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FAAL - 1988 again: Motorsports, Concept cars and sad goodbyes


#22

pukes last post for 1978

Releasing the research Pt. 4 - Fuel injection Pt. 3 - Getting lost in a naming scheme by myself Pt. 2 - Despacito Pt. 7: The return of sport trims.

Now, the adoption of fuel injection meant better emission controls. Better emission controls meant the possibility to extract more out of existing engines and still comply.

It’s time to paint some cars in Ginster Yellow again. Starting with the Plebia:

The lil’ bro: '78 Plebia S Injection


The recipe was pretty much the same. Karting like suspension and peppy engine.
Except… way more serious this time.
While the 1965-1972 Plebia 102S only felt fast for a Plebia, the 1978 Plebia S injection felt decently fast for a small car.

It felt fast. But at 23 years old, the body was starting to show its age. Top speed was only 142km/h, the 0-60 took 10.7 seconds. Quarter mile though, at 17.7s, was just on par with the contemporary N/A FAAL Coupe. Whether this is good news for the Plebia S or bad news for the N/A Coupe, you decide.

The engine was a 133S block, bored out to 1.3L and fitted with single point EFI. Just like the USDM base model Mesaia. Except this one had tubular exhaust headers and made 73hp: The 133S13Spi.

So how did it feel fast? Well, the car weighed exactly 666kg. Also, a really really good suspension tuning that made it feel like it had no grip limit. So little understeer it might as well be AWD.
Sure, people who tuned Plebias know there’s a grip limit but that’s only past 160kmh. Which the car didn’t reach stock. And even then, just a little camber tweaking if you get above that and boom. Back on the rocks, baby.

But that’s not the best stuff. Guess who’s also back.

The big sister: '78 Mesaia GTI


The 1965-1972 Mesaia 164S had a 101hp 1.6 184S16DCU engine with a smooth torque curve. This has a 104 hp 1.6 184S16ME engine with less torque, and a torque curve that should have a warning label on it. With the name, the target of this car was quite clear: the Golf GTI, which was the first car to resuscitate hot hatches. Though it couldn’t match it in numbers (9.7s 0-60, 17.23s quarter mile and 175km/h top speed), it did match it in looks.

And the chassis was about as good as the Plebia S. Grip for days with 910kgs and 185/60R14 tyres, and a time extension for funsies with brake discs all around. Brake fade, what is that?

If the Plebia’s days were numbered, the Mesaia’s career was still fresh… and the upcoming hot hatch war will keep it fresh as years go by.

Next up: The 80s - What doesn’t kill you makes you build great cars


#23

To be quite honest, I didn’t like your brand at the start, I’m still not sure about your babbling, but the cars… they are really Frenchie-cool :smiley:


#24

For the record I’ve been waiting to do this post for literally two months. So:

1981 through 1986 - AWD and Group B tales: The FAAL Tetra

It’s been three years since FAAL’s comeback in the sport car market, and people couldn’t rejoice more. From the affordable and kart-like Plebia S to the german-tickling Mesaia GTI all the way to the tail happy Coupe Turbo, any wallet in need of sensations could find its weapon of choice. If sales were only good, the brand image was starting to rise up to a whole new level… which was the goal the Klinos failed to achieve. Luxury wasn’t the way to go.

But now… you don’t build sports cars just for the heck of it, do you? Oh no. Competition is where it’s at. And for that, the Coupe will have to up its game.

1981-1982 Coupe TETRA - Evo 1

TETRA. A word that will surely make the ink flow as the very first French permanent AWD system ever made.
Now, why so much craziness, in an age where every single car made in France is transverse, FWD and 4 cylinder? Simple.
FAAL had been taking a gamble three years ago by making the Coupe RWD, taking lessons from the Germans. It was either going to be hit or miss. And, as it turns out… Hit. People were so glad to have a car that was RWD, and a very well handling RWD on top of that, that they didn’t care about the lack of power and the desperately low redline from the engine. So why not take it to the next level? Taking lessons from the germans again it is.


So the Coupe was for the second time the advertisement car of that glorious drivetrain layout, and the car had been revised for the occasion. TETRA-only design changes include:

  • A one bar grille instead of three bar, body painted
  • One piece bumpers, body painted
  • Delightfully 80s box flared wheel arches
  • A plastic wing, replacing the simple spoiler of the Turbo version
  • Appropriate TETRA badging instead of COUPE
  • The FAAL front badge was moved to the left side in an attempt to tweak the design enough to distinguish the car from a regular Coupe even more

The 50/50 AWD system made the car gain weight, at 1147kg, or 80kg more than a regular Coupe Turbo, and as a result, to extract significantly better performance out of the Tetra, the engine had to be upgraded.

The Coupe’s 236S23MTE engine saw a brand new ball bearing turbo and ditched the hypereutectic cast pistons for tough, forged ones (rendering the car unsellable in the US because of that), and the new 236S23MT now made 175hp and 264nm peak, a 20hp and more than 30nm improvement over the Coupe’s engine, not to mention the raised redline and lower peak torque.
With accurate tuning of the 5 speed that could now accept lower first gears, the Coupe TETRA Evo 1 went from 0 to 60 in 7.1s (1s improvement over the Turbo, and no wheel spin at all) but retained the same 200km/h top speed as the Turbo.

So far, the car was already incredibly more driveable than the standard Turbo Coupe, but the numbers felt like wet fireworks being lit. BUT THEN:

1982-1983 Coupe TETRA - Evo 2

During the one year of Evo 1 sales, FAAL’s engineers figured out “Hey, why don’t we combine the o2 sensor boi of the Plebia S and the multipoint layout of our mechanical injection in a multipoint EFI layout?”
As usual when someone makes such a discovery at FAAL, the whole team of executives got drunk beyond decency and wake up three days later after yet another alsacien booze shortage. This was no exception since their newest and last version of the now 17 years old 236S23 engine, the 236S23Mpi, made 23hp and 31nm more than its Mechanical Injection equivalent. With 198hp, 295nm and only 8 more kg than the Evo 1, the Coupe Tetra evo 2 now went from 0-60 in 6.43s and had a top speed of 208km/h.

