Bored? Learn About Seven Cars You’ve Probably Never Heard Of


Whether or not you prefer it or not, you’ve got bought some free time to spend at house proper about now. We’re right here that will help you take advantage of it, so when you sit on the sofa munching on that bowl of chips, why not learn up on among the weirder, extra esoteric four-wheeled wonders you most likely have not heard about earlier than?

The phrase “obscure” holds completely different weight relying on the particular person, and on this regard, we picked a number of automobiles we imagine our common car-minded reader from the States has seemingly by no means seen or examine earlier than. (As distinct from “forgotten” rides that had been offered right here, such as these ’80s models, or these rad ’90s cars, or these convertibles.) On this bizarre, wacky world of obscure automobiles, there seemingly are a zillion one-off prototypes, failed ideas, mannequin variants, and defunct manufacturers we may fill a literal tome with, so listed below are some automobiles that occupy the perimeter between absolute obscura and a model or design you may acknowledge.

1967 Trident Clipper

Sharp wanting automobile, is not it? Most sports activities GTs of this period had been, even when they weren’t commercially profitable. The good-looking Trident Clipper traces its genesis again to one among TVR’s many, many monetary tough spots, when in 1965, the struggling British automaker developed aluminum-bodied coupe and roadster GTs for that 12 months’s Geneva auto present. Each had been designed by Trevor Frost at Carrozzeria Fissore.

The 4 TVR Tridents made earlier than the corporate handed off the design rights stay the one metal-bodied TVRs within the firm’s lengthy, turbulent historical past. In 1966, TVR supplier Invoice Final assumed management of the nascent Trident challenge and launched the namesake firm, working with Fissore to supply fiberglass our bodies for the Austin-Healey 3000 chassis.

Very like the up to date TVRs, Tridents had been quick, knife-edged sports activities coupes, particularly with the 4.7-liter (289 ci) Ford V-Eight underneath their clamshell hoods. Initially, the Clipper was accessible as a equipment or a accomplished automobile, and solely with the aforementioned V-8. Later, the visually related Venturer and Tycoon included a Triumph TR6 chassis and utilized a Ford 3.0-liter V-6 (Venturer) and a Triumph 2.5-liter inline-six (Tycoon).

Irrespective of the mannequin, not many Tridents had been made between 1966 and 1977—solely 39 Clippers, 84 Venturers, and 7 Tycoons left the workshop flooring.

1952-1953 Allstate

Earlier than each Amazon and Walmart grew to become synonymous with “the every part retailer,” Sears Roebuck was a retail mega-giant. For the higher a part of the 20th century, Sears provided an absurd choice of items, starting from garments, instruments, furnishings, home equipment, groceries, and homes. Yup, homes.

In fact, automobiles wormed their approach into the Sears Roebuck catalog a number of occasions, notably with the 1952-53 Allstate. Henry J. Kaiser of the Kaiser-Frazer Corp. struck a cope with Sears Roebuck to rebadge his comparatively unpopular Kaiser J automobile and promote it via the Sears Roebuck catalogue as an inexpensive and simply bought different to mainstream automobiles.

So, for 2 mannequin years, patrons may order an Allstate from a list for between $1,486-$1,785, or $14,000-$17,700 in 2020 {dollars}. Variations between the Kaiser-branded Henry J had been slight, and restricted to additional inside niceties and a few extra exterior aesthetic touches. The Allstate retained the Henry J’s selection of Willys-built 2.2-liter and a pair of.6-liter inline-four cylinders, providing 68 horsepower and 80 hp, respectively.

The Allstate wasn’t notably common, solely promoting 2,363 examples earlier than discontinuation after the 1953 mannequin 12 months.

1964-1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga

Fast, title each De Tomaso variant you possibly can consider. Uh-huh, that is what we thought; each fanatic price their engine oil is aware of the Pantera, much less so the dramatic and eminently fussier Mangusta. Fewer know obscure automobiles just like the Deauville and Longchamp, and whereas that is a crying disgrace, it is the unique and infrequently mentioned Vallelunga that captures our Italian-American hybrid daydreams.

