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Red Riding Hood: Taking a 1982 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet for a spin

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Today, I did the sensible thing and handed over my 1986 Volkswagen Polo to the local school’s auto shop. They, in turn, will mount the cylinder head, time the belt, adjust the carb and generally pay attention to turning the white VW into something other than a paperweight. Make no mistake, I haven’t given up on it; I just want to pass the bottleneck so I can continue at another save point when it actually runs.

This meant I did a little parts run earlier today, and happened upon this 1982 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet for sale. It’s very similar to my Polo in a lot of respects, even if it’s a droptop. The dealer was more than happy to throw me the keys, so I took it for a little drive around the town.

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Monday Music Video: Luxury Elite – Strut (猫 シ Corp. Remix)

One of the cool things about vaporwave music videos is that they often recycle imagery from 1980s car commercials. A good example of this is the remixed version of Luxury Elite’s Strut, which inexplicably goes with a slowed down Mercury LN7 advertisement clip.

I wasn’t able to source the original ad from where the green, EXP-related FWD Mercury has been snatched, but suffice to say, there are ethereal matte painting landscapes, artificial fog and a trained lynx. Happy viewing!

Weekend Edition: On the Chrysler Neon

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It’s not only the Lumina and Cavalier I’ve had on my mind recently. Unlike the Cavalier, the Chrysler Neon was sold here officially, and as a result the low end of the Finnish used car market is plentiful, if not flooded with cheap Neons. They are worth nothing here, which means you can pick up a road-legal one for 500 euros. If you want a clean one, you can buy one for 500 euros. If you want to spend more money, you can buy one for 1500 euros. You get the picture: there are Neons available, no-one cares about them, and no-one really cares how much money they will make by selling their Neon and no longer having to worry about anything related to Neons.

This is exactly why I want to get in on the game.

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Weekend Edition: Risky Business – 1982 Porsche 928 for sale

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Sometimes you come upon a bad idea so obvious it’s visible from space. Last night, out on the town with the Peugeot, I did a double take not entirely dissimilar to the scene in Christine where Arnie first sees the decrepit Fury hulk. Parked across the street from a used car dealer, there was an early Porsche 928 in gunmetal brown, covered in evening mist. It looked completely alien sitting on its own, with a quickly written note on the window that yes, it is for sale, here’s the number.

The difference with anything usually left out for sale was that this Porsche seemed exceptionally clean. No clearcoat damage, no rips on the leather, nothing that would immediately point out a history of abuse or deferred maintenance. It wasn’t your usual Craigslist special, one that would best serve a LeMons prospect. How bad could it be?

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Weekend Edition: On 1997 Chevrolets

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For the past weeks, I’ve been scratching an itch that doesn’t go away until I get to experience something. For the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around why I would really like to drive a Chevrolet Cavalier or a Lumina for the coming winter, to get behind those somewhat horribly shaped steering wheels, feel the Scotchgard-treated velour seats, really get into the 1990s feeling of it all.

Is it because those swoopy, rounded things are rarer here than Peugeots in the States? Is it because I want an awesomely terrible cassette stereo with enormous buttons? Is it because I would be trying to make an ironic statement, turning a Lumina into something cool?

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Weekend Edition: 1981 Opel Tech-1 Concept

Antti Kautonen September 5, 2015 Weekend Edition

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The 1981 Tech-1 concept, displayed at the IAA, dictated how Opel’s design direction would look like in the 1980s. It’s not difficult to see the 1986 Omega saloon in the Tech-1, and there are hints of other future models in it.

If the GT2 concept was aerodynamic, the Tech-1 was even more so: a drag coefficient of 0.235 was groundbreaking. Flush 1980s glass was present.

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Weekend Edition: 1975 Opel GT2 Concept

Antti Kautonen September 5, 2015 Weekend Edition

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Opel’s 1975 GT-2 concept was a very sleek affair. Displayed at the Frankfurt IAA auto show, the GT2 was designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, and it showed what the possible successor for the Opel GT could have looked like, had one been produced.

Based on the contemporary Manta and Ascona, and powered by the 1900cc four-cylinder unit from Opel’s portfolio, the 105-horsepower car could reach 200 kilometres per hour. Fuel consumption was mentioned to range from 7 to 7,5 litres per 100km, which is very good for the time period, post-oil crisis.

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Weekend Edition: 1982 Opel Corsa Spider Concept

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How would a weekend edition garnished with forgotten 1970s and 1980s Opel concept cars sound to you? I’m a sucker to all such things, concocted by taking elements of production cars and detailing them to look otherworldly and innovative.

One such thing was Opel’s Corsa Spider concept from the 1982 Geneva Auto Show. You couldn’t get closer to simple motoring in ’82 than getting a Corsa, but the Spider was a fresher edition.

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Visionary: 1994 Eagle Vision Aerie Concept in an alternative timeline

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Chrysler showcased this enhanced version of the then-fresh Eagle Vision at the 1994 Chicago Auto Show, amidst what seems like bubble wrap. The Eagle Vision Aerie Concept benefited from a pokier development of the 3.5-litre V6 under the hood: the regular, consumer-issue unit had 214 horsepower, but the one in the Aerie was said to produce as much as 274 horses. As well as the improved engine, the Aerie had fancy phone and fax capabilities with an automated emergency call system.

In any case, the Vision was short-lived in Eagle guise, even if the capable FWD platform ended up birthing the even-more-swoopy Chrysler 300M. The Vision nameplate died without siring a son, and there were no latter-day Talons to accompany Mitsubishi Eclipse sales. But looking at the concept’s front end treatment, there’s something unanswered deep inside that can only be brought to the light of day via PhotoShop.

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Hot Hatches You Should Know: Nissan Sunny 305/306 NISMO (B12)

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I’ve found the perfect combination for an absolutely unhindered workflow. This consists of brewing a very large cup of strong black coffee and browsing crystal clear promotional images of Japanese cars while listening to vaporwave music. You’re probably very familiar with the first two, and the third thing is basically slowed down corporate elevator music with effects. It sounds like you’re trapped in a 1990s consumer electronics showroom and everything is plastic and great. This suits the smooth, pastel coloured backdrops of Japanese cars like nothing else.

The result of all this, uh, painstaking research is that I keep uncovering some definitely interesting 1980s cars, featuring combinations of noses and tails and dashboards and seats I have not been aware of. Sure, most everything sporty back then was uniform in colour and had a 16-valve engine, but the trim options are endless. And for obvious, 0-in-the-middle-forbidding Peugeot reasons, the Nissan Sunny 305 and 306 Nismo never made it to European or American shores. Here they are.

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