Today we will take a look at some of the most obscure sport sedans of the past. You may recognize some, but I bet a few will be new. Let me know if I missed any you want to see.
Lancia Flaminia – This car was a sports saloon built until the 1970’s. It is notable because a convertible version was the car used in the film “The Italian Job.” When the mafia group pushes the Aston Martin off the side of the cliff, a Flaminia was used in its place due to cost. The name Flaminia comes from the Lancia habit of naming their cars after Italian roads. The Berline, or sedan was designed by Pininfarina, and the only version to be built throughout the entire production span.
Rover – British Leyland, which owned Rover was known for many of the best known British sports cars. Rover produced some of the best, and worst sedans of the day. Notable sedans included the P5 (a favorite of the British Government), the P6 (an icon of the 1960’s and 70’s), and the miserable SD1. The SD1 was made famous in the Top Gear British Leyland test, where it failed to retain water and its doors fell off. The P6 is also famous as the car in which Princess Grace Kelly was killed, in an accident in Monaco.
Iso Fidia – Iso is the company that brought us the Isetta bubblecar. They are also famous for great sports cars like the Grifo, the Lele, and the Rivolta. Iso cars were designed and built by the team of Bizzarrini and Giugiaro, the former being famous for the Ferrari “palace revolt” and his own sportscar named the Bizzarrini 5300 GT. Built between 1967 and 1975, the Fidia had so much polished wood and hand stitched leather, that it cost more than a Rolls Royce. The second car ever made was purchased by John Lennon.
Avanti – Designed by the famed design team of Raymond Loewy, this was the brainchild of Sherwood Egbert, the president of Studebaker. He knew the end was near, and wanted a sports car that was so radical, it would save the company. It didn’t, but it did outlast Studebaker by over 40 years.
Borgward – This was a German company that produced cars until 1961, then again in Mexico until 1970. Famous for their transmissions and pneumatic suspensions, the P100 Isabella model was a beautiful design.
Lotus Carlton – Lotus built this car based on the Vauxhall Carlton during the 1990’s. Once considered the fastest four door saloon in the world, the more sedate US version was sold as the Cadillac Catera. Lotus said the car could reach 186mph, and offered it in only one color, British Racing Green.
Panther DeVille – Cruella DeVil’s car from the movie “101 Dalmatians.” Panther built two sedans, one was a restyled Triumph Dolomite with a Rolls Royce like interior. This concept didn’t work when Cadillac tried it on the Cavalier/Cimarron, and it worked less here. One other evil cartoon villain also owned a Panther DeVille, Sir Elton John.
Sterling – This was a British car made by Rover and Honda. Basically an Acura Legend sedan, it had an upgraded interior, and extensive use of wood trim. Unfortunately, it was sold at the same time as a cheap cologne called British Sterling, that had a catchier jingle. The cologne stayed, the car did not.
Stutz – The Diplomatica was a neo-classic limited edition luxury car designed by Virgil Exner, of Chrysler fame. It’s claim to fame is that many celebrities bought these monstrosities, including Elvis, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Kenny Rogers and Lucille Ball.
Checker – The Checker Motor Company built taxicabs for many years, but went into the consumer car business during the 1960’s. The car in this photo is of a concept made by Ghia, with the help of Alejandro de Tomaso called the Ghia Checker Centurion. This car is such a mystery, that no one knows if it was a design for a new taxi, a concept for Checker’s foray into the limousine market, or a possible Checker based replacement for the lost Ghia designed Chrysler Imperials. It was never produced, and this concept is the only known example.
Ghia Checker Centurion
Wartburg – This East German car was imported in very small numbers to the US, and featured a three cylinder two stroke engine with only seven moving parts. The model in the photo is the Wartburg Knight.
Lagonda Rapide – Long before the current Rapide model by Aston Martin, the name was used for a sedan used by David Brown to revive the Lagonda brand. In the 1970’s, the name was again used on the Aston Martin Lagonda sedan designed by William Towns.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Maserati – The Quattroporte pictured here is a Series I car first produced in 1963. Designed by Frua and Vignale, the car was produced until 1974, when it was replaced with the Series II shown below. The first series was a success, but the later series nearly bankrupt the company.
Maserati Quattroporte I
Maserati Quattroporte II
Maserati Quattroporte III
Maserati Quattroporte IV
De Tomaso – The Deauville was a luxury sedan made by de Tomaso, and based on the Maserati Quattroporte III. It sported a V8 Ford Cleveland engine and had a top speed of about 150mph. Only 244 copies were made, spawning a coupe version sold as the Longchamp.
De Tomaso Deauville
Bitter – Erich Bitter was a race car driver that also built luxury cars in Germany, and later Austria. The SC is based on the Opel Senator, and was sold from 1979 to 1989. Only 5 sedans were sold, mostly through Buick dealerships. The company folded in the late 1980’s.
