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

1975-76 Chevrolet Cosworth-Vega

It’s not hard to find a well-maintained, low-mileage car, as they were something of an “instant collectible” in their day, with a small but ardent following

When Chevrolet’s new compact, the Vega, came to the market for 1971, it was intended to compete with imports landing on both U.S. coasts.

Shortly before the car’s introduction, then Chevrolet General Manager John Z. DeLorean directed his staff to develop a high-performance “halo car” Read More

Which Avanti II Buy?

A Michigan alumnus’s car sported a gold and blue color scheme, making it difficult to know whether to cry or hail it for a trip to the airport

Rob Sass’s article about the Avanti II in December’s SCM was excellent, well written, and well researched, even if the photo was a Studebaker Avanti. But it offered an opinion about Avantis that I just plain don’t agree with.

The Avanti has often been Read More

The Last of the V8 Interceptors

The Interceptor fell from grace as quickly as fat sideburns, leisure suits,
razor-cut hair, and other artifacts of the ’70s

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Jensen Interceptor cruised near the top of the food chain. It was an expensive, handmade gentleman’s express built to blast across Europe at triple-digit speeds, powered by a lazy but unfussy Chrysler V8, like the Facel Vega a decade earlier.

By the Read More

Avanti II-The First Continuation Car

The hurdle many owners encounter is a big one-any money spent on a restoration is just being thrown down a rat hole

The Avanti may be one of the most polarizing designs ever created. Those who love it really love it and those who don’t appreciate it loathe it. But among the former, at least six intrepid souls have been passionate enough about Raymond Loewy and Tom Kellogg’s creation to keep the Read More

1974-77 Plastic (Not So) Fantastic ‘Vettes

1975 was the nadir. The base motor was down to 165 hp-the lowest since Chevy abandoned the Blue Flame Six in 1955

The 1970s included some great years for the Corvette-Corvette fans still get slightly dizzy at the mention of the L88 and L71 engine options. Unfortunately, those were the other ’70s, the pre-disco, Vietnam-era early ’70s that were really more like a brief encore to the ’60s. The real ’70s, the Read More

1976-81 Triumph TR7

It had the misfortune of being built in British Leyland’s Liverpool plant, better known for producing continuous labor strife than automobiles

The Triumph TR7 was perhaps the ultimate product of the 1970s, a period referred to as “the decade that quality control forgot.” Abysmal production quality, labor strife, bad management and controversial styling all conspired to render the TR7-although a surprisingly decent seller-a tragic footnote in the last days of the British Read More

1962-67 Triumph Spitfire MK I & MK II

When pushed, the back wheels on early cars go through wild camber changes and tuck under, resulting in an unscheduled trip into the weeds

Triumph’s diminutive Spitfire sports car was named for the Battle of Britain-winning fighter plane the Supermarine Spitfire and showed up in the nick of time for another life-and-death struggle.
By the late 1950s, when the Spitfire was conceived, a different battle of Britain was going on. Instead Read More

1967-75 Lotus Europa

Europas seem to come two ways-completely done or completely done-in. There’s little point in messing with the latter

Colin Chapman and Lotus led the giant-slaying revolution of rear- and mid-engine race cars, so it’s not surprising that Lotus was among the first to bring a mid-engine production sports car to market in 1967. The car was christened the Europa in a nod to Britain’s European Common Market ambitions and the fact that Read More