The first round will focus on narrowing down the selection of cars that Liane and Devlin are going to test drive in Fruinia, in this 3 part round, entries will be eliminated if either they did not manage to build according to the original rules, or followed the rules, but did spend enough time and/or effort on refining their entry to fit the brief. I will add commentary through the Journalists for each entry based on what my first impressions of the vehicle were.
First Impressions - Part 1 of 3
Thursday morning, the city of Teischelberg…
“Liane, Devlin, are you ready?”
Lars poked his head outside of the office, gesturing for them to come in and sit down.
“Yeah, I think we’re just about done. Let me grab the brochures.”
Liane grabbed a large stack of car brochures, She and Devlin had spent the entire week narrowing down the selection, calling manufacturer representatives and writing down notes. They had narrowed down the list of cars to a total of 43 so far, from Fruinian, Gasmean, Hetvesian and even some Archanan manufacturers.
“I’ll be right there, Liane, do you want some coffee?”
“Sure, don’t forget the sugar this time though.”
Devlin walked to the coffee machine and grabbed a few paper cups, while Devlin was busy getting coffee, Liane walked into Lars’s office and put the stack of brochures down on the table. Each one was color-coded with post-it notes that had writing scribbled on them.
“Grab a seat, I see there’s still a lot left to sort?”
“43 Entries, but most of it is already sorted and arranged, there are a few cases we’re not sure of, we’d like to go over them with you if you have a few hours.”
“Yes, there’s a few that we’re still waiting for to call us back, they’d give us a call later today to let us know if they’d be able to supply us with a vehicle for testing. If you could take a look and see if some require extra attention, that’d be great. Most of the calls to the manufacturers have already been made.”
Devlin joined Lars and Liane just as they were about to Look at the first car in the selection…
Liane: “Alright, so this was the first car we looked at, it has a decent contemporary design, We figured it wouldn’t hurt to include it into our test, at least for comparison…”
Devlin: “There were, however, a lot of drawbacks with this large vehicle. First of all, the tires were set up with 175s rear and 165s front, which means that if the consumer decides to buy this car, they’d have to purchase different front and rear tires. The fuel consumption was also terrible, even for a larger D-segment entry, the representative told us that they only managed to get an average of 6.2 kilometers per liter on the first attempt…”
Lars: “First attempt?”
Liane: “Yeah, they offered us a second, Improved model, but when we told them we had a set deadline, they apologized to us and said that they would not be able to get it ready for us in time. They ended up removing a rear seat and completely changing the engine’s valvetrain layout from 10 to 12 valves.”
Lars: “So in the bin it goes?”
Liane: “Yeah, which is unfortunate, because I liked to looks of it.”
Devlin: “Yep. The color was a neat touch as well.”
The Brantan Pan-AM LX Injection was binned (Engine went over the maximum ET)
Lars: “Damn, the Brown color reminds me of my dad’s old Makina. And it looks like this one is Right Hand Drive.”
Liane: “The 28D is on the small side, not really a D-Segment, but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to expand the test to Include some compact sedans and wagons. Its design is simple and not very exciting, but it’s not ugly either.”
Devlin: “Like the Brantan, it’s Rear wheel driven, but it has opted for a more Modern galvanized steel monocoque design, something we saw return across the board when we looked into it. It’s 8.3 kilometers per liter fuel economy isn’t good though. So unless we find some redeeming qualities in its 1.9 Inline-4, it doesn’t look like this will be a top contender. Oh, and It also has vented disc brakes for some reason.”
Lars: “That seems expensive, doesn’t it?”
Liane: “Yes, There also was a problem with getting the License plates to fit correctly on the vehicle. The trunk lid was originally meant to house a License plate as we saw in the brochure. But we heard that the standard format Fruinian and Gallian license plates did not fit, so they ended up tacking one onto the rear bumper.”
Lars: “So this one is coming to the field testing or not?”
Devlin: “Yep, it’s a decent enough design and fits the small family car checkbox.”
Liane: “Yes, we’ve arranged that a test vehicle will be sent to Fruinia.”
