By on August 8, 2018

Yesterday, we featured an edition of Buy/Drive/Burn pitting three excellent Japanese sports cars against one another. All three were prime time, heavy hitters in their segment, and all three are remembered fondly for various reasons by the Internet Car People.

But some people thought there was a fly in the ointment — a big one. Hence today’s question.

It seemed fairly obvious to me that the correct Japanese sports car trio for 1995 was indeed the Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, and Nissan 300ZX. “Yes, this is good,” I said to myself. But after the article went live for an hour or so, there was an audible grumble from commenters both at TTAC and on Twitter.

These dissenting voices declared I’d made a fatal flaw in the trio. Said flaw was including the Nissan 300ZX rather than the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 (the cabrio’s already a Rare Ride). The Mitsubishi, they argued, was more a star than the Nissan ever was, and more a competitor to the Toyota and Mazda.

And that’s fine! Here in The American States, people are entitled to their incorrect opinions and feels. It helps us maintain an interesting and colorful discourse about cars. While I can appreciate the looks and general technical prowess of the 3000GT, I can also appreciate that it was vaguely assembled out of chocolate box plastics, and was de-contented consistently throughout its life.

It was also a heavy pig, and front-drive in all versions where it wasn’t all-wheel drive (ie – most of them). The 3000GT also morphed slightly into the equally chunky and FWD Dodge Stealth. A 3000GT was most assuredly the outcast; the oddball choice against the others.

Here’s your chance to get more of these off your chest. What other outcast, afterthought-then-forgot sort of cars do you love? Which ones get you going, even though buyers left them alone when they were new?

[Image: seller]

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121 Comments on “QOTD: What’s Your Favorite Automotive Outcast?...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    ’97-’05 Buick Park Avenue.

    Everyone either only likes the ’91-’96 version or just hates everything related to Buick in general. I seem to be the only person that likes and prefers the later car.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Blobby styling inside and out, objectively worse cost cut interior materials, seemingly more prone to body rust, Series II LIM issues. What is there to prefer exactly?

      -Guy who vastly prefers the ’92-’96 (or the 80s LN3 cars)

      • 0 avatar

        Must concur with Gtem here. They really lost the plot with the Park Avenue after the C-body went away.

        Add to the issues about 240 sensitive sensors which like to throw codes.

        • 0 avatar
          ernest

          Agreed. We had a ’97 Riviera (wife’s car). 0-74K miles, no issues. Rapidly turned into the car from hell before it hit 80K. Dashboard would light up like a Christmas Tree as often an not.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          An aside, but since all the regulars seem to be in this thread: sold the Ranger for my asking price ($2200), and am preparing to take delivery of that ’01 A4 Quattro my brother is holding for me. I need to stock up on some Torx bits and get myself mentally prepared for some German engineering :P I already know it needs a rear window regulator (typical VAG issue of the era).

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I prefer the later version styling (again I’m apparently the only person that thinks this way, but I really like the look), I think the later version drives better, and I live where there is no rust.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          ajla, I second you on the styling. To my eye, the ’91-’96s are slightly awkward, being a rounded update of the rectilinear ’85 Electra. Emphasis on the “slightly”, as it’s at worst an inoffensive design.

          I won’t argue with a preference for the ’91-’96s’ interior or drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The final Ultra models were actually a pretty nice car once they decided to spruce them up a bit. Unfortunately by then, everyone forgot the PA existed. They’re an interesting rarity nowadays.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    As I mentioned yesterday, I would have been more able to burn the 3000gt than I was the other two. I actually owned a well used 3000gt for about a month. It was the middle trim, non-turbo 3.5 liter V6. It was the first stick shift car that I ever owned, and it was broken from the get-go. But it taught me to ease off the clutch rather than try to time it perfectly which was an epiphany.

    The true oddball that I love (and own) is the Holden Monaro Pontiac GTO. I will never understand the car fans who hate it. It seems to be softening a bit since so much time has passed since they were new, but people still complain about the styling and I remember people complaining about its heft and size. No such complaints about the heavier and larger retro Camaro though.
    I’ve owned mine since 2012 and it taught me that 400hp is too much for 99% of the motoring population – myself included. But when it kicks you in the pants and you straighten it out it can produce a smile on anyone but my wife, who would be cursing at me in the passenger seat.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I like the Holden GTO as well. A very underappreciated sports/muscle coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      I agree the Holden GTO was a fine car. The problem was the GM hype machine screwed it up again. They kept touting that “We’re bringing back the GTO! We’re bringing back the GTO!” And when it finally got here the styling was so – shall we say “understated” – all anybody could say was “Is that it?”
      Now underneath the Plain-Jane styling was a fine performing automobile but it was just too hard of a sell after all of the hype.
      The same thing happened for the Chevy (Holden Commodore) SS.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’d actually put the Supra/300ZX/3000gt closer together than the RX7, although all four represent their respective manufacturers’ halo cars of that era. The RX7 really is a more focused sports car, the other three are like Japanese muscle cars/grand tourers. Heavy, more comfortable, not as honed in on driving precision like the RX7.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree with @gtem regarding this. The Mazda was the outlier with the Mitsu being more closely aligned to the Supra and Turbo-Z.

