In addition to its plethora of new metal, the main floor of the 2017 New York auto show featured some good ‘ol classic steel, if you know where to look. If you find yourself roaming around the Subaru and Volvo stands, for instance, you might be in for a bit of a surprise. And for more vintage stimulation, you can swing by the Saratoga Automotive Museum display in the south corner or the NYPD’s collection on the ground floor.
The year is 1949, Japan’s battered from World War II. Everyone’s desperately, but slowly trying to rebuild, but car options are limited. To provide options for its citizens, the Japanese government proposed a new set of regulations, giving birth to the Kei car. The Subaru 360 weighs only 1,000 lbs, features unibody construction, and rides on a simple swing-axle rear suspension. Around 392,000 were sold over its 12-year model run.
Volvo Amazon Station Wagon
After the attaining success with the iconic PV series, Volvo decided it needed to keep the momentum going with a new midsize car. The result was the Amazon. Available in coupe, sedan, and wagon forms, the Amazon was a car of many firsts. When introduced in America at the 1959 New York International Auto Show, it became the first car to make front seat belts standard on all models. When production ended in 1970, over 667,000 were sold worldwide. The wagon was replaced by the 140-Series, which later evolved to become the iconic 200-Series. The Amazon sedan gave birth to the Volvo 164.
One of the most desired of classic Volvo models, the P1800 became a huge success after being placed in Roger Moore’s hit 1960s television series, The Saint. It originally came in coupe form only but later in life, it was also marketed as a shooting brake. A full-fledged hatch version was introduced in 1972, with its signature long-roof and its all-glass tailgate. It was to be the final P1800 and is by far the crème of the crop in classic Volvo fandom. A bit further down the line, the P1800 also received massive recognition in 1998 after an 1800S was certified as the highest mileage private vehicle driven by its original owner in a non-commercial setting.
Built from 1953 until 1969, the Duett was Volvo’s idea for a dual-purpose automobile. It served as a functional utility vehicle for the working Swedish citizen. Then, after a long day of work, owners could enjoy a civil, comfortable, yet practical sedan away from work. The Duett is essentially a modified variant of Volvo’s PV series. But unlike the PV444 and PV544, which were Volvo’s first unibody vehicles, the Duett was built on a classic ladder frame with a heavy-duty leaf-spring rear suspension setup.
BMW E36 M3 GTS-2 PTG
Nestled above and away from the crowd on a riser sits one of the few legendary PTG-built (Prototype Technology Group) BMW E36 M3 GTS-2s. Back in 1995, BMW was in need of a car for that year’s IMSA GTS-2 season. In just 60 days, BMW and PTG came together to produce the M3 GTS-2s, which would go on to earn numerous honors, including a long list of podium finishes, several IMSA GT manufacturer’s title, and class victories at the 1997 and 1998 24 Hours of Daytona.