Rare Rides: A 2019 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder, One of Seven

Today’s Rare Ride very likely a vehicle you’ll never see in real life. Extremely expensive and limited in production, just seven were ever made.

It’s pretty spectacular.

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Rare Rides: A 1994 Fiat Coupe, as Legal Immigrant

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an imported two-door Fiat on these pages which required some paperwork to get into the country. But it is the first time it’s all been done above board.

Let’s check out this 25-year-old Italian.

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Rare Rides: The 2002 Cadillac Eldorado Collector Series

They say all good things must come to an end, and so it was in 2002 with the Cadillac Eldorado. Today’s Rare Ride was the last in a long line of flagship coupes from Cadillac, and one which saw the name exit with a whimper instead of a bang.

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Rare Rides: The Incredibly Rare 1981 BMW 735i Touring

Today’s Rare Ride is one of just a handful of custom-built 7 Series wagons, created by a coachbuilder who wanted flagship BMW luxury with additional cargo carrying capabilities.

Come along as we check out this large BMW wagon.

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Rare Rides: The Xedos 6, a Small Luxury Mazda From 1996

While researching information for the recently featured Mazda Lantis, your author came across some other Nineties forbidden fruit from the good people at Mazda. Particularly interesting was the Xedos 6, which, like the similar-looking Millennia, was also a part of Mazda’s early Nineties luxury push.

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Rare Rides: A 1971 Monteverdi High Speed 375/L, Where L Means Luxurious

Rare Rides featured a Monteverdi once before, the large and luxurious 375/4 sedan. While that limited-run model marked the culmination of the High Speed series of cars from the brand, today’s 2+2 coupe represents the brand’s mainstream product offering.

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Rare Rides: The 1962 Singer Vogue, the Smaller Side of British Luxury

Today’s Rare Ride is the first time a Singer vehicle has appeared on these pages. Compact and well-trimmed, the Vogue was a bit more than the standard Sixties British family car.

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Rare Rides: A 1996 Infiniti J30, Luxury Sedan With a Heart of 300ZX (Part II)

In Part I of this two-parter we were introduced to the J30, Infiniti’s luxurious new sports sedan for the Nineties. Having learned from their Q45 mistakes, the brand was determined their new mid-sizer would be appealable to the American Market.

So what went wrong? Let’s find out.

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Rare Rides: A 1996 Infiniti J30, Luxury Sedan With a Heart of 300ZX (Part I)

The other day while we were reviewing the daringly spectacular first generation Q45, commenter SSJeep requested coverage of Infiniti’s other rear-drive sedan from the period, the J30. I thought Rare Rides already covered Infiniti’s mid-size offering, but it turned out I was remembering an installment of Buy/Drive/Burn.

That means it’s time for J30.

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Swan Song for the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider in the U.S.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is at the end of the road in the U.S. Unlike some cases, in which models are dropped with little fanfare, FCA has decided to send the 4C out in style with the roll out of the 4C Spider 33 Stradale Tributo, a salute to the ’67 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.

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Jaguar Brings the Bling With F-Type Heritage 60 Edition

Jaguar has commissioned a Sixties-inspired F-Type Heritage 60 Edition to celebrate the E-Type’s 60th anniversary. While diamonds are customary on this occasion, the automaker has instead dipped into the E-Type’s palette for its Sherwood Green tone, a color not offered since the 1960s.

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Rare Rides: The Absolutely Epic 2002 Renault Avantime, a Big Sales Flop

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those that’s always been on the to-do list, but never floated to top of mind. That changed the other day, when this very tidy example was posted on Twitter.

Let’s talk about Privilege.

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Rare Rides: The 1999 Maserati Quattroporte, and It's Pink

We’ve featured a Quattroporte at Rare Rides on two prior occasions: a beautiful first-generation model, and one in its more modern form which was reworked into a slinky wagon.

Today’s Nineties model is … neither of those things.

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Rare Rides: Be a Pioneer in a Jeep Cherokee From 1985

Today’s Rare Ride is an early example of the Cherokee, built while AMC was still alive and well-ish. And it just so happens to be the same color and trim as the Comanche pickup featured here recently.

And it’s just about factory fresh.

