FYI: I dig cars

Over the past few years, I’ve become more and more infatuated with cars.  Automobiles in general, really, but cars specifically.  I also seem to enjoy the quirky vehicles.  The ones you don’t see that often, but you retain a soft-spot in your heart for ’em.  For instance, my last vehicle — a 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief — was definitely a head-turner, but the gas mileage was eventually too much for me to stomach.  The *very best* I ever achieved was 11mpg, and I was stoked!  My current vehicle, then, is a complete departure from the last one.  Now I drive a 1992 Saab 900 Turbo, and I definitely dig it.  It’s a conversation starter.  You feel as if you’re part of an exclusive “Saab club”.  The gas mileage is pretty darn good — especially for a turbo.  Also, it can hold a LOT of stuff in that hatch area.  In fact, just yesterday I piled in two very large rack servers, 3 cardboard boxes, and a fairly good-sized hand truck — and I didn’t even put the seats down!  Impressive.

None of that really has much to do with this post, of course, but it gives some back story as to why I’d want to check out the book ‘Lemon! Sixty Heroic Automotive Failures‘.  It’s chock full of the wackiness and rollercoaster ride that is the automotive industry over the past century.

Anyhoooo, my personal favorite thus far is the Subaru 360.  Observe…

This little dynamo packed some mean features when first released in 1958.  For instance:

  • 356cc engine (my last motorcycle had twice the engine size)
  • 16 horsepower
  • Suicide doors (they open backward)
  • 117 inches in length (current Mini Coopers are 142″ long)
  • 900lb. curb weight (slightly more than 1/3 the weight of a modern Mini Cooper)
  • Approx. 66mpg

The best quote from the book was regarding the Car & Driver track test where the Subaru 360 performed the 0 – 50mph test in 36 seconds.  They were aiming for 0 – 60mph, but the car wouldn’t make it.

Classic stuff.


2 Responses to “FYI: I dig cars”

  1. 1 Josh May 26, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Hey Yip,

    I’m also into those cars that not everyone knows about. Have you heard of/seen a Toyota Celica All-Trac? It was one of the first cars to start the Turbo AWD crossover from rally racing trend (a la WRX STI) back in the late 80’s. I’ve owned two of them, a 90 and 92. They were a very limited edition, especially in the states. There were only about 1500 imported to the US for the second generation over four years with only 85 being shipped here in 93. They were detuned considerably from the rally car, from 300 to 200 hp, but still a very fun car to drive and actually pretty simple to upgrade to achieve close to race standard power. Essentially it is the same car that they competed with, with the same rock solid 3SGTE engine and a bulletproof five speed transmission. I think it’s one of the coolest looking cars on the road. And oh man, there’s just nothing like AWD (especially after a good snowfall ;o) Even though the top-mounted intercooler is a pretty silly design with the heat rising off the engine to “soak” the IC and reverse the intended function, I love the look of the hood scoop anyway. I recently sold my 92 just because I don’t have the money to do the things I wanted to do to it, I hope to get one again someday. :o)


  2. 2 Mazda Lift Kits May 27, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Those are old cars but they’re still kickin…
    Time may fade but those cars won’t…
    Subaru is one of the best manufacturers when it comes to this kinds of stuff…

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