Posted on: Feb 21, 2013
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5 Discontinued Cars We Miss

They may be gone but certainly not forgotten.
There are times when a certain car leaves a lasting impression that continues to exist after it's been discontinued. For whatever reason(s), these cars were special in some way. They may not be supercars but still managed to be cool in a way that competing automakers couldn't match. So we delved into recent automotive history and came up with these five dearly departed models. They certainly didn't compete against one another in any way, but these cars will forever be nothing but good memories.
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It was only by the stroke of a pen that some Chrysler-Cerberus executive killed off the Dodge Magnum back in 2007. During its short but meaningful life, Dodge "owned the station wagon segment", according to the car's design chief and now SRT chief Ralph Gilles. No other American automaker was making a wagon during that time and Dodge managed to give the Magnum a unique look not found anywhere else. But the best part about it: buyers could opt for either the 5.7- or 6.1-liter Hemi V8s under the hood. Imagine taking the kids to school and nights out with all of your friends while driving this. Our hearts are still aching.

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From 1983 until 2012, the Ford Ranger dominated the American compact pickup market. It was relatively cheap, came with V6 power and had the payload capacity that was suitable for most applications short of heavy hauling. When Ford announced that its all-new Ranger would go on sale in markets like South America and Australia, there was quite an outrage amongst its loyal fans in the US. But Ford wouldn't budge and insisted that these buyers upgrade to the larger F-150. Many did just that, but with the death of the Ranger in the US, the compact pickup market might have just have gone with it.

The BMW 1 Series M Coupe may not have been the prettiest car out there but it had everything a proper BMW M car should. Powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six that produced 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, the 1M (never call it the M1) could hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds and a top speed - although electronically limited - of 167 mph. A six-speed manual was the sole transmission. Originally just 2,700 units were planned but BMW was surprised by the huge demand and increased that number to a total of 6,331 by the time production ceased in 2012. It will forever be an M-badged BMW classic.

It seems so stereotypical to believe that many of our grandparents were once the owners of either a Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis. The nearly identical rear-wheel-drive sedans were built on Ford's Panther platform, which originally debuted way back in 1978. V8 power was standard but that didn't mean the Crown Vic was an especially powerful car. It had a decent kick to it when hitting the gas but it was never meant to be a performance model. No, it was the ideal taxi cab, cop car and highway cruiser that in civilian form was most at home at some Florida retirement community. But it had character that today's Lincolns can't match.

When it first debuted in 1999, the Honda S2000 was the ideal answer for those wanting a reliable and powerful roadster but thought the Mazda MX-5 was just a little too, shall we say, feminine. The S2000 had a front-mid engine, rear-wheel-drive setup and was powered by an inline-four that produced about 250 horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual. A revised model was released in 2004 that physically looked similar to its predecessor but several revisions were made to the chassis and suspension along with a power upgrade. There was some early work for its replacement but these plans were abandoned when the economic recession hit. Note to Honda: Bring it back, and just not as a hybrid.


by Jay Traugott
5 Discontinued Cars We Miss