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April 18 Weekly Open Thread

Happy Monday, Car Lust readers! I'm happy to report that I am back at work and am once again able to participate in the various blog doings, although I am very far from full speed either physically or in terms of workload. Last week I concentrated on sifting through 10,000 unread e-mails, and this week I'm hoping to learn how to perform my new job. Hopefully soon I'll be able to get Project AMC back up and running as well.

For those who were curious, I sustained a tibial spine fracture and a tibial plateau fracture. Essentially, it was like blowing out my ACL--in injuries like mine the ACL normally goes, but in my case my ACL won the tug of war with its attachment point on the bone and pulled it out. This is worse in the short term--the surgery is more invasive than it is for an ACL, and I need to both heal the bone and go through a normal ACL rehab--but in the long term it's much better as bone heals more completely than ligament.

In terms of car lust, that means that I won't be driving my stick-shift Audi Coupe GT for another month or two, but I have begun to get behind the wheel of my automatic Gran Torino wagon--and let me tell you, the feeling of being on the road again is magical. It's obviously nice to be moving more quickly and easily than hobbling around on a brace and crutches, but there's something intoxicating about the freedom of movement that cars give us that's easy to forget when you're simply commuting to and from work every day.

This isn't all about me, though, and what I really want to do is turn the conversation to the cars for which we're currently lusting. I'll post a few of my examples, and I'd love to see some examples of cars that currently have you hot and bothered. What would you purchase if you had the money and garage space?

My current lustables come after the jump.

1986 Buick Grand National - $14,500


1985 Fiat/Bertone X1/9 - $3,800


1977 Fiat Spyder - $3,500


1971 Jeep Wagoneer - $550


1982 Dodge Mirada - $2,500


1982 Porsche 928 - $4,900


1988 Pontiac Fiero GT - $14,950


1988 Isuzu Impulse Turbo - $900


1989 Shelby Dakota - $5,000


--Chris H.


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I want the 928, though a 1988 Fiero GT is also quite lustworthy. That's the only year they got them right.

Who sells a Grand National? Seriously? I think I'd either have to get a boat load of cash, or need the money for a life saving surgery.

I'd be after the X 1/9. At first glance I thought it had been given the Country Squire fake wood treatment, and I wanted to rescue the poor thing from a lifetime of indignity. Even so, I'm thinking a solid chocolate brown would look better than the twotone treatment.

Here's something I've never understood - how is the Fiero superior to the MR2? I think if given the choice I'd sink money into the MR2 with go fast goodies rather than the Fiero platform (even with an engine swap). In comparing the '88 MR2 to the Fiero you can start with the supercharged MR2 and build from there. I do prefer the look of the Fiero, but I don't mind the MR2 at all.

I'd go for the 928 -- I've always wanted one because of the movie 'Looker' -- and then like a 1975 Chevy pickup in Houston Astros paint. *drool*

I'd opt for the 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT. I was intrigued at the time at the concept, and while execution was far from what it might have been, I agree with That Car Guy that in 1988 they came closest to realizing what might have been. It isn't that the Fiero was superior to the other cars shown, just more interesting to me.

This little beauty over at BAT has had me enthralled for the last few days...

That Impulse is awfully tempting at that price. Rest assured it will be trouble, but in the fun kind of way like an Alfa would bring.

Sorta-kinda-thinking lately about something in a vintage roadster and haven't gotten vetoed by the wife yet:

- Alfa Spider (but I'm with you on the Fiat)
- X1/9 or a Triumph TR7/TR8 to satisfy the wedge lust
- Triumph Spitfire. Beautiful.
- Porsche 914. I know these get derided as VWs, but I've always found the shape interesting. I saw one in the office parking lot a couple of months back and it reawakened my roadster itch.

Going upmarket:

Jaguar XJ-S. Gotta have the V-12!
Porsche 911. Something in a 3.2 Carrera, perhaps?

Going weird:

Avanti. Love the style, not sure if it carries kit-car stigma
Checker Marathon. Always loved the look.

