Hooniverse Asks- What Car Came and Went Too Fast?

Yesterday I asked you about cars that caused the face palm of recognition – they still make that? Turns out there’s lots of cars that make the list of not-gone but forgotten. Today we’re doing a Rockford move – a 180 – and want to know, what cars or trucks in your estimation died before their time.
They say that the candle that burns brightest burns half as long. I don’t really have a point of reference with that maxim, having acquired several years ago a 6-cell Kel-light. But I can understand the basis upon which that is derived, and know that it can be applied to the automotive world. There have been a number of cars that have been more minute steak than thousand year old egg. Some have had their lives cut short through artificial means – pre-set production limitations to preserve value and exclusivity. Others have seen their production numbers constrained due to factors beyond their providence – financial issues, advocate’s death or incarceration, any number of factors.
So there’s lots of cars that have burned oh so very brightly, and hence have faded from the automotive dialog some might say before their time was up. Which car do you think was most egregiously short changed, for whatever reason, on the automotive stage?
Image source : [mycarblog.org]


    1. Just think with that on the roads we wouldn't have such a stupid population problem as we have today.

    2. Years ago I saw one of those at Harrah's museum in Reno. This was soon after Bill passed away, and there were plenty of low-mileage original cars from his dealerships that he had squirreled away, stored under carports outside the exhibit buildings. Mudane stuff, like late '60s and early '70s full-size Fords with 50 to 100 miles on them.

    1. I like the way you think, also top image of Gina and G8 GXP is STILL the desktop on the secondary monitor of the eMac in the basement, the computer I use the most at home.

  1. Someday I have to scan those two facing pages out of the Pontiac brochure that my oldest son hangs on to with the G8 GXP, GTO, and Solstice coupe. There's another page with the G8 ST, aka sport truck – ahem camino, if I remember correctly. I'll probably get around to it after I scan the Friends Travel and Adventure in America Geo New At Your Chevrolet/Geo Dealer July/Aug '89 $2.50 glossy I kept from when I was kid. Dang, I think my kid has better taste…

  2. The Ford GT was in production for a couple of years, and it was, of course, inspired by the original GT-40 of the 1960's.
    I think in order for a model to be eligible for today's Hooniverse Asks, the car cannot have been produced for more than one model year.
    In no particular order:
    <img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/12/2010/09/plymouth-superbird.jpg&quot; width=500>
    <img src="http://www.motoxdream.com/signature/glhs.jpg&quot; width=500>
    <img src="http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/gallery/1991-gmc-syclone/1991-gmc-syclone-10.jpg&quot; width=500>
    <img src="http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/11/48tucker.jpg"&gt;

    1. I drove the immediate predecessor to the Syclone, the S10 SS, and it was one hell of an impressive beast. And without all the silly body kits and tack-on tackiness, I actually think it was the superior vehicle, so I miss it more than the Syclone.

      1. I know about an S10 SS package for the second generation S10, but it also lost the turbo, intercooler, and AWD when it gave up the fragile and expensive cladding. What's in the immediate predecessor version?

        1. Hm. You know, I can't find a single reference to that truck anywhere? I have sat in its bed, I have borrowed it for weekend moving work, I have even seen the factory spec sheet that was in the manual because I HAD to know what the performance numbers were.
          I'm not sure if it was a '91 or '92, but it was a Chevrolet S10 SS, with a 4.3L Vortec through a 4-speed auto. It had SS badging in the seats, on the dash, and it had a special SS owner's manual, so it's not like someone stuck them on there. But now I'm wondering about it, because I cannot find a single reference to an S10 SS in the first-gen S10. The engine was rated for 205 horsepowers and 265 torques, if I recall, and with the lighter standard-cab-short-box and no AWD it went like a raped ape.
          Someone needs to help me out here so I don't look like a crazy man. I've already messaged my buddy who owned it to see if he can provide me with some more info.

          1. It was absolutely an S10 SS, as the badges were everywhere, and I totally understand anyone calling bullshit, because I can't find any reference to it at all, not even as an appearance package. But no, it was more than an appearance package. The stock 4.3L V6 at that point was, I think, 150, 160 horse, something like that. So it was significantly more powerful than stock. My roommate actually had a shortbox 4.3L Sonoma the year before, and the SS would absolutely trounce it. Basically, from what I can find, it was a slightly upgraded Sonoma GT, but damned if I can find anything on it.
            Pure performance, no, the Syclone wins every time. Overall fun package, I'd take that truck. 500-ish lbs lighter and snap oversteer if you touched the gas in the corner was a HELL of a lot of fun.

          2. Entirely possible, but it seemed WAY too nice to be an aftermarket job. "Nice" being a relative term, of course, this was an early-90s S10, with LEGO-grade plastics and aesthetic design.

          3. Finally got that page to load — stupid work blockers — and they reference the S10 SS that followed later. I remember my buddy being PISSED about those, because they basically chopped 25 horsepower off his truck and made it more boring.

