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 cheese, the 2CV had a long, quirky life, being built in France from 1948 until 1988, with a couple of encore years of production in Portugal from 1988 to 1990.
Any car is a rolling exercise in compromise: horsepower vs. economy, stability vs. agility, interior space vs. exterior volume, bilge capacity vs. sinkability.
That last is only a problem with the most glaring example of compromise in automotive design ever — the Amphicar 770.
It has been called the “fastest car on the water and the fastest boat on the road” and “a vehicle that promised to revolutionize drowning.” It has also been doing quite well as a Read More
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 briar pipes, but we could dream, couldn’t we?
But for some reason there were no Triumph Spitfires. So I never sat in one in period, and only saw a few. Read More
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 the door for just a skosh more than $30,000.
I’ll wait while you clean up your coffee.
Admittedly, Read More
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 everything, you think. You think you could afford one of those.
“One of those” is a 1984 308 GTS Quattrovalvole, and a few clicks in the SCM Platinum Auction Database Read More
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 Detroit Electric, produced more electric automobiles than any other American passenger-car manufacturer. Somewhat in vain, they tried to keep up with modern fashions, and by 1920 had updated their charmingly Read More
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 owners of the original Mini.
After all, the first generation of the newly reimagined, redesigned and relaunched BMW/Rover Mini, produced 42 years after the inarguably classic Mini, might be nothing Read More
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. They are plentiful and have performance on par with the competition — across nearly 25 years of production and three wildly different design envelopes.
The accidental sports car
The MR2 Read More
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 Z3 was a response to the wildly popular Mazda Miata — and recognition of the reappearing two-seater market niche. The successful introduction of the Miata in 1989 represented a sea Read More
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 Read More