Rare Rides: The Awfully Expensive Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, From 2018

Today’s Rare Ride joins the exclusive club of ultra-expensive V12 SUVs presented in this series. Thus far, the population was one: the Lamborghini LM002.

Today we take a look at a limited-run SUV that Mercedes made as expensive and gauche as humanly possible.

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Rare Rides: The 1995 Eagle Vision - End of the Line

It’s unofficially been Chrysler Time around the Rare Rides pages lately, and another Chrysler product follows up the New Yorker and Conquest. It was much more important product than either of those two, however, and it signified the end of one of Chrysler’s divisions.

Picture it: 1995, Eagle Vision.

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Rare Rides: The 1988 Chrysler Conquest - an American Sports Coupe

Quick badge swaps between Chrysler and Mitsubishi were common throughout the Eighties. Mostly a one-way affair, Chrysler rebranded Mitsubishi products as Colts, Plymouths, and Dodges. These captive imports generated revenue via Chrysler’s brand recognition while cheaply filling gaps in the domestic company’s lineup.

Today marks our first Chrysler-branded Mitsubishi, and it’s certainly the sportiest rebadge we’ve seen here. Presenting the Chrysler Conquest, from 1988.

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Rare Rides: The 1979 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition - Big and Brown

Rare Rides has featured plenty of Chrysler vehicles before, and some of them were even as large as today’s range-topping sedan. But none of them had quite as much trim as today’s subject.

From the last gasp of the truly full-size offerings from domestic manufacturers, it’s the 1979 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue Edition.

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Rare Rides: A 1986 Pontiac 1000 - Preserved Performance

The Rare Rides series has previously featured many Pontiacs, and today’s hatchback is our ninth to wear the Red Arrow badge. It’s also the smallest Pontiac we’ve ever featured.

It’s not a Chevette, but it is the Chevette’s sporty Driving Excitement cousin!

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Rare Rides: The 1953 Chrysler Special, by Ghia

Though Rare Rides has featured many examples of vehicles which wore Chrysler badges and Ghia designs, there’s never been a single car which represented both.

That changes today, with this very rare 1953 Chrysler Special.

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Rare Rides: The 1996 Heuliez Intruder Concept - a G-Wagen Derivation

Today’s Rare Ride popped up on the Internet recently, hailing from the archive of Long Forgotten Concept Cars. This particular concept happens to be a high-riding off-road cabriolet, created from a Frankenstein-like amalgam of Mercedes-Benz parts and custom fabrications by French alteration firm Heuliez.

Buckle up — it’s gonna get weird.

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Rare Rides: The Very Special 1982 Ford Thunderbird Cabriolet

Rare Rides featured exactly one example of the legendary Thunderbird name in previous entries: A late Eighties Turbo Coupe that was basically brand new. While the Turbo Coupe has a following amongst classic car folks, today’s early ’80s Thunderbird is not held in such high regard.

In fact, I’ll go ahead and call it the worst Thunderbird ever.

Bring on the Malaise.

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Rare Rides: A Stylish and Tasteful Isuzu 117 Coupe From 1975

Rare Rides has already featured Isuzu’s mass-market successor to the 117, in the boxy and thoroughly Eighties Impulse. Let’s check out what Isuzu offered to its coupe customers a decade prior, when it aimed for a discerning, well-heeled customer.

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Rare Rides: A 2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione - Exquisitely Italian

Rare Rides has featured many an Alfa Romeo in past editions, but none as new as today’s 8C. With its very striking design, a limited manufacturing run, and a very high price when new, the low-slung coupe was instantly rare. A daring coupe from a small Italian manufacturer.

Let’s go.

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Rare Rides: A 1986 Peugeot 505 Wagon - French and Turbocharged

Rare Rides has featured a couple of Peugeot cars in previous entries. From the Nineties was the sporty front-drive 405 Mi16, which had the honor of being the last Peugeot model sold in the United States.

We also featured a Seventies Peugeot: The graceful 504, which was predecessor to today’s 505.

