If you were a young man in the mid-1980s, you wanted a 4×4 Toyota SR5 pickup truck. By any name, these trucks embodied the virtues of the mid-1980s — they were stylish, a little bit boastful and a lot of fun.
It’s no coincidence that young Marty McFly dreamed of owning a tricked-out Toyota SR5 in “Back to the Future.” McFly represented the Everyman of the era.
Affordable and functional
Japanese automakers sold mini trucks in America since Datsun brought Read More
If there was one car that did the most to cement BMW’s reputation in North America, it was the 2002.
Actually, scratch that. There is one car that made BMW’s reputation, and it’s the pretty-much-legendary 2002. This still-affordable and very plentiful 2-door sport sedan transformed staid BMW into an affordable performance brand.
The 2002 family tree
The roots of the 2002 go back to the early 1960s, when BMW was struggling. For 1962, the company produced a compact 4-door sedan Read More
The Datsun B-210 was the right car at the right time. In mid-1973, the OPEC embargo had Americans lining up around the block for gas. The beastly muscle cars of the late 1960s were too thirsty, and the latest replacements from Detroit were strangled and listless.
As if on cue, Datsun kicked off the 1974 model year with an affordable small car that boasted up to 50 mpg. The B-210 was an instant hit. It seemed perfectly designed to compete Read More
The year was 1990, and the venue was Laguna Seca raceway. I was there to get some open track time in an MGB. My run group that day included a deep crimson Maserati Biturbo, and I spent several hours studying every detail of the taillights and rear end.
That happened because passing wasn’t allowed in the corners and the damn slug had just barely enough power to outpull a stock MG on the straights.
That experience sums up the essence Read More
Everyone has a Z-car story. If you didn’t own one yourself, you knew someone who did. Datsun (later Nissan) built an affordable 2-seat fastback sports car with respectable power and handling — and enthusiasts bought them in large numbers.
However, the evolution of the Z-car is a cautionary tale for automakers because Nissan was too quick to listen to focus groups of sedan buyers.
By 1974, the single-year 260Z came with a 2+2 version that destroyed the roofline. By the Read More
As a rule, it’s the overlooked cars that make the best Affordable Classics. That’s certainly the case with the Porsche 924. The more-developed 944 that came along later has completely overshadowed Porsche’s first water-cooled car.
It’s well past time to take another look and find the appeal and the value in one of the last affordable Porsches.
An inauspicious beginning
When the 924 arrived for the 1977 model year, it replaced the lackluster 914 2.0 and the 912E as Read More