By on November 14, 2016

1990 Opel Lotus Omega, Image: Lotus Cars

While in recent months TTAC has reported on the declining popularity of the four door, there are still a plethora of fast sedans in the marketplace.

In fact, the performance extracted from them was unfathomable even a generation ago. How did we end up at a 500-horsepower Audi, a 640-horsepower Cadillac and 707-horse Dodge? What were once numbers reserved for otherworldly exotics now are found in a pedestrian nameplate.

But this is no new trend, for while the current power war we’re experiencing has generated outlandish performance numbers for a mere average Joe, the recipe of sticking the most punch possible into a sedan for the masses goes back a long way.

While we saw some of the results of turning the wick up in last week’s automotive collaboration article, today I tried to think of the cars that really redefined the way exotic performance and power manifested themselves in the family friendly sedan.

1964 Ford Lotus Cortina, Image: Lotus Cars

Lotus Cortina

While you could pop down to a Ford dealer and snap up a behemoth Galaxie 500 with a 7-liter V8 packing a potent 360 horsepower in the 1960s, the company also worked with Lotus on a small sedan on the other end of the spectrum.

Utilizing a Ford 1.5-liter block and working between Formula 1 legends Coventry Climax and Cosworth, the equally legendary Lotus produced a twin-cam version of the four-cylinder for the diminutive Cortina, which spun out 105 horsepower. That may not sound like much, but Lotus revised the suspension and “added lightness,” including some alloy panels, to keep the weight down to a claimed 1,785 pounds — about what the seats weighed in a contemporary vehicle.

The result was one of the most legendary sporting sedan packages produced. F1 aces such as Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart flogged these Fords on the world’s race tracks, and the revised suspension helped to produce signature “lifted front wheel, tail-out” cornering. The Cortina was a giant-killer that utilized cutting edge Formula 1 tech in a sedate sedan wrapper, winning Touring Car races around the world against the much larger and more powerful competition.

1974 BMW 2002 Turbo, Image: BMW

BMW 2002 Turbo

Although the 2002tii may be better known by U.S. fans for following the recipe established by the Cortina, it was the Turbo model that really brought near supercar performance to the small BMW. A KKK turbocharger was strapped to the M10 2.0-liter fuel injected inline-four resulting in a pretty amazing 170 horsepower in 1974. Consider, for a moment, that the base Corvette 350 V8 made 190 horsepower at the same time and weighed the best part of two 2002s.

So fast and unassuming was the Turbo that BMW slapped ambulance-inspired reversed graphics on the first models to let drivers know what was coming before being overtaken. Impressive though it was, the 2002 Turbo was still pretty expensive for most and BMW only produced 1,672 examples.

1978 SAAB 99 Turbo, Image: SAAB

Saab 99/900 Turbo

A few years after the 2002 Turbo debuted the potential of turbocharging in a small package, Saab actually made it work. Feeding the 2.0-liter inline-four’s intake with a Garrett turbocharger resulted in 145 horsepower. That power figure represented a near 50-percent increase over a standard 99 in 1978. Distinctive “Inca” alloys and large spoilers front and rear helped to distinguish a design that already stood apart. The forced induction blueprint established with the 99 was continued in the even more powerful 900, culminating in the awesome Aero in the mid-1980s.

1984 BMW M5 (E28), Image: BMW

BMW M5

BMW’s blueprint for the super sedan preceded the E28 chassis with the early 1980s E12 M535i.

BMW’s Motorsport division took some lessons it learned on the racetrack and helped turn up the wick on the sedan, but it wasn’t until the subsequent E28 model was introduced that the bar was raised. Inserting the exotic, race-bred M88 twin cam inline-six from the M1 gave the M5 286 horsepower and supercar spoiling performance. This was 1984, and the package offered Porsche 911 Turbo performance in a mid-range luxury sedan.

Like the 2002 Turbo, while it was legendary even within its time, it was also expensive. BMW only ended up selling about 2,241 in various parts of the world, including the slightly less powerful, catalyst-equipped model in the U.S.. Though not many were sold, the M5 justifiably became the baseline by which all other super sedans were judged — and still is today.

