $24.300, only 400 less than for the previous-model L380i with a V8.
It came with the four-speed automatic, longlife tires, vented front brake discs (rear solid), a totally standard interior with four power windows, central locks, cruise control and cassette compartment below the stereo. Variable power steering and ABS as standard features made it very driveable. The suspension was not hard, but firmer as on most other fullsize cars in Gasmea, making it almost fun to drive for its huge size. The car entered the Gasmean market with acceptable sales despite it’s unusual looks. Some Hetvesians bought it as the contradiction between car and engine was unique, but Frunians avoided it. Archaneans accessed in the Family Sport Premium market in an acceptable amount. Not too bad overall.


The 380 model returned in the new L-Class, now featuring the catalytic converter engine from the Deliveroo. Alloy wheels were a nice feature. The interior was now premium, as it added leather, cruise control, aircondition and heated power front and rear seats as standard equipment. The contoured sport seats were similar to those in the Hypro LT, but larger and even more comfortable, resulting in the car being a four-seater. The standard cassette radio remained. The suspension was only a hint firmer in the rear, as the L25 setup was already not the softest. The power was exactly in the small gap between “enough” and “quite a lot”, speeding up to 100 in 8,7 seconds and running at maximum 226 kph. 14,6 liter were quite good for a large car with a V8. And $27.700 were not too much considering power, comfort and size, so it had good sales in Gasmea as family sport, and again a CMT was crowned “Archanas Premium Car of the Year”, being a surprising success there.


After march 1981, only the L250 turbo4, the L460 and the Talladega remained on sale. L220 and L380 were replaced by L250 GX and L380 SX.

The last new car for 1987 was the Canyonero, also a tribute to the Gasmean taste. The rugged Deliveroo was able to handle hard work, but trucks became more and more everyday cars. That meant: Good onroad drivability, four seats and low consumption were in the focus of midsize trucks.
The Canyonero looked a little like the Deliveroo in the front, but much sleeker and more aerodynamical, and from the part of the engineers the car was much more car-like, as it had a monocoque instead of a ladder frame, but the monocoque had been reinforced to be able to resist twisting, for example when driving with heavy load over bad terrain. The suspension layout is a copy of the CMT Senator, so are the rust-resistant panels. When the marketing thought of what Gasmeans want, they considered building a Senator pickup.

The 4,8 meter cars were always four-seaters, but aimed at different target groups.
The LE for $25.600 was something for traditionalists, featuring the 3.8 V8 like the Deliveroo, standard interior and radio like the Senator CL, automatic transmission (like the Senator…) and hard onroad tires instead of offroad tires. Variable steering was standard, ABS not. 8,6 seconds to 100 and 191 kph top speed were a lot for a medium truck, and so were 17,8 liter consumption. Sales were OK in Gasmea and still not too bad in Hetvesia, but Frunians completely avoided it.


A different car was the LS - it came with the 152-hp-five-cylinder like in the Hypro LT and L25. It had AWD instead of 4x4, the offroad clad was switched to a fully aerodynamical clad, and the car added both premium interor and radio as well as standard ABS. Due to the smaller engine, it was definitely slower, needing 10,4 seconds to 100 and reaching only 172 kph, but 14,3 liter consumption were better for everyday city use. The car was a real family utility premium, and that is what the people wanted, so it sold much better than the LE in Gasmea and was close to a success, although not a market leader. In Hetvesia and Frunia it was a very successful utility premium, as the Deliveroo turned out to be too “heavy duty” for the preferences of the buyers to have really good sales. $27.900 were really a lot of money for it, so Archaneans liked it but the affordability was too low to become a top-3 utility premium.


With four quite different truck models (Deliveroo base and SE, Canyonero LE and LS) CMT covered the truck market very effective, being a full-line-distributor and now in the top five of the largest car manufactors.


#42

1988 - Mostly good old V8 power

In January the L43 EX arrived, marking the top end of CMTs fullsize family car. The engine was a new variant of CMTs very succesful AV846 engine, now planned to deliver 250 horsepower as that would be the optimum between power, efficiency and drivability. To archieve that amount, the engine size was cut to unusual 4,3 liter. The internals were all made of cast iron and the car had only single throttles, a tribute to make it payable for mass production, but the airflow system was very well engineered and the converter was a high flow unit, so the developement was quite long, started back in 1985. This engine would become one of CMTs most sold, and it served in almost all upper-priced CMT models.


Besides another bumper with larger vents, the L43 EX featured all-premium five-seat interior, with an eight-speaker cassette player with sound computer, autoreverse and other goodies. Automatic, variable steering and ABS were of course standard for $31.300 - significantly set apart from the L38, but not too premium in order not to attack the Regent that awaited its second facelift. The mostly-chosen Regent 3000ti was cheaper but had not much in common with the L-Class.
On the road, the L43 threatened Gasmean domestic fullsize family cars with much larger engines (usually between 5 and 6 liter displacement) with stunning performance: 0-100 kph in only 7,74 seconds, 244 kph top speed and bearable 13,1 liter consumption of regular gas. The L43 EX replaced the L250ti turbo4 that now rolled into retirement, an AWD system was not intended for the second-generation L-Class although the chassis remained the same in its layout and it would not have been too complex to adapt the drivetrain.

The Talladega was dropped for 1988, and the L460 two-door with the larger interior compared to the Talladega recieved a successor, the L430 CS with the same engine like the L43 EX. The “430” was the old numbering, not changig to “43” as CMT did not want to hide that the two-door model was based on the old one - it was obvious anyway. The design featured totally different and - considering the predecessor - radically modern head- and taillights, more contemporary mirrors and door handles.


With the 250 horsepower engine, the car accelerated in brisk 7,26 seconds to 100 kph, but 209 kph top speed showed that the car was mainly aiming at straight-line performance and pleasant cruising. For a car that is basically 13 years old, 14,3 liter consumtion are quite ok, especially considering the excellent trim: Four power adjustable heated and vented leather seats, even a heated or vented armrest, cruise control, automatic air condition, and much more, not to forget the AWD system. The cassette radio was among the best offered on the whole car market, and it even included a recorder to record your favourite tracks directly from the radio station. The digital sound computer was also integrated in the center console.
$ 37.500 might be a lot for a car, but considering the overall package included, like the ultra-mega-hyper-standard equipment and the modern V8 engine as well as good workmanship, there was no wonder the L430 CS recieved good critics. It was one very special kind of crossover, a GT (not a premium one, this car has a too simple chassis for a premium GT), muscle and muscle premium, a hint of family sport premium (the enlargened rear interior was really spacious for a two-door) and sports car (yes it CAN do cornering with the simple chassis and the engine is good) and somehow fun premium as it was really easy and fun to drive. Gasmean sales were much better than expected, really ecxellent, but in other regions the car sold rather modest - but this car was really tailored for Gasmeans, so this was calculated.

In February the Regent recieved its second update which was urgently needed. In the mid 80s, the competitors started to introduce new generations of their luxury vehicles, and the lead of the Regent became smaller and smaller, and the car started to age although the sales were nothing to worry about.
As the new L-Class scored with extremely spacious interior, powerful engines, good standard equipment and more, the Regent was under heavy internal pressure. To elevate the Regent back to former prestige, CMT decided to offer the second facelift only with V8 engines, a clear difference to the L-Class as the L25 GX came with five cylinders. The hierarchy was reestablished, but how to update a 1975 design for the 90s?

