Last night, I watched a “Throwback” Motorweek which reviewed the then-new top-tier twin-turbocharged Japanese sport coupes. It pitted the height of the market cars against each other – the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, the Toyota Supra Turbo, the Mazda RX-7 and the Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo in a head to head. It’s hard to believe only a year or two after that segment aired, all of those cars would have disappeared from the U.S. market. While vestiges of them have returned, we’re still generally left without that glut of fast Japanese GT cruisers that were available in the early 1990s. It reminded me of another segment that all but disappeared around the same time; the sports economy coupe. True, cars like the Scion TC live on, but remember when there were 11 or 12 different small coupes you could buy? Like the “HYBRID!”s of their day, each offered shouty colored badges about what made them special; a DOCH here, a 16 valve there, or if you were really, really cool, you had a TURBO badge somewhere on your car. Preferably, multiple places. I remember fondly my friend in high school’s Plymouth Sundance Turbo; it might as well have been a Ferrari to us. While Volkswagen never went that far, they did continue to offer their version of a sport coupe, the Scirocco, through the late 80s. Still sporting its Giugiaro-inspired but Karmann-stolen all-angles design proudly, the Scirocco had a bit of a mystique as all Volkswagen coupes had that it was the best of the class, even if by the numbers it wasn’t:
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Tag: Flash Silver
There are a lot of folks who long for European versions of the cars that we got here in the United States, and this author is amongst them. For the most part, the Euro versions were closer to the original design; in general they had smaller, better fitting bumpers, better headlights, and some options that were deemed too expensive or not appealing enough to bring to the U.S.. They also typically had better performance from non-de-tuned motors and lighter weight. So, better looking, faster and more special; but in talking with Paul, we both agreed that there is also an element of wanting the things we just can’t have. One Volkswagen model that never made it here was the GTX trim Scirocco. The GTX was one of the higher spec versions in Europe and looked quite sporty; put some of those Euro bits onto what would otherwise be a pretty mundane 1984 U.S. spec Scirocco, add some desirable tuning modifications and some fresh paint, and you have a tidy package: