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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]

Currently there are 158 comments on this article:

  1. longrooffan says:

    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.

  2. Dr.Nick says:


    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

  3. smalleyxb122 says:

    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.

  4. Vavon says:

    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!

  5. muthalovin says:

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

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

    • muthalovin says:

      That blue Explorer, that is.

    • CABEZAGRANDE says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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.

    • don fehlio says:

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

    • CptSevere says:

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

    • Mr. Queeg says:

      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.

  6. dukeisduke says:

    Vegas and Pintos.

  7. Jay says:

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

  8. P161911 says:

    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 says:

      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.

      • P161911 says:

        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.

  9. Alff says:

    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.

  10. Devin says:

    <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.

  11. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    <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.

  12. racer139 says:

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

    • dukeisduke says:

      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.

  13. danleym says:

    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 says:

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

    • Alcology says:

      I have to fix mine in the worst way.

    • BlackIce_GTS says:

      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 says:

        Where are you located?

        • BlackIce_GTS says:

          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 says:

            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 says:

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

    • ptschett says:

      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 says:

        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.

  14. Irishzombieman says:

    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>

  15. CABEZAGRANDE says:

    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">

    • Tanshanomi says:

      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 says:

        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!

  16. danleym says:

    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.

  17. engineerd says:

    <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 says:

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

    • micturatedupon says:

      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.

  18. danleym says:

    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….

  19. Scandinavian Flick says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

      Also, eff Cash 4 Clunkers.

    • TurboBrick says:

      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.

  20. don fehlio says:

    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 says:

      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.

    • CABEZAGRANDE says:

      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 says:

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

      • Mr. Queeg says:

        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.

  21. Preludacris says:

    <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.

  22. geistkoenig says:

    <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).

  23. CptSevere says:

    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;

  24. Maymar says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

        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.

  25. Goodwin says:

    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).

  26. e46christopher says:

    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;

  27. Tomsk says:

    <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" />

  28. peter_ayers says:

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

  29. EnviouZ24 says:

    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!!

  30. marmer01 says:

    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 says:

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

    • Jay says:

      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.

    • Tomsk says:

      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 says:

      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.

  31. Mad_Science says:

    VW Things

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

    • Maymar says:

      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.

  32. Steve's cool friend says:

    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

  33. RahRahRecords says:

    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 says:

      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]

  34. TurboBrick says:

    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.

  35. Mydadsamechanic says:

    <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.

  36. marmer01 says:

    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;

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