Better — and Uglier — Than the Original

Pity the second-generation Mazda RX-7. The FC, as it’s known to rotary cognoscenti, has always trailed its older brothers in desirability — if not in performance. And while that’s not strictly fair, it has kept prices attractively low on a car that has a lot of enjoyment potential.

Mazda brought out the first RX-7 in 1978, and it was a dramatic departure from their admirable line of rotary-engine coupes and sedans of the 1970s. But the RX-7 was also a Read More

Britain’s Not-So-Affordable Range Rover

This is supposed to be the “Affordable Classic” strand, but Range Rovers aren’t very affordable — in their home country, at least.

They’ve always been expensive to buy and run, but interest in the early cars, especially those with Suffix A (pre-1972) chassis numbers, has been rising steadily over the past decade, perhaps stoked by its sister-under-the-skin Defender’s mortality.

That has pushed prices in Europe to £50k ($60k) plus, even £75k ($95k) Read More

One Fun Econo-Box

When Honda brought the first Civic subcompact to America in the middle of 1972, the car was not very well received.

Honda’s previous cars had been far too small and idiosyncratic for the American buyer, and early Civics had a tendency to rust so badly that the U.S. government forced Honda to recall and repair them with new fenders.

For a short time it looked as though the Civic might not catch on, even though Datsun and Toyota were making Read More

Spend a Little More — Get a Lot More

If you want to put an all-wheel-drive sports car into your collection, but you don’t want to pay the ticket price for an exotic and you don’t want the boy-racer styling of a sport compact, there aren’t a lot of options. Fortunately, the obvious choice is also a good one. The Audi TT is a car you can drive every day, and it is likely to age well in your collection.

The TT badge recalls the Tourist Trophy races, where Read More

Durable, Good-Looking and Cheap

If you have a hankering for an older Multi-Purpose Vehicle (old enough to predate the whole soccer-mom SUV thing), but feel that you missed the boat on first-generation Ford Broncos or 1969–72 Chevy Blazers, I have good news for you.

There’s one out there made in large enough quantities that availability is good, parts support is excellent, and it is still priced at chump change: the 1980–96 full-size Ford Bronco.

The genesis of the Bronco line, the first generation built Read More

Why You Buy an Underlig

“Underlig” is a Swedish word that means curious, odd, peculiar or strange. Any of those terms could fairly be applied to the venerable Saab 96 and its kindred. No matter how you look at it, these little cars are funky. They’re not as odd as the Messerschmitts and Isettas of the world, but they’re strange enough that Saabs have never really caught on as collector cars — even though they’re highly regarded among rally competitors for their sure-footed handling and Read More

When Chevrolet Built a Porsche

In the fall of 1964, Chevrolet introduced the second-generation Corvair in direct competition with the Ford Mustang. While the Mustang seemed to take all the air out of the room for a small, sporty American car, independent thinkers in the know realized the two competing products couldn’t be more different.

The Mustang was great looking, to be sure. But underneath the shiny sheet metal were mundane Ford Falcon mechanicals. The perimeter frame, solid rear Read More

The Best Buys at Any Price

1972 Iso Grifo Series II

Gooding & Company Lot 66, which sold for the “was everyone sleeping?” price of $511,500

Earlier this year, a good friend — and wonderfully overzealous lover of all things Iso — asked me if there was any chance this car could be worth $1 million, which was the owner’s dearest hope.

Say what?… Ummmm, no.

A few weeks passed, and then the partial-dose-of-reality asking Read More

Go Find Another (Good) One

The imported mini-truck surged in popularity in the wake of the first 1970s fuel crisis and rising gas prices. The 4-cylinder engines in the import trucks were more economical than the V8 and straight-6 engines that powered the bigger domestic models.

The little trucks from Toyota, Datsun/Nissan, and Mazda offered more responsive handling than their larger cousins. The Big Three got into the import truck market as well. Ford sold a Mazda pickup as the Courier, while Chrysler sourced its Read More

Hot or Not?

Going to a collector car auction is a lot like visiting an online dating site. You get to check out the prospects — and you have one quick chance to decide if you want to get involved. If you’re interested, you present your best offer and hope the competition doesn’t make a better one. It’s an unpredictable game of dashed hopes and dreams come true. And, sometimes, there’s buyer’s remorse the next morning.

With that in mind, here are six Read More

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