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Cult of Personality [LORE] [FINAL RESULTS]


1977 Epoch M20 - Falconeer GT8

Since 1974, Epoch continues to provide affordable, reliable, and fun motoring with the Epoch M20 Falconeer. Whether you are after a zippy coupe that is safe and predictable enough for your whole family to drive, or a fire-breathing v8 monster to take to the track, the Falconeer range has a vehicle for you.

In order to celebrate Epoch’s 110th Birthday in 1977, comes a special edition of the Falconeer. Based upon the ‘standard’ v8 GT package (if anything about the car could be considered standard!), the Engineers at Epoch Motorsports Division have tweaked and tuned almost every aspect of the vehicle to create the ultimate expression of the M20 line - the Falconeer GT8. Highlights include the 3.0L v8 engine (descendant from the famous Artemus 3000), sport tuned suspension, 5-speed manual gearbox, larger brakes, a race-proven aerodynamic package, exclusive “Burnt Orange” paint and decals, and a premium sports interior.

Perfection doesn’t come cheap, but with the Falconeer GT8 selling for under $15,000, it definitely can be affordable.


1978 Diamond Bureau Coupe


Do you even Brougham, bro?

RAM totally did, with the Diamond Bureau Coupe. And it transports us back to a simpler day. The days of spandex, fake leather wheel covers, gallons of AquaNet, and the constant threat of nuclear war.

Well, it sort of takes us back there, anyway. Then takes us on a weird-ass twist with its flatplane crank V8. Looks 100% American Malaise on the outside, looks 70’s Disco Americana on the inside, turn it on and… Italian Supercar? No, no, no no.

Whatever the reasoning back in the 70’s for RAM’s decision on this particular car, it has at least created a niche market for collecting this bizarre personal luxury coupe.

If you’re looking for one yourself, just beware of what you’re getting yourself into. They didn’t get a reputation of being money pits for no reason. Those lovely engines, while solid on the mechanical bits, tend to eat up ignition and electronic components like there’s no tomorrow. And the interior is made up of all kinds of wonderful early luxury gadgetry that loved to break, and provide the need for engineering R&D for decades to come for luxury manufacturers. In short: it was the bar for “bad” that everyone else learned from.

Counter Culture - Classics: Very Low (Currently in 12th)


1985 Morton Corsair III 5.0


Tragedy struck the in 1972 and 1973, as rapidly tightening regulations strangled the life out of the American Muscle car industry. Thus began the Malaise that would cast a pallor over the states for a decade (or two, depending on who you ask).

But then, in 1985… Hallelujah, the performance was finally back!

Meet the third-gen Morton Corsair, with a good old-fashioned 5.0 liter pushrod, modernized with fuel injection. No longer did the “muscle” car wheeze along with 130-ish horsepower. New technology and computer-controlled injection allowed the smog-compliant Corsair to once again churn a healthy 224 horses. Along with its relatively light weight after going on a diet, this meant that the Corsair was able to do 60 in just a hair over 6 seconds once more.

Furthermore, Morton proved that the performance could easily be achieved without outrageous costs. It has earned every right to brag as being one of the most important muscle cars of our days, for they would truly be dark without this beacon of light.

Mainstream Culture - Muscle Cars: High (Currently in 2nd)


Actually, I quite love the extent of lore you go to in order to do this, so no worries. However, as you’ll see by my writeup, your lore itself kind of dictates, and goes hand-in hand with, how the “leaded fuel” would have been handled anyway…

1981 Monolith A480DLS Permanent


The 80’s were an interesting time for many, many reasons. Today we’ll shine a spotlight on how politics, economics, and industry collided in a not-so-pretty way.

Going way back to the early 60’s, France and West Germany placed an import tariff on American chickens, and the States responded by placing a tariff on light trucks, brandy, dextrin, and potato starch. Eventually all tariffs except the one on light trucks would be removed; this sole survivor was kept in place at the behest of the UAW.

Fast forward to the 80’s, and manufacturers from all over are trying to figure out ways to import their trucks into the States without paying the tariff. Monolith, who had been selling luxury trucks for many years, had gone for as long as they could before the “chassis cab” loophole was closed in '79. For 7 more years they would struggle to sell their trucks with the insane tariff before they opened a North American assembly plant, and were finally able to build domestically and avoid the tax.

So this '81 Monolith A480DLS Permanent is a rather rare beast, as sales were pretty terrible during that timeframe. The “Permanent” moniker denotes the permanent four-wheel drive system (which we now just call AWD). Loaded with a diesel engine, auto trans, high end upholstery choices, cruise, air, and great (for the time) stereos.

