April 27, 1988 - Our hopes were high in the boardroom at Nassau's headquarters. EngineFad magazine, the premier publication in the automotive industry would be announcing their 1988 car of the year with the release of their May 1988 issue. With all of the work we put into the new Tango, we felt we had a really good chance.
The original Tango was one of the 10 finalists for car of the year in 1978. Since then, our cars have made plenty of "best buy" lists, but we've never actually won an award. As soon as the mailroom clerk dropped off the package from EngineFad, Robert ripped it open.
We'd done everything we could to ensure the new Tango was the best compact on the market and we lost to Whitaker's new full-size sedan.
The Whitaker Sultan is all new for 1988 and replaces the outgoing, outdated rear wheel drive full-size offerings with a sleek, new, front wheel drive layout. Powered by a 3.8L V6 which produces 180hp, the Sultan is a very competent car. In fact, the Sultan will mark a huge change for the GASCAR Salem Cup Series. The coupe version of the new car will be the first stock car based on a front wheel drive platform to compete in the series and also the first without an optional V8. As the decade has progressed, the cars raced in the series have begun to share less and less in common with their road-going counterparts. All the cars are steel tube chassis with 350ci V8s and now pretty much the only commonality they share with actual cars is the sheet metal.
In their comparison test for all new cars, the Sultan scored a 96/100. Coming in at second place was the 1988 Nassau Tango, which scored a 94. We finished in second. This infuriated Robert Gaul. He's always felt that EngineFad has had a Gasmean slant and to him, this confirms it. He storms out of the boardroom.
His son, Charles, who has recently been promoted to head of product development after his work on Nassau's new fuel injection systems as well as being the head engineer on the second generation Laguna, had a bit of a different reaction. To him, this is a challenge. Nassau's cars can't just beat the competition, they have to blow them out of the water.
With 2 new cars set to debut for 1989, Nassau is in fantastic shape. The work on those is pretty much done, so Charles will focus his efforts on the other 2 cars we have in development.
May 1, 1988 - The final 1987 Nassau Tango 5R has sold. Let's take a look back at the car that began a revolution for Nassau.
The Tango 5R made its debut for the 1978 model year and was Nassau's first front wheel drive vehicle ever produced. This base model of the Tango line was the volume leader. Powered by our first new 4 cylinder engine developed in over 20 years, the C16-4U, the Tango 5R produced 75hp and 82ft-lbs of torque. This was more than adequate for the class during this time period.
This was also the first Nassau developed with fuel economy in mind. While it only registered 22mpg, this was the first step for our engineers, which have seen huge fuel economy gains over the last decade.
The Tango 5R was a big seller. For the first 5 years of its 10 year model run, it sold over 200k units per year. Its best year was 1980, when 248,314 rolled off dealer lots. Over the course of the model run, we sold a total of 2,175,673.
The Tango 5R was replaced by the second generation Tango R for 1988.
Tango 5R Sales
The final 1987 Nassau Tango 5S has also sold. Let's take a look at our top of the line compact for the past decade.
The Nassau Tango 5S debuted in 1978 as the top of the line of our Tango hatchbacks. With a nicer cloth interior and an AM radio, the Tango 5S was one of the best equipped compacts of its day.
The Tango 5S was powered by the same C16-4U engine as the Tango 5R.
The best year for the Tango 5S was 1982, when we sold 164,479. Over the 10 year model run, 1,474,267 were sold.
Across the entire Tango lineup, which included the 5R (1978-1987), the 5S (1978-1987), and Turismo (1978-1983), we sold 3,714,796 cars. This was far and away our best selling car ever.
Tango 5S Sales
October 30, 1988 - The final first generation Laguna Coupe has sold. Let's take a look back at our front wheel drive, entry level "sports" car.
The Laguna Coupe debuted in 1983 for the 1984 model year. Replacing the rear wheel drive Raider, the front wheel drive Laguna Coupe was seen by enthusiasts as a pretend sports car.
The base model replaced the straight 6 Raider S with a fuel injected 4 cylinder producing 85hp and 103ft-lbs of torque. The D18-4I was an enlarged, dual overhead cam version of the D14-4I used in the Nifty.
The Laguna Coupe blew the third generation Raider away in terms of sales. The Raider S never sold more than 47k, which it achieved in its debut year in 1978. Sales of the Laguna Coupe were over 100k in its first year and rose every year until it was discontinued.
The Laguna Coupe will be replaced by the Laguna S for 1989.
Laguna Coupe Sales
We have also sold the final 1988 Laguna Turbo. Let's take a look back at the top sports car in our lineup.
The Laguna Turbo debuted in 1983 as the middle sports car in our lineup, sandwiched between the Laguna Coupe and the Raider XF. After 1983, the Raider XF was discontinued and the Laguna Turbo became our top sports car.
Equipped with a turbocharged version of our new D series 4 cylinder, the D20-4T, the Laguna Turbo produced 143hp and 154ft-lbs of torque. This wasn't too far off from the Raider's 172hp, but enthusiasts didn't take this car seriously, proclaiming it wrong wheel drive and a pretend sports car.
Expected to sell at the same level as the outgoing Raider (around 25k per year), the Laguna Turbo was a massive disappointment. In fact, it never sold more than 10k in a single year.
The Laguna Turbo will be replaced by two models for 1989. The new Laguna Turbo features many of the same features, along with revised styling as well as a slight power boost, up to 151hp. The Laguna NP will be the top of the line model. It will be equipped with a 2.2L version of our turbo engine which produces 203hp. We hope that enthusiasts will take this car more seriously.
Laguna Turbo Sales
Across both model lines, the Laguna sold 571,319 units in its first generation.
November 26, 1988 - The motorsports seasons have drawn to a close. Let's take a look at Nassau's year.
Fruinian Touring Car Championship
In its final year of competition, the first generation Laguna Turbo came home runner up yet again to Claudio Castagnoli and his 1988 McNamara Sparrow. For 1989, the Laguna Turbo will be replaced by the Laguna NP.
FTCC Final Standings:
2nd - Marcos Andres (Nassau Performance) - 4 victories
3rd - Casey Alexander (Dover Motorsport) - 3 victories
6th - Fred Donaldson (Donaldson Racing) - 2 victories
7th - Drew Clarke (Dover Motorsport)
11th - Ronnie James (Donaldson Racing)
13th - Tom Steele (Nassau Performance)