Thursday, June 23, 2011

5 Cars You Won't See in America

#1: Lada Niva

A Russian cheap jeep. With only minor aesthetic differences since its debut in 1977, this old Soviet design has remained relatively unchanged. This go anywhere 4-cylinder has a lot of fans around the world (including Canada and South America) but, it has never been sold in the U.S.


#2: The Pyeonghwa Hwiparam

North Korea builds cars!?!

North Korean auto advertising for a population
that can't afford any cars.

The rogue communist state builds a few thousand automobiles a year. The models are knock-offs of old European and Chinese designs. The only country that they export to is Vietnam. So if you live in Hanoi you may find yourself the unlucky owner of one of these autos.

In a past life this North Korean car
was a Fiat

#3 Tata Nano

Tata Motors is India's largest car company and the owners of Jaguar and Land Rover. The Tata Nano, a microcar, is the least expensive production car in the world. They would like to import them to the United States soon, however. The question is will Americans use them as vehicles or as speed bumps for SUV's?

#4: Ford Falcon

Yes, that's right: The Ford Falcon This iconic American nameplate belongs to a car model you will probably never see stateside. That's because it's Australian. When Ford exported the Falcon to Australia things took off. With some minor modifications for the harsher environment, Falcons became the most popular automobile Down Under. And the Falcon name lives on!

#5: Skoda Roomster

The little Czech company that survived communism to become part of the Volkswagen group, still builds its own models today. The Roomster is one of them. It's a multi-purpose vehicle and, despite some bizarre styling due to the large passenger side windows, has become very successful. Released in 2006 and, aside from the fact that Skoda sells cars in almost every market, don't expect to see a Roomster on American roads anytime soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

1989-1991 Dodge Daytona. (Also sold as the Chrysler Daytona).

I saw this car in Port Credit, Ontario.

In the 1990's it seemed like Chrysler had built these things for forty years because there were so many of them around. And they forced them on consumers with rebate after rebate. Today, though, it is a pretty unique looking car.

An interesting story about these cars is that when Chrysler was building them, they bought Lamborghini. Sports car purists will shudder: There was a plan to put a Lambo engine in a Daytona and sell it to the public! This Lambo-Dodge was to be called the, 'Decepzione.' Luckily the project was abandoned due to the mechanical difficulties incurred when you try to put a Lamborghini engine into a Dodge Daytona.

The last Daytona rolled of the lines in 1993 and they had been built for almost ten years with only minor changes. While a mundane sports car in its era, today it is an icon representing the automotive industry of the 1980's and 90's.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not So Ugly Vintage Chrysler Imperial

I saw this car in Parkdale, Toronto...

And it is one BIG car!

By today's standards it is huge. In the 1960's it was already a top-of-the-line large car. But imagine driving this thing around a metropolitan city.

Although most people will see this as a CHRYSLER Imperial, Imperial was its own brand between 1955 and 1975. This was to compete with the more popular Cadillacs and Lincolns. Before '55 and after '75, the Chrysler name was used infront of Imperial to denote this flagship of all things Mopar.

While a nice looking car, for every 10 Cadillacs sold in the 1960's, only 1 Imperial found a home. The biggest reason why is because these cars were seen as an overpriced, oversized Dodge, while clever marketing on GM's part made Cadillac stand out way ahead of Chevrolet.

Today this is certainly a rare classic!