Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mid Engined from Vintage Wheels

                In the automotive world, mid-engine cars make up a vast majority of bed room wall art.   Going back to the ‘60’s, high end exotics have had their engines in a place where normal cars would have seats or a trunk.  Thanks to something called physics, putting the engine in the middle of the car gives the vehicle amazing performance capabilities not found in more conventional set ups.  Sadly, not all of us will own the mid-engine super car of our dreams.  For those of us in the 99%, there is at least hope to enjoy a little bit of the good life.  There are a variety of affordable options to choose from.

The American Option:  The Pontiac Fiero was an attempt for General Motors to produce a mid-engine car.  Unfortunately, we all really wanted a mid-engine Corvette instead. While the Corvette may eventually hit the markets, if you can find a Fiero that isn’t in pieces, buy it now. There are not many good ones left.

From the Fatherland: Porsche has tried twice to show its buyers that an engine shouldn’t be hanging off the back end like it does in the 911.  With the 914 and its spiritual successor the Boxster, you can afford race-bred handling and dynamics that are world class.  The best part is you don’t have to pay 911 prices.  In fact why are people paying that for an engine located in the wrong place?

Italian Passion: Let’s face it if you want a mid-engine car you really want an Italian car.  The Fiat X1/9 fills that spot in your garage and your heart while you save for the Ferrari. Of course, if you buy an Italian car, you will deal with Italian engineering. Unfortunately, Italian engineering is not known as an industry leader in reliability.   

The Dark Horse: The Japanese, on the other hand design machines that will fire up with just a quick twist of the wrist.  If you haven’t noticed the Acura/Honda NSX prices are rising out of this world.  Acura is releasing a replacement for the icon soon; however, the real descendant of the NSX is the 458 Italia.  Go ahead and buy the car that put Ferrari on notice before you can’t afford it. 

The Everlast: Toyota, one of the world’s largest car companies also built one of the longest selling mid-engine sports cars the MR2.  There are three generations of the MR2 built between 1984 and 2007.   With such a vast offing, buyers can have the pick of the litter. 
The Monarch: A company that had a helping hand in the production of the MR2 was Lotus.  This British racing company is arguably the king of mid-engine design and engineering.  The Lotus Esprit was the McLaren 650s of its day and all automotive enthusiasts miss its awesome bloody brilliant.    

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