Damn that’s a good design
I want one!
Actually I want most FAALs… I am a fan of the consistent tasteful, lore-fitting and detailed designs (and engines).
The Roundening Pt 2: The Mk4 Mesaia AKA Versatile Boi
If the Mk3 Mesaia was in the middle ground between the B and C segment, with its 3.82m, and went as low as offering trims without any amenities whatsoever just for the sake of offering a modern, cheap enough alternative to the Mk2 Plebia which was getting super old…
that purpose was defeated by the release of the Mk1 FAAL Dima in 1985. And if the small size and the lightness of the car was pure joy for the owners of GTI versions, ultimately, the Mesaia had to grow up into a full fat C segment compact car.
O, 1988 Tasia concept, l hereby baptize you by plunging you in a good ole cup of realistic, reasonable design.
Here is the brand new 1991 FAAL Mesaia IV. It’s… very, very round. But it retains all the design cues of contemporary FAALs. The classic vent wrapped license plate, the V-shaped grille…
… and the blacked out taillight bar.
It retains the general shape of the Tasia concept. The taillights are the same shape but a different design, and everything that’s left from the entirely plastic coated roof are the C-pillars.
FAAL made use of its years of research and development from having the Mk4 Foreia / Mk2 Klinos run on double wishbones all around for 9 years before that, determined to make it last and make use of it: The Mk4 Mesaia is fitted with double wishbone rear suspension! The front is still McPherson, though. A very fancy setup for a not-that-small-anymore car.
Yeah, not that small, as it gained 20cm compared to the previous verison, now at 4.02m long. As it is still made full steel it’s also not that light anymore, ranging from 931kg to 1181kg depending on versions and options.
But where it really shines, though, is in its versatility. The Mesaia is now offered in three or five door hatchback…
… sedan (4.24m)…
… wagon (same)…
… and even a small convertible variant!
No van variant, unfortunately, though some third party manufacturers did sell company conversion kits for the wagons, without rear seats and with a flat floor and appropriate drivetrain choices.
AND WHAT A TRANSITION BECAUSE speaking of drivetrains, the Mk4 Mesaia was offered with slightly bigger, and definetly more powerful engines than the outgoing Mk3. Because weight, and because constant improvement of competitors. Also, except the base engine, every single powerplant came from the SOHC-4V engine series. Something something today’s performance is tomorrow’s efficience.
- 1.3L 64hp 133S13Mpi Euro 1, 5 speed manual only
- 1.6L 82hp 204R16Mpi Euro 1, 5 speed manual only
- 1.8L 95hp 204R18Mpi Euro 1, 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic
Three months later, the already ready diesel engines were added to the lineup:
- 1.9L 65hp 194P19D3, 5 speed manual only
- 1.9L 90hp turbo 194P19TD3, 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic
And two months after that, the one every single FAAL enthusiast was waiting for, the GTI exclusive:
- 2.0L 150hp 204R20MpiS Euro 1, 5 speed manual only, of course.
Because of course FAAL wasn’t gonna stop the GTI, after the success of the Mk3 GTI, both 1.6L and 1.8L. Not after the image boost it gave them, and kept giving them after the end of Group B and the fall of the Coupe.
But anyway, the other trims deserve love and exposition too, so:
BL: two speaker cassette radio. Cloth seats. 175/70R13 steel wheels. Unpainted bumpers. 1.3i or 1.9D engines only. Optional airbag, optional power steering. 3 door or 5 door hatch only.
CL: two speaker cassette radio. Soft cloth seats. Standard power steering and ABS. 185/60R14 steel wheels. Painted bumpers. 1.3i, 1.6i, 1.9D or TD engines. Optional airbags, four speaker radio, front power windows, AC, central locking, front foglights, 14" alloy wheels. Available in 3/5dr hatch, wagon and sedan (1.9D unavailable on wagon and sedan)
GL: Four speaker cassette radio. Soft cloth seats. Standard power steering, ABS, airbags, front power windows, AC, central locking. 185/60R14 alloy wheels. Painted bumpers. 1.6i, 1.8i or 1.9TD engines. Optional 8 speaker radio, rear power windows, front foglights, leather seats, heated front seats, power mirrors, sunroof, 15" alloy wheels. Available in 3/5dr hatch, sedan and wagon.
CAB: Four speaker cassette radio. Soft cloth seats. Standard power steering, airbag, front power windows. 185/60R14 alloy wheels. Painted bumpers. 1.8i engine only. Optional AC, heated front seats, leather, 15" wheels, front foglights. Only trim for the Convertible variant.
GTI: Two speaker cassette radio. Half bucket seats. Standard power steering, ABS, front foglights. 195/50R15 alloy wheels. Painted bumpers with aero package. 2.0i VVT engine only. Optional 4 speaker or 8 speaker radio, power windows front and rear, power mirrors, central locking, AC, heated seats, sunroof, airbags. 3/5dr hatch only.
Generally, people had no complaints about the Mk4 Mesaia. Its broad appeal made it sell well, and enthusiasts were glad to see the GTI come back with a performance boost (7s 0-100km/h, 215km/h top speed, 15.2s quarter mile) and a still relatively contained weight (1008kg). The general public, though, considered the GTI a scam. Indeed, most brands at that time offered sport hatchbacks with reasonable performance AND amenities that were standard. The FAAL, though, came bare bones, with a ton of extras that cost money. Then again, most brands didn’t offer their sport hatchbacks with a Torsen front diff, a fully clad underside and double wishbone rear suspensions all standard. FAAL’s priorities were starting to differ from the public’s priorities, and they were going to need to find a solution.
And since the main reason they sold the GTI bare boned wasn’t costs, but rather engine limitations and especially weight, FAAL concentrated their future researches on a new, lighter, more powerful engine for the future of their sports cars.
But two more cars before that. Coming next, the roundening Pt 3: The 1992 Foreia.
CSR 89 - "Cheri Cheri Lady" (RESULTS)
You can write a nice story book with this compainy’s history. Would sure be a best seller!
That GTI looks like a cool and good speedy boi
Not gonna lie, the concept I love
Also the sedan’s rear
The Klinos Mk3 is one of the best looking cars
I’ve found on these forums. Nicely detailed and very coherent design, perfect as it is. I have troubles designing cars newer than early '80s so I’m amazed when I see such good modern designs.
WOOOOO I really let this place go.
We ain’t done with the Blob Refresh of the brand so here goes:
1992 - The Roundening Pt 3: The Mk5 Foreia
… BUT FIRST
Cigarette break: The 1991 Dima facelift
This placement was totally planned and I absolutely didn’t forget about the car in previous posts. Not. At. All.
Just like they did with the Foreia back in 1988 alongside the release of the Ochlosia, the Dima had to be refreshed as its replacement wouldn’t come for another five or six years.
Not much on the menu as there was no way you could modernize a box that much. On the front, square headlights reminiscent of the concept car, the now traditional FAAL V shaped grille and a rounder sub grille…
On the rear, a smoother taillight bar with rounder fog and reverse lights. The “DIMA” logo also lost its 1980 computer font and was now in the same font as the trim designation.
All the BL, CL and GL trim are back, though the GL is to disappear in 1993.
Engine wise, the 900cc stays the same at 45hp, the 1.1L rounds up to 55hp and the 1.3L is the same as the base engine from the new Mesaia at 65hp.
The S and Turbo, however, didn’t see the facelift. Inexpensive, badly equipped sporty cars were going out of trend, and FAAL had to review their strategy upon them if they still wanted to keep them on the market. Which meant two exclusive engines for one single car were too much.
So anyway back to the
1992 Mk5 Foreia
Disclaimer: For some odd reason, every single sedan version will be shown with ugly ass aftermarket rounded mirrors. Devs plz can you delet them from the C class body :’(
The Mk5 Foreia perfected what the Klinos meekly started and the Mesaia got a little too crazy about. The front end was the perfect mix between the abundance of prestance and square looks of the Klinos, and the blob shitfest of the Mesaia. Everything that had to be round was round, everything that had to be sharp was sharp. It also included the license-plate-wrapped-in-grilles design clue for the very last time, as well as the V-shaped grille.
The rear, though, was definetly inspired from the critically acclaimed Mk3 Klinos released two years ago, retaining the same basic shape. Though the reflector stripe that included the reverse lights remained exclusive to the aforementioned flagship. Also, notice the “make-up” touches connecting the headlights and taillights with the side windows assembly, reminiscent of the same kind of plastic assembly on the 1974 Foreia where it connected the side windows with the liftback.
Engineering wise nothing new (much to the car’s demise), galvanized chassis and regular steel panels to save costs and hammer the nail in 1990s FAAL’s durability reputation. Otherwise the car is sitting on double wishbone rear suspension and regular McPherson front suspension. Since the platform wasnt shared with the Klinos anymore, the downgrade made sense and allowed for the car to fancy up trim wise.
It was offered as a liftback, of course…
But also as a wagon. This one has the factory fancy mirrors that the sedan definetly should have, I mean jesus who gave me a press car with aftermarket headlights, god damn it. Erm.
Unlike the previous generation Foreia, the wagon retained the general design of the rear taillight assembly, cutting the taillights in a half to allow for optimal hatch opening.
And that’s it. Right? Wrong.
See it’s been four years since FAAL lost its beloved sports flagship, the Coupe. And… despite burying it in the grave on account of Group B making it look unsafe, the public missed it. They missed the opportunity of buying a French RWD sports car that sounds nice and has a race pedigree.
So for the pedigree, the Mk5 Foreia entered TCC with a version of FAAL’s historic Group B 2.1L 5 cylinder except naturally aspirated and downgraded to 2.0L to fit regulations, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, here’s the race prototype before the Nescovfefe livery:
As for the RWD Coupe version, well…
Due to not being able to justify the costs of completely replacing the Coupe, FAAL went for a two door version of the Foreia. The longitudinal drivetrain allowed for the sedan and wagon to be either FWD or AWD with the TETRA option, and it also allowed the coupe version to be either RWD or TETRA.
Basing the Coupe on the Foreia allowed for much more practicality with the liftback, a much better rear drivetrain… but also the car was way bigger and way heavier, which is why this choice received a mixed welcome from FAAL enthusiasts who wanted the actual Coupe to come back. The general public appreciated the option as a genuine sporty looking car.
Engine wise, we get, regular petrol range:
204R18Mpi Euro 1, 1.8L 4cyl 95hp, which was the top engine option in the Mesaia, here as a base engine.
204R20Mpi Euro 1, 2.0L 4cyl 115hp, same as the previous generation Foreia except with a cat
255R21Mpi Euro 1, 2.1L 5cyl 130hp, base engine from the Klinos
255R25Mpi Euro 1, 2.5L 5cyl 150hp, also seen on the Klinos
Coupe exclusive petrol range:
204R20MpiS Euro 1, 2.0L 4cyl 150hp from the Mesaia GTI
255R25MpiS Euro 1, 2.5L 5cyl 180hp, upgraded version of the 150hp 2.5L with tubular headers
255R21MpiT Euro 1, 2.1L 5cyl turbo 200hp straight from the Klinos
Trim wise, available in liftback and wagon:
BL: two speaker cassette radio. Cloth seats. Power steering and ABS standard. 195/65R16 steel wheels. Unpainted bumpers. 1.8L or 1.9 TD engines only. Optional airbags. Optional front power windows, central locking. 1.8L and 1.9L TD engines
CL: four speaker cassette radio. Soft cloth seats. Power steering, ABS, airbags, front power windows and central locking standard. 195/65R16 steel wheels, optional 16’ alloy wheels, AC, front foglights, rear power windows. 1.8L, 2.0L, 1.9 TD engines.
GL: Four speaker cassette radio. Hard plastics covered in soft material. Half bucket soft cloth seats. Power steering. ABS. Airbags, AC, front and rear power windows, central locking and front foglights standard. 205/55R17 alloy wheels. Optional remote locking, climate control, ESC, headlight washers. 2.0L, 2.1L, 2.5L, 1.9 TD, 2.5 TD engines.
And since the Foreia is its own model now it can go a step higher:
GLS: Fully optioned GL + wood trim and specific wheels. 2.5L, 2.5L TD engines.
As for the Coupe exclusive trims, you get:
-the 16V with the 150hp Mesaia GTI engine, which is basically a RWD CL on harder suspensions with standard alloy wheels
-the 20V with the 180hp exclusive 2.5L engine, basically the same as the 16V except GL instead of CL, and with an optional aero package
-the Turbo, with the 200hp engine and aero package standard, which looks like this:
With a weight ranging from 1250 to 1550kgs (1250-1381kgs for the Coupe version) the car was much heavier than its predecessor and quite frankly that changed the way it handled, and the way people were seeing cars in general.
Most cars were getting phat, and 1400kg was not an alien weight for a regular sedan. But this change in trend made people regret 1980s car the same way 1970s people were regretting 1960s car. New Euro norms meant the car scene was going to change whether we like it or not, especially in depollution and safety features. And FAAL hoped for the Foreia to be accepted despite its beer belly. Spoiler alert: it did.
Now FAAL looked back at their lineup and there was only one gap left to be filled in their lineup: the B segment the Mesaia left alone by growing up.
Coming next, the roundening Pt. 4: the Tasia
1993 - The Roundening Pt 4 - Mk1 Tasia and filling in the gaps
It’s the 1990s, and brands out there are starting to get really serious about being on every single segment of the market and having an actual car lineup, rather than just random cars that sell.
But FAAL already knew that, hence why they made the Mesaia grow up a bit to be a full fledged C segment car, in all forms. As a result, the B segment stayed vacant, up until a brand new nameplate made its appearance in 1993.
Well. “Brand new”. It actually bears the name of the concept car that became the Mk4 Mesaia shortly after. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Tasia.
Yeah it does look familiar, and you absolutely can spot the shared development it had with the Mesaia since it’s based on a variant of the same chassis.
Both cars shared the same front drivetrain (literally interchangable struts and control arms), but where the Mesaia had rear double wishbone suspension, the Tasia had a bendy boi. Apart from that the design was similar but none of the body parts fit in between the two cars. Despite having a similar wheelbase, the Tasia measured 3.76m, 25cm shorter than the Mesaia. And you could see in the design where they cheaped out compared to the Mesaia.
First off the taillights. One foglight on one side, one reverse light on the other. Then, complete lack of extra plastic cladding on body pillars, or any design extra whatsoever. A simpler front bumper. Every trim gets unpainted door handles and mirrors, and every trim except the GL (pictured) gets unpainted bumpers front and rear.
Though, the car is still available in three or five doors because ain’t losing those market shares. Both versions still have 5 seats.
As for engines, it’s one step below the Mesaia and very simplified, with three petrol and one diesel engine:
- 1.1L 3 cylinder 58hp from the 133R11Mpi (euro 1-2), a stroked down version of the defunct Dima S and Turbo engine
- 1.3L 3 cylinder 70hp 133R13Mpi (euro 1-2), same origin as the 1.1L.
- 1.6L 4 cylinder 82hp 204R16Mpi (euro 1), as seen in the Mesaia
- 1.9L 4 cylinder diesel 65hp 194P19D3 as seen in the Mesaia
All engines available in 5 speed manual. 1.6L engine also available with a 4 speed automatic.
BL: Unpainted bumpers. 175/65R13 steel wheels with no hubcaps and no upgrade possible. All manual cloth seats, no power steering, no ABS, no airbags, no stereo, manual everything. Optional power steering and stereo but that’s it. 1.1i, 1.3i or 1.9D engines.
CL: Unpainted bumpers. 175/65R13 steel wheels with hubcaps. Standard power steering, airbag and two speaker stereo with dashboard speakers. All manual cloth seats. Optional ABS, 14" alloy wheels, power windows, power mirrors, upgraded stereo with door speakers. Available with all engines.
GL: Painted bumpers. 185/55R14 alloy wheels, standard ABS, airbag, power steering and power windows. Upgraded cloth seats with manual lumbar setting. Optional power mirrors, passenger airbag, 14" BBW wheels, front foglights. 1.3i, 1.6i, 1.9D engines.
You’ll notice that there is no GTI. Not that FAAL is completely giving up on inexpensive sports cars. Just that they were currently developing a new architecture of engines that wouldn’t come for another two or three years. In fact, their last “small” sporty engine was the powerplant of the current Mesaia GTI, and it was still running on one single camshaft and was really, really heavy for its size, being all cast.
Those were all key points FAAL was going to change, and starting 1994 they started teasing the future of their engines: Lighter, DOHC, more powerful. The future looked bright… but far.
Coming next: uh, a lot of things actually, the MK2 Dima, a new breed of engines, and facelifts galore.
I know you had to use the same body for the Mk4 Mesaia and Mk1 Tasia - there simply aren’t as many 90s compact car bodies as we’d hoped by now - but you did a great job differentiating the two models. Matter of fact, the latter reminds me somewhat of a pre-facelift Renault Clio II, but slightly boxier.
And I am relieved to know that even though the Tasia GTI isn’t out yet, it could be added to the range in the future - surely it would receive the lighter twin-cam engines currently under development, if it entered production?
Sure will. So far the new engine family will be found in every car from the Dima to the Foreia.
Also the basic idea behind the Mesaia and the Tasia was this:
Similar but different, and share a lot of parts together
Yo it’s been a month already? Damn.
Okay so basically what happenned is, the LCV3 Beta launched, my game auto updated, all the mods packed their bags and went south and as a result, some (most?) of my cars I can’t open anymore, and… to be fair, with the new longitudinal FWD engine clearance issues I think some of my cars can’t even exist the way they are.
