I love reading and watching old car news – like retro-reviews of cars and ideas about where the auto industry was headed from before I was born. Legacy publications like MotorWeek or Car and Driver have been reposting some content from their vast repositories of articles, but sometimes it feels a bit too… curated. Listen, I love reading about what people back in 1985 thought about the brand new Toyota MR2, but what about everything else? What did we know about say, the first FWD Buick Skylark? Autos of Interest used to stock a lot of old-car info, not just for popular cars, but also archival info for true nerds.
Autos of Interest was a space that showed a lot of development information of some of those cars, both loved and unloved. Similar to TestDriveJunkie, Autos of Interest had a lot of news and spy shots from yesteryear. Its focus was largely toward design, rather than driving impressions, offering design analysis and styling workshops of older popular models. For example, it had a nice collection of pictures and information outlining the development of the 1997-2001 Toyota Camry. Autos of Interest explained how the Japanese economic recession of the early 1990s affected the Camry’s development, which is why its very conservative design was frozen in 1994. Here are some screenshots I pulled from a digital archaeological expedition through time:
I loved this site… past-tense. Autos of Interest was gone one day, all of a sudden the domain name was sold and the site was replaced with a website full of what looked to be computer-generated generic new car articles. All of that information, all of those images and history, gone. It’s lost in the ether. Some of the pages can be accessed using the Wayback Machine or Google Archive, but not consistently. A few clicks, and it’s easy to run into a dead-end for a page that was never indexed.
Autos of Interest operated a Facebook page, but it too is similarly dead. A few FB users, including myself, have posted on the page asking if the admin will come back, or needs help running the site, but to no avail. As of January 26 this year, the Facebook page has also been deleted, likely due to inactivity. Another car design Facebook page posted their sympathies for the loss of such big library of information.
It’s a damn shame. Automotive development can sometimes tend to be opaque in its process; resources that talk about the design process are few and far between. It would be amazing if Autos of Interest‘s back catalog was somehow salvageable, though that feels pretty unlikely. Still, no small part of me hopes that somebody who remembers the site will give us a lead! Or, at the very least, commiserate with me on how sad we are that this site’s gone.