Used to help launch Honda’s new upscale Acura brand, the Integra was a well-respected, affordable sports car that was produced from the mid-1980s to the mid-aughts. Its demise, like those of many other similar coupes, was due to market demand, not performance or safety issues.
Considered a luxury/sports car hybrid priced just in range of the average consumer, the Acura TL was a flagship vehicle for the automaker. It was considered safe, capable, and it retained its value well over the years. The company took a chance nonetheless, blending their lower end TSX and higher end TL into the mid-price TXL.
The unique AMC Eagle merged the convenience of a compact sedan with the capabilities of a four-wheeler vehicle. At the time of its release in 1979, it was the only 4WD passenger car, and its off-road capabilities matched that of a Jeep or other smaller four-wheel drive automobile.
Produced between 1967 and 1974, the AMC Javelin was a sleek, powerful-looking pony car that matched many other muscle cars of its day in looks and performance. The carmaker itself, the American Motor Company, would fold a little more than a decade after Javelin production ceased.
The gorgeous Austin-Healy 3000 was a British sports car sold for almost a decade, with the first model released in 1959. A winning road racer in its day, these classic cars remain popular with collectors today.
Released in the year 2000, the BWM Z8 seemed to finally be the successful roadster the company had been trying to make for years, starting with the much smaller Z3. Though only produced for the years, the capable Z8 outperformed many much more expensive supercars in terms of acceleration, braking, and handling.
Celebrated by its drivers but never a top-seller, the surprisingly capable Chevy SS saw its last production year in 2017. Though styled more like a luxury sedan, the car was powered more like a sports car, what with its 415 HP V8 engine.
Produced between 1968 and 1979 and then again between 1983 and 1985, the Chevy Nova was one of the most popular compact pony cars on the road, at least in its earlier iterations. The 1980s models were considerably less powerful than their predecessors.
The Volt is considered one of the first effective mass-market electric vehicles, though it is technically a hybrid owing to an internal combustion engine that kicks in when the battery power nears draining. It debuted in 2011, but 2019 will be the last model year for the Chevy Volt.
Though today both the Cord 812 luxury touring car and the Cord Automobile company itself are largely forgotten, the stunning 812, with its long hood, sloping wheel covers, and domed cabin was perfectly representative of the tastes of the Gangster Era of the 1930s.
The Datsun 510 was small and lightweight, nimble and quick. While hardly a luxury car inside or out, its looks were elegantly simple and its low price and ease of repair made it quite desirable among cost-conscious consumers.
The first car called a Dodge Dart was sold throughout the 1960s and well into the 70s — the original Darts were reliable, affordable, came in hot rod models popular with auto enthusiast. Dodge revived the name for a more compact sedan released in 2012, but the latter day model never caught on and was produced for just half a decade.
The 2018 model year was the swan song for the Cadillac ATS, a sad fact for car lovers everywhere who consider this compact luxury sedan dynamic and capable. Sold for half a decade, the ATS was popular with many critics and with owners, but it failed to gain enough foothold in the sector dominated by cars like the BMW 3-Series.
Cadillac Coupe DeVille
This big, beautiful vehicle was produced for nearly half a century, with the first iconic Cadillac DeVille land yacht-style cars sold in 1958. With a number of changes, the model remained in production until 2005.
Cadillac El Dorado
This large, luxurious vehicle came in both hardtop and convertible configurations and was for years the best selling luxury two-door car in America. The coupe was produced from 1953 until 2002.
Chrysler Town & Country
While minivans are aspirational vehicles for few, the Town & Country was a staple automobile for families across America and beyond during its 27-year run. From the faux-wood paneled editions of the 1990s to the sleeker makes of the 2000s, the Town & Country was never thrilling, but always safe and reliable.
Ferrari 308 GTS
Though perhaps dated in looks now, the Ferrari 308 GTS was an iconic flagship of the Italian automaker from the mid 1970s well into the 1980s. You likely recognize it as the car from Magnum P.I.
