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Horizon/Omni Historical Queries

Discussion in 'L: Horizon/Omni, Rampage, etc' started by Star Car, May 22, 2020.

  1. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    On the L platform Horizon/Omni as well as the larger K platform - plus derivatives, is it known whether they were capable of being equipped with 4WD earlier on as was the with later AS platform Minivans?

    Despite the K platform being originally derived from the L platform and the latter preceding the more widely former, it is a bit strange to see the L platform (at least online) usually not included as part of the more widely known K platform family (if only as a precursor), unless there were further differences between the two that warrant them being distinguished from each other.

    Also while the P (later AP) platform Shadow/Sundance chronologically replaced the L platform, did Chrysler ever look at a direct subcompact replacement* of the Horizon/Omni for introduction from the mid/late-1980s in place of the Dodge Colt?

    * - Envisioned as being either derived from a modified L platform carrying over A / AP platform developments or a further downsized subcompact version of the A / AP platform, both options of course featuring more contemporary exterior styling and remaining in production until the mid-1990s.
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    In 1981, the L-body got the similar link-less front sway bar and control arm setup as the K-car. The design was quieter and simpler than before. I think that the development money and energy was mainly focussed on the new K-platform and the coming variants.

    There were exciting horsepower and AWD proposals for the K-related G-body (AG) Daytona. There were some mules, but I never saw one. Lotus Engineering was approached with the task. From the Allpar article:
    Dodge Daytona: a sporty, turbocharged front wheel drive car of the 1980s and 1990s (at https://www.allpar.com/model/daytona.html )

    "Lotus engineer Michael Royce wrote that, in 1985, Lotus Engineering was asked to create a 16-valve version of the 2.5 liter engine, and to set up a four wheel drive Daytona Turbo.
    The 4WD G-24 program was cancelled in November 1987, again due to budget constraints, just as we were getting the car to perform and handle as well as the Audi Quattro, the target vehicle. John Miles, from Lotus, was leading the chassis development".

    Looking at the underside where the exhaust pipe ran to the rear, it would have been possible to fit a propeller shaft next to it. The tips and lessons learned were transferred to the Getrag systems used in the later AWD minivans and Pacifica (CS).
    Since Chrysler now had AMC/Jeep/Eagle (Renault), we inherited the knowledge used to do the 4WD AMC Eagle, Concord and Spirit cars.
    Mitsubishi also had AWD Dodge Stealth/3000GT, Vista and Summit wagons.
    Colt supplemented small car sales. Mitsubishi was breaking free of Chrysler to become its own nameplate.
     
  3. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    The L platform had different roots than the K platform. I think one of the reasons the L body ended was crash protection. The L body always had a deep dish steering wheel to try to help, and I'm sure the addition of the air bag in the final year was an attempt to help this.

    In reality, both the L and K were old designs well past their prime by the time the 1990's rolled around. Neon could have probably made it a few years earlier had Iacocca not been fighting new designs.

    While the minivan offered AWD, it used a very different rear suspension than the cars, so the minivan AWD would not have been sharing much so the cost/benefit probably just wasn't there. Plus AWD cars just weren't a big thing back then. In fact, the LH car's proposed AWD setup never made it either.

    Lots of this stuff is available on Allpar's various car pages.
     
  4. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    In other words via better circumstances, the possibility exists the Horizon/Omni could have carried over the same AWD system as the K-related G-body (AG) Daytona AWD proposals?

    Kind of surprised the Horizon/Omni never carried over the sub 2-litre Mitsubishi engines of the Dodge Colt.

    Strange, have previously heard the following relating to the L platform:
    • That the L platform was originally intended for both sides of the Atlantic (before costs forced Chrysler Europe to opt for an 1100/Alpine-derived Horizon) and was in essence allegedly a reverse-engineered Volkswagen Golf (or at least used the latter as a starting point).
    • That the K platform was derived from the L platform
    • That the Neon's platform was distantly related to the L platform (or K platform), with a number of larger platforms during the 1990s being distantly related to the K platform or its derivatives (ex-AMC/Jeep/Renault ones being the exception).
    How much earlier could the Neon (and possibly a smaller Horizon/Omni-replacing derivative as well as by extension the 2-litre Neon engine family) have arrived?

