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Cult of Personality [LORE] [FINAL RESULTS]


1978 AEKI Skeva Turbo


Really, is there anything that the Swedes won’t turbocharge? Alright, we jest, we jest. You know that we love our Scandinavian friends and their penchant for blowing lots of hot air.

Meet the '78 AEKI Skeva Turbo, the car where “hot hatch” met “premium sedan”. Without the sedan bits, of course. Fuel injected and turbocharged, the 8-valve, 2-liter SOHC motor puts out 170 ponies, and is bolted to a transaxle that sends all that to the front wheels. For extra smoky burnouts that make truck guys wonder what the hell just happened.

The Skeva Turbo has a 5-speed manual option for proper sporting use. Inside it includes leatherette seating for 4, a Hi-Fi quadraphonic 8-track radio system, and the finest in safety features such as 3-point front seatbelts with pretensioners, high strength door intrusion beams, and electronic fuel cutoff in the event of a collision.

This may be one of our favorite funkadelic foreign cars to reign during the late 70’s and early 80’s. It’s fun to drive, yet at the same time quite refined. Not too horribly pricy to get your hands on a clean example these days, though that’s bound to change, given a recent spike in interest from collectors.

We’ve seen at least a half a dozen at the last two car shows we went to, and our chief editor was lamenting being stuck behind one all day at the track last weekend. He was swearing up and down that the car wasn’t moving over after being flagged, but the video evidence is under review.

Mainstream Culture - Classics: High (Currently in 1st)
Mainstream Culture - Retro Motorsports: Medium (Currently in 7th)


1971 Bogliq Kitten Si


Last week on our blog, we highlighted the 1971 Bogliq Fanatic. Truly, the little car that could of the era. Today we cover its cousing, the '71 Kitten Si.

While the Kitten was a familiar small car in the states, Bogliq rerouted a few thousand Si models, originally destined for Britain, to USA dealerships. These are truly exceptional pieces to be found today, as their hasty deployment resulted in a right-hand drive version of the car, otherwise adapted to US safety regs.

It was intended to be a step up from the Fanatic Engage, but failed to gain widespread popularity, generally due to the availability of a larger 1600cc on the “base” model.

Still, having one of these is like sitting on import gold, without the import duty and shipping costs. A true British driving experience without all the hassle.

Counter Culture - Classics: Medium (Currently in 5th)


1980 Popas Tachanka


Now here’s something a little out of left field, and possibly found in a field. Before the craze of chopping up cars (and later SUVs) to do extreme stretches on them, it was actually normal for some manufacturers to produce stretched-wheelbase versions of their luxury cars to put out as limousines. Times changed, and the manufacturers shifted that burden to the 3rd party coachmakers, and now we’re where we’re at.

But let’s look at this example from the good old days. It’s a 1980 Popas Tachanka, this one being the “weaponized” version that was used for anything from security outfits to third-world dictators. Our blog’s history buff has traced this exact car as being one of three owned by the President of Bolivia, ordered brand new in 1980. We know it was used for at least 12 years, but where it went after retirement is a bit sketchy. It’s claimed that two different drug cartel bosses were gunned down inside this vehicle, one by his own security staff.

For those less inclined to need armor or security details, there were civilian versions built as well. High-quality leather throughout, multi-zone climate control, and a top-notch audio system all came standard from the Popas factory.

After nearly 40 years, all the limousine services have retired these beasts, but they make fun cars to beat up in any number of ways, including jumping them off road. Or if actually using it is more your speed, we’ve seen a few restored to their former glory. With the trunk-mounted RF antenna and 9" color CRT TVs, just like the originals.

Counter Culture - Classics: Medium (Currently in 7th)
NOTE: Due to the above score, some higher-ranked vehicles have moved up the scoring curve to High or Very High.
Counter Culture - Jalopy Culture: Low (Currently in 9th)



1973 Velkolepy Popular


If there’s one thing we’ve learned throughout the years, it would be that ONE guy who we cannot mention (without the swear jar) gets his hands in everything. Literally everything.

Did you know he unsucessfully imported a bunch of Eastern Bloc cars right after establishing a certain highly regarded Japanese brand? Talk about hit and miss.

The '73 Velkolepy Popular was true to its name, at least in “Republics” that were “sympathetic” to the Soviet Union. We won’t use the words that we want to, as apparently Dimitri the Intern doesn’t like it when we do so.

In any case, what was a ubiquitous mode of transport in Eastern Europe was dumped on us by that one dude washed up on our shores one day, with many people wondering what or why. Possibly a day late (well, a couple years) and a few dollars too many to cash in on the Bogliq Fanatic craze. Still, what ended up being imported was eventually, albeit slowly, purchased and used here domestically. And much like your crazy Aunt Sharon at Thanksgiving, these things pop up at the weirdest times and remind you of their existence.

