The history of the car industry was greatly affected by the changes in the rules between the mid-’70s to ’90s, especially in the US. Upon the appliance of strict emissions regulations in the US, automakers caught off guard had no choice but to leave the powerful engines behind and focus on practicality without power.
The rules demanded cars to be lighter, smaller, and less harmful to the environment. This law put an end to the excitement of super-fast muscle cars and left automakers quite confused. They had to come up with new ideas to live up to the latest standards and maintain their sales volume. Ironically, this also marked the beginning of a more fabulous era for the car industry.
Regarding the circumstances, some Classic Cars were doomed to be forgotten. However, some of these forgotten classic cars were, in fact, good vehicles and gave excellent service at the time. Though overlooked by most people, the following 10 classic cars are popular among some enthusiasts. Scroll down to know about them.
10 Volvo 740 Turbo
Following the success of turbo engines, Volvo set about turbocharged their series in 1981. But its best series was yet to be introduced in 1983. Volvo’s 700 series featured two iconic models, the 740 and the 760. The 740 came with a derivation of Volvo’s initially employed turbocharging system but now producing over 160 hp.
The 740 was born as a more affordable version of the 760; however, over the years, its variants were equipped with fetching options including power driver’s seat, seat warmers, transmission enhancements, and many more. Although the line’s production came to an end in 1992, well-cared-for 740s are believed to give an excellent safety performance.
9 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI
As lovely and fast as a rabbit, Volkswagen Rabbit GTI was first available on the American market in 1983. When then-new regulations had left Americans mostly with unexciting slow cars, Volkswagen gave them a fun yet practical vehicle to enjoy. It came in two-door and four-door hatchback models.
Thanks to its lightness, weighing around 1800 pounds, the 110 hp Rabbit could sprint 60 mph in merely 9 seconds to reach a maximum speed of 113 mph. The output, however, was later restricted to 90 hp to meet the emissions regulations. The Rabbit GTI, with its simple sporty look, got to be a big hit with Americans.
8 Saab 900 Turbo
Saab 900 Turbo marks the popularity of turbo engines, being the first mass-marketed series to carry a Turbo engine. The early versions came with a 143-hp 4-cylinder engine; however, in its 12-year run, the engine power was improved, leading to the introduction of the 175-hp SPG in 1991.
As for all Saab productions, the 900 Turbo was a car one could trust their safety. Furthermore, every part of the interior, from switches to seats, was intended to bring about a comfortable ride. Although the Turbo lag and some transmission problems hampered a perfect performance, the 900 Turbo did offer a reasonably good drive.
7 1994-’96 Chevrolet Impala SS
The two-door muscle car era was of great joy to young consumers and car enthusiasts. But what had been entirely forgotten was the needs of families. Chevy’s clever production was a formerly failed car brought to the modern market. With the combination of big size and power, the new sedan became popular with families, transportation companies, and even police!
The family-size Chevy was as fast as a Ford sports car, hitting 62 mph in merely 7.5 seconds, which was a big deal at the time.
6 Mitsubishi Starion
The Starion was born to rival the market leaders at the time, from Toyota Supra to Porsche 924. While being somewhat influenced by Porsche 924, it featured a unique style of its own that would form an identity.
In terms of technology, the Starion had new options to offer. It came with an advanced 2-liter 4G63 engine with a turbocharger and was also one of the first cars to employ ABS. It was rear-wheel drive and powered up to 175 hp. With a top speed of 133 mph and a 0-62 mph sprint in 7.5 seconds, it successfully beat its rivals.
5 Lotus Elan M100
Meant to replace the original British Elan, the first American Lotus production was a front-wheel-drive to deliver faster performance, as GM mentioned. The Elan M100 came with a regular as well as a turbocharged engine producing 130 hp and 165 hp accordingly. The turbocharged versions hit 62 mph in 6.6 seconds and could speed up to 137 mph.
In terms of exterior design and dimensions, it looked not only tasty but also provided perfect road-holding. However, it was not as successful as the original Elan. Altogether, the M100 Elan was not the best Lotus car, but maybe the best FWD sports car of its time.
4 Toyota Supra A60
The second-generation Toyota Supra came with the same hatchback-style as the first generation, but with some changes in the exterior design to make it look neater. It featured bigger wheels and a roof with sharp corners to give it the back-then trendy wedge-shape.
The A60 Supra was powered by an all-new 145-hp engine, leading to a 0-62 mph sprint in 8.8 seconds. From its initial release in 1982 to its last day of production in late 1985, the A60 was improved and maintained its success.
3 Maserati BiTurbo
Maserati was the first automaker to put two turbochargers under a road car hood, leading to the production of the rear-wheel-drive BiTurbo. It was launched following the production of the hugely successful Merak and came with the same 2-liter V6 engine used in the Merak.
The BiTurbo is said to have been Maserati’s try at connecting with middle-class consumers since it was offered at a lower price than other Maserati products. It looked not poor and was a reasonably fast car. However, with the Biturbo, Maserati could not provide the same quality it usually offered, and that let Maserati lovers down.
2 Merkur XR4Ti
Merkur Xr4Ti was the American version of Ford Sierra Xr4i. The Sierra’s great success in the European market, and the consequent desire of the Americans to get one, lead Ford to release a version just right for the American market.
To suit the US market, considering emissions regulations, it had to undergo some changes. A case in point was the V6 engine being replaced by two options derived from Mustangs, adding a T (standing for turbo) to Xr4i. The version with manual-transmission generating a power output of 175-hp was a reasonable-priced fast car with a 0-62 mph sprint made in 7.8 seconds. It, however, was not as successful as Ford expected it to be.
1 Subaru SVX
Unlike the usual budget-friendly Subarus on the American market, the SVX came as a highly-priced series. Following the weird-looking XT series, the SVX was introduced in 1991 and appeared just as weird. The car marked Subaru’s first try at 6-cylinder engines. With the new engine producing 230 horsepower, it was considered a fast car in the 90s.
All units were equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission, which did not prove to be as practical as expected. Despite the high cost and some transmission problems, the SVX remains the favorite old foreign car of many people in the United States.
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