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Rare Rides: The Original Infiniti, a Q45 From 1991 (Part II)

In Part I of this two-parter, we discussed the birth of the Infiniti brand, and Nissan’s decision to reinvent the large luxury car with the Q45. Today we talk technology, advertising, and aftermath.

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Rare Rides: The 1995 Mitsubishi Pajero, Montero's Forbidden Sibling

Rare Rides has touched on the first generation Pajero (Montero to North Americans) once before via the Raider, a captive import Dodge dealers could shift while the company had zero small SUV action of its own. Today’s Pajero is a second-generation version – the three-door never sold on our shores. Surprisingly, it even maintains the same color scheme as the Raider.

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Rare Rides: The 1988 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, Aftermarket Elegance

Today’s Cadillac is an example of what happens when you combine consumer tastes in places like Miami in the late Eighties with the refusal of some domestic manufacturers to make luxury convertibles.

Presenting a Cadillac coupe that’s custom, cabriolet, and [s]cool[/s] DeVille.

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Rare Rides: The Original Infiniti, a Q45 From 1991 (Part I)

We’ve covered the second album of Infiniti’s ill-fated Q45 flagship previously, in a stunningly clean example from 1998. However, the first generation is much harder to find; they just didn’t have the longevity or caring ownership profile of the Lexus LS 400. But someone in Japan maintained this one, and it’s been imported to the US just for you.

It’s time for blue-green, grille-free luxury.

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Rare Rides: A Very Limited Edition 2002 Range Rover G4 Challenge (Part II)

In Part I of this very orange Rare Ride, we covered the love child of Rover, BMW, and (eventually) Ford which was the L322 Range Rover. Today we’ll talk about just what makes this one so special, aside from the glaringly orange paint.

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Rare Rides: A Very Limited Edition 2002 Range Rover G4 Challenge (Part I)

Today’s subject is the first time a Range Rover appears in the series. We’ve come as close as a Discovery badged as the Honda Cro$$road previously, but today’s truck is much more special.

It’s a 1 of 20 G4 Challenge.

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Rare Rides: The 1995 Mazda Lantis V6 Type R, Don't Call It 323

Today’s Rare Ride comes to us courtesy of commenter Bumpy ii, who linked this imported JDM Mazda on the Thunderbird Rare Ride posted a few weeks ago.

Let’s check out a compact five-door liftback with a very small V6.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Nissan Pulsar NX Coupe, Economy From Long Ago

There were precisely two generations of the Nissan Pulsar sold on North American shores, and we’ve covered the latter previously in an absolutely excellent NX Sportbak from 1988. Today’s Rare Ride is a final-year 1986 example of the first generation Pulsar, which wasn’t quite as versatile as its replacement in 1987.

This one’s as clean as they come.

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Rare Rides: A 1968 Glas 1304, One Last Glas Before BMW

This isn’t the first time Rare Rides has featured a car from long-deceased automaker Glas. That honor goes to this luxurious 2600 V8 coupe from 1967. But while the 2600 was the most expensive car Glas made, today’s 1304 is one of the least expensive.

Let’s check out a compact wagon built just as Glas was being consumed by BMW.

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Rare Rides: A 2000 Mercedes-Benz S 600 Designo, Bespoke in Blue

In 2000, shortly before the ill-fated revival of the Maybach brand into a gauche purveyor of S-Class Baroque Editions, the 12-cylinder S 600 resided at the top of the Mercedes-Benz model hierarchy. This example in particular was ordered with a unique feature at the behest of a very well-heeled original owner.

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Rare Rides: The 1980 Buick Electra, Luxury on Park Avenue

As we’ve arrived at another edition of Thanksgiving in this, the Most Awesome Current Year, let’s celebrate with a very American Rare Ride. Today’s big boat was the pinnacle of the Buick brand in 1980. Full of acres of ruched velour and wood-look trim, the Park Avenue took Electra to new heights before the fancy name ever became an independent model.

Come along and enjoy American Luxury, even if it’s not an Oldsmobile.

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Rare Rides: A 1990 Jeep Comanche Pioneer, the Best Jeep Truck Ever

Today’s Rare Ride comes from a time when Jeep still offered a two-door pickup to the American small truck consumer.