      And there is a Stealth around that I see as a ‘daily driver’ in good weather each weekday.

      • 0 avatar
        StudeDude

        I agree with gtem and Arthur. The RX7 was out there by itself because of the rotary and the exclusivity. It would appear that Corey is a bit of a Mitsu hater based on his comments.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Growing up I always thought the early RX-7s looked really cool. About 10 years ago, there was one for sale in my neck of the woods, I thought, why not. It was an ’82 or ’83 and looked great for its age. I was excited to finally get to drive and possibly own one. What a disappointment. It was slooooooow. And yea I know, early 80s had different standards of fast than today. But still, a real let down. It was a case of “never meet your heroes” applied to cars for me.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I agree wholly.

      In addition, AT THE TIME the three of them were considered head-to-head competitors.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    How about the Buick Reatta and the Mitsubishi Starion?

    Admittedly, the Reatta was not a sports car by any means, but a car I really wanted. It fits me, as I’m generally not a sports car guy, but a cruiser at heart.

    The Starion? That car was somewhat puzzling to me. It seemed the Dodge Daytona grew out of it.

    As for the 300/Stealth – very large and fairly invisible to me.

    • 0 avatar
      StudeDude

      If the Starion is being mentioned, don’t forget about the Mopar version, the Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge Conquest. The Dodge Daytona was a twin of the Chrysler Laser, both K car variations.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The Starion and its twin, the Chrysler Conquest, were RWD imports from Japan. The Daytona was an offshoot of the K-car. Similar in profile with the hatch, but the proportions of the Mitsu identified it as a RWD.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      I’m close… I would go to the grandfather of the 3000, father to the Starion, that would be the Plymouth Sapporo (and Dodge Challenger, although I’m firmly in the Sapporo camp, since I owned one). It was really a great car.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Two or three summer’s ago I saw a mint, freshly detailed Reatta in the wild. Haters gonna hate, but I thought it looked pretty good.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpBOyIiTRZY

      That MSRP sounds insane; it’s over $50,000 in 2018 money. I think they were cars with next to no business case behind them, but the fundamental execution actually was pretty decent (as it should have been at those asking prices). I’m curious as to what the transaction prices were.

      As of 2015, there was someone repairing Reatta touchscreens. You’ve got to love that. forums.aaca.org/topic/260991-1988-reatta-touchscreen-repair/

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      A lot of great nominees. The Reatta is no sportscar, more of an American Prelude or Corrado and, I think, desirable. Mitsu 3000? Transverse motor, as mentioned, most were only front wheel drive, and as someone else first reported here, largely invisible to me. The 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO nee Monaro. Under-appreciated, getting past the styling( and I certain can), it was a Mustang GT for adults, a shame it wasn’t accepted more by the public. Oddly enough, a used car dealer in south eastern Mass stocked several of these that I noticed on lunch breaks when I worked in the neighborhood, along with late model Mustangs and Camaros. If not abused by a previous owner, these could be terrific rides for the savvy buyer. Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Sapporo-another Scirocco/Celica group car with no vices if it was treated OK by a previous owner-there was an orange Challenger parked across from my first home in Lake Tahoe area for several months before its owner moved away. I’m interested in seeing what other cars will be nominated this week.

  • avatar

    My pick is the Consulier GTP! Great looking and fast that some feel is ugly. They look like a race car. They were a race car. I especially love the look for the 8 targa versions that were made.

    http://www.consuliergtp.com/photos/gtps.jpg

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well I drive a 2011 Saab 9-5 so I like outcasts. I would also say the Infinity J30 was a great used car for me so I see a trend of liking the outcast cars. A JAG XF diesel would also be on my list

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m also a fan of the J30, as well as the Acura Vigor and Mazda Millennia. I had suggested a D/B/B mashup of these to Corey, and he made it happen.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I was rewatching “Heat” on the airplane last week and there’s a scene where Pacino tears down the highway in an undermarked forest green J30 to catch up to DeNiro in his black Caddy STS (?). Pacino made the J30 look really sleek and cool.

      • 0 avatar

        Uh oh. I think the STS might run away from the J30 on a highway jaunt.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          To be fair DeNiro was just cruising along at the speed limit and Pacino was speeding to catch up. Yeah I don’t think the J30’s VG30, even in its quad-cam form (200hp?) could stand a chance against a Northstar in any contest of speed.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Speaking of which, what about a mashup of not-quite flagships from the 2000s? Maybe the 2006 Q45 (or, better yet, the M45) vs the RL vs the STS V8. Perhaps there’s a better substitute for the RL, since it didn’t have a V8. You could sub-in the S80 if you move to 2007/8. These are cars that were flagships for their brands, but didn’t have what it took to compete in the big leagues.

