Tag Archives: Oddball Cars

The Adorable Honda Beat at the Lane Motor Museum

Honda Beat Lane Motor Museum 4

What if someone told you they were gonna pick you up in a bright red mid-engine convertible sports car with Italian styling by Pininfarina and an engine that screams past 8,000 rpm. You would expect it to be something very impressive, a V8 Ferrari 458? a V10 Lamborghini Huracan? a V12 Pagani Zonda?

… and then this pulls up, the minuscule 3 cylinder Honda Beat!

I don’t know about you, but I’d be just as excited. I would insist on driving, though, because that’s where the fun is at. A car this light with a revvy engine and total connection with the road, I promise it’s just as much fun to drive in the real world as any Ferrari.

The Honda Beat is one of the Kei sports cars of the early 1990s. It went up against the Autozam AZ1 and the Suzuki Cappuccino. I love this genre of sports cars!

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The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Spotted in Nashville, TN

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile 1

This was a fun one during my trip to Nashville last year. We come back to our hotel and find The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile parked in our lot. So random, but totally awesome!

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Triumph TR8 at the Bergen Cars and Coffee

Triumph TR8 Rear (1)

Triumph fans don’t like the TR7 at all. The cheese-wedge lines, safety bumpers, awkward finishing lines, and too-small wheels don’t combine to make a pretty picture. Luckily, Triumph wasn’t as dim as we all thought, and grabbed the 3.5L Buick V8 that Rover was using. They shoehorned it into the TR7 and made the TR8 a reality. It wasn’t perfect, but it was at least quick enough that no one knew it was a TR7 with a better engine. These are curiosities today, but this example was too nice to pass up.

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1973 Triumph Stag at the 2017 Radnor Hunt Concours

Triumph Stag Front//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Triumph’s TR series was excellent, until the bender hit rock bottom in 1980 with the cheese-wedge TR7. Luckily, one of their brightest spots outside of that series was the striking little Stag, released in 1970 and pulled from the lineup in 1978. They weren’t without their flaws, but the body style, looks, and driving dynamics were above par in the Seventies. Just don’t keep it too long, or you’d be seeing your mechanic more often than a home-cooked meal. While far from the best car money could buy, it was a fun car for the times and still had plenty of appeal. This particular brown example shone brightly at the Radnor Hunt Concours last fall.

Triumph Stag Interior//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Triumph Stag Rear//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

-Albert S. Davis

1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV at the Haskell Car Show

Lincoln Mark IV Front

The Continental Mark Series is not just the Crown Prince of Lincolns. It is the undisputed king. And the grand marshal of them all in terms of sheer size and grandiose is the Mark IV, especially those with the safety bumpers from after 1974. These cars were big, bad, and in-charge, and this bright red example brings out the best of the breed, including chrome everywhere, whitewall tires, an enormous spare tire hump, and a fittingly ridiculous opera window. Continue reading 1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV at the Haskell Car Show

Classic Mopars at the AACA Fall Meet, Hershey, PA

1971 Dodge Demon 340

I regret that I showed up late for this event. In fact, I showed up so late that I managed to miss most of the show. While I ate plenty of crow for that, I got to see most of the show leave along the exit road, and learned that at the AACA meet, always expect the unexpected. Among these Mopars featured today include the usual suspects, such as Superbirds and a Hemi car or two. However, take a good look at that 1942 DeSoto–one of the rarest years of the brand and a car almost never seen even by keen-eyed enthusiasts. My personal favorite? Take a good look at the cover photo. I have not seen many two-door late C-Body New Yorker coupes, and a black over tan example caught my eye and never gave it back. Enjoy the photos of these classic Chrysler products, and byproducts. Continue reading Classic Mopars at the AACA Fall Meet, Hershey, PA

Pur Sang Bugatti spotted in Greenwich, CT

Pur Sang Bugatti 5

This is the first Pur Sang Bugatti I’ve ever seen out in the world. It’s crazy because it looks pre-war correct in every way, except all the materials are brand new. It doesn’t have the patina of a car nearly a century old, and that’s what gives it away.

