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Hooniverse Asks- What Car Do You Hardly See Any More That You Wish You Did?

Robert Emslie December 7, 2012 Hooniverse Asks 158 Comments

I usually mark automotive epochs by the cars I see in significant volume in the junkyards. At one point there was a lot of British stuff there – MGBs, Marinas, Spitfires, Rovers and the like – and then they seemed to disappear. Next came the French – Le Cars, 504s, 605s, – with their funny fat seats, and tippy-toe suspension travel. Next came the Japanese, and then the Koreans, and finally a huge number of Range Rovers hit the lots – British once again, I guess closing some sort of junk yard circle of life.

Before they hit the yards, all those cars were at one point or another on the roads, or at the very least broken down on the sides of them. They arrived on dealers lots, people bought them and then drove them to places people go when they need a car to get there, and they were used up. Little by little they fell from fashion and even modest ubiquity on the road. Think of it, when was the last time you saw a Renault Alliance GTA on the street?

You may not miss that  Franco-American with paper mâché durability but I’ll bet there are other less common sights today that you do. What are some cars that you used to see all the time that you now miss?

Image: [TampaDailyPhoto]

  • I can proudly state that I have been to Rodriguez Auto Parts yard just outside Port Richey, Florida. But I really checked in to state that this olelongrooffan misses the Maserati BiTurbo. As a young Hoon, without realizing what a true nightmare owning one of these would be, I totally lusted after one. Now? Not so much but I would like to see one again in this lifetime.

    • danleym

      I love BiTurbos. I think they look great, but I'm with you- I don't think I'm masochistic enough to own one.

  • Dr.Nick


    Early Eclipse/Talons


    Dodge Daytona

    Mercedes 300E W124

    Late 80s early 90s Celicas

    Mazda MX-6/ Ford Probe

    Fox body Mustang

    Early Ford Taurus

    Chevy Caprice / Buick Roadmaster.

    BMW 3 series E30

    • erikgrad

      For whatever reason (probably because I was 7 years old or so at the time they were new), I liked these too:
      <img src="http://www.mclellansautomotive.com/photos/B34598.jpg"&gt;

      • Irishzombieman

        You liked it because it looked exactly like a car that a 7-year-old would design. Which is why I liked it, too.

        Shoot, I betcha the designer did it with nothing but a straight ruler and a circle template.

        • What's all this "liked" stuff? I STILL like it!

      • Devin

        Later models had a sweet theme song.

        [youtube tSbDa9REOjM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSbDa9REOjM youtube]

    • Devin

      There are at least two people in my town with nicely kept Rampages that I see on occasion. Plus someone has a VW Caddy out there. It's always a delight to see them running around.

    • Mikltaz

      Wish I could have fit in one. Head rubbed the roof. If I would have fit I would have bought it.

  • smalleyxb122

    There are a lot of cars that used to be so common a sight that are now so rare that I take notice. Not many of them do I miss, though. It is interesting, however, that I now find it noteworthy to see a Plymouth Reliant on the road. Part of what makes a vehicle sighting special is the infrequency with which it happens. 30 years ago, the only thing exciting about seeing a VW Type I was getting to punch your sister without repercussions. Now, it is genuinely fun to just see one on the road, being driven.

    So, I guess I don’t really miss seeing a lot of any particular car. I rather appreciate the attrition that makes the once ubiquitous now seem special.

  • Vavon

    Not one car in particular, but ALL the cars of the 70's! There were so many shapes and sizes in so many colours!

    <img src="http://chrisoncars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/U1827400-13.jpg&quot; width="700/">
    By the way Robert, I don't think you've ever seen a 605 in the States… You probably meant the 604!

  • I used to see these all the damn time. Now, not.

    <img src="http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/3594/imag0762.jpg"&gt;

    • That blue Explorer, that is.

      • dukeisduke

        That's a first-gen Expedition.

        • My bad, I see those all the damn time.


