By on September 9, 2019

No, this isn’t one of those “one weird thing” clickbait-style posts. You know us better than that.

This morning, we’re asking about weird cars you enjoy finding in any condition. You know what we mean: the cars that appeal to you (probably only you) when they randomly appear amongst the detritus of life.

Given that lead photo, you know where the majority of my Kryptonite is found.

If it’s found at all, actually. Most of this tat from GM was reduced to fine iron oxide filings ages ago, particularly in the salt-laden environment that I inexplicably choose to call home. We one does appear, it is routinely equipped with a failing exhaust system and a brace of space-saver tires.

For whatever reason, it’s the W-Body in particular that causes me to unholster my smartphone and take a pic. Grand Prix, Cutlass Supreme, these GM10 cars — for whatever reason — still appeal to me in spades. Perhaps it is due to their appearance in my formative years as sedans and coupes aimed at families who appreciated a dose of style. Yes, even today, I do think these things look good – the wraparound rear window of the Olds and narrowed headlights of the Pontiac are two of the features that appeal even in 2019.

Their production numbers and shocking build quality assure they’ll never be concours winners but you can be certain this author’s head is on a swivel when he sees one in traffic. Perhaps these cars are at an age when they’re considered “just an old car” like people surely thought of a mid-60s Dart twenty-five years ago. Now, those mass-produced Dodges show up at car shows on occasion. Perhaps the same will happen for W-Body coupes in the year 2044.

What admittedly terrible car, no matter its condition, are you excited to see?

*edit: I had no idea Phil was writing up a W-Body for this week’s Junkyard Find. Great minds, etc … or minds similarly captured by horrifying examples of automotive dustbins. Same thing.

 

[Images: GM]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

110 Comments on “QOTD: What Weird Car Are You Always Happy To Find?...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    Dodge Omni / Plymouth Horizon
    1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2
    1990s Pontiac Sunbird Wagon

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’m *always* happy to see a bugeye Sprite! It is the happiest “face” ever put on a car!

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      You must love the smilin’ Mazdas from around 2010 :)

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I saw (and heard) a beautiful black Bugeye with chrome wires drive by last night, while I was sitting outside the local Walgreens, waiting for five gallon water jugs to fill at the Glacier machine. Glorious!

    • 0 avatar
      jeoff

      As a kid, I always loved seeing an Opel GT (looked like a mini-vette ). It’s been years since I’ve seen one.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Oddly enough, near my place in SW Florida an old commercial building is being renovated. When they cleared the jungle out of the side lot, they dragged the best part of a dozen old Opels out of there. 3-4 GTs, a couple Mantas, and a the rest Kadetts! All in truly decrepit condition as you can imagine. I’ve driven right by for almost three years and had no idea they were in there it was so overgrown! It’s not a garage type of building, so must have been an Opel hoarder. The cars are all lined up in the parking lot now waiting to be hauled away.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Any old Italian car does that for me. Also old Mopars from the 60s through the 80s.

  • avatar

    I love the late cycle Olds Cutlass Supreme coupe on the W-body platform.
    I also love the early 80s GM E/K-Body… I also happen to drive one.
    The fox body Continental is also a favorite of mine.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    That blue GP coupe pictured? I bought it brand new in red with the “all new” Twin Dual Cam mill. Also had the ASC/McLaren Turbo version. Great cars.

    For me it’s checking the front fenders of any old Sunbirds and Grand Ams for the tiny “Turbo” badge. They were rare even when new, around 1987. 2.0L OHC Turbo that propelled those light cars with gusto, but few seem to have been built.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    ’57 and ’59 Chevrolet coupes
    ’66 through ’72 GM “mid-sized” coupes (Cutlass, Toronado Tempest, LeMans, Chevelle, Skylark, Riviera, Wildcat)
    ’57-65 Ford Thunderbirds
    Plymouth Prowler–any year.
    ’57-’62 Chryslers, Plymouths and Dodges. (Coupes–i.e.2-door only)
    ’66-72 Plymouth/Dodge ‘muscle car’ coupes.

    I think you get the idea.

    Of course, any time I see a Tesla is a treat, too… along with the rare OTHER than Tesla BEVs.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    “Shocking”! Internet writers love that word. By the way, the GM W-body cars where not “terrible”.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yes they were.

      Almost non-competitive from the day the were released.

      Coupes came out before sedans when sedans were the volume sellers.

      The original design had a fiberglass mono-leaf rear suspension which collapsed and had to be replaced on several examples owned by family members.

      The development of the platform was shockingly expensive and had huge time and cost overruns that were likely the reason the platform had to stay in production for 30 years (that was the only way to make money.)

      The rear seat was designed to look good when the magazines reported rear seat leg and head room but in reality you were practically sitting on the pavement with your knees in the air.

      They were produced with a myriad of engine transmission combos but for my money the only ones worth a red cent were the 3800 4 speed auto OR the 3.6 VVT DI with 6 speed auto.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The pre-facelift Saturn S cars. Age is finally taking its toll on these but I’ll always have a soft spot for them.

