Three Iconic Affordable Cars That Were Contraband Until Now Plus One Coming Soon

Christina Wilkins

Take one look around the automotive landscape and you’ll notice that it’s more of a seascape. From horizon to horizon automotive manufacturers have filled up every segment and subsegment of the market even to their own detriment. Cars like the Mercedes Benz AMG GLE Coupe, the Volkswagen ID.4, and the […]

Take one look around the automotive landscape and you’ll notice that it’s more of a seascape. From horizon to horizon automotive manufacturers have filled up every segment and subsegment of the market even to their own detriment. Cars like the Mercedes Benz AMG GLE Coupe, the Volkswagen ID.4, and the Toyota Avalon TRD would never have gotten the green light 25 years ago. They would’ve been considered too niche, too expensive, and too hard to make a serious profit on.

Automakers spent their cash on guarantees, on sure things, and in many cases, on vehicles that would ultimately become iconic around the world. Nevertheless, thanks to an odd and seemingly arbitrary law often called the “Chicken Tax,”  a vast swath of the automotive ocean has been completely undiscovered by American drivers. Each year though, things get better for USA drivers. 3 incredible creations from across the pond have just become legal here in America after a 25-year ban, and a fourth is coming soon. Today we skim just below the surface of these four beasts. Each of which is incredibly unique, visceral, and available to buy for the first time in more than 2 decades. This article teases four full reviews coming later this week. 

Related: EXCLUSIVE: John Hennessey Details How The Venom F5 Will Take The Hypercar World By Storm

The Fiat Multipla Is The Ugly Duckling You Never Knew You Wanted

Via @GingerlyCaptured

Perhaps the most shockingly desirable car on our list is this, the Fiat Multipla. How could such an objectively stinky exterior design be a car that anyone would actually want to own? Let’s consider a similar example. Ask a modern automotive enthusiast what the ugliest modern car is and they’ll likely give you one answer, the Pontiac Aztek. That’s because, at the time, the Aztek was simply so far ahead of its time that it just wasn’t appreciated. It was styled so aggressively that it never really caught on.

Pontiac-Aztec

via hemmings

Really though, take a look at it today and it’s not shocking whatsoever. In fact, because of its pretty normal-by-today’s-standard looks and outstanding versatility, it’s actually appreciating in value across the country. It’s not alone either. The Mitsubishi Delica shares a similar story with less exterior weirdness. Many enthusiasts love having something a bit quirky, something useful, and something that still stands out as special. In that respect, the Fiat Multipla is everything that the Aztek is and more. Driving it absolutely confirmed that and far more.

Related: Exclusive: Chief Engineer At McLaren Tells Us About Its New Revolutionary Artura Supercar

The TVR S2 Is Sex Appeal On Wheels

Via @GingerlyCaptured

Most automotive junkies know about TVR but what they might not know is that long before the Sagaris, the Tuscan, and the Cerbera, TVR sold this overseas first, the S2. What makes the S2 special though is not that it’s just incredibly rare and its aforementioned illegality. What makes it special is that it’s the answer to every question but with more horsepower and sex appeal. While North American automotive enthusiasts have long held that the Mazda Miata is undoubtedly the best sports car a person could buy, they’ve ignored the fact that the S2 does everything that the Mazda does, just better.

Via RiversCars.Com

Just imagine you’re in your late 30s or 40s and you want a cool, unique, and fun convertible. There’s no arguing that a Miata is worthy of consideration simply based on its performance capabilities but is it unique? By no means. Is it cool? Sure to some. But the TVR S2 is all three, and it has so much more personality than any Miata could ever hope for. Even one that might have a Hellcat motor under the hood. That’s because regardless of the engine you get in your S2, it sounds like a dragon that’s just been released for the first time in centuries. It’s loud, it’s raucous, and for all those who really want to scratch a JDM itch, it’s right-hand drive.

The Alfa Romeo SZ Is The Connoisseurs’ Classic Supercar

Via @GingerlyCaptured

The SZ or Sport Zagato is the anti-hero in so many ways that it’s not even funny. It’s not powerful in the traditional sense but it’ll still sprint to 60 in about 7 seconds. It looks like a semi-practical hatchback but it’s not. It also looks like a somewhat half-baked front-wheel-drive car to many, but it’s not. Of course, part of that half-baked appearance is due to that incredibly short rear deck. And while it might seem as though the production team simply ran out of funds to finish the back of the car, the truth is that this is one of the very first cars Alfa built with significant contributions from Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing.

This bargain supercar is the only choice for the discerning driver

Via RiversCars.Com

The most special feature of the SZ is one that we’ll dig into in the full review later this week but it’s safe to say that this small sports car deserves to be at the top of the list for anyone in the market for a classic supercar. It’s not just unique, it’s not just Italian, it’s rare too with less than 1,100 examples ever produced. Having driven each of these cars on the busy roads of Nashville, TN, I can tell you that none of these beasts turned heads at the rate of the SZ. So when it comes to the boxes you want a classic supercar to check, this one gets them all.

The PGO Hemera Is A Forbidden Fruit… For Now

Via @GingerlyCaptured

While not legal yet, the PGO Hemera is likely akin to a stock that’s about to take off. We’ve seen other vehicles like the R34 Nissan GT-R explode in value just before becoming legal here in the States and the PGO might be the next one to balloon. Take one look at the exterior and it should be easy to see why. Highly reminiscent of the Porsche 356, the Hemera modernizes that historic shape and adds all sorts of modern comforts and luxuries.

The PGO Hermera At Lane Motor Museum

Via RiversCars.Com

Porsche has received quite a lot of derision and malcontent from in and outside of its fanbase over the past two decades in large part because of how much ballooning its models have done in their physical form. The 911 is larger than it’s ever been and the 718 Boxster and Cayman aren’t far behind. While the company has admirably stuck with technology like the manual transmission, they’ve been required to branch further and further away from the superlight sports cars of yesteryear. That’s where the PGO shines. It’s a breathtaking sportscar whether you’re in the driver’s seat or on the street watching it pass by at blistering speeds. Our review, coming soon, found it to be one of the most perfect weekend getaway cars for some reasons that might surprise you.

The Home Of These Strange But Substantial Stallions

Via LaneMotorMuseum

Each of the upcoming full reviews was only possible thanks to the Lane Motor Museum. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Lane Motor Museum is home to more than 550 cars and that number is still growing. While there are well-known vehicles like the Dodge Viper, BMW M3, and Porsche 911 inside the walls of LMM, the vast majority of the collection is more eclectic. Director, Jeff Lane, began his automotive enthusiasm as a teenager as he restored his first car, the 1955 MG TF. Since then he’s only seen his passion for the entire vehicle segment grow.

Once just a museum of cars, they’ve expanded to include some other forms of transportation including amphibious cars, planes, motorcycles, bicycles, and even a truly massive amphibious personnel carrier called the LARC that still runs and drives and is parked behind the museum. Over the next week, we’ll be releasing the reviews of each of the aforementioned vehicles above but we hope to go back and drive more from the collection. What would you like to see us review?

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