In theory, the marriage of a Ferrari drive-train with an inexpensive Fiat body should have resulted in an affordable sports car with sparkling performance. Over the years, though, the initial promise of the Fiat Dino has simply not been kept. The Ferrari engine has proven expensive to maintain and the Fiat bodies have disintegrated.
By now, most Fiat Dino Spiders have been through the same wringer, or cycle, that 246 Dinos went through. In the late ’70s and early Read More
The dual-purpose road/race car that could be built from a kit of parts pretty much characterizes the early efforts by Colin Chapman and Lotus. The concept came more clearly into focus with the Six, but after more than 100 cars, the swing-axle front suspension became antiquated and the bodywork expensive to fabricate.
Compared to the Lotus Six, the Seven was a simplified, modernized and productionized club racer that set new standards in appearance and performance. Still roadable and sold Read More
The 1984-89 Carrera, as the final iteration of the original “widebody” normally-aspirated 911, is a good choice for someone looking for an affordable sports car coupled with a high degree of refinement, reliability and sparkling performance.
Comparisons to the 1978-83 911SC are natural, as they share nearly identical bodies and interiors. But the Carrera has many significant improvements, starting with a 3.2 rather than a 3.0-liter engine. The Achilles heel of the 911 engine-hydraulic chain tensioner failure-was solved in Read More
The Triumph TR3 may be the last real bargain among English sports cars. For reasons Triumph lovers can’t understand but don’t complain much about, these cars never caught the tide that swelled prices of Austin-Healeys and Jaguars. Nevertheless, the TR3 offers all the quirky touches so dear to an Anglophile’s heart, is capable of hearty performance on secondary roads and interstate speed when necessary, and attracts a large and loyal following of enthusiastic owners.
The prototype Triumph was introduced Read More
In April 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang and started the pony car era. It set sales records that have yet to be broken and caught the powers-that-be at General Motors completely off guard, as they had nothing in their line-up that could compete.
A contingent within Chevrolet wanted to counter with a modified Chevy II but saner heads prevailed and the Panther Project, later named the Camaro, was initiated. Introduced a little Read More
630 (1977), 633 (1978-84), 635 (1985-89)
As the logical extension of the exquisite 2800/3.0 CS coupes, the 6 Series brought the new look of the 7 Series to BMW’s large two-door grand touring machine. Even more than the earlier coupes, the 6 Series traded tossability for comfort, sophistication and
The 3.3- and 3.5-liter straight sixes brought a worthwhile improvement in torque over the 3-liter. As you would expect from Read More
The Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider, introduced in 1966, continued in production until Alfa withdrew from the US market after 1994. A 28-year run for one model is a notable accomplishment, similar to the Model T and VW Beetle.
The original Duetto (a name which Alfa only officially used for the 1967 models) drew mixed reviews. For the US 1971 model year, the delicate tail was cut off. However, the basic “Kamm-tail” bodywork remained (with front and rear spoilers added Read More
The introduction of the MGC is a tribute to how royally confused British Motor Holdings had become by the mid-’60s. The Austin-Healey, introduced in 1952, was getting long in the tooth by 1964, even with its new convertible top and roll-up side windows. Marketing managers also recognized that there was a slot in the market for a car that would be faster than the MGB, but with the same comforts. In typical fashion, the company ended up with the Read More
Renzo Rivolta made a considerable fortune following World War II. He also loved cars. In the early ’60s, he became a victim of the popular musing that begins with, “Let’s marry a sophisticated European chassis and coachwork with a cheap, reliable, and powerful American V8.”
Giotto Bizzarini, father of the 250 SWB and the immortal 250 GTO, left Ferrari at the end of 1961 following a major clash of egos. Giotto met Renzo, and the Iso Rivolta was born. Read More
Born out of desperation and existing in chaos, it is surprising that the Jensen-Healey and Jensen GT came into being at all. That today, thirty years later, they can be inexpensive and thoroughly enjoyable cars to own and drive is nothing short of amazing. And yet they are. If the original Lotus engine is in good shape, the body sound, and the suspension has benefited from a few judicious tweaks, the Jensen-Healey roadster is reliable and comfortable for long-distance Read More