Super clean, pretty retro, and with great tape stripes, it’s the Jeep Comanche Pioneer. A fitting example of the first-ever Jeep featured in this series!

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Rare Rides: The 1990 Ford Mustang 7UP Edition, Get You a Cold Pop

Today’s Rare Ride hails from the last bit of the Fox-body Mustang era. And while there were only supposed to be a handful of these 7UPs ever made, the special edition ended up with a production figure in the low five digits.

Only one car is lemon, lime, Mustang, and forgotten. Let’s go.

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Rare Rides: A 2019 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake, Questionable Bespoke Luxury

Today’s Rare Ride started out in life as an already very expensive Aston Martin Vanquish. Then it was reworked in a significant way by that Italian house of all things coupe, Zagato. Surprisingly, the Italians resisted painting it Rosso Corso Collezione or whatever, as its owner demanded a nice BRG-adjacent matte color.

Let’s check out this sports wagon shaped Aston Martin.

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Rare Rides: The 1979 Ford Thunderbird, Last of Largesse

The Ford Thunderbird is popular here at Rare Rides, apparently. Thus far, we’ve covered one from 1982 which was hacked into a convertible, and one from 1988 which was turbocharged and very good. Today’s Bird hails from 1979, which was the very last year the model was large(ish) and in charge.

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Rare Rides: The 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Replica, Purple and Banana

We’ve featured a Corvette before in this series, as well as two different Indianapolis 500 pace cars, but we’ve never had a single car that combined Corvette and Indy pace car flavors together.

Turns out when that special combination occurred in 1998, it was purp drank and banana colored.

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Rare Rides: The 1984 Renault Rodeo, a Plastic Truck for Fun Times

Today’s Rare Ride was a unique offering in Europe in its day, though not an original idea. Simple as pie, it’s plastic, low-powered, and meant for adventure!

It’s a Renault Rodeo, and someone’s taken the trouble of importing this one to California.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Toyota Camry Five-door Liftback, Brown Plus Brown

Rare Rides has never featured a Camry previously, and that’s mostly down to the model’s general abundance in salt-free locations. However, a fine liftback like today’s example in brown, brown, and tan is well worth some coverage!

Come along as we check out the Camry body style which passed away long before any of the others.

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Rare Rides: The 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta, a Sports Car for Luxurious People

The last (and only) time Rare Rides covered a Camaro, it was a heavily altered Callaway SuperNatural from the Nineties. While that Camaro was all about performance, today’s Camaro takes a different tack.

It’s a Berlinetta, the Cadillac of Camaros (probably).

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Rare Rides: The 1991 Mercury Tracer LTS, Put It on Your List

Rare Rides has featured Ford’s compact Escort offering previously, in a first-generation EXP from 1986. Today’s Escort hails from the model’s second generation and wears a Mercury badge instead. It also has three important letters on the back: LTS.

Let’s check out a sporty economy sedan from the good people at Mercury.

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Rare Rides: The 1997 Renault Sport Spider, Track Car for the Road

Today’s Rare Ride is equally at home on a track or on a road. Lightweight and minimalistic in its approach, the Renault Sport Spider has only the things you need to drive, and nothing else.

Let’s check out this bashful looking sports car.

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Rare Rides: The 1990 Audi V8 Quattro, First Time Full-size Failure

In our last Rare Rides, we discussed how the W126 S-Class established the model as a default for the large German sedan shopper. I also referenced the failed attempt at S-Class competition which was the Audi V8 Quattro.

So today let’s expound upon that failure a bit.

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Rare Rides: A 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC, End of an Era

Today’s Rare Ride was the ultimate display of Germanic automotive wealth in the early Nineties. Always rarer than its sedan brother, the SEC was the S-Class with two doors and no pillars.

Let’s check out a hardtop from the arguable height of modern Mercedes-Benz engineering.

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Rare Rides: A 1989 Acura Legend Coupe, Luxury With Five Speeds

The Rare Rides series has touched on Acura only once before, in the only Rare Rides Review (to date) of a Honda-owned 2003 Acura CL Type-S.

Today marks the second edition of Acura Time, and we step back to the company’s first-ever midsize coupe. Let’s check out a tidy tan-over-tan Legend from 1989.

