QOTD: What's the One That Got Away?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd whats the one that got away

Tantalizing. Alluring. Desirable. And yet, just out of reach.

We’ve all pined for a vehicle made all the more exotic and lustworthy by its complete unavailability in the country in which we live. It’s the automotive equivalent of that would-be significant other — you know, the one you once shared a fleeting moment with, knowing with bittersweet regret that if circumstances were different, this could be Bogie and Bacall.

In Europe, it was the American pony car. The Mustang, that American icon of big-bore, go-where-the-wind-takes-me freedom, remained nothing but a tease for decades. Until, of course, Ford realized it could cash in.

The Chevrolet El Camino’s death in the late 1980s prompted many truck-car hybrid aficionados’ eyes to turn to Australia, where not one but two utes beckoned from afar. Now, teary eyed Aussies are busy stocking shrimp for that bodystyle’s funeral barbie.

Maybe the object of your affection is a Europe- or Japan-only sports car or hot hatch. You’ve investigated steep import costs and searched classified ads in a vain attempt to snap up an enterprising importer’s cast-off, to no avail. Yet the heart still yearns.

For me, nothing embodies the maddening combination of desirable and unobtainable like the 2018 Alpine A110 — the mid-engined French beauty recently resurrected by Renault. Borrowing all the styling cues of its 1960s and ’70s predecessor, this model has it all.

Just try to find an unnecessary curve, line, or flourish that mars this vehicle’s gorgeous sheetmetal. No! You won’t. Or I won’t, anyway. Why? Because I’m smitten. The proportions of this all-aluminum body keep me up at night, tossing and turning, feverishly wishing I was behind the wheel while wearing a beret and gnawing on a baguette. Unfortunately, despite a tsunami of drool flowing from North American mouths, that continent remains off-limits for the A110. For now, anyway.

Perhaps Renault will reconsider. Maybe. But the model’s low anticipated production numbers create a hope that’s so dim, even a moth couldn’t land on it.

So, Best and Brightest, the time has come to pipe up and reveal your innermost desires. What car model — one that isn’t available on any dealer lot in the country — do you yearn for the most?

[Images: Renault]

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  • Raph Raph on Mar 02, 2017

    >>In Europe, it was the American pony car. The Mustang, that American icon of big-bore, go-where-the-wind-takes-me freedom, remained nothing but a tease for decades. Until, of course, Ford realized it could cash in.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Mar 03, 2017

    08 Subaru Legacy Wagon EU turbo diesel (only made with a 5mt). 258 lb-ft and 34/49 mpg. Gen 4 wagon looks with a hood scoop. Make mine a slightly reddish brown, just to keep the Intertubes happy.

  • Lou_BC "They are the worst kind of partisan - the kind that loves their team more than they want to know the truth."Ummm...yeah....Kinda like birtherism, 2020 election stolen, vast voter fraud, he can have top secret documents at Mar-lago, he's a savvy business man, and hundreds more.
  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.