1986 Lancia Thema 8.32, Image: Fiat Group

Lancia Thema 8.32

Lancia took a different route to its performance sedans in the 1980s. They had a platform in the Type Four that manifested performance in a very different ways; Saab’s 9000 version utilized the turbocharging technology pioneered in its 900 siblings and ultimately offered 225 horsepower in Aero form. Alfa Romeo slotted one of its great sounding Busso V6 engines into the chassis. In 24V 3.0-liter Quadrifoglio guise, it made an even more impressive 230 horsepower (and maybe should be on this list). Surely, Lancia would just borrow one of these motors?

Surprisingly, no. Lancia instead looked to Fiat Group’s sibling Ferrari for motivation. It took a 2.9 liter 32-valve V8 from a Ferrari 308, sent it to Ducati for assembly with a unique cross-plane crank and other bits to tune the engine for more pedestrian duty, and stuck it into the Giugiaro designed body. The Thema also pioneered active aerodynamics. It was a recipe which, in total, sounds like quite a success.

However, the Ferrari lump produced just 205 horsepower and was available only in front-drive configuration. Compared to the equally or more powerful Audi 200, BMW M5 and some other exotics in the same price range, the performance was poor relative to the expense of adding the Ferrari nameplate. Despite this, the Thema did bring that automotive patrician down to a more plebeian price level for about 4,000 customers and gave dreamers a four-door Ferrari that never existed.

1988 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth, Image: Ford

Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth

The spiritual (and literal) successor to the Cortina, the Ford Sierra became a popular hit in the 1980s race scene with the RS Cosworth. It was the working man’s hero, with a hatcheted hood hiding a Cosworth-developed twin-cam 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four good for over 200 horsepower. But it was the wild wing on the back that might have been the most outrageous automotive accoutrement of the day and still looks audacious some 30 years on.

Ford also offered the RS power in the more sedate Sapphire sedan package. Sans the outrageous wings and plus a few doors, the Sapphire lacked none of the performance of its more famous brother. The final versions had optional all-wheel drive with a rearward bias driven through viscous differentials. It was 220 horsepower for a little more than half the price of the Thema 8.32. It’s no surprise that Ford sold this recipe nearly 25,000 times.

1989 Lotus Carlton, Image: Lotus Cars

Lotus Carlton/Omega

While 200 horsepower was very special in the 1980s and the nearly 300 horsepower in the M5 made you a demi-God, the 1990s started with a bang that would take some time to unseat. The underpinnings were the relatively unexciting Opel Omega and Vauxhall Carlton twins from General Motors. Starting with a 3.0-liter inline-six that produced about 180 horsepower for Vauxhall, Lotus stroked the engine out to 3.6 liters and fit twin Garrett turbochargers, the six-speed manual transmission from a Corvette ZR-1, upgraded suspension, giant wheels and huge AP Racing brakes.

It needed all of that weapons-grade running gear to deal with the monstrous 377 horsepower the new engine developed. If you were counting, that was nearly 100 horsepower more than the previous outgoing champion BMW M5, and 200 more than the Carlton GSi or Omega 3000.

It was expensive, but only a bit more than the Thema 8.32, and certainly commensurate with the performance on tap. In an era where the “World’s Fastest Sedan” title changed hands on a regular basis, the Lotus-built GM twins were a brief but bright flash.

1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 (W116), Image; Daimler

Honorable Mention: Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 and 450SEL 6.9

While some of the cars above were quite dear, it’s truly hard to consider the S-Class Mercedes-Benz as a car for the masses. Still, two Mercedes-Benz products were instrumental in the development of the super sedan and are worth mention.

First was the W109 chassis 300SEL 6.3, which — as the name implies — was a pretty standard 300SEL with the 6.3 liter V8 from the 600 model stuck in front. With about 250 horsepower in 1968, it was capable of hitting over 140 mph flat out and could reportedly eclipse 60 in 6.5 seconds.

More memorable, though, was its replacement: the later W116 chassis 450SEL. Punched out to 6.9 liters, the M100 was now good for 286 horsepower and over 400 lb-ft of torque in European guise for the 1975 model year, nearly double a contemporary Corvette. Quite simply, if you wanted to go faster, you needed something exotic like a Ferrari 365GT4 Berlinetta Boxer or that newfangled flying doorstop Lamborghini Countach. But if you wanted to carry your friends with you (especially rocket launcher-wielding ones), the 450SEL 6.9 was the only choice.

