Confession is good for the soul. And boy, you confessed a lot this week.
We asked our Facebook audience, “Which car are you embarrassed to admit you love?” We fully expected to hear from diehard Ford fans who have a secret affection for Chevrolets, as well as unwavering Chevy fans who secretly love Fords. We were right.
We were a bit surprised by the overwhelming support for American Motors, but considering the question that we asked, is that a good thing?
Antonio Scarpacci can take credit for the oddest secret crush. He shared his love for South Korea’s 1980s Daewoo Royale: “No exhaust, no floorboards, no wipers, but it ran like heck.” Not exactly a love note that Shakespeare would write, but we get the picture.
Our favorite post came from Dan Watkins, who wrote three hilarious words that will be repeated around the office for weeks to come: “Cimarron. By Cadillac.” Thanks, Dan.
And kudos to admirers of the Chevy Citation (particularly the X-11), who stood tall and proved once again that every automobile, no matter how much it may be dissed by the general public, is someone’s favorite. Of course, we also happened to use a photo of an X-11 when we posed the question, which may have tipped the scale a bit. Regardless, Citation admirers answered the bell.
1980-85 Chevrolet Citation X-11 – Of the 1.6 million Citations built, less than two percent – about 25,000 – were X-11s. That makes them comparatively rare…and perhaps more desirable…to some.
“I owned a Chevy X-11 just like the one in the picture,” John Penree wrote. “It was a fun car to drive, manual 4-speed with a (2.8-liter) V-6.”
Brian Hiscock admitted that his first car was an X-11, and Craig Nelson lamented, “I haven’t seen a Chevy Citation on the road in a very long time.” Kevin Nichols has, however. “I see one driven every day in Manhattan, Kan., that looks showroom new: Two-tone turd brown … sexy. LOL.”
1981-83 AMC Eagle SX/4 – American Motors launched the Eagle SX/4 for the 1981 model year, and while it had some high points – Gene and Gary Henderson raced one in the 1982 SCCA Pro Rally – it was dropped after 1983.
AMC billed the SX/4 as “the sports car that doesn’t always need a road,” but the Standard Catalog of American Cars (1976-86) wrote that the SX/4 two-door hatchback “hardly qualified as a sports car.” Standard engine was GM’s 151-cid (2.5-liter) four-cylinder “Iron Duke.”
The Eagle received its share of accolades from this crowd. Nichols cleverly managed to praise the Eagle SX4 while throwing another AMC model under the bus. “Brother, when I was in Junior High (cough, cough ... 35 years ago) I lusted after an Eagle SX4,” he wrote. “My folks drove a Concord ... What were they thinking?”
1960-69 Chevrolet Corvair – Actually, Corvair ownership isn’t as “embarrassing” as it once was. Ralph Nader made a name for himself – and certainly earned a few unprintable nicknames within the auto industry – with the 1965 release of his anti-Corvair book, Unsafe at Any Speed. Nader, a lawyer and consumer advocate, claimed the 1960-63 Corvair’s rear-suspension design was dangerously flawed, but many still feel that his findings were unjust. Corvairs have never been more popular than they are today.
1970-78 AMC Gremlin – The subcompact Gremlin was AMC’s attempt to beat Ford and GM to the punch, but Los Angeles Times columnist Dan Neil wondered if the company’s design team simply “whacked off the rear of the AMC Hornet with a cleaver.” With its long nose and short rear end, the car does look a little out of proportion. Still, Gremlin lovers are like a dog with a bone – tough to convince them the car isn’t beautiful.
1971-80 Ford Pinto – Another that was highly criticized, primarily for safety reasons. The Ford Pinto was clouded by controversy over its fuel tank design (let’s just say that rear-end collisions sometimes resulted in fire). Pinto lovers have no problem making fun of the car’s history, however. Pintos often show up at low-brow Concours d’Lemons events wearing “Caution: Flammable” signs.
1984-88 Pontiac Fiero – Another model with a “this thing catches on fire” reputation, the Fiero was also underpowered. But it still has its share of admirers. By the time Pontiac finally got it right with the 1988 GT model, GM shut down production.
1975-80 AMC Pacer – Car and Driver magazine dubbed it “The Flying Fishbowl.” Like the Pinto, it’s a Concours d’Lemons regular. Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth.
1981-90 Ford Escort – We’re talking first-gen Escorts here – Ford’s first front-wheel-drive car built in North America. Not much else in the notebook that’s printable.
1976-1987 Chevrolet Chevette – Chevy sold 2.6 million of these. My parents owned one, and I have a vivid memory of my dad sitting in the car in our driveway, posing for a photo that emphasized the rusted-out floorboards in this beauty. Much like Fred Flintstone brakes his car, Dad’s feet are flat on the ground just behind the front tires. Wilma!
1980s Yugo GV/GVL – Neil (there’s that funny guy again) once wrote: “Built in Soviet-bloc Yugoslavia, the Yugo had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint.” We could leave it there, but you get the last word – or Joseph Bates does anyway: “Stupid great fun for a dirt cheap price.” We’ll have to trust you on that, Joseph.