15 Once-Popular Cars You No Longer See on the Road

Each passing year yields more and more innovations in the automobile industry. Yet, despite their age, some vehicles will always remain timeless classics.

Everyone may not love their first car, but they definitely have some crazy memories of it. For many, vehicles like the Corolla have withstood the test of time and continue to be released in newer iterations. Others haven’t faired so well.

These vehicles have been curated based on popularity, quality control, and straight-up swagger. Unfortunately, these once spectacular showcases aren’t too common nowadays on the open road.

1. Datsun 510

Datsun 510
Image Credit: Mr. Choppers – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

As Nissan’s star child, the 510 offered top-tier performance without breaking the bank. Its rustic gaze and sophisticated gait captured the hearts of copious wagon lovers.

Despite the shortage of parts, this car symbolizes true excellence and nostalgia. To this day, people yearn to own one. It appears favorable as a project car for young aspirants. Simply put, it’s an incredibly well-made car with looks to beat!

2. BMW Z1

BMW Z1
Image Credit: CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Have you ever wanted to drive with the doors open? This flashy beamer tackles all your door-banging problems! This futuristic two-door roadster astounded the world as it let you witness the road push past your knee by each mile.

The Z1’s retracting doors took the limelight as a novel and bizarre innovation. What better automobile could combine the thrill of a bike with the safety of a car? Unfortunately, its premium price point prevented a surge in the marketplace.

3. Toyota Celica

1985 Toyota Celica
Image Credit: Jacob Frey 4A – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Celica mechanically resembled a Corolla. Fuel efficiency and roomy backseats stood as the best features of this coupe. It fought a great battle with the Civic Si as the competitor of its generation.

Unique modifications disadvantaged it against standard everyday vehicles and caused it to lose significant aftermarket support. While Toyota still reigns superior in reliability, the Celica fades into the memory of car enthusiasts of bygone times.

4. Mitsubishi Eclipse

Mitsubishi Eclipse
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

A tuner’s paradise, this Americanised legend follows the tradition of a 3-point turn despite being small. Regrettably, Mitsubishi’s failure to innovate and optimize led to its demise.

Honda and Toyota quickly overtook the Eclipse with their reliability. Easy availability and inexpensive parts could not save this moon-eyed beauty from extinction.

5. Volkswagen Beetle

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Many have grown up around the Beetle with memorable stories to share. This German spectacle has captivated numerous enthusiasts regardless of where they are.

Garages now hear only the echoes of this vehicle’s exhausts. Owners of this classic consider the driving experience one of a kind. However, high maintenance costs make it a less attractive option, even for fans.

6. Crown Victoria

Ford Crown Victoria LX
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

The Crown Victoria has tank-like durability and agility, just like a gazelle on the tarmac. This graceful sedan once dominated the streets and united fleet operators, law enforcement agencies, and taxi companies.

Its roomy interior and body-on-frame build would turn several heads on the highway. Many might even recognize them as the vehicle used by cops in the Grand Theft Auto series.

7. Mercury Cougar Eliminator

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Before the Mustang, there was the bulky Eliminator. This exceptional V8 showcased elegance as it cruised over asphalt. Even now, this car is a spectacle to behold.

Unfortunately, for the Eliminator, time has finally caught up to it. The body parts have begun to decay, and the engine has stopped roaring. Finding one on the road has become next to impossible.

8. Pontiac Grand Am

1980 Pontiac Grand AM
Image Credit: Greg Gjerdingen – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Smooth and sleek define the Pontiac Grand Am’s design. Revered by high schoolers for its fluid drive and neat handling, the Grand Am is a beast on the road.

It’s dwindled in quantity over time, and the remaining ones suffer from quality control. These vehicles rust easily, and their engines have begun to give in.

9. Chevrolet Impala

1970 Chevrolet Impala
Image Credit: CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Impala displays trademark consistency on all scores, is cheaper than an Avalon, and is more reliable than a Cadenza. Even now, it’s quite a sight at car meets.

The Impala lost popularity as better and more affordable options swarmed the market. Despite its cult status, it’s rare to see on the road nowadays.

10. Dodge Neon

Image Credit: Greg Gjerdingen – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Dodge Neon sports a sleek design with a low spoiler built for catching the wind at top speeds. Its looks and impressive specifications garnered it some popularity among youngsters. However, its reliability and safety were called into question.

Despite its subpar build quality, the Dodge Neon was very popular in Autocross Sports. However, the same cannot be said for everyday use by the average Joe—at least not anymore.

11. Chevrolet Cavalier

2002 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 coupe
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The Cavalier generated a buzz among teenagers in the US after its sporty marketing. It’s showcased in the Fast & Furious universe, which ignited its popularity.

With tuning and modification made economical, the Cavalier climbed the ladder of fame. People relished its accessibility and affordability. However, enhanced sportscars and dynamic driving with newer variants extinguished its flame.

12. Saturn SL2

1994 SL2 Homecoming Edition
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Regarded as the companion to depend on, the Saturn SL2 remains a fan favorite on highways. The SL2 sports an aerodynamic design with incredible reliability and an emphasis on driver safety.

Without unnecessary bells and whistles, it easily packs inexpensive transportation. These stellar vehicles found themselves caught in politics with General Motors, and, as a result, quality diminished.

13. Chrysler PT Cruiser

2006 Chrysler PT Street Cruiser
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The PT Cruiser is a quirky hatchback with an odd look and vibrant colors. Its design resembles a Beetle but with more modernity in mind. Unfortunately, the unique look is all the PT Cruiser has going for it.

Had the PT Cruiser been built with reliability, efficiency, and a smooth drive in mind, it might still be here. However, it’s rarely seen nowadays owing to its inefficiency and subpar driving experience.

14. Dodge Magnum

1979 Dodge Magnum
Image Credit: Oscar Koepke, Own work/Wiki Commons.

With looks reminiscent of a Charger and Hearse, the Magnum was the perfect vehicle for power users. Drivers maintained its reputation as a genuine force of nature long after its release.

However, these once legendary cars suffered from unstable suspensions and low gas averages. Any that still exist require significant amounts of maintenance to function. The production halt further minimized their popularity.

15. Ford Taurus

2010 Ford Taurus Limited
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

The Ford Taurus looked great and functioned well enough to be most people’s first car. Its remarkable size cemented it as a force to be reckoned with on the road.

For a 3-liter V6, the Taurus seems underpowered. Despite being produced by a favored brand, the transmission frequently malfunctioned. Fuel efficiency and design flaws only wrecked its status further.

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