QOTD: Surprise Winner, Oscar Edition?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd surprise winner oscar edition

In case you missed it, the 92nd Academy Awards were splashed all over television and social media last night, with a film by the name of Parasite taking home multiple Oscar trophies. This surprised many and was generally considered an unexpected choice.

Few of us around these parts can be considered movie buffs, despite our occasional “TTAC at the Movies” post, but we do know our cars. This leads us to today’s question: what cars can you recall as being extremely surprising … for reasons good or bad?

The natty Dodge Spirit R/T shown above is top of mind thanks to a Slack conversation with this site’s discerning Associate Editor a few days ago. When launched, your author recalls buff books of the day marvelling at its speed, if not its style.

I seem to recall Car & Driver using one of them as a chase vehicle for some sort of supercar test and being surprised to see it in their rearview mirrors, keeping up though the twisty sections of Hocking Hills or wherever Yates, Bedard, & Co. were on that particular day. A total of 224 turbocharged horsepower stirred by a five-speed stick in a small(ish) sedan is nothing to sneeze at today; in the early ’90s, it was remarkable.

What makes it into the golden envelope for your pick as one of the most surprising cars ever built?

[Images: Chrysler Corp, via source]

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2 of 38 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Feb 11, 2020

    I had a one-year employee lease on a '98 Z24 and was pleasantly surprised - not refined, but a fun little car. Drove an HHR for a week during a body shop repair - was surprised by the dreadful driving dynamics of that vehicle. (I understand the packaging appeal to some, but ugh.) Was *so* happy to get my G35 back. Saw a Lincoln Blackwood this week - I was surprised at the time (2002MY - only) and am still surprised by the spectacular failure of that vehicle (total U.S. sales 3,356).

  • Fleuger99 Fleuger99 on Feb 11, 2020

    I loved my 1993 Ford Probe GT (AKA Mazda 6 underpinnings). Nice interior and the V6 engine had good performance for back in the day. It also looked great and was pretty reliable.

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.