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Posts filed under ‘Embarrassing Flirtations’

Embarrassing Flirtations: The Geo Storm

March 1, 2013 by Matt

Geo Storm Blue Green Teal

I actually wanted one of these back in the day. Yes, yes I did.

As a face-saving measure, let me clarify back in what “day” I wanted a Geo Storm: 1993. I was 14 years old. Surely there’s some allowance for my not knowing better at that age? Furthermore, the flirtation was exceedingly brief—the length of one month, during our annual trip back to the States from France for Christmas break. I had been around European cars all year, heaven for most of us, but the upshot for me at that time was that American cars like the Storm were the exotic, unfamiliar ones, so even the most mundane ones held at least some appeal by virtue of their novelty.

Geo Storm Black

As for the hapless 1990-1993 Storm, as with so many sporty-looking FWD coupes, its peppy looks hid some pretty bargain-basement running gear. A stripped-down, badge-engineered Isuzu Impulse, the Storm’s engine choices ranged from a whizzpopping 95-hp SOHC 1.6l 4-banger to an indifferent 1.8l 140-hp 4-pot. Acceleration was merely adequate, although the handling of the lightweight 2,300 lb car was competent. Still, more than anything else, the car was a marketing exercise aimed at the younger driver set, so the resources directed toward its design naturally outweighed those earmarked for developing the Storm’s dynamics.

Geo Storm Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

So why did I like it? The explanation isn’t very interesting: As with most of its buyers, I think I was simply drawn in by the Storm’s sporty looks, oblivious to mediocrity of its engine and chassis. If I had valued what was under the sheetmetal as least as much as its external appearance, I might have thought as poorly of the car as I do now.

Image credits: cars-database.com, edmunds.com, featuredcars.com

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series discussing cars we used to be fans of, but have since reconsidered our enthusiasm. Read the other installments here:

2 Comments on Embarrassing Flirtations: The Geo Storm

Embarrassing Flirtations:
The Lincoln Mark VIII

February 13, 2013 by Matt

Lincoln Mark VIII White

While I have a broad “base” of interest in cars in general, the spotlight of my attention is usually only focused on one car at a time—a focus that frequently wanders. During the years when my automotive taste was more malleable than at present, there were many cars I was into for a short period of time, which interest I look back on, now that I know better, with a degree of regret.

One of those is the car featured in this post, the 1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII. A large “personal coupe” intended to compete with the likes of the Cadillac Eldorado and Lexus SC400, it featured swoopy, futuristic styling draped over a RWD chassis powered by a 280 hp, 4.6l V8.

Lincoln Mark VIII White Green Rear Back Taillights LSC

My interest in the Mark VIII was piqued by one thumbnail-sized photograph in one of my grandmother’s Consumer Reports annual “Car Reviews” issues. The slight blurriness and angle of the picture combined to distort the Lincoln’s proportions just enough that it appeared to have a sportier long-nose/short-deck visual layout. To me, at the time, in that image, it looked purposeful, powerful, desirable… And given the fact that it was new and rather expensive, I never really saw enough of them on the road to right the ship, as it were, and convince me that maybe the photo my fascination was based on hadn’t been the most accurately descriptive of the car’s looks.

Lincoln Mark VIII Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

In reality, the Mark VIII really wasn’t such a bad car, but it was the last of a dying breed, an obsolescent, overstyled dinosaur and a example of how American luxury automakers in general were (and to a degree, still are) flailing about in the marketplace, trying to sell a distinctively American approach to a buying public rapidly becoming disenchanted with the traditional luxury car = land yacht equation. Its modern engine notwithstanding, the Mark VIII’s blobby design and overwrought interior were signs that Lincoln didn’t “get it,” and it disappeared from the automaker’s lineup within 5 years, to date the last of their personal coupes.

During the period of contact between my car interest and the Mark VIII, in my mid-teens, I probably knew better, but as mentioned, that one photograph, combined with my enthusiasm for GTs and big coupes in general, provided the tinder for a brief spark of desire.

Image credits: motortrend.com, ls1tech.com, lincolnvscadillac.com

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series discussing cars we used to be fans of, but have since reconsidered our enthusiasm. Read the other installments here:

2 Comments on Embarrassing Flirtations:
The Lincoln Mark VIII