I thought I would test the OCR capabilities of my new scanner, so I scanned a TE50 vs R8 road test that appeared in the paper a few months back.
Bumper V8 Battle
Daily Telegraph March 23 2001.
By GORDON LOMAS
and BRUCE McMAHON
There is much talk about which of Australia's high performance V8 sedans is better than the other.
On the street, most chatter revolves around whether your badge allegiances rest with Ford or Hoiden.
The performance arm of both companies is now producing super sophisticated and hi-tech muscle cars that command respect. There is a lot more to your hot Hoiden or Ford than just a bit of windowdressing and straight-line poke.
To dig deeper than merely a standard road test impression we decided to pitch Hoiden's signature grunt car, the HSV Clubsport R8 (pictured right) against the Ford equivalent, Tickford's TE50 in a head-on match-up.
Testing was conducted on the advanced driver-training track and skid pan, twisty mountain roads with bumps mid-corner, smooth highways and city streets.
We uncovered a wealth of information, including differing manners in grip, cornering, braking and suspension.
Our objective was to give a clear and precise picture of the strengths and weaknesses of both models.
Two professionals were brought In to help test the TE50 and the R8; Rod Browning, a long-standing member of the precision driving team and advanced driver-training instructor and V8 Supercar driver Steve Johnson, who ditched his Ford hat for an objective outlook on both cars.
Performance house Tickford is making giant strides.
There is scant comparison between the first generation TE50 and the second offering.
For starters, the latter has made leaps and bounds in brakes. And the upgraded badging and decals on the side-skirts give the TE50 a greater on-road presence.
The Ford has clean lines and Is a stylish looker, whereas the R8 is sharp-edged and confronting.
On the road, the TE50 is beautifully balanced and forgiving if you push beyond the grip level.
Pushing hard on the training track, the Ford changes direction slickly and the stiffer spring rates help performance.
There is not a lot between this pair of brawny bullets. Understeer kicks in earlier on the Ford, which is not a bad thing, but it is so finely balanced you can chuck it and toss It almost at will.
.Firing into the emergency braking chute, the Tickford was noticeably stronger against the R8 which came with the $2600 performance brake package.
Out on the public roads they are lineball. The muscle cars felt as strong as each other despite the 35kW power difference in favour of the HM
In the end it comes down to personal choice.
As an all-round package, the TE50 gained the nod and has a kinder sticker price.
The revelation was that Tickford has picked up the ban and is running with it.
At the end of the day there's not a lot separating this pair of local hot heads ... say about half a point.
The HSV R8 and Ford TE50 are individual machines, with Individual characters, prices and outlook.
Tickford has done a grand job in smoothing out an ordinary-looking car; H8V has turned a smoothlooking car into a welter of ugly edges around that VN-style nose, skirts and rear spoiler.
All of which is contrary to the onroad experience.
Here the Ford is the harder-edged machine. the bigger hot rod of the pair, with a jut~ nature.
It turns in with a little more ,sharpness, rides a tad firmer and lets the tail out with more purpose and authority.
The Commodore offers a plusher ride and handling package. It is more progressive and, ultimately, probably more forgiving.
This Is a better proposition as a backroad tourer.
The Ford's 5-litre v8 has a spinetingling bark; the Holden v8 is a deeper, more soulful experience, particularly from outside. The Commodore offers more grunt.
Then there's that $10,000 price difference, which swings the balance to the Ford TE50 It wins, just, as a value-formoney performance machine.
Craig Lowndes will have no trouble slipping into one as a road car.
My first impression of the Ford is of a strong, If not noisy, motor that
has a tall differential ratio for userfriendly lazy cruising, whereas the Clubsport R8 has lots of torque over a broader range than the Ford.
The six-speed gearbox seems a waste, as there is so much torque, and seems too many gears for road use. A five-speed box would suffice.
On the score of value for money, HSV could have left off the overdone body kit and made the car $5000 cheaper.
On the road the Clubsport appeals because it Is softer in its ride than the TE50 but It does not have the sharp response feel of the Ford.
But that is offset by its better manners over rougher bitumen.
The Ford has a practical body kit, although the interior is too loud for my taste.
The car is responsive when pushed harder and the dynamics allow for a fun experience.
Its seats provide adequate lateral support until the vehicle is pushed harder, when my 70kg frame rattled around.
On the driver training track, its
manners were fine but on the rougher surfaces on the mountain roads the firm spring/shock rates make for a more nervous car than the Holden. The limit of grip is reached with less warning than the competitor.
Under emergency braking, the stoppers felt great with the ABS working well on the wet/dry combination on the training circuit.
From a driver's point of view, the TE50 is an exciting car to drive with commitment.
From a driver's view, the Clubsport is a little less fun to push hard but HSYs decision to run it slightly softer will be appreciated by many buyers.
If I had to make a choice between this and the Holden for personal use, the Ford is the one.
That summation is based on the needs of a middle-aged male driver who competes in club level sprints.
I liked the overall balance of the TE50, which was highlighted by excellent steering.
The brakes are the most improved item on the car over the previous model, while the engine is strong and seems a bit more re sponsive than the 5.7-litre Chev in the R8.
The suspension on the R8 seems to be a good all-round setting, which favours comfort rather than performance.
Equipment in both cars is impec--cable and it is really hard to split the interiors.
The Ford offers great value for money and is a fun car to drive and fulfils the needs of people who are going to buy it.
Being young, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a
*`performance difference for the extra money for the R8.
Everything about the TE50 is easy to use and interpret, which is good for people like my old man [Dick Johnson].
Nothing is too complicated while the R8 also excels in all other areas.
The only area where I thought the Ford was not quite as good as the R8 was on the road.
The Ford is a little less compromising over the bumps due to the harder suspension setting, but that is the price you have to pay for wanting a performance car.
It also tram-tracks slightly, which is uncomfortable to drive in spots.
On the open roads, as well as in town, the R8 is extremely nice.
The only problem is that sixth gear is too tall and not needed.
Overall, taking all parameters into account on this exhaustive test, and considering the market these' cars are aimed at, the TE50 was my pick.
HOW THEY RATE
Ford Tickford TE50
ENGINE 5L V8
POWER 22OkW@5250r m
KERB WEIGHT 1664kg
ENGINE 5.7-litre V8
Kerb WEIGHT 1650kg
Lomas McMahon Browning Johnson
Holden 8 9 9 7
FORD 8 9 9 8
HOLDEN 8 9 8 7.5
FORD 8.5 8.5 8 7.5
Value for money
HOLDEN 8.5 8 8 7.5
FORD 9, 9 9.5 9
HOLDEN 7.5 8 8 7
FORD 8 8 7 8
HOLDEN 9 9 9 8
FORD 9 9 9 7
HOLDEN 8.5 8.5 7 8
FORD 9 9 8 8.5