Caffeine&Machine cultofmachine Yard Event FWDThinking


It’s our belief that, for far too long, front-wheel drive has gone unloved – rejected, even – by certain corners of the car community. “It’s too boring and predictable”, they cry, before muttering something about understeer. Well, that’s not how we do things here. We think that every car deserves to be approached with an open mind, and sometimes that means shining a spotlight on those that might otherwise be ignored.

After all, packaging all the oily bits together fore of the occupants was once seen as revolutionary. It was this layout that allowed cars like the Mini, the Renault 4 and the Citroën 2CV to cram an improbable amount of interior and luggage space into tiny frames, mobilising swathes of people in the process.

It wasn’t long, of course, before people started to realise that as well as space, a lot of fun could be extracted from this layout. The hot hatch has undergone multiple golden ages, but it’s only very recently that an extra set of driven wheels have begun to take centre stage. Look back at everything frequently named as an all-time great hot hatchback – 205 GTi, Golf GTI, Clio Trophy, Civic Type R, Fiesta ST – the recipe is clear. Take this spirit of fun and free it of the restrictions applied to road cars and you get the door-banging antics of British Touring Cars, or the screaming fury of the 1990s’ F2 rally cars.

Then, there’s the times when a company will decide to do something just plain strange with front-wheel drive, and these are some of our favourites. The wonderful madness of Citroën’s Maserati-engined, hydraulically-suspended SM, or General Motors’ highly experimental E-body cars, which broke with several decades of American car-making tradition by stuffing their hulking great V8s under long, elegant bonnets, then sending the drive to the front wheels.

So front-wheel drive is boring? We don’t think so. Besides, have you ever heard of lift-off oversteer? Second Wednesday of the month.

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