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Garage mates (and I like the looks of the E86 more than I do the E89)

 

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Arghh! French cars can be more frustrating than anything else (except maybe Italian cars). Had a friend that raced an R8 Gordini and another one that restored a Facel Vega. Drove them both crazy.

I have always admired the Alpines, though.

The French were funny - in car racing they would create special classes so only a French car would win. The Index of Performance and Index of Thermal Efficiency at Le Mans were created so they could win - it really pissed them off when guys like Chapman built special small engined sports racers that could beat them at it. In the 1950s, he put 1200, 1100 and 750 cc engines into basically the same car so he could run in three classes (the 750 in the Index of Performance 'battle')
 

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I have visited both sides of the big pond for many decades. In US they say European cars suck and in Europe they say US cars suck :)
I have never heard anyone say that European cars suck as a general rule. French cars come the closest though.
 

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French cars are just weird in all sorts of ways.

Italian cars are like Italian everything else - style above function, but after that, function! So they neglect things that may be a maintenance horror show down the road, they do things like forgetting to paint the underside of steel fenders and they hand build cars that you can't buy a replacement fender for without having a body man in your back pocket. And Marelli electrics rival Lucas for (bad) reputation.

French cars, though, are idiosyncratic in the extreme. They often look ...strange... and many of the things they do or the way they are built is a bit odd. Anyone that has ever looked through a Citroen handbook that tells you to 'manipuler le champignon' (push the mushroom) instead of apply the brakes knows that.

They made a model (Citroen SM) that was largely hydraulically controlled and rivalled the Rover 2000 as a car intended to offer mechanics a holiday fund forever in terms of complexity and lack of reliability.

They made a model (2CV) that was basically a tin can with rubber band seats and a sardine tin roll back roof. with 3 lug wheels and a lean on corners like no other car. And they ade some of the strangest looking cars ever.

I could go on.....
 

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Our corporate engineering is now done out of Italy. Why? i don't know.
Well, I guess they did build quite a bit that is still around a couple of millennia later, but I don't know what the quality of engineering training is there today. I think that the US is still the best (China is an up and comer). Guess it also depends on what specific area of engineering one is after.
 

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Well, I guess they did build quite a bit that is still around a couple of millennia later, but I don't know what the quality of engineering training is there today. I think that the US is still the best (China is an up and comer). Guess it also depends on what specific area of engineering one is after.
One of my co-workers gave me this about midway through our last Italian-engineered installation fiasco. Imagine a Ferrari, but 400 feet long and not as attractive, then try to work on it.
Heaven: French Cooks, German Engineers, Italian Designers
Hell: British Cooks, German Designers, Italian Engineers
 

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There are various versions of that one:

In heaven:

  • Your cook is Italian.
  • Your mechanic is German.
  • Your policeman is English.
  • Your lover is French.
  • It is all organized by the Swiss.
In hell:

  • Your cook is English.
  • Your mechanic is French.
  • Your policeman is German.
  • Your lover is Swiss.
  • It is all organized by the Italians.
 
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