C.M. Thandor did it on his own, as he did not accept anybody modifying his “baby”, the Regent. For a few weeks he was daily driving to work again, despite his age of over 80. In spring 1987 the design was done, and the engineers started with the technical part.


The looks of the car did not change a lot, as a Regent should always be recognizable as a Regent and the car was meanwhile considered as traditional, tasteful and proven by the public. The competitors came with sleek, aerodynamic looks and ascetic hightech computer design, Thandor held up against that with chrome and royalty just like a proud old man would do.
The front became a little shorter and flatter, improving the cw-value a little and as no V12 was ever realized, the slightly smaller engine bay was absolutely no problem for the engineers. Headlight wipers and a large ornamental chrome grille might seem out-moded, but fitted the name Regent quite good, as some crown badges underlined, one in the grille and two at each side on the rear fenders, attached to another chrome bar above the taillights, separating them from the trunk.

Not everything fought against the change of taste, as mirrors and door handles were taken from the current Astrona, and side indicators like on most late 80s cars also showed that the Regent tried hard to keep up with the competition. Overworked electronics and details in the interior, a new set of more modern-looking alloy wheels and some other tweaks showed that the time of the Regent was not over yet. All Regents featured now automatic transmission and air suspension, even the base model, and the suspension system was perfected with adaptive dampers - even Tanaka, Ursula AG and other serious competitors had few to held up against the new Regent. Needless to say that all Regents added ABS as standard feature, formerly optional since 1986.


The entry in CMTs top-end sedan was the L380, featuring the “small V8” that ran on regular to give the Archaneans a proper luxury car, as $ 36.800 were definitely a huge amout of money there. The five-seat luxury interior fulfilled every wish you may have, starting from massage seats (an innovation not seen before in any car) going over infra-red remote locks and not even ending with an LCD trip computer in the center console. The stereo system was not the luxury unit from the L430 CS, but definitely a very premium one.
The engine was no lackluster and made the sprint to 100 in 8,8 seconds, and on the highway 197 kph were possible - only 16,7 liter consumption were not among the best in this class.
Archaneans liked it as it was planned, and the renovated oldie conquered back sales and reached the #1 status as luxury car for $ 36.800 as this car was exactly what they wanted - same in Dalluha but the low purchase power made it an exotic there.
Gasmeans, Hetvesians and Frunians bought this car almost as much as back in 1982, and it defended it’s status as the ultimate premium car.


The 196 horsepower five-seater was also aiming at rich families where it succeeded, but the mid-trim model gave this up to go only for the premium families, selling there even more than the 3800i in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia for $ 37.800, only $1000 more.
Besides a four-seat interior with two power adjustable contoured seats in the back the only improvement was the engine, now featuring the 250 horsepower unit known from the L43 EX. The Regent 4300i propelled to 100 kph in only 7,6 seconds, and 214 kph allowed for some showing off on the highway. 14,8 liter gas consumption were totally adequate for what the car offered.


If you were super-rich and able to afford a car for $ 41.400, the Regent Diamant was a good choice. Compared to the 4300i, it finally added the luxury stereo with cassette recorder from the L430 CS and another engine, now CMTs strongest one available.
The 250 horsepower 4,3 liter engine was bored up to 4,4 liter and recieved forged conrods and pistons - the result were higher possible revs and a smoother character and last but not least 266 horsepower - 16 more. The engine was developed to serve in the L-Class with police package.
The Diamant recieved a special diamant-shaped badge on the rear, and a two-tone paint was optional but rarely ordered. The stronger engine allowed for 7,26 seconds acceleration time and 220 kph top speed, and the consumption even dropped a little to 14,4 liter, but the 4.4 urged for premium, as the very top end cars were too expensive for Archana anyway.
In Gasmea the Diamant became a good luxury car, selling satisfactory, but in Frunia the Regent even re-established as #2 in that segment, in Hetvesia even by far as number one, showing that the car was like a good wine, maturing with dignity to become better and better.

The price was rather low for the luxury class and the performance equal to other more expensive ones. The profit already made with the Regent allowed for the very competetive pricing. Skipping the 4300i, the Diamant was exported to Dalluha were some were sold as luxury premium, but the car was only rank four in the segment.

In March CMT polished their figurehead, the Kyalami. This broke the record for the fastest facelift, as the Kyalami had been introduced in 1986. That car was CMTs top model, but inofficially developed for the company founder and designed to please an old man who loved driving a personal luxury car in a modern shape.
But the GT premium segment had moved on, and the Kyalami lacked style and performance to really become an outstanding car climbing the Olymp. Therefore the converter-less and slightly outdated 4.6 liter V8 was kicked out in favor of the 4.4 police package engine featured in the Regent Diamant. At the same time, the exterior got some tweaks like a more sophisticated rear styling, another front bumper that featured the indicators and foglamps integrated in the vents like in the Astrona and some chrome. Overall, the car looked more consistent and premium now, as a figurehead should.


In the interior the car now recieved the LCD trip computer from the Regent instead of a monochromatic one, and the luxury cassette radio added the recording function. The heated and vented armrest and massage seats also found their way into the car. The “traditional” suspension was gone, CMT installed the air suspension with adaptive dampers like in the L-Class for a perfect ride.
Performance wise, both the automatic and the AWD slowed down the car, but 8,3 seconds to 100 kph and 250 kph top speed were a huge improvement over the old model, and 13,7 liter consumption were quite thrifty considering the car being a fully-loaded large coupe.

The $ 46.100 price tag underlined that this car offered everything possible in 1988 and did not leave out even a single thing. The sales in the GT premium segment were more than satisfying, leaving the competitors behind. CMT was riding on a wave of success with their top-end models.

The lower end was added something to in June, as CMT unveiled a new convertible after a long time of having none. It was based on the Hypro, as small and affordable ones built on compact cars were a trend.
CMT took a Hypro LE, cut off the roof, and that basically was it, so it came with automatic transmission.
The specs were very similar to a five-door LE, going in 9,3 seconds to 100 kph and running 196 at maximum, all that for 10,1 liter regular and $ 22.000. In Gasmea, sales were quite good considering it’s a small convertible, but Frunians were very pleased and bought it quite often. Hetvesians did at least not avoid it, but the real surprise was Archana: Every third Hypro cabriolet went to an Archanean dealer!


Another car not often seen from CMT was a van. The specifications booklet had the headline “DON’T make it a Listra”. Instead, CMT took the rather cheap-to-produce Hypro platform, and stretched it to 2,78 meter wheelbase and 4,83 meter overall length. The seven-seater featured a galvanized chassis and partial aluminium parts - CMT was leading in lightweight mass production in the late 80s. Only 1321 kg and the 152 horsepower engine from the L25 allowed for superb performance, needing only 9,4 seconds for the 100 kph sprint. 210 kph were well in the range of sedans, and 12,2 liter regular quite good for a van chasing most sedans.
The exterior was designed to have a certain link to the L-Class, as this was CMTs most prestigious family car.
For $ 24.700, the Express 25 TL aimed at those that considered the L25 as not practical enough or just needed the space. The interior was premium, with cruise control, four power windows, variable steering, ABS, leather seats and aircondition and a standard cassette stereo. The adequate value for money made it a good and strong seller in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia, but Archaneans and Dalluhans did not buy it at all.


