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Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Old 11-06-2006, 04:48 PM
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Default Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Some of these are not my favorites but they do have a following. Of course, the Challenger is listed and that is why this is posted.

Enjoy!

Coolest Cult Cars

Dan Lienert, 11.06.06, 12:01 AM ET



They weren't mainstream then, and they're rarely seen now--but they'll still wow you.
Lamborghini's Countach is literally the poster child for cult cars.
For its entire life--model years 1973 to 1990--the Countach appeared on the bedroom walls of kids around the world. People have worshipped few cars as they did this Italian supercar.

But the Countach practically defines the phrase "not to everybody's taste." It was severe and showy--bordering on tasteless. Lamborghini itself admits that Ferrari owners, who themselves are not exactly subtle, think Lambos are props for nouveau riche attention hounds.
And even among fans, the Countach gradually wore out its welcome. Late-model Countachs with such additions as enormous rear wing spoilers "look downright silly--an absolute cartoon of what they started out to be," says Sports Car Market magazine. The Countach is fading from sight, in part because tastes have changed but also because the high maintenance costs of unreliable, old-model Lambos keep them off the road.

When you hear the phrase "cult cars," you might think of Ford Motor's (nyse: F - news - people ) Mustang or General Motors' (nyse: GM - news - people ) Chevrolet Corvette, which have legions of devotees but are very common and still in production. Similarly, the Jeep Wrangler, Porsche 911, Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Beetle and New Beetle are so high profile and commonplace that their followings are merely large. The Beetle is possibly the world's all time best-selling car. Quirky though the car may be, saying it has a cult following is like saying Titanic is a cult film.

Even if the Countach started out garish, became a parody of itself and is now on the decline as a collectible, it's a great example of a cult car. It wasn't mainstream to begin with, and you don't see it much these days. Yet it still has a loyal following. People who grew up in the 1970s and '80s remember playground discussions about the car and recall how exciting it looked in those old posters. For these people--this writer included--the Countach will never cease to get the blood going.

The vehicles on our list of the coolest cult cars of all time were niche cars when they were new--supercars, race cars, exotic European autos and other low- to mid-volume vehicle types. Probably the two most mainstream were Cadillac's Eldorado and Lincoln's Continental, but both were luxury cars, not volume players. Dodge's affordable Challenger competed against such popular, mass-market cars as the Mustang but came late to the party and was off the market after five years.

When we considered which cult cars are cool, we passed up the "cutesy" (e.g. CitroŽn 2CV, Fiat Jolly) and "quirky" ( BMW Isetta, Saab Sonett) in favor of more upscale stuff. And although taste is subjective, lists like this will always spark debate, so here are explanations for certain vehicles we left out:
DeLorean DMC: A cool shape, but its build quality, as one industry analyst puts it, was "diabolically bad," Monotony limits the car's collectability. DeLoreans look the same: gray, stainless-steel exterior, black or gray interior. Zzzzzz.

Lamborghini Miura and Mercedes-Benz 300SL ("the Gullwing"): More like museum pieces than cars with underground followings. The Miura and Gullwing have appeared on the covers of too many books and magazines and are held up as the be-all and end-all of automotive design. You could say Ferrari's Enzo Ferrari, a recent supercar that made our list, was also on the cover of plenty of car magazines. But the Enzo is not to everybody's taste. Angular and deliberately shocking--abrasive, even--it's too new to fit into the pantheon next to the Gullwing and Miura.

Big A
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:49 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Cadillac Eldorado

The nameplate became watered down and unsexy over time, but at certain points in its life the Eldorado defined American largesse, luxury and over-the-top styling. The 1959 Eldorado convertible (pictured above), its pointy taillights wrapped in ridiculous fins, showed a General Motors that was so rich and dominant it felt like it could get away with anything. And the Eldorado two-doors of the mid-1970s, although something of a clichť now, are still as sinister as cars get.


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Old 11-06-2006, 04:51 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

This is ugly but the French liked it.

