Halo Cars

Announcer: Go behind the wheel, under the hood and beyond with Cat Stuff from howstuffworks.com.

Scott Benjamin: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Scott Benjamin, the Auto Editor here at howstuffworks.com.

Ben Bowlin: And I am Ben Bowlin. I write some videos here. I was hanging on for a second, Scott, I wanted to try to do something different.

Scott Benjamin: Hmm.

Ben Bowlin: I think what we got there works.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, it's pretty standard. I'm going to switch it up next time.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I might. We - you guys, this is maybe our fifth take of this episode and we've been trying to do something different the whole time, you know, fireworks, had some people yelling in the background.

Scott Benjamin: Fireworks were no good over the airwaves.

Ben Bowlin: I didn't think - you know, first, we're an audio podcast.

Scott Benjamin: Bang, see, there you go.

Ben Bowlin: There it goes. Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: It just interrupts you.

Ben Bowlin: It's, like, have you heard the joke about the interrupting cow?

Scott Benjamin: Go ahead.

Ben Bowlin: You've got to do it.

Scott Benjamin: No, please - yeah, okay. My - I've got an 8-year-old. The kid loves it.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, yeah, a favorite. [Inaudible].

Ben Bowlin: For those who don't know, it's a knock, knock joke that is still -

Scott Benjamin: Well, go ahead.

Ben Bowlin: Really? Okay. Knock, knock.

Scott Benjamin: Who's there?

Ben Bowlin: The interrupting cow.

Scott Benjamin: The interrupting cow who?

Ben Bowlin: Moo.

Scott Benjamin: Boy that's annoying.

Ben Bowlin: I know. I probably - I'm sorry.

Scott Benjamin: No, it's funny though.

Ben Bowlin: There's somebody -

Scott Benjamin: I'm sure somebody out there has not heard that one and says, ha, I've got the greatest joke, listen to this.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, maybe. Maybe we're brightening days.

Scott Benjamin: Okay. Maybe.

Ben Bowlin: Hey, so, before we get into this, we need an update on the project car.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, really, you do want to do it?

Ben Bowlin: This is unexpected. This is -

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, we had a conversation this morning, right?

Ben Bowlin: Um-hum.

Scott Benjamin: Okay. There is an update. There's a possibility out there, there's a potential car right now that I'm looking at. It's a giant car. It's not 100 percent yet, I'll let you know when it is or if it is, it's a 1967 Chrysler Newport custom and it's enormous. It's a great, I mean, a 20-footer like a giant car.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, it makes my Monte Carlo look like a Miata or something.

Scott Benjamin: I was - yeah, exactly. I was semi unsure until this morning when I went to look at it and they opened the hood and there was an enormous, I mean, enormous V8 engine, a huge 440 engine underneath the hood and it looked really good, really strong, started right up. The interior is perfect; exterior, not so good but that's the kind of purpose of this thing. No fuel tank, using like a big Marine fuel cell-type thing in the trunk right now so that's, you know, instant necessity but yeah, that's what puts it in the price range.

Ben Bowlin: So, the reason - now, Scott, I apologize 'cause I know I kind of blindsided you there, buddy.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, yeah.

Ben Bowlin: I hope we're cool.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, that's all right.

Ben Bowlin: The reason that I brought this up was sort of a segway because right now, you're one of the few people I know who is looking for a vehicle but, in a way, this show to date, is about people who are looking for vehicles -

Scott Benjamin: Oh, sure.

Ben Bowlin: - and how to get them in the door, right?

Scott Benjamin: Right. Yeah, how to get the customers in the door really and so you've probably read the title by now, it's Halo Cars. And that may be a new term to some of you.

Ben Bowlin: And it may be a confusing term to others. We are not referring to the video game Halo, nor the vehicles in it.

Scott Benjamin: Correct. Yeah, I had -

Ben Bowlin: I had to tell our editor, Matt, that we're -

Scott Benjamin: You know, I didn't even know that connection existed. See, I'm out of the loop on the vehicle.

Ben Bowlin: Oh, you're fine though.

Scott Benjamin: I'm just not a video gamer.

Ben Bowlin: Well, not yet.

Scott Benjamin: Gamer, is that right? Yeah, gamer. Okay.

Ben Bowlin: It's the wave of the future.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, do you have another term for that, gamer?

Ben Bowlin: I think gamer works. Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, okay.

