By on July 24, 2017

04 - 1987 Saab 900 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Ages ago in this series, I asked the 20-year question and you, the Best & Brightest, did not disappoint with your answers. Today, your mission is to simply answer the following: what car do you desire from the year of your birth?

For me, that model year is 1980. Let’s see what was shiny and new on the showroom floor back when interest rates were larger than the salesman’s lapels.

Erm… ah… oh dear. Suddenly, I’m reminded of how good we have it in 2017. Model year 1980 vehicles aren’t exactly the pinnacle of design, engineering, or reliability.

The ill-fated Citation/Phoenix/Skylark/Omega X-body quartet had just been introduced to massive fanfare, replacing General Motors’ rear-drive Nova. Ford full-size trucks wore new sheetmetal but were still more agricultural than the New Holland farm tractor that just passed in front of my rural home. And the less said about Chrysler’s aged Aspen/Volaré twins, the better.

On the other hand, the Mustang was but a single year old in model year 1980, enjoying its Fox platform and fresh off pacing the Indy 500. The boffins in Stuttgart just released a new Sonderklasse sedan, too. Mazda was peddling its funny looking little sports car with pop-up headlights but no pistons.

For me, though, the car I’d choose from model-year 1980 is the Saab 900 Turbo. Introduced one model year earlier as a replacement for the 99 on which it was based, the 900 was initially only offered as a three- or five-door hatchback. The jaunty Turbo model made 145 horsepower from its 2.0-liter inline slant four. As the calendar flipped to the Eighties, the Swedes endowed their 900 Turbo with a five-speed manual. It was solid, quirky, and loud – not unlike myself, then.

How about you, B&B? Your choice doesn’t have to be a new product for year, simply on sale to new-car buyers. What car would you take from the model year in which you were born?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

180 Comments on “QOTD: Happy Birthday! Now Choose a Car...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    old man alert: 1970 ‘Cuda, even one with a 340. Lime green or orange.

    When I was a kid there was one rolling around in my hometown. It looked fantastic from any angle.

    Runner up: ’70 Chevelle SS or any of the A-bodys of the time: Olds, Buick, Pontiac were all well-proportioned cars with big block power.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      I knew what the Chevelle looked like, but not the Barracuda. A Google search shows examples of both of the colors you mentioned.

      You, sir or madam, have excellent taste.

  • avatar
    NoID

    1988 Toyota MR2 Supercharged

  • avatar
    matador

    One 1995 Buick Riviera, please

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Great choice! One of my favorites.

      P.S. — The ’95 model was slightly different than ’96 – ’99. The ’95 had the Series I 3800 N / A and supercharged engines, as opposed to the Series II. It also had slightly older electronics and a different dashboard, and may have lacked OBD2 or may have had OBD1.5.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Here is a 1999 for you Kyree

        https://mobile.craigslist.org/cto/d/buick-riviera-priced-to/6207965816.html

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          But it’s not a Silver Arrow (pouty face).

          Still, that’s in good condition. GM was using very thin paint at the time, and so most of these that I see have prominent clear-coat failure. Also, for whatever their significance and opulence when new, these eighth-gen Rivieras tend to fall into the “just another GM FWD boat” crowd, and aren’t well cared-for.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Bad build quality.
            Bad paint.
            Shoddy trim/bad interior.

            All for lots of money when new!

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The build quality of the 8th gen Rivs is so bad. The late 7th gens are screwed together better but they don’t have the proportions it style of the final version.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Yeah, GM sort of effed that one up. The Riviera is one of those wonderful designs that fell victim to the corporate misers. It should have been head and shoulders above what it was, from a build-quality standpoint. The panel gaps were —-THIS—- wide, the interior was plasticky, and the car gave off a general air of “almost”, and was a clear downgrade from the ’86 – ’93, which seemed almost overbuilt in comparison.

            Never mind the Mark VIII, the Thunderbird and Cougar were better-put together (to say nothing of the over-engineered but vastly-superior MN12 platform).

            My affection for this generation of Riviera is mostly irrational, but I can recognize it for what it was.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I would buy that car if I could, and try to flip it on eBay. I would drive it for a while in the meantime.

            For a keeper, yeah, the Cougar XR-7 4.6L (prefer the Cougar’s “formal” roof over the fast back Bird) or a Mark VIII LSC.

            “My affection for this generation of Riviera is mostly irrational, but I can recognize it for what it was.”

            You can replace “this generation of Riviera” with several cars, many of them boring 1980s/90s Ford cars, and it’d fit me perfectly. I tend to see what the car could have been. What it wants to be. What the people who designed it (Jack Telnack?) wanted it to be.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      I had a 95 Skylark and, as a single guy who liked cushy things, was mad jelly of the Riv.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Real old man alert! Any car I want from the year 1954? I think I’ll take a Mercedes 300S cabriolet.
    http://www.classiccarcatalogue.com/M/mercedes%20benz%201954%20300s%20cabrio.jpg

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Those of us born in the era of malaise may be doomed to live forever within. Alas, I look toward a future – a future of worn apex seals, and endless braaaaaap.

    Yes, I choose the first-year 1978 Mazda RX-7.

    My beloved Z was fat in ’78, soon to become the fatter (and porntastic) ZX the following year.

    Detroit – I can’t think of anything desirable. The ’79 Fox-body Mustang would have been acceptable.

