The next day, as Viktor was driving into town he saw a large beetle displayed above a building. Viktor assumed that this must be the Scarab dealership, and he parked his Loaf next to it. Upon enterting the building, he was greeted by a man in a sharp suit who offered to be of service. After a short chat about Viktor’s needs, the man recommended the Scarab Solar S to Viktor. The Solar S appeared to be a modern all wheel drive MPV. Viktor had some preconceptions about her off-road abilities, but they were relieved when he saw the good ground clearance, and short overhangs, both front and rear. Opening the hood, Viktor was greeted with a 2.4L aluminum inline-4 with a turbocharger, and oddly enough, single point injection. Viktor hadn’t seen these since the early 90’s. The man offered Viktor a test drive with the paperwork already in his hands, and Viktor agreed.
Inside, Viktor found 7 seats and a decent looking interior. There was little room for cargo, but this is a smaller vehicle after all, so it is to be expected. Viktor fired up the engine and he was greeted with a growl. The engine was a little noiser than the others he had heard today, but that didn’t bother him. The vibration was noticable though. The engine revved all the way up to a screaming 6,900rpm, but she already sounded strained at 6,300rpm, and vibration kept getting worse the faster she spun. Viktor backed off the throttle. The vehicle handled well on the road, but she was all too ready to lose her tail, for Viktor’s taste. The very stiff anti-roll bars would prevent good articulation off-road as well. Viktor returned to the dealership and thanked the man for the test drive. Viktor was worred the Solar S wouldn’t survive the conditions he and his men would put it through.
Next up was the Ecamobile dealer. Viktor walked into the building and received prompt attention. Viktor told the dealer that he needs a replacement for his Buhanka, and the man recommended the BraunBaer Offshore. At first Viktor thought that it was a typical minivan with roof lights and a spare tire on the back, but the dealer assured him that is not the case. The vehicle had a traditional 4x4 system, and manually locking differentials, as well as a six speed manual transmission. The ground clearance looked good, but Viktor found the different tire sizes a little perplexing. It was a requirement for the rear-engined van he drove earlier today, but seemed unnecessary for the BraunBaer. Viktor opened the hood and saw an all-iron 2.3L inline-4 3-valver. The dealer pointed out that the engine had a billet steel crank. Viktor thought the quoted fuel economy seemed a little low for a 2.3L though. Viktor opened the doors and found seven good-looking seats and a radio. Viktor signed the paperwork for a test drive.
Viktor started up the BraunBaer, and found the engine to run smooth and quiet. The short gears helped, but the engine felt weak under 2,500rpm, though it had a good mid-range power band. The seats were comfortable, and so was the ride; possibly the best so far. Viktor returned to the dealership, took another look around the interior, and told the dealer that he might be back later.
Viktor decided to buy a drink from a nearby street vendor. As he leaned his back against a tree with a cup of tea in hand, he noticed that there are even more dealerships across a wide avenue. After finishing his tea, he made his way to them, and first up was the H.A. dealership; occupying a very unique looking building. Viktor was greeted by a sharply dressed man, and after a short conversation, the man recommended that Viktor take a look at the 755 4x4, and so he did. Viktor walked around the 755, and was happy with what he saw at any angle. This was a very attractive vehicle. The styling fit the modern age, but looked formal and showed restraint. The vehicle was painted in a very pleasing neutral color that Viktor knew he would never get tired of. Viktor squatted to see under the 755, and he saw a unibody with independant suspension on all corners, a traditional 4x4 transfer case, and lines to the differentials. The dealer mentioned they were manually locking, and Viktor nodded his head in approvement. The moderate overhangs had thick plastic shields on them. Viktor stood up with a light grunt and opened the hood of the 755. There he saw an all aluminum 3.2 litre inline-6 with direct injection. Viktor told the dealer that he would like a test-drive, and the man quickly retrieved the required paperwork. After all was signed, Viktor entered the 755.
Viktor saw seven seats inside, and content with their quality. The 755 had a simple to use radio, but fairly little space for cargo. Viktor started the engine and set off. The engine was powerful at almost 200hp. The 755 had good acceleration, and tons of mid-range power. The suspension transferred little energy to the body, but the rear springs felt very soft, and Viktor was unsure of how well the vehicle would cope crammed full of people and cargo. The 755 felt very composed and stable on the road, and handled very well. This the most pleasurable test-drive Viktor has had so far, and he returned to the dealership with a smile. The 755 drove well and looked great, and so did the dealership. “This company has an eye for aesthetics” he thought. Viktor told the dealer that he still has more cars to see, but he might be back later.
