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Murilee Martin, Contributor

Murilee Martin avatar
Once pushed an Opel Manta 50 miles using a '63 Impala wagon with tires tied to the front bumper

Articles

  • When you start looking at the General Motors family tree, things really start getting weird when you get to the part of the diagram that deals with the T-Body platform.

    The Chevette is the...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Toyota Space Cruiser

    All of these Guilty Pleasures episodes and not one Toyota? We need to fix that deficit pronto! As the owner of a vintage forward-control Detroit van, I tend to approve of weird mid-engined van designs. When we find a mid-engined van that was rushed to the North American market in order to compete...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Mitsuoka La Seyde

    Owning a blinged-out Excalibur, Zimmer Golden Spirit, Stutz Blackhawk, or other Fat-Elvis-In-Vegas-style coachbuilt flashmobile is, by default, something of a guilty pleasure. However, there's a certain ironic appeal to these cars that some car lovers will appreciate. Not your neighbors, mind you...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Asüna Sunfire

    Weird examples of badge engineering and license-building always warm my heart. The Iran Khodro Paykan, for example, or perhaps the IKA-Renault Torino. The Big Three Detroit automakers got into some strange mirror-world marques when they crossed the border into Canada, where you could buy Mercury...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Renault Medallion

    We've only had a single Renault in this series (unless you count the more AMC-ized Eagle Premier), which seems odd. Renault has made some weird cars that leave Americans completely bewildered, and some of those cars remain inexplicably unloved in spite of their incomprehensible Frenchness. The...

  • Guilty Pleasure: 1961-63 Pontiac Tempest With Trophy 4 Engine

    Most of the vehicles in this series were built in the last 25 years, but what about classic Detroit cars that nobody in their right mind would want? The early Pontiac Tempest was a John Delorean-backed machine with plenty of wildly innovative features, including a rear-mounted transaxle and...

  • We haven't seen a Nissan product in this series since the Datsun 810, way back in September, so we're due!

    I've thought about the odd-looking NX2000, but then someone on the 24 Hours of LeMons...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Sterling 825

    You know what would be a great idea? A Rover with Honda running gear and Lucas Electrics, that's what! When the Sterling showed up in North America for the 1987 model year, it seemed like a chance to get a British luxury interior with Acura Legend reliability. In practice, however, things didn't...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Packardbaker!

    Have we really sunk so low as to pursue the twisted dream of Chevy Sprint Turbo ownership? Of course! But sometimes one's Guilty Pleasure--the car you shouldn't want, but do want--can be a huge slab of classic American steel. By "classic" we mean "old," because the weirdly restyled and...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Chevrolet Sprint Turbo

    When The General decided to bolster his subcompact troops by adding a Chevrolet-badged Suzuki Cultus to the lineup, even the most devoted GM apologists had to admit that the three-cylinder Chevy was miserably underpowered. What the Sprint needed was that code word for "awesome" during the...

  • Guilty Pleasure: 1989-90 Turbo 5-Speed Chrysler Minivan

    We went a little crazy last week, diving into the toxic waters of Triumph Stag ownership, but you'd probably manage to find a handful of people who thought the Stag was quasi-cool. Where's the guilt? So, this week we'll be returning to Detroit and a vehicle that's both completely ridiculous and so...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Triumph Stag

    A lot of folks would be vaguely puzzled by your acquisition of an Acura Vigor, aka "The Forgotten Honda," but there's nothing like a classic British sports car to convince them that you've got a few lights out in the ol' marquee. For this series, however, there's a problem when trying to pick out...

  • The last few weeks of Guilty Pleasures have gone Ford, Oldsmobile, Infiniti… but, really, the Detroit-to-Japan Guilty Pleasure ratio has been way more skewed in Detroit's favor than just 3:1.

    ...
  • Guilty Pleasure: 1986 Ford Taurus

    The passenger pigeon was once one of the most common birds in North America, but the last one died in 1914. The first-generation Ford Taurus might be our automotive passenger pigeon; oh, sure, everyone recognizes the first Taurus as an important car, but has anyone thought to preserve any...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais with Quad 4 Engine

    We've seen a late-80s Oldsmobile in this series, and I'm still looking for a nice Trofeo for my personal collection of cars that cause the owner equal measures of pride and shame. The big problem with the Trofeo, however, was its lack of a screaming, way-over-one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch Quad 4...

  • Guilty Pleasure: 1990-1993 Infiniti Q45

    Nissan was a bit behind Honda and Toyota with the introduction of a German-fighting luxury marque for North America, but the very first Infiniti was quite a machine. Based on the mighty Nissan President (a car so majestic that I find myself scanning Japanese car classifieds and searching for...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Chrysler E-Class

    With the Mark I Fiesta "honored" last week, I feel that we've lingered on Ford products long enough. We haven't considered a Chrysler-built Guilty Pleasure since the first-gen LH, way back in October, and yet Chrysler has produced some of the guiltiest pleasures of all: cars you shouldn't want, but...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Ford Fiesta Mark I

    Last week, I was torn between the Pinto Cruising Wagon and the early Fiesta Ghia for the week's Guilty Pleasure, and went with the Pinto because millions of Yurpeans still love the early Fiesta. That makes this pleasure less guilty… or does it? The Fiesta was Ford's first real postwar shot...

  • I've been promising to get back to a FoMoCo Guilty Pleasure since the Lincoln Continental Mark V Givenchy Edition of more than a month ago, but then some stuff by Saab and Mazda distracted me from my...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Mazda RX-4

    Last week's Guilty Pleasure, the Saab Sonett, is one of those cars that several percent of car lovers think is pretty neat (the rest shy away in horror at the very sight of the flaky little fiberglass Swede). That means it's almost not shameful enough for our purposes. What we need this week, then...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Saab Sonett III

    I know, I was supposed to go back to Ford products after my detours for the Pontiac Sunbird 2000 Turbo and the Alfa Romeo 164, but this week I've been obsessing over Saab's sporty fiberglass machine of the early 1970s. You'd think that finding a Sonett would be hard. Not so! Just about every Sonett...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Pontiac 2000 Sunbird Turbo

    After last week's Guilty Pleasure, the unloved-by-Alfa-fanatics 164, it just seems right to get back to the good old U.S. of A for this week's car. Turbocharged front-wheel drive machines were all the rage during the Late Malaise Era, and GM was right there with the Ford EXP Turbo and Renault Fuego...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Alfa Romeo 164

    Since we've been so light on Ford products in this series, I thought I'd follow up the Givenchy Edition Lincoln Continental Mark V with another Dearborn machine... but then I saw an Alfa 164 on the highway today and felt this... yearning. Granted, the 164 that I saw was on a flatbed trailer and...

  • Guilty Pleasure: Lincoln Continental Mark V Givenchy Edition

    Since we've had a real shortage of Ford products in this series lately (the Tempo Diesel we saw last week was just a start), it's time we "honor" the Lincoln division's contributions to the world of you-gotta-be-sick-to-want-this-thing cars. The Continental Mark V, built for the 1977-79 model...

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