Hooniverse Asks- What’s Your All-Time Favorite Mid-Engined Car?

twini

It’s pretty safe to say that the vast majority of cars sold today are of the transverse-engine, front wheel drive variety. That’s just the most common, and especially when you get down to compact and smaller sizes, one of the most space efficient designs available. And that’s what makes it kind of dull. 

Cheap cars, at least those form Europe and Japan, used to have their engines in the back, usually hanging off like a dingleberry and ensuring the cars handled like a bucket on a rope. Front wheel drive with the engine weight baring down on those driven wheels is lots better, trading snap spins for boring but speed scrubbing understeer. For many however, the best solution for both handling and exotic coolness is to put the motor and the rest of the remaining mechanical bits fully in between the axle centers. Hence, the mid-engine car.

These mid-engined cars have not only owned much of the high-end performance landscape for decades. Even some sports cars with the engine in front of the passenger compartment can be considered mid-engine as the mill still resides within the wheelbase. It’s the ones where the engine sits over you shoulder that holds the greatest mystique however, and whether in front or behind you, what I want to know today is which most sets your heart aflutter. Which is your all-time favorite mid-engine car? 

Image source: Spagweb

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77 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What’s Your All-Time Favorite Mid-Engined Car?”

  1. grdotnet Avatar

    Previa. Hands down.

    1. buzzboy7 Avatar

      The 5 speed with an engine swap from the supercharged model

      1. justgregit Avatar

        Hadn't even thought about it. My first car was a 5spd RWD '91. The supercharged engine would have made it perfect.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Exactly what I was going to post. Previas are already good handling vans, and can be even better with shorter springs and other tweaks.

    3. Maxichamp Avatar

      My in-laws and two families they summer vacationed with all got Previas in the early 1990s. The other two families made fun of my in-laws for getting the AllTrac version (they lived in Virginia). My bro-in-law got it as a hand-me-down and it survived despite receiving zero maintenance for like three or four years.
      My step-nephew also has a hand-me-down Previa that his mom got new. He drives it cross country between grad school and home every year.
      Finally, a friend went to a talk given by Previa engineers. It is the second most durable Toyota ever sold, after the LS400.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        That says as much about the LS as it does the Previa.

    1. desolit Avatar

      thumbs for clios

  2. Bhobrain Avatar

    Nsx that is all

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      What did this run?
      With t hat wheelbase it looks like it would be a handful at speed.

      1. SSurfer321 Avatar

        Only if you set the front tires down!

      2. DonFehlio Avatar

        I'm not sure; my co-worker was the one who took the pic. I just love it because AW11.

    2. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

      I never really thought of wheelies as being the obvious reason for liking the Mister Two…
      Not to say it's a bad reason. Just… ya know…

      1. DonFehlio Avatar

        Part of me wants an air-cooled VW. Mostly because they're neat, and I could learn to wrench better with a VW project. But also because I want a car that can potentially do wheelies.

        1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

          I've often thought about how easy it would be to junkyard turbo build one of those to do the scariest quarter mile ever… They're light, everything you need to work on is right there, and of course, wheelies. Glorious, scary, death defying (or inducing) wheelies…

  3. Kogashiwa Avatar

    Mine. (At least, it used to be mine. And will be again.)
    <img src="https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/dzpeazpztl9bf57/MR2_elevator_800x600.jpg"&gt;

    1. Synchromesh Avatar

      Love those! Make mine a '95 in Solar Yellow please!

  4. Vavon Avatar

    The Renault 5 Turbo! The 205 Turbo 16 is a close second…
    <img src="http://www.ucapusa.com/images/car_info/large/renault_5_turbo.jpg&quot; width=650><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-R3dWmF8IIeo/T6IMPyTBD2I/AAAAAAAAFmI/xZANepmzN1E/s1600/za IMGP5000.jpg" width="650/">

  5. stickmanonymous Avatar

    Given that my feet are dangling in front of it, I'd consider the engine to be mid-mounted.
    <img src="http://images-2.drive.com.au/2011/03/31/2263056/travi!20070205141122-360×0.jpg"&gt;
    5-Speed column shift diesel FTW!

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I can see that's a Toyota, but what is it?

      1. Maxichamp Avatar

        HiAce.