    The 924 Turbo wouldn’t be available until ’79, either.

    Yeah, it’s the 12A-powered RX7 for this enthusiast. I was either born too early, or too late.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    The only 1985 anything I see regularly in Michigan is an ’85 Corvette. That’s not a bad car – 150 MPH performance, over .8 g on the skidpad, lots of Chevy truck parts in it.

  • avatar

    A 1971 Datsun 240Z.

  • avatar
    ajla

    1986 Bentley Turbo R

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    1993…hmm. I’m fond of the Mercedes-Benz 500E, which was a joint effort by Daimler and Porsche, and looked rather like a bouncer in a well-tailored suit, compared to today’s super-sedans, which lack all subtlety.

  • avatar
    Syke

    1950 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop.

    Yeah, I’m the son of a Chevrolet dealer.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Won’t tell you what year, but look up the Pontiac Star Chief serving as a test bed for the first V8 Cadillac that came out the next year. Why? Because my grandparents owned one and I was fascinated by the glowing chief’s head on the hood at night.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      I went diving into the Google machine. It sounds like it would be very cool to see in person:

      http://image.motortrend.com/f/9249845+w750/c12_0608_woodward_18z+1954_Pontiac_Star_Chief+hood.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        A soft amber light right at the point of the hood. My grandfathers car was white over a medium blue.

        Then of course, there was the ’54 Mercury station wagon that my parents had. That was a rather distinctive car for its day, too. Green with vinyl woody sides.

  • avatar
    Dallas Moffat

    1968 Toyota 2000 GT

  • avatar
    whynot

    1990 Lexus LS400

  • avatar
    roverv8i

    How about a 1969 Toyota 2000GT. Thinking of a obscure sports car of the day that might even be a bit reliable.

    Honestly, this is a hard question to answer even if I think of it in terms of being my only car that I would have to use right now. Practically, I would need room for 4. A BMW 2000tii comes to mind but is probably too small. So lets go with a BMW 2800 CS

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I would love a 1969 Toyota.

      This one, Corona coupe. That one has the 2 speed Toyoglide, I’d of course want the manual. https://portland.craigslist.org/yam/cto/d/corona/6202590657.html

      Or how bout a 1969 Datsun roadster?
      https://medford.craigslist.org/cto/d/datsun-roadster/6204773567.html

      1969 Saab? A real V-4, unlike a used Camry!
      https://portland.craigslist.org/yam/cto/d/saab-project/6203744639.html

      1969 had great cars from all over, then it all went to hell in just a few short years.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    1984 Lamborghini Countach please.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    1977 – new for 77 B-body Impala sedan, F41 suspension package, 350 V8, Turbo Hydromatic.

    The thing is, going back to the 20 year question – you could likely drive that for 20 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That was one of GM’s hits, to be sure.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Damn, I completely forgot about the B/C body Olds cars from my year (1982).

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah but you missed the good engines by being born too late. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Exaxtly. A 307 Cut Sup that I did consider would be far more lively.

          I’d still love a Ninety-Eight, we can swap in an Olds 350 or BB. ;)

          https://jackson.craigslist.org/cto/d/oldsmobile-ninety-eight/6184169959.html

          Not an ’82, but so elegant. The want is stroooong.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      The Old Man replaced my mother’s Cordoba with the brand new downsized Chev. A fully loaded Caprice in Copper/Burnt Orange with the 350. Power everything, the first time I had seen a Chev that was optioned to Cadillac standards.

      Except for performance (perceived?) and front seat shoulder/hip room it was head and shoulders above the 1975 Capricewith the optional 454 that I had previously driven.

      Too bad that GM did not keep building on the initial success of that downsizing.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Arthur – yes its sad that GM killed any engine bigger than 5 ltrs (at least here in the states for non-police applications) a few years after launch and then saddled the remaining engines with a 4-speed auto that had a terrible reputation for fragility.

        Now that they’re not new anymore I still believe that a 1977 to 1990 B-body is a great starting point for a project car. You can put just about any GM engine & transmission combo in them, have your pick of rear gear ratio, and upgrade the suspension to your hearts content.

        To me they are the peak of the American sedan.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    1986 Acura Legend. The first of the Japanese luxury invasion.

  • avatar
    TheDoctorIsOut

    1954 Buick Skylark convertable. I mean, just look at it: bold, big metal all over, chrome for days, and a rag top to boot.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    1948 cadillac 2 door fastback.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Bill Michell (chief designer for Cadillac in 1948) brings wings to Cadillac. Excellent choice. My own choice for my birth year (see below) is also a Cadillac where Michell removes some of the excess of Mr Earl to make the perfect Coupe de Ville

  • avatar
    r129

    I have to admit, I love malaise era cars, especially GM cars. After all, these were the cars that I lusted after as a child. 1982 was a particularly big model year for GM, with the introduction of the FWD A and J cars, as well as the new F-bodies. The first year wasn’t particularly great for the new Camaro and Firebird, so I’ll skip over those. I preferred the 1977-79 versions of most B-bodies, though I’d love a 1986-87 Caprice coupe.

    I think I will go with a G-body, perhaps the rarest one of all: The 1982 Buick Regal Grand National with the Sport Coupe package. It was the first GN, which came standard with the 4.1 liter naturally aspirated V6. Only a small number were equipped with the Sport Coupe package that included the 3.8 liter turbo. Not as fast as the later famous Grand Nationals, but very unique.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    My BT50, nothing more or nothing less.

