Still at Sixes and Sevens

Although it’s hard to believe today, BMW nearly didn’t survive the late 1950s and 1960s. Thirsty and expensive Baroque sedans, the hard-to-find V8-powered 507 sports car (253 built), and the tiny egg-shaped Isetta wasn’t really a formula for success.

The “New Class” 1,500-cc sedans of 1962, which led directly to the 2002 and a successful series of 2,500-, 2,800-, and 3,000-cc sedans and coupes, changed that, in rapid succession. Perhaps the crown jewel of BMW’s renaissance was the E9 coupe-better Read More

When X1/9 Marked the Spot

By the early 1970s, some were predicting the demise of the inexpensive sports car. Modern small sedans like the Audi Fox and VW Rabbit were threatening to render sports cars redundant. It didn’t help that the standard-bearers for the under-$4,000 sports car class were the MG Midget and Triumph Spitfire.

Both were ancient in comparison to up-to-the-minute designs like the Rabbit and Fox, or for that matter, the Toyota Celica. The enthusiast publications practically demanded that somebody build a cheap Read More

Plus 4 Plusses (and Minuses)

Factory support of older Morgans is incredible. With simply a serial number, the gang in Malvern Link can supply or make just about anything for a Plus 4

There has always been an enthusiastic market (albeit a limited one) for anachronisms. Vinyl records and mechanical watches are in most respects inferior to CDs and quartz watches, but they are infinitely more charming than their modern mass-market replacements. So it is with Morgans. Read More

Beach Blanket Bimbos

Association with the glamour of the Riviera of the 1960s and people like
Aristotle Onassis can make people do silly things at auction

Beach cars are frivolous, slow, and silly, but they’re cute as hell, and in the case of Fiat and Renault Jollys, the association with the glamour of the Riviera of the 1960s and people like Aristotle Onassis can make people do silly things at auction. And while Things Read More

Triumph’s Joan Rivers

When Karmann face-lifted the Triumph TR4 in 1968, there were still some arthritic old bones behind the TR6’s wide smile and smooth skin

The age of the biplane fighter lasted from roughly 1915 to 1941, by which time the last of the fabric-covered, fixed-gear aircraft like the Gloster Gladiator and Fiat CR42 were looking quite antique. The Triumph TR6 was the Gloster Gladiator of sports cars: If not absolutely the last traditional Read More

Ferrari 400: Sensible Italian Shoes?

Buy a Ferrari 400 with needs and you may as well start thinking about ways to improve on Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme

The mid 1970s were cruel to the entire auto industry, and the Italian exotics were particularly hard hit. Punitive taxes, fuel shortages, and a general reluctance to consume conspicuously put Maserati and Lamborghini on the ropes. Even Ferrari wasn’t immune.

Worse still, class warfare turned into open warfare when Read More

Worth the Weight

The Lotus Elan will forever be remembered as the ride of latex catsuit-
wearing Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in the BBC spy show “The Avengers”

Colin Chapman’s fanaticism about keeping weight off makes the average supermodel’s interest in the same subject seem merely casual. The results he achieved without materials like carbon fiber and the extensive use of aluminum were simply amazing, even if they were gained at the expense of Read More

1969-71 Jaguar Series II E-types

Series II E-types aren’t quite the stylistic betrayal we’ve been led to believe. And they are an affordable way into the Jaguar mystique

If the Series I E-type is the prom queen, the Marcia Brady of E-types, then the Series II is Jan Brady-less glamorous and forever living in the shadow of her older sibling. A pity really, as the Series II is the most user-friendly of E-types.

The Jaguar Read More

Major Charm, Minor Problems

It still conjures up Ealing Comedy images of Miss Marple meandering absent-mindedly through rustic English villages at 25 mph

The whole “people’s car” thing never went over particularly well in the upwardly mobile post-war U.S. Cars like the Crosley, Citroën 2CV, and VW Beetle screamed austerity at a time when the U.S. was sick of it. It was no different with the Morris Minor, which like the BMC Mini a generation later, Read More

The Last Real Jaguar Sedan

The DOHC six was proven technology, and even the collection of boobs and Marxists assembling cars for British Leyland in the 1970s couldn’t screw it up

In the opinion of many, the Series I E-type of 1961-67 was the high-water mark for Jaguar. Thereafter, the company irretrievably jumped the shark in 1968 with the Series II E-type, before sinking under British Leyland and then Ford ownership.

But founder Sir William Lyons Read More

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