The front fascia had been revised for the occasion, with a new hood scoop and a wider lower grille. The upper grille stayed the same; despite what the photo mode wants you to make believe, it isn’t blank.

Now the car was starting to feel great. More power, better throttle response, better stats overall and on top of that, better fuel consumption. The Evo 1 kept being sold for a while longer though, to give people more opportunities because the new engine only ran on 95 octane.

It looked like things couldn’t get any better BUT THEY DID.

1983-19?? Coupe TETRA Evo 3 (+ Facelift)

1983 saw the now 5 years old Coupe’s mid career facelift, and with that, the arrival of the successor of the 236S engine series: The 256R.
This new block had a modern 24 valve layout all cramped on the same camshaft and was designed to run with multipoint EFI in the first place. Better air flow. Higher redlines. Lower service costs (though they’re already stupid high for turbo Coupes :t). The engine was also designed to be stoked to 2.5L (though with a very high stroke/bore ratio), but the one that found its way in the Evo 3 was a 2141cc slightly undersquare turbo unit. Why such an odd displacement? We’ll get to it later.

Of course, it’s a Facelift, so instead of listing all the physical changes I’ll let the pictures speak because we’re barely halfway through yet:


The new engine, the 256R21MpiT, had a slightly worse torque than the outgoing one (292nm), BUT more power, 215hp at a high 6600RPM, which made the Tetra Evo 3 a car that you WANT to bring to the redline. Also, first FAAL engine to reach 100hp/L. Traction was starting to show its limit though, and that’s why the TETRA system was updated too, with brand new geared LSDs front and rear, the whole package allowing a 0-60 time slightly below 6 seconds and a top speed of 215km/h.

Of course the regular Coupe also saw the Facelift as well as new 256R derived engines:


The base model is now the 2.1CS, with a 256R21Mpi engine making 126hp or 11 more than the outgoing model…


The Turbo model now has the 256R21MpiTE engine making 180hp or 25 more than the outgoing model and even crazier, 5 more than the Tetra evo 1. Talk about progress.

It keeps getting better and OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS.

1983-1984 FAAL Tetra Tour De Corse (Group B homologation special)

Of course, FAAL wouldn’t dump crazy amount of money in R&D if they didn’t want something out of it, and competition had been their goal from the very start. Their AWD TETRA system was ready and tested out on road cars by buyers who didn’t even know what was about to hit them just like Group B drivers.

Now, to participate in Group B, FAAL had to build a homologation special. 200 road cars that are close enough to the competition car, but still actually sell in the real world. Which is, in fact, why their new engine has such an odd displacement that allowed it to participate in the 3000cc category. Peugeot did it. Audi did it. Lancia did it. It was their turn. Here comes the TETRA Tour De Corse.


The TETRA Evo 3 had seen everything that wasn’t necessary taken off. Stereo, rear seats, extra cladding and unnecessary safety amenities all gone. Despite that, the Tour De Corse only shed 48kgs compared to the Tetra Evo 3 because of the stiffened chassis and wider tyres. The 256R21T2, though, now had an unreasonable 275hp and 330nm, allowing for a 0-60 tome of 4.7s, a 233km/h top speed and a quarter mile done in 13.27s.
The car was highly track focused, with stiff suspension, 235mm wide tyres and virtually nothing but a wheel, pedals, seats, and a crapton of power.

Of course, it only found home in the garages of the most dedicated FAAL enthusiasts and are now highly sought after cars, provided you can find one that is not a replica.

AND IF YOU THINK THIS IS PEAK 80s FAAL WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THE ACTUAL RACE VERSION

The Group B FAAL Tetra saw two versions: The 1984-1985 season version had the 256R21MpiTR-F1 race only engine making 417hp out of a stock block, and the very last, widow maker 256R21MpiTR-F2 engine for the 1985-1986 season made 557hp with a revised head and tougher internals.

The car was relatively succesfull in competition… and by that I mean almost nobody died in it. As for actual racing pedigree, I think we’re gonna wait for the BeamNG exporter release for that.

TL;DR: Competition is a drug and that was one helluva long post.


#25

TURBO AWD GROUP B GIB AUDI QUATTRO :heart_eyes: It looks like if Sport Quattro and E30 M3 Evo had a child.

And let me leave it here for the mood:


#26

Sneak Peek into the future II: 2015.

It appears that the legend has caught on…

… And so has the racing heritage.

… I mean, if the World Series Touring ends up being a thing, at least.


#27

Loving the series. With the new BeamNG exporter around the corner, are you gonna make some of these cars available to download? I’d love to try the Mesaia 154S :smiley:
Q


#28

Definetly. Not literally two minutes after the exporter release of course, but definetly.

First one I’m gonna do is the Tetra and the Tour De Corse (and in fact the exporter is gonna be a blessing to tune the Group B version properly as Automation doesn’t really have a “hooning on gravel” stat), and then it’s gonna trickle down all the way to the 154S. x)

Oh and also, it appears that the post about the FAAL Tetra was a mistake, and the 256R engine family actually doesn’t exist. I don’t know why, but the archives state of a weird inline 6 setup when it’s actually a shorter stroke inline 5 for the whole post 1983 lineup. brb gonna slap some archivist trainee.

[EDIT]
Old picture of a Mesaia 164S in a late sixties track day, colorized


#29

spicy


#30

1982-1990s: Hatch Wars - Episode IV: A new head

But first, a little overview of a few models we didn’t mention before:


1975-1982 Mesaia Van. 2000L of cargo. Able to carry one ton and tow 850kg with the 184S13 1.3L engine mated to a 5 speed manual.