    Even if it is less then ideal what is fascinating is how Chrysler were able to keep derivatives of the K platform in production up to the mid-1990s, yet the L platform never received a rebody like the K platform and its derivatives to add on an additional few more years of production life beyond 1990.
     
  5. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Well-Known Member

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    I believe Omni/Horizon was based more on the Simca 1200/1204 fwd hatchback. The Simca fwd goes back to the late 60s. Years before the VW Rabbit. Dad had a beige 70 1204 model for one of his company cars. The initial small engine option was a VW purchased item though. The Simca and Omni even share the same stance and basic body shape.
     
  6. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Neon had very little in common with the early FWD designs. LH and Neon were finally independent rear suspension. So were the cloud cars, but they were even more unique suspension-wise.

    Realistically LH and Neon each could have arrived a few years earlier, but Chrysler was spending money on acquisitions, not product. This was a source of friction between Lutz and Iacocca. Lutz wanted new products and the Viper. Iacocca fought new products (other than new vinyl roofs, wire wheel covers, and hood ornaments for K variations) until finally jumping on the new car bandwagon when it was inevitable.
     
  7. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    L body was pushing it to make 1990, crash issues the main reason. That’s why K lived on and L died.
     
  8. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    They may have had the same origin as a World Car however later developments would mean they ended up sharing little in common with each other, have read elsewhere of there being more then a element of truth in claims the Horizon at least the US version was a plagiarized Volkswagen Golf in the front MacPherson strut closely resembling the that in the Volkswagen Golf without even getting into the fact it used the 1.7-litre EA827 engine (and claims by those involved with Rootes / Chrysler Europe that the US Horizon was indeed derived from a reverse-engineered Golf platform).

    https://www.hemmings.com/stories/20...the-omnirizon-have-little-in-common-but-looks

    Chrysler Horizon : American Horizons - AROnline (at https://www.aronline.co.uk/cars/chrysler-talbot/horizon/chrysler-horizon-american-horizons/ )

    Would 1990-1992 have been a realistic time for the LH and Neon (along with the JA and NS) to appear give or take a few years or was the late-1980s (e.g. 1988-1989) also a possibility?

    In some respects the L platform reminds one of the FWD GM T platform as well as the Austin Maestro / Montego in terms of potential longevity, the latter two originally being intended for launch in the late-1970s.
     
  9. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Well-Known Member

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    From the allpar archives.

    “by Andy Thompson

    Introduction by the Allpar staff. The Simca 1204 really should have succeeded in the US. A twin of the most popular car in France, it was closely copied by Volkswagen to create the Rabbit and Jetta.

    [​IMG]

    Yet, the 1204 was such a failure, despite having a larger engine than the French version, that it left almost before it arrived. If you just want to get to the 1204, which is the model sent to the US, by all means skip............”
     
  10. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    Agree is it very unfortunate the Simca 1100 did not achieve success in the US, things might have turned around for the better a year or few after Simca withdraw in 1972. Was it any specific reason it was unable to crack the US market?

    The 1100 could have benefited from early introduction of the 1294-1592cc Poissy engines (perhaps even an OHC development the likes of Matra were working on) as well as 2/4-door saloon variants (like the photoshops below).

    It is also probably around this period that Chrysler should have thought about introducing earlier 1.9-2.2-litre Slant-4s derived from the 170/198 Slant-6 (along with other Slant-6 related developments) for possible installation in the US 1100 (if feasible) or a US version of the 1300/1500 from the late-60s to early-70s (if not an earlier Simca Alpine).

    At the same time the mechanicals of the 1100/Alpine-derived European Horizon were increasingly uncompetitive by the time it appeared in the late-1970s, whereas a European adapted version of the North American Horizon would have been much more competitive against the opposition (even more so had the Alpine been equipped with the Type 180 engines as a result of Chrysler cost-cutting which would have carried over into an alternate European adapted version of the NA Horizon).

