QFC31 - Plumber's best friend (FINAL RESULTS OUT!)

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Dorotea, Sweden. February of 1981.
Meet Jan-Erik Karlsson. He is running a small plumbing business. On the way home from a customer, he barely manages to see how his headlights are lighting up something brown moving towards the road, in the dark laplandish night. Since everyone up here knows how bad news this can mean, he stomps on the brakes, too little, too late. With a deafening crunch of twisted metal and broken glass, this is it. The moose lands on the roof of his 1968 Volvo Duett, he escapes with not much more than a broken ego, but for the moose, this meant the end, and…needless to say, the same thing could be said about the Volvo Duett.

Now, everyone running a business was in love with the Duett, but he just had to face the fact, it had been out of production for over 10 years now, and never got a proper replacement. He had to look for the answer among other brands, but it had to be done rather quickly, and yet, he had no idea where the best place to look would be.

So, what he is looking for is a pickup truck or van that could fulfill his needs for an economical and practical workhorse, nothing fancy, no bells and whistles needed.

PURCHASE PRICE - The vehicle is a necessary thing to earn money and should therefore cost as little money as possible.
FUEL ECONOMY - See above
SERVICE COST - See above
RELIABILITY - A car constantly in the shop will obviously cause trouble here, right?
DRIVEABILITY - We’re not talking supercars or land yachts here, there is no reason for a vehicle like this to be a struggle to drive.
COMFORT - Yes, it was most often mediocre at the best in commercial vehicles of the era, but it still should not be back breaking since it should be used every day and the distances can be rather long in the north.
WEATHER RESISTANCE - A vehicle turning into mush after a harsh winter? No thanks.

SAFETY - Generally a low priority in commercial vehicles of the era, but he was rather thankful for the robust construction of the Duett when the moose landed on it…
OFFROAD - The roads can be quite bad in this area, but it will still be used on roads, so just keep it reasonable. Don’t make a Ferrari, but a 4wd, manual locker, offroad tyre vehicle is probably way too much overkill.
STYLING - Even though it is a work vehicle, it after all represents his business, and hence it should not be laughable.
PRACTICALITY/UTILITY/CARGO SPACE - They will kind of be mashed together because of the way Automation treats those stats in a way that IMO is a bit unfair to commercial vehicles. The reason why they are important should probably be obvious, though. Maybe it seems weird that they do have such a low priority, but when thinking things over, I realized that the vehicles that are allowed in this challenge will be rather good here by default. So, a little bonus for tweaking them, and if a vehicle still seems to sacrifice too much of them to be a viable alternative, it might still be downgraded even if the rest of the stats are good…

NOT IMPORTANT: Prestige and sportiness. That’s not the reason for buying a vehicle like this.

RULES (Preliminary)

  • Van or pickup body. One row of seats so a crew cab pickup won’t have any advantage. (Yes, only one row allowed, since seat count can affect practicality stats without being needed in this case). Wheelbase should at least be rounded to 2.2 metres in game, or larger.
  • Legacy bodies allowed, since I have the mod, but they are entered on your own risk. If I get an entry that messes up at import, you won’t get a second chance.
  • Regular fuel, leaded or unleaded since there was no lead ban in Sweden yet. Hence, cats aren’t needed either.
  • Model and family year, 1981 or older. Trim and variant 1981.
  • Default +5 techpool all around.
  • Maximum purchase price $9000 - but remember that maxing out the budget will be a disadvantage in this case.
  • At least some form of 70s safety
  • No race parts, no semi slicks and no turbos since you wouldn’t find them in this class back then anyway.
  • Radial tyres with widths ending in “5” highly recommended (not enough for an instabin since this is QFC, but try to stick to it for realism).
  • In case OB releases during the challenge, this round will be kept in stable.
  • Naming convention the usual one. "QFC31 - Username" for model and family, name of car and engine for trim and variant.

OPENING OF ROUND: Sunday the 17th of september, noon, CEST
CLOSING OF ROUND: Sunday the 24th of september, noon, CEST




With this round taking place in 1981, radial tires should be mandatory, but TRX tires (whose sizes are divisible exactly by 10) may be used.

Who installed TRX tires on a Van? They were expensive and limited to performance vehicles. They had absolutely no use in real life on what is looked for in this challenge.


With that in mind, I’m proposing a rule that TRX tires (despite technically being available by 1981) must not be fitted - as stated before, they were only seen on performance cars back then.