1982-1988 Facelifted Ochlosia Camper. 255R25Mpi 2.5L inline 5, stroked version of the one found in the Coupe, more on that engine later. The van also had an optional 4x4 system with low gearing and lockable diffs made by a third party company, Steer&Push, making it a great offroader on top of a great ancestor of the minivan.

And now for the namesake of the post:

By the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, the competition amongst compact hatchbacks grew stronger and stronger, on all fronts: From the shitbox to the high end posh trims all the way to the pocket rockets, every single brand was trying to one up the other. Turbos, double overhead cams, fancy suspension setups, you name it. FAAL took on the fight with confidence, feeling that the Mesaia, their competitor in that segment, was still avantgarde enough to keep on going another decade with just a refresh.

And, there’s the refresh:


On the front, an all new bumper design, license plate higher up, new lower grille arrangement, and new quad headlights. You’ll also notice the more modern mirrors.


On the rear, simplification of the tail light pattern (bigger light/brake combo, one foglight and one reverse light at the bottom), central FAAL deer logo and new hatch handle.

Simple, but efficient. As for the trims, every single engine stayed the same (in the regular offer), except with fuel injection.

-the 1.1 BL becomes 1.1 BLi and gains 8hp with the updated 54hp 133S11Spi


-The 1.3 CL becomes 1.3 CLi and gains 5hp with the updated 65hp 184S13Mpi

-The 1.6 GL becomes 1.6 GLi and gains 9hp with the updated 80hp 184S16Mpi

The BLi was 4 speed only. The CLi was 4 speed with optional 5 speed. The GLi was 5 speed with optional 3 speed automatic. All around, better performance, better response, and better fuel economy. The interior has been revised, too, seeing the light of brand new cassette players and even ABS on the posh, wool seated GLi.

But the fun ain’t there. Oh no.


This time around, the GTI was part of the overhaul from the start. And it was sporting a brand new 16V, though SOHC engine bearing the same structure as the Coupe’s 5 cylinders: the 204R engine.

It was designed for fuel injection from the start. It liked to rev much more than the now 17 years old 184S blocks. And it had so much to prove. Its first iteration (along a tamer 2.0L we’ll talk about in another post) was the 204R16Mpi in the 1982 Mesaia 1.6 GTI2.

At 115hp and 145nm of torque, it was largely sufficient for the light Mesaia, who at 915kg didn’t have the beer belly problems that some other hot hatchs were starting to have. Looking at you, mk2 Golf. In fact, with a 0-100km/h time of 8.6s, a quarter mile of 16.4s, and a standing km of 30.3s, it was better than a mk2 Golf GTI 8V all around.

But even beyond stats, the car was delightfully throwable around corners, the rear wheel on the inside poking off the road whenever your drivers skill get good enough for it to happen. It seemed, though, that FAAL believed more than the public in a true, sports only car, because the radio was optional and almost everybody bought it.

But the competition kept growing. Every single brand was making better versions of their hot hatches, sold alongside the now lesser versions. Fiesta xr2i? How about a Turbo. 205 GTI 1.6L? Yeah okay but 1.9L. Mk2 Golf GTI 8V? mmmm 16V.

Thankfully, FAAL engineered their new baby with that in mind, and the 1.6 GTI2 became the “lesser GTI” in 1985 with the arrival of the 1.8 GTI:



Visually, the 1.8 gets new wheels, and a body coloured rear hatch panel, as well as a few “1800” badges here and there to differenciate the “lesser” GTI from the “better” GTI that the 1.8 was. Because, indeed, it was.

The car gained 20hp and 30kg, now standing at 135hp and 945kg with the new 204R18Mpi engine. The radio was now standard, but that didn’t make performances worse, oh no.
The 0-100 was now 7.74s, quarter mile 15.78s, and standing km 28.95s. Top speed was still nothing quite impressive at 191km/h, but the mk2 Golf GTI16 was once again trump’d by half a second in almost all the other stats. That battle of numbers still didn’t make the Mesaia 1.8GTI any worse to drive, following the path of her 1.6 little sister it was praised for its incredible handling.

The Mesaia III, with that refresh, was bound to stay into FAAL’s lineup until the end of the 80s. So did the Coupe, and so did the Ochlosia. That leaves two cars left:

  • One is a dinosaur from the 1960s that god only know how the hell it still sells: the Plebia.
  • One is a quirky boi from the 1970s whose design is going to stay in the 1970s no matter how you tweak it: the Foreia.

The designers, of course, were aware of that, and replacements are in the pipes for the next posts.


#31

1982-1987: Research costs - The Mk4. Foreia / Mk2. Klinos (Pre-facelift)

Yep, pretty early for an update, but some markets do need updates if you want to keep them interested. It is the case for sedans and high end cars. 1982, it’s time to sleeken the Foreia.

… No, wait. Let’s do even more.

As you might have noticed from all the effort put in their sports cars, FAAL was really interested in competition. That would result in customers expecting cars to handle like sports cars, or at least have the possibility to do so. And as they were drowning in money and potential money from having more models for sale than ever, it was time to dump something in suspension R&D. Which is why the Foreia features a brand new, very fancy double wishbone all around suspension setup. Boom.


The 1982 Foreia’s design is both modern, and in adequation with the rest of the brand’s lineup and historical choices. It was still a liftback. It still had a sleek aerodynamic front end. There was one problem, though: The car wanted to be so sleek that it ended up being unstable at high speeds despite being FWD, leading 6 months later to a general recall of all Foreias in order to install on all models a spoiler that was originally optional.