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Rare Rides: A 2001 Spectre Supersport R45, One of Two

Ever hear of a sporting automotive manufacturer called Spectre? I hadn’t either, until I watched a very old Top Gear clip on YouTube in which Clarkson and some other people visit the 1997 British International Motor Show.

Intrigued, I decide I’d find one for sale. Turns out the listing I found was for the rarest Spectre of all.

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Rare Rides: A 1995 Ford Falcon XR6 Ute - Trucking With Tickford

Though North Americans were offered a few car-turned-truck vehicles like the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino between the 1950s and 1980s, domestic appetites for ute-type vehicles never approached that of Australia. Down Under, interest in such vehicles persisted for over 80 years.

Let’s take a look at one of the most popular types, the Ford Falcon.

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Rare Rides: A McDonald's Edition 1986 Ford E-150 Econoline Conversion

The Rare Rides series has featured around 10 special edition cars in past, depending on how generous you are with the term.

And while every special edition presented here thus far was designed to add some padding to a manufacturer’s bottom line, today’s special edition McDonald’s van had a much more benevolent purpose.

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Rare Rides: The 1994 Subaru Vivio - Microscopic Convertible Fun for Four

Would you enjoy piloting a tiny car that combines sultry coupe styling with t-tops, a powered metal convertible roof, and room for four real adult-sized humans?

Look no further than the Subaru Vivio.

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Rare Rides: The 2003 Lancia Thesis - Questionable Styling and Legality Comes Standard

Rare Rides occasionally features vehicles that have somehow slipped through the 25-year importation net and exist in this country as illegal immigrants. First up was a little Citroën Picasso hatchback from Arizona, and more recently we featured a bright orange Fiat Barchetta from Florida.

Today we venture into illegality once more, with the luxurious and beautiful Lancia Thesis from 2003.

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Rare Rides: A 1986 Izuzu P'up, Coming With Length and Turbodiesel

Today’s Rare Ride is from the period in the Eighties when many compact pickup trucks were available to the North American consumer. While most of these vehicles were Japanese, some covered their origins with American badges. Others wore both Japanese and American branding, albeit at different dealerships.

Wouldn’t you LUV to check out this P’up? Ugh.

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Rare Rides: The Beloved Ford Bronco II, From 1988

The Bronco II was a compact SUV marketed on the long-term brand recognition of the Bronco. But only a few years into its production run, the Bronco II had established an infamous reputation all its own — and eventually proved one of the most costly models Ford ever created.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2, Not Actually Named Aerocoupe
Rare Rides previously examined a rare Grand Prix. It was from a Pepsi contest and separated from the coupe you see here by only three years. Today we consider the end of an era for Grand Prix, with the very special 2+2.
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Rare Rides: A 1986 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Cabriolet - Ultimate Rarity Assured

Today’s Rare Ride is quite possibly the rarest Chevrolet Celebrity ever made. And it’s also, possibly, one of those cases where rare does not equal desirable.

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Rare Rides: The 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO - Eighties Exotica and a Childhood Toy Story

Today’s Rare Ride is a seriously sporty evolution of Ferrari’s well-known 308 GTB. Built as a homologation special, the 288 GTO was one of the most exclusive vehicles Ferrari produced in the Eighties.

It’s a car which became relevant to me this past weekend, when a rusty example was unearthed in my parents’ backyard.

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Rare Rides: A 1990 Oldsmobile Trofeo - Last of Personal Luxury

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those last-of moments for a historical nameplate. For nearly 40 years, Toronado was the luxurious coupe flagship of the Oldsmobile brand. But changing consumer tastes and a thinning of the herd at General Motors meant that, by 1990, the Toronado name was not long for the world.

Let’s talk about some personal luxury as we pour one out for the Troféo.

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Rare Rides: The Practical and Luxurious 1979 Mercury Zephyr Villager

Today’s Rare Ride comes from a time when the family wagon segment was alive and well and Ford was eager to use its brand new Fox platform on as many vehicles as possible.

Presenting the wood-clad Mercury Zephyr Villager wagon, from 1979.