Monteverdi – This Swiss car manufacturer sold both boutique converted luxury cars based on everything from the Plymouth Volare to the Mercedes Benz S-Class. Sedans from the company include the Tiara, Sierra and the High Speed 375/4.
Monteverdi High Speed 375/4
Article courtesy of Chris Raymond
Photos courtesy of Google Images
This post is for all the muscle car fans out there…I decided to put a few pictures of my favorite muscle cars up, in the hopes that someone will enjoy them. I have not been a big muscle car fan, and especially don
Look at this truck and tell me what you see? Wrong. It’s the new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, a tough as nails he-man truck that wants to rip your arms off. Now look back again, what do you see? Wrong. It’s a truck so manly it sweats, a truck you need to shave three times a day, a truck that will grow chest hair. This truck is dangerous, in the same way you are.
Ford designed this truck for men, not ladies, and certainly not little boys. This brute is not the truck you take to the local Starbucks for a double non-fat soy chai macchiato latte or to the boutique to get Mr. Jingles a new outfit. No, this is the truck you use to hunt Wildebeest on your private game reserve, or to chase down local gangs to deal out some street justice. The Ford SVT Raptor was designed on a mountaintop, by secret disappearing ninjas using the greatest technologies known to man. They built it with a massive 6.2 liter V8 that makes 411 horses, and 10 million lb-ft of torque. That’s enough torque to pull the sewer pipes right through your front lawn, and enough power to outrun the cops.
Don’t let this truck scare you, because it will cruise down the highway smoother than your M1 Abrams Main battle tank, and when you get where you’re going, just throw on the Advancetrac system and crawl up over that Prius parked in your spot. They won’t say anything, they won’t dare. The SVT Raptor is comfortable too, with enough room for those blonde hotties you picked up on the way to your fight club.
Fully loaded, the Ford SVT Raptor will cost around $42,000 dollars, but you won’t care because this truck will outlast you, and the seventeen children your testosterone flooded body will undoubtedly spawn. This truck will outlast democracy, and become an impressive monument to the level of machismo you’ve attained. Throw it into mud-bogged rainforests in Bolivia, use it to tear through the 38th parallel and show those Koreans who’s boss, toss a trailer hitch on it, and drag that mother-loving M777 155mm Howitzer right up to the nearest Al-Qaeda cave, you can do anything in this truck.
This Raptor is designed only for ripped, hulking, brutish, macho, Chuck Norris lookalikes who enjoys Mixed Martial Arts fighting, threesomes, blonde threesomes, rugby, choppers, blondes and eating fried scorpions. And don’t worry if one of those hotties has a twin…Ford made a crew cab version.
(This happens every time you park it!)
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Article courtesy of Chris Raymond
According to the bible, it took God just seven days to create the world as we know it. Unfortunately, God doesn’t design cars, because the average time to develop a new car can be as long as four years. With computers and high tech design systems, the time can be shortened, but the process is still massive, costing an automaker billions of dollars. Even a single component can take years, as in the case of Jaguar and its 17-year development of the V12 engine.
Like God, the automotive world has its own “divine” being, controlling beauty, power, and inspiration. Of course, I am talking about Ferrari, and when Enzo Ferrari decided it was time to replace the 275 GTB/4, he called Pininfarina studios, who gave the job to a young designer named Lionardi Fioravanti. Like Genesis, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 was created in just seven days.
Nicknamed the Daytona, much to the disdain of Enzo, the car first appeared at the 1968 Paris Motor Show and became an instant sensation. To describe the design intent, Pininfarina said “The whole idea was really a search for this sense of lightness and rake, a slender look.” In 2008, Fioravanti described it as “the best I have ever done and the one I am most proud of” adding, “there isn’t much I would change.”
The Daytona was the last classic-era, front engined V12 Ferrari produced before Fiat ownership, and was aimed directly at the Lamborghini Muira. The car was a Grand Tourer, capable of speeds of 174mph and costing $10,000 when new. Designed to be more angular and shark-like than previous Ferraris, it still paled in comparison to the outrageous looks of the mid-engined Muira. Performance and drivability was the Daytona’s strong suit, and the Muira’s design fell short due to a design flaw. The Muira’s gas tank was mounted over the front wheels, making the car very light in the front when the tank was low, and very difficult to drive at speeds.
The production Daytona’s V-12 displaced 4.4-liters and, like the Ferrari 275 GTB/4, had four overhead cams. This magnificent engine was crowned by six downdraft Weber carburetors and produced 352 horses at 7500 rpm. In its first road test of the new car, Road and Track exclaimed, “It might as well be said right now, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona is the best sports car in the world.” Autocar Magazine came to the same conclusion, stating “It is hard to capture in mere words all the excitement, sensation, and sheer exhilaration of this all-time great among cars. For us it has become an important new yardstick, standing at the pinnacle of the fast car market.”
