Because MotorWeek’s Retro Reviews Are the Best, We're Sharing a Few of Our Favorites

Because MotorWeek’s Retro Reviews Are the Best, We're Sharing a Few of Our Favorites

It doesn't matter if its European exotica, weird economy cars or the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, John Davis and his crew have driven them all.

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A youngish John Davis in a very fetching windbreaker announced the car you're about to see review.
John Davis and his crew have been doing the damn thing since 1981, and that means there are a lot of retro reviews to appreciate.
Screenshot: MotorWeek via YouTube

If you’re anything like us, then you’ve been watching the crew from MotorWeek put a veritable pantheon of cars through their paces. Whether they’re weaving through cones at Roebling Road or showing us how to get in and adjust the seats and steering wheel, something about MotorWeek’s reviews puts the Jalop staff into a state of tonic immobility, like when you put a shark on its back.

Personally, I’ve overdosed on calmness, well-being and the milk of human kindness in simply putting together a collection of our favorite MotorWeek Retro Reviews from the show’s thriving YouTube channel, so kick back and get ready to enjoy the dulcet tones of Mr. John Davis as he tells you all about the...

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1976 De Tomaso Longchamp

1976 De Tomaso Longchamp

1976 De Tomaso Longchamp | Retro Review

Not only does the Longchamp rule for all the regular De Tomaso reasons — big American (or Australian, in this case) V8 paired with killer European styling — but this review does it true justice because it’s a Retro Review of a retro review complete with ‘90s slow motion and all the porno jazz you can stand for a soundtrack.

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2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4

2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4

2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4

The odds are good that if you’re under the age of 35, you’ve probably not only never seen a stock SRT-4, but that you’ve never even seen one that wasn’t a total clapped-out shitbox. That’s the beauty of these Retro Reviews, because now you can see what the gnarliest jumped-up crapcan that Dodge could produce in the early aughts was like in its heyday and, I don’t know about you, but it makes me pine for a different time.

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1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati

1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati

1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati | Retro Review

The TC by Maserati is the devil’s own nightmarish mashup of Italian styling and construction quality and 1980s Chrysler running gear and the end result is one of history’s great automotive blunders. This car is a joke, but seeing one here, in its prime kind of makes not seem so bad. Say, I wonder if there are any on Craigslist right now?

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2000 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Mojave Testing

2000 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Mojave Testing

2000 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Mojave Testing | Retro Review

The $200k-plus 911 Dakar can eat its heart out. The much-maligned 996 Carrera was out chewing up trails with big tires, a lifted suspension, light bars and (inexplicably) James Brolin in the year of our lord 2000. Now I have to go out and find a 996 C4 for cheap, slap an expensive safari suspension on it and end up divorced. Thanks MotorWeek and thanks James Brolin.

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1988 Oscar Meyer Weinermobile

1988 Oscar Meyer Weinermobile

1988 Oscar Mayer “Wienermobile” | Retro Review

In this, we learn that not only is the MkII Weinermobile based on a Chevy van chassis, but that it’s powered by a V6. This seems like a huge misstep, but that does nothing to dampen our desire to drive the hell out of one of these. Also is that a three-on-the-tree shifter we see at one point?

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1987 Peugeot 505 STX

1987 Peugeot 505 STX

1987 Peugeot 505 STX | Retro Review

The ‘80s were a magical time in many ways, not the least of which because you could still go out to a dealer and buy a brand new French car in these United States, and damnit, the Pug 505 STX is a great one. This is because this is the first time that the 505 got a V6 and Peugeot actually spent some time and money beefing up the oft-mocked PRV engine.

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1994 Detroit Auto Show

1994 Detroit Auto Show

1994 Detroit International Auto Show | Retro Review

The auto show as we know it has been dying for a few years now, so it’s both fun and a little sad to see them in their prime. The 1994 North American International Auto Show was packed with the finest offerings from automakers around the world and may be the first and last time that anyone was excited about a 1995 Chevy Lumina.

