How many small, sporty rear-wheel drive coupes are there out there? I know, right, you can count them on your fingers even if you’ve lost a couple in an unfortunate iceskating accident. That’s why I can’t figure out why the Toyota/Subaru 86 twins aren’t more popular. They’re each pretty decent cars for the money, and, with the exception of ultimate horsepower, push pretty much all the right buttons. And yet, no one is beating down dealer doors to get either.
Revelatory cars typically do become wildly popular. When Datsun introduced the 240Z in late 1969 its combination of excellent performance, drop-dead good looks, and reasonable price not only caught the attention of competing sports car builders, but the buying public as well. They lined up for a chance to own one, which led Datsun dealers to jack up the price and make a killing. Supply and demand, folks. A similar thing happened when Mazda first released the MX5.
That didn’t seem to happen with the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ, twin sons of different mothers and separated not so much by their styling as by handling. Each is a great car in its own light, and they both have received positive reviews from those in the know. And yet, there are no crowds outside of Scion dealers, nor lines down the block at Subaru shops. The cars have been modestly successful in sales – but nothing great. That seems strange because there is nothing else quite like the twins on the market at present – the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Nissan 370Z generally running with a larger, more expensive crowd. You’d think, seeing as they are what we car nuts usually consider to be automotive nirvana – RWD, sporty engine, good-looking coupe body, excellent handling – that they would be selling in droves, or at least put on a pedestal as the second coming. Why do you think they have not?