    48706434391_45d06068ea_o.jpg 48706433696_df3ffd94e8_o.jpg
     
  11. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    My bad. Meant to say had the Alpine been equipped with the Type 180 engines as originally planned that was ditched as a result of Chrysler cost-cutting which would have carried over into an alternate European adapted version of the NA Horizon, or at least given the outclassed 1100/Alpine-derived European Horizon larger engines to challenge its rivals as the 2.2 did for the Omni in the US.
     
  12. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    An AWD Omni search brings up several enthusiasts who built them using Minivan components.

    Obviously the structure was widened for the K and even wider yet for the Minivan.

    Front suspension design was the same and lower control arms are interchangeable in most cases

    Enthusiasts often bolt Minivan front brakes on L bodys for improved braking ability.

    The rear suspension design kept the L from being generally grouped in with the K derivatives.

    The L featured a much sturdier "semi independent" trailing arm rear suspension.

    The K used a flimsy trailing axle style built from stampings requiring a track bar for stability.

    The solid steel L body suspension was so stable it has no place or need for a track bar.

    No doubt the K style was far cheaper to build and suffered common failures as a result.

    The L body was intended to be built into the mid 1990's but lack of air bags cancelled that.

    Chrysler advertised all cars would have air bags so the redesigned dash/console was wasted.

    The 1988 TBI Engine and upscale interior were nice improvements just waiting for the new dash.

    Very few 1990 models were built before production was halted.

    Thanks
    Randy


     
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  13. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    In general, Simcas were too goofy looking and under powered for the N/A market, until Horizon.

    It was determined, rightly so, Horizon styling would work for the N/A buyer but not the suspension.

    Simca traditionally didn't use struts, employing them only on the Vedette and didn't like them.

    Ironically, they preferred a Valiant style front suspension with torsion bars and LSA control arms!!

    Chrysler N/A liked the basic body style but insisted on struts as they had a plan EG: Kcar Mini

    Their upcoming 2.2 SOHC Trans Four was in fact based on the slant-6 so that part worked out.

    Had that Engine been available in Europe it might have been well received.??

    Production was mostly consumed so there were few to spare, originally the 1.7 powered N/A L's.

    Chrysler used some Poissy 1.6 Engines for a few years in base models, under powered but reliable.

    Back then the 2.2 was king, a little bit like the Pentastar is today in a round about, eye squinting way.

    Its big brother, the 2.5 TBI, was far better than the 2.6 in driveability, reliability with a fine reputation.

    Euro Horizons were available with many convenience options, power windows, locks, sunroof, PS/PB

    A/C, tilt, cruise, HL wiper/washers, travel computer, 4/5 speed manual or even Torqueflite

    I bought some European books and manuals to study and compare.

    Thanks
    Randy

    Thanks
    Randy



     
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  14. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    Thanks for the info GLHS60 / Randy.

    Would have been curious to see how Chrysler goes about reclothing the L Body from the mid-1980s if they had plans to produce it into the mid-1990s and equip it with air-bags, based on the larger Dodge Shadow / Plymouth Sundance cannot help but think it would have basically been in essence an L Body derived version of Chrysler Europe's Project C28 that after the latter's sale to PSA would go on to evolve into the Peugeot 205-derived Talbot Arizona / Peugeot 309 (which was pretty much built until the mid-1990s like the larger K Body).

    Was it because the L Body was incapable of being fitted with air-bags or the costs and consequence of Chrysler buying AMC as well as further expanding ties with Mitsubishi during the mid-1980s that prompted them to discontinue and not bother updating/rebody the L Body?