Despite having a very fancy suspension, the rest of the car was known tech. Longitudinal engine configuration, FWD with optional TETRA AWD. Out of the three engine choices, only one was new: A stroked and bored Mesaia GTI engine brought to 2 liters of displacement and 115hp. The two other engines were the 1.8L carried over from the old generation of Foreia, gone fuel injected, and the 2.1 five cylinder from the N/A Coupe.
The chassis was galvanized, and the car available in two body styles: Liftback…

… and Wagon. FAAL did tame their design choices for the wagon to allow for as much hatch as possible to open without breaking any light bulbs like the previous generation Foreia wagon did.


Now of course, the extra development costs meant a higher price at the start. Which was compensated by the availability to have the most powerful engine available with the base level trim.

Speaking of trims and engine choices:

Foreia :

  • 5 basic seats.
  • A steering wheel.
  • Somehow, a radio. Only two speakers, though.
  • Power steering is optional.
  • Power locks and windows optional.
  • 185/70R15 tyres on steel wheels covering disc brakes all around, no ABS, not even optional.
  • Only available in FWD
  • 5 speed manual
  • Engine choices: 1.8L 96hp 184S18Mpi, 2.0L 115hp 204R20Mpi, 2.1L 126hp 255R21Mpi (starting 1983)

Foreia GL:

  • Plushier seats
    *Chrome trim around the windows
  • Four spoke steering wheel instead of two
  • Optional foglights
  • Two speakers radio with optional 4 speakers
  • Standard power steering
  • Standard power lock and front power windows, optional remote locking command and rear power windows
  • 195/65R15 tyres on standard alloy wheels. Still the same brakes, but optional ABS starting 1985.
  • 2.0L only FWD. 2.1L FWD with optional TETRA
  • 5 speed manual, optional 4 speed auto
  • Engine choices: 2.0L 115hp 204R20Mpi, 2.1L 126hp 255R21Mpi (starting 1983)

One year after launch, the Klinos saw the same overhaul as the Foreia, and for the same reason: It was still based off of it.


The visual changes include, of course, chrome everywhere, on the side bumper bars, on the B and C pillars, door handles, and on the brand new grilles which is specific to the Klinos. That’s for the front. On the rear, just like the first generation Klinos, the MK2 gets a fancy new four bar taillight arrangement. The whole thing has the same goal as the mk1 Klinos visual overhaul compared to the Mk3 Foreia: Make the car look like a different car to please the upper markets. No RWD this time, every single Klinos gets TETRA.

This boi is only motorized by 5 cylinder engines, and the car retains the fancy double wishbone all around suspension setup, but connects it to the car on FAAL’s trademark high end hydropneumatic suspension, which makes for an incredibly comfy ride, especially with the optional 4 speed automatic. And especially with all the goodies and the interior build quality of the return of the grandaddy of all FAAL luxury cars: The Klinos Excellence.

The most expensive FAAL ever built. But hey, it had everything. Cassette 8 speaker radio, wood trim, heated power operated wool seats… But hey, that’s for the trims and engines part:

Klinos GLS

  • Cloth seats, optional wool, optional heated front
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Four speakers cassette radio, optional 8 speakers
  • Power everything
  • Standard foglights
  • 5 speed manual, optional 4 speed auto
  • 205/55R16 tyres on alloy wheels
  • Engine choices: 2.1L 126hp 255R21Mpi, 2.5L 144hp 255R25Mpi, 2.1L turbo 180hp 255R21MpiTE

Klinos Excellence

  • Wool seats standard and specific to the Excellence, heated front standard, heated rear optional
  • Rear central console with armrest
  • 8 speaker radio standard
  • 4 speed auto only
  • Optional two-tone paint, just like the original 1949 Foreia L
  • Engine choice: 2.1L turbo 180hp 255R21MpiTE

Now of course, FAAL kinda lost some money on this much development, which is the reason between them keeping up the Mk2 Plebia (WHICH IS ALREADY 27 GODDAMN YEARS OLD) for another three years, unable to industrialize the otherwise ready replacement yet.

So yeah, next up, Granny retires: The Mk3 Plebia.


#32

Back from classes and I see this… :ok_hand:


#33

Five pot + AWD + hydro. GIB :heart_eyes:


#34

Morning shifts are eating me up so small post today to tease for a bigger post probably this weekend

1981 FAAL Dima Concept - Teasing the long awaited replacement of the Plebia II

By 1981, the Plebia II had been on sale for 26 years. That’s a pretty damn long carreer, even by European popular car standards. Sure, it has gone through two facelifts but stayed on the same platform, desperately lacking modern tech and modern design features. It had the crappiest aerodynamics of any car on the market (that included the 2CV and the Renault 4, which were amongst its only equivalents at the time), and desperately lacked a hatch. A replacement had to happen really soon, or FAAL would lose the cheap popular car market.

A replacement was in the tubes, being developped for a few years. But by the early eighties FAAL was fully focused on rallying and other competitions and was lacking the funds to replace the Plebia, dumping money in the Tetra project and its double wishbone suspension instead.

However, to prove that a replacement was, indeed, in the tubes, and spark the public’s interest, FAAL put every single idea they had so far into a concept car that was going to premiere at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show: The FAAL Dima.

The idea was simple: As much space as possible contained into a car barely 37cm longer than the outgoing Plebia. Abie to seat 5, still carry at least one standard suitcase, while being as aerodynamic as possible. And the result behind this idea looked like a blobby shape wrapped around a square cockpit.

The wheels were as flat as possible for maximum smoothness, the wheel arches were flat for the same purpose. The bonnet though, was swooping from the bumper to the windshield to the point where the link between the two was barely noticeable for a 1980s car.

The front was very bare, simple yet modern headlights and the most bottom breathers of bottom breathers. As few fixtures as possible to ensure as little drag as possible. In fact, the air flow on the front was very clever: The bottom breather grille was meant for the radiator. And there was a hidden grille at the top of what happenned to just be a crevice in between the two headlights where cold air could come in to cool down the rest of the engine bay, before exiting through the two triple vents in front of the windshield. This was supposed to provide cooling with as little resistance as possible, but of course, was still in testing.