Last but not least in July was an attempt to a modern interpretation of a muscle car. CMT Frunia was responsible, and what they built was just the opposite of the L430 CS despite sharing engine and gearbox. Based on the Bathurst, the AI525T engine was swapped against the AV846-43250, and 250 horsepower were quite a lot for the light coupe. For that reason, the visco differential was kept, but an automatic transmission had been added to the car. The interior was not as sporty as in the 2500T, but had all the premium features wanted by Gasmeans. In addition to the 2500T the 4300 added adaptive dampeners. On the paper the car looked competetive, 0.100 kph in 6,5 seconds, 244 kph top speed and 11,5 liter reguar consumption. But the handling was as tricky as in the 2500T, as the car just became too light for all the power, and an AWD did not fit into the car.
Nevertheless it was a quite good looker even after three years, the comfort was good, the power more than enough and the $ 32.000 price quite acceptable for a car that fast - so the Gasmeans really bought it as muscle and fun premium car. But the real success was made in Frunia and Hetvesia: A Frunian muscle car, that was something rarely seen, and as it lacked competitors the sales were brilliant, and in Archana it became the most desired GT car from 1988 to 1991. Everything done right in 1988, and CMT was on the solid way to become the third-largest car manufactor in the Automation world.



#43

Isn’t that illegal? :thinking:


#44

Cassette recorders were a common thing in the late 80s. We used to record the tracks as in my rural home area only few “cool” artists were available in the local shop. But mostly the DJ talked in and ruined it, and some interruptions were made for traffic announcements. The copyright law wasn’t that point there as it is today with youtube, and that illegal thing with music is mostly a German problem where it’s escalating the most afaik.

1989 - Peparing for the 90s

CMT planned a vehicle for Archana - it had to be cheap in first place, but strong offroad. CMT kept it simple and used two solid coil spring axles, a ladder frame, traditional 4x4 and not even a galvanized frame. Cheap, proven and suiting an offorad. To reduce costs, the car became as small as possible, as it was only 3,63 meter long and 1050 kg heavy. This allowed for using the 73 horsepower three-cylinder, still delivering acceptable performance. 100 kph were on the odometer after 15 seconds, and 152 kph were an acceptable top speed. 9,7 liter regular consumption show that the engine has to work hard in the car, but a feel of underpowering was not present. The transmission was a simple four-speed manual, but the car recieved a manual locker - cheap and effecitve on difficult terrain.


The car was sold for only $ 13.200, a price quite low considering it’s still going where others fail. The reliability was not bad, and the standard interior came with acceptable materials and finish, and a power steering (but not variable) and a simple cassette radio add what was needed for bearable comfort. As it was small, underrated but a strong performer offroad, it was called the “Miyagi”, like the old master in Karate Kid movies that were popular these years.
Sales in Archana were definitely good, and the car had a strong start. Also Frunians liked it very much as offroad car, for Hetvesians and Gasmeans it was a considerable budget choice in the offroad segment, and even the poor Dalluhans bougt a few of them.


Most Gasmean police cars sold by CMT were L25 with the 4.4 liter V8 engine - underrated on the first look, spacious, sturdy and last but not least fast. The next release in January was the L-Class PPV (Police Pursuit Vehicle), basically an L380 with the 266 horsepower engine as a normal detective car, but it looked different as it was designed for special forces and did not even try to hide as a civillian car. The L-Class was considered looking ok for a detective, but too cautious for a real police interceptor used by the FIB and other special forces. The PPV featured the air suspension system from the 1988-onwards Regents, allowing for differend ride height and chasing villains even after leaving proper roads. 10.000 units were produced in 1989 and 1990, after that the car was dropped. Spare parts are very rare today, and the body parts are very much sought-after to upgrade civillian L-Class models, as the front parts are - unlike the rear - interchangeable. Some dismissed cars were sold at auctions and were handed in to civillians, but most were heavily worn-out after more than five years hard service and went directly to the scrapyard.


In April the Astrona V rolled into retirement, after seven years without change except making ABS optional for higher-trim models in 1986. A facelift could have worked, but Jack Thandor disliked the front-longitudinal layout and wanted to give up the “traditional” sedan part the Astrona V mainly had. Instead, CMT started developement on an own rear-wheel-drive successor for the badge engineered Senator.
Although the basic chassis design was kept, the Astrona VI had not much in common with its predecessor. The great success of the Hypro LT encouraged CMT to build the Astrona very much like it, light, sporty, affordable.


The engine was now mounted traverse as it was in the Astrona IV and originally planned in the V, which allowed for a shorter body at identical interior space, now only 4,38 meter long. To elevate the Astrona from the Hypro and to give it a standalone position in the market, it was not available with four-cylinder engines and always a four-seater, not a five-seater. The entry was a 2.0 liter five-cylinder. Another progress was that all models came with standard three-way converters, in the Astrona V only the turbo4 had one.
At the same time, CMT used its lightweight-build-expertise and gave it partly aluminium panels, in case of the new Astrona hood, trunk and doors. The base model was still 1075 kg light, but it featured 120 horsepower, a better power-to-weight ratio than most competitors had in their mid-trim models. This allowed for the removal of an Astrona V feature: The rear disc brakes were eliminated and the VI came with drums.

There was no longer a CE model, and the price for the CL rose from $ 17.000 to $ 20.000, and the horsepower increased from 115 to 120, but considering it’s a derivative of CMTs legendary AI525 engine, comes with catalytic converter and has aluminium parts the price did not seem too high for it.


The CL had plastic bumpers, a standard interior with central locks, color glass, digital clock with exterior temperature gauge, rev counter, door panels with armrests and compartments, a basic cassette radio, variable power steering and other goodies. The engine was a two-liter delivering 120 horsepower mated to a five-speed manual, mainly to attack the ADM Madrid Estate with an 115 hp-DOHC I5 engine. The Astrona CL made the sprint to 100 kph in only 8,8 seconds and allowed for superb 198 kph, but needed only 9,7 liter gas, although the engine urged for premium. The Astrona was no longer designed to be sold in Archana. Those specs were a huge improvement over the 1982 Astrona V CL, and the handling was again excellent, this time even more responsive and neutral than the predecessor. The car aimed at Frunian products, such as Beta Giulia or F.S.A.
The car had worldwide good yet not overwhelming sales as family sports, but as planned especially the Frunians bought it, making it the segment leader from 1989 to 1990.


The next model was the CS for $ 22.500, featuring the same engine and still a manual, but a standard cassette radio, premium interior having seats with fabric-leather comination, four power windows, trip computer, front and rear armrest, ABS, two-tone paint also on bumpers and also alloy wheels.
Top speed and consumption remained the same, but the addidional weight changed the 0-100 time to 9,2 seconds - still fast enogh. The CS was also a good seller, and it was awarded Dalluha’s best family sport premium, becoming a well-known status symbol in the 90s Dalluha.


120 horsepower were definitely enough to have fun with the Astrona, and the trim level of the CS was also sufficient, but in a car with such a sporty layout, more power was never a bad idea. CMT took the 2,5 liter 152-horsepower-engine from the Hypro LT and mounted it in the CS, adding medium compound tires, a better premium radio and different alloy wheels - and the Astrona LS was ready. $ 24.500 were 2.800 more than the Hypro LT, and the car wasn’t as quick, needing 8 seconds instead of 7,6 to 100 kph and had the same not-perfect 60/40 weight distribution. Nevertheless, the test track time improved from 2:35,29 to 2:34,94 due to the better and more sophisticated suspension. 214 kph top speed and 10,9 liter regular were definitely adequate for the price, and the LS became another good yet not sensational seller, and it was even exported to Archana where it had quite good sales as family sport premium.


