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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]


From Datsun 1200 Club

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Category: General Information

Datsun 1200 uses rear-wheel-drive (RWD). This is where the driven wheels are the back wheels. See wikipedia:Rear-wheel-drive for more details. Following is a brief summary of what you need to know to talk in the datsun community.

Generally speaking:

  • RWD is the best for performance -- both acceleration and handling
  • FWD is best for low traction conditions (gravel, snow, etc.). Another advantage is it can create more passenger space inside by deleting the center tunnel. Though some FWD cars use a center tunnel for increased body strength
  • FWD cars are less expensive to manufacturer compare to Front engine-rear drive cars, because with FWD the engine, transmission and differential can be made in one unit.

What to say if someone tells you FWD is better: Ask them to explain why these makers don't use FWD: Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Jaguar, Mercedes, and BMW. To sympathize, you might even admit the for their cheapest cars, Mercedes and BMW do make FWD cars -- but the other legendary performance-car makers do not.

A brief history: FWD made its ascendency for two reasons:

  • Less expensive to manufacture. Most automakers shifted to FWD during the 1970s and made it nearly complete during the 1980s. For example, Chrylser's last RWD car was a 1986 model, until the 2005 300C.
  • Great marketing. Consumers were "sold" the idea that FWD was better, because that is want the auto makers wanted people to buy. This marketing worked very well. By the mid-1980s most consumers were asking for FWD.

In the USA, the recent trend has been to re-engineer all top-of-the line cars back to RWD...Back circa 1998 the only "American" cars to have RWD were performance cars (namely: Mustang & Corvette/XLR) and old sedan designs (namely: Ford Crown Victoria and Town Car). Neither Chrysler nor GM had any RWD sedans...but now we've got the Chryslers (300C, Daytona), Cadillacs (CTS, their performance sedan), Ford (Town Car), and may others. Only Chevrolet hasn't made the move yet... although their highest-performance car has always been RWD (Corvette). Chevy packed a small-block V8 into their latest Impala, but reviews indicate its handling and steering are not up to par with its RWD rivals.

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This page has been accessed 10,051 times. This page was last modified 21:41, 29 December 2006. Content is available under Datsun 1200 Club.