The rear was pretty simple. Not much going on in here except for the boot opening to rear surface ratio was amongst the biggest of any car on the market and of course any FAAL ever.

It would take four more years for the actual Plebia III to be production ready and hit the market. Although, it was going to be a bit different from the concept, because of corporate decisions and cost cutting.


#35

Aw shit it’s that time again where I have a billion things to release. Hmpf.

1985: Taking back the shitbox market - The FAAL Plebia Mk3 Dima

It has been expected.
It has been hoped for.
It has been postponed. Many times. Because FAAL had other priorities, and wanted to up their prestige, mainly. Which is why the idea of creating an entry level car was not really welcome in the design office.

However, the idea of finally retiring the prehistoric Mk2 Plebia from the market was definetly welcomed. So, the 1981 FAAL Dima concept has been, four years later, industrialized.

How you see her during date night:

How she looks the morning after:

Now of course, to be production ready, the concept had to be made a little simpler.
Round headlights have been kept as a design cue reminiscing the old Mk2 Plebia. Because, after all, the car had a special place in FAAL’s history, being produced for thirty years, non stop. The upper engine airflow knife has been removed, and so has the bubble shaped hood in the process. Bigger blinkers have been fitted inside the bumper, and only one of the windshield air vents remained, as a HVAC air intake. And despite everything, despite the reminiscing design cues, despite the four years debate between the FAAL executives, the car did not retain the Plebia name. At the last minute, it was renamed Dima, just like the concept it came from.


Not much changed on the rear. The hatch got a little flatter, the taillight bar is now plastic, there’s a keyhole trunk latch, and one of the reverse lights had been turned into a foglight. As for the rest, there’s now only one blinker repeater per side and it’s way smaller. There’s also a bumper bar going from wheel to wheel. The fuel cap is taken from the still selling FAAL Ochlosia, and so are the door handles, to save costs.


Now. It is bigger than the Plebia. Definetly. at 3.41m, almost 40cm longer, not to mention more of that space is allocated to the actual cabin. But, safety rules have changed, and so have the people’s standards. Which is why the standard Dima (three door) is a 4 seater. Four passengers sharing 2.58m³ as compared to five passengers in the mk2 Plebia’s 2.17m³.

… That, of course, turned out to be a bad decision and for the 1986 model year, a 5 seater version was made available, with 5 doors.

The “regular” Dima was available with a three engine range, all from the 133S inline 3 series that moved the base model Mesaia, as well as the outgoing Plebia Mk2. To save costs, gearboxes were reduced to three: A 4 speed manual, a 5 speed manual and a 3 speed automatic.

  • 133S9Spi, 900cc, single point injection, 45hp. Only 4 speed. 8l/100, 0-100 in 17.2sec, 125km/h
  • 133S11Spi, 1100cc, single point injection, 54hp. 4 speed: 9l/100, 14s, 137km/h. 5 speed: 8.9l/100, 14.3s, 140km/h
  • 133S13Mpi, 1300cc, multipoint injection, 65hp. 5 speed: 8.3l/100, 12.9s, 153km/h. 3 speed auto: 9.1l/100, 15.5s, 144km/h

Depending on trim, options and engines, the weight ranged from 715kg to 930kg. Oh yeah, speaking of trims:

  • Dima BL. Plastic bumpers. Steel wheels. Three door, four basic seats only. Four speed only, 45hp engine standard, optional 54hp. Optional power steering. Nothing else. Available from 40.800 francs, “full” options 43.500 francs. Was available, but not advertised.

  • Dima CL. Plastic bumpers. Hubcaps. 3 door 4 basic seats, optional 5 door 5 basic seats, and/or standard seats. Standard two speaker 8 track radio. Standard power steering. Optional ABS. Optional front foglights. Standard 54hp 4 speed, optional 5 speed, optional 65hp. Available from 45.630 francs. (shown press car 46.590 francs, full option 51.850 francs)

  • Dima GL. Painted bumpers with plastic bar. Standard alloy three spoke wheels. 3 door 4 standard seats, optional 5 door 5 standard seats. Standard two speaker 8 track, optional 4 speaker 8 track 4*20w. Optional extra safety features my lack of knowledge on 80s premium shitboxes prevent me to tell you. Clad undertray. Standard 65hp engine, standard 5 speed optional 3 speed automatic. Available from 55.400 francs, Full options 64.000 francs.

But of course, the lineup wouldn’t be complete without not one, but TWO sporty variants.

Now, for the sport offering, the Dima keeps on the “today’s sport engine is tomorrow’s efficient engine” motto started by the Mk2 Mesaia and Foreia. Cue the 133R engine range, which is basicaly a SOHC-4 head slammed onto a 133S block, only available in multipoint injection, and with different internals.


  • Dima 1.3S. Sport suspensions. Painted bumpers without front foglights but with functioning lip. Hatch with spoiler and third brake light standard. 14" alloy wheels. Trademark central exhaust. 4 basic seats, two speaker radio. The only option was power steering.
    As for the engine, here comes the brand new 133R13MpiS. 1300cc, 93hp, mated to a Dima-sports-trims specific 5 gear short spaced gearbox. The whole thing allowed the featherweight 1.3S (765kg) a 8.9s 0-100km/h, 159km/h top speed and a 16.75s quarter mile, and also lots and lots of fun, for a contained price of 50.150 francs. (optional power steering 1.020 francs)


  • Dima Turbo. Yep. If you expected a Plebia GTI with the 1.6L from the Mesaia, you’d be wrong. Anyway. Widened fenders. bigger grille. FAAL Logo moved to the side, just like all the high end FAAL Sport models.15" alloy wheels. Same aero package as the 1.3S. Three door 4 basic seats only. Standard 2 speaker radio, optional 4 speaker. Standard power steering, optional ABS.
    The engine, though, wasn’t a turbo’d version of the 1.3S engine. It has been de-stroked to 1176cc and turned into the 133R12MpiT, putting out 105hp stock. Key word, stock. The Dima turbo also had a standard geared diff to put down all of the engine’s torque and potential torque, and the resultant perfs were 7.86s from 0 to 100km/h, a quarter mile of 16 seconds and a top speed of 170km/h, with the same gearbox as the 1.3S. Prices started at 60.280 francs and ended at 64.050 francs with all the options, barely a good restaurant meal over the 1.3GL full op.