    It is great vehicle, even though it’s been designed by Frod.

    Maybe I can keep my BT50 as the honest and purposeful daily driver and buy a Mini Me Ranger Raptor as my less reliable, fuel guzzling, party wagon to take out to Bunnings (Aussie equivalent to The Home Depot) and buy 20, 2″ nails and some compost for my garden.

    I want to own a Hairdresser Wagon, that looks the part. I’ll even take photos of it at Bunnings with the compost and 20 nails to submit on TTAC.

    Talking of Photos to submit on TTAC.

    JACK BARUTH. WERE THE FNCK IS MY TEXAS EDITION BADGE??

    You know what Jack? When I get back to Australia I WILL buy my own TEXAS EDITION BADGE and adhere it to my pickup and send the photo into TTAC.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Easy….. 1966…..

    1966 Imperial Crown. Either a four door or convertible. Still want one…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    1950’s, so a Coupe De Ville. The era that marked the height of Cadillac’s styling and prestige.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Easy…1970 BMW 2002 “Roundie.” And if not the 2002, then a 2800CS.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    1973 DeTomaso Pantera

  • avatar
    cak446

    1978 Ford F250 Ranger Lariat crew cab 4×4 short box, with a 4-speed manual

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Engine? If you say 300 I-6…I’d love it.

      For my year, 1982, I didn’t like the F-Series styling, and the handsome little Ranger didn’t come out until the next year.

      • 0 avatar
        cak446

        Sure, why not, just to be different! It’s not like the V8’s from that era had much power anyways.

        In 1982, I’d buy a Chevy K10 short box regular cab 4×4 6.2L diesel, 4-speed OD manual with the Hurst shifter.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Easy. Right from the first year of production at the “new” plant.. 1953 Oshawa built Pontiac Laurentian.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      What was that one called in The America?

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Corey …They didn’t sell them in the USA..The 53 Pontiac, used the American Pontiac front hood and fenders..The rest of the car was a Chev.. The Laurentian trim level =Bell Air.

        Later on from the mid 50’s to the mid 80’s, the Canadian Pontiac “B” was a Chev “B” frame, and power train, with an American body.

        We did produce a 82 ? “B” “Chevyiac” for U.S. export…In my opinion a very pretty car.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Very interesting. I like learning about the Pontiac and Mercury hybrid type mashups for Canada.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The near end of production mid 80s Pontiac Parisienne wagon is still my favorite B-body wagon of all that I have driven.

            Of course the 80s Parisienne only existed in the US because of Pontiac dealers need for something big after the “gas-apocalypse” never came.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I saw an Acadienne at the Ault Park show here a couple years ago. Stuck out like a sore thumb among the other, regular Pontiacs there.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Yes, it was always fun to travel in the U.S with a uniquely Canadian car…My buddies 1966 Meteor Montcalm S83 model (I think I have the right name ) always attracted car guys..

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Corey ..That would be an Acadian essentially a Chevy 11. They revised the name plate in 82 and stuck them on an upscale ?? Chevette.

            The Acadians were a group of French people residing in Cape Breton Nova Scotia. The Acadians didn’t get along so well with the Quebecers, and moved to Louisiana. That my friend is where the term “Cajun’s ” came from.

            Just a little history, to go with a car discussion.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            So I said the wrong name I think. It was the Canadian GTO. Which one was that?

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Corey….Now I know what you saw. They used the Acadian name for a trim level on the Pontiac Beumont..for just a couple of years.

            A Beumont is really a Chevelle . Same sheet metal, with a reworked tail light, and front extension/grill.

            The Instrument panel was a reworked U.S…”A “Pontiac GTO.

            Corey ..I wasn’t being snarky when I corrected your spelling..If I came across that way, I apologize

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Thanks for the info ;). I wasn’t sure how it was spelled, no offense taken!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    1963 Corvette (split-window, of course). And I don’t even particularly like Corvettes, but that year is pretty cool.

  • avatar
    Brent Bubba Mazur

    1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    1982. Just a few years off from my favorite cars.

    Well, there are a few.

    1982 Honda Prelude. Missing the awesome stacked gauges of the earlier cars, but I’d still take a 5 speed with a sunroof, in copper brown /orange color.

    1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 307 V-8 Brougham coupe. Best looking front clip (quad headlamps).

    1982 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 200 I-6, 4 speed manual. Would also take the two door sedan, but i do prefer the funky Z-7, and I’d do a triple tone paint job on it.

    Oh noes! I didn’t choose a sedan over a coupe of those last two mainstream cars! Now I’ll have all the downsides of a sports car (like being undriveable in adverse weather, horrible MPG, higher repair/maintenance costs/frequency, uncomfortable seats for long drives) with none of the virtues! Oh well, I stand by my decision.

    Not sure which of those three I’d take. They all have things I love about them.

    I guess my true blue blood would push me toward the Zephyr, even with its wheezing sub-100 HP 6. I have had two I-6 Zephyrs, 1983 GS sedan and a 1978 Z-7. I could live with it, but I always wanted to swap in a 250 I-6 block from a Granada or Maverick, with an Australian EFI head from later years (1980s) as they developed that engine, where North America didn’t.

