10) TA­LENTED TRANS­MIS­SIONS

Classics Monthly - - Interchangeable parts -

Trans­mis­sions are ex­pen­sive to de­velop and so are ripe to be shared – even many large car mak­ers pre­fer to buy them in from a spe­cial­ist. But some trans­mis­sions are so ver­sa­tile that they get used across the board. Bri­tish Ley­land’s LT77 five-speed, orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for the Rover SD1 and Tri­umph TR7, found a home in Mor­gan and TVR sports cars, Land Rovers and Range Rovers, Sherpa vans and all man­ner of kit cars, usu­ally be­hind the equally ver­sa­tile Rover V8 en­gine. The Re­nault UN1 transaxle had an even more var­ied ex­is­tence; it be­gan as a rather old-fash­ioned unit for front-wheel drive Re­naults like the 21 and 25 but had a nifty con­vert­ible pin­ion drive so it could also be used for mid-en­gined rear-drive cars such as the Alpine GTA sports car. In front-drive form it went into the ground­break­ing Es­pace and by then was one of the few trans­mis­sions of its type in pro­duc­tion, so Lo­tus seized on it for the later Esprits. The ill-fated Delorean also used the UN1 while Re­nault found a home for it in their Mas­ter van. The Ven­turi, an at­tempt to build ‘a French Aston Martin’ also used it.

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