Now why downgrading the engine size? Well… for once, because FAAL didn’t want to cast a shadow on their own Mesaia GTI 1.6, which base price was around 69.660 francs without options. But also, that engine size made it fit the Group N3 rallye category, allowing amateur drivers to go after BMW 320is and other 2000cc N/A engines in the mountain passes in a car that barely weighed 777kg when stripped down, and that had factory approved aftermarket kits that could make the power go up to 184hp!

That, though, is for a whole other topic.


#36

Update on the fly: Diesels

Okay so it turns out with a bit of imagination, you can make pretty decent pseudo-diesels in Automation. And what is a French brand without diesels?

So. It all started in 1964, and the testbed was the very last model year of the first generation Mesaia.
The engine was a new block. They tried to dieselify the existing 154P15 engine, but every attempt ended up a reliability failure, as the head would basically fly the hell off after a few hours of testing. So, a new engine block had to be made.

Introducing the new 194P engine series. A long stroke pushrod 4 cylinder fitted with strong internals made to cope with the bonkers 22.5:1 compression of the diesel engine. It had a newly developed indirect injection system with pre-combustion chambers. And the first iteration of the engine was the 194P19D, making 49hp and a little more than 100nm of torque.

Now, people at that time weren’t used to diesel engines in regular passenger cars, and the Mesaia 19D had a mixed welcome. If diesel fuel was considerably cheaper than petrol, the car itself was noisy and pretty damn shaky. But since performance was about on par with its carburated counterparts (18.9s 0-100, 125kph) with fuel economy being way better, some people were willing to cope with the constant ticking and shaking and the car found its buyer demographic.

FAAL then decided to continue the adventure with the Mk2 Mesaia. From 1965 to 1972, with the same 49hp engine, in the second iteration of the 19D. An updated four speed gearbox and the MK2’s better aerodynamics meant for better perfs despite 20kg more (18.1s, 128kph).

… The problem, though, is when they attempted to sell the same engine in the Foreia. With a car 150kg heavier and the size of the sedan that it was, not to mention the power loss of the FR drivetrain with the little power having to travel through a long, heavy driveshaft, performance was risible. 20.7s 0-100, 130kmh top speed. Thank god the engine was only sold with the base trim.

By 1970, thankfully, this problem was solved with the arrival of a new engine family: The 255P. A 2.5L pushrod five cylinder engine fitted with the same indirect injection system and with the same compression ratio. The all new 255P25D engine was good for 69hp and in the Foreia, a 16.9s 0-100 and 146km/h top speed. once again, performance was on par with its carburated counterparts and fuel economy way better. The balance has been restored.
If this engine was offered on the higher trims, an updated version of the 194P boasting 56hp, the 194P19D2, replaced the 49hp base unit on the base model for the 1972-1974 model years.

The same 56hp unit found its way in the 1972-1975 Mesaia II 19D, before keeping on going in the 1974-1982 base model Foreia III, where the perfs were 18.1s and 137km/h. If that sounds risible, it was about the same perfs as a contemporary Peugeot 504 GLD. Cheaper fuel, bonkers fuel economy, improvement in sound deadening and vibration cancellation over the years and especially the fuel crisis made it a pretty good seller amongst its carburated counterparts.

As for the Mk3 Mesaia, getting smaller and lighter, it got a new derivative of the 194P engine, the 194P15D. A 1.5L unit boasting 49hp and taking the cheap lil’ thing to 100km/h in 18.8s and to a top speed of 130km/h (press car with options base model might be faster :t)

Rich people got an updated 2.5L fiver 255P25D2 with 79hp by 1976 for the Klinos. The same unit found its way in the Ochlosia 2.5D because towing capacity. Even richer people got the very first turbo diesel FAAL engine, because they are better than everyone else. The Klinos GLSdt boasted 97hp out of its 255P25TD, propelling it to 100km/h in 12.1s and to a 175km/h top speed, all while getting 9.8L/100.

For 1982, the brand new Foreia IV got herself the latest update of the 194P, the 194P19D3, getting 65hp for the base model, and yet another turbo engine, the 194P19TD, good for 86hp, 7.5L/100, 11.8s 0-100 and 158km/h. Now the numbers are starting to get interesting, and salesmen feel that. That’s why the turbo engine is available from the CL trim and not just a high end option.

Still in 1982, the same logic applies to the lil’ Mesaia. Updated 194P15D2 53hp N/A engine and yet another turbo unit, the 194P15TD, with 70hp. The turbo engine was also available from the CL trim, and on a new, experimental trim, the GTD. GTI visuals and sporty-ish suspension wrapping the peachy, yet still economical unit that blessed the car with a 154km/h top speed, 12.5s 0-100 and fuel economy of 6.5L/100.
This was a very interesting trim, which is exactly why I’m presenting a CL instead. :t

AAAAAAAND again in 1982 since FAAL oftens update its things by batches, the Klinos II kept the same N/A engine, but the turbo one got an upgrade with the 255P25TD2 and its 116hp. Performance was sensibly the same than the last generation Klinos, though, but the car was also considerably heavier (1460kg).