The Fiat 850, manufactured between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, was the antithesis of the pony cars of the same era. Compact and affordable, more than two million of these cars were sold in myriad variations, including a convertible and even a small camper.
For almost exactly two decades, a new Ford Focus was a common sight on roads around the globe, often the proud first new car of the driver behind the wheel. Safe, fuel-efficient, and priced to sell, the first Focus was sold in the midsummer of 1998, the last ever produced in the late spring of 2018.
The Thunderbird was one of the most famous cars of the 20th century and was produced for several years into the 21st. T-Birds saw eleven distinct generations, with some of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s models beloved, while the Thunderbirds of the 2000s were nearly universally reviled.
While hardly an icon of style or power or performance, the Geo Metro was nonetheless a popular vehicle for many years, made (by two different carmakers) from 1989 until 2001. Affordable, fuel-efficient, and relatively reliable, it was the perfect car for many consumers.
Honda Del Sol
Built on a Honda Civic chassis, the compact, maneuverable semi-convertible (AKA targa top) Del Sol was mocked by some, but loved by many. Available with options for engines rated from 102 to 160 horsepower, some Del Sol models were quite fast and capable. The car was nonetheless cut from the lineup in 1998.
The four-seat, two-door Honda Prelude was produced from 1978 until 2001 and went through five different generations. Beloved by its drivers, the Prelude ultimately succumbed to competition from cars like the Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Toyota Celica, and even Honda’s own Accord Coupe.
During its decade-long production life, from 1999 to 2009, the Honda S2000 was one of the most popular entry-level roadsters sold. It earned awards such as “Best Affordable Sports Car” (twice) and was on top ten lists in almost every year of its production. The auto industry crisis that began in 2008 would kill off the S2000.
The gas-guzzling and less-than-logical Hummer H2 was a beloved behemoth to many, an aspirational achievement for others, and an object of ire for many more. As revered as it was reviled, this massive machine was sold from 2002 to 2009.
Imperial was Chrysler’s luxury division for a number of years in the middle of the 20th century. The brand released several makes called simply Imperial as well as makes like the Imperial Crown Convertible and the Imperial Southampton. The 1957-to-1966 makes of Imperial were the widest production cars ever made, spanning more than 81.5 inches across.
For a time, the Jaguar XJ220 supercar was the world’s fastest production car, with a reported top speed of 217 miles per hour. Fewer than 300 of this celebrated halo car were ever produced.
This classic sports car was produced between 1974 and 1990; its aggressive styling would become emblematic of the excesses of the 1980s. The Countach was the first mainstream production vehicle to use scissor doors, the type that rotate upward from a fixed hinge.
Seen in a James Bond movie, “Pretty Woman,” and many other films and shows, the Lotus Esprit was a symbol of the 1970s and ’80s, and was in fact produced until 2004. Angular, sleek, and low, the Esprit looked as fast as it was.
The Mazda RX-7 was beloved of auto enthusiasts for its handling, its style, and for the rare rotary engine that powered the vehicle. Eschewing typical piston engines, the lightweight rotary engine delivered an exceptional power-to-weight ratio.
Though identical to the Ford Explorer in many ways, the Mercury Mountaineer was an upscale SUV perfectly suited to the boom in bigger cars and trucks that began in the 1990s. Sold for 14 years, from 1996 to 2010, the Mountaineer disappeared along with the Mercury brand itself.
The Eclipse was produced over four generations, its production lasting from 1990 to 2012. The sporty, compact car was popular with young drivers and also with rally and road racers, though most car enthusiasts preferred the earlier generation Eclipses and were critical of the cars produced in the 2000s.
While decidedly — though charmingly — dated looking today, the Nash Motors Airflyte was a cutting-edge vehicle when it was produced in 1949. Developed with extensive wind tunnel testing, the car was highly aerodynamic, withe everything from the shape of the windshield to the fenders calculated to reduce drag.
