Exploring the World’s Cult Classic Cars

Nissan 300ZX

Nissan 300ZX – the saviour of the Z-cars

For years, Nissan had failed to replicate the raw thrills of the original Z-car, the legendary 240Z of 1969, producing a series of bloated replacements that pandered to the American market.

But then came the 300ZX, which – via two distinct incarnations – evolved to restore the lustre to the tarnished Z range that still shines brightly today.

We trace the car’s transformation from worthy 1980s sports coupé to the full-blooded Japanese performance masterpiece of the Nineties – the potent Z32.

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Citroen DS - the car that fell from the sky

Citroen DS: the car that fell from the sky

It was the car that looked “as if it had fallen from the sky”. In 1955, the Citroen DS stunned the motoring world when it was launched at the Paris Motor Show.

Aerodynamic, futuristic, with a huge raking bonnet and pioneering self-levelling suspension, the French car-maker took 12,000 orders on the first day alone.

We take a look back at the legendary “Goddess”.

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Ford Fiesta illustration

Ford Fiesta: the supreme supermini

It was far from the first supermini, but for more than 40 years the Ford Fiesta has held an iron grip on the small car sector.

Britain’s best-selling car for nine years on the spin up to 2017, as well as five times before that, the Fiesta has seduced more buyers than any other car on these shores since it was launched in 1976.

We look back at the early years of an understated legend.

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Vauxhall Cavalier

Vauxhall Cavalier: the car that saved GM in Britain

It was the car that breathed new life into Vauxhall, a mile-eating motorway cruiser with sharp handling and a smooth, refined engine.

The Cavalier may not have knocked the Ford Cortina off the top of the sales charts, but it probably deserved to.

We look at the history of the mark 1, launched in 1975 and a key turning-point for Vauxhall.

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Ford Anglia

Ford Anglia: Life before Harry Potter

The Ford Anglia is a rarity among classic cars – it’s immediately recognised all over the world by children and young people, even if it’s as “the Harry Potter car” and not by its given name.

But among the older generation, the Anglia was already a well-known and well-loved family car long before J K Rowling plucked the forerunner to the Ford Escort from her own memory banks and made it fly into the global spotlight.

We take a look at the history of the Anglia, focusing on the 105E, which sold more than a million between 1959 and 1967.

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VW Golf GTi

VW Golf GTi: the birth of a legend

The Beetle was a tough act to follow, but when Volkswagen launched the Golf in 1974, boy did they get it right.

It couldn’t have been more different to its antiquated predecessor – front-engined, front-wheel drive, and a hatchback, ‘folded paper’ design penned by Giorgetto Guigiaro.

But it was the arrival of the GTi in June 1976 that turned this small, fuel-efficient family runabout into the car that invented an entire genre, the “hot hatch”.

We look back at the birth of a legend, the mark I Golf GTi.

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Toyota Supra

Toyota Supra: the supercar killer

Toyota’s first Supra was little more than a badge on a Celica, at 110bhp a world away from the fire-breathing budget supercar it was to become.

It wasn’t until 1986 that the Supra became a model in its own right, and the car had to wait until the A80 generation in 1993 to truly catch fire.

We explore the history of the cult Japanese classic, and speak to one owner about his pristine import.

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Ford Granada

Ford Granada: the executive saloon gamechanger

Few big saloons of the 1970s had the cool factor in quite the swaggering way of the Ford Granada.

A bold move away from the boxy Zephyr and Zodiacs, the handsome Granada vindicated Ford’s pan-European strategy to build a car as popular in London as Berlin.

The car’s future cult classic status was secured as the conveyance of choice for DI Jack Regan, the hard-as-nails cop in The Sweeney, while fleet buyers were turning to the big Ford in their droves.

We take a look at the car that changed the executive game.

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Trabant 601

Sixty years of the Trabant: communist people’s car turned symbol of freedom

Few cars hold such an iconic place in European history as the humble Trabant, the East German people’s car that became a symbol of freedom at the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Derided in the west as the very essence of communist inefficiency and incompetence – noisy, smoky, slow and uncomfortable – the car is the subject of more myths and misinformation than almost any other.

But, as the now defunct marque approaches its 60th anniversary in November 2017, we go behind the Iron Curtain to separate fact from fiction and speak to one devoted owner.

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The Beast from the East: 60 years of the Nissan Skyline

The iconic bruiser from Japan has gone down in performance car folklore, as popular in video games and on the big screen as with its legion of devoted fans.

Originally a luxury saloon manufactured by the Prince Motor Company in 1957, the car evolved into the legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R, a tuner’s favourite dubbed “Godzilla, the monster from Japan” by the Australian press.

We look back at 60 years of motoring’s Beast from the East.

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