10) TALENTED TRANSMISSIONS
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.