    My Zephyrs were automatics, and, aside from the carb issues later on with the Z-7, were extremely reliable and durable.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    That’s easy, because I already own it (albeit needing plenty of work): 1970 Volkswagen Bug Convertible with automatic stickshift.

    If I can have another, I’ll be quite torn between wanting a VW Westfalia camper, a Citroen DS, a Mercedes 350 SE convertible, or a Magirus-Deutz 90 D 10 “alligator hood” truck (they were still being made for the German post office in 1970). But they’re all out of my financial reach anyway, and likely will remain so forever.

  • avatar
    bechsteinb

    1963 Jag Mk II Even as a kid I loved its stately proportions and there’s never been a better looking front facade. Best of all, it’s finally age-appropriate for me! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_Mark_2

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I too love the Mark II, the ‘Morse Car’. It came out just a little too late from me to include it. But one of my uncles had one, used to love to ride in it, even more than his convertible Impala SS.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    I’m going to only very slightly bend the rules.

    In 1985 I’m going to put down a deposit on the upcoming Vauxhall Carlton GSI 3000, due in dealers early 1986. Station Wagon, of course.

    Big, European station wagon, inline 6 (!!!), fast, comfortable and quite a looker for the time. In 5 years I can trade it in for the 1990 Lotus Carlton version. (or GSI 24V if I’m hard up for cash). Lotus Carlton had a 3.6 twin turbo.

    The parents of a childhood friend had one of these – supremely comfortable, silky engine, lots of room, limited slip diff, lowered suspension.

    Damn, I wish I were born in 1991 – just look at it! http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C888438

  • avatar
    GST

    1943 . Guess I am going to be walking.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    The first car I owned was debuted the same year I did–a 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7.

  • avatar
    Rengaw

    You young whipper snappers. 1943 when bumpers, running boards, double opening hoods, distinct headlights and fenders, and rumble seats were actually useful and purposeful.
    I’m going with the 1943 T-17 Staghound armored scout car. Chevy built 3,800 in Flint, Michigan with 37mm cannons.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    1971 BMW 3.0 CSI or Alfa Romeo GTV

  • avatar

    For me it’s a tossup:

    1976 Datsun 620 pickup
    1976 Celica GT LiftBack

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Its a shame that the AMC Javelin no longer existed when I was born, because that’s the one malaise-era car I really want. Not only because I like the way it looks, but its rarity these days means it would be fairly unique as a weekend/hobby car. The 1971 in particular, seems to have the front and read end designs that appeal to me the most.

    Anyway, any 4th gen Nova in SS trim would look close enough to my first car, that I would want it. I know it wouldn’t be the same, but close enough.

    Or a second gen Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, the post 1977 face-lifted ones.

    And a M-B 450SL convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      What you really want is an AMX, the true performance model manufactured by American Motors.

      I actually once saw the front end of a later model Javelin get ‘airborne’. The problem is allegedly caused by the overly large front wheel wheels.

      Certainly one of the B&B will further enlighten us on this?

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        Wikipedia says that the original AMX was a two seater with a short wheel base that offered pretty good performance for the price. Apparently, the only other American two seat sports car at the time was the slightly longer, and slower Corvette.

        I’d take either version, but Wiki says that the Javelin and the AMX came out of the same R&D project and were siblings anyway. So a 5 seater makes more sense for me with kids (if I had the cash and wrenching ability for such a car). I think they’d get a kick out of weekend drives in the back seat.

        Mostly though, I really prefer the looks of ’71 vs the ’68 -’70 versions. It’s a little lower, and longer. Just looks meaner.

        If I could find either with the “Go” package, that was in fair shape, I’d REALLY discuss it with my wife as a hobby/potential ability to be an investment. There aren’t many out there anymore in any condition, as far as I can tell.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Not only could the AMX go fast in a straight line, it was possibly the best North American car of that era for handling.

          And the area behind the seats was quite large, before seatbelt laws, we could fit some fairly large people back there.

          Probably because it was an AMC product, the AMX (and Javelin) was largely overlooked before, but is now being recognized for its ‘excellence’.

  • avatar
    jlyon

    It would be a hard choice between 2 cars I probably could not even fit into but I have always loved: 1967 Lotus Elan or its slower but more reliable Japanese cousin the Honda S600.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    All the talk of Malaise Era bad-choices…I’m in a worse period.

    1958. The Tri-Fives were gone, replaced by that misbegotten one-year A-body. Ford took their winning new 1957 and bloated it. Chryslers were so-poorly assembled in those years that even the superior chassis and drivetrain wouldn’t cut it.

    The squarebird Thunderbird never spoke to me. The 1958 Corvette, still used king pins in the front end.

    Rambler? Get serious. Studebaker? The 1959 Lark might have had merits, but in 1958 they were in a nadir of inspiration, and were flailing for survival.

    I’m torn. The VW Type 1, which still had the small rear window if one-piece; and the Willys Jeep FC.

    Two entirely-different vehicles, of course. The FC has its wierd factor; and it’s practical in its own way. The VW, economical; stand-out; the start of the peak through which VW ruled the import market.

    It was a bad time…the inspiration of the 1960s, started by Corvair, later more-normalized by the Mustang and Camaro…the practical-sized compacts, the powerful modern SBCs…the style, the convenience…were all a few years away.

  • avatar
    Bangernomist

    YOB 1969. The Year of the ZL-1. Corvette or Camaro? Tough call. :)

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    1967 Lincoln Conti or a 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Ugh, I’d rather walk. Sooooo much malaise crap. I’ll be an oddball and pick the first-gen Cressida.