    Well styled, well engineered (apart from oil consumption), and well priced. It’s been discussed on here a million times but what an alternate history it would have been if GM had taken more lessons from the Saturn experiment.

  • avatar

    Chevy Beretta. Especially if a V6 stick.

    Let the laughter begin…

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Thumbs up here. A good friend of mine in high school (mid/late 80s) had one. At the time it was an impressive car – powerful, digital dash, sleek shape, hidden door handles. I can’t remember the last time I saw one… its been years!

      VW Corrado is another rare sighting that always gets my attention.

      Volvo C30 – because my wife owned one and so few bought them its an oddball for sure. The car came in a wide array of colors some of which I’ve never seen in person.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      For a short time, even Nissan and Honda obsessed me thought of getting a Beretta. They were cheaper than Maximas or Accords on the used car lots. But there was a certain working class “stigma” – at least to my then-young eyes – that kept me away from Berettas and the Pontiac Grand Prix.

      I can’t remember the last time I saw a Beretta but a few cockroach Grand Ams still pop up now and then. I did see a Corsica a few weeks ago!

    • 0 avatar

      Not laughing; the GTU was actually one of my favorites, along with the original z24, the Dodge Colt Turbo, and the original GTi. Also, a certain fondness for the Celica GTS (not the Supra)

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Any older BMW with the classic round headlights. I just love that front end styling and it makes me smile every time :)

    (OO=[|]=OO)

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I LOATHE first gen FWD GM H-platform cars. That being said I always geek out when I see a 85 to 1991 Bonneville because they were relatively rare as those H-bodies go. Especially if I see a highly trimmed example.

    I get happy when I see a “fish face” Taurus or Sable, especially when it has the telltale twin exhausts or “DOHC” badge to designate the higher powered version.

    I love to see the short lived 2000-2003 Maxima because it feels like the last one before Nissan lost the plot. – But that was actually a great car.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      I had 2002 and 2003 Maxima SE’s, and a 2001 i30. All wonderful cars. The 3.0L was actually “sweeter” than the 3.5L even if less HP.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Aside from an incredible propensity to rust (lower rad support in particular, watch out!), and an overall cheaper/lighter feel and crashier ride than a similar age Camry, I loved my beater ’00 Maxima SE and actually kind of miss it. Mine had the updated 221hp version of the VQ30, pulled very hard and turbine smooth even with the auto. It would eat my ’96 ES300 alive from a light if they were to line up. At the same time, the Lexus was built like the proverbial brick sh*thouse and was the superior bad-road car.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      The ’85-’86 Bonnevilles were particularly rare, PrincipalDan, because they didn’t start making them until ’87. ;-)

      I don’t know if that was a production capacity thing or some vestige of the Sloan hierarchy, but Buick and Olds replaced their B-bodies with H-bodies in ’85. Pontiac held onto the B-body Parisienne through ’86.

      The ’88-’91 SE was a favorite. Tauter tuning* than the LE, improved engine vs the ’87, and without the boy racer styling (and, not incidentally, extra 188 lbs) of the SSE. I also prefer the styling to the heavier-looking ’93-’99.

      Steering wheel radio buttons FTW!

      – – –

      *Per a brochure I was looking at online a few months ago — good God, I look at late ’80s Pontiac brochures online; it’s a sickness — the LE, SE, and SSE had different suspension tuning from one another. I like that engineers were able to pull off that minor coup in Roger Smith’s beancounter era.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Featherston – oops I was remembering when general H-body production started. I was 8 years old but ticked off that all the beloved B-body sedans were dying except The Caprice.

        The different suspension tunings were probably stolen from other divisions. Oldsmobile as an example offered “FE3” suspension tuning on almost everything including the 88 and 98.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    1. Morris Minor. A top hat on wheels. Formal tiny thing no matter what the condition.

    2. Any Group B rally car. More used up the better—-just the idea of how it got that way starts the sillies.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I love seeing just about any old or rare car, but have to admit that Morris Minors are a particular treat. Particularly the ‘Traveller’ variants.

      1950’s chrome beauties.
      1960’s muscle cars.
      Late 1960’s/early 1970’s station wagons.
      D3 ‘luxury’ land yachts.
      1970’s broughmed PLC’s.
      William Lyons Jaguars.
      Citroen 2CVs’.
      Air cooled VW’s.
      1st and 2nd generation Honda Civics.
      AMC Gremlins/Pacers/Javelins/AMX’s
      Studebakers.

      Just plain happy to see any of them.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I love a woody wagon. Any type!

    Also a towel-bar bumper VW Beetle(xxxx-1966) actually— any air-cooled VW is a treat in 2019! Special mention to the 1600TL and Type 34 Ghias.

    Convertibles LeBaron, Dakota— even the 2001-2003 Sebring Convertible in Limited trim projects an elegance rare to find today.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I think VW Squareback wagons were way underrated.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        More like over priced .