CitroŽn SM

Weird, unreliable and beloved, the SM of the early to mid '70s had an immensely influential design. Porsche's 924 copied a lot from it. The SM offered futuristic looks and technology, such as a suspension that traded springs for bulbs containing nitrogen and mineral oil--a forward-thinking idea that was not yet ready for execution, as evidenced by the car's frequent discharges of hydraulic fluid on the floors of garages. A cool car, unless you owned one.


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Old 11-06-2006, 04:51 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

I had a 1973. You just can't say enough about this awesome muscle car.

1970 - 1974 Dodge Challenger

Each American "pony car" of the late '60s and '70s--affordable performance vehicles such as Ford's Mustang and Chevrolet's Camaro--had fan clubs. The car that came late to the party--the one with the most-underground group of devotees--was Dodge's first-generation Challenger (which had a near-twin model, Plymouth's Barracuda). For our money, the Challenger is the sexiest of the pony cars, largely because of those evil, partially hidden headlights.



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Old 11-06-2006, 04:52 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Ferrari 250 GTO

The greatest Ferrari ever. Produced in limited numbers (perhaps less than 40 models altogether) in the early 1960s, the GTO is almost not a cult car because it is so widely revered, but ultimately is one because it is so rare. This car is worshiped by Ferrari lovers around the world, and all you need to know to prove its coolness is this: the GTO was the Ferrari that Chevrolet imitated in order to style Corvettes of the day--particularly the 1968 'Vette. That is respect.



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Old 11-06-2006, 04:53 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Ferrari Enzo

This supercar, produced in a limited run of 400 models earlier in this decade, freaked a lot of people out. People who buy Ferraris want classic Ferrari design cues, but the Enzo was totally new. It is the only modern Ferrari. People seek it out--each one is worth over $1 million--even though it has in-your-face looks. Some might call it tasteless. In other words, even if the masses could afford the Enzo, it wasn't designed for mass appeal.



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Old 11-06-2006, 04:53 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Jaguar D-Type

This car has a burgeoning cult following, thanks partially to Ralph Lauren's exhibit of his D-Type at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts last year (Steve McQueen owned a D-Type too). The D-Type race cars of the 1950s--the sexiest race cars ever--have performance credentials that few other cars can touch. D-Types won France's 24 Hours of Le Mans race three times in the 1950s, taking first, second, third, fourth and sixth places in 1957.



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Old 11-06-2006, 04:54 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

Lamborghini Countach

People loved the Countach because it was so extreme--but extreme looks, among other things, have denied the car a Corvette-like staying power in the mainstream. You don't hear a lot of discussion about the Countach these days. But in its lifetime, there was nothing badder than this beast, the name of which is Milanese slang for "that's it" (or, in some translations, an interjection that begins with "holy"). A 1985 version, the Quattrovalvole, featured 455 horsepower and could reach 186 miles per hour.


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Old 11-06-2006, 04:55 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

1961 Lincoln Continental

Lincoln's Continental succeeded by being the anti-Eldorado. Before the Continental, luxury cars had lots of chrome and fins and were beginning to look corny. The Continental changed everything and upped the sinister quotient with such touches as suicide doors and a menacing front end (including a bumper that ran between the headlights). The '61 Continental was the first car with curved glass on the side windows and was the purest vision for a nameplate considered, along with the old-school Zephyr, the classic Lincoln

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Old 11-06-2006, 04:55 PM
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Default RE: Top 10 Coolest Cult Cars

1954 - 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster*

A simple but stunning design marks the early-model Porsche 356s--the first Porsches. The Speedster, a stripped-down version of the 356, has become one of the most sought-after Porsches by collectors, according to the company itself--quite an honor, considering that virtually all Porsches are sought-after.

* Pictured here: 1958 Speedster. In a recent e-mail, a Porsche spokesman said the model saw "very minor changes from 1956 to 1958."


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For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
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