On Tuesday I was doing something that only 10% of Twitter users do: scroll through and read the messages posted on the main feed. Since I’m following 216 accounts it is quite a messy feed, ranging from posts from people I actually care about to some stupid, unreasonable reposts, like “you will not believe what Justin Bieber posted on Facebook. To see it, click this link here”. Uh-huh, yeah, I’m not that stupid. There are two things I don’t care about in these situations: Justin Bieber and getting my laptop infected with every single computer virus there ever has been.
But it’s not all that bad. I find out some surprising facts and I found something quite shocking car-wise that I decided to do some research and find out more of this trait in car world. CAR PART SHARING.
The post that caused this interest was about McLaren F1. An engineering marvel. It still is the fastest naturally aspirated car in the world with 390 km/h (240 mph) in the record books and it is sort of a hypercar that you wouldn’t be expecting to see a cocky rapper or a pretending genius, teeth-whitened producer behind the wheel. No. These cars are owned by true professionals like Jay Leno, Eric Clapton, Michael Schumacher, Elon Musk and Rowan Atkinson (who occasionally kept crashing and restoring his F1). The car had a price tag of $1m and, because only 106 were produced, this price won’t be decreasing for sure. So you expect this car to be made out of exotic materials and genuine parts created for the car. But you’d be wrong, because there was a set of parts on the car that you would be least expecting to be shared with some other car. I am talking about the rear lights.
Now an ordinary human being would just say “no big deal”. But then you have to see what other car (or I’d rather say “motor vehicle”) shares them. Surprise, surprise, it’s a DAF bus.
If the car DAF would’ve shared its parts with would’ve been a Ford or a Hyundai, I wouldn’t be surprised, but cost cutting on a million dollar supercar seems unjustified. It’s not like the company was short of cash. With McLaren having four consecutive F1 championship titles before the car was released in 1992 it’s not like they were short of cash. Or maybe they rushed it. That’s the only explenation I could think of – them rushing to finish the car in time before potential buyers turn away. Luckily McLaren aren’t the same anymore, having all their cars and technology designed “in the house” as they say in the car world.
But McLaren ain’t the only ones who fell into the misery of car part sharing. Here are a couple of other cars with some cheap parts and the cars these parts originated from.
ASTON MARTIN DB7 REAR LIGHT MODULES – 1989 MAZDA 323F
I now understand why in 1990s James Bond didn’t drive the Aston. Because as you can see, cost cutting in the company was pretty horrible. The rear lights out of a economy car? It’s the only design element of that car I didn’t really like. Aston wasn’t all that great on the inside either, having a gearstick so close to the stereo that you couldn’t really change your cassette (or CD if you were tech-savy in those days) unless you had your car in a low gear if it was an auto box or if it was in 2nd, 4th or 6th. The switchgear and the console itself was very Fordish (which is no coincidence, as Aston was owned by Ford from 1987 to 2007. Ford also had a small share of Mazda as well, which explains the light sharing). It’s a shame, because it’s an Aston Martin.
ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE FRONT AND REAR LIGHTS – AUDI 200 and VW SCIROCCO
It’s Aston again. But this car basically shows how bad things were before Ford took Aston Martin over. It’s no surprise that you haven’t heard of the Virage, because it was Aston’s call for desperation to stay alive. Just over 1000 cars were produced and they haven’t really found their place in classic car hall of fame. Partly it was because of its gopping looks. This car really looks like it was designed in a hurry by an accountant and a salesman. Then there was the parts sharing. The front lights were from Audi 200 and rear lights – from a VW Scirocco. They could’ve used parts from other manufacturers because these don’t fit at all. It makes the Aston look like a kit car built by some car enthusiasts during weekends. Some really could mistake this with a VW Scirocco coupe which for an Aston would be such a resentment.
MG SV-R – FIAT PUNTO
The last years of MG were a pain to many car enthusiasts. Here is a brand with racing pedigree and charm dying a suffering death. This suffering also was reflected into cars they built. The MG SV-R was a weird project. Firstly because it was a super car from a brand that already earned a reputation for building cars for British pensioners (thanks to Rover). Secondly because though it was supposed to be a super car it was still built like a pensioner’s car. The front lights were inherited from Fiat’s Punto. It’s not a bad decision as it suited the design, making it look like it squints at you with a mean stare.
PAGANI ZONDA AIR CONDITIONING CONTROLS – MG ZS
Now this one I found by pure chance and I started doubting Pagani. Up until the moment I found out about this I believed (sort of) what Horacio Pagani was saying, that he sprays a fresh grass air freshener around his office so he can concentrate better, that he was spending hours walking around the finished car and watching every single detail of it before redesigning it, that all the parts for his cars were made by Pagani. RUBBISH! So did MG just steal a batch of air conditioning units from you and dropped them into their cars? What’s more, they just kept washing petrolhead’s brains that all cars are “crafted to the absolute perfection” and hey used this claim to justify their £500k price tag. Why couldn’t you just rise the price for another £50k and insert proper electronic switch gear, not one that costs £60 (I did research. The MG air conditioning control unit costs £60). If your cars were an automotive perfection, why did you cut costs so early?
LAMBORGHINI DIABLO FACELIFTED MODEL’S HEADLIGHTS – NISSAN 300ZX
It’s nothing huge, but I really preferred the pop-up headlights on the Diablo. That’s all because of the legislation that is supposed to “keep people alive by removing this fatal headlight design”. Thanks.
NOBLE M600 ENGINE – VOLVO S80 V8
This last one though might not be a visual part, but it sure is quite an interesting one. The hard-core supercar maker Noble used the conservative Volvo’s mad V8 engine, added a couple of turbos and created a monster. It’s really a shame we will never see a V8 engine in a Volvo again because they’re now staying with 4-cylinder engines, but it’s weird that a Volvo engine powers a 200+mph supercar. What’s more, remove all the silencers on Volvo’s exhaust and you will have the best car to confuse people with, because when they’ll hear this roar and then see an S80 coming from that way they will think that they’ve lost their minds. These cars are called “sleeper’s cars”, because until you beat the guy next to you at the take off from traffic lights, he will never know that you have something sinister at your disposal.