Sometimes, when a new car hits the scene, it is so ground-breaking and innovative that it lights up the automotive industry and breathes new life into its entire class. When a car of this calibre hits the road, it is highly likely that its legacy will grow through the years and it will flourish over generations of new models and trims, as the Ford Fiesta is currently perfectly exemplifying.
However, some cars slip through the cracks; cars that fall into the potholes on the road to automotive glory. Below, we have compiled a list of some cars that, through no fault of their own, have been left out of the limelight. Read on and salute some of the unsung heroes of the motoring industry – the cars that time forgot.
Volvo 480 Turbo
A wild card for Volvo, the 480 Turbo was the Swedish manufacturer having a bit of fun, in a bid to change its image to appeal to a new market. The 480 was the first front-wheel drive car by the carmaker, and had exceptional handling thanks to its Lotus-designed suspension. The Turbo version hit the scene in 1988, adding an extra 10bhp. Production ceased in 1995, after over 80,000 cars produced
Vauxhall Astra GTE
As far as hot hatches are concerned, the 80’s were dominated by the heightening competition between Volkswagens Golf GTi and Peugeot’s 205 GTi. However, the often overlooked Vauxhall Astra GTE was an excellent car in its own right, whether thats MK1 or MK2. The Astra GTE received acclaim for both its stylish exteriors and its joyous handling.
The Peugeot 3008 is still in production; however it has slipped out of the public eye due to a focus on other Peugeot projects. Don’t let the lack of attention fool you, the 3008 is an excellent and unique vehicle. The compact crossover was showcased in 2008 and was praised by motoring magazines far and wide, with ‘What Car?’ awarding it ‘Car of the Year’ in 2010.
The second-generation Mazda MX6 was unwrapped in 1991, and shared the brand new ‘GE’ platform with the Ford Probe. The MX6 was released worldwide in three different trims; A-spec, E-spec and J-spec, which debuted in the US, Europe and Japan (no points for guessing which trim went where). Despite its elegant looks and the great reviews it received, the MX6 was discontinued in 1997 and you’d be lucky to see one on the road today.
Alfa Romeo 164
The Alfa Romeo 164 was a stunning four door executive saloon released by the Italian automaker back in 1987. The entry level engine was the brilliant 2.0 L Twin Spark I4 engine with two spark plugs per cylinder. The 164 benefitted from improved build quality in relation to previous Alfa Romeos, thanks in part to the 164 being the first Alfa to use extensive computer aided design.
Citroen AX GT
Lightweight and economical, the Citroen AX GT was launched at the 1986 Paris Motor Show. The supermini was perfectly suited to UK roads, and was raw and powerful, with punchy engine options and minimal safety equipment making it a huge hit with enthusiasts. Outside the motoring community, the AX GT was largely overlooked.
Peugeot 309 GTi
In another article on the Bristol Street Blog, ‘Is Your Car A Future Classic?‘, we mentioned the Peugeot 205 GTi, which is (rightly) considered one of the greatest hot hatches of all time. Its sibling, however, is overshadowed and often forgotten, despite its formidable performance. The two cars are actually very similar, except the 309 has a larger rear.