Sinistra Motors

The year is 1946.

A year ago, World War II ended, with the defeat of Germany and Japan at the hands of the Allied Powers. Factories everywhere screeched to a halt yet again, and stopped producing bombs and guns and tanks and planes, and switched to producing cars and other common items again.

Out in Nevada, a brilliant flash of light and an echoing boom shattered the peace and quiet, and a mysterious car skidded across the desert sand, the roar of a straight-six engine following soon after the noise. For decades, this would be the ‘proof’ some people used for there being ‘Aliens’ when in fact, it was a one-way trip for a time traveler.

The car was quickly hidden inside an old factory, and a man, appearing to be middle-aged, about 40 years old, with a sharp black suit and a cane, stepped out into the world he’d traveled back into. Formerly going by the name Luke Light, this being had changed his form, and his name, before going back in time. Why? Because building cars is what he was good at, but the company he ran for 20 years was stuck in one particular direction.

The man was Luke Sinistra, a robot from the future, looking just as real and human as anyone else.

Within a year, he had a factory going, and their first car was rolling off of the production line.

This was the 1947 Sinistra Swift. Powered by a 4 liter, SOHC 2v Inline 6, and a three-on-the-tree manual gearbox, it was a relatively unremarkable family sedan. Lacking the technology to do what he wanted, Luke decided that the rear-wheel-drive layout was ‘good enough’ to start with, and that, in the interest of keeping costs down, a solid rear axle ‘would do fine for now.’

Luke felt the design was unremarkable, but they lacked the time or resources to make anything more radical. About the only major claim the Swift had to fame was an impressive 109 mile-per-hour top speed, if one was brave enough to try, and foolish enough to do so on public roads. Other than that, however, the car faded into obscurity. Enough were sold to keep the doors open, and a few minor revisions were done over the years, but about the only thing people remember about the Swift is that Luke Sinistra crashed one in the parking lot in the winter of 1948.


1948 brought about a realization that while the Swift was liked by many people, there was more that could be done. Two designs were up on the table, though only one could be done this year, and the next would have to wait until 1949.

Sacrificing the Premium interior and the AM radio in favor of an extra bench of seats gave the Sinistra Swift a huge people-carrying capacity. While the top speed dipped below 100 miles per hour, the Swift Wagon was designed to do one thing well: carry people.

While not as popular as the original Swift, the Wagon was a welcome choice for large families on the go, who wanted to pack Mom, Dad, the Kids, the Grandparents, and the Dog all comfortably in the same car and go on a road trip.

With the cheaper interior options, you can get 8 seats cheaper than 5. And by sharing the same Inline 6 as the '47 Swift, the costs to Sinistra Motors were also kept down, enabling some research, development, and experimentation to go on regarding some technology Luke was looking into, and also to work on a truck for 1949.


It may not have lived up to its name, but as a people’s car, the Swift easily cut the mustard, especially as a more practical eight-seat wagon.

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Sinistra Motors had a minor breakthrough with their new 4-speed manual. By giving their 3 speed another gear, one before 1st gear, they would give their new truck some unprecedented pulling power, or at least, so was the hope.

Still refusing to change the core concepts that made the Swift ‘successful,’ the Swift Truck roared onto the market with the same 128 horsepower I6 that every other Sinistra car so far had carried.

About the only thing that gave the Swift an advantage was ease of maintenance. With so many Sinistra engines out there, all identical, the hard-working truck version could be easily patched back together if things actually went wrong.

Some might argue that Luke Sinistra’s decision to put a premium bench seat and AM radio in the truck was a little needless, but there was a version available without those options.

What inevitably saved the Swift Truck was a clever advertising campaign. With a load capacity greater than 50% of the truck’s weight, the decision was made to showcase their truck, and several ‘competitors’ being loaded with exactly 50% of the truck’s total weight. The photographs were shown in newspapers everywhere, with the Swift sitting a bit heavy on the rear springs, but the other three trucks were either bottomed out, or broken.