Ben Bowlin: There are probably people that have terms for themselves.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I probably - I figure there's something new by the this point. I was way behind.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I'm pretty out there.

Scott Benjamin: Anyways, the idea behind a halo car, not the video game, is a vehicle that kind of showcases everything that a car company can do and they do it in limited production usually and it just has all the bells and whistles and that's what gets the people in the door and then they kind of shift their focus over to another vehicle that maybe is a little bit more within reason for purchase.

Ben Bowlin: So, shock and all basically is what we're talking about. With shock and all, with luxury.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, exactly. And this is the one - these are the cars that you go in, you know, you'll see nose prints against the wind - you know, the glass in the morning when the dealership opens. That's because they have a halo car on the showroom floor. Good examples of these: Dodge Viper; the Ford GT -

Ben Bowlin: Excellent, good examples.

Scott Benjamin: What else do they have? Let's see, the Cadillac XLR.

Ben Bowlin: Nice one.

Scott Benjamin: You know, the two-door - or I'm sorry, yeah, two-seater Cadillac convertible. I don't know, there's a just a whole bunch of them. We could talk about a bunch of them here but -

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, what they do - it's really the ones that they - that are intended to bring the people in and then say hey, well, I see what they can do on the Dodge Viper there and that's - gee, that's a $100,000 or whatever it costs, I forget, but you know what, maybe I could extrapolate what they've done in that car to this Dodge Neon that I'm also interested in that's in my price range.

Scott Benjamin: Ah ha, that's how it works. You know, the idea - if you want to sell a car, when you have a dealership, when you walk - when people walk in, you want them to feel great, you know, you want them to feel like anything could be possible, just maybe so when John and Jane Doe, and their 2.5 kids or whatever it is, come into the dealership and the dad's saying, oh, okay, I'll go help you look at this sedan in a second honey, I just want to look at the Viper real quick.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: And then -

Ben Bowlin: The next thing you know, he's in the seat making engine noises.

Scott Benjamin: Um-hum, vroom, vroom.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah. Jamming the steering wheel from left-to-right.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, yeah, putting nose prints on the glass for the heck of it.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, exactly, shifting through all the greats.

Scott Benjamin: Um-hum. Yep. And, if you think about it, this idea that a dealership is this huge very, very pristine or nice environment. This - almost you would say, heavenly, then what better way to really present yourself than to sum up all the bells and whistles, all that is possible with your vehicles in one car and then let somebody who will hopefully not make a crazy impulse decision. I mean, if you want a Viper, by all means go in there and buy a Viper. They're for sale but it, you know, we've done our psychology podcast on the reptilian psychology of buying cars so -

Ben Bowlin: Oh, yeah, reptilian brain, that's right.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, so, it is these things work in concert with those same kind of processes, right?

Ben Bowlin: Um-hum. Yeah, exactly. And, you know, we mentioned the Viper a couple of times here and the reason that one stands out for me, well, because I'm from Detroit and I was around when this all came about and up until that point, I know it's hard - but you didn't really think about Dodges being Chrysler's performance brand.

Scott Benjamin: No, not really, no.

Ben Bowlin: I mean, you did - there was - the whole muscle car history and everything but they had other models that were also muscle cars. It's just that it seemed to be solidified at that point when they came out with the Dodge Viper because here's just - it's just an all out sports car, nothing but that. It's very pure and it really brought people back the Dodge dealerships and that lead to Dodge sales of other products, you know, Dodge Caravans and Dodge Neons, like I mentioned.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: I think even the Avenger, whatever else was there. You know, just any model line that happened to be next to it in the showroom also got some attention and that's the whole point of a halo car is just to bring people in.

Scott Benjamin: So, here's where we get a little bit different. Right? Or here's where we take a different bend, plot twist.

Ben Bowlin: Where are you going?

Scott Benjamin: I'm going to the fact that earlier you said some good examples of halo cars.

Ben Bowlin: Yep, there's some great examples.

Scott Benjamin: Um-hum. And there are also some stinkers.

Ben Bowlin: That's right. I did. I ran across - in fact, this is where this whole thing came up. I found an article from - well, it's a site - a website called Wheels..ca and -

Scott Benjamin: Yes, cool.

Ben Bowlin: - they have a list - it's a pretty funny list. It's from 2009, late 2009, of the 10 dumbest halo cars.

Scott Benjamin: Which we didn't say they were dumb but we're telling you about this list.

