R3 UK only?

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crepello
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Re: R3 UK only?

#16 Post by crepello » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:29 pm

MikePR3 wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:28 am
It does indeed seem that 'the bit in the middle' was new, which shows that BAe were willing to spend more than the story of a 'cut down' R8 floorpan implies.
It would be quite possible that an actual cut down R8 floorpan could be used for early studies. But to continue with that in production would have added cost, both in continuing to cut down components, and in joining it with sufficient integrity to the new section, as well as running two press tools where one would do. It would also constrain the design of the bodyside sills to match the sill-floorpan jointing of the R8.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#17 Post by MikePR3 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:22 am

crepello wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:29 pm
It would be quite possible that an actual cut down R8 floorpan could be used for early studies. But to continue with that in production would have added cost, both in continuing to cut down components, and in joining it with sufficient integrity to the new section, as well as running two press tools where one would do. It would also constrain the design of the bodyside sills to match the sill-floorpan jointing of the R8.
That makes sense, but does imply spending on new tooling to save costs in production. If BAe were being skinflints they might have taken the path of minimal capital investment and tried the 'lash up' approach, attempting to make it pay by using cheaper components etc. The story of the short R8 floor had made me think that was what R3 had been until I dug into it.

All in all it makes me think BAE wanted R3 to generate cash for the business, and were willing to spend a bit more up front, rather than in production, to get this. Getting away from Honda licenses would help that too (presumably a shorter CR-X floor could have been used). That said, it was still remarkably cheap for what was in many ways a new car rather than a cut down old one.

My understanding is that the floorpan is one of the more expensive pressings to design and build. I am fascinated by how different the R3 and R8 ones were - the former looks like it is designed by computer and made by robots, the latter (and all contemporary Gen 4 Civic-based cars) looks bonkers - like a rumpled duvet. The 'usual story' of Japan being advanced and the UK backwards would have made me think it would be the other way round. There is probably more to it than meets the eye, but it is late and floorpan design seems too difficult to go into now!

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Re: R3 UK only?

#18 Post by GTiJohn » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:13 am

MikePR3 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:22 am
My understanding is that the floorpan is one of the more expensive pressings to design and build. I am fascinated by how different the R3 and R8 ones were - the former looks like it is designed by computer and made by robots, the latter (and all contemporary Gen 4 Civic-based cars) looks bonkers - like a rumpled duvet. The 'usual story' of Japan being advanced and the UK backwards would have made me think it would be the other way round. There is probably more to it than meets the eye, but it is late and floorpan design seems too difficult to go into now!
And today's a new day!

What you're seeing in the floorpan design are two things:-

1) The design philosophies of 2 different companies, with perhaps some 'regional' differences
and
2) The changes in CAD techniques from the early/mid-80s to the early/mid-90s

I was aware of stories from the body guys involved in making the Rover-only R8 derivatives (3dr, Cabriolet, Coupe, Tourer, R3) that the Honda body panel drawings had to be taken with a pinch of salt as their profiles often did not fully represent the parts actually being produced. This was a result of modifications being made for ease of manufacture or assembly not being fed back onto the drawings, instead being held locally. This isn't 'wrong', as it worked for Honda when they had restricted production sites or single-source of parts, but it causes problems when you try to 'make-to-print' and Rover were probably the first to find this out. I doubt if Honda continued to do this for long.

PS. I assume you're aware of this article on AROnline - https://www.aronline.co.uk/concepts/con ... ustin-ar6/
I like Twin Cams.... and Single Cams

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Re: R3 UK only?

#19 Post by MikePR3 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:50 pm

Those stories are similar to ones from BAe, where aircraft manufacture was craft based and the drawings were a guide only. Every time they moved the production of an aeroplane to a new factory they went back to the start of the learning curve again. By the 1990s they had tried to learn the lesson though.

Thanks for the link. Yes, I have seen that AR6 article. Very Citroen BXish, at least the version that was built. What I would like to see is the equivalent of this contemporary Civic shot for it (maybe Gaydon has a drawing?):

Image

Presumably the Japanese Concerto was similar at the front, with a different structure from R8/R3/European Concerto, thanks to the taller strut mountings of the latter seen in the earlier pics - the Japanese model has wishbones and a lower mounting.