This big, powerful muscle car came with a variety of engine packages over the years, including a make that had 160 horses under the hood all the way to an option packing a 400 horsepower motor.
For nearly sixty years, the Packard Motor Car Company produced some of the finest-looking automobiles in America. The company merged with (soon-to-be-defunct) Studebaker in 1953, but not before producing cars including the stunning Packard Eight, one of the most celebrated touring cars of the 1930s.
For the first few decades of the 20th century, a Pierce-Arrow car was the height of luxury, used by movie stars, politicians, and the super rich. It’s little surprise, then, that the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company folded in 1938 having failed to gain sales among the general populace.
The affordable Plymouth Duster was produced for six years during the 1970s. It came in multiple varieties with names such as Gold Duster, Feather Duster, and Space Duster. While emblematic of a set of compact sporty coupes of its day, it ultimately could not compete with more popular models like the Mustang.
Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am
Perhaps best known from the TV show “Smokey and the Bandit,” the Pontiac Firebird was a classic American sports car produced from the late 1960s through the early 2000s. The best known Firebird model was the Trans-Am, a specialty package created expressly for this Pontiac car.
The luxurious, speedy grand touring car called the Porsche 928 was sold from 1978 through 1995. It had a powerful V8 engine under the hood and a 2+2 seating arrangement, thus able to accommodate four people (though the rear seats were quite small), a marked departure from the rear engine, two-seat cars for which Porsche was known.
Though never considered a stunner in terms of looks, the Saab 900 was perennially considered a capable and comfortable car. 900s were sold for 20 years and came in four-door, coupe, and convertible varieties.
The compact, relatively low-priced, and generally well-liked Saturn Sky was a roadster that punched above its price point, packing up to 290 HP under the hood with an optional upgrade kit. Though a respected car in its own right, the Sky went out of production after just three years when Saturn LLC folded in 2010.
Shelby AC Cobra
The Shelby Cobra roadster was intermittently produced for more than 50 years, with the first vehicles sold in 1962, and a limited release run of 50 cars produced to make the half-century celebration of the vehicle.
Now defunct US automaker Studebaker used the name Commander for a number of cars, but none would be so iconic of its era as the Studebaker Commander Custom Cruising Sedan released in the 1940s. These curvaceous art deco vehicles call the WWII era to mind at once.
Though long gone from the market today, the low-cost, lightweight, but highly capable Suzuki Samurai 4WD vehicle was for a time so popular it outsold the Jeep Wrangler by a two-to-one margin.
MTX Tatra V8
You’ve probably never heard of the MTX Tatra V8 if you’ve even heard of Tatra, the Czech automaker in business since the 19th century. While the company only built four of their MTX Tatra V8s back in the early 1990s, it remains the fastest car ever made by a Czech company.
The Celica was produced for an exceptionally long run, spanning from 1970 to 2006. In that 35-plus year span, the coupe was continually upgraded to match the style of the times. Eventually, as SUVs ascended and compact sports cars waned in popularity, changing tastes led to the end of the line for the Celica.
One of the more affordable compact sports car for sale between the mid-1980s and the early 2000s, the Toyota MR2 was popular based on its great handling and eye-catching looks. It was prized by a small core group of fans, but sales lagged over time.
More than half a million Triumph Heralds were sold during the compact car’s 12-year production run, which spanned from 1959 to 1971. During that time, the Triumph Motor Company was absorbed by another carmaker, and its brand was retired in the early ’80s.
VW Karmann Ghia
Odd name notwithstanding, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was for a time a beloved car thought of as a luxury vehicle at an affordable price. It was built between 1955 and 1974 and sold well in Europe and South America.
VW Type 2
The VW Type 2 minibus, icon of the hippies, is technically still produced today, though the modern VW T vans look nothing like the bulbous buses you picture with surfboards on the roof, guitars in the rear, and hair flowing out the windows. That classic split windshield ride was sold between 1950 and 1967.