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irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
8/31/18 11:19 p.m.

Was thinking about things in the automotive world that "almost happened" but didn't, and how those affected the automotive world over time. 

The initial thought came standing in my garage looking at my 924. The car was initially designed by Porsche to be a Volkswagen, but in the end Volkswagen decided not to use the design and instead built the Scirocco as their "sporty car." So what if VW had actually used the 924 instead and it never became a Porsche?

- It would have put VW on a RWD sportscar track, so instead of having the Corrado and perhaps the R32/Golf R down the road, would we have a RWD Volkswagen on the market today competing with the Miata and BRZ?

- The 924 of course morphed into the 944, the car that is widely said to have "saved Porsche" from apparent financial ruin, since it didn't have another profitable car for the "entry-ish" level masses. So what if such a car was never made or successful without the 924/944 in the stable? Would Porsche have gone under? Would they have had to water down the 911 line to create a rear-engined entry model --> and if that existed, perhaps the Boxster/Caymen would never have been designed? Or would Porsche have become a totally boutique/exotic marque like Lambo, Ferrari, etc with basically nothing that a normal person could ever afford?

--

Anyhow, would love to hear other examples of the "almost happened, but didn't" and what YOU think would/could have been the result. I know there are a million of these out there, so figured it would be a fun thread. 

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
8/31/18 11:28 p.m.

The X 1/9 for instance. Fiat wanted a cheap fwd sporty car.. Bertone gave them an expensive little mid-engined sportscar.

Dootz
Dootz New Reader
9/1/18 12:03 a.m.

The Mustang going FWD in the 90s

 

We'd see Foxbody values rise like hell, and it'd be just GM and FCA fighting each other for modern muscle car supremacy

Jay_W
Jay_W Dork
9/1/18 12:24 a.m.

My fave "what if" is not one I was clever enough to come up with. But what if the 1972 Honda cb750 and the 1972 datsun 240Z had evolved at the same rate in the same ways, compare the cb750 and the cbr1000RR to see where this is going...

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/1/18 12:25 a.m.

What if Ford had gone ahead with the Cobra Daytona Super Snake instead of the GT40?

The GT40 and the Ford GT would have never happened.

What if Group B rally hadn’t been stopped, but allowed to progress further?

What if active aero, computer controlled suspension, 4wd and other banned tech were actually allowed in F1 and other series?

What if Turbine cars had been allowed to run at Indy for more than a few years?

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/1/18 5:53 a.m.
Stefan said:What if Group B rally hadn’t been stopped, but allowed to progress further?

 

The 1998 WRC rules are basically what the 1987 Group S rules would have been.

 

 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/1/18 6:01 a.m.

I read something somewhere questioning steering with our hands and controlling acceleration and braking with our feet.

 

What if car design had evolved to favor rudder-style steering controls with your feet and one or two sticks for your hands to control throttle and brake?

 

My first instinct is that steering-pedals would feel "wrong" if they steered the front wheels and not the rears...

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
9/1/18 6:41 a.m.

In reality it would’ve been similar to the FR-S twins.  Probably low volume sales. 

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UltraDork
9/1/18 7:19 a.m.

Gm, and several other domestic companies, almost made rotary engine vehicles. The Vega, amc pacer, and several other cars were designed to be rotary powered.

 

Gm bought a special license for the rotary in which they did not need to share the technology with any of the other license holders.  If they had, there is a chance we would have seen rotaries in a bunch of cars.

 

They built a 3 rotor 454 c.i engine for a mid engine corvette.  That would have been impressive!

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
9/1/18 7:29 a.m.
wvumtnbkr said:

They built a 3 rotor 454 c.i engine for a mid engine corvette.  That would have been impressive!

Was ready to go to production, but none of their suppliers could provide a gas tank large enough to drive the car from one gas station to the next...

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/1/18 7:31 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

And in that timeline, this thread would be "What if they were able to figure out how to make a catalytic converter work?  We might conceivably have piston engined cars as clean as a Wankel but with fuel economy rivaling Diesels"

 

Everyone was ga-ga for Wankels because they had next to no NOx emissions.  HC and CO are easy enough to deal with once you have a handle on NOx: pump air into the exhaust manifold and the pollutants will continue to burn, turning into water and carbon dioxide.  Then the catalytic converter was perfected enough for production use, and magically all Wankel development sort of... stopped.

 

Mazda did not put a catalyst on the rotary until 1981, when it was made mandatory in the US.  It wasn't needed.  When I had my '80, it was young enough to still need emissions testing, and it nearly baselined the testing equipment because the naturally-low NOx and the thermal reactor exhaust system worked so well to run clean.

 

Yet you tell people today that there was a push for Wankels because of their superior emissions, and they look at you like you sprouted two extra heads or something.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/1/18 8:18 a.m.

If GM hadn't canceled the EV1 program in 1999.  How far along might they be now?

Image result for gm ev1

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
9/1/18 8:40 a.m.

