I needed a car. Any car. My dad and I were limping my dying ’85 Nissan Maxima around town to multiple car dealers, looking for an appropriate replacement. I was 19, I think, and since I commuted thirty miles a day to college (when I went to class) I needed reliable, efficient transport.
A second-generation CRX, much like this one, caught my eye and we climbed in. One problem arose, however, as both my dad and I were well north of 300 pounds each, and the stock springs were sagging a bit. Oh, and the streets near the dealer had rough, rutted cobblestones. We were lucky to return with an intact exhaust, and I reluctantly moved on to a roomier Accord coupe.
For decades, compact cars from Dearborn were miserable. Blue Oval enthusiasts in North America looked longingly at the rally-bred Escorts in the UK and Europe, wondering when the promised “world car” would cross the Atlantic.
Improbably, I was one of those guys. I bought a 2000 Focus sedan (ZTS model with the twincam Zetec) with six months and 6000 miles on the odo, and flogged it for seven years and about a dozen recalls. Should have listened to my Dad, who always warned against buying a first-year model. (Read More…)
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a closet Francophile. Unfortunately, the nearest Citroen dealer is, at least, a forty hour drive-and-ferry ride from my Ohio homestead.
As much as I enjoy driving a small, taut-handling roadster, I must resign myself to the fact that I have a wife and two kids that will occupy the car as well. We are frequent long-haul roadtrippers, with at least four round trips of over ten hours over the last year as a family. A quiet, rapid, smooth-riding vehicle is in order. Who does calm and comfy like the French?
The “big engine in a small car” theme has been with car enthusiasts for generations. GTO, Sunbeam Tiger, Cobra, Monster Miata: plenty of enthusiasts, both in the boardrooms and in garages across the globe, know that more power plus less mass equates to speed.
Insert your own preferred derogatory descriptor in the title.
The E36 M3 – lauded as a wonderful driver’s car, yet derided as a watered-down car unworthy of the ///M badge. Built in reasonably high numbers, this M3 will never be as collectible as it’s predecessor, the Mighty E30, nor as beastly as the E46.
I think that’s ok.
Apologies to Messrs Johnson and, to a lesser extent, Plant for the title.
We continue our journey through the wasteland of the automotive internet with another car that fills my imaginary garage–that fantasy world where there are no orthodontist’s bills.
Another red ragtop? What is this guy thinking? I promise. I’m not a hairdresser, or whatever BS-esque image you might have of me.
I just dig small, unusual, cheap cars that are fun to drive on the street.
Miata. The answer to everything.
Ideal first car?
Autocrosser? Racer? Demo derby? Seriously, have you ever watched a regional level Spec Miata race?
Last week’s Hillman Husky/Miata swap provided the example for what I view as the best of both worlds – old European car with an entirely new drivetrain. Here’s a half-way finished example that could be turned into a real firecracker – provided you have the patience of Mother Teresa.
I like the aesthetic properties of old British cars. The way they drive, leak fluids and operate on a sporadic basis is another matter.