Controversy ensued. Rumors spread about someone cutting the leaf-springs on the other trucks, or that the Swift really wasn’t able to handle that much weight.

Luke set out to save at least the Truck from controversy by driving from Nevada to New York with 1350 pounds of concrete in the bed. The torquey first gear helped get the burdened truck up some of the nastier hills, and the I6 pulled hard, despite not being built for that. Regardless, the truck made it there, and back home again, and proved once-and-for-all that the Swift Truck was capable of hauling an awful lot of stuff.



Several experiments were carried out throughout 1950, eventually leading to the development Luke Sinistra had been waiting for. Front Wheel Drive. Planning on making back their R&D costs quickly, the plan was pushed through for a luxury car.

With the plan in place, the company quickly assembled their first ever luxury car.

The Sinistra Emperor got an all-new high-displacement inline 6 with the company-traditional single-overhead cam. This was mated to a 3 speed manual gearbox with integrated center differential, which slid into place under the oil pan. Half shafts were fed from the center differential’s outputs to the wheels. The car was a unibody design with panels bolted into the subframe, not to save costs but to prepare for the future. This rigid chassis design reduced body flex and allowed Luke to think about safety.

Using the best of what the 50’s had to offer, Luke aimed to make the car safer than anything else on the road. At the same time, he tried unsuccessfully to solve the understeer problem, something that would take a lot longer to fix. In a big luxury cruiser like the Emperor, however, Luke felt it wasn’t that much of a problem. The odds of anyone pushing this car to the limits, well, wasn’t likely.

That said, the Emperor was no slouch. The 4.6 liter Inline 6 could haul this ton-and-a-half car up to 60 in 12 seconds, and if the driver had a long, straight road ahead of them, they could possibly hit 120 miles per hour.

Sales were, of course, expectedly quite low. A big, heavy boat loaded with expensive new technology tends to not sell in huge numbers anyway. And it’s not like Sinistra Motors had planned to make more than a few thousand Emperors anyway, at least not in their top luxury trim.



Following a dispute with Mark Jasper, Luke realized there was just no time to revise their new car. The ‘budget’ car had been built around the new engine, which meant replacing it with one of their traditional straight-six engines, or the inline-triple or four-cylinder made between '51 and '56, was just not possible.

Which meant the 1957 Sinistra Raider was, well, carrying an engine not quite befitting a budget car. A 4 liter V12.

Configured as a bit of a lazy engine, the new V12 was designed by Mark Jasper of the Engine Design Team after running into complications with the crossplane crankshaft needed for a V8. Despite being relatively low-revving and seemingly underpowered by horsepower alone, the V12 made up for that with astronomical torque for such a small engine.

As a result of the high-torque V12, the Raider can still break 100 miles per hour, despite having less than 100 horsepower. The improved brakes eliminated the obnoxious brake-fade problem, and some attention to detail with the suspension helped with reducing the understeer issue.

As an attempt to save some money in the design of the Raider, the unibody design of the previous cars was traded in favor of a traditional ladder chassis. Luke’s comment for the year was, “We built the Raider with a ladder chassis to save money, and then Mark Jasper put a fucking V12 in it.”

Still, in the end, it wasn’t all bad. They had a new engine that no one else was offering, and a car that was actually easy to drive. The front-wheel-drive still had some teething problems to work out regarding understeer, but it was much improved, and the new engine was smooth as silk, even compared to their proud inline-6 engines.

As for Mark Jasper, he quickly found himself having to adapt what would become the 1958 Raider to fit a new 2-liter inline 6 based on half of the 4-liter V12.



Some might have seen Sinistra as being a bit slow on the uptake. The muscle-car years were quickly approaching, and Luke knew it. However, the decision was made to focus on the up-market sedan.

Originally starting life as a budget-tier sedan, the Sinistra Senator quickly blew the budget several times over, eventually ending up as a pricy mid-market sedan.