Ben Bowlin: I'm not here to pass judgment on any of these 10 vehicles. Okay. This is just from their list as written by John LeBlanc so I'm pointing the finger.

Scott Benjamin: All right.

Ben Bowlin: So, anyways, this is a pretty good list though. I thought it was funny and, you know, there's a lot of - little bit of comedy thrown in here, too, so you might want to read the entire article if you get a chance but I'll skim over it here and we'll go from 10 down to 1, okay.

Scott Benjamin: Sounds perfect.

Ben Bowlin: And, again, according to Wheels.ca. not us.

Scott Benjamin: Not us.

Ben Bowlin: Not us. All right. Ready?

Scott Benjamin: Yes.

Ben Bowlin: So, these are the bad ones, ones that didn't do what they intended to do. No. 10: The 2002-2006 Volkswagen Phaeton. You remember that?

Scott Benjamin: You remember that one guys?

Ben Bowlin: I do.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: In fact, I've seen a couple around recently which is really surprising because there were only about 1,400 of them sold in the first year; 820 sold in the next year and then the next year they don't even record the sales numbers or at least they're not hearing this article and they decided to pull it off the market. Now, something unusual about this car is that - I mean, besides that it's a VW that's a $100,000; it's built on the Audi - I think also on the Bentley Continental chassis.

Scott Benjamin: But they're not fooling people.

Ben Bowlin: No, and it's a great car but the problem is it's got a VW badge on it and it just loses a little bit of that prestige which is really weird but it happened and people just weren't buying it. So, they're actually thinking about bringing it back to North America some time soon. They're talking about that right now.

Scott Benjamin: Right, because if it didn't work the first few years or the last few years, then hey, maybe the - let's see, maybe the fifth time is a charm in this case.

Ben Bowlin: Maybe, maybe. All right. Are you ready to move on?

Scott Benjamin: Yes.

Ben Bowlin: Okay. The 1991-'94 Jaguar XJ220. You remember that car?

Scott Benjamin: Before we get any further, I love Jaguars so -

Ben Bowlin: I do, too.

Scott Benjamin: Okay. So, kid gloves on this one.

Ben Bowlin: And this is one of the ones that - remember when we did our abandoned cars in Dubai?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, yeah.

Ben Bowlin: I saw a picture of an XJ220 that was abandoned in Dubai.

Scott Benjamin: Ouch. Yeah, yeah, and this is a car that - it finally - when it finally came on sale, came to the showrooms, $650,000, Ben. Super car. It's a Jaguar supercar. It was promised to have, you know, when it was revealed, it was promised to have a V12 engine, top speed of 220 so that's why it's called the VJ220; beautiful looking car. It really is.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: And they mention that the Ferrari F40 sold for $400,000 when Jaguar wanted $580,000 for this one, which is pretty unremarkable. And then by the time they did get around to building it in '92, the engine was reduced to a turbo charged V6; the all wheel drive had reverted to rear wheel drive only and the price went up.

Ben Bowlin: How far up did it go?

Scott Benjamin: Well, it went up $70,000 so that bumped it up the $650,000. Isn't that amazing? Now, I'm guessing, because it said '92, I'm wondering if the '91 cars did have the V12, all wheel drive, possibly because those are some incredible cars to see in action.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, there's still - these aren't bad. I guess my issue with the ones we're calling bad halo cars are is a lot of times the running of [inaudible] psychology.

Scott Benjamin: True. Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: You know what I mean? Like that VW badge and -

Scott Benjamin: You know what, the thing is - these are good cars, it's just that they're not doing what they had hoped they would do. You know, one quick sidebar here.

Ben Bowlin: Sidebar.

Scott Benjamin: I started to read an article that I found out later you had to buy a subscription to the website but it teased me with this idea that the very first muscle car, remember the one that's - well, the one that is often credited with being the first muscle car, the 1964 Pontiac GTO. That was initially supposed to be a halo car for Pontiac and this is, you know, 1964, a long time ago but then the sales just took off on it. People - that's what people wanted and it just went right through the roof at that - after that point and that's happened to a few cars like the Chrysler 300 is a good example. The 300 was meant to bring people in, kind of draw them away from the Cadillac crowd because it was a beautiful, unique car at the time, now we see them everywhere. You can tell sales went incredible for them. They did a fantastic job getting that thing marketed and a lot of people bought them and I think it was far more popular than they ever thought it would be. The same with the '64 GTO. I forget how many more they sold than they thought they were. It was either two, three, four times as many as they initially intended.