      This times many. I used to see 3 of them (the same three, but that's okay when it's an NSX) regularly, but they must have moved on to something else, because I now see exactly none of them. I haven't seen one in the wild in almost 2 years, and that makes me sad, all day long.

    • salguod

      When I lived in Detroit in the early 90's, I once saw an NXS in morning rush hour traffic in the midst of a full out snow storm. 6" on the ground and coming don like crazy.

      Now, in Motown where everyone has access to big discounts on a big three car, Japanese cars were uncommon to begin with. But an aluminum bodied near exotic in rush hour snow? 100 auto points to that guy.

      Now I see more Vehicrosses than NSXs on the road.

    • Irishzombieman

      Was looking through my wife's family pictures and found a bunch of her mom with a Capri. I asked about it the next time the family got together. It was her first brand new car. This is a lady who now buys a new Camry every two years and normally doesn't care about anything more than the color, but when I got her going on the Capri, a younger, gear-head version of her took control of her mouth. It was really cool. I sorta get the feeling that it was the only car she ever really loved.

      • Yeah, my in-laws' first two cars were Fiat 124s! Youth!

    • don fehlio

      Someone in my neighborhood owns an orange Capri. It's way smaller in person than I originally thought.

    • I was in the Army years ago with a guy who had a Capri at home. He loved that car.

    • Mr. Queeg

      Slow clap….Yeah, there used to be lots of those around here. My big brother's best friend had a 2nd gen V6, he was my hero for owning that car.

  • dukeisduke

    Vegas and Pintos.

    • JayP2112

      Any RWD, 4 cyl really.

      • danleym

        I dunno, I sure see lots of Miatas around…

        • JayP2112

          Well, one that I'd be seen in.

          • danleym

            Well played.

            • JayP2112

              If that Miata coupe made it over, I'd prolly have one.
              The FT-GT-86 is a contender.

              (SPOILER- Clarkson picked the FT86 as his car-o-the year)

      • Maymar

        Hey, Chevettes are still hanging on (barely) – I worked for a place that was running a fleet of them until about five years ago.

        AE86s and S13s too, thanks to the dorifto kids (and my roommate who won't part with his Paul Bernardo Gold 240SX)

  • Jay

    Renault Alliance GTA? On the street? About a year ago: http://www.flickr.com/photos/34474056@N07/6503019

  • Chris
    • dukeisduke

      My wife owned three or those (including a Super Beetle), years before I met her.

    • I see TONS of these on a daily basis.

    • ptschett

      Saw one of those the same time I saw the Eagle wagon, yesterday morning. Must have been Drive The Cars That Hoons Miss Seeing Day.

    • salguod

      I miss hearing their rattling-chains-whistle as much as seeing them.

  • Buick Regal G-Body coupes
    <img src="http://ned.ronet.ru/0/1981%20Buick%20Regal%20Coupe.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    My first car was a 1981 Buck Regal Sport Coupe Turbo Limited. There were probably a dozen or more GM G-bodies in my high school parking lot in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I still see a few Cutlasses and Monte Carlos, but I can't remember the last time I've seen a Regal coupe that wasn't a Grand National.

    • JayP2112

      The Regals are popular in Tx. Guess they take more time to rust out down here.

      The GN Documentary Black Air will be shipping next week.
      Ordered a copy for the kid for Christmas.

      • I'm in Georgia so I don't think rust is an issue. I still see one or two G-body cars a week, just no Regals or Grand Prixs either for that matter. I knew the Chevys and the Olds were more popular, I just didn't think they were that much more popular.

  • $kaycog
  • Minitrucks – LUVs, Couriers, D50s, B2000s, HiLuxes, Isuzus, Mitsubishi(t)s and Datsuns. I have a friend who has a diesel LUV longbed – super slow and fun to drive. Actually standard cab, standard (8 foot) bed full size pickups too. They're still out there but they're only really common in farm country.

    • This is exactly what I came here to say! The ones that are left are usually beat. My Plymouth Arrow will be back on the road before the New Year.

    • There are plenty of them (full size standard cab trucks) here in the desert, too. There's a guy with a Courier, as well.

