Journal: Which Cars Do You Consider to Be Too Pure to Corrupt?

Which Cars Do You Consider to Be Too Pure to Corrupt?

By Ezekiel Wheeler
October 11, 2013
39 Comments

In anticipation of tomorrows video (insert more text here). Yes, the Porsche 911 2.7 RS is pure magic but there were other cars throughout history that contained this special recipe.  

Take the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette split-window for example. Only offered for a single production year, primarily due to owner complaints of not being able to see out of the rear window’s spine, the split-window has become a globally recognized classic American supercar. Today, many examples of the car are kept in tip-top original shape. Anybody who monkeys with the car is deemed unfit to own one and sent off the deep end as preservationist restore the cars to their original glory. Much like you’d find many Ferrari 250 GT California and Bugatti 37C owners doing.

The BMW E30 M3 has to be one of the most respected all around modern performance cars to have ever left the factory. Yet, many (and I do mean MANY) individual take the car, slam it, turbocharge it and gut the interior. Is this necessary? I feel that one day we’ll regret selling off the original “boring” parts only to track them down later and restore the car to its OE specs. To me, a pristine E30 M3 is something that should be as well preserved as a Porsche 2.7 RS. Maybe I’m crazy but maybe I’m right.

So tell us, what car do you consider to be too pure to corrupt?

Photography by Stephen Heraldo for Petrolicious

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Rubens Florentino
Rubens Florentino
6 years ago

The only path you are allowed to go in order to corrupt the holiness of any car is to convert it to a race track car.

Jack Rage
Jack Rage
7 years ago

Ferrari F40 <3

John Asuncion
John Asuncion
7 years ago

Consider the original GT3 Mark 1 996, I think it’s last production model made at Motorsport factory, doesn’t have fly by wire throttle, no traction control, manual side mirrors, truck and hood release, less than 2 yr production run and still the lightest GT3 to date even with RS models.

flooglemop
flooglemop
8 years ago

Early Toyota Landcruiser. They were perfect stock.

Jory Conrad
Jory Conrad
9 years ago

Jeep Cherokee, you know, the original ones.
Perfect straight from the line. 😀

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon
10 years ago

mercedes benz 500e

FERRAND Fabrice
FERRAND Fabrice
10 years ago

Totally agree with you Ezekiel Wheeler. Such cars as BMW e30 m3 or Porsche 911 2.7 RS are such beauties, well balanced, and bring so much sensations as it, that i would be a real shame to tune it.
I’ll add the Ruf CTR aka Yellow Bird, the BMW e36 m3 too, Porsche 911 Carrera G type as the big sports car classic, the Peugeot 205 gti (… yes i’m french, but look closer at one in mint condition, it is really adorable.. I had one, a 1.9… just pleasure), the Clio Williams, and the ’96 Dodge Viper GTS.

Jakub Wrobel
Jakub Wrobel
10 years ago

I know you’ve mentioned the California, but for me the 250 GT Lusso should never be fiddled with. I refer you all to re-watch this video: http://petrolicious.com/ferrari-lusso-morning-ritual

robert t mullane 3
robert t mullane 3
10 years ago

In my humble opinion, I want to find every 1981 Mercedes 300SD and put even the junkers? into my garage! The ’63 split-window Vette is my ultimate AMERICAN since I was there when they came out! Though I was a wee lad at the time, I damn well knew even Jack Kennedy, but most likely my other cousin, ‘Bobby’ loved the car much as I did; knew it was immortal. Period.
I do have many other faves like the Porsche 944, but that’s another chapter, right? #RightOn #RFK #JFK #RTM3

John King
John King
10 years ago

Honda S2000 — except that (at least where I live) I hardly ever see one that isn’t already corrupted.

Darin Spyderdog
Darin Spyderdog
10 years ago

Triumph GT6

Future Doc
Future Doc
10 years ago

no car is “too pure” to be modified… but almost all cars should be left alone

eje
eje
10 years ago

GNX -> Darth Vader.

V Patterson
V Patterson
10 years ago

Any car with a clean title and in restorable condition should probably be left alone or with some easily reversible mods.

If it has a dirty title, modify, track, and abuse it to your heart’s content. Then take your good parts and put them on the next salvage body.

V Patterson
V Patterson
10 years ago

Any car with a clean title and in restorable condition should probably be left alone or with some easily reversible mods.

If it has a dirty title, modify, track, and abuse it to your heart’s content. Then take your good parts and put them on the next salvage body.

