10 Cars People Wish They Hadn't Overlooked
Posted by: Dan on 19/09/2014
10 Cars People Wish They Wouldn't Have Overlooked
It is often said that hindsight is 20/20, and while that sentiment doesn't ring true in every situation, it certainly seems to be applicable in the underrated or otherwise overlooked car arena. It's easy to find and point to great cars of the past, but it's much harder to recognise classics-in-the-making while they are being made.
Longevity and durability may not be the primary determining factors of a great car, but these qualities certainly don't hurt. As the years pass, more people begin to see what was great about certain car models that they may not have appreciated in their time. A car that stands the test the time is one that proves timeless.
Here are 10 cars people wish they wouldn't have overlooked.
1. Pontiac GTO
Image: Dino Abatzidis
The 2004 - 2006 Pontiac GTO is an underrated muscle car with Australian roots. It wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration to say that the Pontiac G8, Chevrolet Caprice PPV, and Chevrolet SS sedans would likely not exist without this car paving the way.
The GTO bears similarities to the Holden Monaro, though it is a decidedly blander looking version of its counterpart. Even so, the original model came with a C5 Corvette's 350-hp, 5.7-liter LS1, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Despite its power - which would certainly justify the price - its higher value point may have played a part in the GTO being overlooked by potential buyers.
2. Ford SVT Contour (Mondeo)
Like the Pontiac GTO, the 1998 - 2000 Ford SVT Contour (known as the Mondeo in Europe and Australia) may not be particularly pretty looking. However, SVT stands for Special Vehicle Team, and to Ford enthusiasts this always spells performance.
The Contour is fuel-efficient, and is also known for its great handling. It featured a highly-modified and specially tuned 2.5-liter Duratec V6 engine with 195-hp.
3. Acura NSX
The 1990 - 2005 Acura NSX was also known as the "Ferrari killer", featuring an exotic car skin and a transversely-mounted (mid-engine) 3.0-litre V6 with dual overhead cams and Honda's proprietary VTEC (variable valve timing) system.
The NSX was actually sold under the Honda brand name in Japan, but in North America, it was sold under the Acura luxury division.
There are no mainstream automotive manufactures that have attempted to produce a similar vehicle that matches the performance and great looks of the NSX. It is considered a true classic.
4. Lexus LS400
The 1990 Lexus LS400 is considered one of the best cars from 1990. It came with a 250-hp 4.0-liter V-8, and some say it is one of the most over-engineered cars produced to date.
The LS400 looked very similar to a W126 Mercedes S-class in its time, and its high price point may have scared off potential buyers. Even so, it did pave the way for successor models such as the ES300 and RX300.
5. Mazda MX-5
The designers of the Mazda MX-5 (also known as the Miata) intended to create a vehicle that was both lightweight and affordable. The 1990 - 1998 models certainly show us that they managed to accomplish what they had originally set out to do.
The original MX-5 came equipped with a 1.6-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine at 120-hp. The MX-5 went from zero to 100 km/h in nine seconds, and enthusiasts noted that it had "go-cart-like" handling.
6. Toyota Supra
Some enthusiasts consider the 1993-2002 Toyota Supra (also known as the Mark IV) to be the ultimate Japanese sports car. Its rounded body shape is appealing to the eye, and its motor is essentially bulletproof.
This Supra was completely redesigned, and featured two new engines. The first, a naturally aspirated Toyota 2JZ-GE, which could produce 220-hp. The second, a twin turbocharged Toyota 2JZ-GTE at 276-hp.
The American and European models had upgraded turbo engines at 320-hp. In the late 90s, sales of sporty coupes began to decline in North America, and the Supra was withdrawn from the US market in 1998, and in the Canadian market in 1996.
7. Aston Martin DB Mark III
The 1957 - 1959 Aston Martin DB Mark III sports car replaced the DB2/4 Mark II model. The Mark III featured a 2.9L Lagonda L6 engine designed by W.O. Bentley.
Interestingly, James Bond drives a DB Mark III in the novel version of Goldfinger. The film adaptation procured an Aston Martin DB5 for the occasion, making it an iconic classic car.
8. Mazda RX-7
The 1984 - 1985 Mazda RX-7 was a Japanese sports car with a lightweight Wankel rotary engine and pop-up headlamps.
The 1993 RX-7 is considered one of the best-handling cars ever developed, and it was capable of outpacing higher-powered sports cars due in part to its efficient weight distribution and twin-turbo rotary engine.
9. Holden Cruze
By and large, the Cruze is considered a plain, affordable subcompact vehicle. However, there is a powerful engine option found with the 2.0L Turbo Diesel. The engine has strong acceleration and plenty of maintained fuel efficiency.
The chassis is balanced, and the car's reliable performance has earned it a solid reputation.
10. Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
Corvettes are known today as mass-produced sport cars, but the 1990 - 1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 is a special edition car that rivals Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches. However, high prices and similarities to other Corvettes may have subdued buyer interest.
The unique 5.7-liter LT5 engine (developed by England's Lotus Engineering and Chevrolet) is one of the ZR-1's primary selling features. The original LT5 had 375-hp, but was later increased to 405 in 1993.
There are many other cars, such as the 1970 - 1973 Datsun 240Z, the 1969 - 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet, the 1969 - 1973 Triumph TR6, and the 1972 - 1975 Porsche 914 that people wished they didn't overlook.
Price point, similarities to other models, brand reputation, and other factors often played a part in how people viewed certain cars. Nevertheless, we can see from the examples listed here that you can't have too many preconceptions about what is going to be a great car strictly based on the aforementioned criteria.
Are there any other cars you wish you hadn't overlooked? Are you an owner of a car that was a little underrated in its time?
Let us know in the comments below!