I'm digging the Impulse! My family had one of those, but even new they were problematic (electrics). Left my Aunt and Uncles stranded a couple of times. Though I doubt i will garner thieves' attention as the one we owned since new (some of my family members were about to get carjacked but managed to get away, but it got stolen later on, yet was recovered... stripped).
I'm worried about parts/price availability...

Dodge Miradas are pretty cool, but that phantom top has got to GO!

Wish I could get a 928, but the parts... Also, they're almost all automatics and I've heard manual ones aren't so reliable. And I want a stick. Anybody know of any conversions that might work? Either that or hold out for a GTS...

Guess I'll take the Shelby Dakota and do a 360 Magnum swap!

I agree, Chris. I would get an MR2 Supercharged over the Fiero. Those were go carts and had better fit/finish, reliability, steering positioning, seats, build quality, and those sweet slotted stock alloy wheels. I met a lady a couple yrs ago that had one since new... I was tempted to give her my # so she could sell it to me one day.

Out of this list: (Almost the polar opposite of all I mentioned above about the MR2...and even worse than the Fiero on these points aside from go cart handling)... the X19. I once drove a reasonably low mileage Bertone 86 model in 1997 and it handled so awesome, but squeaked and rattled like no tomorrow.

Not to thread hijack, but I saw this scary Japanese car magazine in a bookstore yesterday and had to share: sure you actually want to click on this....

I warned you!

@Shawn: That's not a magazine, it's a cry for help. While Japanese isn't one of my languages, I think I can make an intelligent guess at what the big red Kanji characters along the bottom translate to: "STOP ME BEFORE I PUBLISH AGAIN!"

Actually Cookie, I think it translates as "If being smug about smog isn't enough, now you can look fast while going slow."

Mark.."Going weird:
Avanti. Love the style, not sure if it carries kit-car stigma."

To avoid any stigma, buy a Studebaker Avanti...a 63 with the round headlights. Later Avanti IIs had the 64-on square bezels.
I have a freshly restored 63, I don't get any kit car comments.
If I ever do, I'll consider the source..there are a lot of uninformed "know-it-alls" out there.

Great car, much better driving than you'd expect from a 63 car on a 50s chassis.

Even the Avanti IIs built by Avanti Motors are not in any sense "kit cars." They were low-volume production, literally hand-built, but there was no customer assembly required. Batteries--well, one battery, anyway--included! The car was completely assembled when you picked it up. All you had to do was turn the key and drive away.

John B. - Yes, the 63 would be my first choice. Even the round lamp/square bezel look from 64-on is pretty good. What gives me the kit-car vibe are the ones I see from maybe late 70-mid 80 - it looks like at some point they went to square lamps in the square bezel, bulked up the front bumper, and dropped the styled hood bulge. I've reviewed the writeup at Ate Up With Motor and browsed some other sites - would like to see a 'better/worse' year kind of list if one exists.

Cookie T.D.O - I know it's not a kit car, but the uniformed don't (as John mentioned). I have a Ural motorcycle, and while I enjoy talking about it with the interested, I do occasionally get the 'know-it-all' (who usually doesn't). That's probably not a reason to drop the Avanti, though

Unfortunately, my wife isn't quite as taken with the car as I am. Fortunuately she rarely exercises her veto ;-)

Avantis and Avanti IIs built up through 1985 were the original Studebaker design. From 1987 to 1992, and again from 2000 to 2006 or so, there was an "Avanti" sold by an outfit calling itself "Avanti Motors," but it was a contemporary mass-production car with customized bodywork. (Chevys in the case of the '87-'92 version, Ford Mustangs for the post-millenial.) Those weren't kit cars either--like the Avanti II, it was sold as a completed vehicle ready to drive when you picked it up.

The post-'87 isn't a "true Avanti" in the sense of being built the same way as the 1963-64 Studes, but if you show up at an Avanti owners' meet with one they won't run you off.

CTDO - ok, thanks for clarifying the situation.

Surprised no one has gone for the 124 Spyder. Its PininFarina for cheap!

The 1989 Shelby Dakota is my kinda car, if it wasn't for the fact I just bought a fiat scudo van for my business then I'd be all over that!

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