The Maler 28D 1900C will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “This one looks similar to the last one…”
Devlin: “The AMB G120, it does share some similarities with the Maler, both in design and in engineering. This is powered by a smaller 1.6 Liter Inline-4, It’s fuel economy is a lot better, and it’s got a catalytic converter for those who care about emissions, and the License plates actually fit on properly with this one.”
Lars: “Sounds good, does the smaller engine mean it’s not a performer?”
Liane: “The engine actually doesn’t lose a whole lot of power over the Maler, it’s got 80 horsepower compared to maler, and torque is very decent for the 300cc gap. It’s exterior is also more refined than that on the Maler, as we found less issues with fit and finish in the Pictures.”
Lars: “Another pass then?”
Devlin: “Yes, I’ve arranged that a company representative will meet us at the test track.”
Liane: “I’m looking forward to see how this one performs on-track.”
The AMB G120 will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Devlin: “Didn’t we throw this one out?”
Lars: “What’s wrong with this one then?”
Liane points at the feature list in the brochure, Lars notices that the car does not come with any form of entertainment, nor does it have any kind of safety equipment.
The KGB Courser i has been banned in Gallia due to severe negligence towards the consumers well-being, mental and physical health and safety. And has been sent for field testing in “Regular Hell” (Also, to top it off, the design does not fit well with the early 80s. Just because you can build this within the ruleset, doesn’t mean you should also do it.)
Lars: “Hmmm, does the basic trim level name mean this is as ill-equipped as the Courser?”
Devlin: “Actually, a lot of money was put into corrosion-resistant body panels and the same goes for the chassis, so it should actually be very durable. But yes, it does lack in safety equipment, but atleast it has some compared to the mobile safety hazard that is the Courser.”
Liane: “Although, you probably want to swap it for something a bit more appealing when you have the money, the styling on this is pretty dull. and not my personal taste, the door mirrors are also really tiny, as we’ve previously seen on the Pan-AM and the Courser.”
Devlin: “Performance-wise, it’s similar to the 28D and G120, longitudinal rear wheel drive and a 5-speed gearbox coupled to an inline-4 with a decent amount of pep. And they also ended up putting unnecessary vented discs on the front.”
Lars: “Yes, that does sound like a bit much for a commuter car, were they having a lot of issues with fading brakes?”
Liane: “Maybe, we figure it’s still worth a drive to be compared in our article.”
The BCT S45 bsc will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “This one is labelled: Morphs Reset.”
Lars: “Which means?”
Liane: “We’re not sure, but we never heard back from the manufacturer representative, so we can assume that this one won’t be coming to the test track.”
The Sauvage 105D 2.0 was binned (Morphs reset, and in general it didn’t cut it performance-wise as other cars had a better fuel economy. The design itself was not too bad although for 1979, when it was introduced, it would have been to modern. the fixture proportions were also all over the place.)
Knightwick Steed 1950 DXi (Export) @mart1n2005
Lars: “Oh I remember this one, the Knightwick Steed, I test drove one back in 1970 when it came out, it still looks great for a 13-year-old car.”
Devlin: “Yeah, the Facelift for this year probably helps it as well, It also has a new engine for this year. It’s fuel economy is comparable to the BCT at 10.2 km/L. Though they are using some kind of cladding on the underbody to achieve these figures. Which might be troublesome for mechanics.”
Liane: “I liked the Mustard Yellow one from the brochure, but they were having issues with keeping that color in stock, so I think we’ll be getting a blue one. A great looking car though as you’ve already mentioned.”
Lars: “I’ll look forward to reading about this one.”
Lars looked through the pages of the Steed’s brochure a bit more before putting it a side, he had a big smile on his face as it reminded him of driving one when it was new.
The Knightwick Steed 1950 DXi will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Illusion Mono 14CDC @Maxbombe
Lars: “Isn’t this a bit small for our D-segment comparison test?”
Devlin: “Yes, bu-”
Liane: “It’s a cute little car!”
Lars and Devlin looked at Liane, it was silent for about 15 seconds. Then Devlin continued.
