There are iconic cars, that we all love and remember. There are models that are iconic, but for the wrong reasons. Then there is this weird middle ground, machines that achieve mass affetion but everyone's left scratching their heads trying to remember them, leaving them out of the Goldilocks 'iconic' category.
So here it goes, a non-exhaustive list of cars that were loved, but far from iconic.
10. Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
The Alfa Romeo 147 GTA was adored by enthusiasts. From its Busso V6's sound, to its straight-line speed, it was near perfect. Yet the 147 GTA never really got the attention it deserved. This was down to its differential, which was open. That mixed with questionable suspension meant that the 147 was left in its time, and forgotten there.
Nowadays, enthusiasts have worked around its from-factory-flaws, and shown what the 147 could have been. Boy, it could've been good.
9. Fiat 20V Coupe Turbo
The Fiat 20V Coupe was a special car. It didn't get a review on Top Gear, nor did it sell well, but for the lucky few that were smart enough to buy one, it was a blast.
Its manual gearbox mixed with its turbo blow-off noise, and unique looks meant that it should've been an instant classic, but, like all the cars on this list, that didn't turn out to be the case, because the 20V was plagued with reliability issues.
The Fiat's 229 hp engine allows for a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. However, even its capability couldn't make up for its rather major flaws.
You have to understand that this was built at the peak of the 'Fix it again, Tony' days, so it was doomed to fail from day one. Sadly, it never took off, but it stays in our hearts as car guys.
8. Mitsubishi 3000GT*
The Mitsubishi 3000GT has asterisks next to its name on this list because it isn't forgotten, but compared to the cars that it went up against in the nineties, it is far from remembered.
The 3000GT has active aero, with the wing adjusting itself, and a lip deploying at the front. In its heyday, the 3000GT was up against the Supra, the Skyline GTR, and other nineties legends.
It matches those cars in nearly every way, but due to modification ability, it got left in the dust by the very cars that it once beat.
7. Volkswagen Corrado VR6
Once a viable alternative to the Golf GTI, the Corrado VR6 is a stylish car that, in 1994, made as much power as the last generation Golf GTI, at 220 hp. Perhaps because of price, the Corrado has never gotten the attention it deserved.
Its downfall probably began with its release time. By 1995, when the VR6 was released, the GTI had already made a name for itself and created a fanbase.
This was the new kid on the block, and that's likely why it never took off.
6. 1997 Dodge Neon
The Dodge Neon (although it didn't look it) was an easily modifiable car, regarded as one of the best sleeper cars made by Dodge.
From factory, it was nothing to write home about, but it was in the aftermarket scene that it caused quite a stir. For a while at least. Dodge was responsible for the demise of the Neon, because when they launched the Viper, all talk about the Neon was silenced, and it hasn't been revitalized since.
In 2016, Dodge launched a new Neon, but in typical FCA fashion, it was ruined, and merely a rebadged Fiat Tipo.
5. Merkur XR4Ti
I'd be somewhat surprised if you ever knew what this car was. On the surface, it looks like a Sierra Cosworth, but some Americans may have some extra knowledge on it.
Ford took the Sierra from the Euro market, and wanted to sell it in the States, but they wanted to do so under a new badge. They created a new brand going by Merkur and took what was the Sierra, and gave it the American equivalent of the 'Cosworth' treatment.
Under the hood is the same turbo four-cylinder found in the Mustang SVO. It never took off mostly because Merkur wasn't popular, so people either assumed it was an aftermarket tuning company, or they just hadn't heard of it.
See, Ford invested minimally in Merkur, and therefore didn't want to spend boatloads on ads, causing the collapse of the brand, and leading to the demise of the XR4Ti. Conveniently, this means that you can pick up the Merkur XR4Ti for $3,000-$5,000.
4. Buick Reatta
In the eighties, the Reatta was Buick's halo car. It included all of Buick's tech from the time, including on-board computers and modern electronics.
It was produced for 4 years, and in that time, it gained a following from sports car fans and Grandpa's alike. It had a 3.8 liter V6, and independent suspension. But, with time, it was beaten out by other sports cars like the Corvette, which ultimately led to the discontinuation of the car.
It's a crying shame that the Reatta had to go because those pop-up headlights were something to behold...
3. Subaru XT
We long for the ultimate high school car, but back in the eighties, this was it. I introduce to you Subaru's XT coupe.
The car was shaped like a wedge, and under the extended hood was a turbocharged 1.8-liter flat-four. There were multiple engine options for the XT, but I chose the 1.8-liter because, frankly, it was the best one.
When people were reminded of the XT on Facebook, by Doug Demuro, they lost it. "Oh, that dash. And when the turbo kicked in.... whoooosh! I wish I had another. Wish Subaru would make another just like it! XT2Turbolicious. I'd be first in line for it," said Patricia Daush, reminiscing about the XT. "Always was and is still, my favorite car of all time," said Bob O'Connor.
The XT was a fan favorite among enthusiasts but got forgotten due to the futuristic looking SVX that got all the attention.
2. Ford Falcon
In 1960, the Falcon was the king of the hill at Ford Motor Company. Used in racing, the Falcon came with V8's, Straight 6's, in convertible form, and with a hardtop. In many ways, the Falcon was the early Mustang. But that was just the issue.
All that the Falcon was, in the minds of customers and Ford alike, was a worse version of the Mustang. So, the Falcon was phased out, and Ford focused on the Mustang, with the Falcon leaving the lineup in 1970. Although, the unfortunate fate of the Falcon leaves us with an exciting thing.
While Mustangs of that era are sensational, you can get a Falcon for half the price. Plus, you can always find parts for a Falcon, and any mustang body parts work on a Falcon.
1. Porsche 968 Clubsport
Porsche isn't known for their front-engined cars, and that's perhaps part of the reason why this, the 968 Clubsport flew over our heads. Even so, it doesn't make sense.
Road and Track said it was"one of the best front-engined cars Porsche ever built,". Walter Röhrl, WRC champion, called it the best handling car Porsche has ever made. So it's rather surprising that nobody remembers it. Maybe it was the fact that it only lasted a few short years, or potentially the fact that its predecessor and successor were both sensational.
Either way, the 968 didn't need popularity to make a statement. It was powered by a 2.5 liter slant-four, and it used lightweight body parts as well as high-tech suspension to get faster lap times than it's standard counterpart.
The 968 Clubsport was loved in its day, seen as a future classic. Now, very few people even know what it is. Funny how things change.