Every year, the Geneva International Motor show becomes a stage for manufacturers to showcase their most impressive and lust-worthy vehicles. This year, I was happy to see lots of attention given to a pure driving experience, though insane exotics were of course accounted for as well. If you want to see what the best cars were last year, you can check them out here. Onto this year's best cars...
Vancouver is a great place for spotting rare and exotic machinery. It isn’t uncommon to see a Ferrari or Lamborghini every single time you visit a wealthy area of the city centre. This has arguably cause me to become desensitized to the lowly supercar. Once in a while these cars deserve my respect and attention. Luckily, there was an event where I could poor over every detail of rare and exotic automobiles: The Vancouver Luxury and Supercar Weekend. Though this event also includes fashion, art and food, I decided to completely ignore these aspects and focus completely on the cars.
One of the biggest automotive forums in Vancouver is Revscene, and every summer they put on a large meet for all different types of cars. The meets are primarily occupied by "tuners", though every car is welcome from any manufacturer. Vancouver has experienced an unusually dry summer but the forecast called for rain the day of the meet. This was unfortunate as I believe it deterred many from bringing their cars out to the show. There was also a windstorm a couple days earlier and some people still didn't have power. Allegedly some cars were even trapped in underground parking!
In the car world there have always been odd-ball designs that don’t fit into established norms. Sometimes these designs fall flat and other times they become cult classics. One thing stays the same, they are always rare. One car that is a huge cult classic is the BMW Z3 Coupe, affectionately called the “Clown Shoe” by enthusiasts thanks to it’s interesting shape. The Z3 Coupe shares the chassis and front end with the standard roadster but the rear of the car is finished with a hatch rather than a trunk. This causes the back of the car to resemble a wagon or hatchback rather than a two-seater sports car. This interesting decision brings a whole new level of practicality to the Z3 and has caused the Clown Shoe to be one of the truly unique designs across all automotive history.
The second generation BMW 3 series, commonly known as the E30, is one of the most common platforms for modification. Many enthusiasts see the car as a blank canvas for a build and it is common to see insane engine swaps and turbo conversions. While searching the internet you can find someone who has swapped in nearly any BMW motor from their bread and butter inline-sixes to the more exotic V10. It’s also likely to find american V8’s and Japanese turbo-sixes filling up space in the engine bay.
The Porsche 911, at least to me, is the most iconic automobile in production today. I didn’t always like the 911. As a child I thought they were boring as they were so common on the road. A Porsche could never cause the same excitement as a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but in my teen years I finally started taking to them. While working at a car dealership as a lot attendant I finally saw what I thought was the perfect sports car. A dealership across from us had a 964 Turbo for sale and it was beautiful. It’s wide rear-end and simple design commanded my attention. I walked past that car every day for months until it was sold. It was the car that bit me with the 911 bug.
It must be in human nature to label and categorize everything in our world. Music and movies are split into genres, we label others into different socio-cultural groups and we also place cars into different segments and classifications. Though labels can help us understand information as well as aid us in making choices, it can also hold us back. We commonly allow ourselves to be defined by these classifications, often causing us to discredit anything that doesn't fall into our preferred genre. For this reason, manufacturers have often had an easier time selling cars that follow the rules of their segment. Though not often, some cars have stepped outside these confines. One such car is the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
Though I wasn't around in the 1987, there are a few important things that happened. Canada introduced a one dollar coin into circulation nicknamed the "loonie", Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on television and countless video games were released (Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Metal Gear, etc). All of these have something in common: progression. 1987 was the start of something new, something better. The “loonie” rid our wallets of one dollar bills, Star Trek: The Next Generation garners a whole 1.3 points higher on IMDB and video games were groundbreaking in their respective genres. Something else happened in 1987: Lucas Townsend’s Toyota MR2 rolled off the production line.
The majority of the world steers from the left side of the car. The issue with this is that not all cars were produced with left-hand drive models. In Canada, we are lucky enough to have import laws allowing us to register vehicles that were never officially imported as long as they are 15 years old. As someone partial to the value, performance and reliability provided by 90's Japanese sports cars, three of my vehicles have been of the right-hand drive variation. Now having years of experience driving right-hand drive, I like to think I understand the ins and outs. While sitting a couple feet further to the right may not seem like it would make a difference, there are a few subtleties.
Last week, I blew the motor in my Mitsubishi Evolution 5. This wasn't a surprise as I was expecting for the motor to bite the dust, but it was a little inconvenient. Since I had anticipated this event, my new 2.4 litre short block had already been completed but was still in the States. You can read about my plans for the Evo here. Knowing it would be at least a month before my Evo would be back on the road, I needed a beater for work. Two days went by until I found the perfect car: a 1989 Honda Prelude S.