Devlin: “I do believe that it has potential, It has a very modern, aerodynamic design, it’s not too expensive and the fuel economy is decent as well for such a small carburated engine.”
Lars: “And you want to use this in our comparison test?”
Lars: “For the D-Segment?”
Lars: “Yes and you call this a D-segment despite the fact that it’s obviously a C-segment?”
Devlin: “Y-- You know th-- One thing I sh-- 'Scuse me for one second…”
Lars: “Of course.”
Devlin walks outside of the office…
Liane: “Anyway, we’ve already called Illusion, and they’d be happy to provide us with a test vehicle for the set date.”
Lars: “Alright, I guess it won’t hurt adding another small family car into the mix, atleast it looks like it can seat 5 reasonably comfortable.”
The Illusion Mono 14CDC will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Ooh, this is looking very modern, I like it. What did you say this one was called?”
Liane: “This is the Pemhall Ventra, it’s powered by a 1.7L 4 Cylinder making roughly the same amount of power as it’s competition.”
Lars: “Im reading it has an all-aluminum block with Hyper…Hyperkek…Hyper-something?”
Liane: “Hypereutectic Cast Pistons, those should help keeping the emissions low.”
Lars: “Not something we particularly have to worry about yes, I hear emission laws like the ones in Gasmea are years from getting introduced here. It’s nice to see manufacturers planning for the future though.”
Devlin walks back into the office and sits down to continue looking through the stack of brochures.
Lars: “Alright, so I take it this one will be joining the other test vehicles?”
Liane: “Considering the size, decent fuel economy, great looks and the 5 seats, it’s a perfect candidate for the D-segment.”
The Pemhall Ventra 1.7 GL will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Imola Ofelia @OME
Liane: “Devlin, did you put this one back in the stack, I could’ve sworn we removed it from our list.”
Devlin: “Well you see, It’s a compact sedan, with plenty of power. And Imola said they’d be able to lend us one for the test day.”
Lars looks over the stats in the brochure, it has power figures that rivals other Fruinian sports cars, but a fuel economy that rivals Gasmean land barges.
Lars: “Ok, there’s no way we can pass this off as an economical D-segment family commuter, it states here that it has 150 horsepower, and the fuel economy is just as bad as that Brantan we discussed earlier.”
Devlin: “Alright, I’ll get rid of that one, It’s a damn shame, It has very sporty looks, an interesting window design, and stylish chrome wheels.”
Liane: “I find the chrome a bit tacky to be honest, but I can agree that it looks very agressive.”
Lars: “Alright, we can agree that it looks great, but it’s not for our demographic, so in the bin it goes.”
The Imola Ofelia has been binned because it wasn’t nearly economical enough compared to the competition (This would have been a great entry, had this been a sports car challenge, and even then the car is very thirsty)
Trident Enigma MK4 2000 SE TCEFI [RT] @Human89845524
Lars: “I guess someone tried very hard to get rid of any visible plastic here. That must be an expensive paint coat. And I believe I saw those hubcaps in a thrift store years ago, they look very dated.”
Liane: “The Enigma is crammed with all kinds of modern Technology, 16 Valves on a 2 Liter Inline-4-”
Lars: “Wait, 2 Liters for an Inline 4, and this thing still goes over 6 grand…
Also, why does it have RT badges on literally every corner of the vehicle?”
Devlin: “Yes, they used a lot of Expensive forged internals as well as a Twin Cam, so the Service costs on this car are going to be on the high end. It does, however, also do 11 kilometers per liter, which is on the high end of what we checked. As for the RT badges, we’re not sure.”
Lars: “I am curious why they didn’t just go for an Inline 5 though, like you said, all those forged internals and the size are going to increase maintainance costs quite a bit… What about the interior?”
Liane: “The Interior is actually very high end as well, I believe this is supposed to be Tridents entry-level trim for the Executive compact sedan market.”
Lars: “And they still manage to market it for just under 16 grand… Interesting.”
Devlin: “We’ve arranged that a representative of Trident will deliver us a test vehicle for the test day.”