Several trim options would be offered, but we’ll look at the LX 3900 for now. Named for the 3.9 liter V6 under the hood, the LX 3900 trim was respectable, giving such luxurious comforts as a 3 speed Gearmaster Selecta automatic gearbox, made by Sinistra Motors, and hydraulic power steering.

Despite the V6 and the automatic, performance was still about as expected for Sinistra, though they had a bit more of a handle on the understeer issue now. Fitted with the no-longer-quite-new radial tires, the Senator had improved grip, and the return of independant rear suspension allowed finer suspension adjustments.

Improvements were made to safety, as well as to environmental resistance, by using corrosion resistant steel and advanced safety technology.

As for other trims, there was the LX 5200, named for the 5.2 liter V8 that the 3.9 liter V6 was derived from, and the LC 5200 and LC 3900, which stripped every bit of class and luxury from the Senator in an attempt to cut the costs. And, of course, the XLC 2600 arrived in 1962, using a 4 cylinder engine derived from the 5.2 liter V8.

Some owners of the 3.9 liter 90-degree V6 powered cars noticed a defined line on their V6 engines. Rumors, naturally, surfaced about Sinistra ‘cutting V8’s apart’ to make V6 engines. When asked in a press-conference, Luke Sinistra admitted that this was, in fact, quite true, though backed it up with “It is, at least, a very precise cut-and-weld job. If any of these V6 engines leaks or fails because of this seam, I will personally buy the car back from the driver, at purchase price, and provide them with the V8 powered version, or a different car of their choice.”

So far, to this day, Luke Sinistra has only had to pay up twice, despite tens-of-thousands of these V6 engines finding their way into Sinistra Motors’ cars.



The 3.9 liter V6 spent the last three years getting stuffed in every car Sinistra Motors made, and that tradition carried forward into 1964. Still unaltered since 1961, the ‘3900’ started getting paired up with every new model.

Needless to say, it was no surprise when the Sinistra Monarch arrived with the 3.9 liter V6 as standard, the 5.2 liter V8 as an option, and your choice between four-speed manual, or the 3-Speed Gearmaster Selecta automatic transmission.

Still, the V6 and Automatic didn’t mean that the Monarch would be a slouch. Despite weighing a little more than the Senator, and having identical horsepower, the Monarch could match or beat just about every statistic the Senator claimed.

Of course, the luxurious wagon comes at a price matching the intended comfort, but Luke realized that the flaw many car companies were running through many times over the years was an over-diversification, jumping from sports car to family car to truck to jet-propelled speedboat without spending time learning their mistakes.

Luke remembered an old saying, though never cared enough to research who said it: “Beware the man who has only one gun, for he certainly knows how to use it.”

And so Sinistra Motors focused on their up-market cars, the thing they clearly seemed to know well.

Now it was merely up to fate to see if the strategy would pay off. Luke knew that either way, the Monarch would be a decision maker. If it did well, they’d focus on more up-market sedans and wagons. If it did poorly, then it would be time to unleash the beasts.



With the Savage having been unveiled as a Concept in 1965, and beaten to hell in Archana in 1966 as a publicity stunt, it was no surprise that 1967 brought the brutal FWD muscle car to market. And with 2 years under the belt, now it was time to release the Savage in Sedan form, for those who wanted a four-door instead of a two-door coupe or two-door convertible.

The violent 464 cubic inch power plant was tuned for 335 horsepower, and the Savage was given independant rear suspension for good measure, while maintaining everything Sinistra was known for by this point.

Of course, Luke couldn’t resist letting people bring the violence to the drag strip and stop-light drags with sheer brutality. Despite being front-wheel-drive, the Savage was viciously fast and had wicked acceleration. Sure, if you kept pushing the limits, you’d cook the brakes rather quickly, but the goal was to be the fastest car in the West.

Combined with the premium interior package, the Savage ended up expensive, but with purpose. As a point-and-squirt muscle car, it was fast. As a family sedan, it was drivable and reasonable. Gas was cheap still, and so Luke didn’t care that the car drank gasoline like an alcoholic on a bar-crawl.

