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: 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: 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 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: 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 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 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: 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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  • MaintenanceCosts This looks really surprisingly different from the Blazer EV. It's more boring, but it's also more Honda, and for that reason alone it will be taken a lot more seriously in US markets.
  • ToolGuy I found this interesting; you might too: https://youtu.be/asb4jLWWTbQ
  • SCE to AUX Q: "How do you fix automotive media?A: The same way you fix the auto show.That is to say: Don't live in the past, believing every story is original with you. Offer something insightful and useful to your audience that they can't get anywhere else.The auto show allows consumers to sit inside many vehicles under one roof, without sales pressure - something unavailable anywhere else. That's it. The media should accept that the auto show offers nothing new for them anymore, and the auto show should stop pretending that it does.Good examples:[list][*]I've flamed Posky many times, but his long background stories can be thought-provoking and informative. I may not always agree with some of the posturing, but at least they dig deeper than someone's press release.[/*][*]Alex on Autos has some of the best video reviews. He wastes absolutely no time getting to the substance, and his formula is reliable. He packs a lot into 25 minutes.[/*][*]Everyday Reviews: This likeable couple/family covers the daily life aspects of new cars they test - child car seats, user interface, fuel economy, and so on. No hype - just useful.[/*][/list]Bad examples:[list][*]DragTimes: In a 20-minute video, you get 1 minute of racing and 19 minutes of bromance talk. I keep hoping it will improve, but it doesn't.[/*][*]Road and Track's web page is heavily tilted toward unaffordable niche sports cars and racing, with a few feature articles on daily drivers. I visit, but it feels like I'm in a Porsche dealership.[/*][/list]
  • BSttac Honestly automotive journalism is all but dead. Its mostly bloggers with a left based agenda. Cnet and the Drive especially had some really horrible bloggers. Road and Track also has some terrible bloggers so it would not surprise me if they are next. Just look at most bloggers complain about going to an automotive show when they dont realize its not even for them. Very spoiled and out of touch individuals
  • Jkross22 I forgot to include Bring a Trailer. It's so enjoyable to revisit cars from different eras and to read what the most knowlegable have to say about those types of cars.