Giannis
Giannis
10 years ago

I’ve found that my views on which cars should stay unmodified are not at all consistent. They don’t really follow specific rules regarding brands, country of manufacture, type of car or price point. The one constant though is that highly exclusive cars should mostly stay unmodified apart from necessary safety upgrades if particularly old but if done correctly, which to me means discreetly, even very rare classics are open for modification.

I’m also much more open to mechanical modification than cosmetic. For example the aforementioned E30 M3. If I saw one painted in a garish colour with a tasteless bodykit I would shake my head and breathe a sigh of disapproval, but if that same E30 M3 was mostly stock looking but enhanced mechanically… Well that’s just icing on the cake!

Bruno Angrisano
Bruno Angrisano
10 years ago

The Alfa Giulia coupé begs for engine and mech modification (Alfa Style!) but it is absolutely impossible to change it and improve its looks over the original cars. Each one is perfect on its fashion: the classy GTVs, the wide bodied GTAs…

Jake Williams
Jake Williams
10 years ago

In my opinion, it’s any of the great rally car Lancia made. You’ll never find a “riced” out or even noticeably modified Stratos, Fulvia, 037, and looking decent even when it is modified, the Delta Integrale. They’re just so innocent in their conception and driving, that most anyone who’s ever experienced one respects them as some of the best cars ever built.

JanMichael Franklin
JanMichael Franklin
10 years ago

Integra Type-R. It is the E30 of the Hondaverse! 😉

Juanjo Herrera Atton
Juanjo Herrera Atton
10 years ago

They are too many cars…
Mercedes Benz 190 E 2.3 16V Cosworth
Lancia Delta Integrale
BMW 2002 Turbo (and non aspirated)
Ferrari F40
Lancia Fulvia
Datsun 510
Fiat 600 Abarth (I hate the “yamahas r1” versions… that´s cheating)

JB21
JB21
10 years ago

To me all and any cars are fair game for mod. If it’s done properly with purpose of enhancing the intent of the car, it could potentially be an entirely desirable thing. Look at Singer 911. It only hurts when someone ruins them by doing what I’d think as a stupid mod. Too pure to corrupt? Even McLaren modefied F1 to make LM.

But may be Chrysler Neon or something, I don’t know what can be done to improve that miserable thing, and yes, we should just leave it well alone.

cardyjones
cardyjones
10 years ago

actually, the classic VW beetle. Those always look best when unmodified. Hard to imagine a more pure car, actually.

John King
John King
10 years ago
Reply to  cardyjones

I agree, but I would probably broaden it to all air-cooled VWs, including Microbuses and — especially — Karmann Ghias.

Paul Misencik
Paul Misencik
10 years ago

The original Audi Quattro and the Mark 1 Volkswagen GTI.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas
10 years ago

Most any Lancias from the “proper” era of the company, but also the integrale Deltas… unless it’s the factory-sanctioned Abarth chip that ups the horse count without compromising reliability (a bit late to worry about factory warranty, but they did not hamper that either!).

ElGato
ElGato
10 years ago

^^ Nice E30 😉
I appreciate the “purity” point of view when it comes to low-production sports cars. For my e30 m3, I’m definitely taking this route, cleaning, touching up, and maintaining its stock appearance and function wherever possible. Where it makes sense to improve something (Euro Evo-spec steering wheel, better tires, upgraded battery, etc.), I take that option. Advances in safety and reliability are welcomed when they do not conflict with the purity ethos. This counts double when the “upgraded” hardware is a wear item that benefits from new technology or materials, such as brake pads or tires.

If the vehicle were a higher-production car, such as a fairly standard Porsche 911, I’d be much more willing to go the modified-to-taste route, like Magnus Walker’s 911 stable (more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZlRFsRG6K0).

motoring con brio
motoring con brio
10 years ago

Isuzu VehiCROSS ; )

FredGermanaz
FredGermanaz
10 years ago

Clio williams phase 1!!!

Apostolis Georgiou
Apostolis Georgiou
10 years ago

I believe that a sound example of such a car cannibalism is the Mazda Miata MX5 MK1. It is was born as a lightweight, well balanced low cc fun car, having the potentials to be characterized as classic from its very first days. Unfortunately too many people tried to transform it either as a muscle car or as the ultimate drift car.

Richard Kepler
Richard Kepler
10 years ago

The Ferrari f40 should never be “molested”. Gas monkey garage did one but if I remember correctly they saved it from being totaled

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari
10 years ago
Reply to  Richard Kepler

Yeah, the car was totaled and written off so they Frankensteined it back. Excellent use of the car, in my opinion.