The end result was a car that tried to punch both above and below its class, trying to be both a comfortable family cruiser and also the weekender’s weapon of choice at the drag-strip. Police learned to hate seeing these cars, at least until Luke created a few Police Interceptor versions… But that’s a story for another time.



“When in doubt, panic.”

Those seemed to be the words that echoed around Sinistra’s workshop after several incidents led to missing the deadline in 1973 to get into Motor World Review magazine.

Between the Savage 662 being a gas-guzzling nightmare, and the leaded fuel ban (though Luke knew about this in advance, and the 662 could run on unleaded fuel), and now the emissions equipment being mandated, the workshop was a flurry of panic.

To stop the panic, Luke devised the Traville, a new compact sedan designed for the common man, using the same dimensional derivatives of the 5.2 and 3.9 liter engines to make a 2.6 liter I4.

The Traville sold most spectacularly in the LC-2600 trim, which wasn’t quite ‘low cost’ but offered a pleasant array of options.



“We’ve never built a sports car,” Luke said to his design team during a design meeting, “and I don’t intend to start now. We’ve been making front-wheel-drive cars for a while now. Our biggest technological advantage is our familiarity with the Longitudinal Transaxle, and if we make a sports car, we’ll have to throw all that out.”

“So, what do you want us to make, then? This V6, it’s far better suited to a sports car than anything else.” Jeff Martin, the new head of the Engine Design Team, seemed more than a little upset that Luke wasn’t going to use his new all aluminum 60-degree V6 in a sports car.

“Let’s compromise. A sporty sedan. Compact, with a powerful V6. Might not set any speed records this year, but we’ll get 'em next time. Bloody Erin and their ‘spend a fortune to buy the fastest car on the planet’ when our 60’s Savage is faster. Start research into Project Snail, Jeff, if you haven’t already. They want a battle of speed, we’ll give it to 'em with the front wheels frying.” Luke said. “Just not this year. Mid-to-late 80’s, early 90’s will be better, I promise it.”

“Glad to see you approve of the idea, just, why not put the engine in the back?” Jeff replied. “It’d solve the transaxle problem.”

“Because we’re running out of time to make something. Stick with what we know, but prototype that idea. I am authorizing an experimental budget increase of 200%, so make it work. I want to sign my name in rubber on the Erin importer’s doorstep.” Luke said.

With that, the Sinistra Swift returned as a boxy 80’s car with the pinnacle of design achievements under the hood.

The GS-3900 was the ‘hot’ trim for 1982, packing the 3.9 liter all-aluminum 60-degree V6 under the hood. Rumors quickly grew about the sudden switch from cast-iron to aluminum, but Luke’s response seemed cold and logical. “Weight is the enemy of fuel efficiency. It’s also the enemy of performance. Sure, Aluminum is more expensive, but it saves you, the customer, in the long run.”

Not much else changed in the car, other than the adoption of the top-tier safety package, favoring a shiny new Driver’s Side Air-Bag designed to keep you in your seat during a heavy impact. This was met with concern and criticism, as it was a new technology, and one that seemed better suited to expensive luxury cars. Luke again responded with, “Should safety only be available to those who can afford it? Should your children drive around in cars made of materials little better than tin-foil, where an accident launches the engine into their lap? Should you have to fear driving because a crash might kill you? I don’t believe that should be the way of the future. I believe in a future where two cars collide, head on at highway speed, and the drivers and passengers of both cars can get up and walk away.”

When criticism was made about this new engine being designed to save fuel, and yet it gulped just as bad as the 1979 Traville, which had an automatic, Luke shot back with, “The Traville had 94 horsepower. The Swift has 152. Yet the fuel consumption is nowhere near ‘nearly double’ the amount. This is technological progress being used to make a better performing car, not just merely a more efficient one.”

Sure, the Swift was expensive, but it was a technological leap for Sinistra. They now had a modern V6, and not a cast iron relic. But, they weren’t quite yet done with cast iron, not by a long-shot. But that’s a story for another year.



“So, how’s the big project going?” Alex asked, looking at Jeff while standing by the water cooler.