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Rare Rides: The Unfortunate 1998 Infiniti Q45

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on Infiniti lately, primarily due to the grim announcement that the brand will become “Nissan-plus” in the coming years. While the brand produced a few bright spots like the G35 and FX over its 30-year history, most of its products were duds.

That got me thinking about one such dud product, and one that happened to appear for sale right as I was pondering. It’s the 1998 Q45, a disappointing flagship.

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Rare Rides: The 2005 Ford Saleen Focus S121 - an Improved Hot Hatch

Most examples of the popular first-generation Focus lived life as appliances. Use and abused, they filtered to the used car lots during the late 2000s alongside brethren like the Mercury Cougar and Jaguar S-Type. However, a select few were spared from such an ignominious fate by performance tuner Saleen. The Californian company took some new Foci and imbued them with extra performance.

Today’s Rare Ride is among the chosen — it’s the 2005 Saleen Focus.

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Rare Rides: The Very Rare 1982 Mazda 626 Two-door Sedan

Today’s Rare Ride is boxy, brown, and well-equipped. It’s an unpopular variant of a less-than-mainstream midsize car of the Eighties. And at 38 years old, it’s managed to escape the rusty fate to which most all of these succumbed long ago.

Let’s check out the 1982 Mazda 626.

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Rare Rides: A Luxurious Lancia Aurelia From 1953

Rare Rides recently featured this car’s successor — the lovely Zagato-built Flaminia coupe from 1965. Today we’ll jump a decade prior and take a look at Lancia’s flagship offering from the Fifties.

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Rare Rides: The Practical and Elegant Lamborghini LM002

Today’s Rare Ride is one which defies most all expectations of vehicles in its class. It’s larger, more powerful, more exclusive, and more ridiculous than any of its contemporaries. Suitably, it has a raging bull emblem on its hood.

Presenting the Lamborghini LM002 from 1990.

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Rare Rides: The 1988 Mitsubishi Wagon, Forgotten Long Ago

Rare Rides has featured a couple of JDM import vans previously, namely the Mazda Bongo and Toyota Town Ace. Today’s van is of similar JDM fashion, except this Mitsubishi is one of the few examples actually sold in North America during the model’s very short domestic run.

Let’s learn a bit more about the only large van Mitsubishi ever sold in America. Once again, it’s Van Time.

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Rare Rides: The Grandiose Cadillac Eldorado Seville, From 1960

A light dew suspends itself on finely manicured lawns as you glide past. Lucky Strike in hand, Miles Davis plays on the radio as you adjust the six-way power seat. At the office, the space in front of the door has your name on it.

The year is 1960, the winner of capitalism is you, and your car is the Cadillac Eldorado Seville.

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Rare Rides: The 1984 Ferrari 400 GTi - Luxurious Ruching for Four

Today’s Ferrari 400 took a more upscale approach than its contemporaries wearing the prancing horse badge. The engine was at the front instead of the middle, the seats numbered four instead of two, and the accommodations were more cocktail lounge than race car.

Let’s find out more about the vintage Ferrari many fans gloss over entirely.

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Rare Rides: A 'Clean Florida Title' Fiat Barchetta From 1997

There was one prior case where a too hot to title European car appeared on these pages, and it was a boring Citroën hatchback. Today’s forbidden, ahem, “legal” fruit is a bit more zesty. Presenting an underage Fiat Barchetta from 1997.

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Rare Rides: The 1969 De Tomaso Mangusta - Building a Brand

Rare Rides has covered a few De Tomaso vehicles in past, but today’s Italian classic predates all those presented thus far. From 1970, it’s the second car ever offered by its parent brand, and the first model which was produced in a mass quantity of over 100 vehicles.

Let’s learn about the Mangusta.

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Rare Rides: The Especially Forgotten 1978 Dodge Aspen Kit Car

The standard Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare are primarily remembered (and not seen) because they rusted as soon as the dew settled on them on a spring morning. While that makes standard examples sort of rare today, there’s a very special model which was very rare from the beginning.

It’s the 1978 Dodge Aspen Kit Car, and that’s its real name.

