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Horizon/Omni Historical Queries

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

  1. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the L body was ever intended to be redesigned, only replaced.

    I do think the redesigned dash proves it was intended to live on until 94-95.

    One certainly could say the Neon was a redesigned L body in spirit.

    Simca was opposed to strut suspension for some internal reason.

    I don't think they would have been interested in selling the N/A version.

    Sometimes personal beliefs get in the way of corporate advancements.

    The Jeep Cherokee is a perfect example of this shortsightedness.

    Some engineer was against inline 6 cyl Engines so they bought GM V6's.

    Chrysler knew the AMC 6 was the best in the business and quickly replaced the GM V6.

    One of the best moves ever as the AMC inline 6 enhanced the Cherokee reputation greatly.

    Same thing with Ford Engines having the oil pan on backwards for decades, now remedied.

    Traditionally N/A automakers didn't understand Europe and the other way around.

    They're closer now in some regards!!

    Thanks
    Randy



     
  2. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Right, air bags weren't required until about 1998 in the US.

    I don't think Canada even mandates them yet, we mostly get what the US requires!!

    Strangely we have some specific bumper and headlight regulations that differ.

    Chrysler wanted to advertise every car built in America has an air bag as standard equipment.

    I think they decided fitting one to every L body cost more sales than they were worth.

    Components were probably in short supply so every L body air bag meant 1 less Dynasty etc.

    Often times, marketing over rules other things.

    Thanks
    Randy


     
  3. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    Despite both Simca and Rootes having since been merged into Chrysler Europe it seems they still had their own differences, while Simca would probably not be interested in the N/A Horizon for their own reasons* Rootes themselves were apparently more receptive to the idea (given both had different ideas regarding the 180 and Alpine).

    When the US became involved in the Horizon project to compete against the Golf/Rabbit and sought to make use of a strut front and torsion beam rear over Simca's 1100/Alpine-based platform, it was appparently intended that car would proceed with an all new platform on both sides of the Atlantic.

    However very late in the day a cost saving exercise in Europe (likely due to Simca's bias against the N/A version and Chrysler's financial issues), pushed through the reversion to the existing 1100/Alpine-based running gear. This is why the seating position seems strange (and unlike the Alpine,1100 and the US version) with the steering wheel very low compared with the seat height. This is because the floor was raised to accommodate the torsion bars for the front suspension, yet budget constraints did not allow a revised steering wheel position to be engineered for the European version.

    So the shortened Horizon, which was a European project would without a doubt stuck with the Simca running gear, it would not have been cost effective to revert that design back again to the US platform.

    That said, cannot see any reason why the North American Horizon would not have worked with revised settings in Europe as was the case with the Golf/etc with similar set up worked in both North America and Europe.


    *- Despite Simca being viewed as the more thriving partner in Europe by Chrysler compared to Rootes, it is pretty amazing how their set ways together with using Chrysler's financial issues to maintain the status quo did much to undermine the company even down to the European Horizon.

    Whereas Rootes for all their issues (that stemmed from acquiring debt-ridden Singer for sentimental reasons, being forced by the British government to move to Linwood instead of expanding Ryton and having its expansion plans undermined by subversives in the late-1950s to ealry-1960s Acton Strikes that did much to distract Rootes from resolving the Imp's issues during development), actually had pretty sound ideas that could have easily meshed well with Chrysler US in better circumstances (e.g. 1100-2000cc Avenger 4-cylinder for use in Alpine / Horizon, 2000-3000cc Avenger-based 60-degree V6, Imp-based front-engined Rootes Asp sportscar, etc). In spite of Detroit themselves not having anything suitable in the cupboard that Rootes could have readily made use of (with anything useful existing only in potential at best). - https://www.humber.org.uk/Magazine_pdfs/1981_December_OldMotor_V8Story.PDF
     
  4. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Nice article, I'll read it in detail tonight.

    If you don't mind me asking where are you located??

    I've never actually seen a euro Horizon but have read up on them significantly.

    Partly as the N/A version is close to my heart and I'm interested in all cars.