Seth Thompson
Seth Thompson
10 years ago

The most ready answer that comes to mind: Acura NSX. It can only be made worse by modifying it away from the everyday supercar that it was. (But then again, I do have to admit that I a few months back I saw a later model fully converted to track use that I thought was pretty sweet.)

But, as someone who believes more in restoration than modification, I think most cars fall into this category. I’m not sure if “purity” is the right criteria, but it seems sad that there are some cars–and relatively modern ones at that– that are simply not found out in the wild as they left the factory anymore. Try and find an unmolested WRX STi, CRX Si, Del Sol VTEC (I like them, you shutup), or Dodge SRT-4, among others.

My favorite: I saw up for sale recently a mid-90’s Camaro Z28 1LE. The 1LE is the special lightweight edition of the Camaro that was sold without many convenience features in order to save weight. An A/C and radio were options that had to be specifically added back, for example. So, what had this owner done with his 1LE? Added heavy aftermarket tires and a complete sound system including subwoofer box. It made my heart hurt.

I think the best parallel I can draw was about the time the remake of the movie Ocean’s 11 came out. One of the points brought up was that Hollywood was remaking a lot of good films when instead what it should do is what happened with Ocean’s 11: Remake bad films into good ones. It should be the same with cars. Leave the classics alone. Remake the bad crap into something more desirable.

Perhaps this explains my desire to rat rod a first gen C4 Vette…

Sam Thomas
Sam Thomas
10 years ago
Reply to  Seth Thompson

I was thinking the same thing about the WRX (and other similar cars, like the EVO). Wanting to get a reliable, clean version of those that is approaching 10 years old costs almost a third of what they cost new.

Jonathan Mills
Jonathan Mills
10 years ago

I had a Mercedes 190E 16V with BBS rims (not factory but period correct/sizing) – no other mods. I agree that certain cars deserve the originality they were engineered with. This was one of them.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari
10 years ago

I think this is a very very small list. Of course the Porsche Carrera is the epitome of this ‘pure’ car. But it’s a tricky set of requirements.

When talking about modified cars I always ask, what does the spirit of the car make you want to do with it? If you take a good walk-around of a Dodge Charger you will want to hop in, put your foot to the floor, make noise and smoke, and fishtail the rear end. If you examine an Alfa Romeo GTV you’ll want to go destroy some canyons. I think that modifying a car is most justifiable when it allows you to complete whatever it is the car wants to do better.

The soul of the Dodge Charger is unhampered by twice the horsepower, that’s what the car wants and needs. You’ll make more smoke, more noise, and will smile more. The Alfa, well it might be a hindrance. That’s not what the car is about. That car is probably asking for some snarly velocity stacks for a rev happy gas pedal and a nice stiffened suspension.

The pure car is one that requires nothing to do what that car is meant and desires to do. The Porsche Carrera is a terrific example of this, maybe the quintessential example. I think there are more cars that fit this bill that aren’t performance oriented, or ‘less’ performance oriented. For example, the Jaguar E-Type. A car that just exudes so much style and grace that I don’t think it needs any modification, it’s not about tire spin or hard apexing. For many cars that offer incredibly unique mechanical and tactile experiences, like pre-war French cars, modern upgrades sully and dilute the driving experience.

Few mid-level performance cars are too pure to corrupt. For example, the Alfa Romeo GTV6: it’s a car that loves to be driven fast and hard, but it wasn’t so fast and hard from the factory that it can’t handle more power and a de-’80s suspension. This is why I’ll have to disagree on the E30 M3 and the E28 M5. Both cars, that for different reasons, are unfettered with more power and stiffer suspension.

Matthew Lange
10 years ago

There’s not a simple answer to that question. From a value point of view there are lots of cars that are worth far more in their original form than in a modified form. From a driving perspective though lots of great cars can be made better with slight tweaks that don’t spoil the overall character of the car. I bet a split window Corvette would benefit from better brakes (I know a 250 California would).

Karl Murray
Karl Murray
10 years ago

Just coincidence that we’re all BMW here… but me to for the E30 and E28 (any models). Outside of the factory skirts they should be untouched.

Patrick Trautfield
Patrick Trautfield
10 years ago

The first car that came to mind aside from the E30 M3 was the E28 M5.

Martin Schmiedmayr
Martin Schmiedmayr
10 years ago

Honda S2000 is ageing remarkably well!

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