Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part I)

Today Rare Rides Icons features a special Chrysler that was a car, then a brand, then a car again. Throughout its varied history, Imperial always represented the best of what Chrysler offered. First, we travel back to the Twenties.

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Rare Rides: Grand Prix's V8 Finale, the GXP From 2005

The Pontiac Grand Prix was a long-term staple in Pontiac’s lineup, a Driving Excitement alternative to the Buick and Chevrolet cars with which it shared its various platforms. Though it faded from its initial personal luxury prominence, Grand Prix had one final V8 hurrah at the end of its life. It was a sort of return to form after many years with a maximum of six cylinders. Let’s check out some GXP goodness.

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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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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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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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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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Rare Rides: A 1992 Ford Mustang, but It's a Kenny Brown Outlaw XS

Today’s Rare Ride is the second Fox platform Mustang in this series, after a pristine 7UP Edition from 1990. While the 7UP was a trim package that resulted from a failed NCAA basketball contest, today’s Mustang was purchased specifically for transformation into a performance machine. It’s one of a handful ever made.

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Rare Rides: A Prototype 1970 Porsche 914 Murene, by Heuliez

Today’s Rare Ride is the second vehicle in the series designed by French coachbuilder Heuliez, and was a one-off as part of a Porsche 914 styling competition.

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Rare Rides: A 1988 Nissan Van, Not Yet on Fire

Today’s Rare Ride represents Nissan’s first attempt at a family van for the North American market. But Nissan would prefer you forget the Van entirely, given how things went after its introduction.

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  • Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
  • Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
  • El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.
  • El scotto Farley and Billy Ford need to put on some jeans, flannel shirts and PPE. They should (but never will) walk the factory floors and ask "what is wrong?", "what could we be doing better?"Let me caveat that. Let Jimmy and Billy explain that any constructive criticisms will be non-attributable. Oh they can use platitude like making the house level again or setting the ship on the right course.Sadly I suspect than many, many Power Points will die in vain in the executive suites in Dearborn. At least three if not four very expensive consulting teams will be hired to review Ford's QC problems. Four consulting teams will mean four different solutions. None them will be put in action. Ford will still have huge QC problems.