Category: Rare Rides

By on September 21, 2017

Image: 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32, via seller

It would be understandable if the Lancia Thema you see above put you immediately in mind of a Rare Ride from a few days ago, the gold-plated DeLorean DMC-12. While that car had an entirely different purpose from the Lancia you see before you, the two did have a couple of things in common. Both were designed by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. And like the DeLorean, the Lancia also suffered (in normal trims) with the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine that made Eagle Premier owners miserable.

But that’s where the similarities end. Because today’s Thema sheds its multinational, mediocre V6 power for some purebred Ferrari horses. And you don’t even have to do the import paperwork.

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By on September 18, 2017

Image; 1989 Colt Vista, via seller

A couple weeks ago we took a look at a tidy, light blue Nissan Stanza Wagon, which we determined was a very early example of the crossover breed that would heat up decades later. I can happily report the Stanza was quickly snapped up by an automotive enthusiast who plans to take good care of it. Since that little light blue square is off the market, I found a different vehicle of the same general purpose (and color).

Let’s trot on over and take a look at the Colt Vista.

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By on September 15, 2017

Image: 1987 Buick Grand National, via seller

Turning the sedate Buick Regal into an extra-special Grand National injected some much-needed sportiness into the Buick brand in the early 1980s. And while the Grand National is not as rare as the very limited edition GNX variant, this particular car just happens to have a famous prior owner: David Spade.

Just shoot me.

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By on September 11, 2017

Image; 1983 DeLorean DMC 12

The DeLorean DMC-12 is forever linked to the classic film Back to the Future, where the stainless steel wonder was converted into a conveyance for the purposes of time travel. But the silver screen was not the only place the DMC-12 underwent a transformation. A certain credit card company had a PR stunt in mind that saw the DeLorean plated with 24-carat gold.

Our Rare Ride today is what happens when a private owner attempts the same thing.

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By on September 6, 2017

Image: 1986 Nissan Stanza Wagon, via seller

Nissan and Datsun brought quirky, interesting, innovative vehicles to North American shores in the years prior to roughly 1994. Commenters — okay, I — brought up our subject Stanza in a post the other day about AMC Eagle creator Roy Lunn. Mr. Lunn used American Motors’ rather slim budget to create what was arguably the very first crossover vehicle from an assemblage of existing parts.

Let’s see what Nissan did with its early proto-crossover vehicle idea.

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By on August 31, 2017

Image: 1990 BMW Z1, image via seller

Though not the first BMW-powered vehicle in our Rare Rides series, and not the first with two doors, it is the first BMW convertible we’ve seen here. And the two aforementioned doors on this little convertible have One Simple Trick up their sleeve — disappearing into the body of the car. It’s the kind of detail you’d only expect on some crazy old Citroën.

But that’s not the only unique aspect of the Z1. Want to learn something?

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By on August 28, 2017

Image: 1985 ASC McLaren Capri Convertible, image via seller

Last time on Rare Rides we featured a V8-powered American muscle car that started out as a coupe and had the roof removed by an aftermarket company. Opinions of the Callaway Speedster were mixed, ranging from “meh” to “1990s meh.” So for this Rare Rides entry, we are doing something completely different following the exact same formula, executed in a different way.

It’s a very special Mercury, at a much lower price point. McLaren anyone?

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By on August 25, 2017

Image: 1991 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway Speedster, via eBay

From a forgotten sidebar of automotive history, today’s Rare Ride is perhaps a bit more obscure than normal. Just 10 total examples of the Speedster were produced, making it exceptionally rare. And while the front clip says, “I’m still a C4 Corvette,” the rest of the car underwent quite a transformation at the Callaway shop.

Slip on your stonewashed Jordache jeans and get ready for this rapid Rare Ride.

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By on August 14, 2017

Image: 1998 MSV, image via seller

Look at the large creature before you. A fiberglass cacophony of components from various manufacturer parts bins, known as the MSV. Initially, I thought the short acronym could only mean My Special Van, but those letters actually represent the company behind this beast: Mauck Specialty Vehicles.

Hop in the back, and we’ll embark on a voyage to… recreation.

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By on August 11, 2017

Image: 1990 Bentley Hooper Empress II, via Craigslist

Back in June, Rare Rides profiled a different blue British beauty in the form of the Aston Martin Lagonda. Down in the comments section, TTAC reader Heino requested coverage of a Hooper-bodied Bentley.

Frankly, I forgot about the request in short order. But it sprang back to mind as soon as I saw the awkward visage of what would become today’s Rare Ride: a Bentley Hooper Empress II. Ready for a history lesson?

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By on August 3, 2017

Image: 1966 Prince R380, image © Corey Lewis

This special racing edition of Rare Rides was made possible by the Infiniti Q50 First Drive event in Nashville, Tennessee, which also provided the source material for this Q50 review and this Q60 Picture Time. Our Rare Ride today also happens to be my 100th contribution to TTAC. Time flies!

Let’s have a little look at some Japanese racing royalty, starting with some history.

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By on July 10, 2017

Image: 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix Pepsi Special Edition, image via Craigslist

Our last Rare Ride was a Pontiac 6000 with some serious B&B appeal, what with its special gold alloys and transverse all-wheel-drive witchcraft. In light of this old Pontiac lovin’, I found another one for you today.

This special edition vehicle was practicing #branding before either #, or “branding,” were things you’d put together for your latest Twitter communiqué.

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By on July 7, 2017

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

Deep from the catacombs of General Motors history comes this all-wheel-drive Pontiac 6000. While the 6000 was a fairly pedestrian car, this SE example seems in great condition and has the added rarity of a drivetrain not found in other vehicles from the General.

It’s only a good idea to keep reading if you like gold-tone alloys, many identically shaped buttons, and copious amounts of ribbed cladding.

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By on June 28, 2017

Image: 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, via Craigslist

Check out these two words: Turbo Coupe. They roll off the tongue nicely, and all car enthusiasts should know exactly they mean — or used to. In 2017, they usually mean someone with a mullet is nearby, driving a beat-to-hell Thunderbird with peeling logos and ruined paint. Likely while listening to Whitesnake.

Our example today is what the term Turbo Coupe used to mean. It is perfect, painted a gleaming black, and on the floor there’s a five-speed manual. Here I go again…

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By on June 27, 2017

Image: 1984 Aston Martin Lagonda, image via Hemmings

We’ve got a special treat for you today — this glorious Aston Martin Lagonda from that future dystopia now long past, 1984. And futuristic it was, when you consider this car was sprawled across luxuriously carpeted showrooms beginning in 1976.

So let’s go back in time. Is your leisure suit ready?

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