By on April 12, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is an Eighties hot hatch from the good people at Mazda. Offered for a short time, the 323 GT-X sold in very limited numbers.  Today it’s difficult to find one for sale, but there happens to be one in the rustproof state of Washington.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2019

2001 Volkswagen GTI GLX VR6 in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause high-performance German cars require exactly the sort of regular maintenance and attention that most American car owners aren’t so good at doing, I find plenty of nice-looking factory-hot-rod Audis and VWs and Mercedes-Benzes during my junkyard travels. Most of those cars get scrapped because something expensive broke and the third or seventh owner wouldn’t or couldn’t spring for the repair.

Today’s Junkyard Find is different, though — here’s a GTI GLX that was running well enough to drive to the crash, found in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2019

vw

Mati writes:

Hello Sajeev!

Just finished reading your Piston Slap entry regarding the 2010 Audi A4, and I want to see what you think about my situation. Recently I relocated to the UK for work/travel and will be here for at least two years. I want to try something not available in the U.S. market and take advantage of the open roads here in the outskirts. I don’t live in a big town so no congestion/pollution tax to worry about.
My budget is £5,000 purchasing price, and my search for an euro hot hatch gave me only one Japanese branded product , some Fords, and a lot of interesting European models. But all around the 10 year mark give or take. In my situation would it be any better to go with an European 10-year-old hot-hatch then, say, a UK-Built Honda or a Ford?
A search on local classified and Bookface nets me a few nice results :
  • 2008 Honda Civic Coupe Type R
  • 2009 Ford Focus ST
  • 2007 RENAULTSPORT CLIO 197 F1 TEAM R27 LY 2.0
  • 2010 Citroen DS3
  • 2010 Peugeot RCZ
  • 2009 VW Scirocco
Looking forward to your reply! Cheers!

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

1987 Shelby CSX (P), Image: Shelby AutomobilesIn the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.

Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?

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By on May 23, 2019

Everyone’s heard of Yugo — the Yugoslavian brand that tried to shift cheap cars on North American shores in the late Eighties and early Nineties. Their terrible overall quality and general disposable nature means there are very few left today in any sort of presentable condition for Rare Rides. Today’s red beauty is an exception, and it may just be the rarest of the breed.

Let’s check out the super sporty GVX version, from 1988.

(Read More…)

By on May 7, 2019

Rare Rides returns again to De Tomaso, shortly after it covered the obscure Guarà Barchetta. This time, the subject vehicle is a British-designed Mini, rebodied by Bertone, then sported up by De Tomaso. Quite a pedigree.

Presenting the 1978 Innocenti Mini De Tomaso:

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By on July 22, 2018

Hyundai’s Veloster may be the first to wear the N badge and we’ve already explained it won’t be the last. However, the plot has thickened slightly. The new division won’t be limited to peppering existing models with enhanced powertrains and sport-inspired accessories, it’s eventually going to have its own halo car.

Thomas Schemera, who was appointed head of Hyundai’s new high performance and motorsport division earlier this year, is claiming that the Veloster N is only “the first phase of N vehicles.” But he isn’t talking about the future N-Line, which is to be comprised of gently tweaked Hyundai cars. Apparently, the group is developing a halo performance model to show off what the sporting division can really do.  (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2018

Hyundai Veloster N

Hyundai’s Veloster has gone from an oddball offering drivers a reasonably good time on a budget to something that can compete with the Volkswagen GTI and Civic Si. It’s no longer the hot hatch you settled on to save money; it’s a legitimate alternative.

Outfitted properly, the updated Hyundai can hold its own in the hot hatch segment. However, it does not appear to shame any of the veteran entrants. The GTI remains the total package while other models offer their own unique advantages. But the Veloster, specifically the R-Spec with the 1.6-liter turbo, remains in the mix with a leaner price tag.

This changes when the Hyundai’s N sub-brand arrives in the U.S. market.  (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2018

1996 BMW 318ti in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe most affordable BMW in the United States, during the middle years of the E36 platform, was the 318ti. A four-cylinder hatchback, it sold for about two-thirds the price of a six-cylinder 328 sedan or coupe.

In 1996, buyers could get a version with a huge canvas-covered sunroof, known as the California Edition, and that’s what I have found in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2018

Image: 1991 Ford Fiesta RSIn 1991, customers had a couple of hatchback options from the Blue Oval in the United States, in either the compact or subcompact segments. At the bottom of the barrel (in all ways) was the Mazda-designed Festiva, and positioned above it was the Mazda-based Escort.

Across the pond, Europeans received a Ford which was actually a Ford — the Fiesta.

(Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

Image: 1997 Peugeot 106 GTIAs we all know, our neighbors to the north keep things warm and tropical. Additionally, they have less government, and fewer regulations. This lack of regulation is what makes today’s Peugeot possible.

It’s a very tidy 106 GTI, from 1997.

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By on November 30, 2017

Image: 1990 Renault 5 GT TurboAh, bygone French cars. Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault all abandoned the American market by the early 1990s, leaving behind mostly memories of poor reliability and shoddy trim on underpowered little cars. But those in the know are aware of the other side of the coin. It’s the side where France was (is?) great at producing hot hatchbacks. French style and engineering came together to compete with the founder of the breed, the Volkswagen GTI.

For those people, today is a special day. Presenting the Renault 5 GT Turbo:

(Read More…)

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