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Handling Face-Off - Toyota Corolla vs VW Transporter 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:15 am
Posts: 1971
Car(s): 1965 Wasp, 1966 Bellett sedan, 1966 RatBellett sedan, 1967 Bellett GT, 1978 Gemini van, 1994 LS400, 2004 VY SS Sandman
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A couple of weeks ago I went and got tyres on my sensible car.

OK, so perhaps a V8-powered ute-based panelvan replica isn't that sensible, but the need for safe and sensible tyres is paramount on something with more kilowatts than all the Belletts on this forum put together. OK, not really, because by today's standards it has about as much power as a 2010 Camry, which in turn has about as much power as the first Apollo mission needed to get to space.

I had to head out early, something I love doing on a Saturday after a night of debauched sex, drugs and rock and roll (or perhaps fitful sleep, some bored internet trawling and two Alka Seltzers; pick whichever one you think I did). As a result of my early birding, I thought I'd take the long way. Our suburb skirts the Adelaide Hills and provides a back entry into some great driving roads, assuming you can avoid the endless pellatons of wirey bicyclists groaning up the hills and the odd kamikaze R1 rider with a knee on the asphalt.

My drive had been serene for several minutes with nobody to slow my unbridled use of the loud pedal and wreckless abandon for the rear tyres which were about to be replaced, when I caught up to a late-model VW Transporter. "Great," I thought with a noticeable degree of inner sarcasm. But I thought wrong.

This guy, laden with plumbing gear and with two large ladders on the roof, made mincemeat of the corners. Clearly he had traversed these roads many times before and in doing so allowed his Vee Dub to soar and sing through the twisties. Testament to the handling quality of a modern van, it did not once appear to get loose or look untidy. Sure, he wasn't exactly doing a V8 pace, but his momentum through the corners was truly admirable.

Imagine this guy just 10 years ago, scrabbling through the corners in a skinny-tyred Mitsubishi L300 van; he wouldn't have held half the pace. In fact he was going so fast that a couple of times he pulled away as my concentration level had dropped back from "spirited driving" to "stare at car in front's brake lights and try not to fall asleep" which is the normal pace in the Adelaide Hills.

Eventually, after several minutes of enjoyable driving (no, DRIVING) through some beautiful countryside, he turned off and I caught up to more traffic. The rest of the trip was done behind a current model Toyota Corolla. Approximately the same age as the Transporter, it would have carried better speed through the corners than the van, had someone let it off the leash. Instead, we meandered through 60 and 80 zones at around 45km/h, through corners with a 30km/h recommendation, set as for ALL vehicles in ALL weather, at around 15km/h, and into one bend where the brakes were hit at a random moment in the middle of the corner. Which is of course, excellent driving.

Now I know that most people here aren't hoons, and neither do I believe my driving to be hoonish. I did no overtaking and while the tyres were getting a hard time, I wasn't dropping burnouts. The 60, 80 and 100 zones in the Hills are more than generous given the terrain, but rarely is there an opportunity to enjoy them. Sure, a 1967 auto Bellett sedan with four people on board and 5 weeks' worth of luggage was probably not going to keep up with that van (Farmer!), but the Corolla certainly would have and shame on them for not.

I'm at a loss as to why car manufacturers even strive to improve the handling of their vehicles with many drivers assume that if they feel the slightest semblance of a g-force going through a corner, they may die or their head may fall off.

Yet people fall asleep and die on our roads all the time. Probably from being bored. In fact, I'm sure I've almost died of being bored without having fallen asleep at all.

I can assure you, on a road with no traffic when I've been giving it the berries, I've never once felt like falling asleep and I'd like to thank that van driver for spanking that VW hard as I didn't feel like falling asleep behind him either.

"Stare are the car in front's brake lights and try not to fall asleep"-mode isn't that fun.

