Author: Mark Wigginton

Folle Petite Voiture!*

Ihad a friend who was cursed with the nickname “Swamp Gas.” Folks called him that because “swamp gas was the only explanation for something that weird.” Which brings me to the Citroën 2CV. Yup, that odd little French car that also answers to “deux chevaux.” From the land of stinky […]

Is It or Isn’t It?

Any car is a rolling exercise in compromise: horsepower vs. economy, stability vs. agility, interior space vs. exterior volume, bilge capacity vs. sinkability. Whoa. What? That last is only a problem with the most glaring example of compromise in automotive design ever — the Amphicar 770. It has been called […]

A Survivor Worth Exploring

Muscle cars dominated my Southern California high-school parking lot at the end of the 1960s. There were Mustangs, Camaros and even the odd Road Runner. Then there were my friends, tweed caps and all, with our Sprites, TR3s and MGAs. There was even a Mini. We were too young for […]

Fiat/Bertone X1/9

An X1/9 Sold for What?

Arecent result from the Bonhams Padua auction on October 28, 2017, caused a bit of a stir here at the “Affordable Classic” desk. Actually, it wasn’t a stir, but more like a big messy spit-take, a coffee-spewing, head-shaking explosion of disbelief. A late-in-the-run 1988 Bertone X1/9 1500 coupe went out […]

Not Quite “Magnum, P.I.” Grade

You look in the mirror one morning and instead of your own bleary eyes and grim, pre-work mug, you see Tom Selleck. It’s not the grizzled old Tom — it’s the dashing young Tom of “Magnum, P.I.,” as he casually vaults into that Ferrari. Owning one of those would change […]

1920 Detroit Electric Model 82 Brougham

This Detroit Electric Model 82 has a 4.3-horspower, 84-volt DC motor, direct shaft drive, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The wheelbase is 100 inches. Over the course of its 30-year lifespan, the Anderson Electric Car Company, builders of the […]

The Nouveau Mini is Rich in Fun

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried asked, “Too soon?” after telling a 9/11 joke just weeks after the Twin Towers fell — and he heard boos instead of laughs. The first reaction to the notion of the “new” Mini being an Affordable Classic might well be a chorus of jeering “Too soon!” from […]

Toyota’s Under-the-Radar Sports Car

Some marques, even in the affordable category, seem to engender passionate supporters. Mention Alfa or Porsche, and the swooning starts. Even the humble Miata has a plenty-of-fans. The Toyota MR2? Not so much. But if you are looking for an affordable two-seater, it should be on your list to investigate. […]

Easy on the Eyes and the Checkbook

There’s nothing like a little wind in the old scalp, but if you were a BMW fan last century, there wasn’t much to choose from except a truly vintage two-seat roadster or the “rare-and-should-be” Z1 from 1989. That is, until the introduction of the Z3, way back in 1995. The […]

Courtesy of Bonhams

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA

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 […]