To the Editor,
You wrote in the February 24 edition of Automotive News Europe that the new Ford Transit has the first double-ended platform. But surely the Renault Trafic and Master offered both front- and rear-drive in this market sector, over 10 years ago?
Further back in time, the 1971 Triumph 1500 (front-wheel drive) grew into the 1972 Dolomite (rear-wheel drive). That platform was produced in both formats simultaneously - albeit briefly, as the 1500 converted to RWD (as the 1500TC) circa 1972. It was still a pretty awful car, not least because the front suspension layout had a gap for non-existent driveshafts.
The 1978-81 Dolomite 1500/HL was a better car, because it used RWD suspension at both ends. It still had major faults, like it never stopped in a straight line without steering corrections - we used to call that sort of thing 'character!'
Fortunately, Rover has substantially upgraded the quality of its design. My 1990 216GSi, admittedly very much a Honda, has now covered almost 320,500km and is hopefully still far from the European Union recycling directive.