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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

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Category: Magazine Articles

You Can Get More Than You Pay For
Imported Midi Fashions

Motor Trend magazine February 1971 pp 72-76, 91

There are times when being an automobile enthusiast is not really enjoyable. Times when cars which you like become outdated in an everchanging world. Times when 370 hp means nothing since rush hour traffic seldom finds the far reaches of 45 mph. Times when motoring in a slick machine does not impress the foes on Sunset Boulevard but knowing where to find a good23327.jpg
joint does. Times when you want to cry over the fate of a half-century love affair which is drawing to a close.

We are in a the infant stages of such times and they cause enthusiasts like myself to snicker, perhaps in self-defense, at people driving funny looking machines which have to strain in order to reach 70 mph. It must be something like the horseman seeing his first automobile and swearing it would never work. And yet these small cars do work, and more people buying more of them each year proves it. In some cases you wonder how humans can stuff themselves into these coffins and undertake that drive to work or to the market. In other cases, however, it is easy to understand their success in the showroom.

This month's import test examines four of these other cases -- cars which are overshadowed by the "brilliance" of the Bug and out-shouted by the din of Detroit's sub-compacts. Cars which are as good, if not better, than their most expensive brothers. Cars which even an enthusiast can enjoy driving. How, you say, can an enthusiast appreciate such plain cars as the Peugeot 304, Datsun 1200, Toyota Corolla or the Subaru Star FF-1? Because they aren't really plain and they are definitely fun to drive. They take to a winding mountain road with glee and absorb all the punishment you can give. Then too, there is the knowledge that two of the cars, Peugeot and Subaru, rise above the normal automobile cliches and exhibit front-wheel-drive configurations -- something not found too often on cars in this price range, or any price range for that matter. Mr. Joe Average motorist can enjoy these four cars for obvious reasons: low initial cost (between $1,600 and $2,500), and equally low operating expenses. He will also like their adroitness in city traffice and comfortable feel at most freeway speeds.


Toyota had a dangerous tendency to raise its inside rear wheel during hard cornering

Datsun handling was characterized by moderate lean, a bit of tire roll in turns, and the highest g forces of the four automobiles

The Subaru is quick and nimble during handling with some understeer in evidence

Puegeot styling is awkward and undisciplined with poor front to side transitions

<to be continued> 

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