Ben Bowlin: Can I do the next one because this is weird?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: Okay. So, 1978-'81, the Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe. So, Volvo, right, as they explain it, they're makers of the world's safest cars, right.

Scott Benjamin: Yep.

Ben Bowlin: So, they wanted to get rid of that safe car in which is just hilarious to me. Well, they wanted to have something that it just - they wanted to be associated with a little more performance, a little more like sexy, racing vehicle, super-powered or something.

Scott Benjamin: Well, understood.

Ben Bowlin: So, they made this car.

Scott Benjamin: So, they kind of farmed it out, right?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah. It kept basically 85 percent or so of the regular 262s body, the sedan stretcher but for that other 15 percent, they went to Bertone, which is a famous Italian - is it - it's a design company, right?

Scott Benjamin: Right, sure.

Ben Bowlin: And, so, all that these designers did was change the roof, the top of the doors and the windshield. And some people thought it was sort of ugly and it didn't work because they haven't shed the safe car image.

Scott Benjamin: You know what, I gotta look that one up because I can't picture what this one looks like. I just don't remember it.

Ben Bowlin: It's so - it's a weird description, too. It doesn't sound like it looks good.

Scott Benjamin: I don't think so. No. It sounds like very little was modified on a - what is normally a boxy car or at least was at that time, not so much anymore.

Ben Bowlin: I mean, the -

Scott Benjamin: It's a great idea, shed the safe car image.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Terrible. Terrible idea.

Ben Bowlin: That's like saying gentleman, too many people across America believe that our cars work consistently. You need to put in a random shutdown device.

Scott Benjamin: See, now you're putting the little voice in people's heads because I think people thing they say that anyway. You know that? I think that there are secret meetings that happen -

Ben Bowlin: There's conspiracies in their car rules.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I think so. Oh, yeah, lots of them. Yeah, yeah. All right. So, you want to move onto number seven?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: The '91-'97 Subaru SVX and here's something interesting, Ben. This was going to be one of the [inaudible] -

Ben Bowlin: Really, you saw one?

Scott Benjamin: I did see one on Georgia 400 about two weeks ago. Stood out because I hadn't seen one in a long, long time. There used to be a couple around where I lived and I could see them at lunch hour or what but this one, first one in a long time that I've seen. Really unique car. It was kind of their attempt at a - like a luxury sport car and it didn't do as well - just as in the case with most of these, they're expecting low numbers but they get even less and people just don't buy it.

Ben Bowlin: This is an interesting idea and if you look at the timeline, you have to wonder if Subaru took a page from the Volvo book because they also went to a design house, an Italian design-house no less, and I think the companies name is ItalDesign.

Scott Benjamin: I am - yeah, the person's name, I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce but ItalDesign is the design-house, yes. I mean, it's really a strange looking car. It's got - you probably - one of the most - I don't know if you'd call it remarkable but distinguishing features of it, those little tiny side windows. And people claimed that they can get used to them right away but it reminds me an awful lot of the half windows on the Lamborghini Countach.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: The lower half that rolls down and that's it. Very much the same on the Subaru SVX and it's really a unique looking wind and it's kind of this big glass dome-shaped car and I guess apparently it just wasn't the performer that they thought it was gonna be and it didn't compete with - you know, at the time, Acura was making the NSX; Mazda was making the RX7; and the super turbo, which was from Toyota, and they said that those were just far and above what the SVX could do and of course it lost out and they had intended to see as many as 10,000 a year but they - it says they never managed to sell more than half of that.

Ben Bowlin: Ouch. So, then we've got - and you'll notice we're getting more and more recent but that's not - this is just a list that, 10 to 1, best to worst, right?

Scott Benjamin: Yes.

Ben Bowlin: This is not in chronological order.

Scott Benjamin: No, it'll go back. It'll go back here at the end.

Ben Bowlin: Ford Thunderbird. Speaking of concept cars, my friend.

Scott Benjamin: Yes, yes.

Ben Bowlin: 2002-2005, they - Ford breaks out this car that they first presented as a concept car in 1999 and, you know, I love to see a concept car make it -

Scott Benjamin: I do, too.

Ben Bowlin: So, technically, this made, it, right? It went into production,

Scott Benjamin: It did. Technically, it made it.

Ben Bowlin: Um-hum.

Scott Benjamin: My uncle has one of these.

Ben Bowlin: Now, he still does?