Now, some of our neighbors weren’t involved in this little (and to this day ongoing) trade dispute. Rather than trying to scour the ends of the Earth, or at least of America, the easiest way to get hold of one of these is to go run south of the border. They are EVERYWHERE down there. And, now that they’re over 25 years old, you can just drive one back and pay a small duty and be done with it.

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


1971 Bogliq Mackaw Touring


In the early 70’s, Bogliq had a definite desire to have downsized models and engines on the market. A variety of methods were tried, some were more successful than others, as evidenced by the Bogliq Fanatic’s zealous reception vs. the rather cold one of the Kitten Si. But even before those models, Konstantin Bogliq tried to bring in cars from his worldwide manufacturing facilities.

Starting in '71, dealers in Miami and similar southern areas could import Brazilian-built Mackaws, powered by a 2-liter, 80 horsepower mill. This was actually a quite peppy engine for the model, and reasonably efficient.

The Mackaw Touring enjoyed a brief spurt of relative popularity (when you consider that only around 10,000 were brought into the states over a 6 year period) during the Oil Crisis. But it was still too bizarre for American buyer’s tastes, especially with the “plus three” configuration of rear seats, which were basically useless.

The intent to use a newer model to steal sales from more venerable competitors such as the Ardent Sentinel failed; despite its old architecture and antiquated engine choices, buyers still preferred it over the Mackaw.

Still, once a glut of cheap Mackaws became available along the gulf coast, a specialty marque club was formed. In recent years, their small buy loyal following has started importing parts and even full cars from Brazil, in order to fuel the need for spares to keep their own cars running.

Counter Culture - Import/Export: Very Low (Currently in 14th)


1973 DAAG G11


Today’s blog is all about another quirky car we love, but was never sold stateside. The 1973 DAAG G11.

This baby is a little micro-light “sedan” hatchback-type car from Europe, also sold in South America. It was never anything that was designed for North American tastes at the time, with 5 small but surprisingly comfortable seats rocketed around by a 1.1 liter 3-cylinder engine.

When I was stationed in Germany, I got a chance to drive a couple of these. They most definitely don’t feel as slow as their numbers on paper would suggest. Handling is decent, though not super sharp. There is something undeniably fun, however, about just letting loose in one of these things and throwing it around. Speed records be damned, all those kinds of thoughts go right out the window when you’re just skating around in a tiny little DAAG.

That’s why, at least to me, it’s not surprising to see one now and then on the roads around here. Invariably, some gearhead spent some time in Europe, fell in love with one, and brought it home with them to use as their personal “funabout”.

Counter Culture - Import/Export: Medium (Currently in 11th)


1985 G&W Stamford Interceptor 2.2 M


For every story of a great rise, there universe demands a story of a fall from grace. Today’s sad tale is about the new-for-85 Godhap and Whent Stamford.

Billed as a lot cost, high content sports coupe, the Stamford Interceptor failed to deliver in any meaningful sense. Whereas the decade earlier the Seax was a fun, albeit quirky sporty family car with good bones, the Stamford that was delivered to US shores was continuously plagued with problems.

In seemingly true British fashion, foremost among those were electrical gremlins galore. But the “Henry I” engine doesn’t live up to either the glory nor the longevity of the English king of the middle ages. Instead, ring problems, cracked heads, and broken valves were the order of the day for the sad 2.2 liter 16-valve SOHC motor.

Leeroy Customs built a turbo package for the Stamford overseas, but virtually none made it to our shores, thanks to the poor taste in the consumers’ mouths with the original engine. It didn’t make sense at the time to invest that much money to probably blow up your engine faster.

Nowadays, the few Stamfords left are basically beaten and flogged on the track until they die. Truly sad to see, from a company that had such a wonderful car just a few years earlier.

Counter Culture - Motorsports: Very Low (Currently in 11th)


Behold what happens when your lore doesn’t match your file…

1978 Denver Quest Coupe


While we’re on the topic of blunders, we have a bonus blog for you today. Legal debacles. They happen now and then in the automotive industry, and we’re reminded of one of our favorite SNAFUs where the manufacturer ended up eating crow.

The 1978 Denver Quest Coupe. Touted in some early material as having a full bench front and rear seat. Sounds totally like a late 70’s American personal coupe. Until you realize that Denver forgot two minor details: a front center seatbelt, and a rear center seatbelt.

See, with a litigious society, one really doesn’t want to argue the semantics of what a “full bench seat” means in either the court of public opinion or an actual court. Yet, that’s what ended up happening in the case of the Quest Coupe. Rather than apologize, give refunds, change their pricing, and/or reclassify their car, Denver doubled down.

Sure enough, the Quest has a split-bench front seat, which technically qualifies as a bench seat. But the legal implication there is that there is a seatbelt somewhere between the driver and passenger, so that another passenger (usually a kid) can sit there. Bzzt… nope. And the rear? It’s an honest to God bench seat, no splits, from side to side. But again, there was this omission of a center seat belt, which had consumers and consumer advocacy groups up in arms.