Despite the sporty Frunian character, there had to be a rather old-fashioned comfortable model for the important Gasmean market. The LE trim for $ 26.000 added chrome on the exterior, a brand-new traction control system supporting the ABS, and finally the well-known four-speed Digishift automatic. Performance dropped but was still strong, as the car now needed 8,35 seconds and 11,4 liter regular, but still made 211 kph top speed. The LE was the most popular Astrona model, and to everyone’s astonishment and confusion even in Frunia - automatic transmissions are more and more common even in this country that looked for sportiness. Dalluhan managers often drove an Astrona LE. as it was a lot more cool than an L-Class.


A CMT that was innovative, completely unusual and highly individual, a freaky top-model was out of question. Everone expected an update for the legendary 215-horsepower turbo engine, but that would have been too logical. CMT fitted in the traverse FWD chassis the 4,3 liter V8! The engine bay was crowded and maintenance difficult, but driving was a lot better than the engineers themselves thought. The wheelspin was close to zero, thanks to medium compound 205 tires and the automatic transmission, and the traction control like in the LE did a fantastic job. To stop this monster, the rear drum brakes were canged to vented discs.
Only the “LT” badge and the rear spoiler differed it visually from the LE, but the engine noise of 250 V8 horses in a light 1244 kg sedan clearly identified it as a wolf in a sheep’s coat.
Devilish 6,66 seconds were needed to speed up to 100, and 240 kph top speed were a threat on the highway even for sports car drivers. Needing quite acceptable 11,5 liter regular, the LT was a real success selling in amounts never expected, as the competitors featured nothing similar to this car, and $ 31.600 were almost the same as for the L43 EX, but L43 and Astrona LT were like hippo and lion.

Finally, CMT went back to its origins, offering unique cars offered nowhere else. For the conservative John Doe, there were still the predecessor-based Astrona wagons that remained on sale.


#45

1990 - All in for the next decade

The 80s were extremely sucessful for CMT - and they invested more and more money for their developement center. CMT employed a team of 5000 engineers, designers and product managers worldwide in their developement centers - impressive considering they had 15 in 1946 and 1000 in 1960. This allowed for a giant offensive for 1990.

Again the delivery vehicle was becoming the oldtimer, and CMT offered the Spedex II since january. The Mantra-face was eleminated for a new design with a little relation to the Hypro. Power steering, even if not a variable one, was added as standard equipment. The new dashboard was still part of a basic interior, and the basic 8-track stereos mounted in early Spedex II were outdated leftovers from the CMT storages. Nevertheless, the comfort was quite ok for a delivery vehicle.


The greatest innovation was under the hood, as CMT unveiled a new generation of four-cylinder engines. The AI418 family was related from the legendary AI525, the fifth cylinder was cut and the remaining displacement of two liters reduced to 1,8, with a little more stroke than bore. As the engineers did not accept that there were no new technologies featured since 1982, CMT added a VVT for the intake, improving economy. The Spedex might have been the only 1990 delivery car with a four-valve DOHC alloy engine. The AI418-11091R variant was the most used in the early 90s, it returned 110 horsepower and made the Spedex II a nimble car, as 11,1 seconds to 100 kph and 175 kph were well above the average performance for such cars despite using a four-speed gearbox. 9 liter regular were a pleasant consumption for a car being in commercial use all day, and the reliability was good.
All in all, you got a car capable of paying back the hefty $17.000 price with its abilities, and it was a good seller as heavy delivery, lighter and more economical than most competitors.

The Miyagi with thee-cylinder remained unchanged and were rebadged as “CE” as CMT offered higher trims from now on.
The next was the LS, recieving the 110 horsepower engine, but keeping a four-speed manual like the CE. The LS had the same rather cheap interior like the CE, but added the stronger engine to the 4x4 drivetrain, allowing for better offroad performance as the I3 was sometimes pushed to its limits in difficult terrain. Onroad, the 37 extra horsepower allowed for 10,5 seconds to 100 and 175 kph - remarkable for a small 4x4. 9,1 liter consumption were even lower than the weaker CE, not to forget the fact that the LS had a three-way catalytic converter. The only reason not to prefer the LS over the CE is the fact that the LS needed $17.000 to have it parked in your driveway, $ 3.800 more. Nevertheless, the sales were good.


For Gasmeans, CMT introduced a model with automatic transmission and richer trim, called LX. $ 19.600 were definitely a huge amount of money for a car that small and not even featuring a galvanized chassis, but the LX offered a four-speed automatic, power windows, aircondition, heated seats and other goodies. But the steering was still not variable, and ABS was offered as optional but rarely ordered. The LX recieved the 12095 variant, requiring premium gas that was available everywhere in Gasmea, but increased its output by 10 horses to 120 in total. The performance remained stable compared to the LS, accelerating in 11,3 seconds, going up to 177 kph and needing 10 liter premium. The car was the most successful Miyagi model in Gasmea, but in the other countries it would not have worked, so considering worldwide sales the LX was the rarest. A very progressive thing was that LS and LX had a standard driver airbag.


A surprise was that the Mantra reappeared, as the sales dropped after the introduction of the more modern Hypro. CMT carefully re-arranged the lineup, leaving only three trims.
The exterior changed to a front design inspired by the Astrona VI, and the rear featured bubble taillights similar to the L-Class police special forces model.
The entry-level trim was the LS, featuring a new 110 horsepower engine and therefore getting better engines than the Hypro. But it was not the 1,8 liter variant from the Spedex, instead CMT also offered a 1,6 liter variant, the 16110, needing premium gas, so the car was not on sale in Archana. The standard interior had front power windows, central locks, variable steering, a simple trip computer, rear headrests and other small goodies like a basic cassette radio, and even a driver airbag like all post-1990 Mantra models. The transmission was the well-known four-speed automatic, as this car was designed to be a Gasmean fleet car - simple, cheap, reliable, easy to drive but effortless in handling and prestige. The engine allowed for 10,6 seconds acceleration, 168 kph top speed and 9,6 liter consumption. The $ 17.300 price was dragging some people into CMT showrooms in Gasmea, but Hetvesians disliked it and in Frunia its low sportiness hampered sales despite not being a non-seller.


For $ 19.800 CMT offered the ES, sharing the 1.6 liter engine but adding four power windows, ABS and aircondition as well as foglamps, a better trip computer, center front and rear armrests, velour cloth, optional aircondition and a standard cassette radio with four speakers and automatic antenna. The brakes and suspension were adapted to the slightly heavier weight. The car needed 11,1 seconds, allowed for 168 kph and 9,9 liter premium. In Gasmea, the ES sold quite good as a traditional small family car, and it suited commuting quite good. In Hetvesia and Frunia fewer people bought it, but it was a considerable alternative in the family car market.


Archaneans did not get the LS and the ES, but they had the GS. The GS was basically a LS wagon designed for maximum utility. The 110 horsepower came from the 1.8 liter variant needing only regular gas, and the wagon body made it practical. The suspension was tuned for light offroad capability, and offroad tires and skidtray make it a serious attempt for a 2WD car. The Matra GS for $ 19.000 was a more family-suiting alternative to the Miyagi LS. 10,5 seconds to 100, 170 kph and 9,2 liter were quite average but good for the price, and Archaneans bought it, as well as all other countries, in medium amounts. The GS was definitely one of the more unique CMTs trying out new ways.


