Salt Lake City’s beautiful and historic Liberty Park hosts a number of special events throughout the year. One of those is the British Field Day, a celebration of British cars and bikes in any condition from 100-point restorations to old daily beaters.
Of course, this provides a perfect opportunity for those in the market for a vintage limey ride to come out and kick some real tires, rather than trolling the shark-infested waters of Craigslist or the like.
The Chrysler Crossfire – so interesting to look at, yet such an abject failure. Perhaps that’s too strong of a term – after all, over 75,000 of them moved through dealerships in its first three years of existence. Problem being, only 12,000 of those were in the third year, dropping below 5,000 in year four and only 2,000 in the final year of the run.
From the wilds of Portland, Oregon via the excellent website oldparkedcars.com – a rare and certainly interesting lawn-parked Triumph. One of about 12,000 made, this one’s seen better days. Boy, I’d love to take a whiff of that interior – I’m quite certain there are some new and fascinating forms of fungi growing in there…
You may know that I’m now writing ocassional articles for Hooniverse.com. It’s a true honor for me, as I’ve only been doing this blog thing for a short time. In any case, there is a bit of overlap of content between this site and Hooniverse, so I thought I’d share today’s Fastback Friday feature with the readers here at Hatchtopia.
The house in the background of this photo was built in Salt Lake City, Utah around 1890. One hundred years later in Normal, Illinois, the first generation of the “Diamond Star Motors” trio of sporty hatchbacks was built as a joint venture between Chrysler and Mitsubishi. Sold as Plymouth Laser, Eagle Talon and Mitsubishi Eclipse models, and powered by a variety of normally-aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinders, available as front- or all-wheel drive, they competed in a crowded segment populated by such others as the Ford Probe/Mazda MX6 twins, the Toyota Celica, and Nissan 240sx. What the DSM cars had on most in that class was the aforementioned powerful turbo engine and all-wheel drive. With horsepower ratings up to 190, the DSMs generally outgunned the competition by 40 or more horses, placing their performance more on par with the next class of sporty vehicles, anchored by the pony cars – Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. That performance, paired with reasonable prices, made the trio a popular pick in the early 90s.
But by the time the second generation was released for the ’95 model year, those pony cars had started to separate themselves from the rest of the sporty hatchback crowd. A horsepower war was brewing between Chevy and Ford, and their V8 engines were finally starting to put out the sort of power that many expected after years of malaise-era emissions-choked disappointments. Meanwhile, the popularity of the SUV was starting to put the pinch on the sporty hatchback and personal luxury coupe markets – those looking for status symbols wanted to be seen in a rugged truck rather than a low-slung coupe.
The 1980s – sub-dollar gasoline and 59-cent 32-ounce drinks. Why do I mention those two items and not the typical low-hanging fruit like bad music and worse fashion? Because those are two items you’ll see in this retro gallery. In this blog, I’ve made a few mentions of the Golden Age of Hatchbacks and never once fully explained what I mean by that term. Rest assured, I’m working on a fleshed-out explanation, but until then, I’ll let this collection of photos speak their thousand words.