Rare Rides: The 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier RS Convertible, Last of First

The Rare Rides series is a friend to the General Motors J-body. In 2018 we featured a 2000 Sunbird from ’83, in 2020 there was the ’84 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser, and earlier this year a ’91 Cavalier wagon.

But we’ve never featured the OG J-body main event, a first-gen Cavalier. Let’s go.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Alternative Japanese Compacts From 1998

Our last two Buy/Drive/Burn entries covered the 1998 and 2008 versions of three mainstream Japanese compact sedans: Civic, Corolla, and Sentra. Today we look at the alternative offerings in 1998 from Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.

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Rare Rides Icons: Daimler's Flagship Cars and the DS420 Limousine, Elder Statesman

Welcome to Rare Rides Icons, a spinoff of Rare Rides where we take a more in-depth look at those particularly interesting cars throughout history. Today’s large and luxurious Icon is the first time we present a Daimler in this series. The DS420 was the flagship of the brand; a car for heads of state. And in fact over 50 years after its introduction, it’s still in use as an official state limousine in several nations.

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Rare Rides: The 1980 Sbarro Super Eight, Not Your Standard Hatchback

The Eighties were the decade that saw the dawn of the hot hatchback. Today’s little red hatchback is really very hot, because it’s entirely a Ferrari 308 underneath.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Pulse Litestar Autocycle, Michigan's Finest

Today’s Rare Ride is technically our first ever motorcycle, even though it has four wheels. Called the Pulse, it kind of looks like someone cut the wings off a small plane.

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Rare Rides: The 2003 GMC Yukon 2500 XL, a Quadrasteer Experience

Today’s Rare Ride coverage was prompted when your author saw an unusual pickup truck on the roads of Cincinnati. The truck in question was a black Sierra Denali from the early 2000s, with a telltale feature on its rear fenders: little lights on either side. Let’s talk Quadrasteer.

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Rare Rides: Bertone by Any Other Name, the 1979 Volvo 262C

Today’s Rare Ride is an example of the first time Bertone added heaps of Italian build quality to an ordinary Volvo midsize. We’ve covered Bertone’s second effort ( the 780) long ago, so it’s past time we talk 262C.

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Rare Rides: The 1995 Toyota T100, a Truck of a Different Era

Trucks were simpler when today’s Rare Ride was new. No giant grilles, no Ranch Platinum 1764 Embroidery Edition, and no ridiculous styling (I see you, Tundra.) The T100 was a reliable essence of truck, even if it wasn’t what the American market wanted.

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Abandoned History: Project Genesis, Toyota Cars for Young People

Toyota was very focused on youthful consumer appeal at the turn of the millennium. Around the same time the WiLL sub-brand launched in the Japanese home market with its multitude of different products, a similar project was just getting underway at Toyota Motor Sales USA.

It was called Project Genesis, and like WiLL, it didn’t go well.

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Rare Rides: Rad Van Time With the 1998 Citron Berlingo Calao, by Sbarro

Today’s Rare Ride started off as a standard and rather uninteresting Citroën Berlingo van, and was then thoroughly edited by Sbarro into a windsurfing-oriented beach vehicle.

It’s a lot to process, visually speaking.

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Rare Rides: A 1971 Maserati Quattroporte Prototype, the King's Sedan

Today’s Rare Ride was one of just two finished examples of the ill-fated second generation Maserati Quattroporte. Maserati envisioned a promising future for their large luxury sedan, but the company’s corporate parentage at the time had other (worse) ideas.

And this very car was fit for a king.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part IV)

The WiLL branding project in early 2000s Japan was intended to excite and interest younger consumers with stylish products, all of which were marketed as WiLL. At the pinnacle of unique WiLL offerings were three different small Toyotas: The first two were the unpopular and unsuccessful retro-French themed Vi, and the modern-looking, popular, and unsuccessful VS.

Around the middle of VS production, Toyota just knew there had to be a part of the market they hadn’t reached yet and reintroduced the idea of the Vi with a polar opposite stylistic direction. This is the Cypha.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part III)

Several Japanese companies embarked on the WiLL sub-brand exercise at the dawn of the new millennium. Miscellaneous WiLL-branded products were introduced alongside a funky new car offering from Toyota, the WiLL Vi.

The baguette-themed retro sedan was an immediate failure amongst the youthful consumers WiLL was supposed to attract, so Toyota had a very quick rethink. Meet VS.

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Rare Rides: A Very Luxurious Camry, the 1990 Lexus ES 250

Today’s Rare Ride was the only other car accompanying Lexus’ LS 400 at dealerships in 1990 and 1991. The fanciest Camry offered in the US, it was a badge conversion from a Camry sold in the Japanese market.

But consumers saw through the charade, so while the high-effort LS 400 flew off the showroom floor, the minimal effort ES just sat there.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part II)

The WiLL project was a short-lived collaborative marketing effort by several Japanese brands, intended to capture the interest and money of youthful buyers. Using emotional engineering, seven companies launched new products in the early 2000s wearing WiLL sub-branding. Included in the myriad of offerings were three different subcompact Toyotas.

And here’s the first one, the WiLL Vi.

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  • FreedMike Layoffs are so much fun.
  • Corey Lewis Priced about $7k too high, especially since the pano roof will leak water and it's now fully out of warranty.
  • Dave M. I always jump right on it, safety related or not. I actually had one on my 2004 Saab (!) four years ago....I even got a free loaner out of it.
  • Lou_BC I typically get them out of the way quickly. I didn't have any on my last truck. My ZR2 was issued a recall once the parts were in to install the heated seat module. I got that out of the way since it was a nice luxury for the start of winter.
  • Spookiness Its on VWVortex, so you know it's overpriced. I do like these though. I think this generation is perhaps peak Golf. During the last year they were available, I considered both regular Golfs and the non-alltrack wagon. As always, my VW fever passed and I came back to my senses.