Nothing is lost (yet), I wrapped my database in a cute silk napkin waiting for the mods to be updated for Unreal 4.21 so I can keep on going with my lore.
Well… Lite Campaign being out and all, I could make FAAL a reality! Well, kind of. I simplified the trims, didn’t build the wagon versions of sedans and stuff, and limited the number of engines to simplify the gameplay since I needed to note down the sales of each trim every month. But hey, it works!
So here’s FAAL Redux, with updated designs and actual sales numbers!
(okay this is not 1946 this is clearly from between the two world wars but hear with me, I mean ffs those buildings are still the same today albeit they’re all fucking handbag-chihuahua girl boutiques and shit)
Blah blah post war France blah blah economy fucked up blah blah need to put the country back on wheels ANYWAY
On the outskirts of Sélestat in Alsace was a recent
medium plot, medium sized building with steel presses factory, built by the german during the war to build war supplies under the name AUTOMAZIONEN Gmbh or something, it’s not really important. The point is, after the liberation, and since the allies decided not to bomb the factory (a surprising decision, eh), the French started using the factory to build cars, with a fully alsacian team of engineers and builders, under the name FAAL (Fabrique Automobile d’Alsace Lorraine)
Mk1 Plebia (1948-1958)
Their first car, of course, would be a people mover cheap enough for most people to buy, whose base can easily be turned into an utilitarian, and most importantly very easy to engineer because the sooner we release it the better.
This project turned out to be the Mk1 Plebia. Steel everything, ladder chassis with solid axles coil in front and leaf in rear, absolutely no amenities except surprisingly plushy seats because even drained by a war, the French were all about that comfort.
The car was moved by a 780cc inline 3 (3CV) making 26hp and paired to a 3 speed manual transmission allowing the car to reach a 95km/h top speed.
Due to a lack of funds from both the builders and the buyers, the car was only offered in one color. Due to a lack of time for building brand image, the car just bore the logo from the old factory, with FAAL written in all letters above the license plate holder. Due to the same lack of time but will to make the people work, the car was planned to be almost fully hand built. But all those decisions led to a car being sellable on August of 1948, only two and a half years after the company was founded.
The car was on sale until december 1954 for the sedan, and april 1958 for the van (which is not pictured because I’m a dumbass and forgot to export it from the campaign)
The sedan mostly sold in family budget and city markets, whereas the van absolutely dominated the light delivery market. Speaking of, sales numbers:
A total of 467146 sold between 1948 and 1958 (224270 sedans and 242876 vans), with sales peaking in september of 1950 with 7540 cars per month.
Mk1 Foreia (1950-???)
Pleased by the Plebia’s final prototype and general reception, the French government allowed FAAL to extend their plot to build a second building, which turned out to be technically in the territory of the nearby town, Chatenois. A smaller building, for a car that was planned to be sold in smaller numbers. Still no automation in the factory for a minimal engineering time.
And what to build in that factory? Duh, a second car! A luxury sedan, on top of that! To “try and build ourselves a brand image and give hope to the people”, they said (translation: To sell stuff to rich fucks and try to gather their attention for when we make it to the top inshallah).
Though, a luxury car that had to be sold fairly quickly. Still on a ladder chassis but this time with independant suspension all around, and an engine that was totally not two stroked Plebia engine welded together into a 2.1L inline 6, no, not at all, move along. Anyway, the car, the Mk1 Foreia, would enter the market in december 1950, during the Plebia’s prime time so with very high visibility.
Posh chrome, posh leather seats, a posh AM radio, all wrapped up in a relatively nice and fancy looking package. The mk1 Foreia was moved by a 2.1L inline 6 making 69hp, nice, and a 4 speed manual gearbox. Being all hand built, not many were made each month… but not many were needed to be built.
At first everything was going well, with 1240 units sold the first month and sales going up steadily until they reached a peak at 2040 cars in november 1952… until the Big 1953 Economic Crisis of Central Fruinia (or Europe, whatever) combined with the competition releasing killer cars literally every month for half a year straight in the very segments the Foreia was playing in, led to a drastic drop to 739 cars in february 1953, and it was all downhill from here. So downhill in fact, that it reached a point where the factory literally couldn’t run any slower and was stockpiling cars, until FAAL decided to completely shut down the factory a few months before needing to re-tool the factory for its successor that was much more up to date and ready to trample the competition.
Interesting fact: by April 1954, FAAL attempted to revive the mk1 Foreia with a refreshed trim, the 213LS (for Luxury Secure), with updated safety features, but it was too late, and sales didn’t meet expectations. The trim was cancelled in august of 1957, two years before the entire car. As a result, the Foreia 213LS became one of the rarest FAALs ever built and a sought after collector car à la Citroën 15H.
To date (1970), 69648 cars sold (and only 4181 213LS). I absolutely don’t know how much stock is left because it happens than when the production of a trim pauses (either because the player paused it or the game paused it during the tooling of a facelift), the “months of stock” value freezes. Devs, next patch please? also, the possibility of selling cars for scrap or reduce the price? Because this is getting ridiculous T_T"
Mk1 Mesaia (1956-1966)
1950 was a year full of hope for FAAL, with their luxury car on the way and the Plebia who never sold better. Making relatively copious amounts of money (for the economic status of the country at least), FAAL was given a green light from the government to build a THIRD factory once they saw the prototype of the Mk1 Foreia. That third plant would be further north, in Obernai, a few dozen miles away from Sélestat.
This time, though, FAAL had… well, time. They had time to really gauge the markets, do research, actually planning their stuff and wanting to make something big. Get this: Monocoque chassis with independant suspension all around. Front wheel drive layout. 4 cylinder, twin carb engine. A middle ground between the overly cheap Plebia and the posh ass Foreia, to complete the lineup and sell to regular middle class families. Also, a car that could be built smart, with a more automated factory to cut costs and speed up production without compromising on build quality. After more than FIVE YEARS of engineering between december 1950 and its launch in february 1956, ladies and gentlemen, the Mk1 Mesaia.
Fun fact: You guessed it, but the big ass drop of sales of… actually the entirety of FAAL all happenned during the engineering of the Mesaia. The Plebia didn’t drop as drastically as the Foreia, and not because of the crisis, but it did drop, by the start of 1954, slowly but surely… probably because the people’s expectations were getting much higher as years went by. Needless to say by 1956 FAAL had lost 750 millions dollars, and both the Mesaia and the Mk2 Plebia were EAGERLY AWAITED FOR, something crazy.
It was worth the wait though, because it was indeed the amazing car it promised it would be. The front wheel drive layout made it incredibly drivable, though it called for its 1.5L engine to have a stupidly high stroke to bore ratio in order to fit it in front of the front wheels. But its 56hp were enough to move it at decent speeds, and people were happy. So happy, in fact, that the car turned out to be exactly the strong seller the company needed to get back on track, with steady sales from the day it was released to the day it was retired in june of 1966.
A facelift was released in 1961, along with… Oh? What’s this? A SPORTS TRIM?
Yes, a sports trim, with the 1.5L engine being beefed up to 86hp with two WEBER carburators and aggressive cams, on a car turned into a Coupe for the occasion, that also had lower suspensions, larger wheels with radial tires, and FAAL’s new trademark deer logo: the Mesaia 154S! Swimming in money again, FAAL built it on the cheap entirely on known tech just to see if people would like the idea of a French sports car. If they didn’t like it the money wouldn’t be lost since the regular Mesaia would still sell well.
Speaking of the regular Mesaia, it also came with new radial tires and a re-adapted 4 speed gearbox and an engine with like, one or two more horsepower and better fuel economy. Nothing crazy, but enough to keep people interested.
So how did people like the sports trim? Well, sales numbers time.
The Mesaia Mk1 was an amazing seller, with sales never reaching below 5000 cars per month, and peaking at 8870 per month in december 1956. Amazingly, the 154S sports trim did almost just as well as its regular counterpart, sometimes even out-selling it in some months.
In total, 850985 Mk1 Mesaias were sold. 392270 pre-facelift, 458715 facelifts, 221892 of them were sports trims. So yeah, amazing seller all around.
You know who’s an even better seller though?
Mk2 Plebia (1956-19??)
Yep. Just as the Mk1 Foreia hit the shelves and the greenlight was given to start engineering the Mesaia, FAAL decided to think about the future of the Plebia too. Which turned out to be a great idea because… see above.
The car would run on exactly the same technology as its sister project Mesaia. Monocoque, independant suspension all around, FWD, etc… except it would still be running on the 780cc unit of its predecessor.
Cutting short on history since y’all already read it in the Mesaia part, anyway by january 1956, one month before the Mesaia, the Mk2 Plebia hit the shelves right in the middle of FAAL’s worst crisis ever.
So yeah, it’s built on the same technology as the Mesaia but… It’s still cheap. I mean, “crappy door handles, exposed hinges and external lock for the hood because it’s the same door handle as a regular door and it’s way cheaper than an internal release” cheap. But hey, it’s a Plebia, what do you want?