Now, that’s not all bad. After all, it reminds us of the '73 Velkolepy Popular RSI, which ran the Rally circuit in Fruinia that year. That was some glorious iron to watch… while it lasted.

Counter Culture - Import/Export: Medium (Currently in 9th)


1965 Meijer Hellfire V12 GT


A Dutch muscle car. Yeah, that’s sounds weird, doesn’t it? This is one of those portions of Europe that tended to like their sporty cars to be light, nimble, and efficient, with a relatively high-winding engine.

So let’s take a 4-liter V12 (no, not a typo) and slap a camshaft in each head, see how it whirls in the States, right?

Not well, as it turns out. “No replacement for displacement” isn’t just a cute saying here, it’s the lifeblood of the Muscle car fan. A place where a small muscle car engine is a 5 liter V8 just wasn’t that keen on a smaller cammer.

It’s not the worst muscle car we’ve driven, just horribly out of place for the time. In retrospect, pretty much all of us would prefer to drive the cushy Meijer Hellfire than other weird competitors such as the Jaffil Hercules.

But if you place it against a '65 Vega Alameda, it just clearly doesn’t stack up. And that’s why you can get a Meijer for $1-2k for a complete car, whereas that same money will get you a rotting shell of an Alameda, likely not even rolling.

Mainstream Culture - Muscle Cars: Medium (Currently in 3rd)


1980 Retro Age Motors F4FC


Our 1980’s retro-age kick is not by coincidence. Many of the contributors here are… what are they calling us this week? Xennials? Whatever, we grew up in the kick-ass 80’s. So when we get a chance to drive something from the 80’s we’re always going to do it with a slightly stupid amount of zeal.

Retro Age Motors, by all accounts a weird name in any contemporary time, seems to be a name that fits as their cars age. The F4FC sports coupe is one of their gems from the early 80’s, an unabashed 2-seater (no 2+2 here, folks!) with a lean body and plenty of punch to back up the attitude.

The 194 horsepower, 2.8 liter 24-valve SOHC turbo V6 seems to produce endless power from idle to redline. Though “saddled” with an automatic transmission, RAM felt it was important to integrate electronics and a semi-manual mode, which greatly helps with feeling when you want to lay it all on the line. Even just letting the car do its own thing, it’s good for a 7.3 second 0-60, quite good for the day. It also was pretty good on gas for a hi-po V6.

Sadly, not many examples are left. First off, a lack of factory rustproofing and general lack of care has left most shells and frames absolutely useless for any purpose other than recycling. Furthermore, that brilliant engine doesn’t have a terribly long lifespan, and the electronics on the transmission are fidgety at best.

Hopefully the remaining owners take good care of what they’ve got, so the F4FC doesn’t get erased from history altogether.

Mainstream Culture - Rods and Muscle Cars: Medium (Currently in 4th)


1976 IP Freeway Star 1300 Astro


It’s a well known fact that the Mamayan car industry has absolutely no shame whatsoever. And we love it. I mean, how many foreign companies would take the time to pander to American pride in their bicentennial year. You’re looking at the one.

A red-white-and-blue paint scheme and a few little “luxury” bits like power steering get slapped on their little people-mover, and it makes an instant classic.

OK, maybe not instant. It took another 30 years before people who didn’t own one took any notice whatsoever. But after that first time that a redneck shadetree mechanic with a good camera and internet access started plastering pictures of his barn-find Freeway Star online, and people found out the paint scheme was FACTORY? Well, its fate was sealed.

Amazingly enough, people pay gobs of money for restored or clean, original examples. And there are a ton of replicas out there, as well, made from the non-special editions.

Ah, a glorious day to be a Mamayan car.

Mainstream Culture - Classics: Medium (Currently in 5th)


My Comet is not that slow. Last time I check it, the top speed was over 150mph.


pssst its Popas :stuck_out_tongue:


@mikonp7 - Whoops! Fixed.


What I see when I pull up your file.

Also, what else I see: the exact same issue as with your last car, for which I had also given you feedback.


I think something fishy with the importing is going on here. Not sure how you manage only 90 mph with 426 hp. A bunch of added weight shouldn’t affect top speed either and it still manages to get some decent acceleration. Also it says it weighs 2631.5 lbs in the screenshot and nearly 3,700 lbs in the review. I haven’t entered yet or anything, just confused reading this is all.


1989 Lagau M12-iiT

Grand tourer ----> Sports car


So Chickenbiscuit pointed out that I had made a clerical error with the 3700 pound reference. A simple typo, and I’ve changed the wording of the review slightly to fix that. However, Automation does all the performance calcs, not me. You can see there on the screenshot that what I wrote down is what I saw in the file. And I know the biggest culprit, and it’s not an import/export error. It’s a PEBCAK.


