Affordable Classics

Middle Manager

If you want to out-Miata the Miata, there’s really only one option. You’ve got to pull out all the stops for mass reduction and centralization. You’ve got to go lighter and more focused. You’ve got to make a mid-engine sports car. So, some 23 years ago, that’s what Toyota did. […]

VTEC Just Kicked In

Think back to 1999. Four-cylinder sport compacts had overrun SEMA. Car magazines serving this market were 400 pages thick, with new ones being launched left and right. Every other Japanese econobox on the road was lowered and bedazzled with larger wheels and an aftermarket exhaust. No carmaker better understood this […]

Driving Outside the Box

Though it may be hard to believe, Porsche’s first-generation 986-series Boxster is now 25 years old. While the Boxster was considered by many to be the Porsche you bought if you couldn’t afford a 911, in truth it was among the sharpest, purest sports cars the brand has ever built. […]

One Impressive Impreza

Mention Subaru to most people and they’ll think of an Outback station wagon-cum-crossover. Tighten it up to Subaru sports cars and they will usually think of the WRX and WRX STI hot rods, or the strangely sci-fi SVX of the 1990s. But there was a brief period at the turn […]

Peak Fahrvergnügen

One constant at Volkswagen has been the desire to move upmarket. The manufacturer whose name literally means “The People’s Car” has always set its sights on grander horizons. The Corrado is just one in a string of cars with driving performance that was overshadowed by its lack of showroom performance. […]

A Rising Sun Also Sets

Mazda’s FD3S third-generation RX-7 is hot in so many ways. First, it’s in demand. You can count on one hand the number of these cars that have sold for less than $30k on Bring a Trailer since 2020 — with the best reaching  $80k. So, as affordable classics go, the […]

The Sweet Spot

BMW is well known for building performance cars, but it was the E30-generation 3 Series of the 1980s that really put the German automaker on the map for affordable performance. When the succeeding E36-generation 3 Series was unveiled, BMW fans expected something spectacular. What they got was not the lightweight, […]

Hot Hatch Fever

It takes some guts to walk away from everything that made your car company great, but that’s what Volkswagen did in the early 1970s. The 1974 Rabbit (or Golf, depending on your continent) was the replacement for the antiquated air-cooled Beetle. The all-new A1 platform was a complete departure for […]

Depreciation, Italian Style

When Maserati returned to America in 2002, the company ended an 11-year absence from our market. A lot happened in those years, most notably an ownership transfer from Fiat to Ferrari. That change has been crucial to Maserati ever since. For one thing, it gave Maserati a ready-made dealership and […]