  • avatar
    JRoth

    It’s easy, if you let me fudge. Surely the ’73 911 RS was available by late November of 1972?

    Failing that, did they make the ’72 911S with a targa top? I adore the 911 targas.

  • avatar
    scott25

    1990 Subaru XT6, and a 1990 Mitsubishi Minica Dangan, add them together and they add up to the same size as most of the other selections.

  • avatar
    Messerschmitten

    The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gull-wing.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Hmm, 1982. If we’re playing by the (assumed) rules, I assume I can’t have an E30 BMW because they weren’t sold in the US back then. In that case, make mine a 500 SEC.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    1970… for me it would be between a Vega and a Colt. If the Vega was in great running condition, I’d probably choose it. If not, I’ll take the Colt.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    1975… Ugh.

    I’ll take a (final year) Imperial LeBaron Crown Coupe.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I’m assuming exotics are banned, but if not the Porsche 959 was released in 1986. (Missed the F40 by a year). The Mercedes 560SEC would be my non exotic choice.

  • avatar
    nikolainyr

    1982 is slim pickings. One year later in America and I could say the Audi ur-Quattro.
    There’s nothing great from Detroit at that time.
    So it’s either a Volvo 240 GLT Turbo (which I could probably find still running), or a BMW 633csi (only still running if it’s been a garage queen).

  • avatar

    1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

  • avatar
    don1967

    ’67 GTO.

  • avatar
    CadiDrvr

    1970 Fleetwood Eldorado

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It’s a tough choice for me, either a 1990 Volvo 745 or a boxy cop spec Crown Vic. Nearly everything else at that time used those electric choke belts (including “high quality” Hondas).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Quality had nothing to do with it, it was a federal mandate for “passive restraints”, making them a stand-in for airbags.

      I think Taurus had a standard driver airbag in 1990. None of them had automatic belts, I know that. An SHO would be the rocket that old 302-powered Matlock Panther never could be, providing you would be okay with a manual (no automatic until later on).

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        It was a mandate yes, but carmakers had a choice between airbags or auto-belts. Then there was the Maxima which briefly used both (a weird choice yes, but they were nice cars no less).

        I’m sure that the SHO would be a bit of a “rocket”, and it looked more modern than any Panther that would come later, I just prefer old RWD boats, cheaper to fix in the long run.

        On a side note, I had to log in 3 times to post this comment and I’ve seen others have to sign in as many as 5 times! Anyone know when this will be fixed?

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Sorry about the posting problems, they affected for two days or so, then no more.

          What is worse is my keyboard lags and erases words when the banner ad show up . this one is particularly bad now.

          I do understand your reasons for choosing the Vic, but might I suggest the redesigned Town Car which had a new, more elegant body (Damn I use that word a lot lately), but still with the old 302?

          They had a choice, but designs have to be made and with Honda, they finally got an airbag in that Accord generation. Remembering also that at the time, an airbag added considerable cost to the car.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            No problemo, I was just putting that out there for the site maintenance folk to see. I suppose I deserve it for being an adblock fiend.

            Actually I do like Town Cars of that time, trouble is 1990 was an oddball transition year so they had a few quirks to work out. 28Carslater had a ’91 IIRC that had many gremlins.

            My main reasoning for “cop-spec” is just to avoid false soft-tops, too old-manny and they cause rust to build up. That and you get factory dual exhaust.

            Truth be told, the Accord of that time did “elegance” better than any Panther, everything was “just right”. They just dont “click” with me like a big clumsy V8. Its the difference between a Looney tunes short and a Miyazaki animation.

            You’re correct on the airbag/cost, even then you were lucky to pay sticker for one back then as they were basically the Nintendo of cars for that time.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          **I’m sorry man, you said cop spec Crown Vic, so elegance isn’t what you’re after. Not trying to impose my choices on you, just making conversation. :)

  • avatar
    stingray65

    1961 Ferrari 250TR61 – just like the Phil Hill 24 Hour LeMans winner.

    • 0 avatar
      tbvrunner

      A great choice! 1961 was an awesome year for cars.

      I would choose the car that Enzo Ferrari called “the most beautiful car ever made”, the 1961 E-Type Jaguar.

      And a ’61 Lincoln Continental 4-Door Convertible for cruising with the wife and friends.

  • avatar
    Mn12Fanatic

    1990 so there is really only one logical (or illogical)…

    The 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix TURBO STE! Sure to explode, but easily tuneable and one heck of a sleeper since most people have no idea this car was ever made. Also, that was easily the best looking generation of grand prix’s (well maybe not as good as 62-68).

    Honorable mentions would be the 1990 Dodge Daytona Shelby, and the 1990 Mercury Cougar XR7 (3.8 Super). I picked these because it’s outside of the cliche R32, 3000GT, Lambo, Lotus, Porsche, etc. These are probably more rare than any of those because most of them rusted to bits or were casually scrapped.

  • avatar
    KevinB

    1959. Cadillac. Enough said.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Would have been my choice, however although I was born in that decade, not in that year.

      The ultimate expression of American power, prestige, culture and indulgence.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Luckily I was born a year later. While the 59 gets all the press, the 60 was a nicer looking car. Eliminating the high bullet lights really cleaned up the rear.

