Posts from ‘Review Flashback!’

1980 Toyota Cressida Review

1980 Toyota Cressida Wagon

It’s almost like a trivia question: What Japanese station wagon combined a luxury cabin, rear-wheel drive, and rear leaf-spring suspension with a Toyota Supra engine and woodie trim?

1980 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

1980 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

Art lovers aren’t accustomed to finding flaws in masterpieces, and a couple of decades ago, auto writers weren’t accustomed to talking smack about Mercedes-Benz.

1990 Mitsubishi Sigma

1990 Mitsubishi Sigma

According to at least one source, Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, despite having completed an estimated 900 works. Incredible as it may seem now, contemporaneous critics found Van Gogh’s work to be dark and lifeless—a snub that no doubt helped pave the way to the artist’s eventual suicide.

1984 Saab 900 Turbo

1984 Saab 900 

By 1984, the term “yuppie” was officially part of the American vernacular. Almost always applied in the pejorative, anyone dubbed a yuppie was expected to be self centered and profit motivated. Riding a wave of Wall Street growth, many of these young business successes were wont to flaunt their gains, often by dressing well, and driving well.

1986 Pontiac Grand Am

1986 Pontiac Grand Am LE

It would be difficult to find another Eighties car that better illustrated the occasional gap between auto-critic opinion and actual sales than the Pontiac Grand Am. 

1980 Plymouth Volare

1980 was the last year for Plymouth’s “compact” Volaré.

I think it’s fairly typical of people to group memories into convenient categories. Most people probably look back at their lives thus far and see periods of time easily identified by markers such as childhood, high school, post-acne, and marriage—or something akin to that. But, our memories can play tricks on us.


1980 Plymouth Gran Fury

When Chrysler Corporation rolled out its redesigned big car for 1979, it did so without including a Plymouth in the lineup. New for 1979—though arguably not new enough—were the Dodge St. Regis, replacing the Royal Monaco, and the Chrysler New Yorker and Newport, the latter of which was intended to be the affordable big car in Chrysler/Plymouth showrooms.

1975 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL.

The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL was the 1975 Consumer Guide luxury-category Best Buy.

According to Consumer Guide© Auto ’75, Best Buy selections are, “chosen on the basis of market research into what buyers in each category are seeking in their cars; and on a straight-forward, dollars-and-cents evaluation of what buyers are getting in quality, durability, economy, and function.”


1985 Buick Riviera

It happened to the Ford Thunderbird in 1980, and it was about to happen to General Motors’ “E-Body” cars in 1986–a downsizing so dramatic and so incredibly unpopular as to render classic model names moot in the eyes of new-car shoppers.


Accord prices started at $8,245 for the base sedan with manual transmission. A 2-door hatchback was also offered.

I would argue that it was the ’82 Accord that changed the way Americans thought about Japanese cars. By this time many car shoppers had heard good things about Honda, but the cars were still a little too small, a little too modestly powered, and a little too, well, Japanese-looking. That all changed for 1982. All new that year, Accord grew up before shoppers’ eyes. The car now stood taller, boasted substantial-looking creased lines, and offered a decent increase in horsepower and torque. Also worth noting, 1982 was the first year for U.S. Accord production.

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