2CV: The Legend of the “Tin Snail”

Prior to WWII, the mostly rural population of France did not have a cheap and utilitarian vehicle that would allow them to embrace the automobile the way Americans had with the Model T. The 2CV was conceived as the car that would mechanize the French peasant class.

Like the Volkswagen Beetle, the 2CV had its roots in the pre-WWII era. Pierre-Jules Boulanger, a Michelin executive assigned to Citroën, called for a car that could carry two people and 200 pounds Read More

Alfa GTV6: Best of the Bottom-Feeders

The Maratona edition was referred to as the “Marijuana” edition, in reference to what Alfa must have been smoking at the time

{vsig}2007-11_2084{/vsig}

For many Alfisti (our esteemed Publisher included), the saga of Alfa Romeo in the U.S. effectively ends after 1967, when emission controls began to sap their essential “Alfa-ness.” Having driven his ’65 Giulia Spider Veloce, it’s not difficult to see how he comes by this opinion. And the Read More

1961-79 MG Midget

These are truly small cars. Anyone larger than 5’9″ driving one looks like a trained circus bear in a parade

The early ’60s were the golden age of the British sports car. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) aimed to have a product for every possible driver. MG dealers were clamoring for a car smaller and cheaper than the MGA. A badge-engineered version of the Austin-Healey Sprite Mk II seemed like just the Read More

Beta Than You Think

Even rubber-bumper MG prices have left Betas in the dust, though its
DOHC engine was designed by Aurelio Lampredi of Ferrari fame

{vsig}2007-9_2063{/vsig}

For most collectors, the Lancia story effectively ends if not with the Fiat takeover in 1969, then certainly with the end of Fulvia production in 1976. The Beta-introduced in Europe in 1972 and in 1975 in the U.S.-simply does not show up on the radar of the Read More

Hi-Tech English Electronics? Oh, Please

The first Lagondas used red LEDs that failed with alarming regularity, but the CRTs that replaced them cost a fortune to repair

{vsig}2007-8_2026{/vsig}

Every so often, British industry has an epiphany and produces something truly groundbreaking. While perhaps not as significant as the introduction of radar or disc brakes, the Aston Martin Lagonda-along with the Concorde-symbolizes Britain’s struggle against becoming technologically irrelevant in the 1970s.

The Lagonda marque saw only Read More

Gone, and Forgotten as Well

How the mighty have fallen. In 25 years, most expensive cars depreciate, but few cars as significant as the original Audi Coupe Quattro (Ur-Quattro from the German for “original”) have so utterly disappeared both in value and visibility from the marketplace.

Although Audi was not the first to offer an all-wheel-drive sport coupe-Jensen briefly offered the FF in the late ’60s and early ’70s-Audi brought the concept to the mainstream with the Quattro. They promoted it by dominating the world Read More

Jaguar’s XecrableJS

A bad XJS will rip at your wallet the way an actual Jaguar tears flesh from a gazelle

{vsig}2007-6_2018{/vsig}

Few automakers have had a more unenviable task than that facing Jaguar when it came time to replace the E-type. Instead of taking an evolutionary approach, as Porsche did when replacing the venerable 356 with the 911, Jaguar opted for a clean slate.

In so doing, they threw the baby out Read More

When AMC Got the Point

Mechanically, the Javelin is closer to a catapult than a javelin-heavy duty and pretty much unbreakable

Some people claim that AMC invented the muscle car with the Rambler Rebel of 1957. Even if we give them that, they certainly came late to the pony car craze of the mid-1960s. Plymouth and Ford were first with the Barracuda and Mustang in 1964, followed by the Chevy Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, and Mercury Cougar in Read More

Fiat’s Coupe de Grace

If your build is more simian than hominid, you’ll enjoy the angled wheel and long arms/short legs driving position

One of the most engaging things about being an automotive bottom-feeder is figuring out where to target one’s attention when the object of first choice has appreciated beyond one’s immediate grasp.

Previously in this column, I have suggested that those with around $25,000 to spend who are looking in vain for a Big Read More

Trophy Car Comes of a Certain Age

Sometime soon a lot of successful 50-something women may seek out the 450SL they couldn’t have in their teens

Since the 1950s, the glamorous SL had been the Marlene Dietrich of the Daimler-Benz lineup. And like the old torch song, customers found themselves falling in love again with each new model. It was no different in 1972 with the introduction of the 350SL.

The new SL had two internal designations―a formal one Read More