Affordable Classics

That’s Mister Two to You

The Toyota MR2 rocked the sports-car world when it arrived in 1984. With a mid-engine, rear-drive design that stood on the shoulders of the Porsche 914 and Fiat X1/9, the lightweight Toyota offered nimble steering and adequate speed at a truly affordable price. American buyers stepped up, purchasing more than […]

Die Another Day

Aston Martin was under Ford Motor Company’s ownership from 1987 to 2007, an era in which even its most ardent fans would have to agree the brand was in the doldrums — or at least a bit lost. Yet Ford’s money in that era certainly saved one of Britain’s legendary […]

Summer of Solstice

In 2005, Pontiac brought forth what would be its last sporty car. The 2006 Solstice was an attractive — even rakish — convertible 2-seater with excellent balance and handling. The Pontiac’s introduction was followed up later in 2006 with a badge-engineered döppelganger called the Saturn Sky and Europeans got the […]

Tuning Out the Crowd

Back in the late 1990s, before the Fast became Furious, Honda Motor Co. found itself the fortunate beneficiary of a momentous shift in car culture. Almost overnight, Honda Civics and Acura Integras became icons among a group of enthusiasts known as much for their ill-fitting pants as for their slammed […]

A Messenger from Germany

“Why don’t we get the great cars that the Europeans get?” has been a constant complaint of American enthusiasts, regularly falling on deaf ears at the car companies. Well, except for one pair of ears — those belonging to the legendary Bob Lutz. Before he had GM importing Opels to […]

A Rose By Any Other Name

On the surface, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis) had a great idea for a new lightweight 2-seat sports car. The 2012 co-development agreement with Mazda that led to the 2017–20 Fiat 124 Spider was originally intended to produce a new Alfa Romeo model. However, its CEO, the late Sergio Marchionne, […]

Practical Performers

By the time Subaru rolled out the 2008 WRX and WRX STI in the U.S. the car had already enjoyed massive success. Debuting in 2000 as a 2002 model, it was arguably the first modern rally-bred car sold here in significant numbers. Turbocharging and all-wheel drive have a way of […]

The Last Affordable Manual BMW

If you’ve recently been looking for a cheap modern BMW with a manual transmission, you may have noticed that they are no longer so easy to find. Just a few years ago, if you had $5k–$10k to spend, you could have your pick of numerous models, 3 and 5 Series […]

Big Benz Bang for the Buck

There aren’t many high-end sports cars that become truly affordable, both in purchase price and in real cost of ownership. The 2002–08 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, however, is one such unicorn. Typical market prices are less than the cost of a new Toyota Camry, and you get a sweet supercharged V8 […]

Don’t Call it “Cute”

The new Mini entered the market in the 2002, now under BMW ownership, and was immediately successful. This was an era of retro-fabulous versions of European classics. Volkswagen’s New Beetle had turned up a few years prior, and Fiat gave its venerable 500 the same treatment just a few years […]