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Cult of Personality [LORE] [FINAL RESULTS]


1960 IP Brigadier


Our true love affair with rugged, off-road vehicles goes back to the war machines of World War II, specifically the various Jeeps that were built. Mostly the Willy’s, but others got love too. Eventually they morphed into civilian versions of the vehicles.

To truly get the raw sense of off-roading, though, it takes a military vehicle. And owning one is cheaper and easier than you think.

Mamayan manufacturer IP built a ton of off-road vehicles for their army starting in 1960. And, of course, because military hardware is a profitable business, Mamaya wasn’t the only country to buy these for their military.

The IP Brigadier is an absolute stripped-down, bare-bones, no apologies bucket of bolts. Manual locking hubs for the 4WD system, a hose-down vinyl interior (with no carpeting at all), and NO radio. Well, no civilian radio, anyway. There is a hardpoint to mount a military communications system, and we’ve found a couple aftermarket parts companies who sell a cabinet that will hold both a single-din marine grade radio and a CB radio that bolts right up to this hardpoint.

The Brigadier is not something you want to drive on the road. It is slow with a capital “S.” It takes over 30 seconds to get to 60 with JUST a driver in it, and is far worse under load. But you can carry 7, and short of the Grand Canyon itself, there aren’t many obstacles it can’t overcome.

And, because IP made so many and scattered them to the wind, you can find and import these from just about every corner of the world. Try Panama or Honduras if you don’t want to look too far afield.

Counter Culture - Import/Export: Very High (Currently in 1st)


1975 Meijer Monte Carlo Turbo


Today we’re going to cover something that we’d like to call “Crap Chic.”

Basically, this is a car that could have been great, ended up being horrible, and yet still managed to find a place in the hearts of enthusiasts.

It starts in the late 60’s with a joint venture with Lancia, builds with tension and broken deals in the early 70’s, and culiminates with a failed rally car in '75. We’re talking, of course, about the Dutch-built Meijer Monte Carlo Turbo.

First off, we’d like to say that the Monte Carlo doesn’t look BAD. It’s got a certain European charm that beats most of the Malaise-era American junk. It’s crisp, clean, not overly cluttered, nor splattered in cheap plastic that often plagued cars of the era.

But the design and build of the drivetrain is just utterly horrifying. Meijer ended up recalling the first 2000 off the production line for engine fires. Even after the correction, it wasn’t that great. Aside from major oil leaks, the carburetor wasn’t well matched to the turbo, and it was not uncommon to have to rebuild them every 30 to 60 thousand miles. Though there was never any official mention in the owner’s manual, some dealers ended up adding this rebuild service to the regular maintenance list.

Monte Carlos are pretty quick, but at the same time are absolutely exhausting divas. You can occasionally see them at track days. Whether you see them on the course or with the hood up in the paddock, you’re sure to find a patch of oil underneath.

Counter Culture - Motorsports: Low (Currently in 6th)


1987 Deer and Hunt Fallow Rut


Like the hipsters of the truck scene, the Deer and Hunt Fallow Rut was rolling coal before it was cool.

Yes, we’re aware that it’s not actually diesel, so technically it’s not rolling coal. But what else could you expect from a 522 horsepower V10 in 1987?

Shredded tires? Yeah, ok. That’s a given. High gas consumption? Obviously. Eight cases of PBR and a barbecue? Ok, ok, we get the picture.

The point is that the D&H Fallow Rut was just a ridiculous truck back in the day. A 5.1 second 0-60 put it in super car territory of the time. It was, in fact, so powerful that it was a bit impractical for towing, given the technology at the time. Newer suspension and brake kits released since then have corrected this oversight, but many a Rut is found bagged and burning rubber.

Of course, the Rut was a unique model that, in addition to its brutal V10 engine, included Recaro seats and a full quadrophonic 8-track system. Other Fallow trims were more mainstream, with bench seating, a V8, and other typical trappings. While all Fallow models are well loved and generally kept running (even if rusty as all heck) and on the road.

But the Rut stands, or screeches, alone.

Mainstream Culture - RestoMods: High (Rut trim) (Currently in 1st)
Counter Culture - Jalopy Culture: Medium (other trims) (Currently in 2nd)

I’m caught up through the D&H submissions. I’ve got a handful since then I will process later on. Overall standings have been updated.



1985 TSR Mont Royale Turbo R


If you grew up in the 80’s and loved fast cars, but didn’t like exotics or sports cars, chances are you had a poster of the TSR Mont Royale Turbo R on your wall. It’s everything that a boy or girl could have dreamed of in a grand tourer; it was quick off the line, bold, and prestigious.

But as they say, never meet your heroes, as they’ll always let you down.

