9 Discontinued Cars You Should Buy Anyway
Just because manufacturers couldn’t sell enough of them doesn’t mean these weren’t great cars.
The current automotive landscape is fast moving and ever changing. Unlike previous decades, where exciting cars were fewer and far between, and it was easy to look to recent years for your next car purchase, we live in a constant news cycle of the latest and greatest.
Thought the Shelby GT350R was exciting? Well here’s the new GT500! Think the new 911 Carrera is great? Well forget it already, because there’s a new Turbo version on its way for you to get hyped about.
It’s a great time to be an enthusiast (or really a spectator) because of this constant stream of new cars. But as a buyer, we can sometimes forget about cars which have come and gone.
While these extinct models are no longer with us, they’re still great cars worth scooping up, if only for their driving experience and pure “fun factor.”
Of course, there are many, many great discontinued models out there which span decades. I could rattle off dozens of classic cars sporting defunct badges worth buying. There are more classic muscle cars than you can name; Chevelle, Nova, GTO, Firebird, Cutlass, Torino, Cougar, ‘Cuda, Roadrunner, Grand National… the list goes on. ‘90s import heroes? Forget about it. Mitsubishi 3000GT, Mazda RX-7, VW Scirocco, Nissan 240SX, BMW M1.
But for the sake of this article, we’re only going to focus on cars that were discontinued in the last 10 years or so.
Why? Because they’re so quickly forgotten. You know that a ‘70 Cuda or ‘93 RX-7 is cool and in demand, even though their models or even brands don’t exist anymore. You don’t need reminding of them.
Also, we’re not including any special / limited editions or cars which are simply being replaced with a different model in the line-up (such as the ATS and CTS being replaced by the CT4 and CT5 respectively).
Think of buying one of these cars like saving a rare animal. Without you, they might disappear forever.
Pontiac G8 GT
2008 – 2009
The G8 GT is one of the most tragic cars ever. It met the public to rave reviews thanks to its premium suspension and mighty 415-horsepower 6.2-litre LS V-8. However, it was too little, too late for Pontiac—the 2008 financial crisis caused GM to shutter the once beloved performance brand.
The G8 GT did receive a rebadge in the form of the Chevrolet SS (also worth buying if you can find one), however that too was soon axed.
Should they have called the G8 a GTO and the SS a Chevelle regardless of their 4 doors? If the success of the Charger is any indication, yes, they really, really should have.
Mitsubishi Evolution X
2008 – 2018
Of course, EVO purists prefer the EVO IX to the bulkier, lazier X. However, the EVO IX was always known for being more fragile and fraught with issues compared to the more robust newer model.
Semantics aside, the Evo X is another tragic car. Because Mitsubishi really couldn’t afford to keep making improvements to the car (and of course eventually had to discontinue it all together), the EVO X only changed slightly over its 10-year run, sporting an outdated interior and a very dated options list by the end.
But with its turbocharged engine delivering 290 horsepower, 6-speed transmission (in the form of manual or CVT) and dynamic AWD, it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever get tired of driving this rally-inspired saloon. It also works in the snow, which is nice.
2008 – 2012
I owned an RX-8 for a couple of years. It drove me insane. It broke constantly. It flooded. It drank oil like a Twitch streamer drinks Red Bull.
But I honestly miss it terribly. I think about buying another one all the time. Especially now that they’re so cheap. The RX-8’s signature rotary engine redlines at a screaming 9,000 RPM—and by the way, it’s actually recommended that you take the car to its redline about once a day so as to properly lubricate the engine (oh geez, what a chore).
Honestly, bringing a rotary engine to redline is so good for your soul, I’m not unconvinced that it couldn’t cure the common cold. They should market it as new-aged medicine.
It’s not the quickest car in a straight line. But the RX-8’s sport suspension and 50-50 weight distribution make it go-kart levels of nimble. It changes directions on a dime and if anything ever does go wrong—if the car gets a little too sideways for your comfort, it’s incredibly easy to correct. Honestly, you would have to try to crash one.
The mid-cycle refresh of 2008 apparently corrected a few of the gremlins which plagued the 2004 – 2007 cars, so best to stick to the newer cars.
2008 – 2012
For some reason, Mazda is now focused on positioning themselves as a “luxury brand.”
Great, because we don’t have enough of those.
The last generation Mazadaspeed3 with its 263-horsepower, turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission is a fun machine that was taken from us far too soon and reminds us what Mazda has always been best at—creating incredibly nimble and exciting street cars, which are not unusable as a daily driver… but which are also incredibly flawed in some charming way.
Could you maybe just get back to the business of doing that Mazda and cut out all this “luxury” nonsense? Please.
Ford Focus RS
2016 – 2019
Speaking of hot-hatches that were taken from us far too soon, may I introduce you to the car that Ford didn’t let us have in North America for-freaking-ever, then gave to us for three short years only to take it away again permanently?
It’s cool, Ford. Obviously what we want is the Edge ST, not a razor’s-edge 350 horsepower hot-hatch.
Ford Mustang Boss 302
2012 – 2013
I hesitate to put this one on the list. One could argue that it’s role in the Mustang line-up has simply been filled by the GT350—it’s the handling focused model which fills the gap between the standard Mustang GT and god-tier GT500.
But the Boss is unique in a few ways. Unlike the GT350, it used an upgraded variant of the Coyote V-8, rather than the bespoke 5.2-litre, flat-plane crank ‘Voodoo’ engine. The Laguna Seca variants are particularly noteworthy with their track focused interior that featured racing seats, a rear seat delete, and x-brace. Even the GT350R doesn’t quite boast the level of “track-readiness” in interior appearance.
Because it pushed the handling capabilities of the live-rear axle as far as seemed humanly possible, because it has the ‘Boss’ logo on it and because it doesn’t look like we’ll see another one any time soon, this will probably be a very collectable car in years to come.
2013 – 2017
Who knows if the Viper is ever coming back. Dodge has had an on-and-off again thing with the Viper really since its debut in 1993, taking periodic “breaks” in the production run.
The car is expensive to produce and always struggles to outsell the Chevrolet Corvette, but maintains its cult-like following of people who really enjoy driving a car with a vested interest in murdering them.
For the time being, it doesn’t seem like there are any immediate plans to bring back the Viper, so you’ll just have to settle for the last version if you want to have the best 8.4-litre V-10 monster to ever wear a very snakey badge.
2003 – 2008
Insert The Fast and the Furious joke here.
The Honda S2000 is a car that has received mountains of journalist praise, but never really captured enough of a market share to justify its continued existence. Perhaps because it sat in between the cheap and cheerful Mazda MX-5 and the upscale Porsche Boxster, that it took a very specific kind of buyer to pull the trigger on one.
Still, with its 237-horsepower 2.0-litre engine, the S2000 is a great way to enjoy the pleasures of a top-down roadster. It’s good for modifications too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Nissan Silvia S15
1999 – 2002
The Nissan 240SX’s final form—the Silvia S15.
These cars were never sold in North America. However, Canada’s lenient import laws mean the Silvia S15 has been legal since about 2015 and west-coast dealerships are bringing in plenty of well-kept examples since then.
Even though they’re all direct imports from Japan or Australia, it’s probably easier to find an S15 at this point than it is a North-American native S13 or S14—those older cars have all been crashed into walls by amateur drifters or consumed by rust.
In their highest trim, the S15 featured the sought after SR20DET I4 Turbo engine, producing 246 horsepower. With a 6-speed manual transmission, there’s much fun to be had with these illusive Nissans.
Unlike other classic JDM nameplates like Supra, Skyline and RX-7, an S15 also won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Which is a bonus.