Look at that cutie. That Saab and other cars just like it fill this slideshow to delight and entertain. Earlier this week, I asked what car do you love, not because it’s strong and powerful and well-engineered, but because it is a smol friend and you love it without reserve or reason.
You delivered with a ton of answers, all of which are worth scrolling through, but here are my top picks for the best of the bunch. I mean, I straight up forgot the Saab Sonett existed until this QOTD. Click through and catch up with some old friends.
I so love the Saab Sonett. I have driven several and want one very much.
A Tiny Italian Family Car
Anytime I see a Fiat 600 I gush and envision my late father. These are much harder to find in the US vs a 500 but as a new born I was brought home in this actual car.
My dad only had it for a year after my birth when he crashed it into a NYC elevated subway column. Good news he replaced it with a 67' Giulia Super. I still have a dream of one day owning a 600. I’ve already owned a Super so...
Oh man, I’ve got the worst opinion on this, but I’m going to ride it anyway:
Chevy Beretta (ducks rotten fruit)
Hear me out: This was the last time a compact American car wasn’t an outright penalty box. The interiors were spacious and comfortable, and the car generally made an effort to be a car you wanted to buy, not one you were stuck with. My dad bought his new in ‘87 as a young aspiring go-getter in the business world, and I think that was the target demo.
These may not have lasted, but the sheer premise of making a compact that wasn’t representative of poor life choices is something I want back in the world.
Kicking It Old School In A Ka
The Ford Ka. We bombed around southern England on our honeymoon in this one back in 2005. It was just a basic, honest little car that didn’t pretend to be something it wasn’t. In that way it reminded me of the original Mini. They’re cheap enough to buy one to drive and one for parts - if there are any old enough to clear the 25-year rule that haven’t completely rusted out - but shipping becomes prohibitively expensive.
And no, I haven’t looked into this or anything.
No Arguments Heres
The Volvo P1800 is such a beautiful car.
From RSA, others
A Little Spot Of Sunshine
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the little Honda Civic del Sol. My 16-year-old self wanted one so badly, but my parents made me settle for the more mainstream Civic coupe instead. So, the del Sol will always be my “the one that got away”, because they were long discontinued and mistreated by their owners before I could afford to buy one as a second car.
Was it practical? No. Was it sporty? Ehh...not really. But it was fun, cool, and, in my opinion, came in one of the best shades of green to ever make it onto a stock production car. And sometimes, that (and a targa top) is all you really need.
Settle Down E.B. White
I’m going to really push your “no judgements” proviso.
First, it’s “judgments”.
Second, I have a 2002 manual Toyota Echo that I got for literally free and I’ve put more than 20,000 miles on it in the past year. After years of VW ownership, I’m in awe of its craptastic and tiny form that consistently runs and starts perfectly every time, and seems eager to do what I want, however slowly it might do it. I like it so much, I took it over from my teen sons.
When I see another person driving one, I’m like, “Yes, brother! We’re both broke and mildly embarrassed, but here we are, travelling about with absolutely no pretention and no assertion of status, authority, or rizz.”
In that sense, the Echo is transportation in its purest form. It impresses no one, it outruns no one, it hauls very little. It’s just a peeling red lump of transportation. And I confess, I like it, and I like to see others, too.
Angry Like A Tiny, Adorable Bumble Bee
Kinda impractical to own one at this stage of my life, but no doubt, I wanted one as soon as I fired it up. It’s just an angry little child on the inside, with a cute face. Makes all the right noises, nice exterior design, handles decently well for a tall / squished hatchback and the manual gearbox is nice to row. A lot of people sleep on these ‘modern’ Fiat 500 Abarths (and Abarth cars in general).
La Vie En Le Car
Renault 5/Le Car. Completely irrational choice, especially since I test drove one back in the day. The shift lever got buried into the passenger seat cushion in fourth gear, there was a bit of smoke coming from the engine bay, and it died during the test drive and I had to be rescued by the dealership. And yet at the time I was doing the mental gymnastics: seat interference...no big deal. Smoke from the engine...probably burning off whatever they used to clean and degrease the engine bay. The part about it dying on the test drive...maybe it was out of gas. Lucky for me (I suppose) my mom stepped in and said “Maybe we should keep looking”.
From dug deep, others
Look at it! Just look! It’s so tiny, and probably slow as well (per Kei car rules). At some point in my life I think I need a Honda S660, although being over 6' I wonder if I will fit properly
You Wouldn’t Hit A Car With Glasses, Would You?
I see the Sonett is mentioned but I’d like to find a classic Saab 96, even a 95. A two-smoke engine would be even more fun, but a V4 would be just fine.
When I was in tech school, one the othe students had a Sonett. He rebuilt the engine and could carry the bare block around by himself, and he wasn’t a wieghtrlifter or such. It was even more amazing given this was in the age of American malaise V8 “power”.
Fit Continues To Go
Currently available new? The answer is always Miata . . . unless I could smuggle a Suzuki Jimny into the USA.
Recent past? No question that it would be the Honda Fit.
Not-so-recent past? I’m with you, the Geo Metro, although one of those 25-year-exempt Kei trucks could be fun.
The Toyota S-FR has been living rent free in my head for nearly a decade now.
Sweet Little City Car
If we’re talking production cars it’s probably the Honda City Turbo II Bulldog. Plus Mugen modified them into “R” versions and spec raced them for a few years:
Apparently they made 138 HP in spec racing form (up from ~110 HP in stock form.) The series was eventually bought by an Australian businessman in with the intent to continue racing them down under. Unfortunately the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995 had other ideas and the warehouse where all the Mugen R cars were stored in Osaka collapsed, burying all the cars.
It also had a delightfully 80's ad
Also from Theoretics
A Hot Car
Pontiac Fiero, I Want an American Mid Engine car. I can’t afford a GT40 or even a clone so The Fiero is my best bet, suspension and drivetrain is based off of an economy car. The car was super slow. Also good luck getting a tall person in that cockpit.
From Scott the Stagehand
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