        Mom bought a new cobalt blue squareback Typ III in 1967, the last year of the dual carburated 1600, it had a twin port engine and was very peppy, even when fully loaded with five people and the cargo are full to the roof inside .

        She’d drive like a sports car through the mountains of Vermont even in the snow, easily passing most other vehicles on the highway .

        -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I strongly agree.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Arthur ;

          ? What about the Typ IV’s ? . like or dislike ? .

          -Nate

          “I strongly agree. Particularly the Type III version.”

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            The Type IV was an advanced vehicle engineering wise. The suspension, steering, etc were ahead of comparable domestic vehicles. The engine was the same as the one used in the 914 (in the 411’s which is what I had). The interior was very good. Nice seats and a good ‘ride height’. Plus small things like the notched windows, carpeting that was more ‘luxurious’ than what most cars now have. And a heater that actually worked.

            However it exhibited some of the production/quality weaknesses that plagued VW products. Electronic glitches/drains. Brake squeals that could never be cured.

            The Type III was pre-historic in comparison, but solid, and perhaps even more reliable/forgiving of delayed maintenance than a Beetle. And my Type III squareback was also a blue 1967 model with a manual transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Mine was the ‘69 Fastback— Savannah Beige over Cocoa Brown.

            Sapphire Play-tape II, dual-speaker *stereo*, A/C, Automatic transmission and rear defrost. Fuel Injection model.

            It was the nicest VW I’d ever seen! Barely ran when I got it— found out why… THERE WAS A REPAIRED HOLE IN THE BLOCK!

            Traded it to the (now ailing— lift him up, guys like that don’t exist anymore!) local VW Guru to have the ignition/seatbelt interlock bypassed on the ‘74 Standard Beetle(never a Super— we don’t do a Super) I’d found as a replacement.

            Man, I love an old VW. Nothing makes one’s modern car feel nicer, longer, than supplementing it with an air-cooled car! Nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            My Type III squareback was blue with a black interior, and zero options. Not even a radio.

            The Type IV squareback was silver with a blue interior and relatively ‘loaded’. It had manual windows and door locks and no A/C. But did have a heater, electric rear window defroster, ‘pull to pass’ high beam/light stalk, interior release for the hood (located inside the glove box), multi adjustable ‘leatherette’ drivers seat, seat mounted releases for the seat backs (many other cars of that era had no release and you could just push the front seats forward from the back seats, which we often did ‘for fun’) , passenger side view mirror, some tint on the windows, deep pile carpeting, speed adjustable wipers and a neat instrument panel ‘flow through ventilation’ system. That and the suspension, engine and steering made it far more ‘modern’ than many domestic (or Japanese) vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Blackcloud_9

            @iNeon,
            My very first car was a 69 fastback with auto and fuel injection. Loved that car (who doesn’t love their very first car) until I found out what a mechanical nightmare it was. Sooo many things things went wrong with it. It was constantly in the shop. But I kept pouring money into it. “If I just get this one (more) thing fixed, everything will be alright”, never happened.
            I see a few squarebacks wandering around but haven’t seen a fastback in a long, long time.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Thanx for all the Typ III love and Typ IV comments .

            I loved the Typ III’s and foolishly let the nice survivor 1971 Fastback with full auto and original beige paint go, a mistake I’ll never be able to rectify .

            At that time I had a buddy from the San Fernando Valley who was a typical Mexican kid, thought he loved old VW’s yet derided the Typ III’s so I took him for a spirited 8/10ths ride in it down Mulholland Drive to County Line on PCH for a nice clam chowder lunch .

            He said “! never again !” but agreed that a bone stock properly tuned and driven Typ III is no slouch .

            I didn’t even squeak the tires for chrissakes .

            Sadly the Typ IV in California only came with the full automatic due to emissions reasons, you could buy a stick shift one in Arizona though then bring it here after 7,000 miles .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    threeer

    Just about any 80s “run of the mill” car that has been kept in above-average condition. I’ll pass on most exotics of the time, but find me something that was used as a daily driver by rank and file members of society, and I stop to look. My preference leans first towards German metal (owing largely to being that I am 50% German and grew up there), then Japanese. But even a well-sorted Pontiac Grand Prix or Buick Regal from the early 80s gets me interested…

  • avatar
    ajla

    X-Type, S-Type, XJ40, and Mercedes W210.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Ford Pintos. I loved them then and I still do.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      And of course their cousin the Mercury Bobcat!
      I remember thinking these were super cool when I was a kid.
      Then I learned about the science of explosives.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        I owned both a Pinto and Bobcat… Both wagons…the Pinto was the stripped Pony model with 23.Lima and 4 speed and manual everything. The Bobcat had the 2.8 V6, power brakes, power steering, a/c…and that very classy grille treatment…and, of course the wood exterior and red vinyl interior!