          Speaking of which: my underappreciated submission for this post is the excellent STS-V, though I would exclude it from the aformementioned competition.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I remember the first time I really saw up close/noticed a J30, I was in 8th grade, and we lived in South Carolina. Both it and the 1996 Taurus (all-new at the time) REALLY stood out in the kid pickup line. They made every other newish car look 10 years older, and I’d say it also is true of the J30’s replacement (sorry, Corey, lol).

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    1974 GTO!! I Thought they were cool looking cars. nobody else does:(

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      They were cool cars, just malaise era stuff which automatically receives an undue amount of hate.

      The ’73 A-body GTO was pretty cool as well and the Chevy Laguna S-3

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I’ve always had a soft spot for the A-body Laguna S-3 and Grand Am. While others were swooning over screaming chicken Trans Am’s the mid size Colonnade muscle car piqued my interest.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Corey, perhaps the opposite version of this question could be your next QOTD. As in, what vehicle is popular or is fondly remembered that you loathe?

    Anyway, my answer here is the Ford Aspire.

    No, I don’t think its the greatest car ever, but I do think its better than the Festiva from which it was derived and which it replaced.

    Having owned a Festiva and driven an Aspire 3 door 5 speed for quite a bit, I found the Aspire more comfortable, that it drove better and that I felt a lot safer in it (dual airbags being one major reason). I’ve heard people on here say that it is worse in every possible way, but I don’t think so.

    I always thought that Ford missed an opportunity by not putting the Mazda 1.8L from the 1991-96 Escort GT in the Aspire SE. It would not have turned the car into a GTI killer, but it would have been quicker and more fun with 110 HP vs 63. I’ve thought about undertaking this conversion myself, as others have done it with just slight modification to the firewall for clearance.

    Perhaps its the styling that people hate. I find it more contemporary and modern than the Festiva. The upgraded hubs alone are worth the jump, you can put wheels on it from the aforementioned Escort, the Civic, etc. The Festiva’s hubs meant you could only put wheels from another Festiva on it, with no upgrade possible without also replacing the hubs.

    I have no doubt that its heavier than the Festiva (without actually looking it up), but it honestly it didn’t feel noticeably slower, and with bigger wheels/tires, I felt its handling was better. So much improvement was worth it to me.

    I know it has a reputation for being a bare-bones, no-frills economy subcompact, but I don’t feel it *aspired* to be more than that, just better than what it replaced. When viewed in that light, it ain’t so bad.

    Having also driven several Geo/Chevrolet Metros, I found the Aspire was far and above the better car. I also liked it more than the Daewoo Lanos and the period Hyundai Accent. Sure, a Honda Civic is better by a factor of 10,000, but it wasn’t as cheap by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t dislike the Toyota Tercel from the era, its probably the only car in that class that I’d choose over the Aspire.

    Okay, B&B, proceed to rip me to shreds. :)

    • 0 avatar

      That QOTD is a good idea. I’m going to try and start generating QOTDs from items which have come up in the past week – like today’s question.

      Otherwise, it’s hard to just sit down and come up with some inquiry which hasn’t been covered before.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      Valid points. I had a couple of Fiesta’s in the 70’s that were German built and fun to drive. Fun to autocross but they desperately needed a 5th gear.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Well, and I mean no offence if you’re aware of this fact (or even if you’re not), but the Festiva I reference and the Fiesta were completely unrelated to each other. The car I’m talking about was based on a Mazda platform and built by Kia before it was bought out by rival Hyundai. The Fiesta was a 100% Ford design.

        • 0 avatar
          bking12762

          Absolutely correct John. Ford wasn’t building quality small cars domestically that could be sold profitably back then. They did all occupied the same spot in Ford’s line-up / captive imports which gave dealers econo boxes to sell.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yes, and in other markets (where the Festiva name was carried over to the second generation we got as the Aspire), they were able to be cheaper than the in-house Fiesta, which was the better car, I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I agree that the Aspire was a good car for what it was. I had one for a week while my car was in the body shop- it was comfortable and even quiet-ish for its category, though slow. On day 7 of the rental Enterprise let me know I could swap for a Neon, which my insurance also covered. I shouldn’t have swapped, the Neon was the least comfortable car I have driven this side of a Ferrari 308. I missed the Aspire.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        The story of my Festiva comes from working at a dealership, and we also had a used lot down the street that mostly sold program cars. Anyway, as my Camry stalled and refused to restart(again!}, I walked back to the used lot and asked what they had taken in on trade that I could drive home. He first suggested a Toyota Celica, to which I politely declined. He said well, the only other car we are going to wholesale is a Ford Aspire. I said I’ll take it.