Nevermind, I screwed up tuning the car. The top speed that I claimed was actually before I downsized the engine. Sorry…


'88 - '89 SBA Gracelet 2.0 Ti Integral

The export version of Gracelet 2.0 Ti Integral was debuted at 1987 Tokyo Motor show, only two months away from the premier launch in Thailand as part of 25th year anniversary and was produced from 1987 to 1992. It was homologation special with only one goal, to compete in motorsports. SBA’s aim was still the same, Group A rallying. And the first taste of SBA’s major motorsport presence in the States was in 1988 Olympus Rally, both from works team and private teams.

Stewart Wilson, the US driver in his private team had demonstrate with stellar result, finished within top 10 overall, only minutes away from the mighty Audi Quattro of John Buffum. After the stellar result from Stewart Wilson, the demand was soared for the Gracelet 2.0 Ti Integral resulted as increased number from original of 250 to 500 in the States, even there was special edition called “The Olympus” which is even rarer, only produced for 50 cars, and all 500 cars were completely sold out in 1989.

Changes from global exports version were, catalytic converter due to emission standard which decreased the maximum power from over 220 horsepower to 216 horserpower (while the rally spec was more than 250 horsepowers), side markers and driver side airbag as standard, as automatic seatbelt system deemed not crashworthy enough for such performance machine.

Nowadays many Gracelet 2.0 Ti Integrals are in hands of private collectors, along side the Italian and German classic cars, but there are many owners who prefer driving this little rally legend rather than keeping away from public’s eye.


1989 Lagau M12iiT


Panache. Flair. Daring. Brawn and brains. Nope, not the latest super spy hero. It’s a classic Lagau, specifically the '89 M12iiT.

Another literal poster child of the 80’s, this car was everything that a grand touring coupe should be and more. All-aluminum, turbocharged 2.3 liter straight-6 putting out 337 horses, arranged amidships, and plugged into a slick 5-speed manual transmission. This baby could lay down rubber all the way to 30 MPH. If you had a little more self-control and wanted to show off a little less, a skilled driver with a gilded touch could get up to 60 in just 3.9 seconds, and cover the quarter mile in just a smidge over 12 seconds.

Meanwhile, luxurious bolstered leather seats with individual heat controls, automatic climate control, and a high-end AM/FM cassette deck awaited inside, for the driver who preferred class over vulgar, spartan interiors that plagued other high-end sports cars.

Sure, the Lagau M12iiT was extremely spendy back in the day. As it is now. But you just don’t see very many of them. And are there many other 80’s classics that you can think of that command this much respect?

Mainstream Culture - Rods and Sports Cars: Very High (Currently in 1st)


1988 SBA Gracelet 2.0 Ti Integral


Homologation editions. Those glorious runs of a few hundred to a few thousand rare sports models built to satisfy manufacturing requirements for various sanctioning bodies. You’ve gotta love them, as they’re almost always roided out versions of the pedestrian cars they’re based off of.

Even harder to get your hands on when it’s a manufacturer that didn’t import a whole lot of cars to begin with. In this case, that would be the SBA Gracelet 2.0 Ti Integral.

We’ve already covered the “standard” 1.6 Swift Ti in another edition, but we’re concentrating on this one particular rare bird. 500 of them total were made, built for Group A rally homologation.

Of course, the actual rally car has the interior and accessories stripped out for weight reduction, but even the Integral version is quite nice, with leather seating, a hi-fi cassette stereo, and a 221 horsepower turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder. Add in a 5-speed manual transmission and all wheel drive, and you’ve got a little pocket rocket to go play with at rallycrosses or on the club racing circuit.

But good luck finding one. It will, no doubt, command a premium price. It’s believed that fewer than 200 of the original 500 are still roadworthy at this point.

Mainstream Culture - Retro Motorsports: High (Currently in 3rd)


The 1971 Epoch - M30 Regalis…

“Designed in Europe, Made in America”

This car was Epoch’s attempt at breaking into the US market with a car specifically designed to cater for American tastes above all else (evident by the lack of almost any sales in the home markets). Aiming for “affordable luxury”, the M30 Regalis had features and interior fitout normally reserved for cars twice the price. Handling and driving dynamics were… not its strong suit, however the car had almost no equal when it came to ushering passengers along interstate highways in comfort and quiet.


The Godhap and Whent Seax, built from 1960 until the end of 1974, was a 4-seat 2-door family oriented car. During its production run, there were 3 facelifts, and the introduction of two (non-concurrent) 6 cylinder engines, with up to 140hp. The '74 US version had, as top option, a whole 90hp available from the 2.7L (162 Cu In) I6, while the euro spec still had 120. On the plus side, it returned an average of 20 Mpg (US), and had a purchase price of $10,058 equivalent (plus on-road costs).


excuse me, there is some mistake in the writing, it was 1.6 Swift Ti Twincam Turbo, as this 2.0 Ti Integral is special homologation with 2 liter engine and AWD.