        As for the “exploding Pinto” deal….the seldom mentioned reality is that many cars built during that period (and earlier) had the fuel tank immediately in front of the rear bumper. Take a look at any Gen One Mustang….the fuel filler is in the middle of the car, right beneath the truck lid…and there is a 3 inch pipe the takes a 90 degree turn down into the fuel tank with also serves as the floor of the trunk! Mavericks too…as well as all the GM cars of the era like Impala and Nova which had fuel fillers hidden behind the fold down rear license plates.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          The Pinto Wagon was from what I remember not accused of sharing the same ‘explosive’ characteristics as its hatchback sibling. I also had a Pinto wagon. The VW Type IV squareback of the same era was light years ahead of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            Right, the gas cap on the wagon was in a different spot, which made the filler pipe less susceptible to breaking loose.

          • 0 avatar
            R Henry

            The Pintos were certainly unrefined small cars…no way to refute that harsh fact. That said, mine served me well through 4 years of college and two years post-college. I took my (now) wife on our first date in darn thing. ….and she still married me!

            I finally let the Pinto go when an electronic gremlin in the ignition system would intermittently cut out…leaving me stranded. By then it had gone about 140k miles, was using oil, and I could afford better. I wish I could buy it back from the Mexican gardener who gave me $750 for it…would love to install a contemporary EcoBoost 2.0 or 2.3…!

          • 0 avatar
            millmech

            Note: Hatchback had no divider between fuel tank & passenger compartment.

        • 0 avatar
          Oreguy

          My first car in high school was a Bobcat. 2.8 V6, power brakes and steering, a/c.

          Orange paint with white vinyl roof. Orange and black interior.

          Say what you want, but it sure was quick for a glorified Pinto. Had a lot of fun with that car. Simpler times.

  • avatar
    NTGD

    Almost any 2004 Pontiac Sedan (except the Sunfire) and the last Oldsmobile Sedans. Loved the last Grand Prix, Grand Am and Bonneville as well as both Aurora’s, the Intrigue and the Alero. Always thought they were nice looking cars.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    A few answers:

    4DSC-generation Maxima with a stick shift.

    Second-gen Acura Legend with a stick shift (although mine is an automatic, and the sticks are rapidly disappearing because you cannot get a working clutch master cylinder for love or money).

    Any GM product with the Twin Dual Cam 3.4 engine. It was an awful engine in every way but it sounded so nice.

    Unmolested Integra GS-R of either generation (terrible condition OK if it hasn’t been riced out).

    Thunderbird Super Coupe.

    W126.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    Subaru SVX, a beautiful original design.

    1984 300zx turbo with the drivers side hood scoop, black with tan leather interior. I had both but the 300zx is the only car that invades my dreams. If I’m driving in a dream, it’s the 300zx. The love/hate relationship I had with that car must have caused it to become imprinted in my brain.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I can appreciate almost any pre-97 car thats still in decent shape and hasnt been ruined by mods, “Internet cars” just make me yawn, due to the absurd praise that they constantly receive. Some cars, like the Volvo 850, make me feel much sorrow for the owner.

    What I dont get is the kind of dood that buys an older car thats in good shape, low miles, etc etc. But then thinks “It needs 200HP!”, “It needs a cheapo touch screen radio!”, “It needs giant sway bars with rock hard polyutherene bushings!”, “it needs a stick shift so I can be miserable in traffic!”.

    Minus the rock hard ride, you can get most of these things on a late 90’s- on ward mid sized car. Stick shifts are thankfully rare )Despite the Internets love for them, they dont know how to shift well half the time in my experience)

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Gotta admit, that GP with narrow headlights looks pretty sharp.

    For me, just about any 70-80’s econobox that’s been well maintained grabs my attention. Also mid-90s Grand Am coupes and Bonnevilles, cladding be damned.

  • avatar
    Mc Lean

    1949-1956 full size Nash, in particular the 1955 Ambassador. They are just so round and cuddly, I can’t resist. Of course, the Nash Healey is right up there too.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    So many to choose from ! .

    I love LBC’s, mostly BMC products but the Triumph Mayflower, that one that looks like a VW Beetle sized Bentley, is a favorite I rarely get to see .

    The Morris Minor is so cute I bought one, it sits in my back yard a victim of the “Might As Wells” disease .

    Bug eyed Sprites are cool too, especially when in Periwinkle or other original pastel colors no one currently appears to remember .

    Any long forgotten once popular econobox will always make me smile .

    VW Beetles, particularly the pre 1967 ones and especially the 1940’s through 1957’s .

    Just this morning we were discussing the old cab over White trucks that once dotted America’s roads .

    Pretty much any brand’s step side base model short bed pickup trucks .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Morris Minor woody wagons are wonderful.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Presumably you don’t own one nor any other wood bodied vehicle .

        Yes, they look oh so cute but wood bodied cars are a nightmare to own if you actually want to drive and enjoy it .

        My friend Vigil tried various Morris Minor products, I thought he’d be happy with his Tourer (convertible) but after a while he sold it on and bought a van, it’s nit pretty but he’s driving it every where and loving every minute of it .