        I drove the Aspire all weekend and really liked it for what it was. On Monday, I called the dealer and said to draw up the paperwork, I’d be down at lunch to buy it (we had a standing rule that any employee could buy a trade in for what was paid for it). He called back in a little while and said the owners who traded it in missed it and decided they wanted it back. So, I couldn’t buy it.

        Well, I looked around for other cheap cars I could replace the Camry with, and ended up with a 1990 Festiva L 5 speed with fuel injection (a 4 speed and carburetor were standard). I drove it for a while, I replaced the plug wires and the oil pan gasket, but other than that, it asked for nothing but gas, and not very much of that.

        My friend borrowed it and decided to pull the parking brake to slide around a curve and it popped a tire and damaged the wheel. That’s when I discovered that not just *any* 4 lug wheel of that bolt pattern would fit. So, I was forced to drive it around on the spare until I sold it to a co-worker. He had better luck finding a used wheel than I did. It was for his son-in-law, who evidently drove it for quite a while from my understanding.

        So, I settled for the Festiva after a positive experience with the Aspire. I actually was not looking specifically for an Aspire/Festiva, I just happened to find one at a dumpy car lot that bought it as a new-car trade from a Ford dealer in another part of the state(I found some paperwork in it that showed this). They took the Camry in on trade, and all I had to pay was the sales tax/title/registration fees on the Festiva. I was very glad to be rid of the Camry, and the Festiva was a neat little car, I just preferred the Aspire.

    • 0 avatar
      mjg82

      Some outcast cars are favourites for nostalgic reasons and the Festiva is that for me. My grandma replaced a yellow 1980 Ford Granada wagon with a 1990 Festiva. Bright blue with wave decals. I was 8 years old and thought it was the coolest thing. She quit smoking the day she bought it and always had the ashtray filled with candy.

      She was a mild mannered lady but she drove her cars hard, and she loved how it tracked in snow, bragging about zipping around other drivers. It wasn’t the most durable car but it held on until 1999. She was holding off to buy a 2000 Focus hatch, but the Festiva wasn’t willing to wait that long; she needed it to go just a couple more months. She ended up with a base ’99 Civic hatch instead. It was silver and she missed driving bright colour cars, but the Honda ran until she passed away in ’16 which is something a first year Focus wouldn’t have done.

      Side note- she drove a yellow Pinto before the Granada. The Festiva was my fave of her cars and they make me happy when I see one (which is essentially never at this point)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I also have mostly positive feelings on the Jaguar X-Type. It’s basically a 2nd gen Ford Contour with real wood inside and what I consider to be brand-appropriate exterior styling. And I think that’s just fine.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll go a step further, and say I like when I see the X-type estate version. They end up looking like the upscale British interpretation of the awful contemporary Volvo V40.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I agree, I wouldn’t turn down a manual transmission X-Type. I would imagine its very fun to drive. I briefly talked to a guy that owned one, and he loved it. He said his brother made the mistake of cranking it right after he had drained the oil for an oil change. He evidently thought the oil had already been added back? Anyway, he said although it didn’t seem to do any immediate damage, he traded the car in right after for fear of the engine having to be replaced.

      Aside from the small interior, and the terrible CD4E automatic transaxle, the Contour wasn’t a bad car. They handle well, the Duratec made them very quick, and they were economical in Zetec/manual guise. If you don’t regularly carry more than one passenger, and get the manual, its a pretty good choice.

      Likewise, I also liked the Cougar, the one based on Contour. They were on the lot when I worked at the Lincoln-Mercury dealer in the early 2000s, I really liked the ZN and XR models. Give me a Duratec/manual and a sunroof, please.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Since you sort of mentioned it, I’ve actually been incredibly impressed with my brother’s beater ’96 Mystique that he bought off the diligent original owner with 240k miles on the clock for $500 (original clutch). He put some fresh springs/struts on and finally had to do the clutch and a control arm, but that car is surprisingly nice to drive as far as ride/handling balance goes, the 2.0L Zetec paired with the sporty feeling shifter, and even the interior design and materials feels “budget european” rather than “generic American economy car.” His is a beige GL on hubcaps so it looks like the blandest most generic 90s car imaginable, but man what a pleasant surprise to drive on twisty central PA back roads. It’s over 250k miles now and showing no signs of slowing down.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Find him a set of Fiesta alloy wheels, or even off an earlier Focus. Those two were about the only FWD cars with that particular lug pattern that had decent looking wheels.

        I put Contour SVT wheels on my 1991 Tempo GLS, they looked awesome. I also put Focus alloys (first gen) on a 1993 Tempo GL, and they were a styling upgrade from the old Polycast “fake alloys” on it so many Tempos. Both required wheel spacers on the front, but I’m betting the Euro-flavored Contour/Mystique would not.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I like the X-type in theory. In practice, I’ve heard too many horror stories about it.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        It’s still a Jaguar and it’s going to do Jaguar things to you, but the fundamentals are solid and I think it stacks up fine against the competition of that era.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      Not really a contour. 18% of the parts are Ford Mondeo, primarily the center of the floorpan.