  6. P161911 Avatar

    There's the one I currently drive: <img src="http://images.cars.com/phototab/DMI/461/120490A/01.jpg"width=500&gt; (not my truck pictured) The centerline of the V-6 is well behind the centerline of the front axle.
    The one I might some day be able to afford: <img src="http://carfindernet.com/vehicles/3590/images/3590-001.jpg"width=500&gt;
    And my favorite: <img src="http://www.karkraftengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/1967-Ford-GT40-MK_IV-Le-Mans-Kar-Kraft-at-SEMA.jpg"width=500&gt;

  7. Pidgeonsplatz Avatar

    Always thought the Fiero could have been made into a great car, if Pontiac had stuck with it. But my favorite will always be the Tangerine Dream Corvair from back in the day…
    http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2011/02/14/hem

    1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar

      I met someone a while back who has a Crown conversion second-generation Corvair with a highly tuned 283 — shorter stroke and more oversquare than a 327 and thus more willing to rev with appropriate cam and valve gear. A 327 would have more torque, of course, but with the Crown-style conversions that was really the last thing you wanted; you had less weight than a Camaro and too much torque would split the transmission case.

  8. Hopman Avatar

    Call be crazy: FIERO. But I've had a thing for the 80's latley.

  9. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I’m having a difficult time coming up with a mid-engine car that I dislike. Sure, there are a few that I don’t want to own, but there is something magical about a mid-engine car that just makes it cool, even if it would otherwise not be. I mean the Fiero was an amalgamation of a Citation and a Chevette, and the MR2 was a Corolla. Sure, mass centralization is a fine rationale for it, but there is something more emotional about what makes a mid-engine car cool. It’s so cool, in fact, that people with front-mid cars are quick to point out that their car is technically mid-engined, just so they have some connection to the cars that we know that we are really referring to when we say “mid-engine.”

  10. ptschett Avatar

    Front mid engine:
    <img src="http://i56.tinypic.com/24ctqid.jpg&quot; width="500"/>

  11. Batshitbox Avatar

    Well, I have a soft spot for the 914, 'cause it was the first mid-engine I ever encountered; my engineer uncle spent some time describing the advantages of the layout in his 914.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2774/4085162653_ef56803f24.jpg&quot; width="450/">
    But all-time favorite status goes to the one of a kind Lamborghini Miura Roadster (a.k.a. Spider, a.k.a. Zn-75).
    Bertone never even bothered making a top for it.
    <img src="http://www.lambocars.com/images/miura/miura_roadster3.jpg&quot; width="500/">

  12. Devin Avatar

    You never forget your first love.
    <img src="http://trialx.com/curetalk/wp-content/blogs.dir/7/files/2012/11/cars/1992_Lamborghini_Diablo-2.jpg&quot; width="500">
    I know there are probably better mid engined cars out there, some of them even made by Lamborghini itself, but the Diablo was the first one I was ever slightly obsessed with (way back when I was 8), so it has to be my favorite.

  13. racer139 Avatar

    The 1989 ford festiva shogun. It was built by California special editions in the late eighties. IIRC they had plans to build morw of them but it didnt materialize. I think that they only built a few but the most famous is the one Jay leno owns. Somone whos more expertacated should post up a pic as trying to do so in the past has led to me needing a new phone and I dont want to repeat that.

    1. Otto Nobedder Avatar

      $48K in the early '90s was a lot of dough for a Hot Rod Festiva… http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/at-the-garage/custo

    1. salguod Avatar

      Those seats are fabulous.

  14. Batshitbox Avatar

    Hey, check it out! The Sunbeam Tiger is the featured article on en.wikipedia.org!
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/ba/Sunbeam_Tiger%283%29.jpg/320px-Sunbeam_Tiger%283%29.jpg"&gt;
    (Disclaimer: This automobile is not mid-engined)

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      A cousin of mine owned one of those, back when they were new. BRG it was.

  15. desolit Avatar

    EB110
    I had a steel model of this when i was a kid. I think i was attracted to it by the color. Still my favorite to this day.
    <img src="http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/news/rare-bugatti-eb110-spotted-in-japan-57231-7.jpg"&gt;

  16. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

    Since we're also doing cars that are technically mid, by virtue of the engine being mounted behind the front axle, I really miss my FC… It was such a fun little car with such great control and a near perfect 50/50 weight balance. I wish I had had the opportunity to get the suspension dialed in just right. I'll most likely own another one some day…
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SRUGRGoV6ho/TRAsKiFImZI/AAAAAAAAAsY/z_gQnknpfvs/s550/DSC00177.JPG"&gt;

    1. Kogashiwa Avatar

      I've long been in the camp that prefers the SA22C/FB and FD whilst more or less passing over the FC, but I'm really starting to appreciate the middle child. I'd still get another GSL-SE if I went back to rotaries but if one like yours popped up I would be very tempted.
      (Sadly no FD for me I think. Even though its the most beautiful car ever made in Japan. I finally rode in one a while back and felt like a tinned sardine. So cramped.)