        He plans to drive it to Washington /state from Anaheim, Ca. soon, I hope he remember my caution to not fail to change the always dirty fuel filter and to carry a spare one….

        We’ll see .

        My Morris Minor is a two door ‘Saloon” .

        Foolish old men and their oddball automobiles =8-) .

        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      retrocrank

      +1

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        And, off we go ! .

        A Ford Zephyr =8-) .

        An Austin Cambridge .

        Any Austin /A50 / A55 or maybe even an A35 ! (you have to go look up these wierd looking automobiles to understand) .

        FWIW, I too like seeing the many 1970’s & 1980’s GM products mentioned here .

        I just prefer odd vehicles that I can drive anywhere and do road side repairs with a rock, pair of pliers and some bailing wire…

        -Nate

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    very personal cars that I grew up – seeing those same models on the road will bring a guaranteed smile to my face.

    Nissan 720 truck – so rare these days because they rusted to easily. I drove my mom’s ’84 Nissan King Cab 2WD version in light metallic blue. Automatic but still entertaining to drive.

    Nissan Stanza 1987/88 – my dad’s car that I eventually inherited with 200k miles on the clock. It felt downright luxurious (!) compared to the truck. Great seats with adjustable everything including lumbar plus a decent stereo.

    Nissan Hardbody trucks in any form – at one time a SE V6 was one of my dream vehicles (strange person that I am).

    1986ish Honda Accord hatchbacks in DX or LXi form. I owned two of these post-college. That hatch was great for the days when I did PA for many bands. I could fit everything for a show inside. Also silly fantastic gas mileage meant I was only filling up once every three weeks. That means a lot when I was a poor 20-something.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      I sold my 84 720 4WD with the Custom Cab conversion last May. I always received compliments (a couple became purchase offers) and it didn’t have any rust (So. Cal truck) but it was costing me way too much money for the last 12 months (I rebuilt the 5 spd transmission, carburetor, power steering pump, alternator, replaced the a/c hoses and filled with refrigerant and replaced the fuel pump). I really liked the truck and still miss it, but couldn’t keep up with the repairs so I had to let it go. Got $3400 for it

  • avatar
    hausjam

    I did love that 89-90 Turbo Grand Prix. But the car I most regret never having owned is the first gen Taurus SHO.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    This is a tough one. None of the unicorns that catch my eye would be considered weird by any stretch.

    80s turbo Buicks
    Terminators (not really common in Canada. Especially an 04 in competition orange)

    I guess my “weird” one would 98-04 Cadillac STS.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I enjoy that weird one. My parents purchased a ’99 SLS from a relative’s estate in ’01. It was a case of “buy the history,” as the original owner was a retired mechanical engineer.

      In the SLS, the steering was a little light and slow for my taste. I imagine Cadillac had their surviving Greatest Generation buyers in mind (which is exactly what the original owner was; he had skippered a minesweeper in WWII). I imagine the STS had steering more to my liking.

      The ’99s had, if I understand it correctly, a suspension that was sort of proto-MagnaRide set-up. It had a really nice comfort/composure balance, though I wouldn’t want to have to shell out for replacement parts.

      Parents kept it until 2010 and about 110,000 miles. The only mechanical problem was power steering pump that went out but got fixed by a small-town Chevy-Buick dealer. In ’09, the CD player and electronic climate control both got wonky. Parents did not investigate or cost-out a fix, so who knows. No problems at that point from the much-feared NorthStar, though.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    “in any condition. . . appeal to you (probably only you)”

    Gosh, there’s so many. I guess number one is the early Ford Bronco of 1966 to 1977. I swear the first one I saw in the flesh up close said “I was built for you”. It was one of the those Simpsons rotating view moments. I remember my jaw dropped and I was speechless. I thought, wow, this is the most perfect machine ever built. That is of course ridiculous, but I was and am still spellbound by them.

    PS I watched every episode of Matt’s Garage religiously until he switched to the Scout.
    :-)

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Any clean 1st gen S-series trucks/SUVs

    Any IH trucks/SUVs regardless of condition (seen a second gen TravelAll in a junkyard a few years back, probably only a handful of those left in the world, sad to go but impossible to restore with parts availability)

    Any Hummer, I love them all, even the blinged ones leave clean examples for me to snap up in a couple years as pristine examples to tear up on trails.

    And of course any Aussie car, GTO, G8, Caprice, SS, all cars that should have been the direction America took all of its cars instead of FWD crapboxes.

    GMT400 and Clean GMT800s get an honorable mention.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      To rebuild a TravelAll, you’d probably have to Frankenstore. But if done neatly with Jeep parts, it would probably work well.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Yes that travelall sat on the side of the road in a junkyard fence for several years, no telling what happened to it, I wanted to stop in and enquire, even though that junkyard was so far in the middle of no where I’m certain I would have been seen as an outsider and looked at very odd like, if that makes sense. I’d say it was a mid 50s SUV.

