Thursday, November 13, 2014

Forgotten Small Cars

Toyota Tercel 4WD in the snow
Today I ran into this high-resolution image of the Toyota Tercel Wagon. These bulletproof 4WD wagons will seemingly run forever, so long as you keep their 1980s-made bodies away from salt. Sometimes I forget these ever looked new. Add some fancy lighting and skis (yes, those are Yamaha skis), and it can really bring you back!

This Tercel picture made me think of a host of other cars that I hadn't seen on the road in years, but contrary to popular belief, were actually in pristine condition rolling off the showroom floor at one point. See if you remember some of these cars. I haven't seen any of them in person in quite some time. Are there some you remember but haven't seen an a while? Post them up in the comments.

Pontiac Le Mans
Green Pontiac Le Mans hatchback
When was the last time you saw one of these in the flesh? I remember a guy in my dorm was borrowing one of these Pontiac Le Mans for a while in the mid 1990s. Poor guy.

Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
Before the Mitsubishi Starion there was the Cordia. For some reason, I always look for these on craigslist, not that I'd do anything other than say, "Wow, I can't believe there's one for sale" if I found one.

Mazda GLC
Two Mazda GLC hatchbacks
Truthfully, I know where I can find one of these here in Portland, but its not in great shape. Other than that, it must've been 25+ years since I saw one in person.

Dodge Colt
Dodge COlt
It's been nearly forever since I saw an old Colt like this. My parents had a 1979 or 1980 version. It was red, and I remember how the front passenger seat folded forward.

Dodge Omni
Dodge Omnis
Here's another one that seems to have left the earth. We had a dark blue one in the early 1980s; it was a four-speed. My friend Dan had one as a winter beater back in Minnesota. You could still buy one into the early 1990s, too. Bonus points for the shelf-paper woodgrain.

Nissan Pulsar NX
Nissan Pulsar NX Sportbak
Remember the Nissan Pulsar NX? You could remove the trunk and slap on this "sportbak" canopy turning the coupe into a wagony shooting brakeish thing.

Hyundai Scoupe
Hyundai Scoupe
Before Hyundai became a world-class automaker, the Scoupe was the company's sporting option, which I believe combined the "S" from sport and the word coupe. Genius! It was one of the last cars on the U.S. market to not offer dual airbags. You could, however, get a turbo model.

Ford Aspire
Ford Aspire
Before Ford had great hatchbacks, such as the Focus and Fiesta, they had the Aspire, which was made by Kia. When was the last time you saw one of these cruising the boulevard?

Chevrolet Spectrum
You may remember the Suzuki-built Chevy Sprint (and Sprint Turbo), but they also offered the Isuzu-built Spectrum (and Spectrum Turbo). You can still find Sprints every now and then, but the Spectrums are quite rare—especially the turbo models.


Dee Paolina said...

I don't know if it qualified as a compact, but I owned an early '80s Renault Alliance. Biggest POS ever. I have not seen one on the road in many, many years. They were never very popular, and Renault pulled out of the US market. Add in the fact that it had an aluminum block that would warp if the engine overheated, and it's probably easy to understand why they're no longer seen.

Here's someinfo and a B&W pic:

Lee Seelig said...

My thoughts exactly on the Tercel wagon -- when I, too, saw one the other day, in very clean condition, here in Houston. It obviously was no neglected beater.

I used to live in Vermont, and those things were great in the snow (and thus very popular) but they rusted out within 4-5 years, max.

Ducati Scotty said...

Plymouth Turismo, the Omni's sporty older brother. My parents had one. I beat the snot out of it.

Barry Traylor said...

In 1986 I bought a new Dodge Colt Hatchback, nice little car with fantastic gas mileage. That one was bright red. And oddly enough I saw one just yesterday for the first time in years.

Unknown said...

The Tercel brought back a lot of memories. Glad to see the Aspire, or as I called it Perspire. Wish it was the Ford Festiva. That was my first car. I should have never sold it.

Unknown said...

I had a Plymouth Sapporo. It looked similar to a Toyota Camry.
It was a fun little car. Great on gas.
I have not seen another since. Actually, I never saw one except for the one I owned.