      • My first car was a Courier. It sucked in so many ways and I totally miss it.

  • XRSevin

      I actually am lucky enough to see these regularly, they've made a big resurgence in popularity in my area recently. I even see a few Comets regularly!

      • JayP2112

        Now they're popular again, the price will jump out of my price range.
        I was thinking this would be a good 1st car.

    • Mikltaz

      I drove a 71 from south to north in California back in 74. It had the straight six, 3 on a tree, coupe, no air, no radio, bench seat, floaty suspension. I averaged over 20 mpg with it. I rather liked it and still have a fond spot in my heart for it.

  • Devin

    <img src="http://gomotors.net/pics/Toyota/toyota-celica-fastback-05.jpg"&gt;

    I've always liked the early Celicas, but I never see them on the road.

    • danleym

      I love these, but I don't think I've ever even seen one in person.

    • I'm interviewing a guy for Hooniverse who has that exact same car in the same color.


      I have been looking for an RA Celica for years. They had bad rust issues though, so you only ever see them in arid states like Arizona or New Mexico, so here at the lower end of the rust belt I NEVER see them 🙁

  • <img src="http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/volkswagen/211245.jpg&quot; width=450>

    There was a time when nigh on 50% of "kit cars" were GP Buggy derivations of one kind or another. Now everyone wants some kind of replica this or "homage" to that, which is all well and good but doesn't afford one an opportunity to flaunt ones pale, blotchy skin or knotted-hankerchief-on-head stereotype etc.

  • racer139

    Late seventies early eighties three box corollas. I want one but they are unobtainium here.

    • dukeisduke

      Back then, a friend's mom had a a new '80 Corolla SR-5 Liftback. I wanted that car so bad. I should have traded my POS '78 Audi Fox and bought one.

  • danleym

    Always makes me smile when I see one of these still being driven.

    <img src="http://amceaglenest.com/images/1982AMCEagleWagonSportpackage.jpg&quot; width=500>

    • rovingardener

      The 2 door is a personal favorite of mine. Could make for a wonderful all-purpose sleeper, especially in the snow.

      • danleym

        They did advertise it as being able to out corner a Porsche… in the dirt!

    • Alcology

      I have to fix mine in the worst way.

      • Funny, I'd expect you'd want to fix it in the best way.

    • BlackIce_GTS

      This is my latest 'plausible project car' fixation. The last one was a 505 turbo.
      I'd have to import both, because we have emissions control here and there's very few cars over 20 years old.

      • Alcology

        Where are you located?

        • BlackIce_GTS

          Lower Mainland, BC. (North of Seattle)
          Emissions aside, it's much easier to find a specific car in the US, just because you have way more of everything. My uncle went down to California when he wanted a used 911, because there were none in Canada configured the way he wanted.

          • Alcology

            Ahhh, there's a bunch up there according to the forum I'm on and eagles were made in canada for awhile. They're pretty scarce here too though in the northeast u.s. as rust has eaten most of them

    • marmer01

      Yes. This. Me too when I see one, which is very, very rare.

    • ptschett

      Saw one yesterday at Main Ave & 36th Street in Fargo.
      Also, one of my coworkers has the 2-door AWD Kamm-back version as his winter car. (This is the coworker whose summer car is a supercharged late-model Challenger R/T.)

      • danleym

        Those Kammbacks are ugly as all get out, but cool just because there's barely any of them. IIRC, it was a 2 year only deal, and they only made 500 something of them the second year. I don't think the numbers were much higher the first. I've only ever seen one, and I've been to a bunch of AMC specific car shows- even at their 100 year anniversary in Kenosha in 02, where there were something like 200 AMCs present, there was only the one Kammback.

  • Irishzombieman

    Really old Corollas. These damned things were a dime a dozen 20 years ago. I saw one in a Walmart car park a while back and it blew my mind, not just because it was awesomely un-restored, but also because I could not remember the last time I'd seen one.

    I still can't believe the prices they go for now. These were hundred dollar cars when I was in high school.

