Here are what we, in 2008, thought the worst 'sport' editions were.
This was originally published in MOTOR's March 2009 issue
Now, car makers would probably rather forget these. Except the Camry Sportivo - that one's still a thing.
What possessed HSV to take Holden’s lumbering Crewman and turn it into something ‘sporting’ is probably a matter for Victoria’s drug squad, but what a turd-burger. Rumour has it the Queen Mary has a smaller turning circle.
2. Saab 9-3 Viggen
Unfortunately, yet another prime example of the Swede’s inability to make a fast car corner. The combination of a firecracker 169kW Saab turbo donk and old GM J-car bits made the Viggen scary on any road, wet or dry.
3. Holden/Isuzu Piazza
Italian styling by Giugiaro? Yep. German-engineered rear-drive platform? Yep. Japanese-designed turbo-fed engine? Yep. Suspension tuning by the work-experience chick? Sadly, yes. Spare undies and a defibrillator? Not included.
4. Toyota Sportivos
Always half-arsed in at least one crucial area – engine in a Camry, chassis in an Echo, and the wheel/tyre package in a Corolla – and engineered by Toyota, meaning these white goods on wheels will never die. Only their owners.
5. Peter Brock Lada Samara
Dumped by Holden and duped by the Polariser, Brocky must’ve been in limp-home mode when the Russians swayed him into fettling a Lada. The result – ‘Samara by Brock’ – was similar to a ‘Brabham Torana’, only much worse.
6. Datsun 280ZX
The lowest ebb in the Zed’s 40-year career is this poncy, flaccid, overweight lush-mobile, in its element as a metallic-gold T-top with brown velour trim, a quadraphonic cassette deck, and a bouffanted poseur at the wheels.
7. Alfa 33 S 16V Permanent 4
The Permanent 4 combined all the qualities the regular 33 was renowned for – shitty build, torturous driving position, occasional reliability, glorious engine – with a live rear axle and a Calais V8 price-tag. Enough said.
8. Porsche 924
Perhaps unfairly rubbished because the 924 Turbo was actually bloody good, but it takes just one tedious drive of a manual-steered, three-speed auto ‘Sportmatic’ to know the base 924 is a howler of the highest order.
9. Datsun Stanza SSS
In an attempt to revive the highs of the late-60s 1600, Datsun copied it and created the Stanza. And what a flimsy, vague, under-performing lemon it was, too, headlined by a stripes-and-decals SSS with all the appeal of a mouthful of vomit.
10. Subaru Vortex XT Turbo 4WD
The promisingly weird Vortex Turbo 4WD mixed dazzling on-paper spec and tech with the ride height of a Brumby ute, making it the most high-tech farm vehicle ever built. Unfortunately, it was meant to be a sports coupe.
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