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