      I have an 07 X Type and my Mom has an 05. Both have been trouble free and the AWD is excellent in the winter. If by “doing Jaguar things” that means being a distinctive vehicle that is a pleasurable and rewarding experience to drive, the X Type does it well.

      Certainly no horror stories of the ones in my family, or 2 of my friends who own another 3 X Types between them. As Packard used to advertise, Ask the man who owns one.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    You’re thinking of the SVX.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Mazda 323 GTX.

    https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/road-tests/reviews/a6318/1988-mazda-323-gtx/

    Looked at one back in the day, and passed on it. I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Let’s see…

    -Mazda MX-3 (if nothing else than for the 1.8 six cylinder)
    -Nissan NX2000 (I owned a SE-R. Best buddy had the NX. Loved the T-tops)
    – Corolla FX-16 (though not sure it truly qualifies here as an “outcast”)
    – Honda DelSol (VTEC/manual, please. First wife and I owned an automatic Si and I always wondered what it would be like with the additional ponies and a manual. Loved, loved, loved the targa top and roll down rear window).

    Hmmm…noticing a trend here…

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I like all things Saab. And while I realize in some parts of the country like Boston – where I think there’s a law that every household must own at least 1 Saab or Volvo -they were popular, they were shunned by most of America.

  • avatar
    srh

    Mid-90s Chevy Impala SS. And early 80s Chevy Monte Carlo. Don’t know why those both appealed to me so much…

    I’m not sure if either were necessarily outcasts, but nobody I knew understood why I liked them at least.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      They both have their fans, the Impala for sure. I personally never liked the Monte like I did the Olds Cutlass, the Buick Regal and the Pontiac Grand Prix contemporaries, in that order.

  • avatar
    richthofen

    What about the 2003-2004 Infiniti M45? Kind of an oddity in this market since they were only produced for two years and the styling was kind of out there at the time, but I still stop and stare when I see one today.

    I also think the original Isuzu Impulse is almost forgotten today, which is a shame, what with the dramatic Giugiaro styling and “suspension by Lotus”. Even if it is a T-car in drag at the end of the day.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    The 1990s Eagle Summit Wagon – a rather cute little mini-minivan that should have been more popular and further developed. They looked particularly nice in two-tone.
    http://zombdrive.com/images1024_/1993-eagle-summit-8.jpg

  • avatar
    ernest

    Corvette C4’s, the generation every Corvette lover seems to hate. The car had more than it’s share of issues on introduction, but in true GM fashion, by the time they phased out of the model they had addressed almost all of them. The ZR1 was legendary, but I’d take a garden variety coupe from ’94 on up.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Gran Sport was pretty cool too, IIRC it wore the ZR1’s bodywork and carried the LT1 derivative LT4 V8 which ushered in the LS1.

      People give the C4 a lot of crap but it was true to the affordable sports car mantra that the vette has established just considered a bit more crude than the latter C5 and C6 models.

      Another cool feature the later C4’s had was an early tire pressure monitoring system. What really made these neat was a piezo generator for power instead of a battery but there were two issues with the system. The sensors were position specific which for the most part wasn’t too bad since the vette had staggered and directional wheels at this point ( pain in the arse when it came to tire maintenance they couldn’t be rotated especially with directional tires being all the rage back then)

      The tire pressure sensors also had to be mounted in a up direction so to speak. If they were removed from the wheel and haphazardly reinstalled upside down it would burn them up. They were also fairly bulky and were strapped to the wheel which if the tire guy had no experience with were pretty easy to damage.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I had a 95′, briefly. It actually was screwed together pretty well. The C5 was/is a way better car but the late C4’s are decent, fast, and reliable. I am 6 2 and found it to be too small, which was my biggest knock against it otherwise it got great MPG, fast etc. What is not to like?

  • avatar
    raph

    Apparently after the Buy/Drive/Burn article an FD RX7 is a pariah.

    I’m fine with that though, I would still love to have one. Especially an R1

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yeah, and I don’t get that. To me, it was the one to have, rotary issues and all. The overrated Toyota was ugly, and the ZX was just too pedestrian to rise above the Mazda.

      Reliability? Practicality? Sir, may I interest you in a Corolla S?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        The reliability/durability angle is also in the context of being incredibly easy to turn the boost up from 320hp to 500hp+ with absolutely minimal fuss and keeping it there for years without worrying about any consequences for the bottom end. The 2JZ is legend for a reason. The RX-7 is magic on a track or tight canyon road, the Supra is something you can strike out across country at super-legal speeds in comfort(and not have to keep a hawk-eye on oil level at each fillup). That they were able to engineer a car with both the performance to rival the best sports cars from around the world at the time and still have it daily-driveable up to 200k miles and more is rather impressive, I don’t know about you.