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Rare Rides: The 1996 AM General Hummer, Don't Call It H1

As I was considering some serious topics yesterday, namely the Jaguar XK8 as a used car buy and the new GMC Hummer EV, I came to the realization we’d never touched on any Hummer vehicles in the Rare Rides series.

It’s an oversight which is rectified today!

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Rare Rides: The Exceptionally Emerald 1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V Givenchy

The other day a fellow friendly Car Twitter user tweeted a Craigslist link to me. And when I clicked on it moments later, a fantastical sight presented itself: A rare and enormous Lincoln Mark V, in ultra luxurious Givenchy Designer Series trim.

It’s a must see.

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Rare Rides: The 1990 Mazda 929, a Traditional Japanese Luxury Sedan
Today marks the second time a Mazda 929 will grace us here at Rare Rides. Late last year we featured the successor to today’s car, a pristine 929 from 1992. That smooth sedan had frameless windows, rounded shapes everywhere, and was designed specifically with the North American market and Lexus customers in mind.Let’s take a look a the much more conservative luxury sedan Mazda designed before Lexus existed.
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Rare Rides: A 1975 Toyota Corona Mark II Wagon, Super Brownness Assured

Today’s Corona marks the nameplate’s second entry into the Rare Rides series. And though today’s wagon shares the same name as the prior example, it represents a point of division in Toyota’s lineup.

Come along and learn some more about a rarely seen old wagon.

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Rare Rides: A Completely Stock 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula (Part II)

In Part I of this two-parter, we learned about the Fiero’s high-cost conception, and initial stumbling blocks in the form of fires and subsequent piles of melting plastic. But the team behind Fiero never gave up hope, as evidenced by what happened in the second half of its life.

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Rare Rides: A Completely Stock 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula (Part I)

Would you like a wedge-shaped economy coupe with sporty styling, a plastic body and a tendency to catch on fire? Well then, the choice is clear: Fiero, by Pontiac.

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Rare Rides: A Supercharged Harley-Davidson F-150 From 2003

Rare Rides has featured a couple of F-150 things previously, in the super luxurious Lincoln Blackwood, and the performance-oriented first generation SVT Lightning. Today’s truck combines both luxury and performance into a single F-150.

Let’s check out this very clean triple-tone Harley-Davidson F-150 from 2003.

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Rare Rides: A Nearly-new 1997 Buick Skylark Coupe

When was the last time you saw a Nineties Skylark? More relevant to today’s subject, when did you last see one in showroom condition? The answer to the latter question is probably during the Clinton administration.

But here we are in the just wonderful year of 2020, and somehow a stunning late model Skylark has survived. Let’s take a look.

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Rare Rides: The 1997 Tatra 700, One Last Hurrah

Rare Rides featured exactly one Tatra automobile previously, and it was the grandfather of today’s subject. While today’s blue beauty doesn’t have the state authority and terrorist provenance of the black Tatra displayed on these pages before, it’s important for a different reason: It was the last attempt Tatra made to sell a passenger car.

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Rare Rides: The 2004 MG XPower SV-R, an Italian-British-American Amalgam

Recently we featured the MG RV8, which was an old MG B with a V8 engine from Rover. Today we cover a similar V8-powered MG idea, with some additional crazy sprinkled in for good measure.

Presenting the 2005 MG XPower SV-R. It’s all over the place.

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Rare Rides: The 1954 Woodill Wildfire-Buick, Fiberglass and Fun-sized

Today’s Rare Ride was formerly unknown to your author. A brief boutique brand in the Fifties, Woodill went away long before most of you were even born. Let’s see if we can learn a bit more about this American take on the classic British roadster formula.

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Rare Rides: The 1981 Lotus 87 Formula One Car, in Black Gold

While the Rare Rides series has featured a few Lotus vehicles in past, none of them rose quite to the importance of today’s single-seat example. A one-of-one, it’s the car Lotus used in the 1981 Formula One racing series.

And now you can buy it, and drive it on quick jaunts to Target or Cracker Barrel.