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1994 Los Angeles Auto Show

1994 Los Angeles Auto Show

1994's LA Auto Show | Retro Review

Maybe Detroit’s finest isn’t your thing? So, in that case, let’s visit the 1994 Los Angeles Auto Show which is especially notable for marking the introduction of Kia to the US market as well as the Mitsubishi 3000GT convertible. You can almost reach out and taste the smog!

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1995 Chevy Corvette ZR-1

1995 Chevy Corvette ZR-1

1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 | Retro Review

The C4 Corvette ZR-1 is only recently really starting to get the appreciation it deserves, but it’s a ‘Vette near and dear to our hearts. The ZR-1 was a technological powerhouse that was a killer example of what GM is capable of when it really flexes its muscle and doesn’t immediately step on a rake after. This Retro Review comes from the last year of ZR-1 production and it seems like John and company love it as much as we do.

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1987 Volvo 780 Bertone

1987 Volvo 780 Bertone

Odds are good that unless you’re a big Volvo nerd, you probably don’t know about the two Bertone models that the company released. The first one was based on the 200-series and looked like a chopped and channeled muscle brick. The later 780 Bertone is nothing if not cooler and doesn’t get enough credit for being interesting, luxurious and, in our opinion, gorgeous.

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1996 Panoz Roadster

1996 Panoz Roadster

1996 Panoz Roadster | Retro Review

Because the Plymouth Prowler just isn’t weird enough for some people.

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1996 Porsche 911 Targa

1996 Porsche 911 Targa

1996 Porsche 911 Targa | Retro Review

People love to sing the praises of the 993 generation 911 and we get it. It’s the last air-cooled model and it does the ‘90s styling thing well, but let’s be honest, when people think about driving their dream 993 along the California coast, most of them aren’t thinking of the weird-ass Targa model, or, at least we’re not. Just give us the convertible or coupe, thanks.

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1987 Chevy Sprint and Spectrum Turbo

1987 Chevy Sprint and Spectrum Turbo

1987 Chevy Sprint Turbo / Spectrum Turbo | Retro Review

I feel like John Davis is gaslighting me here, because I have no memory of Chevrolet ever producing these cars in any form, let alone in a hot (tepid) turbo form. Still, that little Sprint hatch is talking to me and I am genuinely curious how many have survived.

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1990 BMW M5

1990 BMW M5

1990 BMW M5 | Retro Review

The BMW E34 M5 has always been kind of the black sheep of its very fast family owing to it being bookended by the two greatest M5 models ever, the E28 and the E39. Here’s the thing, though, we’ve been doing the E34 M5 dirty for decades and John Davis is here to show us why.

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1989 Ford Taurus SHO

1989 Ford Taurus SHO

1989 Ford Taurus SHO | Retro Review

With its family-friendly dimensions and epic-screaming Yamaha-derived V6 engine, the Taurus SHO deserves its place in automotive valhalla. Also, if its good enough for Conan O’Brien to hang onto for all these years, then damnit, it’s good enough for us.

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1986 ASC McLaren Capri

1986 ASC McLaren Capri

1986 ASC McLaren Capri | Retro Review

ASC McLaren offered up a few special editions of American cars in the 1980s, and while the Pontiac Grand Prix generally hogs the lion’s share of the attention, we’d postulate that it’s the ASC McLaren Capri that truly slaps. It’s arguably the best looking, best handling and most sophisticated of the 1980s Mustangs and its derivatives, and the only real downside is that we’ve never seen one in person.

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1992 Rolls-Royce Factory Tour

1992 Rolls-Royce Factory Tour

1992 Rolls-Royce Factory Tour | Retro Review

While it could certainly be argued that the 1990s weren’t exactly a high-water mark for Rolls-Royce, the degree of craftsmanship on display during this 1992 factory tour is still worthy of admiration. Seeing someone hand-craft the radiator grille and then stamping his initials into the backside of it is pretty incredible.

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1980s GM Paint Technology

1980s GM Paint Technology

From the quiet, craftsmanship-oriented, low-volume production to the highest of high-tech paint procedures (in 1988), we enter our final MotorWeek retro video. This is hilarious because as time has gone on to show, GM’s paint in the ‘80s was nothing to write home about, let alone make a whole video on.

Also worth noting is that people sure looked weird in the ‘80s.

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