Pontiac had long pined for a two-seat sports car, only to be rejected by GM management on the grounds that such a car would compete too closely with the Corvette. But as fuel efficiency became a compelling issue in the late 1970s, engineer Hulki Aldikacti successfully pitched management a plastic-body, mid-engine two-seater. The key was that it wasn’t a sports car, but a cute little fuel sipper for cost-conscious commuters. “It was kind of a backdoor car,” explains Gregg Peterson, an engineer for Pontiac at the time. To avoid raising any suspicions at the corporate level, official drawings of the car showed only a four-cylinder engine aft of the rear seats. “But in every drawing we made sure a V-6 would fit,” says Peterson.
My thoughts about the car? I owned one, a 1986 GT model, without the rear spoiler. I had no mechanical issues during my ownership of it. It was a well-rounded two-seater, with decent power, good handling, and good aural characteristics. I was impressed with the facts that it had mass (ie, it wouldn’t just disappear in a crash), there was ample interior space, it had a small but very deep trunk in the rear of the vehicle and I still had space enough in the vehicle to throw two sub-woofer boxes behind the seats. Many people nowadays measure vehicles by how much power their engines produce. I don’t think anyone in the 80s era expected this car to be an over-achiever. It was good for what it was. It’s a pity the car died after only 4 years of production, as the last versions were very good.
It is indeed a classic…and no, not all cars reach classic status. All cars age, but not all become memorable.
Motoring is reporting that a new Mazda sports car will arrive in 2017 with a turbocharged rotary engine making around 450 hp.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a return of the rotary. Way back in 2011, when the rotary-powered Mazda RX-8 was going out of production, we reported that a next-generation rotary engine could appear by 2017. This corroborates Motoring’s story, who say that this new, small-displacement turbocharged rotary would make its way into a new Mazda sports car that will likely be called the Mazda RX-7. In 2013, we reported that a new RX-8 replacement could arrive by 2017 with direct fuel injection — so long as Mazda had already bolstered its profits by selling more mainstream cars.
Note: I’m iffy on if some of these manufactures should delve in the past. After seeing hints of what the NSX could be, I keep thinking that when these older cars were first designed and sold, they had certain goals in mind: high performance, affordable, lightweight, great handling dynamics. When we see these cars being brought back to life in today’s world, they’re usually unattainable by the masses, ultra-complicated, heavy, and while having great handling dynamics, it usually isn’t because of the suspension alone (it’s usually tied to a computer). IMO, that’s not good. This is why I’ve always loved the simplicity of the Subaru BRZ. You have all that in a tiny car that was designed to give the driver/owner enjoyment…there’s no need for 300HP, or sophisticated systems to assist the driver in having fun. I’m pretty sure the next RX-7 won’t be such a car.
The fact that the US-spec version of the Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t turn into a weighted-down pig of a car due to US-mandated requirements is pretty amazing! In fact, the review states that the car being driven was particularly robust.
Although I’m usually pretty vocal about this car not being the end-all-be-all of hardcore sports cars (the car has been quite sensationalized), the car is gorgeous and I love the “lighter is quicker” concept. It’s not the car I desire, but I’d be lying if I stated the car was ugly and not a driver’s car.
Another review is here (Automobile Magazine is the author of the article).
I continue to see bickering and arguments (and just general piss-tivity) over the fact that Subaru nixed the hatch for 2015. So, here’s a documented reason. Note that I’ve posted articles stating some reasons before, but I haven’t posted this particular reason (or article):
One big change that might upset some of the faithful is that Subaru is dropping the hatchback. It’s an unexpected move given that the hatchback/sedan split has been running about fifty/fifty. Subaru product planners explain that they had to sacrifice the second body style in order to get the greater degree of differentiation from the Impreza that they were seeking with the new WRX.