Subaru Climbs Out of the Econobox

Subaru changed their thinking in the early 1990s — away from funky econobox subcompacts and towards performance and comfort. In so doing, the company ushered itself into a period of commercial and enthusiast success that continues to this day.

Now that 25 years have gone by, Subarus of the early 1990s are moving into collectible territory, starting with the upscale SVX coupe offered from 1992 to ’97.

The SVX stands apart from the main line of Subaru production and development. Read More

Fast Fun and Tender Care

The Lotus Esprit was launched in 1976 as a replacement for the Europa.

The Esprit had a similar backbone chassis, but it was larger and more luxurious, as Lotus founder Colin Chapman forever wanted to push the company’s output upmarket to maximize profits — which is what was largely propping up the racing team.

A memorable appearance in the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” (as the famous submarine car) helped overshadow tacky details such as British Read More

Exotic Street Cred on a Budget

Alfa Romeo made a bold choice to re-enter the U.S. automobile market with the near-exotic 4C. They chose the sleek and sexy coupe to signal that Alfa would be a premium sports car brand. Now as the rumor mill presages the end of 4C production, it’s time to take a look at this car’s collectibility potential.

The 4C was formally unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. From the outside, the little Alfa looks like a baby exotic. It’s quite Read More

The Ferrari 360 Moment is Now

A Ferrari press release from the 1999 International Geneva Motor Show noted: “Following a year of record sales performance, Ferrari comes to Geneva to launch the all-new Ferrari 360 Modena. In the past six years, Ferrari SpA has completely changed its model lineup, producing no less than 12 new models or variants in that time, restructured its entire International sales network and created a revised and highly competitive Ferrari F1 Grand Prix team.”

The previous few years had seen the Read More

Tempting Turbos

Visit any of the U.K.’s regional classic-car auctions, and you’ll almost always encounter at least one big Bentley or Rolls-Royce of the 1980s and 1990s — invariably with an affordable-looking price estimate.

These imposing — if slabby-sided — automobiles are some of the last cars to be hand-built before the Rolls-Royce/Bentley split and sale into German ownership. They are all powered by Rolls-Royce’s Cadillac-like 6,750-cc pushrod V8, but that wasn’t all that was carried over from the preceding model, for Read More

The First Civilian Jeeps Are Still a Rugged Deal

It didn’t take long for the Army’s quarter-ton, four-wheel-drive reconnaissance car to catch the fancy of the American soldier during World War II — and of the American public in general.

The Jeep as made by Ford (GPW) and Willys (MB) was often an object of desire for when the war would be over.

Willys began experimenting with a post-war civilian Jeep in secret — as much from the government as the industry — as early as 1944. Prototypes were Read More

Care to Place a Bet on the Fiat 500?

Fiat just can’t seem to catch a break in America. The company made headlines back in 2010 heralding a splashy return to our market with the diminutive 500 hatchback.

Coming about 10 years (plus or minus) after the successful return of the VW New Beetle and the reimagined MINI Cooper, the new 500 was designed to hit the same notes: modernized retro styling that evoked the original with all mod cons included.

The automotive press went wild, showering the first Read More

Fun With the Poor Man’s XKE

There aren’t many sleepers in the collector car world with the endearing qualities of the Triumph GT6. It’s a British child of the Swingin’ Sixties, it’s rarely seen, it’s a crowd-pleaser and it’s just a plain hoot to drive.

If you fit in it.

Produced for just seven years through Mark I, Mark II and Mark III variants, the GT6 combined the Giovanni Michelotti-designed Spitfire body in coupe form with a sweet little 2-liter six-banger. Looking something like an E-type Read More

An X1/9 Sold for What?

Fiat/Bertone X1/9

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

Swingin’ Gullwing

1975 Bricklin SV-1 coupe

If you were to think of a sports car that epitomized the mid-1970s, the Bricklin SV-1 would be the perfect choice. The car was the brainchild of Malcolm Bricklin, a somewhat eccentric auto-industry executive whose resumé includes bringing Subaru to North America. His idea was to build a much safer V8-powered sports car to compete with the Corvette, and to build it in low-overhead New Brunswick, Canada.

The story of the Bricklin company is sadly familiar. The upstart automaker had Read More

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