Would be useful to know of R8 was a modified AR6 front end bolted on to a Concerto. Then we can see if ARG/HMG paid for anything really new after 1985. Odd that it seems BAe did on R3.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#20 Post by Mr Teddy Bear » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:00 pm

That's a fascinating comparison of the floor pans; the Honda design looks more expensive, certainly to press, while possibly being easier to dip/spray coat?
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Re: R3 UK only?

#21 Post by MikePR3 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:00 am

They are certainly very different. Gen 4 Civic was designed 84-87 ish, R3 91-93 or so. Maybe technology (CAD etc.) explains the difference*, or the fact that there were many Civic variants so needed a floorpan that could take all the different bodies. Or, as you say, the larger volumes expected allowed more expense up front. Certainly the wavy/flowing Honda approach is in contrast to the angular Rover one.

*Later Gen 5 Domani/Rover 400/45 seems to have had a similar floorpan to Gen 4 though:

MG ZR Image

MG ZS Image

The differences put me in mind of the two on the left of this:

Image

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Re: R3 UK only?

#22 Post by MikePR3 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:50 pm

More Strictly digging...

Freelander had a similar floorpan in terms of the stamping patters, although it also had reinforcing beams underneath. So similar in process only.

Image

Image

However, the rear of the R3 is interesting, and contrasts to the Freelander. This picture below from Rimmer Brothers indicates that it was almost a ladder frame attached aft of the main floorpan, which seems unusual. This might indicate that a wheelbase extension might have been possible, allowing future models. It is odd that, if as seems it was 'all new' aft of the front bulkhead, that more was not made of the platform.

Image

BAe did seem to want to get away from Honda licensing, e.g. 1.6 and 1.8 K series, KV6 etc. R3 seems to have been a fundamental part of this, then along came BMW....!
Last edited by MikePR3 on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#23 Post by Mr Teddy Bear » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:18 pm

My understanding is that Honda wasn't aware that BAe were negoiating to sell Rover to BMW and that BMW were equally in the dark regarding Honda's 20% stake in Rover. I read somewhere that Honda trippled the price of D16's once BMW took over and that I would assume is why Rover stopped using them. I don't think that Rover ever built their own D16's, they arrived in a crate and had the cam cover swopped over.

What evidence is there that Rover were redesigning the KSeries way back in 93. The large capacity engines didn't arrive until 96?
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Re: R3 UK only?

#24 Post by MikePR3 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:41 pm

I think the 1.6, 1.8, VVC, KV6 etc. were begun well before BAe sold Rover. The 1.8/VVC for example was introduced in early 1995, and the MGF had been approved in 1991 based on this engine.

BAe bought Rover in the hope that it could solve their fundamental problem, which was 'a chronic inability to generate cash'. However, it seems by the early 1990s the success of R8, 600 etc. meant BAe were paying £400 million a year in licence fees to Honda.

It appears that replacing Honda engines with the ones mentioned and many R8 variants with R3 would have meant they could keep much more of the cash generated from sales. I think that was their early 90s plan, but then the company at large had a huge crisis in 1992/93, caused by losses in their civil aircraft business and reductions in military spending, almost went bust and sold Rover to help get them out of the hole.

BAe had picked Rover up for £150 million, and sold it for £800 million to BMW. The £200 million they spent on the 'big' K series engines, and the similar amount on R3, seem to have bolstered the company's value, presumably by making future cash projections look better than past ones.

Of course, BMW saw the future as the new Mini, not cars like R3....

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Re: R3 UK only?

#25 Post by Mr Teddy Bear » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:03 pm

The elephant in the room is crash testing surely?

that explains all the extra box sections in the R3, as opposed to just the fluted pressings in the R8?
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Re: R3 UK only?

#26 Post by MikePR3 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:40 pm

Perhaps, although the 1996 EK Civic had the fluted floorpan too:

Image

Seems Rover designed and built a different type of floorpan for R3 and Freelander at least, perhaps to use the same technology for both and share costs.

AROnline notes that the Rover Oden (a 2WD 'on road' pre-Freelander project) was intended to have "used Maestro/R3-style rear suspension" and that the R8 had an MPV version 'sketched'. So maybe there was some early connection between R3 and what became CB40. The nose also looks similar.

Image

It does seem odd that Rover would develop a floorpan just for R3, along with the rest of the vehicle, but not use some of the design work/tooling etc. for other vehicles. Of course, once BMW took over and a Rover MPV version of what became CB40 was abandoned then a 4WD version would be quite different in detail, if not in its pressing technology.

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