1986 Toyota MR2
Ahh, the 1986 Toyota MR2. I first heard about this particular version of the MR2 when my college CS professor told us he had one back in the 80s. Basically, this thing shouldn’t even be street legal. It weighs practically nothing. It’s mid engine. It’s got basically no storage space and only two seats. Yeah, this thing is made for one purpose: driving.
1976 Porsche 914
There aren’t many Porsches I like, but those that I do, I really like. Like the slogan says, there really is no substitute. These cars truly are beautiful and classic. I love the 914 for its mid-engine design and targa top. The addition of the flat-4 or flat-6 engine really tickles me in exactly the right way.
Pontiac Fiero (My mid-engine fallback)
This car is all mullet. I mean look at it. Those lines? How could this possibly be American? It looks like a Ferrari, or Lambo. It’s hard to believe that an American car company actually produced a mid-engine sports car. They did, and this was it. Possibly the only GM I’d consider buying. I hate the interior, especially the dash and gauge cluster, but damn, you know you could have some fun in this car.
1993 Alfa Romeo Spider
I’ve actually seen quite a few of these in real life over the years. I have no idea what it is about it that I love so much. I mean, there are plenty of small sporty European convertibles out there, why this one? I think I like the lines and the Italian styling of it. It’s just got something that your MGs and Austin-Healys don’t have. Yes, I’m aware that some feel the natural state of Alfas is parked on the side of the road with the hood up, but I still love this car.
I’ve never actually seen an X1/9 in real life. To be honest, I suspect they’re all rusted out into oblivion at this point. Like the 914, it’s mid engined and targa topped. I’d probably choose the 914 over this only because I prefer German engineering to Italian (and that flat 4), but otherwise, I feel they’re very comparable cars.
1996 Subaru Alcyone SVX
Ever since I saw one of these in real life, I’ve been hooked. It looks so unassuming but the technology involved was amazing. A rocking boxer flat 6, split windows, all wheel drive…basically Subaru porn. The only downside to this is they didn’t make any with standard transmissions because there were no clutches that could handle the torque. Still, this is a really great car that would be loads of fun to drive.
1981-1988 Toyota Celica
In watching Group-B rally videos, I often saw a car with very straight lines that I didn’t recognize. Some digging revealed it was actually a Toyota Celica. I love the unassuming look of these cars and feel they could potentially be underrated 80s classics. I’ve never seen one in real life, but they are Toyotas, so I feel there ought to be plenty kicking around out there today.
This car makes me giddy. Inline 5-cylinder, all wheel drive, lockable center diff. Oh my god, Audi. It’s not too much to look at, but the sound of these things just makes me swoon. Not sure about the balance of that big inline-5 in the front, but I’m sure the AWD more than makes up for it in the driving experience. That plus German engineering, the rallying legacy of this machine…I’d definitely want to scoop one up if I could find one. I have seen them around so they can’t be too tricky to find.