“Not too badly, actually. Completed the new 3 liter V6, and it fits in the new chassis. Still haven’t tested it with your little project, but we’ve got a sellable design.”

“So, got a name for it?” Alex prodded.

“Yeah. Sunbolt. Named after the project’s working code name. Already approved by Luke, even.” Jeff replied, smiling. “A rear engined sports car for the family. Who would have ever expected that?”

And so the Sunbolt came screaming onto the scene. The new 3-liter V6 was tuned by Sinistra’s new Performance Division, pumped up to a brutal 200+ horsepower with no forced induction, though it would need premium unleaded gasoline.

With 200 horsepower going to the rear wheels, the Design Team needed to make the car look fast sitting still, and so the early-supercar-inspired air intakes were fitted, along with the ‘aerodynamically enhanced’ door-handles and slimmer mirrors. They also designed the front to have a new ‘futuristic’ design, one they achieved by following some of Luke’s advice.

Despite being rear-engined, the Sunbolt was aimed to be the family-friendly sports car. It could seat 5 people, wasn’t hard to drive, and yet was a lot of fun. The decision to put the Sinistra Primary Transaxle in the back, along with the engine, would live on in company history as one of their greatest ideas.

Of course, the Sunbolt XR-3000 would be the only trim available on launch, but there were promises made that ‘more powerful versions will come soon enough.’ The company sales log showed that more than 30% of all Sunbolts were sold in Sinistra’s high-gloss metallic yellow, known as Sunburn, and 15% were sold in the high-gloss metallic dark red, known as Crimson Sky. These two colors were the most popular, though a third came close, stealing 10% of the market, the high-gloss metallic black, Charcoal.

Having never built a sports car before on purpose, Sinistra Motors felt they’d thrown a rather weighty stone into a very big pond full of really hungry fish. Now it was time to see if they could defeat the sharks at their own game.


Interesting, I clearly see a competitor to the Mk3 Celestia here, also released in 1982. The base model (Sport Sedan) is a bit more expensive than the Swift at $15503, and it only gives you a 124 hp inline 4, a little lower top speed and clearly slower acceleration, while it beats the Swift at braking and handling, and (by only a very little margin) fuel economy. The Swifts driveability is better, as are the offroad performance and environmental resistance, while the Celestia is sportier, more comfortable, safer, more practical and reliable. The Celestia is RWD, Mc Pherson/Semi trailing arm while the Swift is FWD, double wishbone/semi trailing arm. Still, quite similar in concept and spirit. Always fun to see what the competition would have been…

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The Sunbolt project got a few years in the spotlight without too many changes, but 1988 brought the engine up to date with VVT, improving power and fuel efficiency.

While plans were still in play for a twin-turbo version, project delays meant that the Sunbolt wouldn’t get a pair of snails for at least another year. This, of course, infuriated Luke, who firmly believed that other companies weren’t blundering about in the dark, wasting time and resources and failing to create results.

Despite the delays, the Sunbolt XR-3000 was now equipped with VVT, and pushed the 3 liter V6 to a staggering 230 horsepower while also getting 19 miles per gallon.

The team was confident, with good reason. The upstarts had taken a bite out of the sports-car market, and were managing to chew it.

At the same time, the Sinistra Swift grew up. In 1987, the Swift was changed from a compact to a midsize, and with VVT being available in 1988, the sporty Sweepback got a little more power, and a bit more fuel efficiency.

With a sleek, aerodynamic design, the Swift was Luke’s new view of the future. “Mark my words, hatchbacks are the way of the future.” Luke said, many times around the factory. Some believed he was just saying it until he believed it, but many of the employees argued that Luke was right. Hatchbacks had practical advantages, after all.

Plus, the Swift managed to live up to its name this time, with 225 horsepower being thrown around by the High Power Output 3.9 liter V6. This gave it a sub-7 second 0-60, and a 140 MPH top speed, something worthy of being called ‘swift’ by everyone.

