10 Great Cars Nobody Cares About
It is the year 2017. The crusade on the car as we know it is in full swing. As a result, our roads are filled with crimes against humanity such as the Toyota Prius. Furthermore, the United Kingdom decided to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 . Germany is also considering a similar plan . Many major cities, predominantly in Europe, are going car-free in places.
As a result, this makes the world a very dull place for those of us who love cars. The majority of the population cares less about acceleration or handling and more about gas mileage and stupidly overly complicated infotainment systems. Hence why more people drive about in Honda Civics and Toyota Priuses than cars that are somewhat interesting, such as the BMW 3 Series or a Saab of some sort. As a result, many exciting cars are overlooked by the majority of the population, even by us car enthusiasts. So, here is a list of 10 superb cars that time has forgotten.
10. Lexus SC300/Toyota Soarer
Known to some as the “Poor Man’s Supra,” the Lexus SC300 shares much of its platform with the MKIV Supra that Fast and Furious fans have come to love. The SC300 shares the same naturally aspirated 2JZ-GE as the base model Supra . While a 2JZ without a turbo is a bit like a hamburger without the beef, many car enthusiasts have converted it to turbo, or just swapped in a JDM 2JZ-GTE. Though it’s not the same car, it’s very similar, and it is arguably better looking than the Supra, though not nearly as exclusive or as popular.
9. Saab 9-3
While classic Saabs such as the 900 Turbo and the 99 Turbo are beginning to gain well-deserved popularity, many overlook the more modern 9-3. It was one of the first Saabs that was entirely developed under the watchful eye of General Motors, hence its lack of love in car enthusiast circles. During its first generation (when it was a rehashed 900), it sat on the GM2900 platform which was shared by many mundane cars such as the Vauxhall Cavalier, the Vauxhall Vectra, and the Saturn L-Series.
During its second generation, it was built on GM’s Epsilon platform, which is shared with the Chevrolet Malibu and the Vauxhall Insignia. It also shares fettled versions of GM’s Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and their “High Feature” 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6 with your choice of front-wheel drive or all wheel drive, depending on the trim level. Yes, it isn’t as fast to 60 mph as a Mercedes C350 or a BMW 335i, nor is it as comfortable or as well equipped, hence its lack of popularity. But it is a fantastic car that is worth giving a chance. They are no longer made, as Saab is now being repurposed for the manufacturing of electric vehicles (ugh), so snatch one up soon.
Read our full review on the Saab 9-3.
The Volkswagen Phaeton has had a mixed reputation. At its launch, the Phaeton was applauded for its supreme luxury and ride quality. It shared its platform with the Bentley Continental, though it retailed for almost half the Continental’s price in W12 guise . It shared many of the same features as the Continental, such as its air suspension system and a similar infotainment layout, albeit in a four-door package. The Bentley Continental Flying Spur wasn’t released until 2006.
The Phaeton’s lack of popularity is largely due to its badge. Nobody wants to buy a pricey full-size luxury sedan that bears the same badge as a Golf or a Beetle. If it had been sold as the Audi A8 it would have been massively more popular. Despite its lack of popularity, it stayed in production from 2002 to 2016 with few changes . The Phaeton was doomed from the start simply because of its badge. It is shame because it is an engineering marvel.
Read our full review on theVolkswagen Phaeton.
The second generation of the brilliant Mazda MX-5 (Miata) is little discussed. Enthusiasts flock to the pop-up headlight-equipped first generation MX-5, the NA. Middle-aged men and retirees flock to the more recent third generation NC MX-5 and the current generation ND MX-5.
While it was obviously less beautiful than the NA MX-5 due to its lack of pop-up headlamps, it is more aerodynamic as a result. It was more powerful. It had variable valve timing, and a six-speed manual available. It was all around a better car than the first generation model. No, the NB MX-5 isn’t nearly as iconic as its predecessor, but its improvements over the NA cannot be ignored or forgotten.
Read our full review on the Mazda MX-5 (Miata) NB.
The Ferrari California is one of the few horses in the Ferrari stable that is overlooked by most Ferrari snobs. It is one a handful of front-engined Ferraris in recent memory, and it has a 2+2 seating layout and is only available with a hardtop convertible roof. It originally had Ferrari’s F136-I 4.3-liter V-8 engine and it is very similar to the 458’s mill. From 2014 when the California became the California T, it received a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 , which is very much the same as the engine in the 488 GTB, though with less power and slightly lower displacement . Both variants are excellent recipes for a superb grand-tourer, in theory.
So why don’t you hear much about the California? The same reason that you don’t hear too much about the FF or GTC4 Lusso. It isn’t the mid-engined, rear drive monster that the 458 was or that the 488 is. It doesn’t have insane power figures like the F12 Berlinetta or the 812 Superfast. The California never has or will get the respect and attention that it deserves, a terrible shame for a remarkable car. Hopefully its replacement, the Portofino, will.
