In the eighties, the Toyota Corolla and its Japanese-market Toyota Sprinter sibling switched to FWD, but not without one last fling for the sporty rear-drive coupes. In the second part of our story, we look at the origins and history of the final RWD Corolla — the 1983–1987 AE86 Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno — and consider the later history and fate of the Levin and Trueno coupes.
Continue Reading Thunder and Lightning, Part 2: The AE86 Toyota Corolla Levin/Sprinter Trueno
Although the Toyota Corolla is one of the world’s bestselling automotive nameplates, it’s not one that generally arouses much enthusiast interest. Twenty years ago, however, the Corolla Levin coupe and its near-twin, the Sprinter Trueno, were sporty rear-wheel-drive cars that are still coveted by street racers today. We’ll get to the legendary AE86 in part two. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we examine the history of the early DOHC Corolla and Sprinter coupes, their Yamaha-developed 2T-G engine, and the more mundane cars on which they were based.
Continue Reading Thunder and Lightning, Part 1: The Toyota Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno
While pointing to a direct successor to the original Honda CRX coupe is a tricky thing, the CRX did have an antecedent of sorts, built not in Japan, but in France: the Peugeot 104 coupe.
Continue Reading Short, Sharpish, Chopped: The Peugeot 104 Coupe
Recipe for a cult hit, Honda-style: Take one competent C-segment hatchback, lop a few inches out of the wheelbase, tidy up the suspension tuning and aerodynamics, and repackage the results as a pint-size sports coupe. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we examine the history of the 1984–1991 Honda CRX (née Ballade Sports CR-X) and its erstwhile successors, the del Sol and CR-Z.
Continue Reading Compact Cult Classic: The 1984-1991 Honda CRX
The original Ford Fiesta, introduced in 1976, was the Ford Motor Company’s most important new car of the seventies. It was a staggeringly expensive project that began Ford’s conversion to front-wheel drive and took the company into the modern B-segment for the first time. However, the Fiesta also provoked great internal controversy and emerged only after a protracted and contentious development period. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we look at the origins and history of the 1976–1983 Mk1 Fiesta, the Fiesta XR2 hot hatch, and the 1984–1989 Mk2 Fiesta.
(Photo © 2012 Murilee Martin); used with permission)
Continue Reading Party Downsize: The Ford Fiesta Mk1 and Mk2
If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed our new look: We’re now on a new and considerably updated content management system with what we’re hoping will be better functionality and better security.
This process has been not unlike swapping an engine into a car in which it was never designed to go and there are probably going to be some glitches. (There was a problem with the redirections from old URLs that we’re hoping is now fixed.) If you find technical problems, please let us know.
The Triumph 2000 was a hit, giving the Rover 2000 a run for its money and demonstrating that there was a lucrative market for affordable premium sedans. The Mk 2 edition, introduced in the fall of 1969, seemed set to continue that success, but with Triumph now part of the British Leyland Motor Corporation, the 2000’s future would soon be in doubt. In part 2 of our story, we look at the later history of the big Triumph 2000, 2.5 PI, and 2500TC/2500S sedans.
(Triumph 2000 Mk2 Photo © 2013 Richard Wiseby; used with permission)
Continue Reading Class Acts, Part 2: Triumph 2000, 2.5 PI, and 2500 Mk 2
Although the Triumph 2000 made little impression on American buyers, it was a very significant car for the British market, the first salvo in a bitter war between traditional big sedans and upscale “premium” offerings that still rages today. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we look at the origins of the 2000 Mk 1, its links to its Rover P6 arch-rival, and the first 2.5 PI.
Continue Reading Class Acts, Part 1: The Triumph 2000 and 2.5 PI Mk 1
The original Lincoln Zephyr is often overshadowed by its glamorous offspring, the Lincoln Continental, but both are milestone cars. The sleek, streamlined Zephyr saved Lincoln from extinction during the Depression and marked Ford’s first tentative step into the middle market. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we look at the origins and evolution of the 1936-1948 Lincoln-Zephyr and 1940-1948 Lincoln Continental.
Continue Reading Like the Wind: The Lincoln Zephyr and Continental
Some cars can be understood only in the context of their time; others were puzzling in their day, but now make perfect sense. When the six-cylinder 230SL debuted 50 years ago this past March, it was a considerable departure from previous Mercedes sports cars and some observers weren’t quite sure what to make of it. However, it established a very successful niche that’s still going strong today. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we examine the origins and development of the Mercedes-Benz W113 series: the 1963–1971 Mercedes-Benz 230SL, 250SL, and 280SL.
Continue Reading Subtle Sport: The 1963-1971 Mercedes W113 Roadsters
As I’ve said before, one of the things you notice when you do a lot of research in a particular field is that certain pieces of information are repeated over and over again even though they’re wrong. I’ve made those mistakes myself — some times that I know about and probably others I have yet to discover — so I can’t claim any particular moral high ground here, but when I recognize one of these errors, I try to rectify it as best I can.
One common misconception I’ve noticed recently regards Ford in the late fifties and early sixties and the careers of Robert McNamara and Lee Iacocca. Let’s see if we can set it straight:
Continue Reading A Historical Note: Ford General Managers