Okay. Now we’re up to date for the 1987 batch of facelifts and new models that’s gonna come. Sorry for the long post


#37

Okay we’re back.

1988 - Minivan Boom: The Mk2 Ochlosia

By the second half of the 80s, the Ochlosia was starting to show signs of being outdated. Too boxy. Too small for the evergrowing van market. But what made FAAL take the decision of replacing it was the recently booming minivan market.

Chrysler. Renault. Both of them found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow with the Caravan and the Espace, and were rolling on sales. This was unacceptable. FAAL had to do something, and despite attempting to boost the sales of the Ochlosia Camper as one of them, people didn’t buy it. At the end of the day it was a van, and lacked the practicality and comfort of its competitors.

So. A van, to get back on the rails on the utilitarian market? Or a minivan, to try and get a share of magic? Both, my dudes. Both.

By 1985, FAAL decided to take on the development of an actual minivan, all while still producing the Mk1 Ochlosia. And also called for a partnership to build an actual new van, which was gonna end up being the PUCV.

While the PUCV project took five years to get released, the Mk2 Ochlosia saw the light of day, after much teasing, in 1988, arboring the new grille design first adopted on the 1987 Foreia facelift.

Oh yeah btw 1987 Foreia Facelift interlude


Trims roughly stayed the same, engines stayed the same. The facelift gets you thicker, one piece bumpers front and rear, and a new, more modern grille. The Klinos also got the same bumpers, although body coloured.

But anyway back to the Mk2 Ochlosia:


Remember the first generation Ochlosia? Well forget completely about it. This may look like a van from afar, but when you get closer, you’re greeted by a sleek, aerodynamic profile, and a flank that has way more design elements than any van would have. The Mk2 Ochosia is fitted with square fenders, and tough plastic wrapping the car from bumper to bumper, meant to give it a tougher look reminiscent of the very popular Ochlosia Camper 4x4 by Steer&Push.


The fact that it looks like a Foreia isn’t completely irrelevant, too: In fact, it’s sitting on Foreia underpinnings, and therefore inherits of its longitudinal engine layout (including TETRA Option), but more than that, of its double wishbone all around suspension, making it extremely comfy and drivable, on par with many cars on the market. Emphasis on cars.


Its party trick though, as a minivan, was its entirely modular interior that was fitted from the factory.

  • Two seats on the front with individual armrests, both of them swivel.
  • On the back, the entire area from the back of the front seats to the rear hatch is a flat floor fitted with two long rails on which both the second and third row of seats fit. So on those rails you get:
  • The second row of seats, a bench with three separately adjustable backrests, that all slides on the rails as one piece
  • The third row of seats, an uncomfortable two seat unit that can either be used as seats, be folded up to only take 25cm of the trunk’s height, or be completely removed.

This seat combo has been arranged to be able to make a bed out of the second and third row of seats, the two of them folded flat with the backrests at 180°.


Since it’s on Foreia underpinnings, it’s also using Foreia/Klinos engines:

TETRA AWD was an option on both 2.5L gas and diesel engines, and there were only two trims:

  • Base trim, with either the 2.0i or 1.9TD engines. Basic everything, all the goodies were optional, and it was sitting on hubcaps.
  • GL Trim with either one of the 2.5L engines. Power everything standard, optional leather seats, optional automatic gearbox

… but you aren’t listening to any of that because it seems like the cat is out of the box already. So I’m gonna talk about the elephant in the room: Yes, it has asymmetric mirrors.
Because of the unusual shape of the minivan, there were two gargantuan front quarter windows that were two third the size of the front door windows. And That gave FAAL an opportunity to cheat a little to get better visibility. Which is why the driver mirror is on the door, in order not to be hidden by the door pillar…


… and the passenger mirror is sitting right on the A pillar, and is fitted with a wide angle glass in order to get better visibility.

Oh yeah and since we’re talking about quirks and features, here’s some retractable roof bars.


The very first retractable roof bars of their kind. Tucked in when not needed, but when you do need them, they can slide wherever you want on the two roof rails, just like the second and third row of seats.

The Mk2 Ochlosia was a very welcomed asset in FAAL’s ever growing lineup. As it turns out, the 1980s were a time when you could create cars that followed a trend, and they’d still turn out to serve an actual purpose other than keeping up with the times not like those GOD DAMN CROSSOVERS AAHGIRJKSEFVOI
… Hem.

Next up, the death of the Coupe and entering the nineties.


#38

1988 again: Motorsports, Concept cars and sad goodbyes.

And in fact, let’s start with the sad goodbyes.
The FAAL Coupe got its glory days in 1984-1986, 6 years after its release. The 400+hp Group B beasts were tearing the gravel apart along with all the other mean machines, gaining people’s hearts in the process. Rallying was great. Sales of the Coupe were great. In fact, by 1985 they were even better, as the car was now offered with four engines: The 135hp 1.8L mesaia GTI engine which ended up being the only 4 cylinder Coupe, a 160hp updated version of the 2.5L inline 5, plus the 180hp turbo inline 5, and finally the Tetra evo 3 and its individual throttle bodies and 215hp. The more the Tetra won Group B races, the more people bought Coupes and Tetras. Everything was going well…

And then Group B died.


Surer injured, his co-driver dead. Santos dead, killing spectators in the process. Toivonen dead. But it’s the death of their own star driver Jean Taglang, half squished, half drowned down a cliff, that made FAAL pull out of Group B entirely… and, actually, drop the Coupe of any form of competition, period.

As a result, thousands of people who bought Coupes for the image without pushing them ever, suddenly found out what this car was all about, I say with the most sarcastic tone ever. Deemed unstable and dangerous by people who drove it shifting at 3000rpm and driving at the speed limit, the FAAL Coupe saw its sales drop month after month for the entirety of 1987. The car was due for a second and final facelift in 1988 including the new FAAL front fascia, with a final version of the Tetra, the Evo 4, that was meant to keep going until the nineties. After the tragedy, none of this happenned.

