Remember superlatives in high school? Sally was "most fashion-conscious," Johnny was "most athletic," and Billy was "most likely to succeed."
I was voted "most opinionated."
I can't help it. I form very strong opinions about things, especially cars, and when I was in grade school, I formed opinions about cars, some of which I wanted more than my own lungs, and some of which I thought should be burned to the ground.
I didn't know it at the time, but I was also subconsciously forming opinions about which cars would be main articles in the history books of the automobile, and which cars would become mere footnotes.
Quite a few of my opinions were right - the 2nd-gen Lexus GS built from 1997 to 2004 was a bona-fide sport sedan from a Japanese luxury brand that could actually compete with the Europeans, and the fact that I still see them running and driving on a daily basis tells me that people still appreciate them enough to keep up on their maintenance so they can continue to enjoy them and the impact they had.
But some of my opinions have been wrong, too.
The list above contains 5 cars that, against my projections, just weren't special enough for their owners to fight for them in the never-ending battle against obsolescence.
Please subscribe above for future Orlando Autos Examiner articles to be emailed to you...
The Toyota MR2 is still one of the most highly mass-produced mid-engined cars ever, and though it suffered the same fate as other contemporary Japanese sports cars like the Mitsubishi 3000GT and the Nissan 300ZX, it shouldn't have. It offered rollercoaster levels of fun in a relatively inexpensive and fuel-efficient package, and with Toyota reliability to boot. MR2s of any generation should be a common sight, but I don't even see MR2 Spyders anymore either.
The longest-lasting nameplate of this list, the Bronco was built for 30 years, from 1966 to 1996, and for nearly 20 of them, it was based on the Ford F-150, the best-selling truck of all time. Either people are stowing them away, hoping that they'll soon be collectible, or they're abandoning them due to the O.J. Simpson association. Now I have a friend who daily drives a 5th-generation Bronco Eddie Bauer, but that's the only Bronco I see on a regular basis.
Chrysler LH-platform cars
Chrysler tried so hard to start the "cab-forward" design trend with the LH platform: the Dodge Intrepid, the Eagle Vision, and the Chrysler LHS, New Yorker, Concorde, and 300M. They were everywhere in the 1990s, and they built the Intrepid, Concorde, and 300M all the way up until 2004. Around this time last year, everyone was saying that the average car on American roads is 11 years old, so by that logic, I should still be seeing Chrysler LH-chassis cars on the regular. But that just isn't the case. In fact, I would find seeing an Eagle Vision on the road today to actually be a special occasion.
Isuzu Rodeo/Honda Passport
Though vehicles like the Axiom and VehiCross were some of Isuzu's more experimental endeavors, their bread and butter in the United States was always the Rodeo. Isuzu sold the Rodeo in the United States from 1991 all the way to 2004, with only one update happening in 1998 (which was actually pretty minor), and Honda also sold their own version called the Passport, and quite successfully at that, from 1994 to 2002. Though Isuzu has abandoned all North American retail operations, I find it strange that more people don't find ways to keep the Rodeos and Passports they once loved so much going.
Volkswagen built 6.3 million Mk2 Golfs. I repeat: Volkswagen built 6.3 MILLION Mk2 Golfs... and that has nothing to do with the Mk2 Jetta. I shouldn't be able to walk to my kitchen without having to squeeze between two Mk2 Volkswagens that are just sitting in my living room, because that's just how things are. Okay, gross exaggeration aside, I know that USDM Mk2 VWs are 22 years old at best, but I still can't believe that, as dedicated as the Volkswagen people I know are, there aren't more that are desperately clinging onto their Mk2 Golfs and Jettas, trying to keep them running until the bitter end.