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
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
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 inline 4-cylinder engine, designed by ex-Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi, offered dual overhead camshafts driven by a toothed, rubber belt. An impressive 90hp was squeezed Read More
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
It’s hard to imagine much more bang for your vintage buck than a 1960-1963 B Coupe. The B’s cost less than the later C models (1964-1965) yet have many of the durability and driveability improvements over the earlier A models, including bigger brakes, stronger connecting rods, bigger oil pumps, improved steering gearboxes and stronger, better shifting transmissions. Plan on spending $10-$12,000 for a driver, $15,000 for a nice car and up to $20,000 for a superb example.
The Read More
The V8 powered, Pininfarina-styled Ferrari 308 had been on the market for five years when the 308 GTSi was introduced in 1980. Offered in both coupe (GTB) and Spyder versions (GTSi), the big difference between the “i” and its earlier Weber-carbureted brethren was the switch to Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. Though the new injected motors provided better driveability than a smog legal “carb car” with its add-on air-pump and maze of emissions tubing, the GTSi’s performance was off by Read More
Pininfarina died just a month after the Duetto’s introduction in March, 1966, so the model carries the distinction of being his last design. Its design is virtually perfect in concept: an aerodynamic profile with a dramatic blood trough down the sides that ties the symmetrical front and rear together.
The Duetto, whose side concavity appeared later in muted form on the Daytona Ferrari, comes very close to being a streetable show car. Its rarity is indisputable: the car Read More
The loss of the Healey 3000 Mk III at the end of 1967 left a void in the six-cylinder sports car line-up. Sure, there was the Jaguar Series II XKE ($5,500 in 1969) and soon a new upstart from Japan, the Datsun 240Z, would show the world how much GT car $3,500 would buy. Still, a torquey, easy-to-repair pushrod six like the Healey was needed to fill the gap between cars below 2 liters (such as the MGB) and the Read More
The very large production numbers and strong aftermarket parts support make the MGB a superb entry-level, low-stress sports car. It was built in the days when cars still had ignition points and grease fittings; any reasonably deft enthusiast with a copy of the factory manual can maintain one of these cars.
MGBs come in four main groups: those with three main bearing engines built from ’62 to ’64, those with five main bearings (’65 to ’69), emission-controlled cars Read More