Scott Benjamin: Yes, he does and he loves it. Loves the car but it go a lot of bad press.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: The reason is, it wasn't - of course, it's a two-seater, which is, you know, it's intended as a sports car.

Ben Bowlin: Right.

Scott Benjamin: But apparently it's - according this, it's slow in a straight line, sloppy in the corners and the car - because the soft suspension that they thought was the boomers that they were trying to attract with this car -

Ben Bowlin: Well, v ride.

Scott Benjamin: Smoother ride rather than a crisp-handling ride would be the one that everybody wants so that made the car kind of wiggle and jiggle they say all over the pavement like a Lincoln Town car. So, it made this little tiny sports car feel like a big Lincoln Town car and that's not a good feeling.

Ben Bowlin: It certainly not what people want to pay for it.

Scott Benjamin: No, that's not what they want to pay for and the sales just went right through the floor. And that was it for the Thunderbird because they only made it for three years. A nd my uncle loves his though. He absolutely loved it. It's his baby.

Ben Bowlin: Well, he's had it for a while [inaudible].

Scott Benjamin: Well, it's his - yeah, I mean, it's just his weekend car and he really, really enjoys it and good for him.

Ben Bowlin: All right. Well, no [inaudible].

Scott Benjamin: And anybody else that owns him.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Same with all these cars really.

Ben Bowlin: The older Thunderbirds, the first Thunderbirds, that's my jam right there.

Scott Benjamin: The one that's styled after the -

Ben Bowlin: The 50s.

Scott Benjamin: - after 55, right?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: That's what it's supposed to look like. That's your jam, huh?

Ben Bowlin: I'm just throwing slang around. I'm just making up slang at this point.

Scott Benjamin: I like that. I really like that. I like that. That's good.

Ben Bowlin: I probably just made that up.

Scott Benjamin: All right. Here - let's quickly go through a few. We're only at No. 5.

Ben Bowlin: Right, Lincoln Blackwood.

Scott Benjamin: Lincoln Blackwood. 2001-2002, you'll notice how short that is. Fifteen months. That's all the Blackwood was on sale for.

Ben Bowlin: Ouch.

Scott Benjamin: I know that's because the sales were not so good of course. The Lincoln - this is - they called it Lincoln's $52,500 Escalade want-to-be and if you remember the Blackwood, it was the one that had the pin striping and it could only be purchased in black, which - what does that remind you of?

Ben Bowlin: Henry Ford.

Scott Benjamin: Henry Ford. This is a Ford car so - well, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury. Anyways, because it was a truck, there was no - well, not because but despite the fact that it was a truck, there was no four-wheel drive option, the box wouldn't hold much of anything. I'm not going to say what it's - well, yeah, why not - it says it couldn't hold a case of gun shells, a six-pack and a stick of chew.

Ben Bowlin: Which of course what everybody whose buying an Escalade wants apparently.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, yeah, I'm sure a huge Lincoln Blackwood rather.

Ben Bowlin: I'm getting excited because we're just a few away from my favorite.

Scott Benjamin: All right. No. 4, Chevrolet SSR. Now, that's that kind of - I think it's kind of a cool looking pickup truck.

Ben Bowlin: You know what, it is.

Scott Benjamin: The 2003-2006.

Ben Bowlin: I'll give you that.

Scott Benjamin: It's interesting but also didn't sell. I mean, it did bring people in the door I would believe.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, it's a new idea.

Scott Benjamin: I think people went to the dealership to look at this car. I really believe that but the problem was it was $42,000 and, at the time, it seemed like a good idea, didn't do so well. You - at least in this area, you rarely see them. They're here and there but not very many. No. 3, this is one that I've seen recently but very, very few again. Plymouth Prowler.

Ben Bowlin: It's my favorite.

Scott Benjamin: Is it, really?

Ben Bowlin: This - I mean, off of this list, I just think - and this is going to be something a lot of people will probably disagree with me with, and that's fine, because it's a subjective thing you guys. I think that it's just a dog-ugly car.

Scott Benjamin: Really?

Ben Bowlin: I don't like the way it's put together man. I think they fail at what they were going for, which is to sort of emulate the esthetic of the classic.

Scott Benjamin: My eyes are wide open looking at you. What - really?

Ben Bowlin: Don't like it.

Scott Benjamin: I like the looks of it. I like - I think the reason that it went away is that it didn't meet the performance demands of the public.