  • avatar
    arach

    THERE ARE SO MANY!

    The 3000gt is my favorite car of all time. I still wholly believe the VR4 to be superior to the Supra and the 300zx by far, although at the time it seemed to fall number 2, beating out the 300zx and losing to the supra based on my recollection of reviews. But you hit the 3kgt!

    The Geo Storm GSI. Small, lightweight, and surprisingly potent, this car was actually pretty cool. Sure quality was awful, but this was a special car that was what a lot of younger adults really wanted… but they never even knew the thing existed.

    The 1988 Fiero GT was an impressive car that still today can hold its own in autocross and other competitive racing events, but its fate was already sealed. This amazing redesigned car only say about 5k copies hit the market before being discontinued, and left into a sad sad life of automotive despise.

    The Porsche 996. yes, the headlights are weird. Yes, a few cars had an IMS bearing issue, but other than that they were miles ahead of the previous 911s. Compared to the Corvette of the same era, they were really well balanced, wonderfully driven vehicles that no one seems to like.

    The Maserati Spyder / coupe. I still don’t know why these things are so day-gone cheap. They’ve aged really well, and look really nice. They perform really well, and have good build quality. They can outrun a Ferrari 360, and have timing chains instead of belts sharing the 430 drivetrain. They are fairly luxurious, look great, perform well, and no one wants them. A few thousand dollars a year can easily maintain one…. so while they are expensive to maintain relative to another $13,000 car… they are dirt cheap compared to other cars which cost $85,000 new, and are likely similar in price, if not cheaper to maintain than a 996.

    The Kia Borrego aged REALLY WELL both on the inside and the outside, and thats a weird one but it was definitely an outcast, only getting a single year in the limelight and launching with boos and hisses. However, the thing can tow 7500 LBS and gets good fuel economy. It is relatively well optioned and sturdy. The closest match is a Jeep Commander…. but it definitely gets much better fuel economy, reliability, tow rating, and comfort levels than the jeep, and it aged better than a Ford Explorer!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m there on Storm GSI – and was there a GSI in Sportwagon format? Even if not, still have the wagon one.

      Also the sporty Isuzu I-mark RS, with Lotus suspension.
      Isuzu Impulse with Lotus suspension.

      I’m okay with Borrego, more okay with Veracruz.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Unfortunately the wagon wasn’t available in GSI form :(

        Yes the Isuzus were another one… but ironically, almost EVERY isuzu was famously underappreciated. even the Rodeo was a pretty cool car.

        The Veracruz had a long career and is still alive and well as the “Santa Fe” and then “Santa Fe XL”

        The Borrego really was a 1 year wonder

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Was the Storm bad quality? I thought it was pretty typically Japanese in the sense that it was well screwed together and ran like a Seiko watch but was prone to rust.

      Borrego is definitely an interesting SUV option, a “hit em where they ain’t” used car candidate although I’m leery of parts availability and cost. For the same exact functionality +/- I’d go with an R51 Pathfinder, if only for a better parts supply and more familiarity with them here in the US. The Borrego seemed huge in photos so they always catch me off guard in the wild, they are truly midsized.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        “Was the Storm bad quality? I thought it was pretty typically Japanese in the sense that it was well screwed together and ran like a Seiko watch but was prone to rust.”

        Isuzus never approached the QA levels of Toyotas and Hondas of the era, but a non-GSi ’92 Storm was my second car ever, and it held together just fine over three years and 65,000 hard miles of typical teenager use. The sole problem I encountered with it – a propensity for shredding accessory belts – was the fault of aftermarket A/C installation.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I might have misused quality. It wasn’t necessarily “BAD” but it felt like a cheap car through and through. Not like a well built cheap car, like a honda did. But like a cheap car.

        I actually think the quality was probably better than it looked like.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      >>Maserati Spyder

      The local specialty / used car import dealer has a low mileage Maserati Spyder. I was tempted, so very tempted.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      +1 on the Borrego. I’d also add the first gen Sportage and Sorento. Kia’s BOF SUVs were far more desirable to the FWD crossovers that replaced them, to me anyway.

      My holy grail Sorento (the drive train, not the miles, and I prefer the steelies):

      https://huntsville.craigslist.org/cto/d/2004-kia-sorento-lx-4×4/6659681083.html

  • avatar
    WhatsMyNextCar

    The Ford Contour SVT always intrigued me. It looked much more aggressive than its lesser versions, had a motor with plenty of power for its time/class, and a manual transmission.

    I also think the VW Phaeton was amazing. A VW A8. It was so large and ridiculously equipped, and not really at home among the New Beetles, Passats, and Jettas on the showroom floor.

    Both had reliability issues, not to mention neither had a customer.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’d say the Contour was a Honda Accord (in reliability terms) compared to the Phaeton. You didn’t get the terrible CD4E automatic in the SVT (manual only), and the Duratec was a pretty good engine.

