LMC was struggling with its lineup in the 70’s. The luxurious Captain gave way to the practical but boring Ares, the Scorpius was discontinued after just 3 years, and the brand as a whole had a unfocused identity. By the mid 70’s, LMC began development on a new Maladus (signified the M100) that was hoped to be a major seller for the company. It was built to be inexpensive, fun, and simplified from LMC’s previous sports car outings.
The first year was rougher than expected. Although the purchase price was cheap, maintenance was not. The Maladus suffered reliability issues mainly from the engine. In an effort to save resources, the 4L V8 was built based on the Ares’ V6, which meant a 60 degree configuration. Despite its issues, the Maladus offered nearly 260hp at a low price, which was attractive enough for many buyers to shrug off its shortcomings.
The top speed was 148 mph and it could hold 1.11g’s on a 200m radius circle. 0-62 mph was at 6.3 seconds. It surpassed the the 1976 Scorpius on the test track. Although it was the worst year of the M100s, the 1979 Maladus’s became somewhat valuable today due it being hard to find in good condition.
Is Malaise an instrument?
The second generation (150) Ares began production for 1980. This new 150 model came with a 3.0L SOHC V6 producing a WHOPPING 133 hp and 154 ft-lb of torque to the rear wheels. The base Ares made 15 mpg and had a 0-60 time of 11 seconds flat with the automatic transmission. The 150 was had an improved driving experience from the last Ares thanks to its advanced Fluid-Motion Variable Hydraulic power steering and all around disc brakes. All Ares had put a major emphasis on safety compared to the previous gen. It sat 5 in premium cloth seats and featured a four speaker 8-track player.
A 150 S model was also offered with a slightly more powerful variant of the 3.0L V8 tuned for premium gas as well as tighter suspension and slightly wider tires. The front grill styling was changed in the S and GT models to reference LMC’s muscle cars of the late 60’s while staying modern for the early 80’s.
1982 saw a minor facelift and the introduction of the Maladus GT. The GT featured many advancements that weren’t ready for the release of the Maladus in 1979. Chief among these were a multi-point EFI, geared LSD, and improved hydraulic power steering. LMC managed to solve many of the issues plaguing the car with service costs way lower than before and improved reliability. Many of the new developments made its way on to other models too.
The GT came with a body kit that increased downforce to compensate for its cheaper and more readily available tires. The 305 V8 with EFI produced 266 hp and was more efficient than its carbureted predecessors. Top speed was reduced to 142 mph, but 0-62 mph was significantly improved at 5.9 seconds. The styling inched away from its Japanese and Italian influences. The GT model featured premium cloth and leather interior with a “digital” gauge cluster.
Ares 150 GT
The spoiler adds 5 hp
In 1982, along with the facelifted Maladus, the Ares got a new trim added to its lineup, the GT. Using the Maladus’s V8 as a base, this Ares produced just over 200hp. 0-62 mph time was reduced to just 8 seconds while the top speed was at 123 mph. Fuel economy wasn’t sacrificed for performance with a combined 16.5 mpg. The GT’s suspension was further tuned for performance and small cosmetic changes separated its looks from the rest.