Sure, it wasn’t always the most comfortable car, nor the sportiest car, but Sinistra’s new Swift was laying down a V6-powered challenge. Plus, Luke’s promise of added power in a couple years meant that the upgrade plan was set.


Interesting. At least in europe, large hatchbacks became a thing in the mid 80s,with the Saab 9000, Ford Scorpio (Merkur in US) and some others. It also turned out in the 90s that they were wrong, hatchbacks didn’t sell in that segment. Both the Saab and the Ford got sedan counterparts in the early 90s, and when the Scorpio got a refresh in 1995 or when the 9000 was replaced by the 9-5 in 1998, the hatchback was gone. Let’s see how Sinistra can pull it off.



“Well, the Swift isn’t… It’s not quite what the people want. Sure, the sedan and the wagon didn’t do too badly, but the sweepback was easily the worst of the lot.” Andrea said.

“Sounds like the perfect time, then. Let’s put the Sport back into Sport Utility Vehicle.” Luke replied. “Take the Swift Sport’s V10, plop it into the '92 Stampede chassis.”

While the gas mileage sucked, and Sinistra’s second generation of the AWD transaxle still wasn’t great, the Stampede did have a bit of a nasty surprise for people thinking it was just some mundane pile of junk, in the form of that 460 horsepower V10.

The V10 was completed late in 1988, and was constructed by taking a Sinistra 5.2 liter V8, cutting it in half, and adding in a pair of cylinders from the Sinistra 3.9 liter V6’s creation. The most powerful of Sinistra’s L-Series engines, this V10 didn’t last real long in the company lineup, mostly due to the cast-iron construction.

As for the drivetrain, the Stampede runs 60% of the power to the front wheels, due to the design being built around Sinistra’s longitudinal transaxle. In the end, the Stampede V10 was a brutal solution to flagging sales of Sinistra’s station wagons.

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The Sinistra Serenade was introduced in 1995, with an inline 3 of nearly-two-liter displacement, designed as a dirt-cheap economy car that anyone could afford.

This particular trim, the LC 2.0, is a rare car now, because it was only ever produced for one year, due to the inline 3 being quite badly received by anyone looking for a cheap, economical car. It was replaced with the ST 2.0, which brought the new Sinistra S-Series four cylinder engine to the party. Twin cam, EFI, with VVT and VVL, courtesy of Sinistra’s new “SinCam” technology.

In 1999, however, the Serenade was facelifted, trading a bland and boring front end for something a little nicer to look at. Still powered by the boxer-4 2-liter engine, the Serenade proved to be a good little car for someone on a budget.

With 107 horsepower on tap, and an aggressive exhaust note, the Serenade proved itself to be a fun car for the average family sedan market. With Sinistra’s newest GearMaster EcoMax automatic transmission, 33 MPG was coaxed out of the rumbly, growly four-cylinder engine while remaining stupidly easy to drive.

For a fun car on a budget, it did well enough. But the Serenade had an evil twin brother.

Those vents above the grillle cram air straight into the throats of the pair of snails this Boxer engine is wearing. Still a two-liter boxer-4, the GT 2.0 packs twin turbochargers for great hilarity, feeding into a 6-speed manual gearbox.

While not quite as budget worthy, the GT 2.0 was still quite potent for a front-wheel-drive family car.


Okay, so clearly when Generations stopped, I stopped putting up cars. Bad show on my half, especially because I had this particular lore-car built long before Generations started, and only gave it an updated engine because, well, boxers! Much better than an L-Series I3 any day of the week.

So, of course, I’m going to change up how I release cars into here, just a little bit. Instead of having quite as much ‘factory lore’ going on in the thread for a particular year, I’ll be releasing a car by its year-range. Essentially, like with this next car, if it was made from 2001 to 2005 with no notable changes, I’ll pick one out of the field and show it. Might be early generation, might be late generation, but this way I can make the car, get it out there, and move onward, instead of dreading making periodic updates.

Also, I’ll try to keep to chronological order, but there will always be the chance I decide to release something out of order for a good laugh, or because I’m filling gaps in my rather thin lineup.