        Unfortunately the love for that era vehicle is dying off along with any memory and support. I could spend an entire life time searching for parts and still not know if I were missing something. An oddball SUV that has no following and likely <15 living examples left on the planet. Trying to restore one is like trying to keep a species with 3 members left from going extinct.

        Should have said 1st gen now that I recollect this memory from looking st pictures and thinking back 2-3 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I read this QOTD wrong, so correct to any IH, any S-series, and any imperial branded car.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    GM’s Dustbuster Vans: Lumina APV, Trans Sport and Silhouette, especially, the pre-facelift designs.

  • avatar
    MarkMyWords

    Anything AMC! The last gasps of the wild, wild west of American automaking!

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    My neighbor used to have a 94 Grand Prix 2 door just like the one shown here (same wheels and all, but it was red). The car was really nice for its age and he used to keep it in mint condition. Too bad the car got T-boned by a dump truck about 9 years ago. Then my neighbor inherited the 2002 Grand Prix GTP from his mother. It was a nice car as well but lacked the character of the 94 2-door.
    For the record, I have never seen such mint condition 2 door Grand Prix ever since

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    The small Japanese sports coupes of the early to mid-1990s. I miss the light, fun, and quirky cars like the MX-6, MX-3, 240SX, NX2000, Celica, Prelude, (Geo) Storm, and Swift GTi. Simple, light, (mostly) affordable fun that was rock solid reliable.

    As for the GM pictures above, that was just oh so funny that GM actually thought people would leave the seat belts always attached and we’d try to worm ourselves around them getting in and out. Did anyone actually try that? Sometimes navigating a “Saw” trap would be easier than getting through that maze of belts in a tight parking spot. (Tried it once – that was enough…)

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      My Aunt bought a base model 1989 Corsica 6-months after my Mother bought an ‘89 Tempo LX– the Tempo had the motorized ones, the Corsica the manual ones that stayed buckled.

      I tried it— don’t understand what you mean by ‘maze’ (the door opened with both belts attached at the console buckle, in a ‘v’ formation) of belts, but it sure wasn’t easy!

      The Corsica(carbureted 2.0l) lasted exactly 1/2 as long as the Tempo. Even aged 10– I called it’s seats ‘upholstered pizza boxes!’ What a bad car. It had a column shifter, no console, just a carpet tunnel— actual lug caps— and two humongous gauges. The fuel gauge was un-dampened lol

      What a bad car. I know I’ve said it twice.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        My mom had an early 1990s Corsica that required 3 separate engines in 6,000 miles. I think GM finally got around to buying it back because they were sick of dealing with it.

        I had a 91 LeSabre with the door mounted seatbelts. They worked okay when left buckled, but the driver’s side door didn’t open so I couldn’t really use the feature. Thankfully there was no centre console to deal with.

  • avatar
    jamespdx

    I own a 66 Lincoln – so any Lincoln from the sixties is a head turner for me. What I would like to find is a 80-82 Thunderbird/Cougar because I don’t think there was another car made that sums up the excesses of the Reagan-era 80s like these OVERSTYLED coupes that were weird to look at when new and have now seemingly vanished from existence. No doubt the fact that sales crashed when they were introduced is a part of why you don’t see them anymore. I JUST had gotten my driver’s license when they came out and used to clean at a restaurant on the weekend whereas the owner had a new XR-7 Cougar. I drove that car to the gas station every weekend to fill it and man with that digital dash I thought I was ON TOP OF THE WORLD! Nevertheless – I thought these coupes were UGLY then and still do, but the nostalgia is something I can’t shake!!

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Welcome to geezer hood, it’s not always fun and games =8-) .

      I’m, still looking for rose colored prescription glasses ~ I had a pair in the mid 1970’s and they really did make the world look nicer .

      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        retrocrank

        I went for the half-tinted look. Too cool (or insufficiency so) for fringes and later leisure suits. Early adopter of Levi’s/flannel/boots. A ‘61 Scout 4×4 was perfect transport. I’d smile mighty big to see one in the drive next to the TC.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          I never had a nice pair of flannel lined boots, I used heavy woolen socks instead .

          Fatigues & combat boots until 1970 when I began with the Levis & engineer boots, I miss Frye boots, someone will prolly tell me they were cheapo crap but I loved ’em, wore like like iron and just like my combat boots, easily shined to a mirror gloss .

          In 1976 we got a well used 1964 IHC Scout with the full length top and the 1/2 a V8 4 banger under the hood, it was unkillable, even after it was dangerously rusty, I remember when Scully opened the passenger side door one day and the hinges parted, it fell off so we removed the handles and closed it, climber over it after that .

          Shortly after I moved to California in 1970 my Russian girlfriend got one of those leather jackets with the fringes on arms and across the back, she sure was cute =8-)

          -Nate

          ” Early adopter of Levi’s/flannel/boots. A ‘61 Scout 4×4 was perfect transport. I’d smile mighty big to see one in the drive next to the TC.”