Next door was the Galt dealership. After a short chat, Viktor was recommended the Communizuv. Viktor thought the name was a tad risque and the old round sealed-beam headlights an unusual sight for 2018. Viktor saw that the vehicle already had a Taxi plaque installed on the roof, so it must be aimed at fleet sales. The classic ladder frame and part-time 4x4 design with manually locking differentials promised respectable off-road performance; although the factory wheel and tire combination looked to be a little on the small side. Viktor opened the hood to see a simple, all iron overhead cam 3.3 litre inline-6, but with direct injection and coated pistons. An employee notified Viktor that the engine can run on fuel with an octane level as low as 76 AKI. Viktor wondered if he could even find that kind of fuel in 2018 anymore. The interior held eight simple-looking seats, and a radio, with little room left over for cargo. Another employee walking by stopped and asked if Viktor wanted to take a test drive, and Viktor obliged. He filled out the paperwork, and was handed a set of keys.
Viktor fired up the very quiet-running engine, and drove off. Viktor felt the engine made little power for its large size; just 121 horsepower. The power was available right from the start though, and the six short gears helped the Communizuv keep up with traffic. The promised fuel economy was a little disappointing considering how slow the vehicle was. The suspension tuning felt a little mis-matched front to rear for Viktor as he drove over a speed bump, and the Communizuv exhibited a bit of unnerving oversteer. Viktor’s heart just didn’t sit with this one, but the Communizuv’s off-road qualities kept it a contender.
As Viktor was walking along the street to the next dealership, he noticed a building with a glass forefront that had cars within it. He entered and saw that this is indeed another dealership. A sizeable but stubby van drew Viktor’s attention. It had short overhangs, stood fairly tall, and had a design that was very similar to an older Bodge van that he was familiar with. There was a plaque with a list of the vehicle’s technical specifications nearby, and Viktor was pleased to see that the van was equipped with a traditional 4x4 system, and manually locking differentials. The engine really surprised Viktor. It was a massive, all iron, four litre inline-4 equipped with a variable valve lift system and direct injection. Somehow the giant 4 cylinder managed to spin to 7,000rpm and made 370 horsepower. “This is amazing” Viktor thought… but at the same time worried about how reliable such a highly strung engine could be. As Viktor finished reading the plaque, an employee came up to show Viktor the automatic opening sliding doors. Viktor sighed and thought “just another thing to fix when it breaks in a couple of years out in the icy wilderness”. The interior held eight nice looking seats, had a radio, and still had room for some cargo. Viktor requested a test drive, and the man walked to a desk to grab a stack of paperwork. Viktor proceeded to sign off on the stack of papers, assuming that there is so much because this was the most expensive vehicle he has seen today. After all of that was said and done, he was given the keys to a Minibus Evo.
Viktor started the giant 4 cylinder and the whole van leaned slightly during start-up. The vibration was strong, but not nearly as bad as Viktor thought it would be for such an engine. Viktor thought “this is what a good bottom end can achieve”. He shifted the familiar 5-speed manual into first gear and drove off of a ramp on the side of the building leading into the street. The huge engine pulled strong right off idle, but as he got to about 4,500rpm, Viktor felt a jerk as the cam lobes shifted, and the engine screamed to 7,000rpm where it abruptly hit the rev limiter. Viktor thought the power was amazing, but he didn’t like the violent transition at all. He was also worried about the reliability of such a system, and the stresses it put on the engine as a whole. Viktor felt the variable valve lift system was simply an unnecessary addition for an engine that would have made more than enough power without the switch to a hotter cam profile. The ride was stiff and uncomfortable, and the rather comfy seats couldn’t soak up a good portion of the energy transferred to the body. Viktor returned to the dealership with the verdict that the maker of this van tried to make a technological marvel out of what could have been a fine van.
The last dealership on the block was BM, so that’s where Viktor went next. After a short conversation with the employees, Viktor was directed to take a look at the CPB-910; a peculiar looking grey van. The proportions were more typical and attractive than the similar vans Viktor has seen earlier today, but the styling was rather unusual. Viktor thought the headlights were cute, and they reminded him of his beloved Loaf, although he was not a fan of the tail-lights in the rear; though he had to admit that they matched the front’s styling. The van used a modern unibody with a live axle rear, and a modern all wheel drive system with manually locking differentials. The engine though, was anything but modern. It still used pushrods and a carburetor; something that even Uaz’s aging designs have forsaken long ago. Interestingly enough, it was an all aluminum engine, with coated low friction pistons. “What an odd mix of old and new”, thought Viktor. The small 1.6L engine promised to deliver just 71 horsepower; less power than his Loaf’s engine. The quoted fuel economy of just 23mpg wasn’t exactly impressive either for such a small engine. Inside, Viktor found an interior with nine seats that looked like it was designed in the same era as his Buhanka. There wasn’t even a radio. However, Viktor acknowledged that with the lowest asking price of any of the vehicles he has seen so far, there are bound to be some cost-cutting measures. While the interior wasn’t great, it managed to squeeze in 9 seats and even had a good amount of room left over for cargo, and that is very important for his needs. Viktor requested a test drive, and he was immediately tossed the keys to the CPB-910 he was looking at.