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The 2021 Aston Martin CALLUM Vanquish 25, a Future Rare Ride

Aston Martin’s V12 Vanquish was the company’s heavy hitter GT of the 2000s decade. Between 2001 and 2007, just over 2,500 examples of the Vanquish were produced, composed of 1,492 standard 2+2 coupes, and 1,086 of the sportier S version that ditched the rear seats.

Now, a select few customers can have a thoroughly reengineered Vanquish S, created by the man who designed the original.

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Rare Rides: An Ultra Brown 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser

In the Eighties, did you seek a compact car with the highest possible number of lamps at the front? If so, the choice was clear in ’84: Oldsmobile Firenza.

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Rare Rides: The Most Excellent 1992 Oldsmobile Bravada

Today’s Rare Ride represents a landmark for the Oldsmobile brand and a somewhat unsuccessful luxury badge experiment for General Motors.

Let’s check out the rarely seen first-generation Oldsmobile Bravada.

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Rare Rides: A 1999 Dodge Durango Shelby SP-360, a Subtle Family SUV

Rare Rides has featured a few examples of Dodge vehicles which were breathed upon by the legendary Carroll Shelby. We add another entry to the file today, with the largest and most powerful Shelby featured here to date.

It’s a Durango Shelby SP-360 from 1999.

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Rare Rides: The 1994 MG RV8 – Small Roadster, Big Engine

Today’s Rare Ride combines a traditional roadster design from the Sixties with updates from the Nineties, and uses an engine from somewhere in between.

Let’s learn more about a hodgepodge which is the very limited production MG RV8.

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Rare Rides: The 1993 Cizeta V16T, It's Not a Diablo

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those stand-out vehicles which had little (if any) real competition. Ten lamps up front, two seats in the middle, and 16 cylinders at the back. It’s a wonder it doesn’t take off in flight.

Cizeta time.

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Rare Rides: A 1986 Dodge Ramcharger, All Kinds of Awesome

Dodge fielded a full-size, truck-based SUV for many years and called it Ramcharger. Eventually for Some Good Reasons, ChryCo abandoned the segment and let Ford and General Motors rake in the dough instead. Today we check out a beautiful truck from the later period of the Ramcharger’s run.

Hope you really like brown.

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Rare Rides: The Singular 1989 Mercury Sable Convertible

Today we head deep into the purest sort of Rare Ride: A vehicle which exists as a singularity, a one-off. It’s a two-door convertible version of the first-generation Mercury Sable.

The lightbar will guide our way.

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Rare Rides: A Pristine 1996 Oldsmobile LSS Guarantees Sports Luxury Enjoyment

An oft-overlooked offering in Oldsmobile’s product catalog, the LSS was available for a few short years as the Rocket brand headed toward closure. Comfort and sporty driving appeal awaited its customers then, and still awaits you today.

Come along as we learn about this very beige supercharged sedan.

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Rare Rides: The 1978 Dodge Magnum XE, a Holdout Coupe

Much like the recently featured R-body New Yorker, today’s Magnum was a holdout in an automotive world that had already embraced downsizing and fuel efficiency.

Let’s take a look at a very short-lived coupe nameplate.

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  • Beachy Asphalt only works to keep the dirt road below it dry, and it is the dry dirt that holds up the asphalt surface to make a smooth road surface. Once the asphalt cracks or a spring wells up and the dirt gets wet, all bets are off. It is usually due to a spring that perennial potholes form. They are very hard to get rid of.
  • JamesG I’m the owner of the featured car that’s currently on EBay. Thanks for such a nice write up on these cars. Mine happens to be in excellent condition and the photos don’t do it justice. The HT4100 isn’t as bad as some made them out to be and they can go 200k miles with proper maintenance. I also own a 79 w/the analog fuel injected 5.7 350 which should have been used through 1985 but ever-increasing CAFE regulations called for more economical power plants which made GM shelve this great motor.
  • Jeff S Adam on Rare Classic Cars recently bought a pristine 71 Kenosha Cadillac.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY-G2dExgXE&ab_channel=RareClassicCars%26AutomotiveHistory
  • Jeff S Wouldn't most of the large suvs in NYC be livery vehicles? If so that would be hurting those who make their living by driving for hire.
  • EBFlex Yes their mass transit is great if you want to be beat within an inch of your life or pushed onto the tracks by some random psycho.