I recently got a chance to take one of these rare beasts out for a spin around Laguna Seca at a private classic car club event. And while the Mont Royale looks every bit the killer, and feels like it’s going to launch you into space, I was surprised at how easily (and soon) I maxed out its top end.

112 miles per hour, Folks. I was absolutely crushed. My 377 horsepower turbocharged hero couldn’t even outrun an imported '84 Ardent Vizcaya GT Turbo that probably cost less than a third of the price when new.

On the bright side, I was able to make up time in the famed corkscrew and the low-speed curves just before and after the start-finish line, as TSR brilliantly tuned the suspension on the Mont Royale. At least the S version. The car I was driving had its pneumatic suspension removed, and replaced with a traditional suspension from an S. After a couple decades, the systems break down, and the parts just aren’t available any more.

It was a fun-filled, octane-boosted day overall. But in the end, I understood why so many Mont Royales end up as trailer queens at car shows, and not at the track.

Mainstream Culture - Classics: Medium (Currently in 1st)

Side note: I don’t believe the car is actually supposed to be this slow. I’ve reported the issue in the devs’ thread. But I have to write based on what I see. Sorry. :confused:

Edit 2: After reviewing the file with a couple suggestions, I’ve found this is NOT an error. This is due to intentional settings made by the submitter and, thus, the review will stand un-edited.


1957 Birmingham Renton 1500 Tourer


The 50’s and 60’s were certainly a time of experimentation in small cars for many manufacturers. While there were a lot of flops, there were also several that could be considered raging successes. It’s all relative, as tiny cars were nearly universally loathed by the car buying public that was considered anything with a wheelbase shorter than 110 inches to be “tiny”.

Birmingham knew how to take tiny and make it mighty, and how to turn a David against Goliath.

Meet the '57 Birmingham Renton 1500 Tourer. Super light, stripped down, with a fireball of a 1500cc engine for the time. We’re talking 90 horses, which is what you’d expect 20 years later from a bigger 1.8.

Due to Birmingham’s drastic engineering for this particular trim, it was able to hit 60 in under 10 seconds and hit one-g on the skidpad. It’s no wonder that black sheep autocrossers whip out their checkbooks every time they see one come up for sale. That is, if they can beat the equally black sheep gearheads that like to cram a V8 under the hood and see how long they can hold a wheelie going down the drag strip.

Either case, Birmingham gave motorsports a black eye for its arrogance over fifty years ago, and you can still see it today.

Counter Culture - Motorsports: Very High (Currently in 1st)


The 1961 Epoch M20 S2600 - featuring a completely new design, new suspension layout, superior weight distribution, and a more sporting and drivable package overall. Also presenting Epoch’s first V8 engine, the S2600 is the ultimate fun, cheap, and reliable car that can hold its own on the world stage.


The PMI Usurper Sedan ‘Cannes’ of 1959 was the flagship of PMI Usurper over the turn of the decade. This first 1959-1960 model is remembered for its iconic tailfins and distinctive double taillights.The 1961 model had smoother, more restrained styling, though featured bolder taillight design and a more decorate front grille.

The engine was in essence the same 1955 unit of the Super Sabre 390 V8, one of the biggest engines on the market at the time. The single 2-barrel carburated version of the 1959-1960 model (the 1961-1963 models had a four barrel) made 215 horsepower at the wheels. The available power made the 2 ton heavy car reasonably fast, with a top speed well over 120 mph.

Performance of the car was actually quite on point, and still is for the surviving examples, as illustrated here at the yearly historic rally at Targa Frucilia - one of the Rally di Fruinia stages.


1962 Stark Turion A270


Small and crappy has been an automotive thing forever, right? Actually, not really. Sure, after the gas crisis and all the fun recessions we’ve been through, there’s a lot of that. But Stark had a bit of a different view in the early 60’s.

Take for instance this '61 Turion A270. It’s pretty damn small, with a 98.4 inch wheelbase. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get chrome like the big boy toys, or plush, comfortable seating for four and a high-end radio.

Nor does it exclude you from an advanced (for the time) 3-speed automatic transmission or an overhead cam engine. You could actually sort of call it a sport sedan, in a way, given a decent 14 second 0-60 time and a top speed over 100 MPH. Not bad for a four-banger.

Time has not treated the Turion well, though. They weren’t a particularly reliable model when they came out, and being more than fifty years removed from production has made parts scarce.

Keeping up a Turion A270 takes time and a significant budget. That’s probably why owners don’t let anyone touch them or get too close at car shows. And they’d never consider going to the track, ever.