Viktor pulled on the choke lever, turned the key, and the engine started with relative ease. After letting her warm up a bit, he pushed the choke back in, shifted into the first of five gears… and stalled the engine. “Well… that’s embarrassing.” thought Viktor. He restarted the engine, gave it a bit more throttle this time, and was on his way. There’s no getting around the word “slow”. The engine only starts making power at just under 3,000rpm, and while the shifts were smooth and effortless, the CPB-910 could have used an extra low-range gear to help the diminutive engine out. The engine could be forced to rev to 6,500rpm, and that helped get the van to 100km/h in 21 seconds, although Viktor was worried that constant high-RPM abuse would greatly reduce an engine’s service life. Viktor complimented the van’s suspension tuning and ride, however the small, flat seats just didn’t allow for a comfortable drive. Overall, Viktor felt that this was a good budget vehicle, but it needed an engine with a little more power and efficiency, and just a little more comfort to really shine above the rest.
Viktor saw a building across the street with JHW in large lettering above it. He entered the building and walked around looking at the various cars on display. A vehicle called the Springbok 270 caught his eye. Viktor found the vehicle rather appealing. The front looked modern, the rear industrial, and the design had good flow. The vehicle had a very short front overhang and hood. Inside said hood was a transversely mounted all aluminum 2.7L inline-4. The engine had coated low friction pistons, similar to a lot of the other vehicles Viktor has seen today. Unfortunately, he recalled reading on the internet that these engines are known to fail under abuse because of their overly stressed pistons. Viktor decided the risk was too great to continue, and left.
Next, Viktor paid the Letto dealership a visit. After a short conversation with the staff, he was offered the Transito. It was a large van with brilliant white paint, and an attractive sloping hood and windshield… but Viktor thought the styling of the van didn’t flow well. The head and tail lights looked a bit out of place on the van. Viktor noticed the massive 20in stamped steel wheels filling out the van’s wheel arches used different tire sizes, and were rather low profile. The van was built on a modern unibody, and had a transversely mounted V6 with five valves per cylinder mated to an unusual seven speed manual transmission. Viktor knew about these unique engines, and they are unfortunately known for piston failures, so like the offering before it, Viktor decided not to tempt fate.
@Rk38 / @Koolkei
As Viktor left the previous dealership, his eyes were drawn to a building covered in eye-catching and pretentious advertisements. He headed towards it and as he got close, he heard the sounds of birds chirping. Viktor was surprised… it’s below zero and he’s hearing tropical birds? What?. He entered the Mitaishi dealership, and it all became clear. They had a beautiful display of a rainforest inside the dealership itself, complete with a little waterfall and birds flying around. At the center of all this stood the SRV-X; a modern SUV with very elaborate styling. The vehicle certainly looked futuristic, but the styling was well thought-out and he could see how much passion the designer put into his work. As Viktor came closer to the SRV-X, he found a plaque with copious amounts of the company’s marketing campaign. Viktor weeded out as much of the vehicle’s technical specifications as he could. The SRV-X had a modern steel unibody construction with all wheel drive, and a transversely mounted 3.1L turbocharged and intercooled inline-6. Unfortunately, Viktor was familiar with this engine from his research, and knew that they have a tendency to throw a rod when abused. The weak cast connecting rods can’t handle the stress. That’s a shame he thought… it’s a unique vehicle with comfortable seats, good power, respectable off-road performance, and great fuel economy.
Viktor left the warm, humid rainforest and headed towards the next dealership, trying not to freeze his ass off in the process. Viktor entered a quaint building with “Boyd” written in large wooden letters above the doors to shelter himself from the cold. He was greeted by the staff members, and even offered a free cup of tea. While drinking tea, Viktor spoke with the staff and informed them of his dilemma. They recommended that Viktor take a look at the Boyd Carrier, and so he did. Viktor thought it was an attractive van with simple but elegant styling. The van was built upon a tradiational ladder frame chassis, and had a very large 4.5L inline six cylinder engine mated to a six speed manual transmission, part-time four wheel drive, and manually locking differentials. The engine used archaic pushrods, and so made little power such a large engine. The coated low-friction pistons sounded like the weakspot of this engine. Sliding the door open, Viktor found eight comfortable looking seats, with enough room for a reasonable amount of cargo. Viktor decided to put his worries of the pistons aside for a moment, and take a test drive. A lady at the front desk helped Viktor sign the required paperwork, and gave him the keys to a Boyd Carrier.