Despite its two door setup, it’s a five seater. A tad cheaper to buy than the old generation Plebia, too. And despite the engine having the same power (26hp), it’s much more fuel efficient, because now coupled to a 4 speed gearbox, and in a much lighter car. The top speed was barely better (98km/h), but the car was a decent replacement for the markets the original Plebia was meant for. Speaking of those markets, of course there’s also a van version, and this time I exported it!
This van though, was sold with a beefed up engine, stroked to 1040cc (4CV) that made 35hp to ensure the proper grunt necessary to carry whatever load you would put in the back of this.
The Mk2 Plebia had a first facelift in may of 1963 and… honestly, given there’s currently (1970) no visible drop in sales, there’s probably gonna be another one later on. Very probably, in fact. Since it’s in my lore… heh.
As for the sales numbers? Well:
Overall the car seems to sell just a tad less than the Mesaia, though paradoxally with a higher sales peak at an amazing 11070 cars per month in August of 1960, right in the middle of the re-tooling of the Mesaia’s factory during its facelift when, victim of its own success, it was completely out of stock and some people bought Plebias instead, not wanting to wait any further.
As for now (1970), the total sales have reached an amazing 1103751 cars. 310934 pre-facelift regulars, 269550 post facelift regulars, 280907 pre-facelift vans, 242360 post facelift vans. Again, steady sales and very good numbers. It is predicted (and hoped) that the car will reach its second million before going off sale around 1985-ish.
Mk2 Foreia (1960-???)
So yeah, this one was much, much needed too if FAAL wanted to keep relatively rich people interested. The re-tooling of the Chatenois plant wasn’t much of a problem, they kept the small building they had, automated it, and engineered a monocoque RWD sedan with a new, three carburator, version of the original 6 cylinder, stroked and bored to 2.4L and making 86hp. Engineering started right after the Mk1 Mesaia and Mk2 Plebia went on sale and finished four years later, giving birth to the Mk2 Foreia.
Again, posh leather seats and posh stereo but wrapped up in a much more modern package that is widely regarded as the most gorgeous classic FAALs. With a similar suspension setup as the Plebia and the Foreia (except much better since it’s now known tech), and wider tires in the rear than in the front, it was surprisingly stable for a RWD car of this era. It was comfy as heck, on top of that, and so easy to drive with its hydraulic power steering (standard!) Everything that could be chrome was chrome, from the lower grilles to the window trim to the goddamn wipers, and it was offered in a wide range of fancy colours, just like this metallic Deep Green, which the hubcaps are also coated in. With a top speed of 156kmh it was also a very good highway cruiser.
By february 1966 the car had a facelift, leading to an even more beautiful car, a much better equipment and… Oh look, another sports trim! And oooh man, what a sports trim it is.
Following the success of the Mesaia 154S, FAAL decided to make more. And make it for real, with a dedicated engine and all. The Foreia Facelift was offered in a regular trim that had a new 2.1L DAOHC inline 6 (formerly pushrod) making 90hp and pushing the car to 160km/h, on top of an even better equipment. The sports trim also used this engine, but stroked to 2.3L, with three Weber carbs, a tubular exhaust header and a bigger exhaust, and cams that were just slightly more aggressive. Because that was this car’s party trick, unlike the Mesaia who was all about sports, this car also kept most of its luxury amenities and had the driving feel that went with it, with just enough sportivity to make it sell in the bloody GT category!
and like, not just sell a little, downright dominating the entire fucking market. I shit you not I spit my Jägermeister when I noticed this.
Its 136hp mated to a brand new 5 speed manual gearbox (!) allowed for a top speed of 187km/h, a 0-100km/h of 8.94s, and a quarter mile of 16.62s, which was, frankly, fairly decent for a 1966 european carsfrom a brand widely recognized for its shitboxes.
Okay so we how have a different sales problem with the Foreia than before: It sells too fucking much. The factory is running literally at full steam, three shifts all year, from the moment the car started selling to now, 1970. Around 950 cars per month in average, peak at 1140 in august 1964.
So far in total 105502 cars sold, 58938 pre facelift, 24279 facelift regular, and 22267 facelift sport trim 234S. … So yeah, further proof that FAAL is really good at building sports trim, they both sell as good as their regular counterparts.
Mk2 Mesaia (1967-19??)
The Mesaia clearly didn’t need to be refreshed, but it just so happenned that the market was shifting more and more towards hatchbacks, and FAAL wanted to keep its lineup fresh at all times not to repeat 1953. By this time, money was flowing and they were researching everywhere they could and managed to have kept 4 billion dollars after popping up level 4 or 5 dealerships in the entirety of the automationverse minus Gasmea, not yet unlocked. So yeah, right after the 1961 facelift went on sale they started planning the new Mesaia.
A transverse engine layout so bigger stuff would fit, a very practical hatchback, and… yeah that was mostly all the technical differences with its predecessor. Anyway, six years (!) of engineering later, there it is!
the Mk2 Mesaia in its regular trim (152M) came with an updated 1.5L pushrod inline 4 from the previous generation, now making 60hp. And if the transverse engine caused a little torque steer when slamming down the throttle, the driving dynamics were mostly improved, with new wider radial tyres and disc brakes in the front.
So if the car was mostly known tech why did it take so damn long to engineer? Well for once because the factory was further automated, and because it was launched with a sports version!
The 164S boasted a brand new 1.6L DAOHC engine sending 100hp to the wider front wheels through a 5 speed manual gearbox. Which meant a top speed of 163km/h, a 0-100km/h in 9.9s and a quarter mile of 17.58s, which is about on par with a real life Renault 8 Gordini. Does it sell as good as a Renault 8 Gordini, though? Well…
Holy shit it sells well. Between 1966 and 1970, 264487 cars were sold, and 129347 of them were sports trims! It peaked at 9980 cars in february 1968, three months before France went apeshit with vintage yellow vests going out to protest, and… given the curves, it’s probably gonna peak even higher somewhere in early 1970s if sales keep rising up.
Standings in january 1970
Well we’re researching turbos, we’re researching AWD, we’re making plans to make the Coupe a reality and make it compete in Group B in time, and also we’re eagerly waiting for people to adapt this body to Unreal 4.21 because I got two cars based on it and I have to stop the campaign right now because now’s the time I need to start engineering the Mk3 Mesaia on that body.
As for the Mk3 Foreia and Mk1 Klinos they’ve been in the pipes for a year and scheduled to be released in January 1974, in a factory that has bloomed up to its full level.
I forgot to build the sports Plebia 102S, that’s gonna have to wait for a third facelift in the early 70s.
The Mk1 Foreia is still selling in very, very small numbers because I have an unknown amount of stock and the game is not willing to let me drop the prices so I would just get rid of them… this is getting kinda awkward tbh.
Gasmea just unlocked and right away I bought level 4 dealerships so I’m expecting things to be great.
As for money well we’re at like 4 and a half billion right now so I think we can safely say that FAAL is a commercial success and everything I wanted to do, I’ll be able to do. Which is great!
Coming next, probably the rest of FAAL Redux, as soon as the Delta body and derivatives gets updated
The game went stable and I realized I planned my 70s badly, that most of my cars didn’t have fixtures anymore… Anyway, I started over after two days of intense spreadsheeting.
Now the numbers have changed, the cars have improved, and I’m back in the 70s and everything is going well… Except I can’t build the FAAL Tetra anymore. Engine was a tight fit back in the days but now with the drivetrain revamp it’s too phat for the smol Delta body. I’m considering using the Manta body, gonna try it out this evening.
Anyway, just to say, I’m completely giving up on Sandbox FAAL, and redoing EVERYTHING in Lite Campaign. Every single engine family and variant, every single model in every single body style. With improved designs and more vanilla fixtures. And starting from the 1996 mk2 Dima (which was going to be the next release), all the cars I’ll post will be from said Lite Campaign and thus will feature accurate lore about engineering and markets that I pulled from the game and not from my ass.
Hope y’all stay tuned because I’m having a blast in this campaign game.
so in a year I have:
-Tried to LCV3 my way through my brand timeline exactly as it was, many times, without much success, half because my method wasn’t viable, half because LCV3 wasn’t exactly stable at the time
-got frustrated and stopped playing
-had computer problems which ended up preventing me to run the game anyway
-Lost my job like idk twice
-ended up signing a permanent contract in a company that treats me well
-managed to reinstall the game and finally get it running
So uh yeah. Things changed and stuff, and now I finally managed to finish a full LCV3 game on 1x score multiplier, which means I have accurate sales numbers \o/
Though that meant changing lots of things in the timeline so for those who remember the old FAAL imma need you to pop those real quick:
FAAL Reboot Lore - 1946-1950: Government fed rebuilding
France just got freed from
German Hetvesian occupation, which meant Alsace was now French Fruinian again. To celebrate and give the finger to the enemy, the French Fruinian government decided to allow an Alsacian industrial and car enthusiast, Armand Taglang (1898-1966), to repurpose his iron treatment and cutting plant that used to manufacture sheet metal for different bodywork applications into a fully fledged car factory. The goal was to take advantage of the upcoming Marshall Plan (AKA big load of US Gasmea mone meant for rebuilding Europe after the war) to build the one and only car French Fruinian people needed to get around and work. Three conditions, though:
- The platform had to be versatile enough to be made into both a family car and a work vehicle
- The engine had to stay below the 4cv (tax horsepower) mark.
