What’s in a Box? (Pt. 3)

Smooth curves are what many crave. Then, there are those of us who like lines. The “boxy” concept is making a comeback so we devoted three articles to the idea.. You can read part 1 right here and part 2 here.

Buick Grand National

A high performance machine that was also a square-body coupe from Buick, the Grand National offers up a beautiful (for the time) 245 horsepower and could reach sixty mph in only six seconds. This performance came from the 3.8-liter V6, giving us another older square box that used only six cylinders.  The Grand National enjoyed a successful but short run from 1984-1987.  This legendary machine only survived a short while, but rumors are we will see a new GNX in the next few years to give us a throwback machine from Buick.

Maserati Biturbo

From 1982-1991 the Biturbo was sought after by many and you had to beat people off with a stick if you owned one.  This square little roadster was a lot of fun to drive unless it did two of the things these cars were known for; leaking oil and catching on fire.  While the oil wasn’t something you could avoid, the drive gave plenty of pleasure in a car that weighed in less than 3000 pounds.  As a quick, performance machine, the Biturbo was a new style from Maserati and certainly became popular and fun even if for some of the wrong reasons.

Hummer H1

I’m not sure there is a single angle on this vehicle that isn’t a full ninety degrees.  The H1 basically was just a military grade vehicle made for the civilian drivers.  This big beast of burden was built from 1992-2006 and weighed in around 8,000 pounds.  The high price and seriously low fuel mileage of these big creatures made them an instant hit with celebrities.  Unfortunately they were not kept around for the long haul as the massive power has to give way to more sensible choices.

Datsun 510

This small and fun driving machine wasn’t much to look at as a machine from 1968-1973 that seemed like a bargain compared to BWM.  The four wheel independent suspension on these little cars gave it a name in motorsports that surprised the entire world.  As an oddity might have, the 510 has a huge following today and many who own one are more than happy to share their secrets and solutions with any challenges with this old and classic sports car, making it one of the most interesting vehicles from the era and one that has a bright future with the support it still garners.

Ford Explorer

While the Explorer is still built today, the one from 1990-1994 was a box on wheels version that consumers loved for the entire time it was built.  Adding the four door version to the lineup gave Ford a huge edge and made their sales rise to well over 300,000 each year.  This big beauty was powered by a 4.0-liter V6 with plenty of torque and the handling was much better than the Bronco II which had been known to feel as if it was going to flip from time to time.  This new Explorer became one of the first comfort on road SUVs on the market.

Honda CRX

The CRX was sharp, shapely, sporty and offered a great deal of beautiful angles and lines to enjoy.  As a two-door sports coupe the CRX was a compact car that weighed in at under a ton and became one of the most fun cars to drive from 1984-1987.  The model of choice was the Si which gained power from the 1.5-liter four-cylinder fuel injected engine which had 91 horsepower and a time to sixty mph of 9.1 seconds.  Even though this would seem slow now, the Si was a lot of fun and this engine was considered to be very peppy at the time.


This was a tiny car and was one of the first versions offered and weighed in at only 1,300 pounds.  As one of the world’s lightest vehicles, this car which has a popular run from 1961-1967 was no much to look at and has rounded off shapes but still was considered to be a box on wheels.  This car had awesome driving dynamics which was good enough to win three Monte Carlo Rally championships.  Mini has continued its popularity today and has become a fun and funky drive that has a line of vehicles that all show a look that brings back thoughts from this version.

Audi Quattro

Today Quattro refers to the AWD Audi puts in their vehicles but in 1983 and 1984 the Quattro was an amazing sports coupe that was groundbreaking for the time.  This car was powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder engine mated to a five speed manual transmission and built with an AWD system.  This beautiful square machine dominated the FIA World Rally Racing championships and  won two manufacturer championships during its brief time in action.

Willys CJ-2A

One of the most popular and impressive boxes on wheels was this version of the Jeep CJ.  The Willys was popular from 1945-1949 as a familiar look that veterans returning from WWII would easily recognize.  This was the Jeep that helped mobilize units during the war and was then converted to be offered as a civilian off road machine that would make a great vehicle to go out in the wilderness for an adventure.  Making only 60 horsepower at the time these were very popular vehicle and the Jeep Wranglers you see today still bear much of the resemblance of these early versions.

Square has always been in style when it comes to vehicles and with such a long and storied history of some winning square vehicles as well as some the powerful SUVs that were predecessors to what we see today, the square shape is certainly one we should continue to hold in high honor and reverence.

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