      1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

        I think the FC is the best value for the buck, as they can be picked up pretty cheap now. (If you can find one in passable condition, it's a little bit more, but still usually less than $5K) But the FD is still in my top 5 list of favorite sports cars of all time. It was a long shot out of my price range at the time though. I agree that it is incredibly gorgeous, and it's so much fun to drive. While it is a bit small, I found it to be surprisingly comfortable, but at my size I'll take what I can get. Being physically able to drive it was an accomplishment to me.

      2. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

        BW20
        Often suggested, never accomplished.

  17. Chuck Avatar

    My sorely missed Lotus Elise…

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Wasn't that a project car, built by some college kids?

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      You and Herbie The Love Bug both love a Montecarlo.
      <img src="http://www.soundonsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/herbie_and_gisele.jpg&quot; width=400>

  18. bhtooefr Avatar

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/Neckarsulm-AudiForum-Audi-R10-TDI.jpg/600px-Neckarsulm-AudiForum-Audi-R10-TDI.jpg&quot; />
    The first successful diesel prototype race car.
    I love the relatively simple, elegant design. I like the fact that it's an open top car (there's closed top prototypes I like, but I like this, too).
    I know it was a bit of a pig when it came to handling (which, at Le Mans, it made up for by blasting out of every corner with a wall of torque), and it aged fairly quickly, but it still hung on nicely.

  19. rovingardener Avatar

    Front Mid-Engine is a toss-up between the 2003-08 Maserati GT Coupe or BRZ, and I am actively cross shopping them having driven both. Maser is magical with manual and fairly reliable.
    Rear Mid-Engine is a toss-up between the latest Cayman S and Ferrari 328 GTB. Both are heartbreakingly expensive choices, though.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Cross-shopping a Maserati and a Subaru? I love this place.

      1. rovingardener Avatar

        A Maserati GT costs less than 20K so its cheaper than the Subaru and with a manual there are really not a lot of reliability problems. Also, it would be a my daily driver. They both take premium only and the Ferrari engine sounds absolutely righteous, any time, all the time; the BRZ less so.
        The Maserati gets about 17m.p.g..The BRZ doesn't sound as good. But gets 30-ish m.p.g..
        Also, when the Maserati is reclaimed by nature, I have an awesome drivetrain, brakes, suspension and interior to build into a kit car/ replicar or something of my choosing.

        1. Maymar Avatar

          I wish I had more to add, just, good luck with whatever you choose!

  20. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    TVR, whom put the engines at the front of the mid.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Do forward-control vans count as mid-engined?

  21. brucemcl Avatar

    I'd have to say the 914-6 is my favorite mid-engined car. I was in High School in LA when I first saw one of these. It was bright yellow, and my dad was driving it. For some reason he got it for his company car for one year. The year before they had LTDs, the year after, VW Bugs. He said when he picked it up at the dealer a guy named Richie Ginther gave him an orientation. Dad thought he was a race car driver. Yes, he was.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Ginther
    I did get to drive it; eventually all the way to San Francisco and back, solo. It wasn't easy to see out of, the clutch was difficult, first gear was hard to find, and the plugs loaded up easily (Dad was told to drive it on the freeway in second gear to clean out the plugs). Still, despite all that, definitely my favorite.

  22. James Avatar

    [img src="https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQICRUY2zh6PW6N1gswU5um1eX47HE-Q333AvmeVLwVrx3GG5owxg"%5D
    SW20 MR2 Turbo T-tops! Never had that much fun driving a car. That turbo spooling in your ear, those hip-hugging leather buckets, the t-tops, the steering feel… lovely car. And built like a brick sh*thouse!

  23. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

    Of those that haven't been posted, Lancia 037.
    <img src="http://www.germanexotics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/lancia-037-abarth-620×465.jpg&quot; &lt;="" img="">
    Also I can't believe this hasn't been posted yet.
    <img src="http://carinpicture.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Ferrari-F40-1987-1992-Photo-24.jpg&quot; width="600" </img>>

  24. 5keptic Avatar

    surprised this is missing.
    <img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3277/2954742331_0996c63b6c_z.jpg&quot; width=600px />

  25. Deception Avatar

    Matra Murena anyone?

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