Tag: small cars

By on November 29, 2021

Today we conclude the Ford Capri’s story with its third and final generation. After the Mark I’s promising start as a simple and affordable sporty coupe, the Mark II went a bit too soft and comfortable and diverged into many different trims as Ford tried to appeal to a wider audience.

“We can fix it!” exclaimed Ford. Time for Capri Mark III.

(Read More…)

By on November 22, 2021

We continue our series on the sporty European market Ford Capri today. Introduced in 1969 as a pony car to suit customers outside of North America, Capri proved an immediate success across Europe and found a more limited customer base in North America too. By the mid-Seventies, times had changed and it was time for a new Capri, the Mark II.

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By on November 15, 2021

Across two generations and nearly two decades of production, the Ford Capri existed as the European market alternative to the very America-centric Mustang. Basic or more luxurious, thrifty or more powerful, Capri played an important role in its day: It brought a practical, fun driving experience within reach of the average European family consumer.

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By on October 15, 2021

Sometimes car companies get a bit carried away with a new idea that, for a myriad of reasons, doesn’t translate so well in its execution. Toyota (and other Japanese companies) did exactly this when they invested in the very unsuccessful line of WiLL cars and other consumer products in the early 2000s.

Today we look at a 1980s domestic example of an idea that fell flat. It was the time Cadillac thought applying lipstick to a Cavalier-shaped pig would make the BMW and Mercedes-Benz 190E customer come a’callin.  It’s time for Cimarron, a J-body joint.

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By on September 8, 2021

We continue our Chevrolet Citation coverage today, just after the economy car’s 1980 introduction to critical acclaim and huge sales figures. Unfortunately for GM, the Citation’s true personality was quickly exposed, and things were entirely downhill from there.

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By on September 7, 2021

Born at the turn of the Eighties during a very lackluster period in the American automotive landscape, the Chevrolet Citation was a successful entry into the hot compact segment. It debuted to immediate sales success as a budget used car buy and won a major award. Could it be the ultimate economy car for the Eighties?

It’s Citation time.

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By on September 1, 2021

The Nineties W202 C-Class was Mercedes’ second-ever compact car offering, after its debut small car the 190. Not made of the heritage-level materials of the 190, the W202 cars were largely trashed at the bottom of their depreciation curve a decade ago by second and third owners.

Said trashing is why today’s very clean example is so unusual.

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By on August 4, 2021

Not long ago, Rare Rides featured the Gurgel XEF, a Brazilian microcar of luxurious intent that was styled like a contemporary Mercedes-Benz, and based on a Volkswagen. Today’s Rare Ride is a very different Brazilian take on the same basic bones.

Say hello to the Renha Formigão.

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By on July 26, 2021

Audi is discontinuing the A1, citing Europe’s regulatory landscape as the main cause. Eager to limit the amount of CO2 coming out of tailpipes, the European Union has placed strict limits on petroleum-powered passenger vehicles. For Audi, the price of manufacturing a subcompact automobile-dependent upon internal combustion is getting too high. Installing a smaller motor would negatively impact drivability while slotting in a hybrid powertrain means more R&D costs and jacking up the MSRP to a point where consumers might lose interest.

There’s just not much incentive to build small, efficient vehicles when the profit margins have been made razor thin and people aren’t buying them in great numbers. And this is a lesson that’s being learned by all automakers, not just those associated to Volkswagen Group.  (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is the last entrant in a set of four cars introduced to the series back in November 2018. Tiny, retro, and a convertible, Nissan’s Figaro is by far the most popular of the four Pike cars. It’s also the one you can always find for sale in the United States.

Let’s take a look.

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By on March 12, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is an obscure variant of an already obscure microcar. The Dart you see here was an Australian-designed and built version of the Glas Goggomobil.

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By on February 10, 2021

While Europe often appears as a safe haven for punchy subcompacts, the reality is that the continent’s biggest sellers happen to be reasonably sized automobiles equipped with a tepid engine option. The Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla, and Škoda Octavia (especially if you happen to travel through any former satellite states of the Soviet Union) are absolutely everywhere. Europe also has a strong taste for many of the compact crossovers that are popular here in North America, giving subcompacts an increasingly small share of the overall market. And it’s projected to get smaller (globally) under the existing European regulations.

Pint-sized economy vehicles aren’t exactly profit leaders for automakers and their margins are only going to become slimmer. The EU is now reaching a point where building them won’t make sense, as tailpipe regulations will eventually force some amount of electrification. This will jack up their price to a point where the kind of people that might have been considering them will probably shop used. But don’t take our word for it; Audi CEO Markus Duesmann recently said this is probably what will kill the A1.  (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2020

There were precisely two generations of the Nissan Pulsar sold on North American shores, and we’ve covered the latter previously in an absolutely excellent NX Sportbak from 1988. Today’s Rare Ride is a final-year 1986 example of the first generation Pulsar, which wasn’t quite as versatile as its replacement in 1987.

This one’s as clean as they come.

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By on August 28, 2020

PSA

Hopefully you’re all familiar with Stellantis — the chosen name for the sprawling automaker birthed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group. With the merger expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2021, Stellantis is all about capitalizing on the respective partners’ strengths in the name of efficiency.

And, because of this strategy, FCA has reportedly issued a stop-work order on any development of future small or subcompact cars. The future of FCA small cars is now French. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2020

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.

(Read More…)

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