In March, the Astrona V showed lifesigns. The two remaining wagon trims were reworked, now having a front design adapted to the Astrona VI. The rear was definitely a change, but not to the good considering press reviews.
The wagons recieved only four-cylinders, as they had no aim at sports like the Astrona VI. Both models shared the new 110 horsepower 1.8 engine.
The Carry CE traded in the outdated basic 8-track for a cassette radio, but that was it despite a driver airbag. The manual transmission was still a four-speed, and ABS was not even optional. The price rose from $ 16.200 to $ 19.700, but do not forget the inflation since 1982. The performance greatly improved, as only 10,3 seconds were needed to speed up to 100 kph, and the wagon made 181 kph. The consumption dropped to only 8,6 liter - now the basic Astrona had a little wheelspin. The worldwide sales were neither excellent nor disappointing.


The more expensive wagon for $ 22.500 was the CX, more expensive than the Astrona VI CL, but it came with four power windows, aircondition, velour cloth, and other comfort features as well as ABS. The stereo system was only a basic cassette player. The engine was shared with the CE wagon, but mated to an automatic that still allowed for 11,3 seconds acceleration, 178 kph top speed and 9 liter consumption. Gasmeans loved it as family utlity and for a car that was originally introduced in 1982 sales were more than just impressive. In Frunia and Hetvesia the sales were very competetive but not market-leading.


The RWD CMT Senator, the badge-engineered Maxton, changed from a bad seller to a non-seller and CMT pulled the plug in April 1990. The successor was another model based on the Astrona V, but the design was not adapted to the Astrona VI, instead it was a mild facelift following the old Astrona design and therefore called Astrona Classic. It had the same engine as the wagons, automatic transmission, and even more comfort features than the CX wagon, like an automatic aircondition and heated front seats, the stereo was a standard cassette one. The suspension was more comfortable, and it had both ABS and traction control. Due to the conservative looks, the high comfort, the reasonnable engine power and the affordable $ 24.000 price it was mocked as the “CMT Pensiona”, but the sales were sensational in Gasmea, making it the number-one communter, commuter premium and family car as well as a good premium budget. In Hetvesia and Frunia the Astrona Classic outsold its successor in the family premium segment due to the low price, and still made a good premium budget - nobody mourned the Senator.
The “Pensiona” was not boring on the road, as 11,3 seconds acceleration suited most situations, and 178 kph were respectable on the highway. 9 liter regular seem totally adequate considering the car had excellent comfort for its price range.




In July, the Astrona VI recieved its entry-level model, the CE. It removed the painted mirror caps and finally went for a four-cylinder, the 120 horsepower engine known from the Miyagi LX. The amount of horsepower was identical to the LS - but the car was thriftier at almost identical performance. It accelerated in 8,9 seconds instead of 8,8, reached 199 kph instead of 198 but needed 7,9 instead if 9,7 liter premium gas.
Surprisingly, the CE was not even cheaper than the CL, requiring $ 20.000. So the descision between four and five cylinders was a question of personal taste. The CE sold quite a few units, but compared to the Astrona Classic nothing to celebrate.


CMTs jump into the 90s was quite sucessful thanks to the new engines - now CMT is again state of the art in economy, reliability and technology, doing everything to keep their excellent market position they reached in the 80s.


#46

1991 - Fighting with the world’s best.

CMTs top end premium and luxury cars were definitely not bad, but the competition was intense. The Regent had an excellent reputation, but was nothing else than a well-made relic of a bygone age. It sold still strong especially considering its origins from the mid 70s, but the high society of the rich AND beautiful preferred sportier models.

In January, CMT polished the Bathurst. This was necessary as the almighty Donnington turbo4 was gone in late 1990 and the 1985-onwards Bathurst 2500T had nowhere the excellent drivability of the old legend as it was too light for its power and unable to fit the AWD. The updated Bathurst should do the job and become an at least bearable replacement - with electronic help, as well as further defending it’s current rivals like the Tanaka 300X.

The 2.5 turbo engine was finally updated - a step long overdue as the engine was one of CMTs real figureheads. The horsepower gain was minor, now featuring 222, but the car also came with high-flow three-way converter, reacting quite late as most other brands already had a converter for all models in 1990.
The new Bathurst 2500T was sold for $ 28.900, not much more than the pre-facelift model in 1985, and it added a new premium cassette radio with more functions and - more important - the traction control as the 1234 kg RWD car was completely overstrained with the power and was prone to spinning when flooring it. The drivability of the car greatly improved, and the DPC-2 (Dynamic Power Control) was digitally connected with the ABS CPU, so the systems interacted together to even offer an early predecessor of an ESC system.


Surprisingly the specs remained identical, needing 6,3 seconds to 100 kph and making 236 in total, but the consumption significantly dropped from 9,5 to 7,8, mainly a merit of intake VVT and forged low-friction pistons.The sales improved back to it’s former glory, selling great worldwide, even in Gasmea.

There was actually no longer a need for the V8 model with automatic, but Jack Thandor was not sure if the updated 2.5T would really score in Gasmea. And the L430 CS, the last survivor of the 1975 first L-Class generation, started to become old-fashioned despite the very large and thouroughly facelift in 1988 and was planned to be dropped for 1992. The 4200T for $ 35.400 featured CMTs all-new top end engine, a turbocharged 4,2 liter version of the AV846 engine returning 279 horsepower. This engine also featured the latest CMT innovations like VVT and low friction parts, allowing for better economy than the former 4300 model, as it needed now just 9,3 instead of 11,5 liter regular. Also equipped with DPC-2, the car accellerated to 100 in only 6,18 seconds and allowed for 251 kph. Despite a high level of sportiness, the four-seater featured excellent comfort, and Gasmeans loved it, even if they also bought the 2500T in large amounts. In all other areas the car had solid sales, as it was a very comfortable sports choice, not as agile as the manual version with five cylinder, but definitely sportier than the Kyalami. A good compromise between those two.


Also new in January was the Canyonero LTO. SUVs started to become popular, and CMT rushed a two-door SUV based on their medium-duty pickup, and as they wanted to give it solid onroad performance, CMT fitted the 222 hp inline-five turbo. An awkward car - an AWD offroader with sports car engine, premium interior but only a basic cassette radio, offroad tires, suspension and skidtray but many driving electronics helping onroad but annoying offroad. The car fast fast, pleasant onroad and - with electronics turned off - a decent offroader, but too inconsistent and overambitioned. 6,5 seconds to 100 kph were beyond all needs for an SUV, even if 10,4 liter were a great economy for the car. It was no total flop, but it sold dull for $ 28.300 when compared to other CMT models that were among the market leaders.


In April, CMT renewed the Kyalami once again, now the second facelift in five years. The front looked edgier, the rear more “reduced” and less complex. The strong competition like AMA Kingbird, Berkeley Devon Turbo and others came very close to the 1988 Kyalami, and reviews mostly critizised that 266 horsepower were enough, but not more than that and the desire for power grew year by year. The 279 from the new 4.2 turbo now might not have been a giant plus, but the torque improvement with the rather mildly-tuned turbo did help a lot as the AWD was capable of transferring it into wheelspin-less movement.