For those unfamiliar with Pur Sangs, they aren’t kit cars at all, but rather perfect recreations of the original pre-war cars. Honestly, they’re more like production continuations of the original cars than anything. I mean Pur Sang even uses the original pre-war production techniques, the cars are made exactly as they originally were.

What’s crazy is that many owners of actual pre-war Bugattis are commissioning Pur Sang replicas of their priceless originals so they can enjoy driving them without risking a fortune. Imagine the thrill of driving one of these pre-war racing cars on the street, there’s gotta be nothing like it.

Enjoy the photos!

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The Cannonball Run! (sort of) at the Greenwich Concours

Alex Roy's BMW M5

No matter what your fancy is, some of the best cars from the famous Cannonball Run were on display at the Greenwich Concours this year. Whether it’s the homage #144 Polezei BMW M5 driven by Alex Roy some years ago across America (a world record winner), the Chevy Malibu police car (my personal favorite), or the Dodge Tradesman ambulance, there was a smorgasbord in attendance. They even had Dan Gurney and Brock Yates’ Ferrari Daytona in attendance–the winner of the second race, and one of the more infamous cross-country cars still around. These cars were true crowd-pleasers, and even Nick, who normally laughs at Malaise-Era stuff, found the Dodge to be amusing (especially when the open exhaust announced the sound of a completely un-muffled small block Dodge). Enjoy the photos of these offbeat rides. Continue reading The Cannonball Run! (sort of) at the Greenwich Concours

This BMW Isetta 300 gave my day some hot pink style at the Lane Motor Museum

BMW Isetta Lane Museum 1

Hot pink and yellow, now there’s some style for your Monday. This BMW Isetta 300 immediately caught my eye when I walked into the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. Who wouldn’t want to take this thing for a ride?

Enjoy!

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The mighty little Autozam AZ1 at the Misselwood Concours

Autozam AZ1 Misselwood 10

When you tell someone you drive a turbocharged mid engined sports car with gullwing doors, they may expect you to roll up in a Pagani Huayra. Imagine the look of surprise on their face when you roll up in this, an Autozam AZ1, instead.

It’s part of an interesting Japanese segment known as a kei cars, or “light cars.” The segment included other passenger vehicles like vans and such, but the Autozam AZ1 was a kei sports car.

Autozam was sold as a sub-brand of Mazda, but the AZ1 had a turbocharged 657cc Suzuki engine under it’s hood. It makes 64hp and 63 ft/lbs of torque, but that’s not actually too bad in a car weighing only 1,500lbs. It’s the gullwing go kart of your wildest dreams.

Despite being a small bite of awesome today, the Autozam AZ1 was not successful in its day. It launched in 1992, right as a recession was taking hold in Japan, and the AZ1 was seen as too expensive for its market segment. As a result, only 4,392 Autozam AZ1s were built, making it the rarest of the kei sports cars out there.

It certainly has a lot of flavor, and who doesn’t love those gullwing doors? It’s a proper bite sized exotic!

Enjoy the photos!

Continue reading The mighty little Autozam AZ1 at the Misselwood Concours

Checker A11 Marathon Sedan spotted in Greenwich, CT

Checker Marathon Front 1

A few days ago Nick shared that lovely Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI. Those are fantastic cars. But I’m here to bring us straight back to the Stars and Stripes Forever, folks. Just steps away from the Evo was this blast from the past. This is a Checker Marathon ex-taxicab. Very few of these exist today, as most were ridden hard and put away wet. Large, cavernous, and about as complicated as a grilled T-bone steak, these Checkers were used as taxicabs in most cities across America for generations, until they disappeared from the road between 1990 and 2009. None are left in active service, and this particular sedan appears to have been loved and restored to a remarkably good standard.

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