If there is no objection, I think I will add it as a recommendation. IIRC, one of the ideas behind QFC was that it should be a bit more loose on realism than CSR, so weird tyre combos won’t result in an outright bin here, but they will be a drawback.


What about interpreting tires ending in 0 as normal ones ending in 5, but with further tweaks to pressure or suspension geometry that aren’t in the game?

Will you be looking at practicality and utility as stats, or at cargo volume as a stat, or at the actual model that the numbers may or may not accurately represent?

Any bonus for having a roof tall enough to stand up inside?

One of my vehicles used to be a plumber’s van - a 1973 Ford P400. The giant plastic pipe on the side was used for transporting lengths of plumbing pipe.

Mainly, I will look into utility and practicality as stats, but use them together at weighting. However, if something like cargo room or load capacity has numbers that are stupidly low, it might be a negative. Towing capacity not as important (it is rather useless the way it works in the game anyway, and towing won’t be the main use of the vehicle anyway).

No, I don’t plan to implement a high top bonus - interesting as an idea but feels overkill for QFC.

Also, cool van and probably accurate for the US - but I can’t see a plumber with an one-person business running something similar here in the early 80s. That doesn’t mean that something similar is banned if anyone wants to pull off a wildcard…but as usual in Auto challenges, wildcards aren’t the safest bets. Make it good enough, though, and you may have a chance - as long as something isn’t a total meme build, it will be judged on the same premises as everything else.

Developing the scoring system for my QFC I’ve discovered that the cargo space alone makes negligible difference for both practicality and utility. I think you may wanna factor that in directly, if it’s important for the buyer.


How’s everyone doing with budget am I making my vans too expensive, I can’t get anything below $8,000

Edit: I figured it out, it’s because ABS adds $1,000 to the price

Is something like the Citroen C15 or another panel van based on a VW Golf-sized car large enough? I am wondering because my main lore company discontinued the fourth-generation Sparrow Courier (built on a 2.4-metre wheelbase) in 1975 and the fifth-generation Sparrow, a WIP car based on the 2.4m Indicator body set, frustratingly lacks a panel van option.

Well, there is both a Bedford Chevanne and a Simca van in the inspirations, as well as a Mk1 Caddy, so I would say yes. If a smaller or larger vehicle would be the most competitive is something I can’t even answer myself, that will be the interesting part of the story, so…

I wouldn’t worry too much about abs myself, I’m not sure how many cars in total had it in 1981, definitely not vans.

Tbh I would imagine none of the inspirations would even have power steering in Europe at the time, but qfc being a bit more “loose” with realism I’m not sure whether that’s a cut worth making at a certain size

Nah, ABS is highly unrealistic, to put it this way, 1981 was the first year when you could get it as optional equipment in the Mercedes W123, which was far from a cheap car, and even the W126 S-class only had it as option. When the Ford Scorpio came out in 1986, it was the first car to have it as standard equipment (I don’t know about Jensen FF and its Maxaret brakes in this case, though, but that’s very much of an exotic), I would say that even 10 years later, ABS would not have been that common among commercial vehicles in the cheaper end of the scale. I remember a test a car magazine did of C-segment cars in 1993, where Mazda 323 got some praise for being the only car in the class that (at least in Sweden) offered ABS as standard equipment, and vans were generally lagging behind, so…

Now, I won’t put a ban on ABS since, well, not CSR style realism in QFC, but I guess I would prioritize other things above it if I was building a car for this challenge. But it is all up to you.

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Anyone know how fast vans were in 1981??

I won’t care too much about performance as long as it is not terrible, read meme-ish bad. If you can outrun it with a riding lawnmower towing a loaded horse trailer, it is a trip to bin city, but a (reasonably) slow vehicle would not affect scoring.

Found this super cool pamphlet about this Chevrolet van! It’s super cool!

@Knugcab D’oh! Somehow I always breeze past the inspirations.

@Vento The van probably ought to have a top speed of at least 70mph; it should be able to safely use modern dual carriageways even if it takes ages to accelerate.

Yeah, try to aim for at least 70 mph since that’s more or less the maximum speed limit (110 km/h) in Sweden, but honestly speaking, that shouldn’t be hard to achieve. IIRC, with a too underpowered car you will lose driveability too?

Yeah, those drivability penalties are usually seen with underpowered sports and premium cars, so when your delivery van gets saddled with the “Low Top Speed Prestige Penalty” you KNOW the engine’s a dog. (That really happened to me once when designing a vehicle).

at 70 mph my van is getting a -15% drivability penalty :frowning: