By on December 12, 2018

Yesterday’s QOTD post by youthful scribe Steph Willems got me thinking about the cars of my youth, as intended. But the thoughts weren’t about the cars I would’ve had on my (non-existent) posters, but rather those I fully ignored in those days.

Little did I know.

First, I’ll explain the lack of posters in my room. Instead of those flat pieces of paper, I had a collection of 1:18 scale diecast cars. Real paint, rubber tires, steering wheels that worked, and some suspension too. The star of those three shelves was the Mercedes-Benz SL500, in silver over grey and R129 guise. The roll bar even popped up! The upstairs hallway was the town; the doorways were driveways. But I digress.

My limited toy car collection was a representation of the flashy mainstream metal I had an appreciation for at the time (even a Twister-ready ’94 Ram 1500). In my youth, I ignored any vehicles of the obscure or vanishing variety — things I value now. Cars like the Saab 900 Turbo, the Volvo 240 wagon, or the Subaru XT6. I never looked at rear-drive V8 American cars like the Town Car, the Fleetwood Brougham, or the C4 Corvette (in teal). “Those are for old people,” I thought. Was I wrong? No. But I have a certain appreciation for those things now, even if BMW drivers from the east coast come along and tell us all how crappy they are. Don’t care!

I didn’t appreciate anything especially old, either. America’s beautiful luxury Packards, the Mercedes-Benz 500K, and Talbot-Lago coupes were all “too old.” There are many, many more, but you get the point.

What cars fell prey to your youthful ignorance, only to find your favor later once their time was long gone?

[Image: Saab]

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60 Comments on “QOTD: Falling in Love a Little Too Late?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    French cars. Totally dismissed them. Now realize how wrong we were.

    Delahaye, Bugatti, Facel, and the French arm of Hispano-Suiza magnificent vehicles.
    Citroen from the technologically advanced DS to the basic 2CV.
    Peugeot and Renault which manufactured vehicles tough enough for former French colonies to hot hatches.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I know Corey, you saved your walls for all those “Backstreet Boys” and “Saved By The Bell” posters

    • 0 avatar

      Really N*SYNC had better songs. I was more into Fresh Prince for TV.

      STILL NO POSTERS

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Hated boy and girl bands when I was younger (wait, I still do), but yeah I liked Fresh Prince a lot more, only watching Saved by the Bell (or Full House) when there was nothing else on.

        For music, I liked some gangster rap. Tupac mainly, but for current stuff at the time, it was Nelly’s Country Grammar, OutKast, I borrowed Big Willy Style occasionally, and Emeniem was a revelation.

        I had no posters, either. Didnt like exotic cars, but I did have a collection of model cars including a first gen Mercedes-Benz A Class! And a Jaguar XK8. I had a huge collection of car brochures from many manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Nothing wrong with a boy having a Kelly Kapowski poster on his wall.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    I forgot how good that Saab looks in profile. I drove one once back in the 80’s and it was a joy, great balance in the handling and super-comfy seats. I didn’t sit in back but I can see in the profile shot that there’s plenty of room back there. It’s also got all of the Saab quirks like the ignition key location, the freaky curved windshield, and that weird Euro habit of using commas instead of decimal points. Great car, I should go out and look for one.

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      +1 to all. Wanted an 82 Turbo, settled for an S model, due to youthful insurance costs.

      Slow of course, but in its day, what a ski car!

      An honest six feet of flat load floor in the back.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        Drove my 1986 900S 16V for over 325k miles and sold it to a kid in 2006 who totalled it next week. It was such an amazing car! The steering feel, the telepathic shifter, the magical seats. And the sound, that deep, rich voice… I miss it so much!

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Speaking of the profile, the “classic” 900 strikes me as one of the last cars that was designed with both two-door and four-door variants in mind but with the two-door conceived as the stylistic baseline. In that way, it’s a throwback to something like the 4th-gen Impala or 2nd-gen Corvair. With something like an E30 BMW or a 1980s GM A-body, the two-door variant gains you nothing stylistically. (I think the only positive is that for taller drivers the B-pillar gets pushed back further out of their peripheral vision.) With a classic 900, the two-door (or three-door, if you prefer) actually does look better proportioned.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        And they factored the convertible in too…

        Roofline wasn’t too awkward on any of the variants.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Good point. None of the generations of Saab convertible look like a “ship the two-doors across town to ASC to get ’em converted” job. Not to hate on those. If I could wave my budget and parking magic wand, I’d totally have a 1980s Chrysler or Dodge convertible as a guilty pleasure.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          LOL – no they didn’t! Saab never even DREAMED of a convertible 900. That was 100% the project of the late Bob Sinclair, who was the president of Saab-Scania USA in the glory days of the ’80s into the early ’90s. And, in fact, ASC made the prototypes that got shipped back to Sweden for evaluation. I had a ’92 900CV Turbo, and got to have “Uncle Bob” sign the sun visor at one of the Saab Owner’s Conventions. He was a GREAT guy, and is missed.

          Full story here:

          http://saabworld.org/the-saab-convertible-story-a-swedish-love-affair-with-the-sun/

      • 0 avatar
        bill h.

        I would agree that the 3-door has the more integrated look. We had a 1988 4-door that was the family car we brought our son home in from the hospital. Now nearly 30 years later, he has a 3-door 900 SPG that’s the same age as he is, fully restored. It’s nice when I can take a trip back to those memories driving a car he got hard-wired into loving, which he’s been dedicated enough to bring back into the family.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      We had a black Saab Turbo coupe, but it was the next generation, a ’94. My wife likes slightly quirky but still practical cars.
      A black CRX, the black Saab, a black WRX, and now a black Mini. Hmm, I am sensing a pattern!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I had a black ’85 900 Turbo, a blue ’92 900 Turbo Convertible, and a black ’95 900SE Turbo. I loved the convertible, but the new gen 900 was a MUCH better car overall. Though admittedly I did all the upgrades to sort out the awful front subframe and steering rack caused handling issues that should have been done by the factory in the first place. The so called “Viggen Rescue Kit”. Still my favorite Saab of the seven I have owned.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Saab ignition location is the only real quirk. The wrap-around windshield was pretty common among American makes in the mid 1950s and early 1960s.

      You can blame the French for the use of a comma instead of a decimal, and the decimal used for groups of three numbers. That’s part of their System International, and it was the exact opposite of what the British then used, and what we inherited. It’s possible that’s why the French chose it.

      Since the UK adopted the SI, we’re the only country that can be said to use the decimal system. The rest of the world is using the comma system!

    • 0 avatar

      I had a 1988 Saab Turbo, my first new car after a real job. I loved the car. Big, comfy, fast, especially in the 80’s. I could beat up the yuppie 320i all day. Adults could sit in all four seats at once, and the hatchback was, at the time, rare in US Cars.

      90 mph running was easy and economical.

      Still some of the best car seats ever made.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Some more recent ones for me:
    0. Cadillac XTS.
    1. Tesla Model 3 and Model S (but not the Model X).
    2. Front-wheel drive Monte Carlo.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I’m a big fan of full-size, transverse V6, FWD sedans as road trip cars. As such, I agree with you on the XTS . . . even though I’ve never sat in one, let alone driven one. I also think the stylists did a commendable job on the pre-refresh ones of meshing Art & Science and traditional Cadillac cues (pun intended) with the Epsilon II platform. They don’t look like a LaCrosse with different front and rear clips tacked on.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I really like the tweaks made to the rear during the last refresh on the XTS.

        (Quick search)

        Yup the Cadillac dealer in Santa Fe still has 2017 XTS Luxury CPO (29,000) miles listed for $27K, bet dickering him down to $25K would be a no sweat effort.