      • 0 avatar
        WhatsMyNextCar

        I guess, when I think back, people complained the Duratec was hard to work on, not that it was particularly unreliable. I don’t remember – it’s been 2 decades. But, yeah, compared to the Phaeton, the Contour may as well have been an ’80s Toyota pickup with the 22RE motor.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    PT Cruiser GT. Basically the same thing as a Dodge SRT-4 with a better looking (opinion) and more useful (fact) bodystyle. The one place it got the shaft was in not having the SRT’s limited slip differential. I owned one with a manual, and it was a blast. Adding the Eibach Pro Plus kit killed off the grotesque rear wheel gap, added a rear swaybar and upgraded the front as well as getting stiffer springs all around. That’s how it SHOULD have come from the factor. Just a great all around little car with raucous performance, stylish if trendy looks, and surprisingly practical.

    • 0 avatar
      mjg82

      an ’05 PT GT (before they scalloped the headlights) in black or dark purple and chrome rims would be a cool car to put a couple thousand nice weather miles on each year. Not needing a practical car, I find the convertibles catch my eye at times (I might be the only one in that boat of course)

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Outcast minivan – Mazda MPV

  • avatar
    mjg82

    I’m throwing the Chrysler Crossfire in the mix. I thought they were gorgeous when they came out, and then they looked dated really quickly. But now when I see them I think they’re beautiful again. I think visually they’ll age well. SRT6 copies are sparse on the ground around me but I’d happily have one sitting on those 15 spoke rims in my garage (after a minor bit of help with the stance).

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Pontiac GTO coupe with the LS2
    Pontiac G8 GT and GXP
    Pontiac Solstice Coupe GXP
    Saturn Sky Redline
    Isuzu Impulse RS AWD Turbo
    Oldsmobile LSS

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I decided to make another post, after reconsidering the word “favorite” in the headline. The Aspire isn’t my favorite, the Tempo is.

    Again, like the Aspire, I don’t consider Tempo to be the greatest car ever. I know it was cheap, mostly dull and an “old lady’s” ride, especially in the most common form (GL sedan with the I-4 and automatic).

    However, I have owned several, the only powertrain I haven’t owned would be a diesel. I really liked the cars, to me, they were quite charming in a way most other compacts weren’t. The V-6 was quick, the LX was pretty refined for its price point, and I found them all to be reliable and durable. The early cars were much better than the contemporary K cars, IMO, in so far as driving dynamics and quality. They also felt more modern, if not as roomy (the K’s bench seat and column shifter aiding that feeling in that regard).

    With the 3 speed automatic, they weren’t as economical as they could have been, but with the economy 5 speed (in the non-sport models), they got excellent mileage. The 3.73 final drive 5 speed in the Sport GL or GLS/XR5/LTS gave the car decent acceleration.

    I am to the point now where having a larger car is easier on me (not that I’m necessarily a big guy at under 6′ and under 200lbs), so the Taurus I have now is a more comfortable choice. Its also a nicer and more refined car. But, I still miss my Tempos and I can’t rule out the fact that I will have another in my collection one day.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I had an ’87 Tempo GL Sport in the coupe body style, two-tone dark blue upper, dark gray lower with the gray interior. Five-speed manual but a number of the other option boxes checked (no power locks or windows, one of two years where they were available on the coupe).

      I think back fondly to the car and when I see pictures of them today I consider that with little modification, the body style would look modern in the current era. Ford also did a great job on the GL Sport models hiding the 5 MPH bumpers.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        My 1991 GLS coupe was a fun little car. I sold it thinking that it was time to give up on manuals permanently. I now regret that very much, I wish I still had it around in addition to the Taurus as a daily driver.

        I had a 1987 GL sedan with the automatic, but I also had a 1987 coupe with the 5 speed (not a Sport, just a low options Ace of Base). I could run all week in the coupe on $5 worth of gas. I seem to remember it got about 35 MPG.

        If I was already at work on the next job (doesn’t start until the 20th unfortunately), I’d be trying to make this mine, and thus completing the list of available engines I’ve owned:

        https://austin.craigslist.org/cto/d/1986-ford-tempo-gl-800-obo/6640654928.html

        Looks to be in damn good shape for $800 OBO, so far as I can tell in the pics. It isn’t exactly close, but I wouldn’t mind the trip to go get it. A tow dolly and my dad’s F-150 would be perfect to go get it with.

        I suppose I could take it on jobs where there was a considerable distance between where I’m staying and the job site. 40 MPG +/- would be awesome.

        The company I worked for in the spring said they have a lot of work starting after the first of the year. I’m hoping it isn’t in the salt belt, because I do not want to take my Taurus (or that Tempo, if I had it) into the salty hell.