The thing was, the Quest wasn’t a bad car at all. It was, other than the legal hiccup and a slightly oversized engine, a perfectly normal-for-the-era car.

But Denver fought the law, and the law won. And now, people strangely collect these original, pre-refit coupes, without the extra belts, for fun. On purpose.

Counter Culture - Classics: Low (Currently in 9th)


Haha yes.

But for real tho, let’s just say Denver is creating uh… “creative” way to advertise the car to the consumers.




Well, I mean, it is Leeroy Customs… probably found some dude named Leeroy Jenkins to buy it…


1970 IP Colibri Mk1


Breaking news, 1970: Balcolm Mricklin strikes again! (Yes, the swear jar is out, don’t worry.)

Yes, that wacky importer guy that we all love to hate, and often hate to love, was back at it yet again in the early 70’s. This time grabbing a bunch of little bitty city cars from Mamaya and importing them.

Playing off the success of a recently imported Kei car and its bigger sibling, Mr. Mricklin thought we wanted more and more new companies. And while the IP Colibri that he brough over probably could have made headway in establishing a market foothold, it was ultimately a victim of Mricklin’s overuse of the same formula. Thus, a market saturation of his own accidental design.

The IP Colibri was cheap to purchase, own, and fuel. There was never any question about that. But it fell short of other small import competitors around the same timeframe in driving dynamics and, more importantly, comfort. While the 70’s weren’t exactly a great time for the economy, it wasn’t bad enough for most people to choose a slightly better car. Or even a used car.

Collectors are few and far between, but generally don’t give up their cars unless pried (literally) from their cold, dead hands. Somewhat morbid that an entire model only exists in our collective consciousness until a generation dies off…

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


1977 Epoch M20 Falconeer GT8


While the traditional Muscle Car was dead for about a decade in the 70’s, there was one manufacturer well suited to bringing to bear a reasonable facsimilie, without completely changing their company’s thinking. Who else but Epoch?

Think of it for a moment. It makes sense. Many so-called Muscle cars of the late 70’s had downsized, smog-choked engines. Some of them were even running straight sixes or even small-displacement V6’s. So then the existing 3.0 liter V8 from Epoch made sense, displacement wise. The fact that they were running an overhead cam a bit ahead of their time helped them, at least during this era.

Here’s the M20 Falconeer GT8. The muscle car version of the otherwise mundane Falconeer. Epoch yanked out the four-banger and slipped in their small V8, but didn’t weigh it down with luxury items. Just made it for pure, unadulterated speed. Well, relative to the era, anyway.

There’s also reasonably decent aftermarket support for these cars, with both internal and bolt on engine components available without scouring too much.

Just hope you like hot black or dark blue vinyl sport buckets and stiff window cranks, cause you’re going to get those and more wonderful 70’s features.

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


Mouton Premier Mk3 (Type 232) (1967-1974) (post-'71 facelift 1100 R US-spec road car shown)

Like its smaller cousin, the Mk3 Premier is often considered as one of Mouton’s best pre-Aviator cars, and for good reason. Like the Cherie, most versions of the Premier used a tiny cast-iron boxer engine (in this case, the V-Familie 1000-1600cc SOHC 2v/4v boxer-six) in the back powering the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox. However, the post-1971 facelift 1100 R was Mouton’s first use of a five-speed manual, developed for a balance between acceleration and fuel economy. Unlike the Cherie, the Premier’s biggest engine ended up in Aviator’s own Mk2 Primavera; the drivetrain was extremely easy to swap in and modify into the Prima’s middle, and it also improved weight distribution and cornering significantly for the top-trim RXI model. Unfortunately, this factory swap was used by quite a few hot-rodders in the late-'70s and early-'80s, making finding one of the 1,600 1600 R models uncannibalized even harder when combined with their propensity for rust. Thankfully, the cheaper and less-powerful 1100 R was popular enough after its rally successes (11,000 built) that it often is a pre-Aviator Mouton collector’s second-best option for a hot ‘232’.


1973 Mouton Premier 1100 R


With the push for emissions controls and the Oil Crisis, small cars from all over, domestic and imported, seem to have popped up like weeds almost overnight. While few of them were raging successes owing to American tastes in cars, nearly all ate away at least some sales, showing up in enough numbers to at least ping the auto world’s radar.

The '73 Mouton Premier 1100 R is another such tiny car that wasn’t super popular back in the day, but has gained newfound interest and life as of late.

A budget 2-seat hatchback powered by a bizarre 1100cc 24-valve H6, the Premier was able to move with pretty disturbing speed. Though it would top out far before most cars of the era, it could also out-accelerate many larger cars of the day.

