Aston Martin DBS, Unloved No More

Aston Martin was in trouble again. By the mid-1960s, it was clear that the DB6 was in dire need of modernization, based as it was on a design with its roots firmly in the now-archaic DB4, which was launched in 1958. William Towns, who would serve Aston well (if controversially at times) through the 1970s, was brought in to design a thoroughly modern car.

The resulting DBS was the last of the David Brown Aston Martins, and while looking little Read More

1955-57 Ford Thunderbird

The immediate post-war era saw sports cars enter the American consciousness for the first time since the days of the Mercer Raceabout and the Stutz Bearcat. By the early 1950s-in addition to foreigners like MG, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Ferrari-Ford had to stomach American independents and upstarts dabbling in sports cars, most notably tiny manufacturers like Kaiser, Hudson, Nash, Crosley, Kurtis, and Muntz. The final straw came when arch rival Chevrolet introduced the Corvette in June of 1953, though really, Read More

Zoom Zoom: The Miata Turns 20

The Mazda Miata might hold the record for inverse relationships in the automotive world. It’s difficult to think of a car more significant in the sports car pantheon that enjoys less respect from the masses. Often derided as a “chick car” by the clueless and insecure, the Miata is the only reason the two-seat roadster hasn’t been consigned to the automotive fossil record, along with the dual-cowl phaeton and the landaulet.

Mazda has an interesting, almost narcoleptic history in the Read More

Unaffordable Classic: The Purchase Price is Just the Beginning

A look at the photos of the rusty 1953 Lancia Aurelia GT, sold by Bonhams at Olympia, in London, on December 7, 2009, for $26,082, sent a rush of emotions through my head.

The first was admiration for the brave soul who would commit to such an ambitious project. Let’s hope he is well versed in metal repair and the intricacies of early post-war hand-built Italian sports cars. Even a sound example can spring some wicked surprises, as I can Read More

When MG Got an “A”

What most of us know about the immediate post-war history of MG is historical rather than experiential. The 1945-49 TC was the sports car of the WWII generation, now sadly passing to that great wrecking yard in the sky. The pre-war PAs, PBs, TAs, and TBs that GIs stationed in Britain saw were as glamorous to them as Mercer Raceabouts and Stutz Bearcats were to their WWI-generation fathers. “Sports car” to WWII vets became synonymous with cut-down doors, separate fenders, Read More

VW’s Rabbit Hole-in-One

After 1973, Americans had to get used to pressing their faces against the glass and watching the Europeans get all the good stuff, beginning with the Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS and BMW 3.0 CSL. Even entertaining cheap stuff like the MG B V8 and Triumph Dolomite were forbidden. It seemed destined to be no different when VW launched the hot version of its new Golf sub-compact, the GTI, in 1976.

With more horsepower and a stiffer suspension, the GTI Read More

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