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There’s lots of variety in this month’s new reward cars! We’ll get into them in greater detail below, but first did you solve Torben Tuesday this month?
· Clue #1: The “G” is styled like the logo for the classic tv show Gladiators, for the Jeep Gladiator.
· Clue #2: A diagram of a hydropneumatic suspension system, for the Citroen DS 23.
· Clue #3: A front-engine car, rather than rear-engine, for the Porsche 928 GTS.
Now without further ado, let's dive into what these cars are all about.
A pickup truck. An off-road SUV. A Jeep with the suspension of a Dodge Ram. The Gladiator is one of a kind.
A longer wheelbase and wider track mean that this doesn’t feel like a typical Jeep Wrangler, either on or off the road, and is intended to be more capable and stable. It wasn’t designed to simply be a Wrangler with a bed, but specifically to stand on its own as a pickup and off-road vehicle.
Fun fact: this is not the first Jeep to bear the name Gladiator. Back in 1962, Jeep released a full-sized truck alternatively named the Gladiator, the Jeep Pickup, or simply the J-Series. This particular model was the basis for various military vehicles in the post-war era of the 1960s, when the idea of cost savings meant starting from a civilian truck and adapting it to fit the military’s needs, such as ambulances. This new pickup bears little resemblance, save for adopting the name.
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Since its inception, the DS has been a car out of time. It pioneered new driving technologies and features to become the most innovative and unusual car ever designed. It influenced the look of “futuristic” cars and technology in sci-fi media for decades, and other competitors took years and years to adopt some of the standards set by Citroën with the DS.
A number of new driving technologies have their origins in the DS line. Among these were the hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension system, which used a combination of liquid hydraulic and gas-pressured suspension, rather than springs, to give the DS an exceedingly comfortable and smooth ride on smooth roads or rougher terrain. It also made changing tires a breeze without the need of a jack to raise the car; the suspension system will raise up the wheels to take weight off the flat tire, which can then be easily removed.
Additionally, the DS was the first production car to use disc brakes, which were much more efficient at dispelling heat, and therefore more effective, than the drum brakes they replaced. These were coupled with a braking pedal that was more of a button, which was intended to better transfer energy from the foot to the brakes using the car’s advanced hydraulic system, without energy lost depressing the pedal before the brakes actually engaged.
Add on a fiberglass roof, power steering, a semi-automatic transmission, turn signal lights placed high on the car’s body, and pivoting headlights tied to the steering wheel, and there’s a reason the DS is one of the most popular and beloved cars in French automotive history. In fact, it set the record for most preorders at launch, which it held until the Tesla Model 3 in 2016.
Outside of the world of Forza, you can catch the DS in action in The Day of the Jackal (1973), a classic thriller film that retells the true story of an assassination attempt on French president Charles De Gaulle. The attempt failed, largely thanks to the superior design and build of the DS. As a result, De Gaulle swore to never drive in any car but a Citroën. He even defended it from being purchased by Italian automaker Fiat in 1969.
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Porsche 928 GTS
In the late 1970s, Porsche sensed a change in the wind. There was a global oil crisis, a suspicion that the flagship 911 was reaching the upper limits of its popularity, and a fear of looming legislation from the US government banning rear-engine vehicles in response to safety concerns about the Chevy Corvair.
What they needed was a grand tourer, totally fresh in its design and powertrain, that would appeal to the luxury sedan market in a way the compact, loud, sporty 911 never could. The result was the first Porsche design not derived from previous work – the 928. The 356 came from the Beetle, the 911 came from the 356, and the 912 and 924 originally came from designs by Volkswagen, but the 928 was its own thing: Porsche’s first front-engine V8.
The result was slow to sell, as Porsche purists saw it as a betrayal, and its target market balked at the price tag. But over time, it developed a following, as well as a number of trim packages such as the GTS (which was US-only). Only 407 of these were made, and they included wider wheel arches (for larger tires) and the largest V8 the model had sported to date (350 hp).
The 1993 model was one of the last; the model would cease production in 1995.
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