          • 0 avatar
            retrocrank

            Russian gf in 1970? You were living dangerous.
            My boots came from Army Surplus store…At $5/pair, it didn’t hurt quite so bad when they’d seasonally give up from the abuse on my mason/concrete-artist tender job. Flannel shirts. Warm in the cool weather and if opened up and wet could be sort of cool (better than straight sun) in the summer. Levi’s were worth it because they’d usually outlast Lees even if they were $15 instead of $12.
            Scout was the 4-cyl. Took me through lots of go-to-work miles and provided emergency transport in the later 70s Midwest blizzards. Like yours it finally succumbed to the tin worm.
            Haven’t had a Minor yet. That and an ‘67 Beetle are on the “someday” list.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Some say I still live dangerously by where I live and my Sweet .

            That Russian G.F. was sweet and sexy ! .

            Careless too, she gave me my first son then gave him away to a stranger, I never got to see him again dammit .

            Army boots were only $12 or so brandy new in the 1960’s and as long as you kept them oiled and polished they’d withstand the salt O.K., I’d wear the soles out in about 12 months and have them re soled, I don’t think anyone still does that .

            Sadly I saw a new pristine 4 cylinder Scout fully optioned in my favorite LKQ Pick-A-Part yard with the cylinder head off, they flat refused to sell it complete, winch and all it was stripped a little bit then crushed as scrap .

            -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        (Beer x 4) +Greasy Pizza = Rose Tinted Glasses

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      A friend of mine traded his contemporary (~’82) Buick Regal for one of those T-birds. I was surprised and asked if he liked it. He said yes, and that it was better on fuel and more reliable than the Buick. He kept it for many years.

  • avatar
    V16

    First generation Oldsmobile Aurora.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    Suzuki SX4 Crossover
    Dodge Grand Caravan R/T
    Maserati GranSport Cambiocorsa
    Chrysler Aspen

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Nissan Stanza Wagon. Weird as hell, inside and out! But also – comfortable, fuel efficient, plenty of space, manual transmission and 4WD available. I loved that thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      My ex-wife had that car when we started dating. Her friends were always borrowing it to go skiing.

      I’m going to add the Volvo P1800s, especially the wagon. Kinda weird but so cool, they were rare back in the day and it’s really rare to run across one now. I test drove one once, man I wish I’d pulled the trigger.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    There are a couple MG Midgets running around St. Paul/Minneapolis that always force a double take. When a car makes a Miata look huge, it’s worth remarking upon.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    If you’re rich / odd enough to get a Volvo P1800, try to avoid the first three years as the bodies are rust prone .

    The BOSCH D-Jetronic F.I. equipped ones are hell on wheels to keep running once someone has touched the system…

    -Nate

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Usually the cars that light me up are the ones I have direct experience with. I guess that connection is what makes me notice them.

    Pontiac Azteks, Yugos, and Fox body Mercury Capris are some of the ones that I’ve owned and still get my attention.

    Others are almost any mid 1970’s PLCs, almost any AMC, any Pontiac or Olds from the 60’s into the 2000’s. Checkers, Studebakers, early 60’s Dodge pickup trucks and Corvairs make it on my radar, too.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I don’t know that it’s necessarily weird besides being a long-forgotten brand, but I am like a kid on Christmas when I see an Eagle Vision. 1st generation LH cars are getting rare, and the Vision is the rarest of them all. I think that there are maybe ~500 examples left on the road. Sad. With basic maintenance, they’re great cars and will last as long as you want them to.

    I have its identical twin, a ’93 Concorde, in mint condition. Never letting go of that car, my ’91 LeBaron convertible or my ’06 Ram 2500 HD Mega Cab. Heck, I’m reluctant to ever let go of my ’13 200 Limited either — that thing is a fabulous commuter car.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Not necessarily weird but but I saw a cherry brown 1972 Buick Electra 225 with historic plates the other day on the road. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it just like it came off the showroom floor.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I’m not a fan of the US Top Gear, but I have a begrudging respect for Adam Ferrara for breaking character and refusing to destroy a very nice 1970 Electra 225 in one of their stupid stunts. I dislike it on pretty much any car show when a car gets wantonly destroyed because it “sucks” in the producers’ “sucks or rocks” world view.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I couldn’t have cared less for the 1970 model. The ’65 model on the other hand… Of course, if it had been given truck rims instead of car rims… its weight wouldn’t have split so many. That was one HEAVY car!

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Buick Reatta
    Mercury XR2 Capri
    Subaru Brat
    Subaru Baja
    Subaru SVX and XT
    Dodge Rampage
    Toyota Origin
    TC by Maserati
    Austin Allegro Vanden Plas
    AMC Matador X Coupe / Barcelona
    Plymouth Sapporo
    Delorean DMC-12
    Any surviving shag-wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I feel like the stereotypical shaggin wagon is more of a mullet vehicle than even an IROC camaro, and I hate myself for it, but they do turn my head and pique my interest when I still see one in 70s-80s glory – fender flares, and all.