Almost.


If 1988 was going to be the last model year for the Coupe, FAAL wanted to make it count. The Tetra Evo 4 was going to happen. And it was going to be a limited edition. And it was going to kick some serious ass.

Some cues of what would have been the facelift were still integrated in the car, like those new vents in the front bumper…

… and that bigger wing. Apart from that, it’s the same old Tetra. The engine, of course, was updated, and for the last time of its carreer, the Tetra was the testbed of new tech, as the engine was fitted with a juvenile VVT system, making the 255R21MpiT3 reach 230hp. The car itself weighed 1202kg, which was still light despite the car being the heaviest Coupe made.
As for the perfs, of course, it trumped every other Tetra. 5.47s 0-100, 221km/h top speed, 13.86s quarter mile, as well as the nimble handling the car has always been known for.
What was really striking though is the new, four figures paint option, called Tetra Blue, which is what this press car has. A beautiful blue that seemed to cover the entirety of the blue spectrum depending on how light was shining on it. This color was meant to be the color of future FAAL flagship sportscars. And it deserved it.

There were only going to be one thousand Tetra evo 4s. No more. And only 250 of those were going to be Tetra Blue. Which is why FAAL enthusiasts almost threw a riot when they discovered that the star car featured in The Agile & The Angry (2001) was one of them Tetra Blue evo 4s, and not just a regular Coupe. Granted, it was a salvage title imported illegally in the US… But still.

One emotional goodbye later, the FAAL Coupe left the lineup by november of 1988, without any replacement.


Now the good news: By 1988, FAAL decided to make use of them spare Group B engines in another form of motorsports, to try and boost their sales in the USA: the Trans-Am…
1988-pontiac-firebird-trans-am-gta
… racing series.

Yup, rules allowed that, apparently. despite everybody at that time using V8s and RWD, FAAL came in strutting around with their 650hp 2.1L turbo inline 5 and AWD, all wrapped in a mean looking facelifted Foreia:


And they kicked some ass. I’m talking “winning every race they finished” kind of ass kicking. In fact, they kicked so much ass than AWD systems were banned from the regulations for the 1989 Trans-Am season, leaving FAAL to have to retire from the competition, wheezing like immature high schoolers after a sex joke.

The deed was done, though, and sales of cars fitted with the TETRA system suddently doubled in the US after 1988. Like, I wonder where that came from. :t


One last thing happenned in 1988, and that is the release of two concept cars at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, the first of them to actually be called Mondial de l’Automobile instead of Salon de l’Automobile.
While the entirety of the FAAL lineup at that time were square bois, the competition was starting to round up in prevision of the Blob Era of the nineties. And here comes FAAL, presenting their brand new production ready Mk2 Ochlosia, which was square… and two blobby concept cars: The Stemma and the Tasia.


Yep, that’s a big change in design alright.

The Tasia was meant to showcase a replacement for the aging Mk3 Mesaia. It was essentially drawn with a compass, every single line being round except for the taillights that had to meet with the hatch and therefore couldn’t be fully round.



The entirety of the roof was covered in a matte, grainy material that was similar to what was used on Mk3 Foreias and Coupes’ plastic trims. The wheels were flat dishes with small holes, reminiscent of those used on the Dima concept car back in 1981. The grille looked like an even more modern interpretation of the new post 1987 grille that just came out. And generally, it was nothing like anything FAAL made at that time, which intrigued people a lot. With lots of ageing models, FAAL proved that they were ready to enter the nineties.

And they proved it twice, too:


Now we’re on the luxury side of things with the Stemma concept car. Yes, it’s a Coupe. No, it’s not meant to replace the FAAL Coupe. In fact, it’s three feet longer than the FAAL Coupe, and it’s fitted with hydropneumatic suspension, and an innovative (and very heavy) panoramic glassed roof.
It’s bringing some innovation to the table too, as it’s fitted with a demo version of the S-Tronic gearbox, an electronically operated 5 speed torque converter gearbox with a regular driving mode, a sport mode, and a manual mode with + and - push buttons on the steering wheel to change gears.

But what really baffled journalists when they started up the car (because yes, this is a drivable concept car) was the sound. The car was motorized by a 4.0L V8 engine made out of two 204R20 engines, making 276hp, or more than any reasonably tuned 255R21 engine could ever make. And apparently, FAAL Told the press that the industrialization of such an engine was in the pipes. The rumour grew bigger and bigger that FAAL was about to unleash a Mercedes SL competitor but were quickly shut down by a statement saying that the Stemma concept car was prefiguring the replacement of the Klinos.

But there’s two more years of dumping money into R&D until you can see that, though. Coming next, the Mk3 Klinos and blobbifying the brand.


#39

After the accident of Jean Taglang, SBA’s Executive Directors and SBA Motorssports (under overseas operation) Principle Director have send the condelences to FAAL’s team principal.

"Dear, FAAL team principle,

I and my team members, on behalf of South Bangkok Autoworks and SBA Motorsports, would like to give a condelences to your loss of Jean Taglang during the accident. It was a very sad event since the lost of Henri Toivonen back in the Corsica.

During the season, it was a major fight between FAAL, SBA, Peugeot and Lancia, but since the accident in Portugal and Corsica, we knew that the time was closing, then the disaster striked again with a fatal loss of your star driver while he was catching up our star, Azure Giovanni for the fastest stage time in her Gracelet Integral 4.

As our condolences, I and my team members would like to participate his funeral as well.

Sincerely Yours,

Samutsarn Cheampitak, Chief Executive Officer of South Bangkok Autoworks
Walther Grundheim, SBA Motorsports Principle in behalf of team members"