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


1989 Proletariat Marmot 77T


Our chief editor always pulls a bottle of vodka out of his desk every time we do a spot on a Russian, Soviet, or Eastern Bloc car. He also always mutters something, we’re not entirely sure if it’s in English either.

This time around he just threw the keys at us and told us to leave him alone. Never a good idea on his part, especially the day after the coffee machine supply cabinet gets a refill.

So let’s take a 30 year old Soviet designed car, with the engine where the trunk is supposed to be, and give it over to 3 jacked up, immature smartasses who just want to hoon. What could go wrong?

Well, as it turns out, the answer to that ends with the words “fire department” and “lawsuit” from our editor.

Now, let’s start off with this car being a three-colored, rusty piece of crap with no rockers, “weight reduction” holes in both rear quarters, and an engine in transmission in surprisingly fantastic order. Come to find out in later research, as shitty as these things look and feel, they run forever.

52 horsepower is most definitely not adequate, but that’s what this 771cc (not a typo) turbo-three puts out. It’s enough to get it moving, and once it is moving you can throw it around pretty easily due to its sub-ton weight. Then we found out that if you pour a little oil on the rear tires, the burnout it can do is FREAKING EPIC. So was the fire departments reaction when they showed up to try to put out what was left of the car.

These cars, no matter where found, have one purpose in life: To get the living crap beaten out of them.

Oh, and we didn’t actually get sued. The owner got it as a trade for some work, and enjoyed witnessing it get destroyed.

Counter Culture - Jalopy Culture: High (Currently in 1st)


1975 Seppa 2000 Deluxe


When is a luxury car not a luxury car? Apparently, when the Finns decide to join the fray for the first time.

Imagine, if you will. It’s 1975, you’ve just signed the contract and received the keys to your new car. With a grin, you hop in, turn it on, and bust out… your Johnny Cash on vinyl. Then you release the clutch, and the 3-speed manual transmission begins to move thanks to your turbocharched straight-six. Which, oddly enough, is actually very easy on gas.

I don’t know if someone was hitting the bottle of lakka a little to heavily while this was still on the drawing board, but the Seppa 2000 Deluxe is just plain weird.

It doesn’t look like a traditional luxury car, but it definitely doesn’t look cheap either. Seppa skimped on any form of rustproofing, so what few are left were either kept in the garage or horribly rotten. It rides too high and wallows like hell, but at the same time is super cushy.

We just can’t figure this one out. But they’re out there, and they show up now and then at shows, particularly oddball ones.

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


1981 Besffusci Fidenze RS TT


A couple of our contributors were invited to a private club day recently at Laguna Seca, where we got a chance to try out several sports cars from the 80’s. This is the second part of the series based on our experiences that day, and surrounds the '91 Besffusci Fidenze RS TT. If I spelled that correctly.

A little heavier that your typical 80’s coupe, the Fidenze RS more than makes up for the deficiency with power and taut suspension tuning. The straightaways on the course were a great place to unleash the 2.8 liter twin-turbo H6 motor, which galloped through the RPM range with giddiness. It cut through the numemrous curves with ease, though not as quickly as the previously reviewed Mont Royale.

What makes us love this car so much, and why it’s such a popular retro car nowadays, it’s that it’s still relatively inexpensive to buy and fix one up. It’s not terribly hard to find one in decent condition, and parts are still plentiful.

And you might just be shocked at how pleasant it feels to be behind the wheel of one. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to go back to surfing the web to find one for myself. I need a new daily driver/toy.

Mainstream Culture - Retro Motorsport: High (Currently in 4th)


1981 Lagau M12-GT


It’s 1981, and the future is now. At least in Europe.

The fascia of the Lagau M12-GT was undeniably different from anything on the market, and it only got more radical from there as you moved along the car. This was not a car for the general public. A 298 horsepower 6.2 liter V12 engine. Four-speed electronically-controlled automatic with all-wheel drive. Four Nubuck leather seats. Full quadrophonic AM/FM/8-track with equalizers and fader control.

This puts the Grand in Grand Touring. Every detail is meticulously thought out, every detail planned to the Nth degree. Or was it?

Turns out that Lagau could not import the M12-GT into the United States when new due to several equipment violations, including headlight colors and bumper construction. No compliance version was ever made, so you couldn’t even get one of these until 2006, and even then only by importation.

But what a head-turner and conversation starter for those lucky enough to be able to afford to import one.

Counter Culture - Import/Export: Medium (Currently in 6th)

I know you may have questions about this, yurimacs. PM me if you do.


1982 Rado Adventure 140 Turbo-4:

The highest trim-level of the mk1 pre-facelift Adventure, which was the first non-truck/van Rado had introduced since they stopped importing Sofas in 1973.