The mellifluously named Vallelunga was the primary manufacturing automobile to put on the De Tomaso title, and it did the budding model proud. Intricately engineered, the Vallelunga boasted a metal chassis with a rear tubular subframe, absolutely impartial double-wishbone suspension, and disc brakes in any respect 4 corners. The mid-mounted 1.5-liter four-cylinder from a Ford Cortina was hardly a powerhouse, however 104 hp was greater than sufficient for the 1,600-pound fiberglass-bodied automobile.

Need one? Yeah, you and everybody else. Good luck discovering one for an inexpensive value, as De Tomaso made solely 58 Vallelungas.

1968-1974 LMX Sirex 2300 HCS

Now we’re actually within the weeds. Not a lot is thought concerning the enigmatic LMX Sirex past surface-level historical past and mechanical particulars. The Milanese brainchild of Giovanni Madelli and Mochel Liprandi, this fiberglass grand tourer/sports activities coupe carries considerably elegant, considerably ungainly bodylines penned by design hero Franco Scaglione, fitted round a “spine” chassis that carried a 2.3-liter Ford Taunus V-6. Accessible in each coupe and drop-top configuration, the automobile was proven exterior the show corridor of the 1968 Turin auto present, since Madelli and Liprandi could not afford a spot on the present flooring.

Correct manufacturing numbers are spotty at greatest, however estimates say between 50 and 70 LMX Sirexs had been made.

1964-1967 Gordon-Keeble

Ah! One other British/European grand-tourer with luxurious attractiveness and an American coronary heart underneath its hood. Apologies for the GT saturation, however there have been tons of of those upstart automakers making an attempt to money in on the profitable luxurious phase. Designing the physique and growing a chassis was apparently the simple half, however engineering an engine proved to be one of many greatest challenges for plucky entrepreneurs, so that they usually sourced American powertrains because of the engines’ modular and strong nature.

Anyway, on to the Gordon-Keeble. Developed by former Peerless worker John Gordon and engineer Jim Keeble, this 2+2 wears devastatingly engaging bodywork penned by Giorgetto Guigiaro throughout his stint at Bertone. A 300-hp, 5.3-liter (327 ci) V-Eight sourced from a Chevrolet Corvette gives stellar reliability and efficiency, belying the cheeky tortoise mascot on this obscure automobile’s entrance badge. A neat 100 Gordon-Keebles had been made, so maintain an eye fixed out at British auctions on your likelihood at a bit of this class.

Arnolt-Aston

This one’s bought a number of threads to tie it collectively. Chicago-based industrialist Stanley H. “Wacky” Arnolt made a reputation for himself as importer of a variety of sports activities automobiles and roadsters created as coachbuilt collaborations between himself, a design home, and a British automaker. The Arnolt title is most carefully related to MG and Bristol, although Arnolt finagled a number of chassis from Aston Martin earlier than the automaker put the kibosh on gross sales.

The three roadsters variants of the seven Arnolt-Astons that did escape from AM’s clutches regarded an amazing deal just like the later Arnolt-Bristol roadster, with excessive sides and dramatic, curvaceous bodywork designed by Bertone’s Franco Scaglione. Based mostly on the mechanical underpinnings of the Aston Martin DB2/4, the automobile was fairly the thoroughbred—however apparently not sufficient to entice an official partnership between Aston and Arnolt, who quickly turned his consideration to the aforementioned Arnolt-Bristol.

Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1

We would be remiss if we did not embrace no less than one Japanese automobile on this record, seeing as there’s an amazing quantity of obscure automobiles discovered within the Japanese Home Market (JDM). Nonetheless, a lot of the cooler stuff has been breathlessly lined advert nauseum by the JDM superfans that populate a lot of the automotive media.

Within the spirit of coachbuilding, get an eyeful of the splendidly bizarre Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1. Autech—a tuning subsidiary of Nissan—commissioned Italian coachbuilder Zagato to Zagato-ize the prevailing Nissan Leopard, leading to a high-dollar, high-fashion coupe that’s definitely some of the pleasingly funky shapes to emerge from the design home. It has nothing to do with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV, by the best way, in case that wasn’t clear.

With built-in side-mirrors on the entrance quarter panels and angular bodylines that will look extra at house on an idea, this relic of the Japanese Bubble Period is without doubt one of the strangest and most alluring Nissans we have ever seen. The actual fact it made 280 hp from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 does not harm, both.

Out of the 203 models deliberate, Autech constructed 104 examples. They sometimes pop up on the market, so set a key phrase alert when you’ve bought the storage area.



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