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50 Comments on “Horsepower, Democratized! A History of Bringing Power to the Masses...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    In the muscle car days, you had a lot of power somewhat tempered by a lack of traction (both accel and cornering). These days tire tech, suspension, and electronics have solved that problem, so when they do wreck, it often is at a much higher speed.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Got to love an old Saab, so unique versus any of your other options those days. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a 90 in my life.

    It’s a pity we don’t get nicely shaped sedans any more, look how similar the profiles are on the Thema, Sierra, and Carlton. (Carlton is win and is favorite.)

    The photo of the single-mirror 6.9 was taken in its natural habitat, the Arabian Peninsula.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Very European biased and I am sure many on this board will point to American examples.

    I’ll throw a left field one in from the merry Old land of oz, Ford Falcon GTHO coupe, worth a pretty penny if you have one now.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I don’t know that America had many special version extra tuned high horsepower sedans before modern times. We had muscle cars, and we had sports cars, and powerful huge cars, and then appearance packages like SS and later on Touring (GM) or GT/SHO (Ford) and Shelby (Chrysler). Other than the SHO, midsize-large sedans don’t come to mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Carter Johnson

        The closest I could come was the 360 horsepower Galaxie 7 Liter, which was certainly impressive. However, on the race track, the diminutive Cortina from the same company beat it. There were some other muscle cars like the Chevelle 454, but they’re really a stretch to call sedans in my eye.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Most of the musclecars were coupes not sedans, though there were some hot four doors.

          Check out that lean of the early M5. My has suspension technology come a long way.

          • 0 avatar
            Carter Johnson

            @golden2husky – no doubt. My father has a ’88 M5 that was set up for the track many years ago and doesn’t lean like this, but his first thought when he saw that factory photo was the same as yours! Granted, the lean on those was no where near the same as, say, the Porsche 924. Put some sticky tires on those and you’d scrape the door handle going around corners hard.

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      Taurus SHO?

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      You had the 427 Impalas and the 440 Coronets which were true 4 doors from ‘before modern times’. There were others too, but I can’t remember all that crap.

      It says Horsepower, Democratized! Kind of wierd to start off with the Cortina. Although some of those later cars on the list had quite a bit of HP for the time.

      • 0 avatar
        Carter Johnson

        Well, the Lotus Cortina had about 50% more power than a standard Cortina. Similar idea to the GTi, but a little over a decade before that came to the market.

  • avatar

    I think it would worthwhile to include some JDM surprises, like the Turbo Cressida and Nissan sedans we saw towards the late 1980s/early 90s. Also, the Taurus SHO should be an honorable mention. That 220 horsepower V6 was something to fuck with in 1986, beat only the contemporary M5. Otherwise, a very worthwhile article!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      3rd gen maxima with the 190hp DOHC VG30 really blew peoples’ minds when it came out, the 95-99 cars built on that reputation (despite cost cutting) with the VQ30 especially when mated to a 5spd manual. Taurus SHO is definitely worthy of mention, but it’s relative rarity makes it less influential IMO. All of the supercharged GM 3800 cars belong here too, starting in the early 1990s.

    • 0 avatar
      Carter Johnson

      @mvmont – thanks, and yes, the Taurus is certainly worthy, but as it was covered last week I didn’t re-include it.

    • 0 avatar
      True_Blue

      First SHOs were in 1989, but yes, a glaring omission in an article about democratized power in sedans, regardless if the subject was recently broached. These cars were the embodiment of Q-ships in the age where 5.0 Mustangs made 225 hp.

      A case could also be made for the Spirit R/T and Pontiac 3800 SC-powered GTPs as well, although from the UK writer’s POV these are lesser known cars and excusable.

      Aside from the above, great article – I did not know about the Thema.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “from the UK writer’s POV”

        He is an… AMERICAN!

        • 0 avatar
          True_Blue

          Oh. Well then it’s completely and remorselessly unforgivable to overlook in an article about “cars that really redefined the way exotic performance and power manifested themselves in the family friendly sedan.”

