"Cars from the Land of the Rising Sun of every era inspire devotion in a diaspora of automotive enthusiasts. Influx sought out a fistful of them. “I look after between 38 and 50 Japanese cars in various stages of repair. I can’"
Heroes & Villains
1: The DeTomaso Pantera
Is this an Argentinian, Italian or an American car? Not sure, but its street brawler’s yankee heart crossed with latino styling set hearts racing from the pampas to the prairies. Marketed squarely at Americans when it debuted in New York in 1970, the Pantera played Euro exotic in the ‘states and overblown Americano in Modena. A tricky thing to pull off. HERO
2: Dennis Wilson
Not only was he the star of Two Lane Blacktop, he was also a real Beach Boy who really surfed. Revealed his musical talent in Pacific Ocean Blue and confirmed he was the existential hero of the road we all wanted to be. HERO
The pesky cartoon bird was the fastest through the canyons and always frustrating Wile Coyote, who of course utilised all means available, automotive and otherwise, to catch him. Not only a windup, he gave his name to the most muscly of muscle cars. Despite that VILLAIN
4: Peter Fonda
Is it just me or was Peter Fonda always an unlikely countercultural hero? When he mounted the steel pony in Easy Rider and Wild Angels, we just didn’t quite believe the hype. And when he rode up the hill at Goodwood a couple of years ago, it made me cringe. Call me old fashioned but shouldn’t true biker heroes be less…middle class? VILLAIN
5: Ford Pinto
Renowned for allegedly having exploding rear ends, the oil crisis era Ford was the epitome of automotive compromise. On the plus side, it used a European built, rock solid engine that was and is, used all over the place, in a rare example of our sending something over to the states that actually worked. Was cast almost every bad American TV movie of the 1970s and early 80s. On balance; VILLAIN
6: Jay Leno
Not only is he in my opinion very unfunny and non-telegenic, the way he flaunts his ridiculous car collection drives me crazy. That smug face. Those cars. Living proof that money can’t buy you style. Get off our magazine pages, Leno! VILLAIN!
7: Chrysler Grand Voyager
You can bang on all day about how practical they are and how much value for money they represent and how the residual value is blah blah blah. But they are as horrible as the pond-life Alan Sugar acolytes who get ferried around in them. They deserve one another. VILLAIN
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