What if Prohibition never happened?  We would all be filling our tanks with moonshine.

A common fringe theory is that prohibition had nothing to do with morality and drinking, but rather the oil industry's desire to seize control over energy.  Henry Ford originally designed his cars to run on alcohol... until prohibition happened.  I think about this frequently.  We often complain about ethanol in our gas, but if it was the other way around and we had been using ethanol all these years, then supplementing our energy consumption with gasoline, we'd be complaining about gasoline in our ethanol.

And what if Chevy had actually gone ahead with a 94-96 Impala SS wagon?  It would mean I would have 4 of them and be more broke than I already am.

bludroptop
bludroptop UltraDork
9/1/18 8:58 a.m.

In March 1948, Germany in rubble, the British offered the Volkswagen company to Ford, free of charge.   Henry Ford II turned them down.

NickD
NickD UberDork
9/1/18 9:06 a.m.

What if NASCAR hadn't banned the development of OHC engines?

After Mopar's 1964 domination of the NASCAR season thanks to the new 426 Hemi, Ford panicked and threw together their 90 day crash course that converted the 427 Ford into a SOHC 16V Hemi that made ludicrous naturally aspirated power.

With these engines set to dethrone the 426 Hemi, Mopar immediately threw together the A925 "Doomsday Engine", which was a DOHC, 32V 426 Hemi.

By almost all measures, this engine was not intended to run, but simply to scare Bill France into banning the Ford. In fact, the engineering program had issues with it breaking valvetrain components and was along way from being feasible, but just the sight of it scared Bill France and he thus banned the use of overhead cam engine.

But what if he hadn't flinched at it? Would Ford Cammer Galaxies (it wouldn't have fit Mustangs or Fairlanes without serious modifications, more so than the Boss 429) and A-925 Road Runners have ruled the streets? At the same time, Pontiac was also working on SOHC 421s, which got cancelled, so we may have had SOHC 400 GTO Judges in the mix too. 

The Ford SOHC was instead reduced to a footnote, as Ford's attempts to make it a dragster motor were not particularly successful. Lacking sufficient bottom end strength, use in nitro applications routinely busted the main bearing saddles out of the block. There was also the timing chain stretch issues, which is highly debated (Ed Pink swore it was a problem, Connie Kalitta said that Pink was making a mountain out of a molehill and never had an issue), although "Sneaky Pete" Robinson had nearly solved that with a gear-drive setup before his untimely death.

And the A-925 is just a legend known by Mopar guys, with even the prototypes having vanished into the wind.

noddaz
noddaz SuperDork
9/1/18 9:12 a.m.

What if Turbine cars had been allowed to run at Indy for more than a few years?

 

They would probably still be racing turbines now.  

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle Dork
9/1/18 9:27 a.m.

With an interest in all things mechanical/cars, my parents took me to visit General Motors Institute of Technology as a high school senior.... but I later opted to study architecture instead.

Now computer guys call themselves architects and I’ve never designed a car. . 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/1/18 1:23 p.m.

I've already learned several things I didn't know. Some interesting cause-effects here. 

Hey, coudl take the "what if Ford took over VW after WW2" thing and then we might not have VW or Porsche (or Audi) at all right now, possibly :0

Chesterfield
Chesterfield New Reader
9/1/18 1:52 p.m.

What if the mustang had actually ended up a two seat mid-engined sports car powered by a v4, not some dressed-up falcon pony car? Would there have been a camaro, firebird, challenger, etc?

Chesterfield
Chesterfield New Reader
9/1/18 2:04 p.m.

In reply to Stefan :

Along the same lines, what if Ford had actually bought Ferrari? There probably would be no daytona coupe or gt40.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
9/1/18 2:18 p.m.
OHSCrifle said:

With an interest in all things mechanical/cars, my parents took me to visit General Motors Institute of Technology as a high school senior....

The current GM CEO; Mary Barra went to GMI.  

So you would’ve been the CEO of GM probably.  

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
9/1/18 2:54 p.m.

What if the bomb that fell on the Wolfsburg VW factory hadn't been a dud? VW is the second largest manufacturer by volume and has really pushed certain market segments over the years.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/1/18 4:05 p.m.

What if Tim and Margie had never met!

759NRNG
759NRNG SuperDork
9/1/18 4:50 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

What if Tim and Margie had never met!

Interesting...whose idea was all this originally.........Tim or Margie?????

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
9/1/18 4:54 p.m.
buzzboy said:

What if the bomb that fell on the Wolfsburg VW factory hadn't been a dud? VW is the second largest manufacturer by volume and has really pushed certain market segments over the years.

What do you mean "The" bomb?  After the war, the factory was a bombed-out mess.  They relocated a bunch of machine tools to the areas that still had a roof over them and people were making cars to barter for food and raw materials to make more cars.

 

There was a book written in 1969 or so called "Small Wonder" about the history of Volkswagen.  Very good read.

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