          (Kidding.
          But the Volvo T5R, Jaguar Mk 2, Alfa Giulia Super, Peugeot 405 Mi16 also come to mind).

          • 0 avatar
            Carter Johnson

            Also good notations; however I’d counter the T5R followed the basic Audi 200 5T layout from 1980, the Gulia Super followed the Lotus Cortina, and the Mi-16 was quick but followed the same basic layout of other front-drive, twin cam cars too (Jetta GLi, for example, among many others).Good suggestions though, especially the Mk.2!

        • 0 avatar
          Carter Johnson

          I’d take that as a compliment generally speaking.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    I’d like to know more about the “4 speed close ratio gear box with remote control”.

    • 0 avatar
      Carter Johnson

      Well, you don’t stick your hand into the transmission to change it, right? Remote, then! Gotta love marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      TR4

      The standard Cortina had a long, awkward shift lever which exited the gearbox on top of the gears and was angled back towards the driver. The “remote control” had a shorter, more vertical shift lever mounted in the tail shaft housing behind the gears. Rods connected the shift lever to the actual shifting forks. Result was shorter throws and less up and down motion of the lever. Triumph TRs were the same way.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Ford Sierra Cosworth was the car of choice for Jimmy Nail in his Newcastle based classic police series ‘Spender’. Unfortunately probably not shown in the USA as the dialogue would require dubbing or captions due to the Geordie accents. One of the UK’s best shows but never to my knowledge released on DVD.

    As for Cortinas, sorry but the ones that came to North America only reinforced stereotypes of British cars being unreliable and slow. Had a Cortina, Envoy Epic and Pontiac Firenza among our coterie of high school cars. Only better than riding a bicycle when it was snowing and even then you were not sure that any of them would start and make it back home.

  • avatar

    As a sausage ‘n mash eating stereotypical Brit with dubious dentistry, I came here looking for inaccuracies in a feature describing my favourite category of car. Didn’t really find any. Nice little concise history.

    I’m not sure about labelling the Cortina ‘diminutive’, though. This was a mid-size car in Euro terms back then, far bigger than a Mini or a Ford Anglia. Though you could admittedly have parked it in the trunk of a Polara.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Cool article Carter, but I think the story you missed is the horsepower wars in the midsize sedan segment that started in the 1990s (200hp 1998 Accord V6, 240hp Altima V6 in ’03, Regal GS with supercharged 3800 making 240hp). That was the ultimate democratization of HP IMO.

    I remember when this came out:
    http://www.caranddriver.com/news/the-147-mph-hyundai-sonata-car-news

    “147mph Sonata V6” is all you need to know.

  • avatar

    While it’s always nice to see the Lotus Cortina mentioned (my brother owned one and I just started rebuilding the Twin Cam engine for my Elan – going over to the machine shop this afternoon), I don’t think you can discuss democratizing horsepower without a nod to Ed Cole’s Small Block Chevy V8, followed by Ford’s Cleveland and Windsor motors.

    Before the SBC, power was a luxury, which is why GM allocated money to develop modern overhead valve high compression V8 engines for Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Buick before Chevy got it’s own bent eight. Likewise, the original ’50s Hemis went into big Chryslers.

    While later big block V8s were more expensive to make than the smaller engines, there was some democratization with those too, by putting the big motors in intermediates, making things like Roadrunners, GTOs, Torino GTs, and SS396 Chevelles.

    • 0 avatar
      Carter Johnson

      Great point Ronnie; I was specifically looking at packages that changed the formula rather than just developments of a common theme, but you’re right for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      True, Henrys Flathead V8 technically started the whole thing, but it could barely outrun Chevrolets OHV sixes, and in the end Even Fords own flathead six was keeping up with it. The smallblock was a revolution that has made performance affordable for 7 decades , so far.

  • avatar

    Horsepower is the last thing they can sell you, and they make it very expensive. While you do need better running gear for a performance version, the costs aren’t all that great to make a stiffer sway bar or harder bushing. Look at ///M for maximizing the value of 70 hp extra….

    Most folks who don’t read this page don’t really want a lot of power. It would scare them and they’d just carbon up the pistons.