  • avatar

    The last year I remember here was 1973 when there was at least some muscle available plus the BMW 2002.

    I cannot think of anything desirable from Detroit from 1980. The Mustang temporarily lost the 5.0 and was saddled with a 125-hp V-8 and awful Four and Six models. The GM A-cars were still sorta nice: Buick Regal Turbo and the Pontiac Grand AM, Chevrolet Malibu Coupe, or Olds Cutlass Calais with their handling options and 5.0L V-8s. The Camaro Z-28 could match the Turbo Trans-Am in power but both were pretty sad, as was the Corvette.

    I cannot think of anything else from Ford except trucks and cop cars. Same for Chrysler; the GLH Shelby Omni was several years away. AMC had Jeeps and the new Eagle. Pretty slim.

    Europe/Japan:

    BMW 320i
    Honda Accord
    Mazda RX-7
    Toyota Celica/Supra
    Triumph TR8 (massochim)
    VW Scirocco

    I’m not getting into stuff that cost more than $15K back then. A family of 4 was luck to earn $30K in household income.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    1979 leaves me not exactly spoiled for choice. I’d probably have to go with Dodge Li’l Red Express.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Ferrari Testarossa.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    1975 Maserati Khamsin in black and tan. I love GT cars and I think this was the pinnacle GT, until the 928.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    It wasn’t really a great year for cars, but there were exceptions. I’d settle for a 1949 Jaguar XK120, in which case it’d have to be in British Racing Green.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      1949 – how about the Cadillac with still tasteful tailfins and the new OHV V-8, or a classic Rebel without a Cause Mercury, or Chrysler Town and Country with real wood.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    1989 puts me in the thick of a lot of really nice (if rust-prone) Japanese machinery.

    I think I’ll go with a new for ’89 Mazda MPV V6 4wd 5spd manual, they were the only ones with a selectable low range! That or a nice Accord LXi hatchback (also 5spd, white or grey with red velour interior). Or a Prelude Si. or a Land Cruiser, Montero, or Trooper. Decisions decisions!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      If I’m limited to choosing from the automotive landscape of my birth country, options narrow (and worsen) substantially. An ancient Volga 24-10 with kingpin front suspension, carb, and 4 wheel drum brakes? An equally ancient Moskvitch 412 with undeniable ruggedness and accessibility to parts/spares/know-how? A then-modern Lada Samara with rattle-trap interior and a car I’ll worry about getting stolen (and maybe robbed/killed over once the SU collapses)? Perhaps a reasonable middle-ground would be a RWD-Fiat 124 based Lada 2107. More modern than the Volga/Moskvitch, rugged and well understood by mechanics, and the 2107 is the “lux” version with full dash/console and a 5spd transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        No Lada Niva? The only vehicle from your homeland I have personally driven. And, I liked it, a lot actually. Only issue was the pedals were so close together, I had to drive it with my shoes off. Very fun on an undeveloped lot where we did some light off-road driving, just to give the 4 wheel drive system some use. I wanted to take it home with me.

        My friend and I towed a late 1980s non-running Accord to a shop from his apartment in Montreal, about 10 blocks. Very fun with the chain came off in a busy intersection, lol I bet people were cussing us. He had to make the block and come back to rescue me.

        Lets just say it was a good thing I was driving a non-running car that day. (This was not the day I drove the Niva.)

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Yeah good point, the Niva would be the pick of the litter. Very advanced design for when it came out, the first of its kind really (full-time 4wd for on-road use with locking center diff, unibody construction and car-like ride (owing to reinforced Fiat 124 underpinnings). Not terribly reliable if you didn’t look after it like a hawk, but most handy DIYers did fine with them. And absolute billygoats offroad.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Misses your birth year by 1.

            https://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/cto/d/lada-vaz-niva-soviet/6221055858.html

            I would love it. Pedals don’t look too close on that one. I honestly could really use it now that I’m getting into more activities like camping and fishing.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            I like it but wildly over priced ~ this is just a decent old car with a _ghastly_ re spray and some gloss black over the entire undercarriage .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Very cool! Interesting when Russian imports pop up in the US every once in a while. I’ve now seen an ’87 Izh Moskvitch 412 in the same orange as my uncle’s ’87 412, and an UAZ 469.

            If I was fantastically wealthy I’d scoop it up, but for practical uses, something like an old Sidekick is in every way a superior and easier to own machine here in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I like a lot of those myself.

      But, my friend, I have car for you. Is good car, no?

      Okay obviously phony accent off, this has got to be a weird one. Seems to be a 1989 Toyota Camry DX V-6 5-speed. Quickest (lightest) Camry?

      https://pensacola.craigslist.org/cto/d/toyota-camry/6231689678.html

      (V-6 badge is on the decklid.)

      The owner states its a manual but does not confirm or deny the V-6.