The new Kyalami accelerated in 7 seconds instead of 7,2 to 100 kph, and it reached 251 kph instead of 220 - important for Hetvesia where unlimited highways conceal the lack of top speed. The consumption dropped from 14,4 liter to only 11,1. still needing premium gas.
The Kyalami featured everything CMT had technology wise, and it came with the best and finest materials, being an incredibly luxorious and spacious coupé. so the hefty $ 54.900 price did not stop it from defending its excellent market position in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia, sucessfully competing with the best of the best.


In September, CMT announced that the production of the Regent finally ends in mid-1992. The IAA exhibition in Frunkfart, Hetvesia featured the Sucessor, the CMT Sentinel.
The Regent was often compared to a tasteful but dusted luxury yacht - the Sentinel is a speedboat in comparison. The whole car was smaller with “only” 4,77 meter length and a lot flatter, featuring a tighter interior than it’s predecessor. Those looking for a chauffeur car were pushed to the L43 EX, but its solid rear axle and bubble design were not really reasons to go for it. The Sentinel aimed at dynamic businessmen, not at aristocrats.
The chassis was a brand-new developement, the front double wishbone suspension was identical to the Regent, but the all-new multilink rear axle was a real innovation.
Lower center of gravity, more advance suspension, smaller dimensions and almost perfect weight distribution - the sporty look of CMTs new top-of-the-line sedan was justified.

A step back from the Regent was the fact that the Sentinel came with partially aluminium panels while the Regent had all-aluminium panels. This was a result of the Regent being very difficult to produce in large amounts and the constant struggle to produce enough cars to meet the giant demand. While all Regents had a partially clad unterbody since the first 1982 facelift, this feature was deleted for Sentinel EX and EXS.

Some things were carried over from the Regent, the most obvious was the air suspension with adaptive dampers, standard in the upmarket Sentinel EXS and turbo4 models - the base EX model had the usual progressive springs, but at least adaptive dampers.
The EX came with 16 inch alloy wheels, completely premium interior with decent cassette radio, leather, trip computer, heated front seats, aircondition and cruise control.


The EX kept the drivetrain with 4.3 liter NA engine from the mid-trim Regent. DPC-2 traction control was standard. The performance was definitely suiting the premium class with only 7,4 seconds to 100 and 245 kph top speed. 12,9 liter consumption were two less than in the Regent 4300i. More impressive were 30 kph more top speed, as the aerodynamics were a lot better. Prices started from $ 34.500, less than the former Regent entry-level model with only 196 horsepower, selling great from the start, especially as family sport premium, having the greatest success in Hetvesia.


The EXS recieved the 4.2 turbo engine and had a little more chrome. It featured optional two-tone paint, changed from a five-seater to only four and added goodies like automatic aircondition, infra-red remote locks and others. Air suspension was standard, and the car reached 100 kph after devilish 6,66 seconds, while 253 kph top speed were enough to keep up with the best sedans of the world. 10,8 liter consumption were similar to the EX, but considering the much larger list of standard features, the EXS was overall thriftier. The $ 40.000 price was a good offer for this car, and it sold even better than the EX, fighting successfully against the competitors everywhere except Archana - the good old premium fuel problem.


For the high-end model, CMT added AWD, giving the luxury sedan the agility of a sports car. Besides a partially clad underbody (CMT expected turbo4 buyers to use the AWDs potential in light offroad) nothing else was changed. The car was still fast, as 6,9 seconds were needed for 100 kph, and 248 kph top speed were still close to the 250-optimum. The consumption remained unchanged as the aerodynamics were slightly better. Especially in snowy regions, the turbo4 outsold the EXS, as $ 3000 extra were bearable if an AWD was making sense for the customer. Overall all Sentinel models were good performers with success as desired, although the Regent had caused a larger WOW-effect when being unveiled.


#47

please start taking pictures in automation
automation pics look 100x better


#48

1992

As usual, CMT showed new cars in their “Startup party” in January. As market analysts told Jack Thandor in the late 80s that SUVs will play an important role in the 90s, the new car was exactly that, called the Rancher, a five-meter giant designed for Gasmeans. To reduce the weight as onroad performance would be hampered by the large dimensions, CMT used partial aluminium panels again. Another benefit was the perfect 52/48 weight distribution. The suspension was nothing special, using MacPherson struts in front and a coil spring solid axle in the rear. In fact, the engineers were told that the car should be able to deliver excellent offroad performance, so it was more a family-onroad-suiting offroad than a SUV. It avoided an AWD and used a traditional 4x4 drivetrain.
All Ranchers featured ABS and DPC-2 and two foldable seats in the trunk, so it was capable of serving as a family hauler.


It came in two trims. The first was the TS using the 222 horsepower five-cylinder turbo like the Canyonero LTO. The Canyonero was too waspish, but the large body, the 4x4 and the standard automatic calmed the Rancher down to a pleasant level. The interior was totally standard, offering everything that was needed to sell it in Gasmea but not more, such as four power windows, aircondition and cruise control for $ 28.400.
It sold quite ok in Gasmea and Hetvesia, but for Frunians and especially Archaneans the price was too high.
Although a five-cylinder was an unusual choice, 8,7 seconds to 100 kph and 217 kph top speed were better than most competitors with a V8, and 10,6 liter regular consumption showed that downsizing acutally worked.

But a V8 was out of question for Gasmeans, so the Rancher came also as LS with CMTs strongest engine, the 279 hosepower 4.2 turbo. Premium interior with heated leather seats, wood decor, automatic aircondition and much more was another goodie as well as a premium cassette stereo with digital sound computer and headphone input. The rear passengers were able to adjust the loudness independently from the front. The acceleration was very brisk for a large car like the Rancher, needing only 8 seconds and reaching impressive 234 kph, while 12,1 liter premium gas were quite thrifty. Despite a painful $ 36.300 price tag, the car was desired in Gasmea and sold among the best as offroad premium, utility sport premium and family utility premium. Surprisingly, the car had similar success in Hetvesia and Frunia, selling better than the TS.



In March, CMT renovated the Imola and the Hypro. Only one of formerly two Imola trims remained.
The LS should re-establish the car as a “cool” choice as an affordable sports car for young people. It recieved an updated styling and the modern 120 horsepower AI418 engine from the Astrona CE and Miyagi LX. DPC-2 added the ABS system, but that was it. Hard tires on steel wheels with hubcaps, a five-speed manual and totally standard interior kept the price at bearable $ 21.300. The performance was identical to a sporty family car, as it needed 9 seconds to 100 kph, reached 194 kph top speed and needed 8,2 liter premium gas. This was too conventional for a sports car, and the 2+2 was too tight for a family coupé. The Imola LS flopped.


As CMT often had trouble with their compact cars since the Nexus disaster, the excellent sales of the Hypro should not be risked. But the pressure on it was increased in the early 90s, as cars like the 4.Gen Tanaka Aventis or the new Hokuto Aria. A redesign and update of the Hypro was out of question, and it came in March 1992.
Takeo Yamaguchi looked for flaws in the Hypro design that made it look dull or cheap, and he gave the car a smoother and sportier front end and new taillights, now identical on sedan and hatchback to underline familiarity. It was not concidential that the Imola looked similar: The Imola facelift was related from the new Hypro design.
The new 1990-onwards four-cylinder engines found their way in CMTs compact model as the old 1976-based family was left behind especially in economy in 1992.
Although the LT was a succesful model, it was dropped with the facelift as it had been too close to the concept of the Astrona VI. For a clearer position within the portfolio, a five-cylinder engine was no longer offered.


