BMW 2002

Light steering, reasonable acceleration and braking, a delightful gearbox and above-average build quality have led the BMW 2002 to cult car status. With its cohorts, the Austin Mini-Cooper and the Lotus Cortina, these classic cars reinvented the simple box as automotive performance art. In BMW’s case, the 2002 probably saved this now Bavarian powerhouse from automotive extinction. As David E. Davis wrote in April of 1968, “To my way of thinking, the 2002 is one of modern civilization’s all-time Read More

Jaguar XJ-S V12 Convertible

When does a car cross the line from used car to classic? If you can figure that out, you may be able to buy that older car you’ve always admired at the absolute bottom of the market, after it has ceased depreciating and before it has started to accrue a collector’s premium. We think the Jaguar XJ-S convertible with the V12 engine, especially those built between 1988 and 1991, is at that point now and merits consideration.
Surprising for Read More

Datsun Sports Roadsters

(1500, 1600, & 2000)

The first reaction of many sports car enthusiasts when they saw the Datsun 1600 roadster in 1965 was that the Japanese had created a rather crude imitation of the already-dated MGB. They were wrong on three counts. The Datsun 1600 and its later companion, the Datsun 2000, were not copies of the MGB. Though not as attractive, they outperformed their counterparts in both quality and performance. And rather Read More

1970-73 Porsche 911S

The E-type and the 911 share the distinction as two of the most recognizable sports car shapes of all time. Both cars conceptually leapt ahead of the competition when introduced and both had teething troubles in their infancy.
But after eight years of production, the E-type had lost its edge and had become somewhat dated, while the 911 was just reaching the first of several pinnacles in its long history. Porsche’s continual refining of the original 911 concept Read More

’67-’72 Aston Martin DBS 6

A 1967 to 1973 Aston Martin DBS 6 (known briefly in 1972 and 1973 as the AM Vantage) is a fine automobile, equipped with the ultimate version of the twin-cam 6-cylinder motor that powered most of Aston Martin’s post-war cars.
These elegant coupes were initially designed for the Aston V8 engine but when the V8s development was delayed, Aston sold the new body style with the old engine design during the next five years as a DBS 6. It continued Read More

1983-87 Lotus Esprit

Limited volume manufacturers such as Lotus occasionally have monumental turning points. The introduction of the Turbo Esprit in 1983 suddenly provided Lotus enthusiasts with the opportunity to drive a car that was faster than a scalded cat, still had the proverbial glued-to-the-road Lotus handling and was actually reliable.
For $47,984 you could own a car with the ability to sprint from 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, its 2.2-litre, 4 cylinder, dohc and twin Dell’Orto-carbed motor producing 210 bbp. The Bosch Read More

1990-93 Mazda Miata

During its introduction in 1989, the Mazda Miata was said to be a replacement for ’60s British sports cars. With its front-engine, rear-drive configuration, tiny 6-cubic-foot trunk, and reputation for great handling, it recalled British two-seaters like the MGB and Triumph TR-4 that were popular in the ’60s. Although similar in concept, the Miata differs from those cars with its 16 valves, electronic fuel injection and four-wheel disc brakes.
So what should buyers of a second-hand car look for? Read More

1965-1969 Corvair Corsa and Monza

The second-generation Corvair was one of the cleanest designs of its day. Although many predicted classic status because of its unusual rear-engine, six-cylinder boxer powerplants, 30 years later there is no shortage of decent cars around $5,000, with $9,000 buying a sharp turbocharged Corsa convertible.
Corvairs are delightful to drive, with a light touch to the controls, decent power and the sportscar-like road handing that only a 911-style double-jointed rear axle can deliver. The steering was unassisted, light and Read More

Fiat 124 Spider

Introduced in 1966 in Europe and hitting our shores in 1968, the Fiat 124 was the thinking man’s MGB. Obvious styling cues notwithstanding, the 124 offered an astonishing host of improvements over its traditional British rivals. Testifying to the strength of the American economy, more than 170,000 of the approximately 198,000 made ended up here.
The in-line 4-cylinder engine, designed by ex-Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi, offered dual overhead camshafts driven by a toothed, rubber belt. An impressive 90hp was Read More

Mercedes 230/250/280SL

Representing a gigantic step forward over the four-cylinder 190SL, the six-cylinder 230SL appeared in the early ’60s as a dramatic styling statement that still is striking today. This supurbly built car with decent-but-not-shattering performance remains quite affordable, with usable examples starting at $15,000, nice cars at $20,000 to $25,000, and first rate examples going for $30,000.
The 230 (1963-66, 19,831 built) and 250 (1966-68, 5,196 built) are a bit less valuable than the more numerous 280SL (1968-71, 23,885 built). Read More