    Automobile history with its successes and blunders continue to fascinate me!

    Henry Ford was barely literate but created an empire, education isn't everything.

    We never know how many innovations were dismissed by executives.

    Not bashing executives, many are brilliant but not all are leaders.

    It's easy to second guess in hindsight so I try not to be too judgmental, only understand.

    Different folks with different values and ideas see things through their own eyes.

    4 dr L body is a perfect example, I love the searing position and they fit me perfectly.

    The fact they were rugged and reliable was important and then came the GLH Turbo!!!

    Feb 22, 1986 the last thing on my mind was buying a new FWD economy car.

    Home in the garage was my Lamborghini Silhouette and I was waiting for summer.

    Some unknown force attracted me to a Chrysler Dealer where there was a row of GLH's

    I couldn't wait to try one and was immediately hooked, my new winter car.

    While it was an excellent winter car with winter tires I couldn't bear to winter drive him.

    He's still in my garage today with about 40,000m part way through an Engine/Turbo up grade.

    A stroke set me back but I'm now preparing to finish him up over the summer.

    I've had lots of experience with Euro cars over the years and they were a different breed.

    Many had interesting features and handling but service and reliability were big issues.

    Mostly due to unfamiliarity no doubt like N/A care in Europe.

    My favorite TV show was Minder, featuring a used car Dealer in England, Arthur Daley.

    Occasionally he would have a Camaro SS or similar in stock and it would be frowned upon.

    Gave some perspective as to different locations and markets and was a funny show too!!

    Thanks
    Rndy
     
  5. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    I had a World of Automobiles book published in 1976. It had a Talbot whose side-view matched the 1978 U.S. version exactly.
    The outside door handles were changed for 1979. The '78 door handles were prone to repeated failure, as were window linkages and interior trim fit.
    Still, a superior vehicle over the Chevette and Pinto. It was a bigger, more comfortable 'VW Rabbit'.
    The N.A. version had a very soft ride and over-assisted power steering. You could get the woodgrain trim appliques and gingerbread brightwork, but marketing wanted to cater to American tastes.
     
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  6. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    When the L body program started Chrysler Engineering bought 79 Volkwagon Rabbits, brought them to Highland Park, and passed them out to every engineering department to get ideas on how to do a front wheel drive car.
     
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  7. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Great information Sir.

    We need you to post stuff like this as often as possible!!

    I don't know about you but I'm not getting any younger.

    Thanks
    Randy

     
  8. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Well-Known Member

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    Manufacturers often purchase the competition's products for comparison.
    The very first Barracuda I saw on the road was driven home by a Chevy engineer living next door.
    Same for the Mustang. This time by the Chevy engineer across the street.
     
  9. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    There is some confusion on airbag laws in this post.
    For 1990, cars were required to have passive restraints for the driver. This meant one of three systems were used in most cars sold in the US:
    1) Airbags - the solution Chrysler took for it's North American built cars including Omni.
    2) Door mounted shoulder belts (the GM solution for many of their cars)
    3) Motorized shoulder belts (I think the captive imports, the Mitsubishi built cars, used these).
    It wasn't until 1998 that dual front airbags were required.
     
  10. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    The dealer sent me to Ramquest in 1993 for the new BR trucks. There was an obstacle course and skid pad with berms and dips. The Ford and Chevy trucks were provided for comparison. Lots of handouts like Ram coffee cups and t-shirts.

    The same in 1994 with the Neon. We were given an Escort and Cavalier also and told to drive each one around the block.

    Both the BR and the PL were like a breath of fresh air and a true impression of what was to come from Chrysler. New benchmarks. The rules had changed!
     
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  11. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Those truly were exciting times.
     
  12. Star Car

    Star Car Member

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    Am from the UK, fwiw much of the information mentioned on the Euro Horizon and other Chrysler UK / Europe stuff comes iirc from a contributor at AROnline whose late father worked at Rootes, Chrysler, Peugeot from 1968–1998 with most of his time spent at Whitley.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  13. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    I will be 76 in July............spent 42 years at Chrysler Tech Center(1966 to 2007) .......it didn't get any better than that. Saw everything from the Turbine cars to you name it. Spent all my time in Motorsports from running race dynos for 25 years to engineering race engines for NASCAR, NHRA and Viper stuff. Had a great time. Got a million stories to tell.
     