    Had a European adapted version of the North American Horizon been produced in Europe in place of the 1100/Alpine-derived European Horizon, envision such a car making used of the 1.6-2.2-litre Simca Type 180 engines as its own analogue of the N/A Slant-6 derived 2.2/2.5-litre SOHC in terms of displacement at 2.2-litres. The 1.6-2.2-litre Type 180 engines and 1.3-1.8-litre+ Avenger/Brazilian Block units (for UK models) were originally planned for the Alpine (that could have allowed it to later be carried over to the real-life 1100/Alpine-based Euro Horizon) before cost-cutting undermined such efforts (though also murmurs of the Alpine/Solara reputedly making use of BL's 1750 E-Series engine at one point before Chrysler Europe was sold to PSA).

    Would the Simca 1100 have fared better in the US had it been available with 1300-1600cc engines from the outset and had they been more patient to capitalize on the post-1973 fuel crisis? Or would more have been required to crack the US market like a more conventional three-box saloon bodystyle and a proper automatic gearbox (instead of the existing 3-speed semi-automatic gearbox)?
     
  15. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    As much as I personally like the L body it probably wouldn't have lasted past 1995.

    That was the final year for the beloved Trans Four that evolved from the old slant 6.

    The Neon was a direct replacement and the Cloud cars were now ready to go.

    The 2.0 and 2.4 Engines evolved from the 2.2/2.5 and Slant which itself evolved from the Flathead.

    Airbags weren't required but Chrysler decided it would be advantageous to have them in all cars.

    The 1990 L body steering wheel/dash were air bag ready but not scheduled to have then initially.

    The 1990 Chrysler "All our cars have air bags "campaign stopped L body production instantly.

    It's hard for me to even guess if a N/A version would have succeeded in Europe.

    Europeans have different tastes/markets as evidenced by the available options on their Horizons.

    I don't know if all the options that were available were common or not but ours were more basic.

    It would be cool to see a GLH Turbo with all the goodies that were available on your Horizon!!

    Simca's and most European cars sold in N/A were not well received for many reasons in general.

    They were playful and economical but mostly university students and oddball types bought them.

    Local mechanics weren't familiar with them, parts were hard to source and dealers were...dealers!!

    Many rusted badly and transmissions were considered weak in general and model specific.

    N/A trans etc normally fit many more models and were usually available from wrecks etc.

    Even the Chevy Corvair was in this position as it was so different the other Chevy models sold.

    The Chevy familiarity and parts commonality was mostly lacking so they weren't well received.

    They no doubt would have been more successful if they were branded and sold by VW or Porsche!!

    VW had a loyal following as there was so much commonality and Engine swap possibilities.

    Engines often needed replacing and more powerful ones bolted in taking as little as 20 min.

    Owners and mechanics enjoyed their simplicity and reliability often not available elsewhere.

    Ford had moderate success with the Consul, Zedfer, Zodiac, Cortina etc for a while then Capri.

    But basic Falcons were inexpensive, 6 cyl powered with low operating costs and very popular.

    Gm toyed with assorted Vauxhalls but their English heritage was evident and dealers disliked them.

    Might as well buy a Chevy II with 4, 6 or V8 power, similar basic price but fitting our N/A tastes.

    Opels proved a much better car than its English GM counterparts and evolved into the Chevette.

    Chrysler toyed with Simcas and Crickets temporarily, just enough to give them a bad name.

    Colt and Arrow were well received but obviously they were Japanese.

    Originally, domestic OHC Engines were better accepted as they were a non interference design.

    Pinto, Vega, Chevette, Omni, Kcar, VW 1.7, rarely suffered timing belt failures and didn't bend valves.

    As more imports became available things like catastrophic timing belt failures were common.

    Mitsu Colts were well loved unless one suffered a timing belt failure and associated bent valves.

    Your inexpensive car now needed an expensive repair with only 61,000 miles?

    I'm not sure if the Simca OHC Engines were interference or know anything about the Turbo models.

    Chrysler 2.2/2.5 are what I call thee SBC's of the 4 cyl world, tough, cheap, great interchangeability.

    This gave them great reputations as one could swap Engines and components easily

    Not sure if the European Engine lines enjoyed this level of enthusiast .interaction.

    Maybe they were better!!

