list of -'80 and up- RWD cars

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Hey guys, first post on here. I'm trying to find a list of cars with RWD from like '80 till now. Tried looking on google but can't really find anything. Whole reason I'm asking is that I'm in the market to get a newer used car (4,000) but I love back wheel drive. I've got a '87 Toyota Corolla GTS that I'm in the middle of doing some body work on, currently driving a 90 Nissan 240 SX coupe that's back wheel drive as well, but at 175,000 I'm getting oil burning on one cylinder pretty bad. Not sure if I'm rebuilding it soon or just getting rid of it, body work isn't all that great but it's loaded with sun roof, so on and so on. I love it, but not sure if it's worth dumping money into it. Had a '82 chevette that was also back wheel drive and all three compaired to any front wheel drive car I've had where/ are WAY more fun to drive and easier to handle.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone knows a site to point me to or could list a couple here.


posted by  Jandarsun8

well ehh that's gonna be a long list then :banghead:

every real sportscar or muscle car

every bmw

toyota supra
nissan 200sx, 240sx, skyline
alfa romeo 155
mitsubishi lancer

and a lot more :thumbs:

posted by  pornking

well ehh that's gonna be a long list then :banghead:

every real sportscar or muscle car

every bmw
subaru AWD

toyota supra
nissan , 240sx, skyline, 200sx in us they're FWD
alfa romeo 155
mitsubishi lancer - FWD or AWD

and a lot more :thumbs:

posted by  RusMan

If I were you...I'd get myself a good condition KA24DE or search for a nice SR20DET...the 240SX is a great chassis...that just needs the right motor...I love the KA and it can be made to go fast w/a custom turbo kit that you can put together for around 1600 which would net you around 240rwhp at dont give up on it!


posted by  NISSANSPDR

Lots of American cars are RWD.


Nissan 300ZX

posted by  abless

Is making a RWD car more expensive to make than FWD because FWD is easy.?!?

posted by  CarEXPERT

Yea...for instance there's no driveshaft so FWD cars tend to be more your Honda has no driveshaft running down the middle of the car so you can fit 3 in the back...

posted by  NISSANSPDR

So does a FWD have a driveshaft? How do FWD get their power to the wheels?

posted by  CarEXPERT

Drool. :thumbs:

posted by  Anti-Hero

:banghead: No, FWD cars do not have a drive shaft. They get their power to wheels just like every other car on the road. They get the power via axles, or in this case a CV Axel. Instead of the axles being connected to the rear end they are connected directly to the transmission. (Well I'm sure that part they connect to has a specific name but for the simplicity of the question at hand we'll just say transmission)

They look something like this:

posted by  DSMer

I'm not so sure about that last part. There are plenty of RWD cars that seat 3 in the back.

RWD also has more power loss because of the extra joints and such.

posted by  abless

RWD isn't more expensive to make than FWD. And the compact components of FWD can actually be more expensive than RWD parts, especially when it comes to things like the front hub that has to steer and deliver power. It used to be that all the cheapest cars were RWD, like Pintos, datsun B210s, Toyota Corollas, Opel Kadetts, etc. In a time when a Mustang or Torino cost $3500-4500, a cheap RWD Opel or Toyota cost $1500-1900.

FWD was developed for packaging. There were a few FWD cars gonig back to the '30s, but when the original Mini arrived, with a transverse FWD layout, it showd that the engine/transmission/drive axle setup could be compact and allow for a larger floor space for feet in a very tiny car. Even in a luxury car, the packaging made for more room in the front and a flatter rear floor.

FWD also became equated with safety: having the front wheels pull you around in bad weather was supposedly safer than having the rear wheels push you around.

For street cars that weren't to be driving at the outer limits of performance, it was easy to make FWD cars handle and accelerate as good as anything else, so it just made sense to spend the money to switch to that layout. It was assumed that it was too hard to put more than 250 hp through the front wheels, so cars with more powerful engines were left RWD, as were more traditional sports cars and GTs.

posted by  ChrisV

not sure but i believe RWD's generally have beefier engines because they are not sitting on the transmission like in FWD cars. so there is more room under the hood

posted by  choke

Not to mention that it is much easier to achieve a desirable weight distribution with a RWD layout.

(side note: The previous generation of Cadillacs put 300hp through the front wheels, so in excess of 250 is possible with the right engineering)

Excellent FWD Vs. RWD comparison:

posted by  Gothicaleigh

So why does the FWD can have a LSD when there is only one axle going from front wheel to tranny to other wheel. So does a FWD transverse engine have a tranny that have 2 outputs because one is output is controlling the other wheel and the other is controllingthe wheel oppositeof it?

posted by  CarEXPERT

Dude, there are axles going from the transaxle out each side to both front wheels! Are you daft? Go out to a parking lot and look under a FWD car!!!!

the transaxle takes the place of a transmission AND rear differential. In a FWD car, it sits sideways, so teh differential part sits to the side, and delivers power to both axles. It still needs to allow differnt wheel rates for cornering and traction.

Here's a better picture, using a Toyota FWD drivetrain in the rear of a kit car. Notice the differential case (where the LSD would reside) with the axles coming out each side going to the wheels In teh original FWD application this would come out of (Corolla FX16) the wheels would be attached to steerable macPherson struts which would locate them.

posted by  ChrisV

WHAT? so a FWD dont have a transmission. Then what is the diffrence between transmission and transaxle, i thought the transaxle was just gears that were cramp and stuff. Sorry ChrisV... :oops:

posted by  CarEXPERT


The transaxle takes the place of the transmission AND final drive unit. The word is the contraction of "transmission" and "axle." But it's STILL A TRANSMISSION. It just has the final drive unit incorporated into it as well, so it's called a transaxle. Many RWD cars have transaxles, too, when they replace the rear differential with a combined differential/transmission unit. Mid engine cars are set up that way, as are rear engine cars, and some front engine cars that have the transaxle in the rear (new Corvette, Ferrari 575, Porsche 944 and 968, etc).

Instead of two separate units, like you might find in a Mustang or Camaro, or my Fiat (a transmission connected to the engine, then driveshaft going to the differntial that is part o fthe rear axle unit), a transaxle is one single unit made up of both the transmission AND the differential. the cars with a transaxle STILL have a transmission and they STILL have a differential. It's just combined into one compact unit. the axle shafts connect to the differntical and go out to the driven wheels on both sides.

posted by  ChrisV

chrisv, So every car has a differential? a limited slip differntial is just one that is better right? Thanks chris, I understand it a whole lot better now :thumbs: :mrgreen: :thumbs:

posted by  CarEXPERT

RWD cars:

all BMW
all Mercedes except A-class and minivans.
Volvo 240, 740, 760, 940, 960, V90
Ford Mustang and Thunderbird
Mercury Cougar until mid-90s
Chevrolet Caprice/Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser/Buick Roadmaster/Cadillac Brougham
Toyota Corolla and Starlet until -83
Toyota Carina and Celica until -84
Toyota Supra and MR2
Honda S2000
Mazda MX5 Miata and RX7
Nissan Skyline, SX, ZX
all Porsche
Cadillac Catera/Opel Omega
Cadillac CTS, SRX and STS
all Jaguar
Dodge Viper
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti (except 4wd-versions)
all Lexus, except ES models
Chevrolet Chevette/Pontiac 1000
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme until -87
Chevrolet Camaro/Pontiac Firebird
Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis/Lincoln Town Car
Lincoln LS
Mercur Scorpio and XR4TI/Ford Scorpio and Sierra
Lincoln Mark VII
all Lotus

that's all for now... I might have missed someone.

posted by  stellar

Well, actually Mitsubishi Lancer was RWD until 1982. I used to have one of those.

And all Alfa Romeos are FWD, including the 155.

The front-wheel-drive car, badged as 200SX in the US, was only sold 1995-1998. All other 200SX are RWD.

posted by  stellar

Ehhh, good try but you missed quite a few companys and cars. Not to mention mislabled a few that could have NEVER been mislabled. Haha all Porsches are RWD? Pfft.... Any one who knows a thing about Porsches should know that some of their fastest accelerating cars are AWD. I'd also like to see a 4WD Bugatti.

posted by  DSMer

Which cars did I miss?

Obviously your corrections about AWD cars are right. It's note easy writing such a list in a short time. In my mind all BMW and Porsche models are RWD, even though they've made some AWD versions of some models. About Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti I don't know that much, but I'm pretty sure they haven't made any FWD cars lately.

posted by  stellar

If one can not create a correct statement than why try? Theres a difference between assuming that all the cars of one make are RWD and ignoring the fact that that company that is synonymous with high performance AWD vehicles. I never said anything of a FWD high performance supercar. I said show me a 4WD Bugatti....

posted by  DSMer

If 250hp was the limit back then, then why does my 69 oldsmobile toronado put out 400 hp and it is front wheel drive? I should mention it puts out 400 hp stock cause it has the w-34 package 455

posted by  silly132


posted by  Zalight

No one cares about your Toronado, what the hell does that have to do with anything relivant to the subject at hand? :banghead: :screwy:

posted by  DSMer

Because someone else could make corrections, and then we would all achieve greater knowledge?

Are you talking about Porsche? They've made lots of great and famous RWD cars as well. Anyway my interest has always been RWD compared to FWD. So that is why I forgot about those 4WD Porsches and BMWs.

And I said, I don't know much about high performance supercars. If you say there ain't no 4WD Bugatti, I believe you. I can't afford one anyway, so I'm not that interested.

You said previously that I missed out on some cars in the list. I would be interested in which cars you were thinking about. I deliberately left out many cars that never made it to the U.S. or Western European markets.

posted by  stellar

My 86 Buick Grand National is a rear wheel drive car. :mrgreen:

posted by  madhat

You may not care about his toronado, but who cars about your eclipse/talon that apparenty does (Down the quarter mile in 8.71@166.25MPH! Oh yeah DSM.) Some things simply have no relevance, no need to be a dick.

posted by  carls47807

I think rear wheel drive is the best for all out performance.....look at the top dogs(on the street and at the track), the majority are RWD(be it formula one racers, ferrari, etc...). To me in performance applications, I would much rather have oversteer than understeer(FWD & some AWD). And yes, an AWD car off the line will be faster, but once you get going what about the extra weight of the AWD unit? What about the fact that your power is having to go through more things?(Even manuals lose horsepower from the flywheel to wheels, so if you are going to four wheels instead of two, even more power loss). To me the best of both worlds is a mid engine RWD car...all the weight on the rear wheels for traction, but your drive wheels are not also your main braking wheels or steering many demands on one thing(such as a tire) and they WILL fail.

posted by  madhat

Good points. More opinions on the subject can be found at:

I'm dedicated to RWD cars. But that's not because of speed capabilities or handling, it's because oversteering is FUN! (yes I know FWD and AWD cars also can oversteer, but in low speed RWD cars are better)


posted by  stellar

rock on! :clap: me too! Just not down residental street or main roads!

posted by  madhat

The info on Toyota Celica's is not quite right...

Until '86, the Supra was a trim line for the Celicas (aka Celica Supra). All of these Celicas had RWD - in fact I'm rebuilding an '85 for my son now.

In mid-'86, Toyota released the Supra as a separate line - dropping the Celica portion of the name.

omnix   30 Mar 2012 05:49

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