    I’m amazed my very boring CTS has 300 real HP, and will 0-60 in six. Plug those numbers into the old muscle car stats and it stands tall, save a very few rare big block monsters…and it’s a fully boring production line car, not even a special. Plug in a CTS V sport (not even a full V) and even those big blocks will see the tail lamps of a luxury sedan. Add a Mk.6 or 7 vette and you are faster than the super bikes of the era…..

    The Malaise era was not much fun. A blown SAAB was really high end. When Chrysler boosted the 2.2 it was a gift…a poorly made gift, but a gift. Porsche turbo was unobtanium, and not even fast compared to today’s Porsche.

    We had our older cousin’s beat up muscle cars for reference, so we know what a V8 could do…but the modern stuff was just horrible, thirsty without being fast and full of drivability bugs. A good mechanic was key for tweaking the carbs to get you through emissions and re open the screws to get the car back to “running right”. Later they got good at removing the “anti-tamper” plugs, too.

    We saw saabs but the 6.9, etc just didn’t exist in the wild.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I had a neighbor who had 6.9. Bought it new in Saudi when he was working for an oil company, and brought it stateside…which meant no catalytic converter or other smog gear. Lovely beast of a car.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    The last of the W-body Impalas with the 303 hp LFX V-6 and 6-speed auto deserve a mention, too. I remember 15 years ago reading an article about the rarefied world of 300 hp sedans, comprised of the Caddy STS, BMW 750, MB S600, and one or two others. GM gave you that much power – AS STANDARD – for well under 20k new.

    • 0 avatar
      Carter Johnson

      @Nick; They are surprisingly quick for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Isn’t it bizarre how the old frumpy W-body (which I find endearing btw) got a standard 3.6L V6 that you have to pay so much extra for in any number of higher end more modern GM vehicles?

      The one letdown on the w-body incarnation of the 3.6L is the way-too-tall gearing in the first few gears, it really dulls what is a beastly motor.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        You are correct on the gearing and the Imp’s virtue.

        I used to be able to snag these as rentals but they’re fading fast from lots. However, the Michigan State Police has verified those things will top out at 150 mph. I doubt I’d be that brave to push an Impala to 150.

        The last W-body Imp I had was for a 6 hour road trip (flights would have taken 8 hours due to connections). They gave me an Ecoboost Fusion that had been in a serious accident and crab-walked down the highway. I exchanged it and had to beg the guy to give me it over a ‘nicer’ Altima. It was awesome on the open road and I passed everyone and everything.

        I can’t wait for these 3.6L Impalas to show up in Lemons. They’ll be tough to beat.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “They gave me an Ecoboost Fusion that had been in a serious accident and crab-walked down the highway.”

          Jesus, what kind of company would repair and return into circulation such a heavily damaged car?

          And yeah, the motor is arguably way too much for the floppy suspension on the Imp. I love’em though, W-bodys are the mainstay of the working class (and sometimes not-working class) ’round these parts. In my old neighborhood, you’d be at a traffic light and literally all of the cars there would be W-body GMs spanning all years of manufacture (Grand Prix, regal, 00-05 Impala, 07-11 OHV Impala, 12+ 3.6 Impala). It was uncanny.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick 2012

            You’re in or from Indy, right? I lived in Lawrence for 7 years. At least 75% of the people there are moved by a W-body.

            The rental company started with the first letter of the alphabet, and it wasn’t much their fault. A prior renter must have hit something massive and broke a motor mount and I saw what looked like a bent half shaft, then did a passable job at using what looked like white-out to hide the gouges on the sills and underbody. Mud and grass were all over the underside of the car. I also found a bulge on the inside of the tire and, on closer inspection, it lined up with a small divot in the rim.

            The car looked OK from 10 feet away and probably drove OK around the lot, but when you stepped on the gas, the entire motor shifted, the car headed towards the ditch, and it started wobbling.

            To their credit, they pulled it immediately.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yessir. Lived on the East side near 16th/Emerson for a year, boy did I ever “see some s*ht” living down there LOL. I now get to keep up on my old neighborhood by just reading the crime section of the news from the safety and comfort of my new yuppified locale.

            It was neat to still see some box B-bodys doing daily driver/donk in progress duty. Also some of the most horribly smashed up and/or barely running cars imaginable.

