Off the top of your head, what were some of the top supercars of the 1990s? The ones that come to my mind are: Jaguar XJ220, Lamborghini Diablo, Dodge Viper, and the McLaren F1. While all of them were iconic in their own right, only one of them has fallen into the sub-$40,000 range today: the Dodge Viper.
This depreciation has made the Viper’s V10 engine an attractive option for people looking to do an unusual engine swap. People like the owner of this 1959 Belvedere, for example.
The Ford Thunderbird will go down in history as the car that created an entire market segment: the personal luxury coupe. Since that time, many other auto makers have produced their own version of the Thunderbird. Over time, the segment came to be defined by a few characteristics: an emphasis on luxury and the latest technology, powerful engines with comfortable suspensions, and of course, a 2-door, 4-passenger seating arrangement.
Although the American economy went through a recession in the early 1980s, things turned around and the demand for personal luxury coupes was on the rise by the later end of the decade. General Motors had the Buick Riviera, Ford had the Lincoln Mark VII, and Chrysler had resurrected the Imperial name for their 1981-1983 coupe. The United States wouldn’t see the Lexus SC400 until 1991, but this car was its Japanese predecessor: the Toyota Soarer Z20.
If there is one thing I have learned from watching Antiques Roadshow, it is that you should never try to clean any object that might be old and valuable. In doing so, you may destroy much of the item’s value. The same rule applies to antique guns, guitars, and more recently, automobiles.
Not too long ago, people restored old cars to a factory-new finish in order to make them valuable. Now, the emphasis is shifting towards leaving the car “as-is” and showing its age. People really dig the “patina” look but personally, I never really understood why.
Then I saw this ’77 Corolla, and I think I am starting to understand.
The 1973 OPEC oil crisis had a dramatic effect on the American automobile industry. An embargo with oil-exporting countries of the middle east caused a shortage of crude oil which is refined into gasoline. The shortage in turn caused gasoline prices to skyrocket and rationing to go into effect.
In response to customer demand and new Federal Emissions Standards, the “Big Three” automakers went to work building a new generation of cars that were smaller and more fuel efficient. Chevrolet introduced the Monza and Citation, while Ford debuted the Pinto and the Fiesta. Not to be outdone, Chrysler introduced their new compact, front-wheel drive model in 1978: the Dodge Omni (and its badge-engineered cousin, the Plymouth Horizon).
First published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is considered by the American Literary Association to be among the 100 best American novels published during the last century; it is also F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work. While the story line is a standard tale of unrequited love, it is Fitzgerald’s vivid, flowing descriptive imagery and rich character development that makes his work so timeless.
The novel’s setting of New York City during the “Roaring Twenties” calls to mind images of Art Deco skyscrapers and extreme opulence in fashion and design. This was also a high point for automotive design as Duesenberg, Bugatti, and Rolls-Royce offered ever more luxurious models.
This lavish elegance is what Gatsby Coachworks, Ltd. sought to recreate in the 1970s.
Based on the picture, you may be thinking “Oh boy, here comes another lame kit car!” But if you lump the Spartan II in with the Excalibur, Gazelle, Tiffany, Zimmer, or any other neo-classic automobile, you would have made a serious mistake.
You see, reproductions of old-timey cars are often built around cheap mass-market vehicles such as a Ford Pinto or a Volkswagen. While this arrangement makes a neoclassic car practical to own, it also places them at the low end of the performance spectrum.
The Spartan II is different. While its rounded headlamps and swooping front fenders may harken back to the early days of motoring, it’s a completely different story under the hood. That’s because the Spartan II is actually based on the Nissan 300ZX, a compact sports car from Japan! With its front-engine, rear drive layout and 2+2 seating configuration, the Spartan II is a bit sportier than you might expect.
During the space race of the 1960s, Americans were captivated by the idea of space travel. It permeated every aspect of our culture, from songs and TV shows to magazine articles and an explosion of science fiction entertainment. Automotive manufacturers were quick to hop on the bandwagon, giving their latest models out-of-this-world names like Ford Galaxie, Mercury Meteor, and Oldsmobile StarFire.
After the moon landing in 1969 and the final Apollo mission in 1972, the country’s burning interest in the space program was reduced to a flicker. However in the 1980s, there was a resurgence of space-inspired names as a whole new generation of vehicles adopted galactic monikers. Here are a few examples:
If you have been to our website before, you would probably agree that a Toyota Camry is a pretty boring car. It’s not a bad car, it is just not terribly exciting. The reason it is boring is because the Camry was designed to meet the need of drivers all over the world.
It has to be good at city driving for commuters.
It has to be good at highway driving for families and road trips.
It has to be good at being a taxi, commercial vehicle, or suburban grocery hauler.
It has to work in freezing cold Michigan winters and brutal Phoenix summers.
It has to be safe and pass crash test standards.
It has to meet vehicle emissions standards.
It has to be aesthetically pleasing.
And it still has to be affordable!
The Camry is a car that’s designed for every type of driving environment. But what if automakers built cars specific to the region where they were to be used? What if car manufacturers built a vehicle for the Pacific Northwest, a different vehicle for the Midwest, and another car for the Deep South?
Well, that is exactly the idea behind Local Motors.