If you're a gearhead who grew up with a TV, you know John Davis. The creator and host of MotorWeek, Davis has been bringing unbiased, informative, and charming reviews of cars, trucks, and SUVs to America's living room for 35 years. He's a living legend, and at 67 years old, he has no intention of slowing down. And the vintage videos MotorWeek posts to YouTube every week are a constant source of delight for us here at Road & Track.
Still, over the course of three and a half decades, even a seasoned pro like Davis was bound to make a few bad calls. In , Davis wasn't afraid to point out some of the predictions he got absolutely wrong—cars he loved that turned out to be duds, or vehicles he panned that came into major market success.
Which big successes caught Davis off guard? "The first on my list is the Porsche Cayenne," . "Who would ever have thought that a Porsche owner would want an SUV? I thought: This great sports car brand, what are they doing? Of course, it became Porsche's most popular model. And everybody that owned a 911 wanted a companion, and it gave them a utility vehicle without them giving up the Porsche essence. So, really wrong about that one."
What about cars Davis thought would hit it big? "The Buick Reatta," . "I thought that was going to save the Buick brand. It was so far ahead of its time. It had the first real center-screen stack. We were worried about what would happen when it conked out, you couldn't replace it, but I thought that car would take off." Here's Davis reviewing a 1990 model:
And then there was the Renault Alliance, shown above. At the time, Davis was bullish on American Motors' experiments with Renault and Eagle alike. "The Renault Alliance, the savior for American Motors Corp. (chuckling). Also the Eagle Premier. We thought it was the most advance mid-sized front-wheel-drive sedan out there. We thought it would propel them to new heights. You know, that didn't happen." Here's Davis reviewing the Renault Alliance GTA, the high-performance variant, in 1987:
Everyone makes the occasional bad call, and Davis's long and amazingly productive TV career is proof that he didn't make a habit of it. , and make sure to . You'll be glad you did.