Ignore Your Inner Chad

“Midgets suck. Get an MGB.”

That was the considered opinion of my friend Chad when I expressed my intention to buy a rather crusty 1970 MG Midget back in the late 1980s. Luckily, I resisted peer pressure and bought the car. It turned out to be one of the best automotive decisions I ever made. Take that, foolish Chad!

However mistaken he may have been, Chad’s viewpoint illustrates the challenge that the MG Midget — and its alt-badge doppelgänger, the Read More

The Amazing, Affordable Alfa Spider

The affordable European sports-car pantheon usually comes down to just four cars: the MGB, the Triumph Spitfire, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, and the Alfa Romeo Spider.

I can already hear the seismic rumble of readers jumping up to mention the MG/Austin-Healey Spridget, Triumph TR-series, Opel GT, Sunbeam Alpine, Volvo P1800 and, God help us, the Jensen-Healey. Truly, there’s a case to be made for each of those and others besides, but if you ask any enthusiast, it’s almost certain Read More

A Fun Copycat

In 1958, Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman came up with a design for a basic sports car that could be road-driven all week and then raced on the weekend. His previous (and very similar) design was called the Lotus Mark VI, so this new model was naturally called the Seven. Chapman wasn’t overly impressed with his work, remarking, “There wasn’t much to it, really. It was all well-known stuff, the sort of thing you could dash off in a weekend.”

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1978 Volkswagen Combi Type 2 Campmobile

Chassis number: 2382043540
SCM Condition for this car: 1-

A couple of years ago, I spotted a mid-1970s Volkswagen camper van with a big sticker across the back that read, “HILLS ARE HARD.” With a whopping 70 horsepower pushing that brick up a grade, the sticker was a bit of an understatement.

But one thing that hasn’t slowed to a crawl is the upmarket climb of the VW Transporter.

We’ve all gotten used to seeing six-figure prices on vintage Sambas, Read More

Back to the Future With the SR5

If you were a young man in the mid-1980s, you wanted a 4×4 Toyota SR5 pickup truck. By any name, these trucks embodied the virtues of the mid-1980s — they were stylish, a little bit boastful and a lot of fun.

It’s no coincidence that young Marty McFly dreamed of owning a tricked-out Toyota SR5 in “Back to the Future.” McFly represented the Everyman of the era.

Affordable and functional

Japanese automakers sold mini trucks in America since Datsun brought Read More

The Car That Made BMW

If there was one car that did the most to cement BMW’s reputation in North America, it was the 2002.

Actually, scratch that. There is one car that made BMW’s reputation, and it’s the pretty-much-legendary 2002. This still-affordable and very plentiful 2-door sport sedan transformed staid BMW into an affordable performance brand.

The 2002 family tree

The roots of the 2002 go back to the early 1960s, when BMW was struggling. For 1962, the company produced a compact 4-door sedan Read More

Bee-Stung: Datsun B-210

The Datsun B-210 was the right car at the right time. In mid-1973, the OPEC embargo had Americans lining up around the block for gas. The beastly muscle cars of the late 1960s were too thirsty, and the latest replacements from Detroit were strangled and listless.

As if on cue, Datsun kicked off the 1974 model year with an affordable small car that boasted up to 50 mpg. The B-210 was an instant hit. It seemed perfectly designed to compete Read More