In the world of classic cars there are the obvious legends – the Porsche 911, the VW Beetle, the Ferrari F40, to name just three.
But there are also the more off-the-wall classics, those that have usually done something in particular to earn iconic status. Here we pay tribute to some cult classics.
They don’t come much tougher than the Toyota Hilux – and that’s why it qualifies as a cult classic. The pickup has been around since 1968, but we reckon it began to cement its cult status in the late 1980s.
It’s so well-loved because it’s practically indestructible – as once demonstrated by one Jeremy Clarkson on the telly. And it’s often seen on the news – let’s face it, when there are reports from war zones, the vehicle seen more than others is the Hilux, because it’s so well-built and dependable. It’s most commonly seen as a pickup, but the Hilux has been available in a host of body styles over the years and is truly versatile.
Known as the Grosser – an unofficial name literally meaning ‘big’ – the Mercedes-Benz 600 has been the dictator’s choice of wheels over the decades. Made from 1964 to 1981, it was a high-end luxury limo, coming in both short wheelbase and long wheelbase forms.
In all, 2,677 examples were produced and, along with nasty dictators like Kim Jong-un, the car has found favour with a host of celebs too.
Famous owners include the Pope, Coco Chanel, John Lennon, Hugh Hefner, Elvis Presley and avid car nuts Rowan Atkinson and Jay Leno.
This is one of those instantly recognisable tank Volvos of the 1980s and it has a big following, in particular the Turbo. It was introduced in 1984 as a lower-end version of the 760, sitting as mid-size car in the range.
The 740 was available as the now-iconic estate, as well as a four-door saloon. The one that gets collectors going is the Turbo, which had a 2.3-litre, eight-valve, turbo engine.
In some ways an inconsequential sports hatch, there’s something about the Honda CR-X that has made it a desirable cult classic. It’s a front-wheel-drive sporty compact car, produced between 1983 and 1991.
The largely accepted explanation for the name is that it was derived from the popular Civic and either meant ‘Civic rally cross’ or, slightly more strangely, ‘Civic renaissance model X’, whatever that means.
The European car got a pretty lively 130hp engine and it became popular for its performance and handling, with many owners customising it as well.
For some the Audi Quattro gained cult status thanks to its ‘fire up the Quattro’ association with Detective Gene Hunt in the Ashes to Ashes TV series, but its legend was cemented long before that. Audi had an urge to produce a four-wheel-drive sports car and it produced a very good one.
It had serious success in motorsport, being the first rally car to take advantage of a rule-change that allowed four-wheel-drive cars in the World Rally Championship in the early 1980s. For that reason it dominated the scene for two years, with legendary drivers like Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist at the wheel.
The road car, launched in 1980, shared many parts with the Audi 80
and innovations included independent suspension front and back.
Audi decided to remember the success of the Quattro by badging, to this day, all of its four-wheel-drive cars ‘quattro’, in lower case to distinguish it from the original car.