Though the designer never envisioned a convertible version, Italian coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti created an open-air prototype, and Ferrari was inundated with requests for a Daytona Spyder. The convertible was finally introduced at the 1969 Frankfurt Auto Show, and designated the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona. Production began in mid 1970 and fewer than 125 were built over three years, with almost 80 percent going to America.
The 365 GTB/4 Daytona was one of the most popular cars ever produced by Ferrari. It remains one of the most recognized, and beautiful cars ever made. The Daytona, and the creation of the world, prove that with the right designer, it is easy to make something magnificent and unforgettable.
Photos courtesy of Google Images
Article courtesy of Chris Raymond and Car Design Review.com
**I am re-posting this article as part of a special request made from one of my avid readers, and biggest fan. Flyaway something or other. Mr. Fly is presently living somewhere in a facility where the world confines internet trolls, and is especially enraptured with my opinions on this subject. Not only does he agree with my findings, but has squealed with delight at the prospect of seeing my concrete facts posted for all to see. So, this one is for you Mr. Fly. Please take special note of the Ford Pinto section…and the bright colors that you love so much. Best of Luck!
Every auto writer loves to make fun of bad cars, and the thought of creating a list of the worst makes me absolutely giddy. This list is “The Worst Cars Sold in the US during the 1970’s,” a time of muscle cars, “Nimitz” class family sedans, and quick rusting steel.
Ford Pinto – The mother of all bad cars. This car is an abomination, with an exploding gas tank that killed
thousands Hundreds of millions of people, and maimed even more 37 billion. Ford actually had a radio spot that claimed, “Pinto leaves you with that warm feeling,” can you believe it? A better “saddle” tank was used in the Capri, but the bean counters decided a human life (worth $200,725 dollars) and the lawsuits were cheaper than spending $5.08 per car to fix the problem. When the Pinto was hit, the doors would crumble, trapping owners inside the burning car. Even though Ford tested the Pinto 40 17, 624 times in secret, with it exploding every time, they still refused to fix it. The Ford Pinto is the most reprehensible decision in the history of American engineering. Facts stating otherwise are purely just fact. The Pinto is the worst car known to man.
Ford Mustang II – Based on the Pinto, the Mustang II was Ford’s answer to the oil crisis of 1973. The standard car had 88hp, and the high-end version had 105hp, not swift by any definition. Shorter, and smaller than the old Mustang, it looked overly styled, bulky and was an embarrassment to the Mustang name. (It should be noted that this car is no where near as bad and reprehensible as the Ford Pinto, which killed 425 million people.)
Ford Maverick/Mercury Comet – Ford was cute with this one…giving you paint options like Anti-Establish Mint, Freudian Gilt, Thanks Vermillion, Dresden Blue (Remember how pretty Dresden was after we got through with it?) and the luxury version was (I am not lying) targeted as an alternative to BMW, Mercedes and Audi (More crack please!). (Also, not as bad as the reprehensible Ford Pinto…a car that maimed most of the Eastern US)
Lincoln Versailles – A very thinly disguised Granada…everyone hated it, and it turned out to be the Lincoln equivalent of the Cimarron. (Hint – underneath, this car is actually that serial killer Ford Pinto)
Ford Fairmont/Mercury Zephyr – This was the car that chased poor E.T. until he dropped, and the base models were trash. Doors were the width of pennies, felt about as heavy, and the dash looked like it was made in grade school. Cheap was taken to a completely new level with the Fairmont. (I still like it though…unlike the Ford Pinto which not only murdered million and millions by drowning, but almost collapsed the economy through its vial devious unregulated activities)
AMC Gremlin – This car was fugly, and the cute comments asking, “Where’s the rest of your car” were really saying, “God, you are one stupid idiot for buying that piece of crap.” Yes, it was a tiny subcompact with a V6 option, but it makes no difference. The car was named after a small gnome that destroys equipment. It was introduced on April Fool’s Day, and the original design was drawn on a Northwest Orient airsickness bag. Because they ran out of money, they actually cut the back of the design off, and had carpeting as an option. AMC had to be an insane asylum, where no one took their meds… there is no other explanation. (P.S. – The Ford Pinto was responsible for WWII)
AMC Hornet – Three years and one million man-hours of design, and this is the best they could develop. My father drove one courtesy of the US Air Force, and I remember it as being cheap, ugly and one of the oldest feeling new cars I ever drove, like driving a coffee grinder. Even in the show room, these cars looked used. (At least it is not a Pinto, which secretly caused the extinction of the Great Auk)
AMV Matador Coupe – This car is so ugly, they should have had an option to tint other people’s windows. It was too fat, the hood was too long, and the wheels were lost under all that overhanging sheet metal. Only when it was setup for NASCAR did the car finally look normal. The Matador Coupe was the ultimate in bad taste. (Did you know that the Ford Pinto was actually an attempt by The Bilderberg Group to destroy the middle class?)