      Gtem, I could be there in a few hours lol

      Actually, I had a thought (like the Buick above) about putting it on eBay, with some freshening up, good servicing. And, forgive me, but late model Camry alloys. I would keep the steelies and include them if the buyer wanted, but this would look good with some modern Camry alloys. That’s my personal taste, and this isn’t really my car, so your mileage may vary.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Looks like a legit V6, remember the “DX” used to be a fairly fancy trim in Toyota speak back in the 80s-early 90s. I’m more curious about those lower than-stock sidewalls, not sure I’m a fan (but easily corrected). I’m also highly suspicious of any car that is photographed while wet. More likely than not the paint is super faded (but could be polished back to reasonable health). I just did a buff and wax on my Ranger and removed the peeling pin-stripe, looks like a million bucks relatively speaking. That paint is so much higher quality than newer cars. The Ranger and my 4Runner have a small handful of rock chips accumulated over 20+ years of driving, none have penetrated the e-coat to bare metal bad enough to rust. My wife’s 2012 Camry? I’ve had to sand down and treat at least 5 rock chips with rust preventative before touching up. Sad state of affairs.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Oh yes, I’m sure its in need of a paint job. I would do as you said to resell it. Whoever falls in love with it can have it painted.

          Well, DX was the base trim for 1989 Camry I believe. I think the uplevel model was LE, which got body color bumpers and full wheel covers. My Camry was an older LE.

          If I picked a 1982 (my birth year) Toyota, it would be a Tercel base coupe 4spd, or the top-of-the-line SR-5 (back when it truly meant a 5 speed) 3 door hatchback.
          Ironically only one year before my hated 1983 Tercel 4wd wagon was built. I really prefer the earlier Tercel, in hatch or coupe form, to that top heavy, slow-as-Sunday afternoon SR-5 wagon I had.

          For your year, lots of Japanese cars I like, but none are Toyotas. I’d be weird and take a 1989 Tempo GLS coupe 5 speed. I could still get a 4 cylinder two door Trooper, I’d love that. Maybe a Cutlass Ciera coupe, too bad it misses the RWD Cut Sup by a year. 1989 Bronco 300 I-6 5 speed would be fun. K5 Jimmy, too. Lots of good choices in ’89.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    1974…

    1. Lancia Stratos.
    2. Lamborghini Countach LP400

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    1973 911S , green over brown

  • avatar
    azfelix

    Oh my! Where to begin? So many beautiful choices in 1970:

    Lamborghini Miura
    Lamborghini Espada
    Aston Martin DBS V8
    Ferrari Daytona
    De Tomaso Mangusta

    My pick:

    Maserati Ghibli

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    1952 Pontiac. My first car ride. With the lighted Indian hood ornament.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    I mean, a (first-year) NSX is on the table, here. That’s as much car as I’d like to maintain, which is why I’m ignoring, say, the Diablo. My heart says 300ZX, though. Wouldn’t even expect twin turbos, just make it a manual with T-tops.

    (As far as what I can practically and financially justify owning from 1991? Well, for me that’d be a year-older version of my Volvo 245, or perhaps a 945 Turbo. A ’91 CB7 coupe with ’92-93 seatbelts swapped in would be tempting, though.)

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    1957 Cadillac Eldorado is my answer – though a ’57 T-Bird, Corvette, or a ’57 Chevy would all be good answers.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I was born in 1991.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t born in 1993, which, by this criteria, would not make me eligible for a Concorde or Vision.

    So, I’d go for a ’91 New Yorker or Imperial, just being real careful with what would be the first few batches of cars with the Ultradrive (disclaimer: the Ultradrive is a LOT better twenty years later).

    Hang on. I might change my mind. How about a ’91 LeBaron convertible?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      My ideal 1991 ChryCo would be a Plymouth Acclaim LX V-6, loaded as it could get.

      Probably too much to hope for a 5 speed, but I found an Acclaim 5 speed a few weeks ago (earlier than 1991). I liked the console and the tachometer cluster.

      The Acclaim and Spirit are my favorite K derivatives, I liked their boxy profile and the grille and tail lights (all white at the bottom and across the center panel on the decklid) the Acclaim had in 1991 gave it an elegant touch.

      I wish I had known someone who liked LH cars like I like Tauruses. I would’ve given you my 1996 Concorde LXi. The engine and trans let go, then some tweakers staying there (while I was out of town) had removed most of the aluminum. It still had an outstanding body and interior, like a dark greenish blueish 90s color, grey leather with floor shift.

      I thought about doing a 300M powertrain swap on it (they were insanely cheap going through insurance auctions), but life happened. I ended up giving it to a scrap guy after posting ads for weeks on craigslist. So many brand new, often failing parts like the steering rack, pump, etc. The whole system had just been redone.

      That car drained me financially. What a waste.

      • 0 avatar
        PentastarPride

        I wouldn’t mind an Acclaim if I were buying a car in that era. It’s Chrysler’s version of the Camry (well, with the three speed Torqueflite). It’s boring but reliable.

        Funny you mentioned your Concorde. I just bought a ’93 in mint condition way back in Portland, OR. Had it shipped home to Utah. Engine bay looked better than a car 20 years newer, not a drop of any fluid. This is probably the cleanest, well-kept ’93 on the road. I put over $2500 in preventative maintenance, tires and suspension work. This is my first classic car. My wife rolls her eyes but is finally coming to terms with having this in the garage rather than something highly sought after.

        I also bought a ’06 Ram 2500 Laramie Cummins 5.9 megacab two weeks ago. Have wanted one for a while and just decided to buy one as life is starting to dictate the use of a good solid truck. I dont like the new RAM trucks partly due to the 6.7L being saddled with emissions related problems. It’s in very pristine condition too and has only 56k.

        And yes, I still have my daily driver, my ’13 200. Not letting go of that either.