        • 0 avatar

          Mr. Dan keep in mind at $30K you’re into 2016 CT6 territory.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            CT6? With turbo-4?

            hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

            I might accept my Buick or my Chevy with a turbo 4 but not a Cadillac son. The only reason I’m accepting a V6 in the Caddy is because it crests 300 hp.

          • 0 avatar

            Of course not, the 3.6 version!

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I wonder what the insurance difference is between those two?

            The all aluminum CT6 would likely not be looked at kindly in comparison to an Impala wearing a tux.

          • 0 avatar

            The rates on my aluminum Audi A8 were not significantly different to the I30 I had before it. I’m not sure they consider repair costs to that degree, but maybe I’m wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I’ve had a 2.0T CT6 as a rental, the engine was perfectly fine. In fact, the car was perfectly fine. Just not terribly interesting. Really, it’s so quiet you would probably never know what was under the hood if you didn’t look.

            Repair costs are a minor contributor to the relative cost of insurance. After all, compared to the cost to fix YOU (or who you hit) after an accident, even expensive cars are cheap. And I doubt there is much in it between similar cost cars anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      A last gen Monte in glossy black isn’t too awful bad. My brother had one of the Lumina Coupe Montes (1998?), I was pretty blah about it. I also drove several from the GM dealer I worked at, still wasn’t too thrilled about them. I much preferred the Pontiac Grand Prix (this was early ’00s). I still wouldn’t mind a GTP coupe to this day.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Before I bought my 95 MN-12 I seriously considered a Pontiac GTP coupe. It’s one of the W-body standouts from the meh GM pre bankruptcy late 90’s 00’s. Well put together and the 3800SC puts out 240hp to the front wheels with little torque steer.

        There’s a nice clean last gen 2003 Monte Carlo SS in black with the 3.8 NA motor on CL for a mere $2900.

        https://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/cto/d/03-chevrolet-monte-carlo-ss/6765077770.html

        People must be holding on to the Dale/Gordon editions thinking “Someday Mecham!”

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “People must be holding on to the Dale/Gordon editions thinking “Someday Mecham!”

          Lol well I wish them the best of luck with that! Ha!

          I suppose the Grand Prix could be one of those cars I didnt think much of until later when I drove one. That generation was simply the best, and probably the only GM *car* of the era I’d actually pine for (with the notable exception of the 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora).

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            My aunt had a 99 Century that for a boring retirement community Buick was quite decent with the 3100 motor. After she passed it’s gone on to other relatives who are still running it with normal maintenance. The one to buy is the Regal GS with the 3800SC or upper trim GSE.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            ” (with the notable exception of the 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora)…”

            Lord knows I’m still an Oldsmobile fan, but I never, ever got the love for the first gen Aurora. I really thought of it as a lumpy Olds 98 with a bunch of whiz-bang features. I’m not denigrating you for liking it, as the second gen Aurora really rang my bell. In addition, I got to drive early production second gen Auroras when they came out and they were fantastic.

            Of all of the W-bodies, I would definitely keep a spot open for a bronze metallic Grand Prix GTP four door from about 1998 or so. They were the first car to take my eyes away from the LH Chryslers and still look good today, IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            @MFR, yes I enjoyed those Regals, but the Pontiac was still more my bag.

            @geo, I drove them as well, and the V-8 was powerful, the styling was out of this world (literally looks like a UFO with wheels, lol) and I just enjoyed the whole experience. The second gen felt like a cut below, like it just wasn’t up to the task of filling the elder’s shoes.

            I have read that the second gen was actually supposed to slot below the actual Aurora, which was supposed to grow and become more substantial. This absolutely fits with my impression of them. The first gen was just special.

  • avatar
    arach

    Performance Variants of Normal Cars… Neon ACR- “Just a neon”, Cobalt SS “Just a budget sedan”, and even the Honda Civic Type R “Just a Civic”

    I really undervalued those my entire life.

