I’ve been giving American vehicles quite a lot of possible undesirable meh-car consideration these days, so let’s enterprise throughout the ocean and uncover what unexciting non-wonders are ready listlessly to bore you. This week, because of a suggestion from a reader named Adam, I’d wish to current to you a heaping fistful of French automotive enuui: the Talbot Tagora.
The Talbot Tagora looks like it ought to be an attention-grabbing automotive: I imply, it’s French, and, typically, they appear to have a knack for making vehicles which are, on the very least, not boring. Additionally, it has a bewilderingly advanced backstory, with adjustments of possession, last-minute engineering selections, and has some obscurity going for it.
But, regardless of all of these anti-meh qualities, the ability of true mediocrity gained out in the long run, and managed to make the Tagora a remarkably forgettable automotive.
The Tagora began life in 1976 as Chrysler Europe’s try to supply a bigger government automotive to exchange the slow-selling Chrysler 180 (known as the Simca 180 in France). The automotive was initially styled within the UK, and had some attention-grabbing particulars, like lights and license plate behind a glass panel up entrance (impressed by the Citroën SM), semi-skirted rear wheels, and an ethereal, angular greenhouse.
Sadly, for some motive Chrysler’s American administration determined to get entangled and committee’d and focus-group’d away all of the attention-grabbing bits with the objective of constructing a extra ‘mainstream’ automotive.
The selection of engines was a sticky downside; Chrysler Europe had some appropriate inline-fours for the bottom fashions, however a premium automotive wanted to have one thing extra, properly, premium, and regarded shopping for a Mitsubishi straight-six (probably not refined sufficient), after which tried to get the Peugeot-Volvo-Renault (PRV) V6, an engine well-known for being one of the vital disappointing components of the DeLorean.
Peugeot wasn’t loopy about promoting their engine to a direct competitor, however, considerably fortunately, the entire ‘competitor’ subject went away when Chrysler Europe turned a part of PSA Peugeot-Citroën in 1979.
So, now that they have been all one huge joyful household, the Tagora was free to get a nostril job to accomodate the PRV V6 engine, together with Peugeot 604 entrance struts and a rear finish from the Peugeot 505, which was actually too slim, however no matter.
PSA already had quite a few premium sedans in the marketplace: the very un-meh Citroën CX, the Peugots 604 and 505, for instance. The Tagora was thus far alongside it didn’t make sense to kill it, however no one was notably occupied with it, both.
The consequence was a automotive that felt and regarded precisely like what it was: one thing that simply type of stored going primarily based on dumb inertia. The styling of the Tagora was rational to the purpose of bloodlessness. It was like a Volvo 700-series with out the attractive curves, which don’t precisely exist on the Volvo, however one way or the other existed even much less on the Talbot.
The entire automotive felt phoned-in; the inside, an important a part of an government automotive, one way or the other felt bland and poorly thought out. A up to date evaluate from What Automotive? most likely places it finest:
“The Tagora can also be inexcusably badly ventilated, its inside is hardly even within the low cost hatchback class and maybe most significantly, it has such an entire blandness of fashion as to disqualify it immediately in a market the place character and standing rely for a lot.”
Yeah, that’s not nice.
In true meh automotive style, although, the Tagora wasn’t precisely dangerous; it drove fairly properly, the V6 had respectable energy (163 horsepower, with the 4 making 115, and the turbodiesel 80), and its dealing with was known as protected and safe and competent and a bunch of different phrases auto journalists use after they’re not scared shitless or entertained or discover that throughout the drive their thoughts wandered a lot they do not know what the automotive was truly wish to drive.
Autojourno legend LJK Setright summed the Tagora up like this:
‘After driving it, I can see that it has its place, though there could also be little or no in the way in which of particular person particulars to pick for reward and even mere evaluation: if one accepts the type of vehicles that it represents, it’s a automotive that could be very tough to fault – and there should be loads of name for vehicles like that,’
That’s principally the definition of a meh automotive proper there.
The Tagora could be one of the vital spectacular ratios of effort and complication to not-give-a-shittery in all of automotive historical past. The automotive seems like what you’d get if you happen to bodily manifested the goals of somebody who longed to drive a file cupboard as their automotive.
The Tagora is one way or the other aggressively boring, prefer it’s actively swatting away something which may come close to it that would make it extra compelling, in any means. It’s like a magic flashlight that turns each coloration to taupe when it shines on something. It’s a nuclear-powered, deflavorizer, a rational, competent automobile with an choice bundle that features the rapid and whole abdication of each little bit of your pleasure, soul, lust and fervour.
It’s an impressively meh automotive.
The world appeared to agree. Being people able to emotion and love, most individuals declined to purchase one. Between 1980 and 1983, solely 19,400 have been constructed, and the automotive quickly withered away, because of lack of curiosity.
It’s not like there’s even some rabid group of followers maintaining the flame alive; plainly in 2010 the British automotive journal Sensible Classics discovered that of all of the UK-registered Tagoras, 99.09 p.c have been left on the roads. What’s that, three/four of a Tagora?
I’m impressed; normally I’m fairly smitten with vehicles I’d by no means heard of, however the Tagora’s exceptional lack of, properly, something, has made it resistant to my knee-jerk obscurity-worship. That’s spectacular.
But additionally boring.