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One of the most popular British marques of all time, the venerable Mini, first appeared in 1959. It was the “everyman’s” car. A car that could be taken out to drive in a rally. Used to commute, court your sweetheart or fitted with a truck bed and turned into a service vehicle. It was a scrappy, fun car and it gained fans around the world. It seemed to have a personality. But like many British car companies, it was bogged down in a larger company that was imploding. Just before it went under BMW came to the rescue. After pouring in millions of Deutschmarks to revive the Mini, the revived car landed on the world stage with a bang. It became a movie star and a cult favorite. This is a car that refused to die. EP 111
In 1966, Colin Chapman moved Lotus cars from a factory outside suburban London to an airfield once used by the U.S. 389th Bomber Group. The long straight runway became an ideal test bed for his lightweight cars. Lotus made its reputation on the world’s racing circuits and built high performance sports cars that were favored by those who appreciated powerful engines, light cars, and very direct steering, that provided awe inspiring cornering at nearly any speed. Like many imports, Lotus abandoned the U.S. market. Sports car aficionados in this country can rejoice. Lotus has introduced a new Elise that harks back to the glory days of its past. Its stature as a maker of great sports cars is now secured. EP 405
In the fall of 1969, the Italians, Germans, British, and American built the car that satisfied nearly every consumer's need - from dependable performance to driving excitement. But with the introduction of a sporty, Japanese fastback called the Datsun 240Z, the automotive world was about to change. On October 22, 1969, the Datsun 240Z made its debut in the United States. Since that time, five generations of the Z series have sold over one million units, making it the best selling sports car in history. However, the story of the Z is even more amazing considering its humble beginnings. EP 206
Over the years, the Volvo name has become synonymous with strength and reliability. Volvo’s commitment to standards and obsession with safety, have always been far ahead of its time. It’s a car designed by people whose customers need a vehicle that can withstand late night, head-on, encounters with a reindeer. The cold and unforgiving climate where it’s built and tested has generated a car that endures. One Volvo owner has driven his car over one million miles. Volvo’s reputation for safety and durability has been bolstered by a newfound interest in style. No matter how it looks it’s really about building safe cars that seem to last nearly forever. EP 204
A wily salesman and carriage builder, Billy Durant, was asked to help David Buick’s struggling company. He stepped in, saw the potential and leveraged its assets to create the world's largest corporation, General Motors. Buick has been one of the great names in American automobiles ever since. Once legendary designer Harley Earl took charge of its lineup cars like Century, Roadmaster and Riviera began to turn heads. EP 209
A small sporty car was being produced in England that would help the world rediscover the joys of the sports car once the fighting ended. The MG’s moment was not too far away. The MG TC emerged as the first post-War Sports car hit. The popularity of this mild mannered, conservatively styled auto launched the British sports car onslaught. The early MG’s were simple machines with few creature comforts and a few nagging mechanical problems. But many were charmed by or in spite of their quirks. The MG helped people discover what fun it was to drive, if you had a car that was fun to drive.