2001-2005 Sinistra Cinder

(Car Shown: 2003 Cinder)

The idea behind the Cinder was to experiment with new technologies in an older engine. Still using the trusty 1995 Sinistra Boxer 4, now rebadged as part of the Engine Renaming Project, the old engine was given Direct Fuel Injection. Much as SinCam was the combination of VVL and VVT, EcoFire is the combination of Direct Injection and Turbocharging, and this engine uses both of those technologies to great effect.

With 165 horsepower on tap, the now-named Sinistra S-B4 Al/Al is more than sufficient to pull this car around. Formerly known as the Sinistra 2L B4S4+Al/Al, the new naming scheme is much shorter, and just as descriptive. An S-Series engine will always measure out to 2 liters (4 Cyl) or 3 liters (6 Cyl), and describes an engine having SOHC with 4 valves, and being VVL enabled.

But what does that mean for the Cinder?

It means it’s not slow. 165 horsepower, fed to the front wheels by the Sinistra Primary Transaxle, with 6 gears in a manual gearbox, in a light-yet-sturdy compact sedan. The result is the Eco-Sport trim. 0-60 in less than 8 seconds, 130 MPH top speed, no shortage of passing power, and 43 MPG when driven sensibly. And most importantly, it runs on regular gasoline, not the premium stuff. This means you save even more at the pump.

By using a lightened AHS steel unibody and aluminum panels where practical, the Cinder is lighter and safer than some of its competition, while the multi-link rear suspension allows for that little bit extra carrying capacity, for those times someone decides to just fill the trunk instead of renting a truck. We won’t judge, it’s part of owning your own fuel efficient compact sedan.

Whatever you may think of fuel saving, eco cars, or sporty compacts, the Cinder is a good choice, even if the price is a little higher than expected.

And now for something new for this thread: Car files! Used to do this for Storm Automotive, but fell out of doing it for Sinistra for many reasons. But, this allows car reviewers easy access to all the information and a car.

Sinistra Cinder - EcoSport (M6, B4T).car (36.7 KB)


1989-1999 Sinistra Traville

(Car Shown: 1989 GS/HO)

After the failure of the Swift to capture the midsize market, Sinistra set out to create something in that market, something new and comfortable, with a sense of class. With plans already on the table for the Serenade to take the place of the small, economical car, once an appropriate engine could be found, and once the market calmed a bit from the disasterous failure of the Swift, a new mid-size project was started.

The codename? Sidewinder.

An all-new engine derivative was created, using L series specifications based on the Swift’s 3.9 liter, 60-degree V6, building instead a 5.2 liter, 60-degree V8. With the new engine came a new transaxle design, never before tried by Sinistra, but one they hoped would deal with this issue of people not liking big engines in their footwell. They mounted the engine transversely, still powering the front wheels, but now sitting sideways to do it.

But, it wouldn’t quite be Sinistra if a special version wasn’t built to show off a bit of what the new engine could do. Taking the base 190 horsepower V8 and giving it aggressive cams, an octane boost, performance intake and exhaust, and a healthy dose of compression and timing, Sinistra wrestled 350 horsepower out of their proud new 60-degree V8. This was then fed to the option of a 5 speed manual or a 4 speed advanced-automatic gearbox, with the special trim getting a viscous limited-slip differential to keep the wheel-spin under control.

The goal became fun with comfort, without sacrificing the ability to drive the car. Early models, between 1989 and 1990, shipped without electronic speed limiters, but later models were intentionally limited down to 125 MPH, other than in the somewhat-rare Police Interceptor models.

Fuel efficiency, however, was not a primary concern. It was accepted that the Traville was going to gulp quite a bit of premium in the higher trims, and even the more base-line trims with the V6 and the inline-4 were on the thirsty side, as the Traville was not exactly a light car.

