Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we have reports from Road & Track, Yahoo! Autos and Japanese Nostalgic Car.
Of midgets and men – Road & Track
I've written about my father who loved the Miata so much he bought one in 1991, despite the fact he was almost 40, balding and divorced. Definitely not a "Sensitive New Age Guy," as Jack Baruth would say. Actually, he did use that phrase in his column.
When, exactly, did two-seat sports cars fall out of favor with the Marlboro Man set? It has to be a fairly recent development, certainly more recent than, say, the Carter Administration. I know this because my father bought a brand-new, bright-yellow MG Midget in 1979, from the British Leyland dealer outside Baltimore, MD. You wouldn't know it to look at me, but my father is and was a very traditional American dude. His purchase of the Midget didn't trail his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps by all that many years. He played baseball in college. I think he punched a guy once for just looking at my mom. We're not talking about a Sensitive New Age Guy here.
So this is what $100 buys you these days. Actually, it's a lot better than you might think. It helps to have some luck.
I looked back at the Carfax history I pulled up the night before. The odometer sat at 93,463 original miles as of a year and a half ago. Some parts of the Explorer's history made sense, such as the nice 3,000 mile jumps in mileage over the last 15 years that reflected a low-mileage vehicle. Others, such as the title transfers and the lack of emissions in an emissions county, could have been any number of things.
Remembering the Honda City – Japanese Nostalgic Car
Hondas from the 1980s are generally admirable cars, and the little City is just adorable.
To achieve a car of subcompact size and efficiency yet with a livable amount of cabin room, the team settled on a space-maximizing upright stance that they dubbed "tall boy design." The resultant car debuted in 1981, powered originally by the ER 1.2-liter inline-4. Let's be clear: It was not a kei car (Honda's passenger kei car, the Today, would follow in 1985, looking like a junior City), but the clever packaging could comfortably seat four passengers and achieved excellent fuel economy. It was a runaway success.
Photo: Flickr/John Lloyd