The other day I read this tweet by Hardibro, and i thought, yeah. I work part-time as an auto journo today, but in an environment so different from the US market, that starting a kinja blog to this end feels like a new beginning. So let's start at the beginning!
My name is György Bolla. I'm from the same place as Mr. Petrányi and Mr. Orosz – incidentally, I have met both of them – but that doesn't really matter right now. What does matter is that from the vast history of car-making, I happened to have fallen in love with a period. From the late seventies to the early nineties, there is this decade some call: the eighties. Although there are many bad things about it, from the hair, through the clothes to the music, I still find a lot to love. A lot of cars, that is.
You in America-land call most of this the Malaise Era, because it entailed a whole lot of very bad cars from Detroit, and another heap of otherwise good import cars ruined by the Feds. However, I happen to live in Europe. One of the lesser lights, when it comes to European countries, but what matters now is that we didn't get any of that Malaise crap. Of course, I hear you cry, Budapest was behind the Iron Curtain back then, you didn't get anything at all, other than what the Eastern Block countries had to offer. And that's fair enough. However, when that infamous Curtain went tits-up, all sorts of previously unavailable goods flooded the country – among them any number of used cars from Western Europe. So when I turned 11 (1989, incidentally), and got enamored with motoring, I had all sorts of eighties cars around me. Some of them were Chevy Corsicas. Some of them were even Ford Tempos. But most of them were simple, honest-to-god everyday EUDM econoboxes, with the occasional gem thrown in. Of course children love new and shiny things, so as I grew, I constantly moved with the times, however, and I never thought this would happen, a few years ago I rediscovered this forgotten no-mans-land of motoring history. And the deeper I go into it, the more I love the '80s.
This blog will try to shed some light as to: what is there to love.
There are of course quite a few very well known types floating around that you think about now. Like the E30 M3, the F40, the 959, the Delta HF Integrale, the Testarossa, the 944, the Peugeot 205 GTI, the 328 GTB, the 911 SC….. you get my drift. I (mostly) won't be blogging about these. Why? Because most of the time I only get to experience (and buy, try to repair and then sell at a huge loss) cars from the lower end of the spectrum. How much lower? To give you a clue, here are all the cars i have ever owned: 1986 Opel Kadett 1.3 L, 1992 Honda Accord 2.0 EX, 1992 Lancia Y10 FIRE i.e., 1989 Audi 100 2.3e, 1986 Toyota MR2, 1986 Peugeot 505 GR. Yep, they were all '80s types, maybe with the exception of the Accord, but that was at least designed in the '80s. How they fared? Here's a chart, because I know you love charts.
Of course you can say this is because i'm broke, and that's mostly true. But the thing is, i love driving these, and even if i would be a player of Doug DeMuro proportions, i would still go on and play with cars from the '80s. Why? Because this era is a sweet spot. You see before the '80s, cars were designed by men, and only a handful of men at that, so most designs had shortcomings. These are tolerable, if you drive them to a cruise on a summer sunday, but are horrible to live with, on a daily basis. Then came computers, and the Japanese, and suddenly there were cars, that simply: worked. They start every time, they go well, they stop well, and if you, god forbid, push it, they even turn well. This is true every since, but because model bloat started happening, if i recally correctrly, on a bleak Thrusday in 1993, the cars made since just aren't as honest, as direct, and as much fun to drive slow.
But we'll talk about this a lot anyways.
Oh, about the name. Rattenschule, which is supposed to be a German-ish expression to "rat school" is the way i like my cars. Not looking like much, but driving well. So what do i plan this blog to be? Well, the occasional posts about things i read or seen elsewhere, punctuated by reviews. Oh yes. I already did the MR2, oppo-style, but just last week i drove two Peugeot 205 GTIs. That's comming up, as is a Citroën CX Familiare with a turbo diesel. Maybe an Autobianchi A112 Abarth. Or a Ford Granada, of the Cologne variety. Perchance an Audi Quattro - Lania Delta HF Integrale comparo. A diesel Range Rover 3-door could also happen. We'll see.
Untill then, i do run a tumblr with the sole purpose of reposting car photos I like, and some that I made, so there's that. And you are all very welcome to chime in with your own pieces of hardware - i know from oppo i'm far from alone, gravitating towards cheap chariots of this era. So, let's hope I can keep a schedule going, and the blog alive, and you entertained for a short while. Cheers.