While the Traville was, for a time, a very fast front-wheel-drive, it was never the fastest 4-door sedan. That said, for a time, the GS/HO was the nastiest surprise at a stop-light for many street racers, who pulled up alongside expecting an easy victory against Gramps and his four-door sedan, only to be left in a cloud of tire smoke, ears still ringing from the strangled war-cry of the V8 singing to seven-grand.

After their popularity faded and the cars became less common, the base-model Travilles became great cars for first-time drivers, while GS/HO Travilles, especially early models, made excellent sleepers.

(As the model with the 60-degree V8 has some issues wanting to export (I suspect it simply doesn’t like the engine), I’ve provided the more comfortable Plus model with the 3.9L V6 for download.) (Found a solution: Don’t use / in your Model/Trim/Engine/Variant names! As a treat: you get more versions than I intended to release, as some of these were from testing…)

1989: Sinistra Traville - GS-HO (V8, AA4).car (43.6 KB)

1989: Sinistra Traville - Plus (V6, AA4).car (41.8 KB)

1991: Sinistra Traville - GS-TT (V6TT, AA4).car (44.3 KB)

Drive safely, and have fun!


2005-2009 Sinistra Savage

(Car Shown: 2005 393 UltraViolet)

Seeking a return to their roots, Sinistra wanted to build a car with a big V8 and FWD done the right way, the Sinistra way. Sure, the Sidewinders were good, but they were flawed, they had problems, and a lot of it was due to oil slosh during hard cornering, leading to major failures of the main crankshaft bearings, rod bearings, camshaft bearings, and oil pumps on rather young engines. While one group of engineers worked tirelessly to put baffles in the oil pan to keep the oil where it belonged, and to add a second pickup on the far side of the pan as a safety measure, a second group set about trying to design a car around the biggest engine they could cram up front.

It was agreed, when the prototype was shown, that the car would wear the name ‘Savage’ in homage to the old 60’s and 70’s muscle monster.

They started with the Savage’s heart, a mighty 393ci 90-degree V8, equipped with 4-valve-per-cylinder SOHC, SinCam VVL and VVT units, high compression pistons, and Direct Injection. They turned up the wick until they broke 500 horsepower, called it good enough, and sent it over to the design team.

Immediately, it was decided that this Savage, much like the original Concept Savage from 1965, would be a two-door car. An idea was thrown around about making it a convertible, but Luke Sinistra mentioned a new and somewhat radical idea that spread among the design team like wildfire.

A panoramic roofline. All the benefits of a coupe with a hard top, all the glory of a convertible, and no concerns about wind intrusion in the cabin, rain-proofing the interior, or some jerk slashing your canvas top just to steal your 62 cents from the cupholders.

The agreement was made that this should be a luxury muscle car, and that it should have a few throwbacks to other cars that came later. The “High Technology” interior design copied the “High Technology” interior of the 1985 Sunbolt sports-coupe, blended with the gray leather and blue cloth of the 1987 Swift.

The result would be polarizing, with some loving the “80’s Retro” feel mixed with modern luxury features and a brutal V8, and others claiming it to just be too much, too soon.

Was the Savage the best luxury car of its era? No. Was it the fastest muscle car of its time? No. Was it the fastest luxury car? No. Neither was it the most luxurious muscle car, but what it did hold as its one claim to fame…

The Sinistra Savage was Sinistra’s best selling car of all time.

And you can own one, too! (90.0 KB)

Continuing with the tradition of .car files, here is the Sinistra Savage in the highest trim package that ever existed. Yes, the metallic purple is a trim-restricted color, never to be seen again outside of the UltraViolet package, which always includes a panoramic roofline and the most powerful V8 available at the time.

Forgive the low-quality images, I’m running Automation on Intel Integrated. And yes, 1024x768 is my native resolution.

This car can be fun to drive in BeamNG if you transfer it over there. The ESC is really grabby in first and second if you floor it, but there’s a lot of power being unleashed in a very heavy FWD car. If you shift into Manual Mode, the car is also a lot more fun. I speak from experience.

And yes, if you turn the ESC off and floor it, you can do a burnout through the first three forward gears.