Read our full review on the Ferrari California T.
Without a doubt, the Jaguar F-Type is an excellent car. That being said, only the V-8-powered F-Type R and SVR get a lot of attention in the media. Though that isn’t without good reason, this causes the brilliant F-Type V-6 to be overlooked. The V-6 F-Type produces 380 horsepower from its supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine, a very healthy figure. This motor is arguably the best sounding V-6 of recent years, if not of all time. Thanks to its lack of popularity, early model V-6 F-Types with the eight-speed auto can be had for less than $40,000 in some cases, making it notably more affordable for the discerning middle-aged gentleman.
Read our full review on the Jaguar F-Type V6S.
The Nissan Skyline series is well known around the world. The R34 Skyline GT-R, of 2 Fast 2 Furious fame, is the most well known and most iconic Skyline, bar the original “Hakosuka” Skyline GT-R. The R32 is very popular in the United States, as it is the only Skyline that can be legally imported without safety or emission modifications due to our stupid 25-year old import law. Most GT-R fanboys stateside, and in fact worldwide, yearn for the R34, due to its aggressive styling and Fast and Furious infamy. As a result, the R33 is often overlooked.
And that begs the question, why? Its performance is not significantly worse than that of the R34 GTR, but it can be purchased for considerably less wherever the car is legal. In my opinion, it is the best looking of all of the Skylines, besides the first and second generation models. It offers a great medium between the R32’s subtle, nonchalant styling and the R34’s mad, aggressive styling. The R33 is a superb car, it’s just a shame that your local JDM fanboy let it be forgotten.
Read our full review on the Nissan Skyline R33.
3. AC Ace
While the AC/Shelby Cobra lives on in infamy in the form of badly made, garage built, fiberglass replicas, everybody seems to forget the car that it was based on, the AC Ace. While the Cobra was fitted with Ford’s 289 cubic-inch and 427 cubic-inch V-8 engines  , the Ace had a range of humble, small displacement inline-sixes. They had a bespoke 2.0-liter straight six, a 2.0-liter straight-six from Bristol, and a 2.6-liter unit from Ford . None of these engines are especially powerful or sport-oriented, but all of them, particularly the Ford Zephyr-sourced unit, packed a decent punch. It brought the Ace from zero to sixty in 8.1 seconds, a respectable figure for its day, and onto a top speed of 130 mph. While the Ace isn’t nearly as fast or as remembered as the Cobra, at least your neighbor won’t have a shed-built replica.
2. Merkur XR4TI
America’s variant of the Ford Sierra XR4i, the Merkur XR4Ti is one of America’s less-known hot hatchbacks. It is quite a unique car, with the Ford Lima 2.3-liter, turbocharged inline-four and rear-wheel drive, which is odd, though very cool, for a hatchback. It produced 175 horsepower in the manual-transmission equipped variant, a very respectable figure for this day. The XR4Ti hit 60 mph in the seven-second range, and onto a top speed of 130 mph. It sold in decent numbers and is only beginning to create a cult following. They are hard to find now, but one in good condition can be yours for under $8,000.
1. Chevrolet SS
A front-engined, rear-wheel drive, Corvette-powered family sedan sounds excellent on paper. Sharing the same 6.2 -iter LS3 V-8 as the C6 Corvette and fifth-generation Camaro SS, the Chevrolet SS produces 415 horsepower and 415 foot-pounds of torque. It hit 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 165 mph . It sold for just under $45,000, putting it in the same court as the BMW M3, which boasts 424 horsepower and achieved 60 mph in just four seconds, but it cost nearly $20,000 more, with an MSRP of $64,995. Though the SS was a good car, its demise can be mainly attributed to its bland styling and lack of advertisement. While its Zeta-platform cousin, the Camaro, sports a mean, aggressive styling, the SS looks rather pedestrian. Even the Pontiac G8 GT, the SS’ predecessor, looked far more menacing. Most non-car people and many of us car enthusiasts would just assume it was a Malibu or an Impala. That being said, this makes the SS an excellent sleeper and a great bargain on the used car market.
Read our full review on the Chevrolet SS.
It is very sad that our roads are awash with boring, mundane cars such as base Civics and Priuses, and superb cars such as these are forgotten. As time progresses, cars will get much more boring and mundane for the sake of the environment and fuel economy. Governments are beginning to crusade against the cars that we have come to love. Enthusiast-oriented brands such as Maserati are planning to go electric. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said that Ferrari would not build an SUV, and yet there are now talks of his happening. CVTs are now ruining any decent car that comes in its way. It is a terrible shame, but at least we have the cars of yesterday to fall back on.
What car(s) should I have mentioned? Be sure to drop a comment below!
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2. Angela Merkel: Germany could ban gas and diesel cars, CNN Money.
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