        My Audi/Lexus/BMW driving coworkers were perplexed when I rolled up in my Concorde, all nice and waxed. Some of them didn’t even know what it was. Sad…

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati!

  • avatar
    oldguy

    1948 Buick Roadmaster, the 2 door version.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    In 1960 there is really only one answer. Cadillac Coupe de Ville. White with Black and White interior.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    a 52 Chevy Bel air or a 52 Jaguar XK 120.

  • avatar
    SteveRenwick

    Tough choice between the 1961 MB 300SL and the 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible. The Benz, I suppose, but I’d be perfectly happy with either one.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I have already owned a car from the year of my birth, a 1962 Ford Fairlane 500. The 221 Windsor was nothing to write home about. Perhaps I’d take a 260-powered sport coupe with a 4-speed.

    But I’d much rather have either Wixom product from that year, a BulletBird or a Continental convertible, tastefully retromodded. I’ll take the Thunderbird in Roadster form, with the Kelsey Hayes wire wheels. Light blue or turquoise please.

  • avatar

    1977 Ford F-150 XLT Extended Cab.

    I will have one someday.

  • avatar
    raph

    1969 L88 Corvette is probably the standout in my mind. Especially outfitted with side exhaust.

  • avatar
    applesartini

    1974 BMW 2002tii Touring. Or a 911. I’m easy.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    1955 Chevy Bel Air.

    1955 was the Golden Age of the Automobile.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    1957. I’ll go with a Caddy convertible, Packard wagon or Hawk coupe.

  • avatar

    1952 Ford Customline

  • avatar
    Marko

    1991 – NSX.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I’m a bicentennial baby… Let’s see what was out there:

    AMC
    Gremlin
    Hornet
    Matador
    Pacer

    Audi
    100
    5000
    Fox

    Austin
    MGB
    Midget

    BMW
    2002
    3.0Si
    530i

    Buick
    Century
    Electra 225
    LeSabre
    Opel
    Regal
    Riviera
    Skyhawk
    Skylark

    Cadillac
    Calais
    Deville
    Eldorado
    Fleetwood
    Seville

    Chevrolet
    Camaro
    Caprice Classic
    Chevette
    Corvette
    El Camino
    Impala
    Laguna S3
    LUV
    Malibu
    Monte Carlo
    Monza
    Nova
    Vega
    Blazer
    C/K Series Pickup
    G Series Van
    Suburban

    Chrysler
    Cordoba
    New Yorker
    Newport

    Datsun
    280z
    710
    B110
    F10
    HL620 Truck

    Dodge
    Aspen
    Colt
    Coronet
    Charger
    Dart
    Monaco
    D50
    Sweptline/Utiline Pickup
    Sportsman/Tradesman Van
    Ramcharger

    Ford
    Custom 500
    Elite
    Granada
    LTD
    Maverick
    Mustang II
    Pinto
    Ranchero
    Thunderbird
    Torino
    Bronco
    Courier
    F Series Pickup
    Econoline Van

    GMC
    Sprint
    Blazer
    C/K Series Pickup
    G Series Van
    Jimmy
    Suburban

    Honda
    Accord
    Civic

    International Harvester
    Scout II

    Jaguar
    XJ-6
    XJ-12
    XJ-S

    Jeep
    CJ-5
    CJ-7
    Cherokee
    J Series Pickup
    Wagoneer

    Lincoln
    Continental
    Mark IV

    Mazda
    Cosmo
    Mizer
    RX3
    RX4
    REPU Truck

    Mercedes-Benz
    280/280C/280S
    450SL/450SLC/450SE

    Mercury
    Bobcat
    Capri
    Comet
    Cougar XR7
    Grand Marquis
    Marquis
    Monarch
    Montego

    Oldsmobile
    Cutlass
    Delta 88
    Ninety Eight
    Omega
    Starfire
    Toronado

    Plymouth
    Champ
    Fury
    Gran Fury
    Valiant
    Volare
    Arrow
    Trail Duster
    Voyager Van

    Pontiac
    Astre
    Bonneville
    Catalina
    Firebird
    Grand Prix
    LeMans
    Sunbird
    Ventura

    Porsche
    911
    912
    914
    934

    Subaru
    1400

    Toyota
    Celica
    Corolla
    Corona

    Triumph
    TR6
    TR7

    Volkswagen
    Dasher
    Rabbit
    Sirocco
    Type I (Beetle)
    Type II (Transporter)

    Volvo
    240
    260

    Probably not an exhaustive list, but close. SO MUCH CRAP! And also the year before GM downsizing so everything is so bloated and the Riviera is hideous.

    The Plymouth Trail Duster gets points for being lesser-known, and the REPU for being weird. The 280Z and 2002 would be fun, and I have a soft spot for a Beetle convertible.

    I’ll go full-on underdog though… Make mine a 1976 IH Scout II Traveller, please.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • FormerFF: The thing about street racing that makes me have so much contempt for it, is that not only is it dangerous...
  • FormerFF: Sounds good. If you’re ever in north Georgia, be sure to try out Atlanta Motorsports Park’s...
  • IHateCars: On the up side, it looks as though that Akrapovic pipe held up pretty well!
  • Polishdon: For the Big Three: GM: 1980’s when they downsized everything and everything looked the same...
  • Erikstrawn: Why doesn’t Fiat/Chrysler follow Great Wall’s lead? Start trimming off the car market and...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff