[V8] Roger's Ten Best Cars List #1

Seamus O'Carey cheshirecatsbox at gmail.com
Sat Nov 21 19:05:44 PST 2009

I think the pre-leanburn B-body Chrysler Cordoba ('75-76) with the 360ci
motor is highly underrated and often overlooked.  They're reliable, have
plenty of power (for a car in the mid '70s), and have terrific handling.
Something about the torsion bar front suspension combined with front and
rear sway bars just worked beautifully with the Cordoba.

...by the way, no, mine did not have "fine Corinthean leather".

On Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM, <diemarthadie at aol.com> wrote:

> I'm fine with the first two and the basic criteria, but I think you're
> mistaken when you say that none of the 'best' cars were made prior to
> WWII.  You could argue that a variety of Cadillacs, Auburns, Cords,
> Lincolns, etc... could fit your profile.  Certainly the V8 Fords.
> I assume the list will include my 1977 Caprice Classic Wagon, and my
> wife's 1981 Chevette?  I could actually make a case for both being well
> suited to their audience, cheap and easy to run, and lasting to 200k,
> while providing relative comfort.  Ok, maybe not the Chevette ;)
> Where's the Lancia Beta?  I can't wait to see where you list the
> Bertone X1/9!  Or the Pacer-X!  International Scout?  Jeepster?!
> C'mon, 2 a day is just cruel teasing!
> John
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Woodbury <rmwoodbury at roadrunner.com>
> To: 'V8List Fans' <v8 at audifans.com>
> Sent: Sat, Nov 21, 2009 12:21 pm
> Subject: [V8] Roger's Ten Best Cars List #1
> I've been giving my list a lot of thought over the past couple of days,
> and
> think I need to add some comments to the definitions before I get very
> far
> into it.  I have also found it to be much more difficult than I thought
> it
> was going to be because so many of the normal selectables are not
> particularly good, or not particularly memorable.  Surely many of the
> cars
> that I might have thought should be included are really not the best at
> anything, and in the final analysis do not belong on anyone's "best"
> list.
> So the list will include only:
> 1.  Cars that were built or sold in the USof A.
> 2.  Cars that were built during my lifetime, which is after 1944. This
> isn't
> much of a stretch as I don't believe that there were any "best" cars
> built
> prior to WWII, and probably not for some time afterward.  In point of
> fact
> most cars built for a decade after WWII ended were merely rehashes of
> cars
> produced up to 1941.  Beginning in 1955 styling began to really change
> to
> something else, and it was around 1955 and afterward that cars regularly
> appeared with power steering and automatic transmissions, although there
> were very few cars produced during this time that were particularly
> memorable.  Now there were cars that had specific features that made
> them
> memorable I suppose, but the cars themselves were not.
> 3.  Cars that were usable truly year round in this country.  This does
> not
> mean that the car needs to be a true, "all weather" vehicle, but does
> mean
> that a car without a top, for instance won't be included.
> 4.  Cars that must be drivable by any licensed driver.
> 5.  Cars that are intended for general purpose use.  Specifically built
> high
> performance cars aren't really includable here with one exception as you
> will see.
> 6.  Cars must be readily serviceable generally throughout the United
> States
> which will let out the exotics such as Ferrari, Aston Martin and the
> like.
> Now, I am going to make some general comments about what I believe
> makes for
> membership in my ten best list.  Bear in mind, that these are my
> opinions
> based on almost fifty years of driving and owning various cars and
> trucks
> for various purposes.  For most of that time I have fancied myself an
> "enthusiast", although I am not a very complete mechanic, nor the most
> knowledgable car guy I have ever known.  Indeed, there are those on this
> list who know more than I, so I hurry to caveat that this list is mine,
> and
> I have no desire nor intent to convert others to my way of listing.
> I will list these cars in no particular order, since they are of various
> types.  I will also be listing these cars over the weekend or several
> days
> because I want to offer explanations as to why I have selected them.
> Incidentally, ALL of these cars are box-stock, and in order to be
> considered
> they must be average, vanilla for the make, unmolested or unchanged from
> stock, and not be hyped even from the dealer's order book.  If a given
> car
> becomes better when equipped with thus and so, fine and good. But it
> must be
> one of the best in basic form in order to be here at all.
> So, here are the first two for chuckles and grins.  By the way, these
> are
> listed in order that I thought of them, and the order in which they are
> listed is not a rank.  There is no "best of the bunch" rating, because
> none
> of them are.
> 1.  1962 Volkswagen Beetle - The 1962 Volkswagen Beetle was merely an
> evolutionary step for the Beetle that was actually born of the pen of
> Ferdinand Porsche as part of the mass transit/economic development
> scheme of
> Hitler's Germany.  The cars had become more and more common beginning
> in the
> late 1950's particularly in the northeast.  Not surprising because so
> many
> interesting and outstanding automobiles from Europe owe their initial
> presence to Max Hoffman, whose center of interest spread outward from
> New
> York.  I selected the 1962 Beetle for a couple of reasons. First of all
> it
> was the first car that my Mother bought as a new car, and thus became
> the
> car that I drove a lot in my last year in high school. But more
> important is
> that it was this year that first saw a fuel gauge in the Beetle.  The
> Beetle
> remained largely unchanged through to the end from this point on,
> despite
> having some cars later equipped with fuel injection and bigger bumpers.
> The
> was also a Super Beetle later on, but I don't include that car with this
> one:  this is just the basic Beetle and for many people who wanted one,
> they
> didn't even get to chose the color they were in such demand.
> 2.  1967 BMW 1600/2 -  This is the only car that prompted me to
> immediately
> run to the nearest BMW dealer to try one out after reading a road test.
> This was the first real sport sedan and it was a remarkable advance
> over the
> rest of the cars that could even begin to pretend to be sporty and
> sedan at
> the same time.  It is true that BMW had been producing a larger four
> door
> sedan with very interesting high performance variants for some time, but
> this was a different sort of vehicle from the 1800/2000 big body, with
> its
> TI and even TISA variants.  The 1600 was quick and agile, and remarkably
> fast for a basic little sedan.  The road testers waxed enthusiastic
> over the
> car and all it took was one short drive to prompt my wife and me (mostly
> ME), to trade in her 1964 Mustang convertible (horrid car!) for a black
> over
> gray BMW 1600.  Now, I know there will be howls of indignation that I am
> ignoring the BMW 2002, but that was just an outgrowth of the 1600, and
> despite the fact that there were significant improvements, the whole
> thing
> started with this one car, and therefore, its significance.  The cars
> were
> remarkably rugged and reliable, although they did require specific
> service
> in order to remain so.  The first cars had six volt ignition systems
> which
> were a real drawback that was rectified with the 2002, but the 2002 was
> heavier and despite having more power didn't handle as well as the
> first and
> lightest of the 1600s.  (Again, an import genius move by Max Hoffman,
> and
> without him, BMW might never have come here at all or at least for years
> more).
> So, that's it for the first two.  I'll post another couple later on, or
> perhaps tomorrow.  You'll be surprised: trust me:  very, very surprised.
> Roger
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