1984 marked the debut of the Toyota “Mid-engine runabout two-seater,” or “MR2,” in Japan. Less than a year later, it arrived on American shores amid enthusiasm and debate. Based on a prototype called the SV3, the short, lightweight, angular car found a comfortable seat in the Toyota model lineup. It was a sporty offering, supported by the consistency and reliability Toyota was known for.
There is some suggestion that the SV3 prototype was based on the Lotus X100, Read More
The 1959 Chevrolet was designer Harley Earl’s final, dramatic statement before his retirement. While “all new all over again” was GM’s apt description of its entire 1959 model series, it was the full-size Chevrolet that sparked the most controversy both within the industry and from observers.
With its signature cat’s-eye taillights, it was called “the wild one” by admirers, and “the Martian ground chariot” by detractors. The only slightly less wild Chevys of the following two years represent a Read More
A “poor-man’s XKE” is what some call the Triumph GT6. They share a six-cylinder engine and fastback styling, both rarities in English cars of their era. And they both boast independent rear suspensions and relatively luxurious interiors. The fact that the GT6 can be bought for less than one-fifth the price of an E-type coupe makes it an affordable classic worth considering.
Triumph built three distinct series of GT6s. The first, or Mk I, was produced from 1967 to Read More
If one bought cars by the pound, Jensen Interceptors would be the best value in the marketplace. Produced in Great Britain during the death throes of the Jensen company and following the time-honored traditions of British companies installing big American engines into Italian-designed bodies, these cars are large, heavy and dirt-cheap. With space for a golf foursome, complete with bags, and sporting a Chrysler V8, the car was huge by contemporary English standards. Aluminum and fiberglass minimized the weight, Read More
The Avanti was an automotive Hail Mary, a last-ditch effort to bring excitement and warm bodies to Studebaker showrooms. In 1961 Studebaker president Sherwood Egbert made the decision to build a sports car-and to do it as fast as possible. He called upon one of the best-known industrial designers in the world, Raymond Loewy, who assembled a group of talented designers in Palm Springs, California. The team produced the basic Avanti design in just a few weeks.
The Read More
Veterans of the ’60s remember the Dart for plenty of reasons, most of them related to its economy-car status. The 225-c.i. “slant six” motor, named for its pronounced lean to the port side of the car, was known as the motor that thrived on abuse-it never seemed to need any attention to keep it running. The slant-six Darts were practical cars owned by practical people and used as reliable, affordable transportation.
The Dart jumped into the muscle car race Read More
The least expensive car listed in SCM’s Price Guide is the Fiat X1/9. The scrap value of its aluminum bumpers alone might be almost equal to the price of the whole car.
Introduced in 1974, its Bertone styling was revolutionary at the time. Nowadays, however, people often mistake its straight lines, which taper to a point at the nose, for those of a Triumph TR7-not exactly a compliment. From 1974 to 1982, when they withdrew from the US market, Read More
Call it the poor man’s Cobra; you wouldn’t be challenged in many quarters. It had an English body and chassis, and was originally produced to have a relatively anemic four-cylinder engine. The hybrid was powered first by a 260-c.i. Ford V8 and then for a short time by the Ford 289. And the original prototype was put together by ol’ Carroll hisself at Shelby America. Meet the Sunbeam Tiger.
Unlike the Cobra, the Tiger was assembled in Britain by Read More
Pontiac’s Tempest went through a major transition in 1964. No longer a shirttail relative of the Chevrolet Corvair, it was fattened up and marketed as a family car. The “sporty” LeMans model featured standard bucket seats and unique trim moldings, but had the same engine combinations as all other Tempests.
To enhance their image, the product development folks at Pontiac Motor Division wanted to install the 389-c.i. V8 from their full-size cars into the LeMans. However, GM had a Read More
In 1973 Ferrari replaced the Dino 246 GT V6 with the Dino 308 GT4 V8. Unusually, they did not choose Pininfarina to style the car, instead opting for Bertone, where a young Marcello Gandini did the actual design. In typical Ferrari practice, construction was done at the Scaglietti works. Oddly, Ferrari asked Bertone to make the car a 2+2, as they felt this was one area the Porsche 911 had held an advantage over the 246 GT. When it Read More