      DeLorean is definitely another good one, though I can’t say I’ve seen a DeLorean on the road in at least 7-8 years.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I’d love to see a mid 80s Chrysler Laser XE Turbo. Or late 80s Thunderbird Turbo Coupes. Hell, even a real clean K car gets my attention. I saw a two door blue K coupe for sale a few years ago. Plates said KCAR MA…it was pristine, sporting that marginal build quality. I would have bought it but $5K for a Reliant in 2015 was too much.

    DeLoreans are also a great thing to find in the wild, along with a Buick GNX

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    There’s a classic car show in my town each Friday evening during the summer, and my Dad and I went to check it out a couple weeks ago. Several Tri-Five Chevvies, a nice representation of ‘60s and ‘70s muscle! (Only ONE first-generation Mustang, a ‘66 with a 289 and a four-speed, believe it or not! Couple early-70s and Mustang IIs around!)

    But the ones that always get my attention are the survivors! There’s an ‘83 Citation II four-door HB in nearly showroom-condition which I’ve seen other times! I’ve seen a 1987 Buick Century at that show, same thing! There was a Pinto Wagon with the conversion-van porthole thing in reasonable shape. A couple ‘80s Fleetwood Broughams in nice shape! Even a couple genuine Ford Fairmonts in fair shape—at the same show! (When’s the last time you saw two of any non-Mustang square-cornered Fox derivatives together on the same day, except for Sajeev’s garage??!!) Only one Regal GN out of several I know are around my area, including a couple GNXs!

    I notice the common cars of my younger days that somehow survived despite decades of winter salt and sludge more than a perfect ‘63 Split-Window ‘Vette! I just know at some point I’ll just grab SOMETHING on the spur-of-the-moment for a summer driver, if the right one ever came along!!!

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Any 1970’s rotary powered Mazda that isn’t an RX-7. Just last week I saw a beautiful RX-3 race car that brought back a lot of memories seeing as a ’74 was my first car.

    I got the car for my 16th birthday. By my 17th birthday there wasn’t a panel on it that hadn’t been damaged. The ‘best’ hit was running into the back of a ’68 Valiant. The Valiant had a bit of a ding on the bumper. Meanwhile the front end of my Mazda was all but destroyed.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Lotus Elan – The original.
    Opel GT – The original.
    Morris Mini.
    Datsun 510
    Mazda RX-3 as mentioned by my northern neighbor.
    Chrysler 300 – The originals
    BMW 2002

    You get the idea.

  • avatar
    dreadnought

    Sterling 825 or 827. Seems like I saw one not too long ago, but time flies so fast as I have gotten older, it was probably 10 years ago.

    Any Eagle, some of which were pretty good cars.

    Both dead brands remind me of the iconic days of my late 80’s/early 90’s “youth”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t like to see any survivor car that is in pristine condition be destroyed whether it is a 1970 or 1965 Electra 225. The survivor 1970 Electra 225 is still a nice car worthy of not being destroyed just like the 1972 pristine one I saw a couple of days ago. These cars still worthy of attention and so much more distinctive than the 4 door coupes of today with the large grills, slit headlights, and thick pillars.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    A Plymouth Satellite or Roadrunner from ’71 to ’74, and the 4 door versions that survived many more years as mostly cop cars.. The first car I bought with my own money was the ’74 Roadrunner I ordered in May ’74. It’s alive and more than well in the Las Vegas area, and I would love to drive it again.

    I recently was driving my ’18 Challenger Scat Pack when I saw a stream of old cars heading towards me. Along with the usual Camaros, Corvettes, A and B-Body Mopars, and Mustangs, there was a mid ’70’s Satellite Sebring, in a decent darker blue(most every one I’ve seen recently is in a bad green, frosty blue, or beige), in what looked like showroom condition. I turned around, but got stuck at a couple of lights and couldn’t find them again. A friend has seen that car at a couple of local classic car shows and he said it has a 440 and Torqueflite in it, and it looks new inside too. It’s only change from stock, other than probably the engine, is it has loud custom dual exhaust on it. I would love to have that car.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Any FWD 80s GM A, J, N, X, L bodies.

    So schizo: trimmed like little Caddies and Olds and so many powered by tractor engines [2.0 and Iron Duke/Tech 4].

    You can almost hear the disconnect all the way from Detroit. Still.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • jack4x: So your contention is that if you were just allowed to drive up to the front door of Ford or GM and offer...
  • Peter Gazis: FreedMike No, how about you cut lose with the prescription pad doc. Prescribe me something that will put...
  • cbrworm: Portland is bad like that. I went there to test drive a luxury-ish car and almost didn’t buy it due to...
  • dukeisduke: I thought of that, too. Some real pranksters in Marfa.
  • DweezilSFV: Any FWD 80s GM A, J, N, X, L bodies. So schizo: trimmed like little Caddies and Olds and so many powered...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States