    <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/09q4/311247/1972-toyota-corolla-1600-sedan-photo-311263-s-1280×782.jpg&quot; width=400>

    • There's an extremely cherry one for sale about six miles from my house.


    Fox-body Mustangs. They used to be thick as fleas in my area (I've had two of them over the years), but now I only see them maybe once a month.

    <img src="http://img17.imageshack.us/img17/4616/photobu.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • jeepjeff

      They are still pretty heavy on the ground here in Oakland.

      • micturatedupon

        there's a gentleman here in the west who gets hella hyphy in his here every few weeks. keeps things lively.

  • scroggzilla
    • You, sir, tug on my heartstrings with that one. Almost bought one in high school. The DEALER talked me out of it. "Son, you don't want this car."

      • Vairship

        And depending on where you were/what kind of person you were, he *may* have been right. They're very prone to rust, and really aren't all that fast (stock), but my god they're beautiful!

  • danleym

    Really, seeing just about anything older than 1990 that isn't entirely clapped out usually turns my head and makes me smile. I just like seeing older cars driven, whether it's a Yugo or a 65 Mustang.

  • <img src="http://www.productioncars.com/send_file.php/dodge_colt_e_silver_hatch_1984.jpg"&gt;

    I saw one a few weeks ago and nearly shat myself. It was a twin-stick, too!

    • Mr. Queeg

      These were really quite handsome, especially compared to their competition from Nissan.

      • Totally in agreement. Very nice from any angle.

        I miss skinny roof pillars.

    • micturatedupon

      Had a auto version that was a hand-me-down many years ago. It was a falling apart beater, but it never gave me any trouble, and was surprisingly roomy for it's small footprint. I feel like with continued model development, these could be credible GTI competitors today.

  • danleym

    Got to see a 1967 military Jeep pickup that's been converted into a fire truck yesterday.

    EDIT: no luck with the picture. But here's a link: http://www.efpd.org/?mdp=fireapp scroll toward the bottom

    They still use it as an active brush truck. There's another department around that has two of them in yellow, but I can't find any pictures.

    EDIT #2: Found another website hosting the same photo, hopefully it works.
    Well, no luck there either, but it's a cool website, and it's the third truck down. http://www.film.queensu.ca/cj3b/fire/FireTrucks2….

  • Scandinavian Flick

    Volvo 240 turbos. On the rare occasion that I even see a Volvo 240, it's usually an NA model, typically really beat up, almost never a 2 door, and never a 242 turbo. Sadly, I noticed a sharp decline after the fateful event known as Cash 4 Clunkers…

    <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7071/7318832974_d6ab7738f9_z.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • Alison

      I've seen three different 240s just this week around Royal Oak/Madison Heights, MI. A red 245 NA, black 245 Turbo (with a sweet LEGO Turbo badge on the hatch), and orange 244. I like the wagons myself.

    • BobWellington

      Something about the grey color and the tires/wheels that just make that car really cool.

      Also, eff Cash 4 Clunkers.

    • TurboBrick

      You can't give the damn things away, because any K-Jet car project starts with "toss engine, replace with B230FT". So that cuts out everyone who doesn't have a garage to put the thing in.

  • don fehlio

    I've got a brown 85 Cressida Wagon, and aside from mine, I have made one friend who also has one, met a few owners on forums or at shows, and seen one at the junkyard. It's been sitting dead in my parent's driveway for over a month because I can't find the throttle linkage for it anywhere. So, yeah. Where did all the Cressidas go.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      Those that haven't seen the typical 80s car circle of life seem to have gone to use as drift cars… On the plus side, if it's clean and stock, you can hang on to it for a while and watch the value rise along with the AE86 and 240SX.


      You know what would solve your throttle linkage problem…..7M-GTE swap. I love Cressidas too, but like Flick said the drift tax is starting to get high on them.

    • Mr. Queeg

      Bought a 'time-capsule' 1990 with 112K kilometers on it, beautiful driving car.