    Side note- Corey you mentioned Packard… the Dayton Packard Museum? the place is amazing. Make a day trip out of it.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The biggest one for me is probably the S2000. I specifically remember 10th grade me scoffing that my 1994 Grand Prix produced more torque from its mighty 3100 V6 than a supposedly advanced new sports car. I also remember extra hatred since the S2000 was the poster child for the “HP/L bros” that were big at the time. I still think HP/L is dumb, but I have driven the car and been impressed, not to mention recognized the engineering effort that went into making it.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Too many to list since my tastes have evolved over time. I also didn’t appreciate the Subaru XT when they were semi-common on the roads when I was a kid. I always remember there was a house we drove by often in my childhood that I called the “Subaru guy”, there was always at least one XT in the driveway in addition to various other Subaru products. I remember at recently as the early 00’s there was 2 XTs and an SVX in the driveway. That house was demolished long ago to widen the road it sat beside.

    Suzuki X90 I thought was just a Barbie car, which wasn’t inaccurate but I still later realized its awesomeness. I wasn’t a fan of VW Golfs until I was old enough to drive either, mostly because the “performance” variants through the 90’s and early 00’s were not well received.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    No regrets

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Dodge Daytona/Chrysler Laser, particularly the 4-eyed ‘84-86 models with the intercooled Turbo II. These were pretty plentiful by the time I was of driving age (16 in 1990) but if it wasn’t a Jeep CJ, another open top 4×4 or one of a handful of single cab 4×4 pickups I couldn’t be bothered. I had a lot of appreciation for classic muscle cars and old school hotrods too but this stuff was pulling out of reach for a kid doing it on a grocery store stock boys paycheck.

    Fast forward to about 2004: the Hemi LX cars, GTO, and especially 2005 Mustang lead to a total renaissance of back to basics classic American performance cars that actually LOOK like cars! What does that have to do with the Daytona, a fwd 4 cyl coupe? Well, arguably that car in theory should have led to the rise of American tuners/sport compacts. But parked next to a contemporary Mustang or Trans-Am, it’s easy to see that Ma Mopar was doing pony cars her own way. It’s also at around this time that my automotive tastes started skewing even more heavily towards Mopars exclusively. The ‘08 Challenger cemented that. I still want another turbo Mopar, after enjoying the hell out of my ‘03 GT Cruiser. I just wouldn’t forgo something with a Hemi for one!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    ’80s Ford and GM trucks, built before trucks became rolling codpieces / raised middle fingers / $65,000 Viagra substitutes. Simple, functional and durable.

    I’m not a “truck guy,” but I’d love a two-door Chevy in red.

    • 0 avatar
      55_wrench

      what Freedmike said.

      My 1985 Bricknose 6.9 is slowly succumbing to cancer all over the cab weld seams, but its diesel heart is unkillable.

      I’d love to have a new one with an EcoBoost, same 1985 (sorta like LTD) Interior and captains chairs.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        If I ever buy a crew cab 1/2 ton truck from the big 3 my first move is going to be to de-badge it and find some nameplates from the equivalent 60s sedan to slap on there.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Fox Body Mustangs – I was born and raised in a GM household and shunned anything Ford. Now I realize how much fun I could have with an LX notchback fuel injected 5.0 with manual trans.

    I also now realize how much fun I could probably have had with an RX-8. However I think I liked the design more than the rotary. Clam-shell doors, good space utilization for the footprint, one of the more highly praised suspensions of its time, I know people drop V8s in ’em but I think an RX-8 with a Mazda Skyactive 2.5 turbo driving the rear wheels would be entertaining.

  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    Japanese cars. When I was a kid it was all Chevelles and Nomads. Muscle cars, land yachts. Even semi trucks. But Japanese cars were nowhere on my radar. When the F&F series got popular I became even less interested in the so-called “ricers” (yikes that is derogatory looking back now). I was definitely a product of my environment when it came to cars. There wasn’t much foreign stuff going on at car shows or cruise nights.

    Thanks to the internet, Top Gear, and racing video games I’ve since shed that narrow focus and come to find appreciation in cars from all over the globe.

