I’ve got that classic-car itch, and only you can help me scratch it.
In my column in the February issue of SCM, I wrote about the three cars that are calling to me right now. I invited subscribers to vote and comment on your choice. As a blog reader, I’d like to hear your opinion as well.
In brief, the three cars are similar in price and performance, but they are very different in concept and execution.
Alfa Junior Zagato
The first is an Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato. Built from 1968 to 1975, it’s the last of the carbureted Alfas, but its Zagato coachwork is really what sets it apart. While I don’t find it the most inspired of the Zagato designs, nonetheless it is immediately recognizable. There is nothing remarkable about the chassis or drivetrain — the suspension is shared with the 105-series Spider, GTV and Super. They came with either a 1,300 cc or 1,600 cc engine.
Prices are in the $50k-$60k range. The primary reason for getting a Junior Z is that it would be a nice seventh Alfa to add to my tightly focused collection of Alfas. They currently range from 1958 to 1967. The downside is that I’m not sure what it offers that is superior to the GTV or the Giulietta Sprint Veloce I already have.
Should this be my choice? You tell me and why.
Healey 3000 BJ7
The second classic car I am very interested in is an Austin-Healey 3000 BJ7. It’s not a rare car, with just over 6,000 made from 1962-63. It’s also not the most desirable, in terms of market value, of the Big Healeys. I’ve owned one before, and I like the Spartan look of the vinyl-covered dashboard — and the plain interior with no center console. I would, however, opt for the wind-up windows due to their superior weather sealing. That these are 2+2s makes them more useful — and also decreases their market appeal.
The top dogs in the Big Healey world are the 100-4 and the last-model BJ8 Phase II. Either of these can set you back $80,000- $100,000 for very nice examples — and significantly more for great ones.
The BJ7s are $45,000 – $55,000 cars these days.
My primary reason for wanting one is that there is a large Healey meet planned for September in Monterey, CA. Monterey International Healey Week is projected to be the largest gathering ever of Big Healeys. Those with a demographic bent have noted that this may be the largest Healey meet that will ever be held, due to the advancing age of Healey owners.
While the driving characteristics are far inferior to an Alfa of the same period, the Big Healeys have an undeniable visual charm and make great sounds.
Should this be my choice? Vote and let me know.
Finally, we come to the venerable Porsche 356. My Porsche friends tell me that when measuring 356s in terms of fun per dollar, I’m going to do the best getting a 356B coupe that has some slight outlaw upgrades. They say forget a sunroof, and don’t worry about a Kardex-correct car. Having a correct factory color paint job is a plus. With a 912 engine and some thoughtful suspension upgrades, I’m told a good B coupe should be a $50,000 car.
I’ve never owned a 356 and lived with it on rallies and tours. Is now the time?
One of these is going to end up in my garage. Help me decide which should be my Christmas present to myself.