      • Mr. Queeg

        Forgot to add, I'm driving it today in -18C weathre and 40cm of snow on the ground. I guess it's a winter 'dorifto' car.

  • Preludacris

    <img src="http://images04.olx.com/ui/3/44/61/48444361_1.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Just kidding. I don't wish to see many more of these. But they did disappear suddenly and quickly.

    • dukeisduke

      Cash for Clunkers?

      • Devin

        Doubt it, because Canada never had C4C but we also had the sudden disappearance of first-gen Caravans. Probably a combination of depreciation and a need for expensive repairs.Or they were all stolen and crashed into trees, Caravans have been on the top of the most stolen cars list for a while.

      • Preludacris

        Transmission and engine problems, I'd guess. My parents' was running on 3 cyl with 1/2 compression when it when to the junkyard. They also looked very outdated very quickly after the rounded ones came out.

    • Officer Farva

      My father had an '84 Voyager with a stick on the floor. I miss that van.

    • ptschett

      I see one occasionally on my iPhone screen.
      <img src="http://www.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/16cd7cc3a310c4501c8c783bd505630528262d8d.jpeg&quot; width="500"/>

  • geistkoenig

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c5/Volkswagen_Golf_Mk1_GTI_MY_1983.jpg"&gt; First- and second-generation Golfs, especially GTIs. Saw a brown four-door Rabbit the other night while out for a walk and proceeded to bore Wonderful One silly with memories of Dad's diesel Rabbit (which was a white two-door, but still).

    • Yup. I'd really like to find a nice Mk. 1 GTI, convertible or Scirocco.

    • dukeisduke

      Especially the German made ones – the ones built in Pa.? Meh.

    • JayP2112

      Any of the old hot-hatch cars.
      Sprint turbo, GLH, 323 GTX, the turbo Mitsubishi thing, even the old Escort GTs were fun to thrash. There were loads of these little things. The 80's cars sucked but the little cars were a lot of fun.

    • FrankTheCat

      I miss the Sciroccos moreso.

  • I can't remember the last time I saw one of these powerboats on the road. I saw one being trailered off to be restored, a few years ago, but that's about it. We had a '69 when I was a kid. Loved that car.
    <img src="http://www.cartype.com/pics/3825/full/olds_toronado_jay-leno_sf1.jpg"&gt;

  • Maymar

    I'm getting ready to miss J-bodies. Granted, the 95 and newer ones are still cockroaching it up, but the older cars have just completely disappeared. It's perverse, but I'm not old enough to remember much interesting.

    • Maymar

      Actually, wait, that's not entirely true – DSMs aand Infiniti Q45s were common enough when I was learning to drive, but they're both pretty much non-existant. OG Saab 900s have gotten scarce too, even in my very Trollhatten-friendly neighbourhood.

    • Mr. Queeg

      I put 300,000km on a Sunbird LE V6. One of the most reilaible cars I've owned and that includes 2 Toyotas. Our local Pick-Your-Part had so many I called the place "Happy Sunbird Land."

      • Maymar

        I put about 60k kms on a '97 Cavalier (coupe, stick, 2.2), and it was a perfectly fine little car. A little beateriffic, but I didn't do much maintenance outside of oil changes. Natually, our wreckers are also filled with J-bodies, just on sheer numbers.

  • Goodwin

    I miss the old RWD Opels from the 80s and 70s. They had all rusted out by now, but apart from that they were solid and easy to repair. They were also good looking (well, in my opinion anyway).

  • e46christopher

    I had a couple of these when I was young, and still miss seeing the first gen Sciroccos.

    <img src="http://www.awecar.com/Make/Volkswagen/Scirocco_Generation_1/Scirocco_Generation_1.jpg"&gt;

  • <img src="http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/acura/vigor/1994/oem/1994_acura_vigor_sedan_ls_fq_oem_1_500.jpg"&gt;

    Lots of people like to rag on the Vigor, but I've always liked it. The styling is handsome, and the longitudinal straight-five/FWD kind of made it a Japanese Audi 5000.

