Porsche 964 Carrera 4 – 1989


The philosophy of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ underscores the history of the Porsche 911. For more than twenty five years, Porsche colluded with 911 buffs by labeling every improvement arid styling tweak as an `edition’ or ‘version’ of the globally-beloved original. The Porsche 964 Carrera 4 changed that perception. The Owner’s Manual … [Read more…]

Sinclair C5 – 1985


The mistake was to call it a car in the first place. The Sinclair C5 was a genuine attempt to create an environmentally-friendly, personal urban transport. It was a revolutionary idea, planned as the first in a series of experiments which would see an electrically-powered vehicle grow from a tiny three-wheeler for one, into a … [Read more…]

Toyota MR2 – 1984


The legendary influence of Lotus, especially strong throughout the 1970s, spread to some unlikely places. Toyota produced cars a world apart from Lotus’ philosophy of sports car design. Only their research team had the freedom to explore the possibility of a practical, above all economical, car that was also fun to drive. Toyota’s MR2 began … [Read more…]

DeLorean DMC-12 – 1981


The story behind the DMC-12 is a scandalous tale of over-reaching ambition and ultimate ruination. Its production was surrounded by a murky aura of shady deals and sleaze, which involved Lotus Cars and the British government and ended in the arrest and trial of ex-Pontiac engineer, John Z DeLorean on charges of cocaine smuggling. In … [Read more…]

Chevrolet Corvette C4 – 1984


With good reason, Chevrolet took no chances. Not since 1968 had there been a complete rethink of the iconic Corvette. Designed and made in 1982, a new car was ready to roll off the production line by March 1983, but Chevrolet preferred to test the 50-odd prototypes to the limit before permitting sales of the … [Read more…]

Cadillac Allante – 1987


It was to be the finest ultra-luxury coupe the world had ever seen. Cadillac’s first two-seat roadster since 1941 would combine ‘European elan’ with ‘American muscle’, and ‘grandpa’ General Motors would accept no compromise to its offspring’s tour de force. Witnesses to the Cadillac Allante’s unveiling in 1986 acclaimed its sleek, dramatic lines, and basked … [Read more…]

BMW Z1 – 1988


The glaring eccentricities of the BMW Z1 are a wonderful testament to the confidence of the company. For the Z1 was conceived with no rationale other than to test new ideas which might later prove to be valuable. A two-seater compact roadster at first seems to limit opportunities for research, but the Z1 merely miniaturized … [Read more…]

Aston Martin V8 Zagato – 1986


The lightning of inspiration can indeed strike twice. Twenty years after collaborating on one of motoring history’s most desirable cars, the DB4 GT Zagato, Aston Martin and Zagato hatched a new plot to raise the bar on their competitors’ supercars. The new car would obviously be about stunning looks and rarity — but in fact … [Read more…]

Alfa Romeo 164 – 1988


Fiat took over Alfa Romeo while the Alfa 164 was in development, so the car is considered the last independent model of that illustrious marque. In fact Fiat’s influence anticipated the 164’s genesis by years, because in 1978 Alfa Romeo had agreed to co-build the Type Four chassis with Fiat, who made it their Croma … [Read more…]

Volkswagen Scirocco Mark I – 1974


The Volkswagen Scirocco arrived with a dual purpose. It was intended to replace the Karmann Ghia as the affordable sports coupe in VW’s range, and to share a major company image makeover with the forthcoming VW Golf. The VW Beetle was thirty years old.