Five near-bucket list FWD cars

Revisiting a previously explored theme— FWD cars typically get a bad rap among automotive enthusiasts, but who among us wouldn’t take any one of the cars on this list in a heartbeat?

Okay, so not all of them quite approach full-blown bucket list status, but they come awfully close. So let’s get right to it— in ascending order of desire, they are:

5. Saab 99 and 900 Aero/SPG

A bit of cheating here: this is actually two different cars, obviously. But we think scratching one itch would probably (*probably*) relieve us of the other, which is why they have been lumped together.

But both of these are looking *very* good here, in their own respective ways.

4. Citroën SM

Unquestionably, the most aristocratic car on this list (and arguably the coolest)— but also probably the least likely to actually happen insofar as barriers to ownership (partially explaining why it didn’t land higher on our short list). And that’s a shame, because this is a very special, very unique car.

3. Lancia Fulvia

The quintessential little Italian sports coupe— almost. If it wasn’t FWD, it might rival the Alfa Romeo GTV Bertone coupe in terms of desirability.

2. VW Mk1 Scirocco/Golf GTI

More cheating— see our reasoning in #4, above. A who’s-who of racing drivers and automotive journalists has cited this as one of their favorite cars.

And finally, the FWD car we most want to have in this lifetime:

1. Austin Mini Cooper S

And here’s the reason why:

‘Nuff said.

And last but not least:

Honorable mention: Peugeot 205 GTI

Had it actually been sold here, it might have nudged the Mk1 VW (be it Golf or Scirocco) out of the #2 spot. On the other hand, the 1987 models will be eligible for importing into the US… next year! Will we start seeing more of these on BaT?

Also, check out the previous Five Desirable FWD Saloons.

(Images via: afghtiga, zadro,,

~ by velofinds on September 2, 2011.

13 Responses to “Five near-bucket list FWD cars”

  1. Great list.

    I would have included a third-generation (1988-1991) Honda Prelude Si. I have always thought it to be such a nice-looking car, and of course in the early nineties Honda was at the top of its game, too.

    • Fourth generation is pretty nice too, one flew past me the other day screaming through the gears, driven by a smiling but very prim looking little old lady!

    • for the record, i am a big third gen prelude fan (i even snuck one into a grab bag once!), but a) you are not likely to find one that hasn’t been abused or badly modified, and b) it feels a bit silly putting it on any automotive bucket list, even one that’s FWD only. maybe a top ten or a top twenty list.

  2. Lancia Fulvia ‘almost’ rivals the Giulia based GT cars?
    I am a big Alfa Romeo fan but the Fulvia is legendary and has fantastic motorsports pedigree (especially rallying).
    Handling is amazing for a car of its era. I would rank it even.

    • This is a fantastic list and I wouldn’t change a thing. I haven’t yet had a chance to drive one, but I too have read that the Fulvia is every bit as well balanced and adjustable as a GTV. I wish I had picked one up when good ones were available in Europe for 5k, not so long ago, but Fulvias are still a bargain.

  3. Great list! The SM too scary – and the 99/900 too quirky – for my taste, at least. No question about the “top 3” though.

    I’ve enjoyed almost 200K very energetic miles over two Sciroccos, and can confirm the incredible driving experience – light, compact, great handling and reasonably zippy motors – there’s a connection you feel with the car that I haven’t experienced with most others. They aren’t the fastest cars out there now, but they are definitely more fun than 95% of them. Same goes for the early GTIs.

    I still expect to fulfill my Mini dreams one of these days, but I’m afraid a nice Fulvia may be out of reach soon.

  4. If anyone ever counters you with “but it’s front wheel drive” and some kind of dismissive qualifier, they are probably a fucking moron.

    • i see it as a snobbery thing, which i get, whether or not it’s misguided. the masses are most likely to drive something that’s FWD, and you (speaking generically) as a car enthusiast want to differentiate yourself.

  5. Fantastic list. The Fulvia and the Citroen are true standouts.

    No Alfa 156 GTA?

    and I know it’s not your style, man, but the Cord L-29 and Cord 810/812 would definitely be “bucket list” FWD cars, as they pretty much invented the category and are insanely beautiful.

    • okay, if i needed to drive a really old FWD car, it would be a traction avant. i don’t have a burning desire to do so, though, much as i admire them.

      the 156 gta might have made a top ten list, but two things work against it: 1) you can’t get it here, and 2) i think the 159 is more beautiful.

  6. great list! but i really have to disagree with you about your statement regarding the Fulvia. the Fulvia exceeds the GTV in pretty much every way…including desirability….the HF Fulvias sell for over 100k euros regularly these days…the Fulvia was a rally champion….the first car Lancia ever won the world rally series with, and has much more of a pedigree than the GTV ever did.

  7. Ahem. Have we forgotten about the Lancia Thema 8.32?
    FWD *and* Ferrari V8…and quite reasonably priced too!

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