Viktor turned the key, and the 4.5L inline-6 ran smooth and very quiet for such a large engine. The engine made most of its power right from the start, and the 6 speed’s short first 3 gears accentuated that even further. This wasn’t the fastest vehicle Viktor has driven today, but it pulled hard off the line. The problem came at the end of the line; this large, heavy van still used drum brakes front and rear. The rear drums could just barely lock the tires, but the fronts had no chance; even on an empty van. Braking performance left much to be desired. Viktor imagined that a steep down-hill decent on this van when heavily loaded would be dangerous. The ride was fairly comfortable though; no complaints there. Viktor returned to the Boyd dealership, and informed the staff that he still has a few more cars to see.
With just two more dealerships left on the lot, Viktor entered the TAORE building. A man asked how he can be of service, and Viktor told the man his story. The man recommended their largest, most off-road capable vehicle; the TerrTare MPV MVP-Edition. It stood tall with a set of roof-lights and a brush-guard on the front bumper, as well as a spare tire on the rear hatch. The burly vehicle had rather unusual styling though, and Viktor was unsure if it was to his taste… but decided to continue further. The TerrTare is built on a tradiational ladder frame chassis with an equally traditional 4x4 system and manually locking differentials. However, the TerrTare had a six speed automatic transmission, and that was a point of concern to Viktor. It was just another failure point to him… just somewhere else to leak fluid from. The vehicle was powered by a massive all-iron 3.1 litre inline-4 that is needlessly capable of running on 76 octane fuel. The TerrTare’s promised fuel economy was awful compared to most of the vehicles he had seen today, and the asking price was at the very limit of his budget. “This is an impressive machine”, thought Viktor… “but I’m not sure if it is the vehicle I’m looking for.”. “A test drive should help me decide” he said out loud, and the man returned with the requisite paper work shortly. After signing off and leaving a deposit, Viktor was handed the keys to a TerrTare.
Viktor entered the TerrTare, and saw eight nice looking seats with a bit of room left over for cargo too. It had an easy to use radio, and Viktor was satisfied with the interior. Upon starting the engine however… the only thing left on Viktor’s mind was “is this normal?”. His Loaf’s engine isn’t exactly the smoothest running thing he’s ever driven… but this takes it to a new level. Viktor thought the whole car was going to start chattering soon. Even the 10.9 litre monster he drove in the morning wasn’t this bad, and neither was that van with the 4L inline-4. “Well, I’m still going to drive it anyway”, he said. Viktor shifted the transmission into drive and was on his way. The extremely short gearing helped the TerrTare pull like a tractor but with the slow shifts of an automatic, the TerrTare didn’t feel very fast at all. The ride was soft and supple, and the large vehicle was easy to control. Viktor returned to the dealership after a few more laps around the adjacent streets. Viktor was a little heart-broken. “This might have been the one if it had a more reasonable engine and a manual tranny” he thought.
@titleguy1 / @Leonardo9613
With the sun starting to set, Viktor saw the last dealership on the horizon. He hopped into the GAC building an hour before closing time. GAC was the 23rd and final company on his list. The dealership was mostly empty at this point, so all the staff turned their attention to Viktor. He discussed his situation with them, and the staff members unanimously recommended the SKV-18. It was a fairly simple looking van with a mixture of grey plastic and chrome trim. It had a modern unibody and an all wheel drive system, manually locking differentials, and a six speed automatic transmission. Viktor was again skeptical of the automatic transmission’s durability when subjected to years of abuse in the harshest of conditions. Under the hood was an all aluminum 3 litre inline 6 with steel rods and forged pistons; nice. Opening the door, Viktor saw a nice interior with 7 comfortable looking seats, and a small cargo area. The SKV-18 was also equipped with a simple to use radio. Viktor requested a test drive.
After signing the required paperwork, Viktor was handed the keys to a SKV-18. The seats were soft but supportive, and the inline 6 ran very smooth and very quiet. First gear was a little long, but the engine managed to get the fairly light-weight SKV-18 up to speed at a reasonable pace. Comfort was the highlight of the SKV-18. The seats were plush and supportive, and the suspension was well tuned and soaked up the bumps in the road. The vehicle was very easy to drive, and had good dynamics. Viktor returned to the dealership just before closing time, and thanked the staff for their wonderful service.
After another long day of inspecting and driving cars, an exhausted Viktor got back into his beloved bread-loaf shaped van for the long journey home. He sat there thinking, with his elbow propped up against the door, and his face on his fist, while waiting for his Loaf to heat up. Viktor let out a sigh and said that he feels like his brain is going to ooze out of his ears. So many cars, so many choices. Viktor drove home, got undressed, had a drink, and plopped down on his bed to relax for a few minutes… but fell asleep from the weary day.
I will post the winner and a short story as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.