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  14. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    Back in the 60's and 70's and 80's we would run competitive engines on the dyno's all the time at the Chrysler Tech center. They stopped doing it in the early 1990's for some reason.
     
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  15. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    I didn't notice any confusion?

    Be happy to help in any way if needed.

    Thanks
    Randy

     
  16. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on on long and fascinating career!!

    You have a few years on me but we have some similar interests for sure.

    Were you involved in any actual in cylinder combustion pressure testing?

    It's very hard info to obtain, no doubt due to the cost if transducers etc.

    The intricacies of Turbocharging have always fascinated me and Chrysler led the way.

    I don't believe Mercedes used Turbocharging prior to their Chrysler involvement.

    Often wondered, coincidence or information gleaned from Chrysler technical research?

    Also, I'm curious when you tested competitors Engines how was the info used?

    Passed on to design engineers or processed in some other way?

    Any stories on competitors Engines Chrysler implemented on their Engines?

    Or the opposite, Chrysler ideas implemented by others??

    Thanks
    Randy


     
  17. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    We used combustion chamber transducers (Kistler) in all Turbocharged engine development. We were dealing with much higher temperatures and pressures than we were used to plus an aluminum head and head gasket development to handle all the pressure, plus there were gasoline octane requirements we had to meet along with spark advance considerations . It was nuts. Failed quite a few early development engines trying to learn how to test them plus learning about what turbocharger ratios to use plus what fuel/air was needed. The transition period between when the turbo kicked in was really hard to sort out. Also, sometimes the boost would come on so fast that our electronic control system or our bypass couldn't adapt quickly enough and the engine would go into detonation and destruct in a matter of seconds. Plus we were developing the electronics at the same time too and that was a steep learning curve as that was all new technology for us. It was really cool to have the transducers in the engine hooked up to the oscilloscope and we could watch the trace of the cylinder pressure change as we changed spark and fuel air and boost. And if we were careful enough we could put the engine into spark knock/detonation by adjusting these parameters and find out where the tipping point was.Quite an exciting time. As I said I worked in Race engine performance developing my whole career except for 2 year period where I ran a single cylinder engine dyno. When Petty left Chrysler in 1978 all race engine development stopped for awhile so I was moved over to a single cylinder dyno where I worked on the A-515 cylinder head program (Fast Burn). We had a 4 cylinder block with a piston in #4 cylinder and machined counterweights on all the other crank throws. There was an "Air Flow" room in the next building where new designs of heads and ports and combustion chambers were built. They would make a modification to the cylinder head and we would test it for horsepower and torque and fuel economy and fuel air ratio and spark advance and airflow etc. Very tedious testing and very precise for it's time. This was the only dyno in the tech center (Highland Park) that corrected for humidity. We had a round ice tower (2 feet diameter and about 4 feet high) where the air first passed through the ice tower and then was heated to 90 degrees and then passed through the engine where a correction factor was applied to give us a humidity reading. One other program I worked on in the Single Cylinder dyno was a friction study on a Volkswagon 4 cylinder engine. We started with a a complete stock engine and started removing one part at a time starting with the air cleaner. We would "motor" the engine with the dyno from 800 to 4800 rpm and every 400 rpm we would take data. We would measure the friction horsepower at every 400 rpm mark. Then we remove another part and repeat. The last test was just measuring the friction with just the crankshaft and the flywheel in the engine. The set of test curves that came out of that program was staggering and at that time was plotted by hand on graph paper. No automated dated plotting back then. More later.
     
    #38 Fast Eddie, Jun 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  18. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Great article Walt, confirms what I've often said.

    I bought some European manuals and was astonished to see the difference.

    Hopefully Fast Eddie will let us know if his department got any to evaluate.

    Thanks
    Randy
     

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