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Guilty pleasures about cars: the cars we’re almost ashamed of we like

If our love of cars is purely rational and subjective, then the whole CarExpert the group will probably drive the Toyota RAV4 hybrid.

As auto journalists, we recognize the brilliance of certain cars and sometimes we buy these amazing cars ourselves, from the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk7.5 to Ferrari 458 Speciale.

But as car enthusiasts, we have our own preferences that can lead to eccentricity.

You only have to look at a typical car show to see how diverse the wider community of car enthusiasts can be. For every 20 first-generation Skyline GT-Rs or Mustangs, there’s one with a pristine Datsun 120Y parked in the corner.

Car shows like the Concours d’Lemons have been established to celebrate enthusiasts’ love for vehicles not normally considered worthy of celebration.

In that spirit, here are some vehicles that we really love, even if they’re a bit embarrassing to admit.

Scott Collie

The BMW Z3.

BMW has a long history of vehicles loved by the media and auto enthusiasts, but the Z3 convertible is not one of them.

The Z4’s soft-top predecessor didn’t attract many fans during its six-year lifespan, but it made a big impression on a young Scott Collie. I loved the Z3 when I was 5 years old and there’s still a part of me that wants one in 2022.

With its long bonnet, classic air vents behind the front arches and short rear deck, it still looks cool in late 1990s style.

I’m a fan of cars with a trunk lid, and there are still a few Z3s with chrome mounts that make me smile.

The fact that you can have it with a naturally aspirated 6-speed manual and a manual transmission is a bonus. Does anyone need a haircut?

Mike Costello

Volvo 240

As a largely shameless person, I bought and sold my guilty pleasure.

Okay, it might have some great vintage elements these days, but when I do, it gives people license to mock.

My 240 gold 91 sedan has done 400,000 km on the odo, with the automatic T-bar and ribbed headrests. Works.

Aside from the tendency to run the wrong fuel/air mixture due to the sensors being constantly acting carelessly, that’s not to blame at all.

I would say I regret messing with it, but I believe the young man I sold it to V8 exchanged it, so honestly the world is a better place for that to happen. .

Anthony Crawford

BMW Isetta (1955-62)

I’ve always harbored a fascination for the BMW Isetta (Bubble Car), in large part due to the way you step into it: the entire front end including the dashboard and steering wheel is hinged outwards.

In the event of an accident, the idea is for the driver and passenger to climb out through the canvas sunroof.

While the front bench is said to provide reasonable comfort for up to three people, including a child, behind that is a cargo rack under which there is a spare wheel.

BMW wasn’t the original innovator, as that claim belongs to the Italian company Iso SpA, who started making refrigerators, scooters and small tricycles before making a big splash with the Iso Isetta. .

When BMW completely redesigned the car in 1955 with a 247cc single-cylinder, four-stroke motorcycle engine producing 9kW, it became the first car to achieve a fuel consumption of 3.0L/100km ( 94mpg).

Interestingly, there are no interchangeable parts between the Italian version and the BMW Isetta.

Alborz Fallah

Range Rover Evoque Convertible

A long time ago, on a remote island (Sunshine Coast), I went to the launch of my Range Rover Evoque… convertible. It was the day before Trump was elected president and there was a sense of uncertainty in the air, but mostly about the grotesque car we were about to drive.

Can you imagine, an industry dominated by ‘tough’ men standing around talking about how absurd a roofless SUV is and which hair salon should be first. order first.

Needless to say, it doesn’t exactly have rave reviews (although if you Google it you’ll find my original review of the Evoque convertible on another website named after a magazine). Golfing).

Say what you’ll say about the car, but, secretly, I’ve always admired the craziest Range Rover of all.

It’s not because I have a need for an off-road convertible, or because it looks like a tub on wheels, but because someone at Jaguar Land Rover must have drunk too much. much in one night and went “you know what…. Cut the roof to see if it’s for sale.

Well no, but I still like it because it’s so opaque… though I don’t quite love it as much as the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible or the Mitsubishi Colt Convertible (hidden under the table).

Derek Fung

Oh, the Fiat 500L.

Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, its styling brings great shame to the name 500. But context is everything. I drove one here in the United States, and it wasn’t fun: too small and too ugly.

