RAC Cars News


Great Cars Remembered

By raccars Published

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Some great cars retain a high profile during and long after their natural lifespan - think the Jaguar E-Type or similar classics. Others fade into obscurity, remembered only by geeky owners' clubs. Some of the following were actually very good cars but, for one reason or another, history has not been kind.

Proton Satria GTI

Exactly - you've probably never heard of it. This hot hatch was let down by its inauspicious badge, which hid Lotus honed performance. Upon its release in the UK in 1999, the Satria GTI was rated more highly than the more commercial Peugeot 206 Gti by Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond. Did badge snobbery cause UK hot hatch fans to miss a trick here?

Vauxhall Astra GTE

The Astra GTE was overshadowed by its higher profile hot hatch competitors, the VW Golf GTI and Peugeot 205 GTI, in the Eighties. Boy racers and joy riders recognised its thoroughly entertaining driving dynamics and were clearly not bothered by its lower quality fit and finish. An Astra GTE would be a stellar contender for the current Eighties hot hatch modern classic revival for those who don't want to follow the Volkswagen and Peugeot herd.

Audi V8

This saloon's low profile is inexplicable, given its 250bhp power output and 7.6 second 0-62mph time. Two Golf GTI 16v engines were joined together to provide super saloon performance, while the flagship V8 boasted all the premium quality that Audi is famous for.

Daihatsu Charade GTti

A classic example of an automotive unsung hero. Somehow petrol heads missed this, at one point the fastest car in the world to be powered by a 1.0 litre engine. With only 790kg of kerb weight to carry around, that took the Charade GTti to 60mph within 8.0 seconds. Unfortunately, its boring design made it perfect for amateur modification, leaving very few examples for posterity.

Honda Accord Type R

Making a return to UK roads in blistering form, the Type R was one of the most exciting four door, front wheel drive saloons ever. Its unassuming appearance - at least for models absent of the gargantuan rear spoiler - made it a favourite of the heavy footed family man looking to give a show of sensible modesty.

Lancia Thema 8.32

The Thema 8.32's secret was a Ferrari V8 under the bonnet. Its boxy but attractive exterior gives few clues, while a super stylish interior may have raised the odd eyebrow but few realised that it could embarrass a BMW M5 leaving the lights.

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