  • avatar
    relton

    The real beginnings of high performance sedans is probably the Terraplane 8, 1933. 100+ horsepower in a sedan (or coupe or roadster) that was smaller and lighter than a Model A Ford (40 HP). Only a little more expensive, too.

    Even before that, Hudson offered the first 6 cyl engine with a fully counterbalanced crankshaft, that made 70 HP in a relatively light Hudson Super Six touring car,, Model Ts had 20 HP.
    People have wanted to go fast ever since there were cars, and a few did.

    Bob

  • avatar

    “Utilizing a Ford 1.5-liter block and working between Formula 1 legends Coventry Climax and Cosworth, the equally legendary Lotus produced a twin-cam version of the four-cylinder for the diminutive Cortina, which spun out 105 horsepower.”

    While Coventry Climax and Cosworth had roles in the development of the Lotus Twin Cam, the basic design of the head was by Harry Mundy.

    Miles Wilkins owns Fiberglass Services in the UK, which produces licensed replacement body parts for vintage Lotus cars, and he wrote the definitive book on the Lotus Twin Cam engine. Per Wilkins book: The original design of the Twin Cam head was by Harry Mundy, later head of engine design at Jaguar. He was offered either a 1 pound per engine royalty or a flat fee of 1,000 pounds. Lotus being a risky venture, Mundy took the money up front, missing out on the royalties for about 40,000 engines that were eventually built.

    Detailed design drawings were done by Richard Ansdale on a consultancy basis to Lotus. Steve Sanville, a Lotus employee and foreman of their engine shop, set the tolerances and supervised the making of the original casting pattern. Coventry Climax did detail work on the original camshafts. Harry Weslake did some gas flowing work on the head.

    Mike Costin had been technical director of Lotus before joining Keith Duckworth to form Cosworth in 1962. Cosworth assembled some of the early prototype versions of the Twin Cam that Lotus used in racing, and did development work on cam profiles. Cosworth later supplied racing versions of the production version Twink, as did BRM.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Camry LE with the 2GR-FE.

    14 second quarter mile, 0-60 5.8 seconds, plastic wheel covers.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The worst is when it’s a blue hair behind the wheel of a baby blue or beige one, toodling along in the left lane and I get close enough to see the dual exhaust and the “LE-V6” sticker. Give it some gas for godssakes and let that 2GR-Fe BREATHE a bit!!! Or at least move over to the (wide open) right lane! I think they finally discontinued the LE-V6 trim, only XSE and XLE can get it now.

      • 0 avatar
        Old Man Pants

        I haste it when my kind feeds your kind easy ammo like that.

        Fellow Coots & Biddies,

        Let’s all stay the f*ck outta the left lane(s) so these young jaspers can scream past us on their metal schlongs and disappear from our lives as if they were never born.

        Doesn’t that sound dreamy… as if they were never born?

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          For some reason it is ALWAYS/exclusively an Ohio phenomenon, and to be honest not at all restricted to a particular age group. So my apologies Old Man pants nee Kenmore. But the baby blue Camry LE-V6 that sees engine RPMs barely above idle is totally a thing. I guess you could buy one exclusively for the smoothness compared to the wholly-adequate-for-most-people 4cyl.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The old people of Ohio enjoy purchasing the best trim level, also known as “fully loaded,” “all the bells and whistles,” or “with the works.” They proceed to drive them slowly and only around town, and ruin the engine with carbon buildup and engine condensation goop.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Ah but why the hubcapped LE-V6 and not the XLE-V6 with leather and heated seats (although admittedly many do get the XLE)?

            And it’s funny, maybe part of the Camry sludge issue of the late 90s is rooted in the “slowly around town” set. Them and the “it’s a Toyota, I don’t have to change the oil!” doofuses.

            One reason to give pause when considering any super low mile “grandma’s Sunday to church car” regardless of make.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hmm, maybe at the time the XLE was not available in the desired color on the lot? I don’t think old people like to order cars. They want to buy off the floor.

            Yeah, old low miles cars are tricky sometimes. People put 15,000 mile Buicks from 1990 on Facebook and everyone goes crazy. I’m like ehhhh it’s gonna fall apart when you start using it though.


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