Ben Bowlin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: It has a V6 engine, four-speed automatic and it was supposed to look like this hotrod, supposed to be a hotrod and it just didn't quite do it so almost right away, you saw people stuffing V8 engines into these things.

Ben Bowlin: Um-hum. And there's still a really big - there's a very large community for Prowlers.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, yeah, yeah, anybody that has one - I mean, of course they were only made a few years, '97 and then there's a gap, and then '99 through 2002 and I thought - you know what, I'm gonna - the Plymouth brand went away in 2001. I think the last year they were actually calling Dodge Prowlers but I'm not sure. I thought that was the way it was going but they may still be badged Plymouth Prowlers. I know they made side-by-side on the same line as the Dodge Viper.

Ben Bowlin: Wow.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, they were right next to each. The Viper line on one side and the Prowler line on the next. Both handmade and the cars were just wheeled from station-to-station as they made them. But, anyways, I guess it just wasn't enough and finally, again, it was one of those cars that they were trying to attract the boomers with. And they didn't like the fact that it was underpowered.

Ben Bowlin: Well, you see - we're starting to see some common threads. I think astute listeners are picking up on this, too. If you are trying to sell something as the ultimate end all coolness of your company, you have to make sure that it can go very well.

Scott Benjamin: Well, you have got to follow through with it. If it's going to look like a hotrod, it should drive like a hotrod.

Ben Bowlin: Perform like one, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly. And if it's going to look like a car that's meant to be on the racetrack, it should handle like it's meant to be on the racetrack.

Ben Bowlin: I think that's fair.

Scott Benjamin: I do, too. I think that's where they missed it right there and I think a lot of people felt the same.

Ben Bowlin: I want a van that goes 200 miles an hour.

Scott Benjamin: You know, there are some of those. There's a jet van - we'll talk about this later. All right. No. 2.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Do you want to mention this one because -

Ben Bowlin: Okay. Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, wait, was this the one that you were talking about, that your dad maybe wanted or was this - is it a different one? He was talking about the XLR, right? Your dad?

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, no, yeah, this is different.

Scott Benjamin: This is the older version, right?

Ben Bowlin: Um-hum.

Scott Benjamin: All right. You want to hit it?

Ben Bowlin: Sure, yeah. So, the Cadillac Allante. 1987-1993. Now, this one of course we see, like, most people think it was overpriced. The car itself was trying to make Cadillac more high-end I guess. Higher end. Presented as such. And, so, it tries to do some other sort of luxury roadster moves. They're trying to get into that group where you see the, you know, the Mercedes 560, you know, and instead of this working, it did have a definite affect but it just made General Motors kind of look bad. So, it was -

Scott Benjamin: Well, it was supposed to be sporty.

Ben Bowlin: It was supposed to be sporty.

Scott Benjamin: It was supposed to be sporty and what happened though? I mean, it ended up not being sporty.

Ben Bowlin: Let's just say - yeah. It was built in Italy.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, and this is the weird thing. Go ahead and - so, how were they sent here to the United States? Because this kills me.

Ben Bowlin: Okay. Yeah. All right. So, they're built in Italy. The actual body and then once the bodies are finished, they're flown across the Atlantic in 747s to Detroit.

Scott Benjamin: Talk - I mean, that's -

Ben Bowlin: How is that - you know what I mean?

Scott Benjamin: I know. I know what you're saying. This is where the cost comes in because how much of that, you know, transportation costs do you think is part of the - let's say the overpricing of the model?

Ben Bowlin: A lot of people thought the same thing because they didn't buy too many.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, at how much?

Ben Bowlin: At $60,000 which means a little bit over $60,000.

Scott Benjamin: A $60,000 two-seater convertible Cadillac.

Ben Bowlin: That doesn't really handle that well.

Scott Benjamin: It doesn't handle that well. It's not necessarily that fast. Actually, not very fast at all.

Ben Bowlin: But they said, hey, we've got sticktoitiveness so they sold it for five more years.

Scott Benjamin: That's right.

Ben Bowlin: And they never broke 50,000.

Scott Benjamin: They hung onto it. Now, okay, here's the last one.

Ben Bowlin: Here's the last one.

Scott Benjamin: This is according to Wheels.ca the dumbest halo car ever. The 1989-1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati.

Ben Bowlin: Applause.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, exactly. I know two people that own these.

Ben Bowlin: Really?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: That's weird.

Scott Benjamin: I do. I had a former boss that just loved his. I mean, did like a body off restoration of his and drives it in local parades and things like that.

