1991 Toyota Supra

This is one of just 3,623 1991 Supras sold in the North American market, continuing the downward trend of sales ever since the 3rd generation’s introduction in 1986. For some reason, I always feel like the 3rd-gen Supra is the most forgotten model in the Supra lineage: the 2nd-gen really thrust the Supra into the public eye and made it a desirable commodity, and the 4th-gen is an icon of the ’90s Japanese sports-car era. The 3rd-gen just never seemed to attain the same aura as its surrounding generations.

I guess you could make a case that the 1st-gen Supra was even more forgettable, but it only lasted a few years and was mostly a Celica with an I-6 dropped into the engine bay. The 3rd-gen was the first Supra to be a completely differentiated model from the Celica, and I feel like that gave it the legs to survive in the collective memory of the public far better than it ended up doing. I don’t know, though: maybe it’s just me?

Sawtelle, Los Angeles, CA

Photos by The Professor

1987 Merkur XR4Ti

1987 Merkur XR4Ti 1987 Merkur XR4Ti 1987 Merkur XR4Ti 1987 Merkur XR4Ti

Part of a failed venture by Ford to introduce some of its European-market Fords to the United States, Merkurs were targeted towards European luxury buyers. The brand lasted just five years and shifted fewer than 70,000 units, consigning it to the depths of the automotive doldrums. The clumsily-named XR4Ti was an attempt to market the award-winning European Ford Sierra XR4i to American buyers. However, the unfamiliar brand name and inflated price (over $36,000 adjusted to 2014 dollars) caused the car to be a massive flop, with just over 42,000 sold in five years. It’s quite rare to spot one on the road, and even rarer that someone notices its rarity, as its rather anonymous 80’s styling is easily forgettable.

Interlochen, MI

Photos by James Kennerly

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger

1983 Shelby Charger 1983 Shelby Charger 1983 Shelby Charger 1983 Shelby Charger 1983 Shelby Charger

This is a souped-up version of the Dodge Charger that nobody remembers. There have been 3 different Charger models on 3 different platforms. First, there was the classic B-body Charger, made from 1966-1978. Currently, Dodge sells the 4-door Charger on the LX Platform, introduced in 2006. But in between, there was this: the L-body Charger, built from 1983-1987; the cousin of the Plymouth Turismo (even rarer).

This is a special Dodge “Shelby” Charger. The Shelby option tacked on a body kit, better drivetrain components, and an upgrade to 107 horsepower over the base 84 HP. The most desirable L-body Charger was the 1987 Shelby Charger, which had 175 horsepower, but only 1,000 were built.

This is the only L-body Charger (Shelby or otherwise) that I’ve seen on the street in at least the last ten years.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor


1992 Subaru SVX

1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX

The SVX never really caught on, partly because it looked so odd and partly because it was so expensive. Just look at those side windows…They may look cool, but are very impractical in everyday driving. The only other car I can recall that had windows like that was the DeLorean.

It was also only available with a 4-speed automatic, stunting the performance from its boxer-six engine; not only that, but the slushboxes were notoriously unreliable. Just 14,257 were sold in the US and it’s rumored that Subaru lost up to $3,000 on every one sold.

Portland, OR

Photos by The Professor