Oh those kooky Euros. They love cars that can be easily mistaken for roadkill. It's like they're immune to the whole bigger is better argument - the fools. And the latest evidence is that Italian car company Fiat -- an outfit with less face time in the states over the last three decades than Roman Polanski -- is pulling a Christopher Columbus and exploring uncharted markets in the New World. The company is introducing the latest version of its historically successful Fiat 500 (known in Europe asCinquecento
)- which looks a bit like what you imagine a Ferrari turd would -- to U.S. markets.
Seeing this development and the success of MINI Cooper in recent years got us thinking about some other European car imports from the 1980s that we wouldn't mind seeing again, or for the first time in this country. Check them out and admit that you wouldn't mind rolling down Ocean Drive in these beauties.
5. Renault Fuego (France)
So that's what a European sport's car looked like in the '80s. Sure,
you'd probably get more pleasure from riding Margaret Thatcher but still
the Fuego is a ad agency's dream car. Just look at what they came up
when it originally flopped. [On a quick personal note: The author's father used to sell these god forsaken vehicles and on one
occasion during an innocent match of tennis was almost physically
assaulted by a former client who had been duped into buying a Fuego.
4. Citroen 2CV (France)
Who knows why the VW Beetle was so successful in the U.S. while the French
made Citroen 2CV never caught on in the States. They're practically the
same car, but in this case the Germans ended up victorious over the
French, at least in American popularity. The Citroen 2CV was produced for 42 years and actually
outlasted and outperformed the Beetle in the Old World. We think if some
Frenchie decides to start up production in the US they can gain as much
popularity as Freedom Fries.
3. The Yugo (Yugoslavia)
Remember this puppy, it was a punchline for a bunch of jokes in the '80s. (Our favorite is: What do you call a Yugo that breaks down after
100 miles? An overachiever.) But, the Yugoslavians (country of origin) had the last laugh -- oh wait,
Yugoslavia no longer exists. In its place are the war torn countries
Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and a bunch of other countries ending in "ia."
This car made a Chevette looking like a touring sedan. It was called the
worst car in history by some (including in Time Magazine's 50 Worst
Cars Ever) but we
think they were just jealous of precision Yugoslavian engineering.
2. Renault Alliance (France)
Along with the Fuego, Renault introduced the Alliance to American
consumers in the '80s. It looks like a poor man's Volvo, except smaller
and even more boxy -- who knew that was even possible. It also looks
like a modern version of the car Mr. Magoo used to drive.
1. Lada (Russia)
We never were well aquainted with the Russian Lada stateside on account
of the Cold War and what not, but in South America these things
reproduced like rats. Like any good Russian, the car was built to handle
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harsh winters on just a diet of Vodka (or cheap gas). It was designed
and renowned for its ability to go off-roading, which is good since it
sold best in spots around the world without roads.