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Rare Rides: An Incredibly Rare 1965 Lancia Flaminia Super Sport Zagato

By my count, Rare Rides has featured exactly four Lancias in the past. Ranging in scope from two-doors to four-doors, they all contained Italian passion and were designed with a ruler. Today’s coupe bucks the trend: It’s an elegant and curvaceous Flaminia, and more specifically, a very desirable Super Sport Zagato.

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Rare Rides: The 1948 Willys-Overland Station Wagon - the First SUV?

Rare Rides has featured a classic Jeep previously, with the Kaiser-Jeep-produced Jeepster Commando. While that model was eventually succeeded by the Jeep Cherokee, today’s Rare Ride was predecessor to the Wagoneer.

Let’s learn about a seven-seat SUV from 1948: the Willys Overland Station Wagon.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Chrysler Town & Country Wagon - Adventures in Vinyl

Rare Rides previously featured the last rear-drive Town & Country wagon, a model closely related to the sturdy and reliable M-body Dodge Diplomat. Today’s wagon is a sign of its times: It’s front-drive, efficient, and based on the K-car platform (like 98 percent of Chrysler’s offerings for the years 1981 through 1995).

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Rare Rides: The 1994 Ford Aerostar - Better in Brown

Much like our recently presented Tempo, today’s Ford is a well-kept oddity that’s already considered a classic due to its age. A ho-hum family van, the Aerostar was the sort of vehicle that got well-used and (usually) rusted by its eighth birthday.

Today’s short-wheelbase beauty, however, made it to 26.

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Rare Rides: The 1989 Ford Tempo - Luxurious and All-wheel Drive

Today’s Rare Ride is an example of a vehicle that was fairly common in the early Nineties. However, the passage of time is never kind to low-value and oft-forgotten economy cars, so survivors like this little blue Tempo are quite a find.

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Rare Rides: A Stunning 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE

Today’s Rare Ride wears styling so classic it needs little introduction. Its finned, upright grille, chromed bumpers, and collection of front lighting could only mean one thing: Mercedes-Benz.

Let’s learn more about a spectacular 220 SE hailing from 1960.

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Rare Rides: A Very Rare Bizzarrini Strada From 1967

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If the Bizzarrini name seems familiar, it’s because we previously learned about one of the very last designs to wear the name: the BZ 2001. In contrast to that failed Nineties project, today’s Rare Ride was Bizzarrini’s most successful commercial offering.

It’s the Strada, from 1967.

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Rare Rides: The 1988 Buick LeSabre T-Type Coupe

Today’s Rare Ride is just one of the many attempts General Motors made throughout the 1980s and ’90s to chase after those youthful customers who ate dinner after 5:15 p.m.

It’s an aggressive Buick LeSabre T-Type from 1988.

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Rare Rides: Aggressive Luxury With the 1977 Pontiac Can Am

Rare Rides reviews another Pontiac today. And much like the recently featured Bonneville, it’s large and in charge, from the Seventies, and has two doors. Let’s see how much horsepower the 1977 Can Am gained through stickers and spoilers.

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Rare Rides: A 1976 AMC Gremlin, Fully Covered in Jeans

The AMC Gremlin celebrated its 50th birthday recently, a fact which would have passed by without notice were it not for commenter Steve Biro. And since we’re talking Gremlin today, we may as well take a look at an oddball trim that’s as quirky as it is rare.

It’s a Levi’s Gremlin from 1976, and it comes standard with an invitation to the Pants Party.

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Rare Rides: The Sturdy and Rare Daihatsu Rocky, From 1990
Today’s Rare Ride is a little off-road truck that hails from the era when a single SUV could be small, light, cheap, and capable. It’s an oft-forgotten Daihatsu Rocky, from 1990.
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Rare Rides: Extended Luxury With the 1986 Zimmer Quicksilver

Have you ever wished for a very luxurious coupe for grand touring purposes — one with an unconventional engine placement and the underpinnings of an economy car?

Well, we’ve got a car for you: the 1988 Zimmer Quicksilver.

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Rare Rides: The Shocking 2002 Ford Ranger Thunderbolt

Rare Rides previously featured the weather-inspired SVT Lightning, an effort that saw Ford add a healthy dose of power and sporty handling to its full-size pickup.

Today we’ll have a look at Lightning’s smaller sibling, which is named after the same weather event: the Ranger Thunderbolt, from 2002.

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Rare Rides: The Luxurious 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante Wagon

We featured the predecessor to Mitsubishi’s American flagship last year — a little Sigma sedan that happened to one of the cheapest Rare Rides ever shown. Today we take a look at the car that came after Sigma: the Diamante.

And it’s the rare wagon version.

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Rare Rides: A Stunning 1978 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe

Pontiac is one of the most featured marques of the Rare Rides series, and to date there have been seven of its models represented here. Today’s Rare Ride was in showrooms the very same time as the odd and short-lived Sunbird Safari Wagon, but was intended to entice a much more traditional customer.

Let’s have a look at the upright and respectable Bonneville coupe.

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Rare Rides: The Extra THICC 1970 Mercury Marauder X-100

We all recall the Panther-based Mercury Marauder as the last gasp of large, sporty motoring from Mercury. Today’s Rare Ride is the predecessor everyone forgot — the 219-inch Marauder X-100.

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Rare Rides: The Extremely Valuable 1967 Toyota 2000GT

The Toyota 2000GT’s been a legend for decades now. A simple mention of its name conjures up the correct silhouette. Eyes glaze over at the gentle curves, classic sports coupe proportions, and the big front lamps trapped behind plexiglass.

Today we’ll dig a little deeper into this legend.

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Rare Rides: The 1989 Mitsubishi Precis - Discount Badge Games

Don’t let the title fool you — what we’ve got here is not a Mitsubishi at all, but rather a Hyundai. The late Eighties were confusing times at Mitsubishi, and deals with other OEMs were made left and right.

Today’s Precis is an Excel by any other name.

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Rare Rides: The Obscure 1984 Frazer Tickford Metro, Aston Martin's Hatchback

Ever wonder what would happen if a division of Aston Martin decided to create a luxury sports hatchback for a select few wealthy customers? Wonder no more — it’s Tickford Metro time.

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Rare Rides: The 1971 Tatra 2-603 II, East Germany's Stasi Transport

Today’s Rare Ride has a checkered history, as it served as quiet shuttle for secret police and terrorist spies alike. Let’s find out more about this rear-engine Czechoslovakian V8 luxury car.

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Rare Rides: A 1988 Bentley Eight, the Ace of Base

Recently we featured a flagship Bentley in the Azure convertible, which was among the most expensive production cars money could buy. Today we have a look at the cheapest Bentley available – the Eight. Let’s check out the Bentley for poor people.

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Rare Rides: The Stunning 1992 Oldsmobile Silhouette, in Teal

A special day has arrived here at Rare Rides. Our subject is modern, sleek, and the Cadillac of Minivans. That’s right, it’s Van Time with the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

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Rare Rides: 1968 Toyota Corona Coupe - an End of Luxury

Today’s Rare Ride hails from the first two decades of Toyota’s North American tenure. The Corona line was midsize, luxurious, and the pinnacle of the company’s offerings on this continent.

Come along and experience Corona.

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Rare Rides: The Unique Looking 1955 Nash Statesman

About a year ago Rare Rides featured its first Nash, the tiny Metropolitan. Today we take a look at the full-size car that occupied the showroom floor alongside its smallest sibling.

Hailing from 1955, it’s a Statesman.

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Rare Rides: A 1991 Ford F-150, Pace Truck and PPG

In what is assuredly the most Nineties looking Rare Ride to date, today’s Ford F-150 wears its decade loud and proud. Let’s find out more about this one-off pace car.

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Rare Rides: The Very Special 1998 Ford Expedition SeaScape

There’s nothing especially unique about a first-generation Ford Expedition, given that the company sold hundreds of thousands of them in the late Nineties. But things get a bit more exciting when the Expedition in question was a custom build for SEMA.

So today let’s remember the boat times, with this 1998 SeaScape.

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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.