Ben Bowlin: Ah, that's cool.

Scott Benjamin: Went crazy with it. I mean, and despite the better advice of some of his co-workers who said, you know, maybe you shouldn't spend the money on that, maybe you should get something different but -

Ben Bowlin: Were you one of those co-workers?

Scott Benjamin: I - no, I never said it. I never said it because my employment depended on it.

Ben Bowlin: You're kind of car purchase enabler, you know, right?

Scott Benjamin: No, I know, I know. I didn't say it but, yeah, you know what this reminds me of and everybody is gonna say this, it's a Lebaron that's badged a Maserati.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, that - it's -

Scott Benjamin: There's more to it.

Ben Bowlin: There's more to it. There's stuff under the hood I guess.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, there's - well, very little. I mean, there's very, very little. There's a - let's see, what's the Maserati part here. It's basically, here's the funny part, it's a front drive K car chassis, you know, it's a two-seat convertible body, it's built by Maserati of course and what it has is I just think it has a cylinder head. A Maserati cylinder head and that's about it. I mean, it's - I mean, there a few styling cues here and there, there's a round window at the back instead of, you know, a roll-up window or whatever it was.

Ben Bowlin: Woo.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I know, and I don't know. I just don't understand it. There might have been small styling cues other than that but really, it's just a dressed up Lebaron.

Ben Bowlin: Well, yeah, okay. I'm not going to go so far as to make fun of it for being that but you're right. It - because there's not much that changed except for the price and a couple of stylistic conventions.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, and predictably so, the numbers - the sales numbers were really poor on this thing. They were planning 30,000, they sold 7,300 and -

Ben Bowlin: That's kind of -

Scott Benjamin: - and they cancelled it in '91.

Ben Bowlin: We cannot end on this note. I want to make a point in defense of the people who own of the cars on what we just listed as -

Scott Benjamin: Oh, please do because I feel bad about this.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, I feel - I'm kind of broke up over it but what we - what I need to make the point that is crucial here is that these cars, if you think about it, given their small production runs that they tend to have, they are unique cars and increasingly so as they age. And that's what a lot of people who kind of fall for or become infatuated with a car, that's what they want. They want that unique, perfect and sort of singular feeling when they're down the road.

Scott Benjamin: Right, something low production like when I saw that Subaru SVX on the road. That's probably the only one that I've seen in the three years that I've been here.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, and people love that. I love seeing different cars.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, yeah.

Ben Bowlin: And, I mean, no offense to Honda's, but they're everywhere.

Scott Benjamin: No, in - imagine in 30 years, 40 years, imagine how rare something like that is going to be and maybe you've got one of only a couple hundred that exist at that point. You just never know. I mean, it becomes more and more - well, some of them become more and more valuable over time, others, they just kind of maintain.

Ben Bowlin: So, I think what we're trying to say is, you know, be proud of your car, don't feel like we're dogging on you.

Scott Benjamin: No, no.

Ben Bowlin: At all.

Scott Benjamin: Definitely don't. It just h appened to make the list because it was, at one time, a halo car and didn't do what it's supposed to do but that means, as a positive for you, you know, you paid probably a lot of money for it but low production numbers so that's good.

Ben Bowlin: So, we got sort of more positive in there.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bowlin: I feel like we've done halo cars pretty well. You got anything else for me?

Scott Benjamin: No, no, I was going to mention the whole flagship vehicle thing but I think we'll just let it go because flagship, similar, not the exact same thing.

Ben Bowlin: Think of a VIN diagram. Right.

Scott Benjamin: Exactly. We'll talk about it later.

Ben Bowlin: Yeah, before I get into even more bad jokes, we've got to get out of here guys. This is the part where we tell you about our Facebook and on Facebook we're known as Car Stuff; on Twitter, we're also on Car Stuff. We're also known as Car Stuff that is. Scott runs an awesome blog and if you're there, you should also check out our website, howstuffworks.com where you can find answers about pretty much anything automotive related. Right, Scott?

Scott Benjamin: Pretty much.

Ben Bowlin: Pretty much.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I think so. We've just got a ton of articles. Everything. Use the search function and you'll find more than you think is there initially.

Ben Bowlin: And if you are typing into our jazzy search bar and can't find what you're looking for, please send us an email and we will try our best to answer your questions. Our email address is...

Scott Benjamin: Carstuff@howstuffworks.com.

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