While not as famous as some of Rutherford Motor’s higher end cars, for most of its very long production run the Sparra has been RM’ss best-selling car. Typically featuring smaller, simpler engines in more practical designs than the better-remembered sports cars, the typical Rutherford attention to weight reduction kept the driving experience interesting despite deficits of power. The 1965 revision marked the high (or low, depending on the height of whom you ask) point of a sequence of size reductions in pursuit of reduced weight.


1988 Barricada Navetta S25


Yet another car we got a chance to test for a couple laps at Laguna Seca was a 1988 Barricada Navetta S25. Properly equipped with the 5-speed manual and 2.5 liter V6, the only thing that kept this Italian beaut from being a traditional luxury sport sedan was the fact that it was wrong-wheel drive.

We will forgive them for that, since it still cornered almost like it was on rails. And those Italian leather seats? Well, the bolsters hugged us all the way from end to end on the track. So instead we will call it an “un-traditional luxury sport sedan.”

The Navetta’s engine puts out a crisp 161 horsepower, good enough for 7.9 seconds to 60 and a 16.02 second quarter mile. Inside, beyond the aforementioned Italian leather, you also get cruise control, air conditoning, a full host of power options, and a 4 speaker, 120 watt full-digital AM/FM cassette deck.

On the outside, it’s a mostly sedate, understated, and classy sedan, though it has an odd, canted scoop in the front that gives it a “hey, look at me!” attitude. For us, the jury is still out on whether or not we like it.

There is a small but dedicated following that restores these cars. Occasionally they like to play on the track, but mostly they live to show off their rides. For the best, really. Navetta fuel pumps can be rather finicky things, and good replacements are harder to come by nowadays.

Counter Culture - Classics: High (Currently in 2nd)


1989 Brickfields Razak V6


Who’s the guy we love to hate when it comes to trying to bring new brands into the States? You know who. One successful venture. A billion failures. Yeah, we don’t like to say his name either because then we have to bring out the swear jar.

Well, back in the late 80’s he was at it again, this time trying to import a Malaysian brand called Brickfields. And on the list was a sedan called the Razak, which was advertised as a competitor to the LS400.

Brickfields was able to get the power to do so, too. Unfortunately, in their quest to make their little 2.7 liter all-iron unit up to snuff power-wise, they ended up making a rough, high-revving motor. They then took the (frankly quite lovely) interior and shoved it on a chassis way too small for what they were trying to make it.

Think Daewoo on drugs.

It’s not exactly surprising that this particular venture also fell apart. What does surprise us a bit is that people actually pay to import these from overseas and show them off. Maybe they’re just that cheap and easy to get hold of? We may never know.

Counter Culture - Import/Export: Low (Currently in 7th)


1961 Epoch M20 S2600


So for those who are a little rusty on their history of Epoch, their early days were full of absolute bargain-basement, no-frills vehicles. So for them to step up to the plate and go upscale in '61 was a big deal, especially with a V8 engine under the hood.

Now, granted, that V8 displaced only 158.5 cubic inches. By the standards of the day, in the US, that was tiny. Epoch compensated by making it an overhead cam model. Again, unusual for the States, but very well thought out. 133 horsepower in a compact body for the day was nothing to sneeze at. And the M20’s 4-speed manual was quite advanced, as well.

Perhaps the whole package was a bit too advanced at the time. The M20, which should have been an inexpensive, reliable, and attractive alternative to a large, premium seadan, just didn’t impact the market they way Epoch had hoped.

Still, this remains one of their most important historical models, and one that collectors clamor to get their hands on.

Mainstream Culture - Classics: Medium (Currently in 1st)


1959 PMI Usurper Cannes


In today’s episode, we’re going to look at a “Damn, that didn’t age well” model.

The PMI Usurper Cannes was one of those late-50’s cars that was as long as a battleship and had more than a few miles of chrome on it. With a 390 cubic inch V8 engine, it ticked all of the checkboxes of buyers back in the day.

So why would such a car fall so far from grace?

You really couldn’t do anything with it in this day and age, other than look at it. It’s far too heavy, the suspension far too soft and wallowing to do anything race-wise. It seems that much of auto culture felt that it just didn’t feel or look right any more.

So then you have the lowrider crowd. So much undercarriage to scrape. So many available parts. Just slap on some hydraulics and put huge speakers in that cavernous trunk, and you’re golden. Once the king of the streets, now a low and slow cruiser.

Extra points for anyone who keeps the original bubblegum pink paint job while doing this.

Mainstream Culture - RestoMods: Medium (Currently in 3rd)


Haha! I was wondering how you’d fit that one in the blog. I love it, and I’m glad you appreciate the paint job.