Tag: 1980s

By on October 17, 2017

Image: 1977 AMC AM Van ConceptEarly this year, the Rare Rides series began with this Ghia concept from 1979. A lovely red coupe, it was based on humble Mustang underpinnings. Today we return to the concept car bin with this AMC. Much like the Ghia, AMC’s AM Van is a very 1970s concept based on an existing car platform that never moved past the concept stage.

Let’s check out this pearlescent red box.

(Read More…)

By on October 16, 2017

1985 Chrysler LeBaron in Arizona wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
While Chrysler made a bewildering array of vehicles based on the staving-off-bankruptcy K Platform, only four models could be called pure K-cars: the Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Dodge 400, and Chrysler LeBaron. All the rest, from the Town & Country minivan to the Imperial, were based on mutated K hardware.

Here’s an example of a fully luxed-up LeBaron convertible, featuring body trim made from the stately trees of the Magical Petrochemical Forest, spotted in a Phoenix self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

Image: 1981 Maserati Merak SS, image via sellerWe’ve featured a Maserati previously in our Rare Rides series — a bespoke Quattroporte shooting brake which drew mixed styling opinions from the informed and gracious peanut gallery of the B&B. Today though, we step back in time to something closer to the traditional two-door, sporty exotica that makes up much of the brand’s history.

Presenting a Maserati Merak, this one decked out in special SS trim.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2017

Image: 1991 UAZ 469, image via sellerEarlier this week, we brought you a Rare Ride straight from the Eastern Block. The Skoda 120 was Czechoslovakia’s answer to the middle-market family sedan. Today we keep it Communist and look at Russia’s answer to the decadent and capitalistic Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender, the UAZ-469.

This four-by-four can really do some work.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

Image: 1985 Skoda 120 GLS, via sellerLate last week, on our Rare Rides entry for the Renault Alliance GTA, commenter scott25 alerted me to a Skoda he spotted on Kijiji (which is what eBay is called in Canada or something). As most people in North America have likely never seen a Skoda, this odd little sedan should do nicely as today’s Rare Ride.

Come along, comrades.

(Read More…)

By on September 29, 2017

Image: 1987 Renault Alliance GTAToday we bring you a very special, semi-complicated Rare Rides. It’s an unusual little sports coupe bearing a French diamond on the front, a Wisconsin-made sticker inside the door, and red GTA badging on the sills.

Come check out the Renault Alliance GTA.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via sellerThere’s a bit of a history with Rare Rides entries featuring Pontiac models. First was the awesome all-wheel drive 6000, with a Pepsi Edition Grand Prix following on its heels just three days afterward. Now, three months have elapsed since we last saw a Pontiac on these pages — far too long!

Bend the knee, for the Richard Petty Pontiac Grand Prix SE has arrived.

(Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

Image: 1987 Suzuki Mighty Boy, via seller

What exactly do you get when you combine tidy Japanese proportions and the American sedan-cum-pickup idea of the Chevrolet El Camino? Well it’s not the Subaru Baja or the Honda Ridgeline. It’s the Suzuki Mighty Boy.

Think you can handle all this rarity? Read on.

(Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

1983 Toyota Cressida in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
It has taken a few decades, but Toyota Cressidas now show up at the big self-service wrecking yards in respectable numbers. I find these Lexus ancestors very interesting, so I shoot most of the ones I see; so far in this series, we have seen this ’80, this ’82, this ’83 wagon, this ’84, this ’84, this ’86 wagon, this ’87, this ’89, this ’90, and this ’92 (plus this ’79 and this ’86 wagon in my Junkyard Gems series).

Today’s Cressida is a zero-rust ’83 wagon in California. (Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2017

1984 Buick Century wagon in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Chrysler K-platform-based minivans debuted for the 1984 model year, marking the beginning of the end of the station wagon’s mainstream appeal in the United States; not many years later, SUVs would snare most of the potential wagon buyers who didn’t get minivans.

Here’s a Buick Century wagon from that decisive year, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

Images: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta

Tell me something: how can one fault Lee Iacocca for suggesting this vehicle — this blend of architecture, curves and beveled jewelry — generated over a billion dollars annually for Ford?

And how could you resist? There wasn’t a Lexus yet!
(Read More…)

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