- It had to be finished by the end of the decade.
“Gott verdammi you got a deal”, reportedly said Armand Taglang, and he took full advantage of the schedule. Three years of engineering and one year of factory retooling later, the factory that was now known as the Fabrique Automobile d’Alsace-Lorraine (FAAL) started manufacturing the Type V platform.
1950-1956 FAAL Type V (VM/VF)
The Type V (stands for Versatile) was a simple car that was made with a simple assembly procedure in mind, and relied on simple engineering. Which meant:
- “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” ladder chassis with solid axles all around (coils on the front, leaves on the rear)
- “Everybody’s doing it that means it must be right” front engine RWD layout
- Steel body panels with a body made of two separate parts assembled together (took advantage of the factory already being geared towards steel manufacture beforehand)
- the B-pillar held the hinges for both the front and rear doors, which meant front suicide doors
- The windshield and rear windows were split like most pre-war cars
But it also sported some fancy stuff, for both style and aerodynamics, such as:
- Covered rear wheel arches
- A sloped roofline on the back
As for the engine, a single option was available, a brand new 36hp small Flat 4 1050cc engine (right below the 4cv limit) with, again, known technologies: Pushrods, and one single barrel carburator on each side. Though, this engined paid itself the luxury of having overhead valves and crossflow heads, and it was also mated with a 4 speed manual gearbox.
The car was either available as a family sedan, dubbed the Type VM, or as a van, or “fourgonnette”, dubbed the Type VF.
The type VM could carry 5 people, the Type VF could carry 1 ton. Not that you’d actually want to load one ton inside though, y’know, 36hp and all.
- Wheelbase: 2.62m
- Ladder Frame (solid axle coil front, solid axle leaf rear)
- Length: 4.12m
- Weight: 967kg
- Power 36hp
- Fuel economy: 11.5L/100
- Top speed: 116km/h
- 0-100km/h: 40.2s
- Wheelbase: 2.62m
- Ladder Frame (solid axle coil front, solid axle leaf rear)
- Length: 4.26m
- Weight: 949kg
- Power 36hp
- Fuel economy: 12.2L/100
- Top speed: 111km/h
- 0-100km/h: 43.8s
The Type V (VM/VF) was on sale from early 1950 to late 1955 and sold a total of 248,335 units:
- 107,553 Type VM
- 140,782 Type VF
The car was sold only in Fruinia and Capitalist Hetvesia, and fulfilled its mission of establishing FAAL as a brand in those markets. sales peaked in 1952 when the Sélestat factory reached its sweet spot in terms of output/quality balance, but slowly declined afterwards (despite growing demand) due to the fact that the Type V platform was, frankly, outated from the start.
Armand Taglang knew that from the beginning though, and starting 1950, started procedures to buy a second factory that could allow him to divide the van and family car production in two distinctive models.
The new factory was okay’d by government officials in 1951 and was bought with Taglang’s own war money + the remaining of the Marshall Plan’s money. Right after, its construction began in Saint Dié.
Feels good to play again
Up next: 1956-1972 FAAL Type M / 1956-1976 FAAL Type 130-160
Excuse the double posting.
DISCLAIMER: so I tried to set the stage fully in the Automationverse at first. Disregard that. I’ll just roleplay Europe and explain what that meant for the in-game choices.
1956-1972 FAAL Type F
As soon as the Type V started production in the Sélestat factory, Armand Taglang, still not subcontracting any business decisions to anyone, started working on ways to produce a car that offered the same prestations as the Type VM all while being more usable, more drivable, and stand the test of time better than the Type VM that was showing age as soon as it started production. The general idea was:
- The car had to be both monocoque AND FWD to allow for the flattest floor possible inside the passenger compartiment.
- It had to have independant, softer suspension all around, as Taglang knew this time the car wouldn’t have to double as a van.
- Generally had to be the best use of space possible. Same footprint as the Type VM, but roomier.
Obviously mixing all of those ideas into a car that had to be sold at around the same price as the Type VM meant it took longer to get ready, but thankfully, the new car dubbed the Type F (standing, of course, for Family) was ready for production by 1956, before Type VM sales could dangerously drop.
To appeal to a wider range of customers, the car was sold in two separate trims differenciated by slight cosmetic changes:
The poshest trim. It featured chrome accents all around (grille, lights, a chrome strip that was going around the whole body, hubcaps), a 1.3L engine that was derived from the Type VM Engine but stroked to the next tax horsepower (5cv), and a simple AM Radio.
The cheaper option. All the chrome accents were body coloured (except the hubcaps which were just crude metal), the engine was a refactored version of the 1050cc (4cv) engine from the Type V. It also got rid of the rear wheel covers.
The monocoque FWD longitudinal layout gave, as expected, much more space for occupants and cargo space, as there was no ladder chassis in the way of anything. The fuel tank was all the way back below the cargo area, the spare tire was under the hood right behind the boxer engine. It also meant that the car was lighter than the Type V, which meant better acceleration, almost to the lower standards of cars coming from literally anywhere but France hueaheauheu… hem. clears throat
Though, the car was sold through 16 years of changing markets, of new borders opening which gave access to new opportunities, and also through a big change in leadership. Details are for later, but just know that:
- 1st facelift was built from 1956 to late 1960 in the foretold conditions
- 2nd facelift was built from 1961 to late 1965 after growing the Sélestat factory to the max to allow more output
- 3rd facelift was built from 1966 to late 1971 after moving the car production entirely to a new factory in Braga, Portugal, under a new leadership.
2nd Facelift (1961-1965):
The main apparent cosmetic change in this version is the appearance of the new FAAL Logo, which is simply a deer head, the Deer being the symbol on Taglang’s family crest. Taglang took advantage of that to get rid of the external hood release to make the car appear cleaner on the outside. The FL Trim also got a new, fancier grille.
The car was also mounted with radial tires from the factory, unlike the previous facelift.
The engines were still relatively the same, with mostly unchanged power but better fuel economy (38hp and 50hp).
The second facelift saw, though, a third trim, geared more towards sportivity, to test the markets for a cheap sporty car: The Type FS.
The FS had the chrome trim from the FL, the interior trim from the FM, a dedicated grille, a gearbox with shorter ratios, lowered suspensions, bigger wheels, bigger brakes and wider tyres. The engine was a version of the 1.3L from the FL tuned to its maximum usable capacity thanks to new cams, new exhaust headers and two Weber carbs, making the engine gain 19hp for a total of 69hp. Nice.
0-100km/h was achieved in 15.5s and top speed was 144km/h, which was frankly laughable as far as sports cars are concerned, but the ride made it feel sportier than it was, and it cornered like an absolute champ to make up for the lack of power.
3rd facelift (1966-1971):
Third and final grille change for both FM and FL trims. The front blinkers were replaced by rectangular, wider ones. Rear wheel spacing was widened as it was proven to be a better alternative by the Type FS. Of course, that meant the rear wheel covers had to go since the hubcaps didn’t fit anymore. Some models got optional reverse lights.
The engines were still the same pushrod Boxer 4s, with power only slightly growing to 39 and 51hp.
As for the Type FS, though… The previous version encountered an unexpected success due to the way it drove, which led the new FAAL Leadership to give it a replacement, this time with an actual engine.
The FS was back with a 1.3L, high revving, OHC Boxer 4 that was putting out 85hp at 6000RPM. Which meant the 0-100 time was now 12.3s and the top speed 158km/h.
- Wheelbase: 2.49m
- Chassis: Monocoque, longitudinal FWD - McPherson front - Semi Trailing arm rear
- Length: 4.06m
- Weight: 807-898kg
- Power: 37hp-85hp
- Fuel Economy: 9L/100 - 17L/100
- Top Speed: 105km/h - 158km/h
- 0-100km/h: 29.4s - 12.3s
The type F sold an amazing 1,247,851 units between 1956 and 1971, and could have probably sold way more; As you can see in this graph, the three facelifts are clearly visible and the only obstacle to the Type F’s sales were production output capacity.
Next: Tha 1956-1976 FAAL Type 130-160 van
FAAL Lore: 1950-1960: A family affair
As the Type V started selling by 1950, Armand Taglang, sole decision maker of the company, decided to split production of family cars and utilitarian cars by separating the lineup in two separate models. Which meant building another factory. Having a meeting with himself, Taglang decided on Saint Dié, on the other side of the mountain, in the Vosges department.
The decision was made based on:
- Spite. The Vosges department also being part of the formerly german parts of freed France, Taglang wanted to show his former enemy "Hey, look at everything we can do in that area you had to give back to us because you lost the war DÜ SCHIEßER HUEAHUEAEUH
- Proximity. No matter what the new utility vehicle might end up being, it was going to use the same 134P engine (which I forgot to mention is the 1.0L-1.3L pushrod flat 4 that’s been in all my previous posts so far), that was still produced in the Sélestat factory. That meant the engines had to be shipped fast and efficiently, which would be done by rail through the railway tunnel of Ste-Marie Aux Mines, finished right before the war.
As for the vehicle itself, it was going to be a van, and a few guidlines were put on the table:
- Has to be able to carry more than one ton
- Has to be able to tow more than one ton
- Efficient use of space
- Easy maintenance.
The result was a simple, ladder frame, RWD soap bar on wheels, see below:
1956-1976 FAAL Type 130-160
The final product started production after 6 years in development, and looked like this.
The requirements of the initial project gave birth to a soap bar like shape, separated in two compartiments: The passenger area, seating two people in just enough comfort to still want to go to work, with the engine sitting under the seats and accessible through two trap doors bolted under said seats.
The cargo area, which had a relatively low floor despite the RWD layout, and could carry 7m² of cargo, which was pretty impressive.
Though unfortunately and despite 6 years of development, one of the requirements couldn’t be fulfilled: Having to use the 1.3L 48hp engine shared with the top of the line Type F (see previous post), meant despite the shortest possible gear ratios, the car could only tow 800kg. That was of course offset by the carrying capacity being upped to 1300kg instead of one ton, which gave it the chassis code “Type 130”.
As for easy maintenance most of the engine servicing stuff (coolant and oil mostly, the brakes still being cable driven) was accessible through two trap doors right above the grille.
Despite its underpowered engine, its practicality made it a decent enough vehicle for most light and medium duty applications. Also, just like the Type F, the design was bound to last more than a decade.
The original Type 130 was sold from 1956 though late 1962, before being gently facelifted and mechanically improved.
2nd facelift (1963-1968)
Just like the contemporary Type F, the most (only?) notable change was the apparition of the new FAAL Emblem. Mechanically, though:
- The van was now fitted with radial tires, allowing for a wider contact patch, and more adherence
- The engine had the same improvements as the one in the contemporary Type F with a bit more torque and HP (50hp)
- All those things, with improved suspension, meant the carrying capacity was bumped up to 1600kg. Towing capacity was still unchanged, though.
And despite competition tightening, the factory still had to grow a little in order to meet demand for the third and final facelift.
3rd facelift (1969-1976)
The van was updated to more aerodynamic headlights, beefy plastic bumpers, and rectangular blinkers similar to those of the contemporary Type F.
Mechanically and industrially, though, the engine was switched to a less powerful variant of the engine from the FS3 (dubbed 164S, for reminder, a 1.3L direct acting cam boxer 4), in order to even out engine production better to remove the strains on the Sélestat factory who had to produce 134P engines for the entirety of the FAAL lineup. The 164S engine was produced in Braga, Portugal, in the same factory the production of the Type F was moved to.
On paper, that meant no change in towing capacity or carrying capacity, but slightly better fuel economy and 5 more horsepower (55hp).
Chassis: Ladder, galvanized. Solid axles coil front, leaf rear.
Fuel Economy: 11.2L/100 - 13.3L/100
Top Speed: 120-127km/h
0-100km/h: 30.3s - 21.8s
Let’s be honest for a second, despite the actual product not being that bad by all standards, the FAAL Type 130 was plague by one of the worst production management in the history of French industry. This was, much like the Type F, mostly due to not being able to anticipate the humongous demand, and not being able to keep up with it despite pouring twice the entirety of the available money in production output. This has led to one small production halt in 1960 (which led to an almost immediate sales halt due to limited stock), and one ABSOLUTELY HUGE production halt in 1970-1971 during the retooling of the Braga factory necessary to produce a new variant of the 164S engine, leading to absolutely no sales in 1971. FAAL was only able to maintain a relatively reasonable production output from 1972 to 1975, which is 4 years out of a 20 years production run. Needless to say there was still some growing to do.
602,748 Type 130s have been produced in the 20 year production run.
Next: Impromptu bank takeover, and Type K Luxury Boi.
FAAL Lore + new car: 1957-1971: Family affair and impromptu bank takeover.
As you might have noticed in the previous posts (<_<), FAAL was selling relatively well, but needed to grow way, way too fast compared to what it could if they wanted to keep selling cars to, erm. Modest people, m’kay.
Growing the factories while retooling proved to help a little, but at the expense of a terrible prodution run during said (lengthy) retooling. The company was dumping tremendous amounts of money at each and every growth spurt, way beyond their profits. Finances flirted with the negatives, before completely embracing it.
Armand Taglang, who was already getting old before this happenned, caved in to the pressure and appointed his son, Michel Taglang (1926-2008) to oversee the industrialization and design of new cars starting 1957, while he kept his chairman position for business decisions.
Four years later though, as the 2nd facelift of the Type F just went on sale, along with the revisions of the only engine family FAAL was making, let’s say finances were beyond non existant. The French government though, seeing the potential of the Brand, and offered to bail out the brand, under the condition that every industrial decision and management decision would either come from the government or require its approbation.
With FAAL’s bank account figures about to reach the center of the earth and keep on going, of course, Armand Taglang gladly accepted the offer. And that’s when the government immediately started taking drastic measures, some better than others:
- Appointing Michel Taglang as a puppet chairman, since Armand Taglang was deemed absolutely spent (that was a bad one)
- Negociating with the Portugal to build a much bigger factory in Braga and take advantage of their cheap workforce to build more family cars for cheaper (that was a good one)
- Embracing the smolness™ of the soon to be unused Sélestat factory to build a lower volume luxury car (that was… well, read up.)
Michel Taglang wasn’t exactly confident enough to take over completely, though, and discreetly kept asking his dad for advice. When it was time to start working on that new Unnammed Luxury Car™ the government commissionned, both Taglangs interviewed some art students. One of them particulary caught their attention, 23yo Hubert Napperon (1938-2005), whose portfolio was the most disruptive and bold. Michel was absolutely in love with Napperon’s ideas, but Armand, being the
old fuck that he was at the time, treated him like all the other candidates. Blah blah youngin, blah blah didn’t do the war did you, blah blah useless, if you can’t get yelled at 24/7 you won’t do a good job even though I like your stuff, and so on.
Needless to say, Napperon was absolutely boiling with rage and even though Michel tried to keep good relationships with him and show interest, Napperon answered: “Look, no offense, but there is absolutely no way I’m gonna work for you as long as this bullshit mill is here.”
In the end, Napperon wasn’t hired, and Michel Taglang had to design the Unnamed Luxury Car himself. Both him and Armand decided on the name “Type K” (K for Krone, or crown). 6 years later in 1967, it was ready for production.
1967-1978 FAAL Type K
1st facelift (1967-1972)
Let’s be honest now. Noone at FAAL was ready to build a luxury car. Noone had any idea they were ever going to sell car to a wealthy audience, and as a result, noone started any sort of research in that regard. Which meant everything had to be done now. And Michel Taglang took inspiration from none other than the granddaddy of postwar luxury cars, the USA.
Okay so, giant overhangs front and rear, check. Tail fins… too overkill, uncheck. Chrome everywhere, absolutley check. Vinyl tops, check. Giant taillights, check. Mix it up with cues from the Type F, slap a Type F longitudinal FWD engine layout and boom.
If the Type K shamelessly took inspiration from american luxury landships, its dimensions were still adapted to the european market. Its wheelbase was exactly the same as the Type F and its suspension setup was exactly the same, though the car was wider.
Either way, the government wanted a luxury car, they had a luxury car. Hand made leather seats and door panels. A powerful stereo system. Hydraulic brakes and power steering. Soft, cushiony suspension, and to make the ride even smoother, a 3 speed automatic gearbox. If the design was okay at best, the equipment list definetly screamed luxury car. Now all FAAL needed was to develop a worthy engine to power the~
Govrenment: “UUuuuh who said anything about a new engine? No, definetly no. You’re already making engines. Use those. If the car moves, then it works.”
sounds of Michel Taglang losing his shit
For reminder, at the time, FAAL was only producing two engines: The ancient and anemic 134P, and the relatively recent but still small 164P, which was far from ready anyway when the development of the Type K started. But anyway, Taglang had to do as the officials said, because obviously politicians know how to build cars, right?
Kicking the dirt after browsing his options, he settled for the most powerful engine they had ready, even though it was defintely not meant for a luxury car: The ‘smol but sporty’ 85hp 164S13DC, which would also power the latest Type FS.
Mated to the Type K’s 3 speed auto, it gave the baby landship a top speed of 154km/h reached after a 0-100km/h time of 15.7s. Marketting was, of course, emphasized on ride quality and comfort rather than performance. Even with that, though, sales were slow. Sustainable. But slow.
Thankfully, government officials would see that.
2nd facelift (1973-1979)
On the first year of Type K sales, 1967, Armand Taglang died. From old age, or tiredness, depending on press releases. The silver lining to this, though, is that Hubert Napperon was hired almost on the spot now that the only reason he refused to join FAAL disappeared. And his first mission was to fix Michel Taglang’s design for the Type K’s facelift:
On the menu, rectangular headlights that flow better with the car’s boxy design, underlined by a thin strip of blinker that looked way better than the blinkers originally just tacked next to the headlights. On the sides, more modern, angular, flat door handles, as well as rectangular mirrors. In the back, some carving inbetween the taillights to make the rear appear less flat, as well as a discreet pushbutton trunk opener made even more discreet by slapping the FAAL badge around it.
If Hubert Napperon did an amazing job of bettering the Type K’s design, that was not the only good news. Nor the better one. The better one is governmnet officials finally OKing the manufacturing of a new, bigger engine. The decision was taken after approving the gradual discontinuation of the 134P pushrod boxer 4, to free some space in the Sélestat factory to build a new engine instead.
The new engine would be loosely based on the 164S boxer 4 (which was set to replace the 134P in existing applications), but with two extra cylinders. It will be developed to be stroked and bored all the way up to 2.6L, and therefore be called 266S. That decision left room for improvement since the unit chosen to fit the facelifted Type K was a 2.4L, staying right under the bar of 9 tax horsepowers.
The Type K was also divided into two separate trims: An ultra luxury trim similar to the previous facelift and fitted with the boxer 6, and a slightly more reasonable one fitted with a bored to the max 164S of, you guessed it, 1.6L.
As for technological improvements, both engine choices were fitted with a newly developed Busch Jet-Ktronic mechanical injection system, drastically improving throttle response. The 3 speed automatic remained on both engines.
Performance wise, the 1.6L engine (Type KL4) got 92hp, a 0-100km/h time of 14.5s and a top speed of 160km/h.
The 2.4L engine (Type KL6) was a huge improvement with 133hp, a 0-100km/h of 10.7sec and a top speed of 181km/h. Not to mention it was also much smoother and much quieter than the 4 cylinder which was shared with a small sporty hatchback. (see next post)
Chassis: Monocoque galvanized, Longitudinal FWD, McPherson front, Semi trailing arm rear
Fuel economy: Beyond the point. (18L/100)
Top speed: 157-181km/h
Oh would you look at that! Another production management mishap leading to an entire year without any sales whatsoever! Who would have known that politicians can’t manage a factory?
Though, it is notable that sales doubled and were much more stable during the second facelift, mostly because of the split effort in engine manufacturing. The government was right on one thing, it’s that typical luxury car consumers were almost always willing to pay a higher markup when production reached its peak, leading to tremendous benefits if not tremendous sales numbers.
In total, 165,812 Type K were produced during its 12 years production run.
AND ANOTHER GOOD NEWS, during the Type K’s production run, in 1971, FAAL finally managed to clear its debt to the government and was therefore free of its leadership! Which led Michel Taglang to immediately voice his desire to “get off that schießsturm gott verdammi” in his words, or “leave the position” in corporate speak.
Bertrand Failliez (1919-2001), a much more skilled visionary industrial from inner France, took his place starting 1972. His mission was to make FAAL grow to meet consumer demand as smoothly and efficiently as possible. His desire, also, was to make it one of the most technologically advanced, rules breaking car companies in existence. Which is why he was delighted to have Hubert Napperon as main designer. An era of quirky French cars was to come.
Next: The FAAL Mesaia hatchback, into the future one step at a time.
1972-1982 FAAL Mesaia: Napperon induced evolution
As said in the previous post, Hubert Napperon joined the FAAL Executive team as chief car designer. In parallel with saving the design of the Type K for its mid carreer facelift, he also worked on a brand new car that was meant to replace the aging Type F.
If the original idea for the Type F (Best use of space possible) was met by 1950s standards, its concept had since been used on a whole other level by the competition. Which is why Napperon was given a blank card for the “Project M”, for “Mid level car”.
Napperon kept everything from the Type F that was still up to date and made sense industrially. The Project M would retain the 164S Boxer engine (which meant th 134P was going to be discontinued to make room for the 266S engine in the Sélestat factory, see post above), the McPherson front suspensions, as well as the semi trailing arm rear suspension. Obviously it retained the longitudinal FWD layout since it was impossible to make it otherwise with a boxer engine. Though, those ideas were applied to a brand new body type for FAAL: The hatchback.
Instead of having an impractical trunk, most of the rear end of the car above the bumper would lift up, revealing a modulable cargo space that could be lengthened by folding the rear seats or removing the quarter deck.
The “Project M” went under development for 6 years, during which the name switched to “Mesaia”. It was the first FAAL Vehicle to have a full name, rather than a codification, and the tradition still endures to this day.
1972-1978 Model years (chassis code MA)
Stats wise, the car was much shorter than the outgoing Type F, with its 3.72m (vs 4.02m for the Type F), but the use of space was absolutely on point, with the cargo being the only stat truly hurt when all five seats were used. Not to mention, a shorter car means less metal, and the Mesaia was lighter than the Type F despite improved security (781kg VS 807kg).
Design wise, it was groundbreaking compared to the ancient Type F. Way smoother, with less curves, and an aerodynamic back. It featured a smaller grille, rectangular headlights, blinkers integrated in the bumpers and more visible taillights. Haters will say it’s more efficient in reverse, but haters really don’t know about aerodynamics.
The car was available in both 3 door and 5 door versions, broadening its range, wanting to be both a supermini and a family car. Three trims were available, plus the options.
Mesaia BL: Stripped down base model, with unpainted grille and headlight guards, no hubcaps, basic cloth seats and no radio. 1.1L double carb engine with 45hp.
Mesaia GL: Body coloured grille and headlight guards (optional chrome grille). Hubcaps. Plush cloth seats with adjustable height. Two speaker radio, optional four speaker. Power steering. 1.3L Double carb engine with 55hp. More colour choices.
Both engines were mated to 4 speed manual gearboxes, and both fuel efficiency and performances were on the rise, with a minimum of 8.9L/100km and a maximum of 136km/h top speed (114km/h for outgoing equivalent Type F).
Wait, did I say three trims and advertise only two? Well yeah, I did that. And for good reason.
FAAL was absolutely not planning to give up on sports models, since the Type FS was about a quarter of Type F sales. And for that, the 164S engine was stretched to its maximum capacity which was decided during design: 1.6L, or 6CV (tax horsepower). It also featured a brand new, very expensive mechanical fuel injection (which would have been impossible to justify if the engine wasn’t shared with FAAL’s flagship, the Type K), aggressive cams, and tubular headers. With all of that, the 1.6L engine put out a respectable, and very welcome 92hp.
The trim was dubbed Mesaia GTI, for Grand Tourisme Injection. FAAL, for some reason, believed the most popular compact sports cars would be used this acronym by the 80s. What a silly idea to have, right? … Right?
It was basically a BL trim with sportier seats and 14" alloy wheels with wider tyres, standard foglights and a plastic bodykit featuring side skirts, flared fenders, a front lip, and a rear spoiler. And, obviously, the 1.6L engine. Three door was standard, 5 door was available but not really popular. A brand new 5 speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option.
Oh yeah, and also a central double exhaust. That’s cute.
Frankly this is the only trim where performance is actually relevant so here goes: 9.66s 0-100km/h making it the first sub 10s FAAL. 165km/h top speed. 17.23s quarter mile. Truly serious numbers for a car this small, not to mention it took almost one full G in the corners.
The 1st facelift Mesaia sold just about as much as third facelift Type Fs, yet, for some damn reason, production demand was STILL NOT MET. It didn’t help than it was also the first FAAL to start selling in the USA, specifically during the fuel crisis. So a facelift was needed by 1978.
The car would obviously change but the main point of the facelift was to grow then Braga factory to its absolute full capacity, to meet demand.
Hubert Napperon, being the absolute genius that he is, though, did make some significant changes to the car and made it even more aerodynamic AND more modern at the same time.
1979-1983 Model years (chassis code MB)
Headlights guards? Eff that, how about smooth, flush headlights? Oh yes, perfect. How about daylight running lights that curl around the front fenders? Too expensive to manufacture? Yeah unless you’re selling a butt ton of cars, which was the plan. Also, what are you saying? Bigger, more visible taillights? We shall provide. Throw some bigger side bumper bars in the process because for some reason we report a lot of dinged doors.
Both the BL and GL trims are back, with similar engine options, still twin carbed with the same power and the same option list, though there is a bump in fuel efficiency (8.6L/100). An optional rear wiper found its way on the option catalog.
Since the Braga factory was now at full capacity, the cars were also much cheaper to produce, and FAAL could sell more. So let’s just say 2nd facelift Mesaias sold like bread in a bakery.
OBVIOUSLY the GTI returned, still with the same mechanically injected 1.6L engine fitted with better cams and a better exhaust, which bumped up the power to a rounded up 100hp in a 876kg car, still with a 5 speed manual. Competition was starting to catch up, and they needed to stay up to date. Which it did, beautifully.
Performance was obviously on the rise, with a 9.19s 0-100km/h, 170km/h top speed and a 16.86 quarter mile. Just like the last GTI, handling was absolutely on point and the car ate curves for breakfast while still retaining most of the family car features the regular Mesaia offered. Alloy wheels were upgraded to 15" for the occasion, and the GTI badging was getting more obnoxious (and red) to distinguish the car better from the rest of the lineup.
Chassis: Monocoque steel, longitudinal FWD, McPherson front, semi tailing arm rear
Fuel Economy: 8.6L/100 - 15.4L/100
Top Speed: 128km/h - 170km/h
0-100km/h: 9.2s - 19.5s
Almost there. Almost there. The Mesaia sold as many as the third facelift Type F it was directly replacing, and those steady sales from 1972 to 1977 one hundred percent meant that the factory was running full steam the whole time, cars were sold at a high markup because of offer and demand and it was absolutely time to top out the factory. Which, for once, has been done flawlessly as there was no discontinuation in sales from 1977 to 1978.
And 1978, oh my. What a year, with 258,270 cars sold in this one year. That’s more than the Type V, the first FAAL ever, sold in its entire production run, cars and vans alike. And the production kept steady until 1981.
Unfortunately, as FAAL had to deal with a very hard, super short transition between boxer engines and inline engines, which meant production was discontinued mid 1982 and its replacement, the Mesaia Mk2, wasn’t released before 1984.
Still, the Mk1 Mesaia sold 1,874,550 units in its 10 years production run, which was the higest any FAAL had sold at that point.
Bertrand Failliez and Hubert Napperon were still getting along really well and the cars produced during their reign put FAAL up there with the best regular car manufacturers.
Up next: The FAAL Syronia, a new era of vans.
1976-1991 FAAL Syronia
The first thing Bertrand Failliez did when he took control of FAAL in 1971 was prospections for a new factory, about the same size as the Braga factory where the Type F / Mesaia and the 164S engine were produced. The goal was exactly the same, maximizing production output, except this time for the Van segment. The Type 130/160 was getting more and more ancient as time went by, but the main problem was the size of the factory it was built in didn’t meet demand anymore despite its age. Also, production costs in France didn’t really justify building cars for people on a budget there.
Which is why Failliez turned once again towards the Iberian Peninsula just like Taglang before him. A new factory was to be built in Bilbao, Spain
(or Archana, Large plot 1, whatever man). Eventually, engines were going to be produced there too, but right now, only the new van, dubbed so far Project L (for Light Duty), was to be built in it.
The Project L was obviously drawn and engineered under the pen of Hubert Napperon, under three main guideilnes:
- Car like handling (at least, as much as possible)
- Up to 2500kg carrying capcity
- It was becoming a theme with FAAL but, efficient use of space
The factory was okay’d in 1972 and immediately started building. The van was ready for production starting 1976 and was dubbed the Syronia.
- 1976-1980 MY (Chassis code LA):
Yes it’s hella square. Basically a brick with wheels. Which is, indeed, the best use of space possible, so scratch that off.
The architecture stayed related to the Type 130 for that matter, with the engine under the two front seats, and all the servicing done through a front panel, so the entire rear is dedicated to cargo.
The cargo size remained at 7m², length and wheelbase remained similar to the Type 130. Chassis wise, though, the van was a hybrid. Monocoque chassis upfront which turned into a ladder frame midway where extra carrying capacity was needed. Which explains why the van retains a solid axle with leaf springs on the rear but inherits from car-like McPhersons on the front, with the shock towers below the seats. This was done to retain car-like handling while allowing the van to reach its 2500kg carrying capacity on the top level.
Weird choices were made on the rear if you consider the direction every single other van was going in at the time. Napperon went for horizontal hinges rather than vertical. This was done because of some customers comments about it being hard to carry long objects in the Type 130. Pipes or planks would sometimes slide out of the flat floor and deliverers had to secure them in a weird way, lifting the rear up for it not to happen. With the horizontal hinges, deliverers could just leave the upper part open and let their items rest on top of it. Not to mention the rest of the cargo stayed secure.
Side doors were staying more traditional and up to date, with the sliding door design most manufacturers were also adopting at the time.
Two engine choices were available.
- A 68hp 1.6L flat 4 which was a detuned and carb’d Mesaia GTI engine. Vans fitted with this engine were called 1606 for 1600kg carrying capacity and 6cv (tax horsepower)
- A 85hp 2.1L flat 6 derived from the Type KL6’s engine, destroked and twin carbed. Vans fitted with this engine were called 2508 for 2500kg carrying capacity and 8cv (tax horsepower)
Both engines were offered with 5 speed manuals only.
- 1981-1985 MY (chassis code LB)
To keep up with the brand’s evolving design language, the Syronia was refreshed in 1981. Square, flush headlights just like the Mesaia, wider taillights and new, more car-like mirrors.
Engine wise, both engines were now shared with other cars in the lineup. The 1.6L drops 2hp and gains in fuel economy (13.3L/100 instead of 13.8L/100). The 2.1L Flat 6 engine is ditched for a 2.0L Flat 6 from the Foreia (upcoming midsize sedan, see next post). The drop in displacement came from the fact that the tax horsepower calculation changed its formula to include gearing, so the 2.1L size was not relevant anymore. Not to mention that some european countries started heavily taxing engines above 2L.
- 1606: 1.6L engine, 66hp, 1600kg carrying capacity
- 2508: 2.0L engine, 90hp, 2500kg carrying capacity
- 1986-1991 MY (chassis code LC)
Yet another cosmetic update. The Syronia inherits from FAAL’s contemporary grille design, and was the last one to do so before Hubert Napperon left FAAL in 1986 on very good terms (which noone knew at the time was going to be a very rare thing to happen). New blinkers/foglights ensembles also appeared, and the van also ditched the ancient fuel filler cap for a more recent door covered one.
Engine wise though, the Syronia completely ditched Boxer engines along with… basically the entirety of FAAL’s lineup. Bertrand Failliez, who left FAAL himself in 1985 prompting Napperon’s departure, expressed his desire to develop transverse inline engine layouts, in order to eventually drop the costs of boosting engines. Less piping.
Two engine families were created: The 204R engine, an inline 4 cylinder that could grow up to 2L, and the 255R engine, an inline 5 that was basically a 204R with an extra cylinder. Both engines had 4 valves per cylinder, because if you’re gonna dump money in R&D might as well go all the way. Though the 4 valves were crammed on a single camshaft. Also, fuel injection was standard on every single iteration of the engines, in either single point or multipoint depending on the application.
On the Syronia, the two units used were a 1.8L inline 4 and a 2.1L inline 5, both fuel injected, and making respectively 95 and 120hp, in the two same trims with updated names:
- 1604 (for 1600kg capacity, 4 cylinders)
- 2505 (for 2500kg capacity, 5 cylinders)
Fuel economy was down to 11.7L/100.
During the entirety of the Syronia production run, the Bilbao factory was slightly updated at each facelift to improve production flow and maximize outputs since the van was subject to the same problem as any other FAAL model.
Chassis: Light truck monocoque/Steel panels, Longitudinal RWD, McPherson front, solid axle leaf rear
Fuel Economy: 11.7L/100 - 14.8L/100
Top Speed: 140-167km/h
0-100km/h: 9.2s - 19.5s
The FAAL Syronia is the very first FAAL to actually meet its demand in production output, starting second facelift. Which means we have a realistic sales peak in 1982 with 275600 vans sold, and a realistic decline as the van got old.
Low sales for the third facelift, though, are more likely to be blamed on the chaotic, super fast transition between boxer and inline engines which could have gone better, as engine production output was a little chaotic in the first years.
All and all, the FAAL Syronia sold a total of 2,283,415 units during its 15 years production run.
It was both the first and the last project Bertrand Failliez had industrialized for FAAL, as he expressed his desire to move on to different perspectives without any sort of animosity in 1984.
… Or maybe he didn’t want to be there when the chaotic Boxer - Inline transition along with a much too quick evolution and growth would inevitably end up in a second bailout for FAAL, but, spoilers.
Up next, the Midsize sedan / Executive sedan combo, Foreia and Stemma, which will absolutely 100% be completely different cars and not badge engineering within the same brand, no no.