Barracuda good, MGC bad – and more of your musings
A beach-loving Barracuda, a corner-hating MG and a plea for politicians to be environmentally educated
When I spotted the ad for a first- generation Plymouth Barracuda I wasn’t convinced I was seriously interested. But after viewing it, an idea began to form...
Unlike my enormous, drum-braked Ford Thunderbird, the Barracuda was right-hand drive with disc brakes and a basic 225ci (3687cc) slant- six engine, and turned out to be quite zippy and manoeuvrable. In my reveries, my wife could use it as a second family vehicle. In reality, it was a thinly veiled excuse for a frivolous purchase.
At AUS $16,000 it was affordable for a US pony car, probably due in part to its obscurity and left-field styling. The front sheetmetal and mechanicals are the same as Australia’s 1967 VC Valiant, but with the biggest single piece of glass ever used on a production car it is truly ‘ party out the back’. And with the back seat laid flat there’s room for my 9ft 2in surfboard.
It was assembled in South Africa using a Plymouth bodyshell with Valiant steering and dash components. In two years of ownership I’ve enjoyed its usability, but more than anything it gets lots of thumbs-up – and even more head scratches. Noel Forsyth
MGS and the curse of understeer
I cannot speak for the GT (Six-pot Superstars, December 2016) but I can certainly tell you from experience of driving a restored MGC around Road Atlanta in the States that the car was worthless in curves, especially downhill ones. With too much weight up front it only wanted to go straight.
I had just run the course in my Triumph TR4 so it was kind of unfair to compare. The MGC would easily do me on the straights, but as a sports car – which by default means good handling – it just didn’t work. Ted Gandy
Pleased to see Ross Alkureishi at long last giving recognition to the MG Maestro Turbo (Hottest Hatches, February 2017). I was lucky to own one of the early Tickford development cars that had an extra 12bhp thanks to a freeflow exhaust system. I had previously owned a Golf GTI and although the VW was the slighter sharper driver, it was cramped and didn’t offer the performance of the MG.
Willson comments that they were always going wrong – that was usually caused by young drivers trying to beat the 0- 60mph time. The clutch was a weak point but get it rolling before hitting the loud pedal and you could have fun scaring period Porsche 911s. Roy Bowman
Classic cars and CO
Quentin Willson ( The Insider, January 2017) refers to ‘ platoons of zero- emission autonomous shuttles’ and possible regulatory threats for classic car owners. In my view, any attempt to legislate against ownership of classics on the basis that they represent a threat to the environment should be vigorously opposed.
Are politicians aware of how much CO there actually is in the atmosphere, and have they given any thought as to what difference classic cars (infrequently used survivors of bygone times) could possibly make to the planet? The atmosphere contains about three trillion tonnes of CO and the oceans even more (130 trillion).
Hopefully the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) is making it very clear to politicians that the emissions from classic cars are not, even in anyone’s wildest dreams, going to have any effect whatsoever on the planet’s temperature. Eric Kwiatkowski
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs produces a survey every five years for precisely this purpose. The 2015 figures show that historic vehicles account for just 0.21% of the total mileage covered by all vehicles in the UK. Phil Bell
I enjoyed Miura and Countach article [Changing of the Avant- Garde, December 2016], but while the Countach is somewhat unusual in having the gearbox ahead of the engine – rather than behind it as is more common – this certainly doesn’t make it rear- engined. Michael Ward The caption should have read ‘rear mid- engined’. Phil Bell
’Cuda promotes greenhouse effect...