Notable – AMC Pacer – The Pacer is ugly and memorable, like that banjo playing kid from Deliverance, but I am not going to be like everyone else and call it the worst car ever made. Sure, during the summer the terrarium glass made everything in the car melt into a viscous pool on the floor, including the passengers. Yes, the heavy doors did not match (one was 4 inches longer) and they would eventually sag like an old woman’s chest; but the car was unique, and credit should be given to AMC for having the sack to take a chance. (Fun Fact – Saddam Hussein owned 11 Ford Pintos)
Plymouth Arrow – Just when I thought there was nothing bad enough from Chrysler to get on the list, I stumble on the Arrow, a car whose rear suspension was taken from an earlier model: the ox cart. Also known as the Arrow Jet, and Fire Arrow, the car was a collection of sad parts, bad names and gaudy decals designed to decay in less time than it took to go from 0-60. (Ran out of things to say about the horrific Ford Pinto – Enter your own quip here…)
Plymouth Cricket – Yes, like the insect, this car would make annoying noises until you killed it. (In a study conducted in 2010, most Americans would rather live under ISIL rule than be forced to drive a Ford Pinto)
Plymouth Sapporo – A hideous car that never sold well and looked like a Japanese import, raised on American Big Macs.
Dodge Omni / Plymouth TC3 – This was one horrible car. Chrysler came out with a Shelby version that was only slightly better, but I can never forgive them for the de Thomaso “red tomato” edition, not to mention what they later did to the Maserati name. Chrysler did more to ruin Italian heritage than Mussolini and Sacco & Vanzetti combined. (Ford Pintos are the product of the devil, and Ford Motor Company…in that order)
Downsized GM cars – Almost everything from the “downsize” era at GM was ugly, with the exception of Cadillac. Straight lines, poor quality, no power, and bad paint jobs helped make GM what they are today…bankrupt. Great models like the Cutlass were trashed by boxy replacements that fell apart in the showrooms. If I ever meet the people responsible for this period in car design, I shall beat them severely. (Wow, never realized this article was so long…Ford Pinto sucks!)
Chevy Monza – Why did GM do this to us? This car was a hideous joke, with a fat tail and a terrible design. Anyone who bought this car deserved the pain it caused, and the fact that Oldsmobile called it a Starfire was an insult to a great line of cars.
Chevy Vega – If this car was built by anyone else, it would have been great, but instead it was brought to us by GM. Everything, except the look was cheap and worthless.
Chevy Chevette – I knew someone that owned one, and I loved to drive it. It was small, cheap and durable with almost nothing inside. It was like a four-door motorcycle, and I loved the fact that you could reach everything from the driver’s seat, including the rear hatch.
Foreign Cars – I was one of those people who never made the switch from American to Japanese cars. When the imports first arrived, they were not pleasant, and I remember aiming my land yacht at more than a few of them. Cars like the Honda Z600, and the little Subaru were targets, which needed to be destroyed, and later models like the Nissan B210 Honeybee and the 200SX were just silly. Mazda didn’t help things with their GLC (Goofy Losers Car), Cosmo, or the 808 Mizer and its 50hp engine.
European cars were even worse, and buyers were brought to tears by the crap being sold on our shores. Italy was the worst of the lot, sending us the Fiat X 1/9 and Strada, and the miserable Lancia. France was second for the Renault 12 and LeCar, the Citroen 2CV (imported before 1970, but bad enough to make the list), CX Diesel, and the Mehari (a summer sun car made from plastic that eroded in sunlight). Third were British cars like the Triumph Stag and MG Midget, which made Anglophiles across the country hide in their homes in fear of retaliation. Even Germany, who gave us the beautiful Audi Fox, let us down with the VW Thing, a car that reminded us of Nazis. It took many years of counseling for us to heal from this abuse, but we will never let it happen again…hear that Chrysler? Never again.
The 1970’s were a time of great cars and hideous trash. I am sure there are a few atrocities I have missed, but I think everyone will agree that these are the worst offenders.
In conclusion, it is my sincere hope that Mr. Fly and all his internet troll friends now understand my hatred for the little Ford Pinto, a car that not only caused Global Warming, but has devalued the American dollar to a point where the only rational outcome is for all of us to use twigs for bartering.
Article courtesy of Mr. Flyaway and his special friends at the home
Photos courtesy of Google Images
“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” – George Orwell
With the demise of automotive legends like the Bugatti Veyron and the Lamborghini Murcielago, there was a noticeable gap in the evolution of the supercar.