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Hip To Be Square: The Top 33 Boxy Cars Of All-Time

Vukasin Herbez March 20, 2019

12. Nissan Pao

Even before retro was a thing in car design, Nissan presented an influential and crazy looking compact model they called the Pao. It was only for sale on the Japanese market, so it came in the right-hand-drive configuration.

But the design kind of resembled the Austin Farina or Mini. However, underneath the body, the Pao was an advanced car with an independent suspension and 52 HP engine. Nissan offered the Pao for just three years between 1989 and 1991, making over 50,000 of them.

10. Fiat Ritmo Abarth

The original Italian hot hatch was arguably the Fiat Ritmo Abarth 130. It was the ultimate version of the standard Ritmo compact model they introduced in 1983. In fact, the Ritmo Abarth 130 was one of the fastest, most powerful cars in its class on the European market.

Under the hood was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with two carburetors, eight valves and 130 HP, which was more than enough for the 2,000-pound curb weight. Also, the power went to the front wheels over a five-speed manual transmission. And to top all that off, the Abarth racing department set the suspension for aggressive driving.

9. Honda N-Box Slash

If you are limited by government-proposed dimensions, engine size limits and various other safety regulations, you must find new ways of designing cars. And a good example of that is Honda’s N-Box Slash.

It brings an interesting design to the Kei Car class with its unique looks. Honda made a big effort to squeeze every last millimeter of usable space from this vehicle. Best of all, you could option it with red leather seats and even a modular interior, so you can turn it into a lounge.

8. Ford F-150 Lightning

The Ford F-150 Lightning is a legendary truck. It wasn’t the first of Ford’s limited-edition trucks but it was the best. Ford made the first generation they sold from 1990 to 1995 a true automotive icon. The basic idea was to make a muscle truck using a regular F-150. Ford put a lot of effort into designing and producing the first generation F-150 Lightning.

First, there was the engine, a 5.8-liter V8 unit with GT40 heads and a special camshaft. The power output was 240 HP with 340 lb-ft of torque. But, the Lightning had a revised suspension and transmission that translated to awe-inspiring acceleration times.

7. Suzuki Alto Turbo RS

Suzuki sold the Alto outside Japan as a compact car. But in Japan, it is still a Kei Car with one interesting version, the Alto Turbo RS. It is a hot hatch with five doors, three cylinders, aggressive looks, and an all-wheel-drive option.

Unfortunately, it comes with a lackluster 63 HP, 660 CCM turbo engine, which not many owners appreciate. The legal limit for modern Kei Cars is 63 HP, but most manufacturers offer tunable engines. They are easy to modify to close or over 100 HP, so owners can enjoy some real performance. And this is the case with the Turbo RS.

6. Chevrolet C/K Square Body

People colloquially called the C/K the “Square Body” for its boxy design. And in fact, the third generation C/K featured a computer-designed body with more space and comfort than ever before. Also, the truck was bigger and tougher due to the new platform, revised suspension, and tougher axles.

Customers had numerous cab configurations, special editions, engine options and details to choose from, too. All that made the third generation C/K one of the best trucks in the world at that time. Chevy produced it from 1973 to 1991 in the USA. However, also built this model in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and South Korea.

During the long production run, Chevrolet introduced the diesel engine as an option, which proved to be highly popular in Europe and South America. Today, most of the trucks are worn out, but those well-preserved examples are fetching high prices since people fondly remember those utilitarian trucks.

5. Ford Bronco

Ford started offering the Bronco in 1966, but in 1979, Ford introduced a new generation which they sold until 1986. Along the Chevrolet Blazer, the Bronco is the quintessential American compact SUV of the ’80s. Like all cars of this market segment, the Bronco was a tough and well-engineered SUV built on a truck chassis with heavy-duty components.

Customers used most Broncos as off-road vehicles or law enforcement transportation, which explains why well-preserved examples are so rare. And rare means expensive, so if you want to own proper Bronco, you should act fast.

4. Chevrolet Nova

This is not about the classic late ’60s Nova that’s a well-known, popular model. This is about the 1985 to 1988 Chevrolet Nova, which is a forgotten and obscure model. So, if you think you have seen this car before, you are probably right. You did see it, but with a Toyota badge on the grille.

The reason is that they built this Nova in California, in a plant Toyota and Chevrolet shared. In fact, the Nova was just Chevrolet’s version of the Toyota Corolla. And in fact, it was a clever plan. In an effort to fight those import cars, Chevrolet imported an import, selling it as their own model. However, despite the good initial sales and highly praised Twin Cam version, the market simply forgot about the Nova.

3. Dodge Raider

Dodge was always big in the SUV and truck market with various model offerings over the years. Since the Ramcharger SUVs and Ram trucks were popular, well-received cars, it is strange that the company decided to clone the Mitsubishi Pajero as a Dodge Raider in 1987. They produced the Dodge Raider in Japan, importing it to the U.S. as a Dodge.

In fact, the only real difference between the Raider and the Pajero are the badges. It was available as a shorter, three-door version with a 3.0 V6 engine. As expected, the Dodge Raider handled and drove identical to the Pajero, but the sales results weren’t that good. So in 1989, they discontinued the model and people soon forgot it.

2. Lincoln Town Car

The early ’80s brought some much-needed downsizing to American sedans. Those enormous cars with monster engines were a thing of the past. Lincoln responded by presenting the popular Town Car they built on Ford’s venerable Panther platform. They powered it with a 5.0-liter V8.

The Town Car was a recognizable boxy shaped sedan with a big chrome grille and bumpers. A comfortable ride, it was a typically-styled luxury model and buyers loved its proportions, soft ride, and plush interior.

1. Dodge Dynasty

The late ’80s Dodge Dynasty is an obscure Dodge model for a reason. It was nothing special with a front-wheel-drive platform, compact dimensions, boxy styling, and three engine choices. Under the hood, buyers could get a 2.5-liter or 3.0-liter V6 by Mitsubishi or a 3.3-liter V6 engine. The Dynasty was a mid-size model that replaced the Dodge 600 series yet it didn’t have much to offer to the customers.

Dodge introduced it in 1988 and discontinued it in 1993. Interestingly, the Dynasty appeared at a strange time during Dodge’s history. It was the end of the ‘80s, so Dodge was ready to introduce many new models for the upcoming decade. But even though the Dynasty was an economy car with some luxury details, it failed to hit the mark.

Yes, it is hip to be square thanks to the best boxy cars of all time. Did you find your favorite? Although not exactly aerodynamic, these cars are classics with a unique charm.

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