  3. Any car that was homologated for racing. From Dodge Daytonas to Audi Quattro UR and everything in between.

    1. My thoughts exactly. It was out of production before I knew it was in production. Mercury did a very poor job of advertising this one.

      1. The Marauder was let down by being pricey yet slower than the RWD Impala SS, which was seven years gone by 2003. Had Ford put some real power under the hood, like the 5.4L Triton with 400+ hp, then maybe the Marauder might have sold better.

        1. There are two Marauders (both silver) in my town of 44,000, and I see both of them out and about pretty regularly. Awesome cars. Imagine one of these with the 5.0 Coyote engine, backed by a six-speed.

        2. That was what was a real shame about the Marauder. I remember seeing the original concept at a car show. It had the 5.4 from a Cobra and the matching 6 speed. A proper 3 pedal car. What came out was really just a tarted up police interceptor. A desirable enough car in its own right, but it just paled in comparison to what it should have been. Oh well, should've, could've, would've.

    2. I had forgotten about that one. VERY nice call. It's funny how they somehow managed to make the old Panther body look sexy with the Marauder.

  4. funky citroens – I know that the 2CV, the Traction Avant, and the DS were in production forever, but the lives of SMs and GS Wankels were cut tragically short, brought out to an unwelcoming market. The same goes for the Ro80 from NSU. Also, pretty much every Glas deserved a longer, more fruitful life than the one they got when absorbed by BMW.

    1. You scared me! It is Tuesday! I'm in the middle of last-week-of-the-semester mayhem and my heart skipped a beat when I read that. And no Two-Wheel Tuesday posts yet, either; good thing a calender was nearby.

    2. I nearly got killed on one of those. I was stopped at a red light on a Saturday night in the bar district; the drunk driver behind me thought the light was green.

    1. Yeah, the ES might not have been around long enough, but it would have gotten big, honking safety bumpers for 1974 plus what little power it had would have been slowly drained away.

    1. Drove one today with the W12. Might have left slight stains on the seats. God DAMN they're glorious.

      1. I used to live in Dresden where VW makes the Phaeton in their transparent factory. I would frequently see Phaetons with red plates being driven about the city.

      2. The V8 I drove a few years back was equally impressive, until its transmission decided that it couldn't be bothered to work anymore. A bit beneath it, you see. Go figure, a people's car with a superiority complex.

      1. Ahhhh, yes, the traffic backup for the Telegraph exit because of the damn Southfield construction. I know this well.

    2. I'm not sure what the VW brand image is to people who were around when you could buy an original Beetle new from the dealer, but I have to admit that lately I've had the brand pegged as the slightly down-market feeder brand for future Audi owners. I went to the VW website for the first time a few months back and was shocked to discover a Jetta could be had for well under 20 grand.

      1. I see those driving around here pretty regularly. The V8 from the Q, in a smaller, lighter body. Hot rod.

    1. Which itself was a Nissan Gloria in disguise. I was so happy to see that car make the jump, and so sad to see globalisation ruin it.

    2. Gawdamn. Nice call, I'd forgotten about that one, and just how good-looking they really are!

    1. Did it not? I never actually looked into it at all. I've seen quite a few of them around here, so I guess they must be American imports.

      1. No, it didn't meet our 16km/h bumper laws (along with the Evo IX, I believe) – we just reduced the requirement to 8km/h bumpers for imported cars around 2007 or so.

      1. The Magnum is classified as an SUV by the EPA. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp
        I believe Dodge went this route for a CAFE loophole, so they couldn't also have a "car" Magnum (hence the Charger being a different model, at least in name).
        In European countries that sell the Chrysler brand but not Dodge, it was a simple matter to put the 300 front clip on a Magnum body.

      2. Hah! Yes, the other 300 Touring! I've actually seen a couple of these in real life since I lived in Windsor around 2005, and made my way out to Auburn Hills once or twice.

    2. Man, I wanted one of those wagons so badly. Mrs. Alff killed the deal when she observed that it didn't have any more interior room than our dd Jeep Cherokee. That and the hefty price tag killed the deal.

    3. I wanted one of those right up until i had a rented Charger for a weekend. Loved the unapologetic wagon concept, loved the looks, hated the interior.

    1. Can I amend this to say that the era of fantastic car emblems has also been cut short? That turtle was a wonderful addition to the automotive landscape. I want to see badges of hyperspace ostriches on some upcoming sports car and I want to see the next Avenger to have its emblem done in eye-searing graffiti.

    1. Chrysler tried to put one of their engines into a Tiger, but none of their V8s were physically small enough to fit without extensive re-doing of the Sunbeam front end.

      1. They did look at building an all new Tiger around a Chrysler V8 as well, but like most of the more interesting Chrysler-era Rootes projects that was canned too.

  5. The guy at the Buick stand the Dallas Auto Show said something to the effect that we'll be seeing a consumer version. He didn't say when… or what generation.

  6. I say the VW Touareg V10 TDi. I don't care for SUVs, but I have to like one that has so much torque that you could tow Montana down to Texas.

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