    Anyone else daydream about the Mitsubishi Starion?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “ricers” (yikes that is derogatory looking back now)

      As derogatory as “Yellow Fever” or “Jungle Fever” but we were all young and ignorant once.

      (Myself included.)

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I lusted after the Starion but I was fan of Japanese cars from get go having a Civic S1500 hatchback. As a high schooler I was into just about ever kind of car, except for the older muscle. To me those cars were just so big and loud for no apparent reason, plus the interiors were terrible. A friend had a March 1 Mustang setup as a drag car that changed my tune.

      However I often wonder what if I had gotten a 300ZX instead of Eclipse GS-T back in ’96. The Z was just out of my price range when I upgraded from my Prelude Si. While the Eclipse was a blast it kept me in the FWD world far too long. Then again maybe this was a good thing as a younger me would have likely crashed a RWD turbo powered machine.

      I got my wife to look at Saab and we bought a Volvo, so yeah I general don’t overlook anything. After swearing off GM for multiple reasons I finally got a ‘Vette so never say never.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Lol I also swore of GM after a terrible experience with pretty much every one I have had, but scored the Sonoma crew cab for so cheap that it was worth the risk.

        I ordered a 4.3L V-6 for it this morning. Decided to forgo the V-8 for now.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was born into a Chevrolet Bel Aire/Impala and Plymouth Belvadere Valiant/Dodge Dart family. My grandparents owned two Corvairs until they moved up the GM lineup.
    I owned a Mustang and a Cougar and currently own a 95 Thunderbird LX. I never thought much about Saab’s and Volvo’s, just respected them as solid safe reliable cars. Now I’m kind of smitten with them.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Miatas. I grew up with a preference for V8 muscle/sports cars. Little did I know the joy of light weight, and how 40 mph can feel like 80 mph in a car like the Miata. Luckily they’ve held up well, and I can still buy them today. Currently have a 2000 SE.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Early Hondas, Datsuns and a few Toyotas. Early Civic and Accord, first Datsun 510 (and B-210, 610 710 and 810), boxy RWD Corolla, first gen Celica. Audi Coupe GT. Volkswagen Fox and Golf, Mercury Capri XR-2, Mercury Zephyr.

    Some later Hondas as well, grew to love the Accord, the last generation Prelude,
    and some Civics. Have no desire to turn them into “tuner cars”, just enjoy them stock with maybe a little larger wheels from newer Hondas (16″ Fit alloys on a 1992 Accord coupe, for example).

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I like exactly the same cars now that I liked then. And I have now owned many of them over the years.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      As have I, and I was rarely disappointed. I loved the first and second generation Taurus 20+ years ago, still do, and love that I get to drive one anytime I like.

      There are still a few I haven’t owned, but the ones I really liked and ended up getting as an adult, I still loved them, and still do. I sorely regret giving up my Tempo LX V-6 and my Tempo GLS coupe (2.3L H.O./5spd). I hope I can find another one like either of those two one day.

  • avatar
    ryanwm80

    The first generation Mercury Sable cars. I was born in 1980, and by the time I finished high school I really wanted a 1988 Thunderbird Turbo coupe. When I started shopping for a car around 2000, 80’s era Sables were common inexpensive used cars, but I found their styling to be odd, and ended up with a 1989 Taurus. I made many trips to junk yards hunting for car parts where I encountered numerous Sables, and one thing that really struck me was how the interior door handle was integrated with the door panel on the ’90 to ’91 models, and some had a very realistic burled walnut trim along the top of the door. The seat fabric was soft and fuzzy, and the seats had more cushioning than most cars. The styling began to grow on me, and I realized that although it looks very similar to the Taurus, every exterior sheet metal part was different, along with the bumpers. The differences were subtle, but tasteful, and the execution of the wrap-around windows of the sedans were so clean and tasteful. Last year I bought a 1988 Sable LS wagon, and my only regret is that I didn’t buy one sooner. It’s a quiet, comfy car, with neo classic American styling totally distinct from anything else.

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