    Thanks
    Randy
     
  16. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    I remember the drivers airbag in the last year of the L-car. The rear outboard occupants also got a 3-point harness (shoulder belt). The passenger-side dash had a reshaped knee cushion. I don't recall a front passenger automatic shoulder belt (these were a pain in the other cars). A lot of expensive changes for one year of production. Although a safe car, the body/chassis structure was antiquated for crash technology by this time.
    The Shadow/Sundance P-cars were supposed to take over the L-car line, but they did overlap for 3 years. The P-car also ended its run in 1995.
    The Neon showed up at our dealers in January 1994 (94½) as a 1995 model. It had dual front air bags.
    Our family had several Horizons, then Neons, then Calibers. The cars fit our needs and had 'Plymouth-like' value.
    They did rust out, but the Colts seemed to rust out faster. The Colts and later Arrows were really our only small car choices between 1973 and 1978.

    From what I remember about the Simca, was that the mechanics hated them despite the huge Chrysler-Plymouth dealer network. The salesperson would much rather put you into a Dart or Valiant. A family down our street had 2 Simcas in the driveway. Later, a Plymouth Cricket showed up (Rootes). The mechanics hated Crickets even worse.
    Although not 'bad' cars, they were quirky cars. French and British labor issues meant that quality control was all over the map. Some owners had good luck with them, some owners got a lemon.
    If you needed parts for a repair, they almost invariably had to be special ordered.
     
  17. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    The L car wasn’t going to live on. It’s a wonder it made it until 1990. It wasn’t crash worthy. It had to be replaced. End of story.
     
  18. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    Around 1994 is pretty much the latest could see a hypothetical mid-1980s rebodied L Body (as opposed to the existing L Body that ceased production in 1990) remaining in production for, which is similar to both the Shadow and the ultimately Peugeot 205-based Arizona/309.

    My view on the North American Horizon being suitable for Europe would be down to its suspension compared to the European 1100/Alpine-derived Horizon as well as the fact they were supposed to be the same car on both sides of the Atlantic as a World Car had project drift and Chrysler's financial problems not happened.

    A European Horizon with the North American versions suspension tuned for Continental Europe and the larger 97-118+ hp 1.8-2.2-litre Type 180 engines* would have been a much more competitive offering compared to the existing Euro Horizon, particularly in terms of handling and given the reputed mk1 Golf inspiration of the North American Horizon (and the fact the well-regarded mk1 Golf itself remained in production for many years beyond 1983 long after it was replaced by the mk2 Golf and even longer in South Africa as the Citi Golf).

    -* Not forgetting the 140-180 hp versions of the 2.2-litre Type 180 engine in the 140 hp Matra Murena S performance package and 180 hp Matra Murena 4S 16-valve prototype or the 148-200+ hp turbocharged versions used in the Peugeot 505 Turbo and Citroen BX 4TC. Pretty much making the more potent versions of this alternate European Horizon into a direct potential analogue of the US Omni GLH/GLHS.

    Maybe at best a production version of the Slant-6 based 2.2 4-cylinder diesel/turbodiesel (as brought up in a recent Curbside Classics article alongside the Slant-6 diesel) finds its way into this alternate European-built North American Horizon in place of the 1.9 PSA XUD diesel, had Chrysler been in a stronger financial position to avoid selling off Chrysler Europe to PSA though the displacement would have needed to have been reduced to 2-litres (as was initially conceived with the 2.2/2.5-litre engines) in order to avoid heavy taxes that penalized cars over 2-litres in a number of European markets in order to fully take advantage of the popularity of diesel cars in Europe.
     
  19. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Yours is anecdotal proof the L body was intended to live a little longer.

    They wouldn't have redesigned the dash to only sell it for a couple more months.

    I've never seen a 1990 L body with air bags but Canadian cars were exempted.

    The dash and steering wheel were certainly designed to accommodate air bags.

    The air bag advertising campaign is what killed the L body.

    Thanks
    Randy



     
  20. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    AFAIK 1990 only had the drivers side air bag. The dash and cowl structure was probably insufficient to accommodate and support a passenger side air bag. There was a driver and passenger side knee bolster added.
     

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