The Trident Enigma MK4 2000 SE TCEFI [RT] will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
GEC GC3 1.8i @abg7
Lars: “I see this one is look very aerodynamic as well, just like the Pemhall. And yet somehow, even more so. The Gasmeans did fine work on this one. It is Gasmean right?”
Liane: “I do believe that it is, as it has the side reflectors and lights that are required over there.”
Devlin: “Like the Enigma, this also has a very modern twin cam 16 Valve 4 Cylinder that’s coupled to a modern 5-Speed manual gearbox. But it trades the contemporary boxy body look for something much sleeker. Safety Equipment is conventional compared to the modern exterior though, standard lap belts in the rear like most of the selected cars.”
Liane: “It does come equipped with Variable Power Steering, and still has a very reasonable 10 kilometers per liter fuel economy.”
Lars: “Sounds good, so I guess you two have already arranged a meeting with a GEC representative.”
Devlin: “Yep, they’re bringing a test vehicle to the track for us.”
The GEC GC3 1.8i will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Marisse Clairvoyance C1900 Caravelle 4p. @Niveon
Lars: “Wow, the Clairvoyance, I remember this one from a few years back, It’s a lovely design.”
Devlin: “Yeah, it’s a few years old now, but they recently reworked the almost 20-year-old engine design, so it was an obvious pick for our comparison. And as you said, the Fruinian-Hetvesian blended styling is very nice.”
Lars: “I wonder why they only decided to change the rear bumper for a plastic one though, and leave the front one as it is. That’s a bit odd. And those big mirrors are still on there as well. They always looked slightly too big for the car.”
Liane: “The Maintainance costs on this one are pretty high, probably because like the Brantan, this car also has a different rear tire width compared to the front tires. The fuel economy is decent, although also not as high as some.”
Devlin: “As you expected, this one is going to be driven on the Green Hell with the other cars.”
The three spent some more time looking at pictures in the brochure.
Lars: “Wait, why is it built on a Light Truck monocoque? I never knew this.”
Devlin: “Huh, that’s weird. Anyways, let’s move on to the next one.”
The Clairvoyance C1900 Caravelle 4p. will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the “Green Hell” (I’m being quite lenient here, because it’s a great design and the rest fits within the brief, but using the Light Truck Monocoque is a Megathink moment.)
Lars: “Another really futuristic design, I remember seeing this one at the Teischelberg Autoshow back in '79”
Liane: “It’s a real space ship design-wise, although the build quality is a bit on the rough end. That wrap-around made out of special C-Thru UV-Cut-Through-Glass™ was a tough one for them to get right.”
Devlin: “But you still get to drive around in something that looks like a Shuttle from the USS Enterprise.”
Liane: “You and only 3 other passengers, no Bench rear seat. It’s more of a Premium 4-seater than a family commuter.”
Lars: “So this one is going in the bin?”
Devlin: “No, I thought it’s still worth a shot to include it in our comparison.”
Liane: “Futuristic space ship looks aside, the technical specifications are very comparable to more down-to-earth designs.”
Lars: “Fair Enough.”
The Aura Vindur SE will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Sixteen Hundred!”
Devlin: “Haha Yes. You’d think it’d be EFI they’d be bragging about rather than a mediocre displacement.”
Liane: “Yep, It has an 1.6 liter Inline 4, nothing to special. The cheap torsion bar suspension doesn’t quite match the sportier two-tone exterior. Safety Equipment is standard across the board, and the fuel economy is nice.”
Devlin: “Those steel wheels look hideous, but the rest of the design is actually quite nice. I’m looking forward to driving this on track. Armor motors will be supplying us with a test vehicle for when we get to test it.”
The three spend some time looking at pictures of the brochure, when they notice it’s been 3 hours since they sat down to check on these.
Lars: “Ok this one gets a pass.”
Devlin: “Alright, I’ll put it with the other ones.”
The Armor Motors 1600 will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Alright then, I think It’s time for a break, we’ve been at it for almost 3 hours now. I’m going out on the Balcony for some air, care to join me?”
END OF PART 1.1, TO BE CONTINUED