The CE base model was still a three-door with a three-cylinder, but now faster than before, as the three-cylinder engine recieved an eco-tuned turbo. Compared to the 1987-1992 CE models, the car added variable steering, but otherwise not much, not even ABS. For a base model, 11,1 seconds acceleration and 178 kph top speed were as impressive as ultra-low 5,7 liter premium gas consumption.
The $ 15.900 price were hefty $ 2100 more than before even if it was justified considering performance and economy. The car was used as budget commuter, so a lower price and less highend-technology maybe would have made it a real success and not just an ok-seller.


The next step up was the GX model. It shared the engine, but added a standard cassette radio instead of a basic one, had five doors instead of three and used a four-speed automatic. The car remained quick and thrifty, as 12,5 seconds to 100 kph were remarkable for a compact car with automatic, and 175 kph top speed suited long-duration highway trips as well as almost sensational 6,2 liter consumption - remember, it has automatic transmission.
Easy to handle, versatile and perfectly thrifty - the GX became a large success as family utility, fleet car and city as well as city eco car for $ 17.400.

CMT doubted if Gasmeans were already ready for three-cylinder hatchbacks, and therefore the LS remained what it was: An affordable, small sedan with automatic and a small four-cylinder engine, being everything but fancy.


Power came from the 100 horsepower 1.6 liter engine, although it might have been more clever to use the 1,8 liter variant that ran on regular gas as this was still Gasmea’s most used fuel. And with the choice of the 1,6, CMT skipped the chance to offer it in Archana.
The car needed just 11,2 seconds to reach 100 kph, and 190 kph top speed were a lot more than needed. But economy suffered, as the LS needed 9 liter premium gas. ABS was still not standard. For $ 18.500 it became a considerable option in the Gasmean family car segment, selling good, but it was not the number one car. It also suited commuting, but the Astrona Classic sold a lot etter despite being some $ 5.500 more expensive.


The “LC” wagon was again related from the LS and came with standard ABS and a slightly higher ride than the other Hypro models. It’s rear end looked different, as Yamaguchi considered the sedan and hatchback taillights not as fitting. The car definitely looked a lot better than the rather weird 1990-onwards Astrona wagon.
The car was not cheap with $ 19.500 but had barely any flaw. It was still quick with 11,6 seconds acceleration and 185 kph top speed, not thirsty with 9,2 liter consumption and very spacious for its small size. Although not a super-seller, the Wagon sold satisfactory.


The premium hachback changed its name from LE to EX, and despite switching from a five-cylinder to a four-cylinder, the price rose some $ 500 to $ 22.000. The only extra feature compared to the LE were alloy wheels. But the car became more economical despite almost delivering the same performance. It was only marginally slower with 9,8 seconds to 100 kph and a top speed of 195, but needed only 8,3 liter gas, but now premium instead of regular. The rather few changes despite better looks might have been a reason why the EX was only a sucessful car and not a really successful one like the LE was.


Switching to 95-RON engines in all Hypros almost killed the convertible, as it was a giant success in Archana where it now could not longer be sold. With the EX engine, the cabriolet also required $ 500 more to buy, now $ 22.500, but also had alloy wheels. Performance and consumption were identical to the EX. Although the car came with automatic, it was considered as convertible sport budget. The handling was secure but responsive, and it still sold by far enough to make profit despite losing the Archanean market.

CMT had some kind of luxury problem. The Astrona Classic was intended to be a bridge between the unsucessful Senator and its new RWD sucessor, but it sold so good that it was still sold after September 1992, when the new Atlas was presented.
Compared to the Astrona-V-based Astrona Classic, the Atlas was the much more advanced car. The design was not edgy but rounded, the size a little larger with 4,6 meter lenght. CMTs latest innovations like partly aluminium panels and the multilink rear axle were of course included. The Atlas should be something like a more family-oriented “Sentinel light”.
But there was one problem: While the boring but proven Astrona Classic offered an almost-luxury full equipment for $ 24.000, all you got for that money was the $ 23.600 Atlas base model.


The Atlas DX came with the 120 horsepower 1800ccm engine and a five-speed manual, standard interior with front power windows, power mirrors and five quite comfortable seats, but it lacked an aircondition or a trip computer, and the two-speaker cassette radio was somewhat meeh. On the technical side, variable steering and ABS showed that the base trim was no “el cheapo price appetizer” but a considerable car for those that did not need a high trim. 10,6 seconds to 100 kph were not really less than the Astrona Classic with 10 horsepower less and automatic transmission, but 202 kph were definitely better. 8,8 liter consumption were almost the same as in the Classic, and it even needed premium instead of regular gas. In total, the Atlas DX was only the better choice if you made use of the better handling and the newer design was of interest for you. The DX became a solid performer woldwide in the family sport segment for those that considered the Astrona as too small and rough.

An interesting fact was that CMT presented the base and the top model of the Atlas in 1992, but left the rest for 1993. The top end was the turbo4, a relaunch of the 80s CMT sports car concept.
With 222 horsepower and AWD, the car was definitely suiting any driving situation. Unlike the “real” sports cars, the Atlas was designed to be a comfortable cruiser, as the sporty part was left to the Astrona.
8 seconds to 100 kph were brisk, but not too racy, 229 kph top speed were rapid, but not exaggerated and 8,9 liter regular gas almost sensationally low.

All-premium interior with wood decor, leather seats, excellent stereo system and much more, automatic transmission, ABS with DPC-2, the car left barely any wish unfulfilled, intended to catch all potential buyers that considered the Sentinel as too tight and sporty and/or too expensive.

With $ 31.700, the turbo4 was a quite interesting package and reached the top of commuter premium, premium and family premium segments in Gasmea, Hetvesia and Frunia. In Archana it was both a leading premium and luxury car and outsold the Sentinel.
The Atlas turbo4 was CMTs most succesful car in the early 90s, closely followed by the Astrona Classic.


#49

1993 - Another important year

January 1993 saw the introduction of the facelifts of the Canyonero, a new Imola trim and the remaining Atlas models.

The Canyonero was not a great seller by then, and so CMT hoped for improvement with a facelift. The LE featured CMTs newest engine, a 2.2 liter variant of the legendary five cylinder. Naturally aspirated, revving high and delivering strong 152 horsepower without too much stress.
The car had a totally standard trim, offering reasonnable comfort, but no excess. It had power mirrors, cruise control, adjustable steering column, aircondition and ABS. With the new engine, 0-100 kph were made in only 8,8 seconds - a very strong performance for a truck. 181 kph top speed were more than average as well, and all that for rather low 10,4 liter consumption, although premium gas was needed. Power was sent via a five-speed manual to the rear wheels. The bed was - like in the old model - able to take loads of one ton. For $ 24.800 the car had only very little success on the market, to say it short: It was a total flop.


The LS added a premium interior with power windows, automatic aircondition, traction control and a trip computer. The transmission was a four-speed manual. This had some impact on the performance, as now 10 seconds and 10,9 liter were needed. 178 kph were still a good result. For $ 27.400, it sold better than the LE, but also disappointed with overall low sales.