In Italy for a family vacation, it is perfect. 4.15m long, it had plenty of room for two 40 year olds, one three year old, one 80 year old and all our luggage.

Its compact size and sensible handling make it perfect to hit the windy Tuscan roads without any passengers throwing away their bread or pasta.

And, as the saying goes, you can’t see an ugly car sitting inside it.

I was looking back at photos from my last pre-pandemic vacation the other night, and almost cried over that 500L. Ugly, yes, but (almost) perfect for that part of the world.

Paul Maric


I was humble with mine.

I grew up liking Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and have the same taste for the cars he has.

My guilty pleasure is the Humvee – a purpose-built military dual-cab. It was designed to operate on foreign battlefields and also as a place to gather groceries or apocalypse supplies.

I really liked it so much that I bought one and it’s on its way from the US. What did I plan for it? Absolutely no comments. Why do I want it? Absolutely no comments.

All I know is I want it. You never know when it will come in handy.

Quick Jack

For me, there is no other choice but Suzuki X-90.

I understand it makes absolutely no sense to have an extremely capable all-terrain vehicle wrapped in the body of a T-top convertible, but I love it so much.

Growing up, I always thought these things looked cool and I loved the idea of ​​being able to remove the targa lid for more airflow.

I haven’t actually had a chance to drive one, but I imagine it’s extremely similar to the Sierras and Vitaras from the 1990s.

The personal car I’m driving right now is a 2020 Suzuki Jimny with a five-speed manual, and my family still has a 1992 Suzuki Sierra softtop and a 1985 Holden Drover Prince on our farm.

Suzuki is definitely in my blood and the X-90 is 100% of my guilty pleasures.

William Stopford

Ford Taurus Ghia

Now you’ll know I love an underdog. I drive a Hyundai Genesis, and at various points I considered cars like the Infiniti Q70 and the Chrysler Crossfire and the Honda Legend and the ultimate Cadillac Seville. But I also like a good “loser car,” the kind of car that is largely unloved and has never gained any fanfare.

I seem to be particularly drawn to models that come after much more successful models and cannot repeat their success: Buick Riviera 1974, Dodge Charger 1975, Cadillac Seville 1986.

However, it may surprise you that someone who enjoys muscular, rear-wheel drive sedans like the Holden VE/VF Commodore and Cadillac CTS and STS would be enamored with a front-wheel drive family sedan. , as colorful as the Ford Taurus Ghia.

The first Ford Taurus in 1986 was a huge success, with aerodynamic, Audi-inspired styling that breathed new life into the mid-size sedan segment in North America. There is a pressure on 1996 Taurus to start the game again, and this is detailed in a fascinating book called Car by Mary Walton is well worth reading.

Ford rocked it, but although sales of the Taurus remained strong in the US, it lost out to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. And although Ford Australia has successfully lobbied for a new Falcon in the controversial AU – a design that’s arguably better old – headquarters has decided to sell the Taurus here as a quasi-premium competitor. Nissan Maxima. However, the interestingly styled wagon and Yamaha’s V8-powered SHO (yes, really) didn’t make it here.

In high school, I was adamant that this would be my first car, until I realized I wanted a manual rear-wheel drive sedan and ended up with a BA Falcon. The XR6 is much more desirable.

I still occasionally rummage through the classifieds for a Taurus, but if that helps restore my passion tag, there are two other 1990s sedans that I regularly search the classifieds for. : Mazda 929 1991-96 and Infiniti Q45.

James Wong

Abarth 595

Quite possibly the weirdest car on sale today, Abarth 595 attach a powerful 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine to Fiat’s old Cinquecento micro-door for a big fun factor.

It’s quintessentially Italian in that it’s acoustically and visually loud and has ergonomics that make you scream “Mamma Mia,” while it costs much more than the car itself.

But what the 595 lacks in size, it makes up for in character, soul and passion. Get a Competizione with a four-headed Monza exhaust and slick aluminum manual shift lever and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.

Vorrei un’ Abarth 595 Competizione in Verde Adrenalina, by preference…

THAN: What CarExpert group will buy for the price of a new Toyota RAV4 hybrid

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