As for handling, it was a rollerskate, ready for roller disco. I think that’s what they did back in the 70’s, anyway. But it’s also what attracts autocrossers to this model. Being able to throw around the car and pull quickly out of a turn is essential, and being able to find a strange old unwanted car in a barn that can show up modern sedans on the course is always fun.

Counter Culture - Motorsport: Medium (Currently in 7th)


Week 6 (FINAL WEEK!) entries are now open.


1983 Epoch - M20 Falconeer GT6

“And so the son hath surpassed the father”


1970 Denver SPX

Made by Denver, perfect for those who wants speed in their brand new Denver SPX which stands for Sport Performance eXperimental.


1968-79 IP FLAIRE II

The IP brand was introduced in the US market in 1954, and the 1958 IP Flaire sports car was developed mostly for US export and to boost the image of the brand in the states. However, it never was the seller they did hope for. The criticism from automotive magazines was harsh about the primitive vehicles low comfort, disappointing performance and mediocre handling. The second generation Flaire in 1968 was meant to adress that criticism. The whole idea was that it should look like an exotic, but have an affordable sticker price and still features and performance that would satisfy buyers in its price class. The engine was a tuned version of the V6 found in the IP Brigadier 2600 GLX, in turn just a cut down version of the V8 found in the IP Icarus and Royalist, and because of that a 90 degree V6 less refined than most 60 degree engines. To get a lower front line and better handling, the ordinary IP strut suspension was replaced by a double wishbone unit, while the rear axle was of the semi trailing arm-type, shared with the first generation IP-Kingston Vagant. Standard features at the introduction was for example high back contoured bucket seats, a walnut steering wheel with three brushed aluminium spokes, center console, tachometer, 5 speed gearbox with a short floor shifter, 4 wheel disc brakes and safety equipment like front and rear crumple zones, inertia reel 3-point seatbelts and a telescoping steering column.

1968 - Second generation Flaire introduced
1974 - US market cars, while still called the “2600 GTV6” recieves a 2,8 litre engine with lower compression to cope with unleaded gasoline.
1975 - The Flaire recieves a facelift. Low mounted sealed beams now replaced with popup lamps. Front bumper now plastic and colour matched with body. Alloy wheels instead of styled steel wheels. Heated rear window. Leather steering wheel with black spokes replaces wood wheel. Big vent under the rear bumper
1978 - All models are now called the “2800 GTV6” and has the 2,8 litre V6 introduced for USA in 1974. Single point injection replaces 4 barrel carburator.
1980 - The Mk2 Flaire is, to some enthusiasts dismay, replaced with the heavier, more conservatively styled, less sports oriented and more comfortable Mk3. A car appealing to a wider market but losing some of its sporty appeal at the same time.


1987 Genra GXM Turbo: An Overview

In 1987, Genra redesigned its mid-engined sports car so comprehensively that it deserved a new name: GXM. Although a normally aspirated engine was still available as before, the real headliner was the Turbo model - a first for the range. With 200 horsepower on tap and 170 lb-ft spread out over a relatively broad, flat torque curve from 3000 rpm, the GXM Turbo could breach 140 mph with ease while taking less than 6 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill, even with a catalytic converter fitted and running on regular unleaded gasoline.

Equally impressive was the GXM Turbo’s handling capabilities. With double-wishbone suspension at all four corners, one would expect the GXM to make mincemeat out of tight, twisty roads, and it did just that, since it could pull up to 1.08 g on a skid pad. Moreover, it could also stop on a dime thanks to 4-wheel vented disc brakes.

All of this performance was made more easily accessible thanks to the GXM Turbo’s low curb weight - at just over a metric ton, it is incredibly light by today’s standards. And with a fully galvanized body and chassis (plus some alloy panels for reduced weight), it was less susceptible to rust than its predecessor. But the most amazing thing about the GXM Turbo was its price: at launch, it retailed for $12,200 without markups, making it incredibly affordable for a mid-engined sports car, especially one which performed so well.

The GXM Turbo would gain power over time to compensate for the addition of more standard equipment. In addition, a six-speed manual gearbox became standard in 1995, along with ABS and traction control, while a CD player and passenger airbag were both added to the option list. However, it also became more expensive in the process, leading to a slow decline in sales over the course of the car’s lifespan, ultimately leading to its discontinuation in 2000.

Due to its bang-for-buck factor, GXM Turbos were very popular with amateur and professional racers around the globe. They also gained a devoted following on the tuner scene. However, in recent years, enthusiasts realized that a stock GXM Turbo from any year is still fast enough to put a smile on your face, and values are now gradually increasing, especially since they are less common than they used to be. 30 years on from its debut, the original GXM Turbo serves as a reminder of simpler times, before electronics began to interfere too heavily with the thrill of driving.