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1988 Subaru GL

During my formative car geek years (junior high and high school), I lived outside Kansas City, Missouri.  I only mention this because I knew someone who had a late-80s Subaru GL 3-door and it was such an interesting and unusual vehicle.  People in the west and northeast may scoff at this idea, but the fact is, Subarus were rare in the midwest at that time.   An interesting aside to that rare theme – my dad still had the ’79 Rabbit during this period – and no dealership at which to service it.  The only VW dealership in the Kansas City metro area folded sometime around 1989.  If Subarus were rare, VWs were downright exotic.

Anyway…

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1992 Nissan NX1600

The Nissan NX series was only sold for a short period in the United States – 1991 to 1993, so seeing one is kind of unusual. It was based on the contemporary Nissan Sentra and competed against the likes of the Mazda MX-3 and the Honda Del Sol – sharing the ‘funky headlights’ styling theme with the MX-3.  Two engines were available – the 1.6 liter four cylinder in the base NX1600 and the 2.0 liter in the upmarket NX2000 model.  The 1600 functioned as a stylish economy coupe, while the 2000 was the more serious performance-oriented car.

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2012 Hyundai Veloster

You may have heard that the 2012 Hatchtopia Calendar has been released?  Below is a free high-resolution example of the photos and photo illustrations you will find in the calendar.

Hatchtopia.com

Somewhere near the intersection of Architecture Nerdery and Car Geekdom is parked this sparkling new Hyundai Veloster – another of the rapidly-rising Korean company’s new offerings introduced in the past couple of years.  According to a new television commercial I saw last night, the Veloster returns up to 40 miles per gallon, but it is included here because it looks cool.  And it is parked in front of a classic mid-century home in West Valley City, Utah’s Westshire neighborhood.

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2010 Nissan 370Z

So, Hatchtopia, we’ve seen the mundane, the weird and the downright dumpy of the hatchback world, when will we see something bad ass?

How about right now.

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2004 Mazda6

Soon, there will be a Hatchtopia feature story on what I consider to be the “Golden Age” of hatchbacks – generally the mid-1980s.  But there are a few holdouts from that period that soldiered on into the new millennium – the first generation Mazda6 among them.  Of course, the 6 is a direct decedent of the old 626, which was available as a hatchback during those golden years of the 80s – with the lustworthy 626 GT Turbo closing out the decade.

The demise of the #2# – model series Mazdas made way for the new 3 and 6 models, both available in a variety of body styles.  The 6, being the larger of the two, aimed for the squishy midsection of the North American market, populated with such heavy hitters as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.  What the 6 offered that these other mainstreamers didn’t was the choice of 4 or 5 doors in the form of a sedan, hatchback and wagon.

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2006 Toyota Prius

Parked on a Sandy, Utah street – a Toyota Prius.  Odd choice for Hatch in the Wild?  Perhaps, but it gives way to a little debate and some fun with Photoshop.

Don't comic heroes usually have more muscle?

Is this the superhero that will save the world?  Time will tell.  Until then, love it or hate it, this is what a “hybrid” looks like.  The hybrid revolution started with the Toyota Prius in 1997, and has since spread to nearly every other manufacturer selling in the US.

For whatever reason, the form factor chosen for this revolution was the hatchback.  Along with that original Prius – the Honda Insight, when introduced in 2000, was a three-door hatch.  The original GM EV1 (yes, it was a full electric, so sue me) was as well.  The 2009 redesign of the Insight drew obvious cues from its Toyota competition, becoming a five-door.

It almost seems that like a tissue is a “kleenex,” a boxy five-door is a “hybrid” to many people.

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1985 Toyota Corolla

On a recent hazy evening in Salt Lake City, a golden era hatchback sits and waits to serve its master.

 

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2005 Hyundai Elantra

Impressive looking ride, no?  The 2005 Hyundai Elantra mixed sleek lines with exceptional materials and powerful engines to… no, you’re right.  It’s a pretty basic rig.  Low cost, decent quality, generally run of the mill.

Brobdingnagian - look it up.

So why is it featured here?  Two words: towing capacity.  Read on…

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2006 Toyota Corolla Seca

A few years ago, I took a trip to Australia.  I went by myself and maintained a strict budget, as I knew that like the United States, Australia is a BIG country and I’d need a rental car.  Or two… or three.  See, Qantas Airlines does this deal occasionally where you can fly down under, then have a couple of additional flights within the country for free.  It was quite a deal and made for an awesome adventure.

I flew into Brisbane first, and had a car rental reserved before I left the states.  I’d asked for a compact – with the only option being that it be an automatic – I figured it would be best to get used to the idea of driving on the wrong side of the road before trying to wrangle a stick shift as well.

The first of several Secas

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1987ish Honda Accord

The 3rd generation Honda Accord was produced between 1986 and 1989 and in my opinion, was one of the best looking mainstream cars of its time.  The low, wedge-shaped hood was accentuated with pop-up headlights, a low beltline and clean, straight character lines. Designers of today’s cars could learn a lesson from sitting in a mid-80s Honda and beholding the fantastic sightlines afforded by the large glass area.  But I digress…

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