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
If you are looking for a practical roadster with style, fine handling, comfort, reliability and high build quality, the Mercedes-Benz 380SL is the answer. For less than $15,000, nothing touches it in terms of an overall package.
The 380SL is part of the fourth generation of the Mercedes-Benz SLs. Designated the type R107 chassis, it began production in 1971 and was completely different from the 230, 250 and 280SLs (type R113) that it replaced.
The 1981 380SL Read More
If it hadn’t been for the success of the Mini-Cooper S as driven by Paddy Hopkirk in the Monte Carlo Rally and similar challenging long-distance races in the mid-’60s, the Mini probably never would have achieved the worldwide recognition it has enjoyed. And there certainly never would have been a BMW Mini in showrooms in 2002. With the release of the new model, the originals are enjoying a renaissance of interest in the classic car marketplace.
The Austin/Morris Mini, Read More
It was either love or hate at first sight when the 914 was introduced in 1970. Three decades later, the situation is pretty much the same.
To appreciate the 914, you have to understand its design brief: to recreate the 356 Speedster. That is, produce a simple, reliable, tossable, two-seat sports car with an immediately identifiable appearance. The biggest challenge was to produce this thoroughly modern roadster at about the same price as the final Speedsters: $3,495.
To achieve Read More
The Volvo P1800 has always been a bit of an odd duck in the sports car world. With its chrome-tipped rear wings and high belt-line, its looks were futuristic when introduced. By the 1970s they were dated, but now, 30 years later, they are pleasingly classic.
Over the lifespan of the 1800, its engine grew from 1780 cc to 1986 cc, induction changed from twin SU to Zenith-Stromberg carburetors to Bosch K-Jetronic injection, and horsepower went from 100 to 130. Read More
If striking design and technical sophistication were the prime factors in determining a car’s collectibility, the Subaru SVX (1992-97) would certainly make the grade.
Introduced in 1991 as a Giugiaro-designed show car, it wowed the public and the motoring press with its trend-setting Italian design. The SVX was both praised and criticized for its originality, especially the odd two-part side windows. The full-time all-wheel drive in most models presaged what has become commonplace in high-performance cars, but a full Read More
In the mid-’50s, as the costs of Austin-Healeys, Triumphs, and MGs began to increase with each new model year, Donald Healey saw a niche opening up for a car that would be fun to drive, inexpensive to own, and “small enough to store in a chap’s motorcycle shed.” From that inspiration was born the Austin-Healey Sprite, introduced in 1958.
In its first “cheap and cheerful” form, it used simple body panels, had no outside trunk lid and was powered (if Read More
In its day, the Citroën SM was a deserving member of the supercar ranks. Capable of 0 to 60 in 8.6 seconds, and with a top speed of 140 mph, the Citroën SM offered a unique blend of Gallic insouciance and Italian con brio. When introduced to the US in 1971, the SM was selected by Motor Trend as its car of the year.
The name SM comes from the “systeme Maserati” under the hood. The all-alloy 2.7-liter four-cam Read More
In 1979 Mazda jumped into the two-seat sports car market with the basic, no-frills, rotary-powered RX-7. The car was an instant winner, and Road & Track referred to it as “a major breakthrough for the enthusiast.” Its primary competition, the once lean and mean Datsun 240Z of the early ’70s, had become the 280ZX, an overweight boulevard cruiser.
Mazda had been using the Wankel rotary engine in its cars since the late 60s, but problems with poor fuel economy and Read More