        I thought about getting something like a Cutlass Ciera and rust proof it as best I could to use as a work beater.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I never could understand the brazen hate towards the JS 2007-10 Sebring. I thought it was pretty great for what it was. Yes, it had an overly gray, bland, plasticky interior, but in 2007, most other cars had the gray industrial-grade plastic interiors as well. I thought the interior could have done a little better, but the exterior of the Sebring was pretty nice looking, I think. I liked the hood strakes.

    These cars were very reliable. I don’t know about the 2.7, supposedly those were improved right before the end of the LH/JR cars, but the GEMA 2.4 is a tough little motor and is the one to have in my opinion. There was the 3.5 too but those were best in the LH/LX. The 41TE and the later 62TE could easily go over 200,000 miles with nothing more than a filter and fluid drain/fill or two in between on these cars. The mileage was pretty respectable at 22/30 MPG.

    I remember hearing over and over again that the 2.4 had no power. Huh? I drive on the freeway every day with my 200 which is equipped with the 2.4 and I have no problems passing, merging or maintaining speed. Granted, my 200’s 2.4 is mated to a 62TE, but I rented a Journey when I flew out on company business for a few days with the same engine and a 41TE and I had no problems at all.

    The JS 200 was hated just as much, even though it improved upon the Sebring of which it was based upon.

    Special mention for the Caliber and Patriot. The only thing I didn’t like about those were the fact that those were equipped with a CVT. From what I know, the CVTs didn’t fail all that often in the Caliber/Patriot as much they did (and continue to do) in Nissan products. That confuses me because Jatco, which manufactures CVTs for Nissan, manufactured the CVTs for these cars as well, and I’m sure they produced CVTs for a handful of other OEMs. Other than that, these were decent cars for the price.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Of all that you mentioned, this is the one I’d take:

      https://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/d/2011-jeep-patriot-4wd/6653668151.html

      Yes, I know it needs a repair, but its the body and drive train I’d choose.

      I respect your fondness for these cars, even if I don’t share it. As mentioned above, the cars I like are just as hated by many as are yours.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “brazen hate towards the JS 2007-10 Sebring”
      The weird C pillar curvature, and worst of all the lines in the hood. Unequivocally a rolling abomination on wheels. The refresh for 2011 was a massive improvements on most fronts.

      “most other cars had the gray industrial-grade plastic interiors as well.”

      No, Chrysler really did have monumentally sh*tty interiors during this era, notably worse than most of its competitors. Again, the changes made in 2011 were a leap in the right direction.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I love all of the GM Epsilon bodies (Ep1).

    Especially the GTP G6s, the Saturn Aura XR with the 3.6/6 speed combo and the Malibu Maxx SS models.

    But, I will take any of them, really.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’d happily take a Malibu Maxx. Always liked them.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Saturn Aura was highly underrated, the car was a bargain Ace of Base that sipped fuel but wasn’t punishment to drive. I had a couple as rentals and I loved them. The Malibu MAXX was wrongly maligned – I have a soft spot for 5-door hatch anything. I did look at one in 2005 and I wanted to love it badly. The content was right, the packaging was wrong and the SS trim didn’t resolve the utterly depressing interior.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Chevy SS – If you didn’t drive one with a stick, do so at your next earliest convenience.
    Saab 9000 – Weird, cool, but less weird and more cool than other Saabs
    Oldsmobile Aurora – Mercedes took this idea and made it work, but Olds came up with the concept.
    BMW 540i wagon – curse you SUV people for wrecking demand for this

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Favourite automotive outcast? If current trends are an indication…. cars.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    It was a good decision to leave the 3000GT out. Five Diamond-Star fanboys would have said “Buy” or “Drive” and everyone else would have said “Burn”. I knew a guy who’d had a 3000GT VR4. It was in the shop more than on the road, and he was a Mitsubishi service writer!

    My favorite outcast? 1983 RX-7 GSLs. They’re not the early chrome-bumper RX-7s, and they’re not the later fuel injected ones. They do have LSD and rear discs, and if you replace the beehive oil cooler with the GSL-SE air-to-oil cooler they’re really reliable.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    Thanks for the shout-out!!

    I am in my 2nd 3000GT VR4 Spyder. (Had a 1996 red one like the one picture, the current one is a 95 black one with 66K miles, mint, stock) Plus, I drove an SL Manual for 15 years.

    Yeah, heavy cars, but even to this day, I’d rather roll with the 3 diamonds than a Mazda RX7 (I just dont feel like rebuilding engines every 3rd oil change as the Mazda fanbois do)

    They haven’t gain stratospheric value as the other 3, because sadly the VR4’s never appeared in the Fast & Furious franchise (there was a cut-scene one, with an awful body kit) But had the car appeared in the F&F, people would be paying much higher prices for sure.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I’ll echo my usual cries of “Scion xD!”. Since that’s the only true outcast I’ve ever owned and loved.

    Otherwise, the mid-00’s Legacy and Suzuki Kizashi (and SX4)
    fit the bill and haven’t been mentioned.


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