    Edit: Speaking of Audis, what the hell happened to all the V8 Quattros? At least one source says a handful of the early 3.6L models came to this country with 5-speed manuals; how AWESOME would one of those be? (Until you had to fix something, of course.)

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Audi_V8Quattro.jpg&quot; width="500" />

    • Guest

      Or the even more rare SIX SPEED manual!

  • peter_ayers

    <ing src="http://www.cars-on-line.com/53900/92chev53912-1.jpg"&gt;
    These always had an… interesting exhaust note.

  • peter_ayers
    • BAMacPherson

      The 3.4s that sounded like a tincan fulled with nuts and bolts?

      • JayP2112

        Those W bodys with the 3.4 looked pretty awesome.

  • EnviouZ24

    The one that always amazes me is the profound lack of any First Gen 1986-1991 Taurus's on the road. According to Wikipedia (Were every fact is true) there were over 2 MILLION first gen Taurus's built! Where have they all gone!!

  • marmer01

    Camry wagons. I own one of probably about ten in the greater Houston metropolitan area.

    <img src="http://www.motorstown.com/images/toyota-camry-wagon-04.jpg&quot; width="600">

    And any pre-2000 Audis. The '96-00 A4 is what saved Audi in the US, they used to be everywhere. Now I only see one in my garage.

    • Vavon

      The only reason I still remember that Camry is because of those 2 wipers at the back…

    • Jay

      When most pre-2000 Audis are gone from the roads (2015-2017 timeframe by my calculations), their numbers will once again be overtaken by the remaining Volvo 240s and W123 Mercs.

    • Last I checked one of my high school buddies had one. Actually got to take a trip to Palm Springs in it with his sister and five of our college friends; nice car. Too bad Americans 99.9998% of Americans are content with the Venza and Highlander.

    • salguod

      Saw one of these at Sam's Club just before Thanksgiving. It was suitably disheveled for spending life in Ohio.

      These and the last Caprice / Roadmaster / Custom Cruiser wagons had the unique distinction of a look that seemed to get wider and wider all the way back to the truncated tail.

  • VW Things

    For the longest time every grunge band bassist had one, then all of a sudden they were ultra-rare and valuable.

  • Stephdumas
    • Maymar

      I have no idea why this would be downvoted – all G-Bodies have pretty much fallen off the map (I blame the rear frames), and had their merits.

  • Steve
  • Steve's cool friend

    Try again… on a mac it is a little different to post an image? Anyway, I miss Karmann Ghias something awful. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A

  • RahRahRecords

    Mopar A-bodies. Darts, Valiants, Dusters Demons. They used to be everywhere, even after they were just unappreciated old cars, I'd still see them pretty regularly, slant sixes chugging away. I guess the rust monster caught up to them eventually.

    • Stephdumas

      Now then you mention it, I could also mention the Mopar M-bodies Diplomat/LeBaron/Fifth Avenue/1982-89 Gran Fury/Canadian Caravelle., like the A-bodies, underappreciated old car and got the rust monster as well and lots of M-bodies got "tortured" in cars chases scenes like that one from the 1990 movie "Short Time".

      [youtube CE2i08S3YeY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE2i08S3YeY youtube]

  • TurboBrick

    Bathtub Caprice LTZ. You know, the ones with two tone paint and wire wheel covers. Those were sharp looking cars, but these days if you see one it'll be either donked or just plain trashed.

    • marmer01

      Yep, thought those were great back then, and still do now.

  • Mydadsamechanic

    <img src="http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/comment-image/15178.jpg"&gt;

    Toyota Corolla FX16

    We use to have a few of these when I worked for Avis back in the 80's. Not the fastest thing on the block, but a hoot to drive.

  • marmer01

    And Civic Wagons. The Honda Fit of their day. Lots of nice interior features (skylights, reclining rear seats, fold-flat front seats, indirect A/C vents) and very nice interior materials for an econobox price. <img src="http://www.mrmartinweb.com/images/stuff/honda.jpg"&gt;