Cheers,

Dave

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Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:18 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:50 am
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Car(s): Peugeot 206 GTi 180, Ford Fiesta, Bond Equipe 2-Litre GT, Mazda R360 Coupe, Nissan CSP-311 Silvia. PAST: Bellett 1600GT
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dave wrote:
...if they feel the slightest semblance of a g-force going through a corner, they may die or their head may fall off.


One of these sits in my passenger seat. Even ABS and 19 airbags can't fix the problem...maybe an ejector seat? 8-)


Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:01 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:39 am
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Location: Adelaide Hills
Car(s): GQ Patrol, 1968 bellett ratter, 1969 florian deluxe & 1976 Luv
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driving through the hills here in adelaide i am amazed too at the drivers that must slow to 30kmh when they see a corner approaching. i tend to sit fairly close to the speed limit and constantly get surprised by the cars that people buy and then dont actually drive (got stuck behind a new VE HSV up gorge road doing at tops 50kmh on the straightish bits, up to cuddly creek)
its a struggle some days as these slow drivers can be just as dangerous as the fast drivers.
Im sure that some of these people rarely go into the hills for a drive.
Im sorry i am starting to rant now and since this is Daves spot to rant ill shut up now...

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Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:24 am
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Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:51 am
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Car(s): 1964 GT Isuzu Bellett
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I hear this clearly. Very intersting thead Dave, and one close to my heart and safety. My passage to work and my daily work is THAT driving experience almost every day. Even the ton ladden modern Nissan ute needs to cut up the corners at a rate on the limit and beyond, just to cover the k's efficiently through the hills. Very few mianderas see beyond the windscreen and are totally thrown when you come bearing down on them from behind (thank God for giant modern discs, although there IS a fading point to these also). Yes, and they are all there, waiting around every corner, over every rise, at a fork in the road. It's the lichra set on two wheels riding three abreast. It's Casey Stoners nemisis hangin' his head over the white line. It's a delivery truck with one pissed off dude at the wheel 'cause he had to be up so early. The broken down wagon full of ethnic fruit pickers. The school bus. The tractor backing out the orchard. Oh, and don't forget anything on foor or two legs that hops, bounds or scurries. If you are alert to all of these, you can still end up in someone elses predicament. But it is the nessesity and awareness of getting it right and finding out capability of the machine and it's driver that keeps you alert and less ho hum.

I would like a Nissan ute engineer to spend a week with me in the passenger seat of one those grunty tanks. After the initial shock and developement of trust (I WILL make it rournd the next corner) they'll be astonished at the brutalness of what was developed by them.

Well there you go, had to have a rant about that.

B.


Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:21 pm
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:15 am
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Car(s): 1965 Wasp, 1966 Bellett sedan, 1966 RatBellett sedan, 1967 Bellett GT, 1978 Gemini van, 1994 LS400, 2004 VY SS Sandman
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No dramas I'm happy for you to put your 2c worth in!

I just hope I don't write something that offends so hard you don't come back!

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Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:31 pm
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Don't stop ranting dude, always interesting.

B.


Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:07 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:39 am
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Location: Adelaide Hills
Car(s): GQ Patrol, 1968 bellett ratter, 1969 florian deluxe & 1976 Luv
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nothing wrong with a good rant!

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never buy a car you cant push.


Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:49 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:54 am
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moral of the story.....

follow the tradie in the van, especially when he has ladders on the roof, coz u'll get there quicker than if u follow the knob in the bore-box (read: corolla)!

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Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:30 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:50 am
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Car(s): Peugeot 206 GTi 180, Ford Fiesta, Bond Equipe 2-Litre GT, Mazda R360 Coupe, Nissan CSP-311 Silvia. PAST: Bellett 1600GT
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mrflibbles wrote:
nothing wrong with a good rant!


Especially when it's 100% accurate. Personally, I'd like to ad that the worst drivers leave their foot on the brake the entire duration of each corner. Very frustrating.


Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:03 am
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