The SUV variant called LE shared the same engine, but came with AWD assisting the automatic. The data sheet announced 11 seconds, 183 kph and 10,9 liter for $ 28.700 - it was a quite fun car in light or medium offroad terrain, but other manufactors had more success with their SUV models.


The Imola was now available as ES model with the new 2.2 liter engine for $ 26.400, and it had one big difference: The two rear seats were removed, and instead it had a surprising high quality interior: Two heated and electrically adjustable leather seats with more comfort than ever before in the Imola, leather steering wheel and gear knob, automatic aircondition and many other gadgets. It had standard alloy wheels, a high quality cassette player with equalizer and autoreverse, aiming directly at the sport budget segment. It was not a racecar, but able to shake off most family sedans. In only 7,6 seconds 100 kph were on the odometer, 209 kph were well in the range of upmarket V6 sedans, while 7,8 liter consumption were really low. The success came, but not overwhelming. It sold solid, but not great.


After a strong launch of the Atlas, everyone was curious what CMT will present between the base and the top trim.
A step up from the DX was the Atlas LX, adding a better four-speaker cassette radio, the well-known four-speed automatic, alloy wheels and exterior details like door handles in car paint. After not even one full year, the Atlas was already facelifted: Customers and press complained the bland detail styling, and they were right: For the 1993 models, CMT added an indent for the plate in the trunklid and chrome trim on the side. Loyal CMT buyers that bought early 1992 models were disappointed and protested, and CMT gave those buyers one year extra warranty on their cars for compensation.
The LX was offered for $ 24.900 and was a little slower than the DX (now 11 seconds to 100 kph) but still competetive. 9,4 liter consumption were definitely bearable for a solid family car with automatic transmission. It became a very popular family and commuter car, as it was noticeably more comfortable than the DX with its automatic and better radio, driving very sophisticated and still somewhat affordable.


Another success in the wagon segment was the LX wagon, it looked sporty despite being able to load 700 liter up to the roof in the luggage compartment without folding the rear seats down.
Pracitcal, great to drive, reasonnably furnished (as every LX front power windows, manual aircondition, power mirrors, etc.) and balanced between thrifty and powerful. It now needed 11,7 seconds for the highway accelleration and “only” reached 197, but the consumption remained identical, as the gearing was minimally longer in the wagon. In Gasmea, Frunia and Hetvesia it became a large success, especially considering that CMT had some wagons in the past that were not really a success.


If you wanted the comfort of the turbo4, but did not need the power of the turbo engine and not the traction of the AWD, CMT offered the EX trim, featuring the 2,2 liter inline 5 from the facelifted Canyoneros.
It was recognizable by other alloy rims, more chrome and a wood-and-leather interior with cruise control (optional for DX and LX), automatic climate control (optional for LX) and advanced trip computer (optional for DX and LX). Not to forget the very good 8-speaker-cassette radio with excellent sound quality.
The engine propelled the premium midsize in 10,4 seconds to 100 kph, a tribute to the rather heavy weight despite the use of partial aluminium panels. 214 kph made it a serious car on the highway, and the best was the consumption: Only 9,1 liter, less than the LX models. With a price of $ 29.900 it was still below the magic $ 30.000 border, although the turbo4 was not that much cheaper, but had some minor reliability issues.
The EX was the most successful trim of the Atlas, even more than the turbo4 that just featured “too much” hightech for senior drivers that preferred a classic naturally aspirated comfort car. The time from order to delivery were nine months, as the demand exceeded the capacities by far.
As a result of the EX market position, the turbo 4 was now marketed as sporty, it copied the exterior chrome, but in the interior the walnut wood trim was removed in favor of (depending on the buyer’s choice) aluminium, fake carbon, piano paint or black wood.


The Frunkfart car show in September added three new cars:
The first one was a coupé version of the Atlas, targeting the GT market. The four-seater had a totally unique and definitely more sophisticated styling, the front was a more detailed adaption of the sedans with a different grille and a different bumper with seperate foglamps, and the rear featured triangular taillights that created a lot of tension and used the body shape better than the taillights of the sedan.
Power came from a 4,3 liter turbo V8, the latest descendant of the CV846 family. While the 4.2 turbo mobilized 279 horsepower, this 4.3 turbo only provided 240 horsepower - it was tuned for smoothness and economy, not for top end power. 24,64 percent economy is definitely a good value for an early 90s V8.

The luxury interior made of finest wood and leather left no wish unfulfilled, it came with standard automatic cruise control, four heated and vented seats, in the front electrically adjustable, metallic paint at no extra cost, heated mirrors, pneumatic massage function for the driver seat and air suspension with adaptive dampers. The stereo system was not that excellent, but still the premium 8-speaker system from EX and turbo4.

Despite “only” 240 horsepower, the performance was outstanding: 100 kph were reached after only 7 seconds, and 258 kph top speed allowed to keep up with true sports cars on the unlimited parts of the Hetvesian highway. The average consumption with 9,8 liter premium was shocking the competitors, as well as the price: $ 38.600 were less than the price for a Sentinel EXS. CMT once again led the way in the premium car segment, as the Atlas GT sold excellent.


Although recently facelifted for January 1991 and still selling great, the Donnington recieved a successor, the Suzuka. A main reason were the crashes of non-skilled owners, and Jack Thandor was afraid of getting a bad reputation.
Wider track, a slightly more aerodynamic body and less engine power improved the drivability - the Donnington was - still after its facelift - rather waspish in it’s handling. The reduction of weight would have caused the new sports car to be overpowered, so cutting horsepower was not as bad as it sounds
The four meter car had everything it’s predecessor had: Four vented disc brakes, ABS with traction control, variable steering, fully clad underbody, adaptive dampers and latest electronic features.
The base model was the 2.2i, powered by the 152 horsepower engine. It was slower and cheaper than the Donnington with 222 horsepower. Instead of 6,3 seconds, now 7,5 seconds passed until 100 kph - but this was still very good. Top speed dropped from 236 to 219, but even without turbo the consumption remained identical with 7,7 instead of 7,8 liter.

While the rear seats were very tight, even tighter than in the predecessor, but there was estill nough space in the front even for large drivers. The interior featured leather bucket seats, aircondition (even automatic), power windows and mirrors. The cassette player was nothing special, but not bad. For $ 28.700 the car succeeded., but the customers complained that it was only $200 cheaper than the Donnington 2500 turbo.


The Donnington 4300 turbo was replaced with the Suzuka 4.2t. The price difference was larger, as the sticker on the windshield now asked for $ 34.000 instead of $ 35.400. Horsepower dropped from 279 to 240, but it was only marginally slower, now needing 6,55 seconds for acceleration and going 247 kph at maximum. Even the consumption remained more or less the same with 9 liter. Except having automatic transmission and chrome trim, a better cassette player taken from the Atlas GT was the only difference to the 2.2i. THis one was the one to buy if the 2.2i was too puristic and the Atlas GT too large and plushy.



The Atlas and the Suzuka were guaranteering CMTs future, but Jack Thandor put the trucks on the “red list”, to be discontinued without successorl until 2000, leaving only the Rancher for the future.


#50

28k for a pick up truck in 1993 is alot.


#51

Definitely! And propably a reason why these models failed on the markets. It’s not that all the cars shown here are always great builds. It’s unrealistic if a brand has only top-selling cars so I am risking the one or other flop in all my brands. :slight_smile:


#52

I may be wrong, but I heard somewhere prices are in 2015 dollars… using US inflation figures, thats $17K in 1993.