Just like peas in a pod

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

THE ar­rival of twins in a fam­ily is a very spe­cial event. There are par­ents, a shared his­tory and a joint fu­ture, and rel­a­tives and a home and cel­e­bra­tions.

In the car world, it’s dif­fer­ent. There has never been such a thing as true twins. Usu­ally it boils down to a sin­gle child with dif­fer­ent sets of par­ents com­pet­ing to claim the glory.

Re­mem­ber the Ford Laser and the Mazda 323? Or the Tel­star and 626?

In those cases, Mazda did all the hard work from con­cep­tion to birth, while Ford rolled along for the ride. It was good news in Aus­tralia as the Ford fac­tory at Home­bush in Syd­ney cranked out thou­sands of Lasers for ea­ger fam­i­lies be­tween 1981 and 1994, but they were not much more than Maz­das with blue-oval badges.

Dur­ing the badgeengi­neer­ing days of the 1980s Holden snitched the Pul­sar from Nis­san, the Corolla and Camry from Toy­ota, and even the Swift from Suzuki.

Red lion badges and not much else turned them into the As­tra, the Barina, the Nova and Apollo, but they were never real Hold­ens. Just as a Com­modore called the Lex­cen could never re­motely be de­scribed as a real Toy­ota.

The shot­gun mar­riage be­tween Ford and Nis­san was con­cocted – just like the ter­ri­ble tie-up be­tween Toy­ota and Holden – at head of­fices that were thou­sands of kilo­me­tres from the real-world re­al­ity. Did you know the Pa­trol was once called the Ford Mav­er­ick and the Fal­con ute was sold as a Nis­san in Aus­tralia?

Now we have the Toy­ota 86 and Subaru BRZ. They are true twins. Both sides claim par­ent­hood, as you’d ex­pect, but when you split the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to split the cars. The twins share a Subaru en­gine, chas­sis and sus­pen­sion. Both cars are built at a Subaru fac­tory. Subaru also drove fives­tar safety into the cars.

But the twins would never have been built with­out Toy­ota’s cash and in­spi­ra­tion. The body shape is from Brand T, there is also a Lexus gear­box and hi-tech fuel in­jec­tion.

Even the way the cars are sold in Aus­tralia – with the sin­gle BRZ model sit­ting be­tween the 86 GT and GTS on price and equip­ment – could not have worked out bet­ter.

When you drive the 86 and BRZ you can see and feel a few tiny dif­fer­ences. The ra­dios are ob­vi­ously not the same. The BRZ rides a lit­tle sweeter and turns a lit­tle harder. Fu­ture de­liv­er­ies of the 86 will bring own­ers a lit­tle more boot space but no spare tyre.

At Cars­guide’s Car of the Year judg­ing last week a team meet­ing of the nine judges sat down to thrash out the process and rule on The Twins – as they are dubbed – to make scor­ing eas­ier and trans­par­ent.

Even­tu­ally it came down to this judg­ment from Cars­guide ed­i­tor Paul Pot­tinger, who should be look­ing for a job at the High Court in Can­berra.

‘‘ They are the same cars. They are built on the same pro­duc­tion line, they have the same me­chan­i­cals, they are vari­ants of the same car,’’ Pot­tinger says. ‘‘ Both needed to be rep­re­sented to prove they are the one car. One just hap­pens to have a Subaru badge, one has a Toy­ota badge.’’

He is right and so is our COTY ver­dict.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.