There’s nothing more fun than buying, driving and enjoying a bargain sports car. Today, in our red-hot collector car market, most hope — and perhaps pray — that our purchases will continue to appreciate. Yet the prospect of price appreciation someday is different than a bargain today. The 911SC is that rarity which represents a great value in today’s market.
The 911SC saved Porsche from a botched response to U.S. emission controls imposed in 1974. Intended to be the rear-engine Read More
While it is common today to think that the introduction of Jaguar’s new “sporting” model in 1975 was greeted with jeers, the truth is rather different.
Certainly the XJ-S (the name carried a hyphen until 1991, when it became the XJS) was a notable departure from the XKE. The nomenclature clearly indicated that it was the top of the XJ sedan line rather than the latest in a line of XK sports cars.
Nevertheless, the XJ-S was very much the Read More
Back when I first profiled the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser as an Affordable Classic (February 2012, p. 34), they were the up-and-coming thing. I won’t be so forward as to say that my scribbles helped push the market up, but the ink was barely dry before they soared in value.
Superb examples were selling at either side of $100k, and because of that, it seemed like every auction house had to have one on their docket.
Fast forward to 2014, Read More
It’s almost an axiom of the automotive world that an unloved make or model can gain respectability over time. The reasons for this phenomenon are many —changing tastes and fashions can transform a formerly ugly duckling, or advancing technology and engineering may reveal that a particular car was ahead of its time. But mostly, when all the models around a particular car have appreciated enough, they’ll bring the less-loved units along with them — to an extent, anyway.
That may Read More
Although enthusiasts may argue over the true definition of “classic” as applied to automobiles, perhaps we can all agree on one criterion: If at some point in the car’s lifetime it stops depreciating — its market price stops declining — and the price then levels off and begins to rise, then the market has just declared it a classic. If the price continues to drop, then it’s just another used car.
The Mercedes-Benz 500SL roadster, introduced in 1990 on the Read More
What is it with the Jaguar Mark 2, the automobile that created the sports sedan niche in the automotive marketplace? This car turns heads, is even more comfortable and luxurious inside than its exterior appearance would suggest, has better performance than most of the sports roadsters of the period, and it is unquestionably iconic, recognized by anyone with any interest in classic cars.
Nevertheless, the prices published in all the classic-car price guides tag it with a value that wouldn’t Read More
Donald Healey could not have imagined that his simple design brief to build a small sports car that “a chap could put in his bike shed” would result in a car that is still being raced now, nearly 60 years later. Gerry Coker, stylist at the tiny Donald Healey Motor Company, could not have foreseen that the simple car he penned would become an icon and define a mini-genre, but it did.
Their bike-shed car was introduced in 1958 as the Austin-Healey Sprite, but it quickly became better known simply as the “Bugeye” in North America and as the “Frogeye” elsewhere. Its smile-producing headlamp pods somehow survived British Motor Corporation design review, and between March 1958 and November 1960, 48,987 were produced, far outpacing the quantity of Big Healeys made during the same period.
Instead of becoming an entry-level car intended as a step toward an eventual Big Healey purchase, it immediately assumed its own identity as the sports-car-hungry public snapped them up and went racing, rallying, cruising and touring in them.
At first glance, the first-generation BMW M3 looks like a boy racer’s dream. You see a big air dam, a big spoiler and big wheels rolling under big flares.
You have to get into this car, start it and roll it down the road before you know exactly what the E30 (BMW’s internal designation for the car) is all about. In its first four years of production, it won more races and titles than any other BMW ever — and it is still the most successful racing saloon of all time.
The 1988–91 M3 represents a purity of purpose that BMW had not shown before — or since. The car was developed in reverse order of most — if not all — of the production cars of today. BMW first developed the race version of the M3 and then made it into a saleable homologation. Some will argue the M1 also fits this, but the E30 M3 was designed to go racing first, then became a road car. The M1 was developed as a sports car and then as a racer.
You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and buy a collector car at auction. But floaties and wading in the kiddie pool are not for you — you’re in with an armstand back, two somersaults, half twists in the pike position dive from the 10-meter platform. You’re going to buy at Monterey!
Now, you’ve done your homework, know exactly what it is that best suits your needs and scratches that special itch. There’s a clear understanding in your head that Read More
When Datsun’s 510 came onto the scene late in 1968, it looked like Japan’s attempt at emulating the BMW 1600-2, which had debuted two years earlier.
Utilizing a 1600-cc SOHC engine and a drivetrain layout similar to the BMW, the Datsun offered technical sophistication and reliability that was nearly on par with its German competitor — but at a much lower cost. It was not as quick as the BMW in stock form — and it was not as good of a drive — but its price was roughly two-thirds that of the German, making it a compelling proposition.
In the United States, the 510 remained technically mostly the same during its five-year production run, with only minor model-year cosmetic differences. 510s were offered as 2- and 4-door sedans and as a station wagon. The sedans employed four-wheel independent suspension, while wagons had a live rear axle with leaf springs.
1968 model cars are the rarest, due to their introduction toward the end of the model year — and have trim differences, including different grilles and American-style instrument clusters with a sweep speedometer.
Cars from the 1969 model year retain many of the early design details. In 1970, Datsun introduced a round-gauge dashboard and headrests — not much else changed through 1972. In 1973 the 2-door was the only model offered, and 1973 cars sport rubber bumper overriders front and rear.
Some non-U.S. markets received performance-oriented twin-carbureted versions of the 510 (known worldwide as the Datsun 1600), and the home Japanese market was blessed with the sleek fastback Bluebird coupe. Unfortunately, these versions were never officially sold in the United States. However, in recent years, imports of Japanese vintage cars have been on the rise, and this means that a handful of Bluebird coupes have made their way to our shores.