Columns (1985)

Ask any American to name an Opel product, and they’re overwhelmingly likely to name the GT — often known as the “Baby Corvette” that arrived in America in 1969. But few could tell you that General Motors bought most of Opel in 1929 — and took complete ownership in 1931. By the end of the 1930s, Opel was the second-biggest automaker in Germany. Relations with the parent corporation were severed during the World War II years, but after 1945, Opel came right back to building cars for GM in the European market. GM and Opel began importing cars to the…
Introduced in 1965, the GTA — the A stood for Alleggerita (lightened) — was the official competition version of the Giulia Sprint GT, and it was produced in both road and race variants. The latter, as usual, was the responsibility of the factory’s Autodelta competitions department, which had been founded in 1961 as an independent company by Carlo Chiti and Ludovico Chizzola, and subsequently absorbed by Alfa Romeo. Visually almost indistinguishable from the road-going Sprint GT, the GTA differed by virtue of its aluminum body panels, Plexiglas side and rear windows and lightened interior fittings and trim. As a result,…
In September of 1959, Porsche revealed their fully updated 356 known as the 356B. This had a completely revised body that was more suitable for the American market. The 356B used the new T-5 body style, which raised the front and rear bumpers nearly four inches. Furthermore, the headlights were also repositioned higher to meet American regulations. Inside, Porsche fitted a new deep-dish steering wheel and deeper front seats. New to the model was the Type 616/7 Super 90 engine, which was an indirect replacement for the Carrera de Luxe models. The engine was fully revised with a new intake…
At the 1971 Geneva Salon de L’Automobile exhibition, Ferrari launched another new model. This was the GTC/4 as offered here, which was presented as a more sober and discreet alternative to the blisteringly high-performance Daytona. But the GTC/4 was really more closely related to the 365 GT 2+2, which it had replaced on the Pininfarina assembly line. The GTC/4 had two small rear seats tailored for small children or perhaps for short-distance use by one adult, sitting across the car. By general consent, the GTC/4 proved to be a far more user-friendly car to drive than the Daytona, and its…
According to the Registro Storico Fiat, chassis 3003 was accepted on June 7, 1905, by Fiat’s sole American importer, Hollander and Tangeman of New York City. It was the third of only 20 examples of the 4-cylinder 60 HP built on the 2,985-millimeter wheelbase chassis (the shorter of two offerings for the model), and it is the only example known to survive today. The car was fitted at the Turin factory with upgraded racing sprockets and a unique clutch that had been unseen in any other Fiat. It was then exported as a rolling chassis to Hollander and Tangeman and…

1970 Range Rover

Written by January 2015
The original Spen King-designed Range Rover was one of the British motor industry’s proudest success stories. When it went out of production at the end of 1996, it still looked as fresh and forward-thinking as it did back in 1970, when one was chosen for an exhibit in the Louvre as an example of modern sculpture. The car was renamed the Range Rover Classic when the Mk II model was introduced in the autumn of 1994, but demand continued even then. This was a car that had real international appeal, selling in markets as diverse as Japan, the United States,…
On January 4, 1930, Cadillac stunned the fine-car market at the New York Auto Show with the introduction of its breathtaking new V16. With it, Cadillac instantly catapulted itself to the head of the luxury class in one brilliant stroke. Until then, only Bugatti had produced a 16-cylinder engine, and it was accomplished by bolting two 8-cylinder inline engines together, which was an innovation that was originally intended for aircraft use. Cadillac’s V16 was the first true 16-cylinder engine to be built from scratch, and it was a project led by Owen Milton Nacker under conditions of the utmost secrecy.…
When introduced at the 1981 Frankfurt Salon, the 512 BBi brought about only minor changes from the outgoing 512 BB, with the chief among those being the addition of a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injection system. The BBi retained all of the 512 BB’s looks and character — but added exposed driving lights on the nose and rectangular parking lights adjacent to the exhausts at the rear. For many clients, the addition of the fuel injection was a welcome change, and the 512 BBi is often considered to be the most livable of Ferrari’s Berlinetta Boxer models. Naturally, performance remained incredible over…
This is the most famous Lagonda of all. Special competition variants of the LG45 were tailor-made at Staines Bridge for the Lagonda company’s experienced and battle-hardened quasi-Works racing team: Fox & Nicholl Limited of Tolworth, Surrey. Just as Enzo Ferrari’s private Scuderia ran the quasi-Works Alfa Romeo team cars from 1932 to ’37, so Fox & Nicholl represented Lagonda’s vital interests in International motor racing. For 1936, the production department at Staines Bridge built four competition cars specifically for Fox and Nicholl. This quartet comprised two 4-seaters, bodied to comply with Le Mans 24-Hour regulation requirements, and two 2-seaters, this…
Built for privateers to go international GT racing, the phenomenally successful RSR was one of the final developments of the Porsche 911 Type 964, which on its launch in 1989 had represented a major step forward in the development of Porsche’s long-running sports car. Two versions were offered — the Carrera 4 and Carrera 2 — the former marking the first time that four-wheel drive had been seen on a series-production model. Porsche had experimented with four-wheel drive on the 959 supercar, and many of the lessons learned from the latter influenced the design of the new Carreras’ chassis and…