Maserati’s survival strategy for the 1960s centered on establishing the company as a producer of road cars. The Modena marque’s new era began in 1957 with the launch of the Touring-bodied 3500 GT. A luxurious and spacious 2+2, the 3500 GT drew on Maserati’s competition experience. Suspension was independent at the front by wishbones and coil springs, while at the back there was a conventional live-axle/semi-elliptic arrangement. Power output of the twin-cam six was around 220 hp at first. Read More
1970 was the first year for the Dodge Challenger, Dodge’s response (along with the redesigned Plymouth Barracuda which was on a 2″ shorter wheelbase) to Ford’s Mustang and Cougar and GM’s Camaro and Firebird. Challenger’s body echoed the corporate family “Coke-bottle” shape, a lithe and purposeful look, distinctive from the competition. The chassis was a typical pony car with drum brakes, independent front suspension and a solid axle on leaf springs at the rear. The performance R/T package included Read More
ntroduced at the 1964 Brussels Motor Show as a successor to the 330 America, the 4-liter, 300-hp, Mark 1 330 GT 2+2 with 4-speed synchromesh gearbox had well-spaced ratios and a single dry-plate clutch in unit with the engine, with a Laycock electrically operated overdrive fitted behind the gearbox. The rear axle had an 8/34 ratio, good for 152 mph at 6,400 rpm. With disc brakes all round, 100 mph to 0 braking was possible in just 375 feet. Read More
Should the Harvard Business School need yet another case study in how a great idea can go counter-clockwise down a toilet if not executed properly, please have them refer to the launch/introduction/sale of the 1991 Lotus Elan Turbo SE in the US.
Introduced during the same twelve-month period as the Miata, Geo Metro convertible and Capri droptop, the Elan was simply ignored by the American public. It was just another small sports car (with the Isuzu name staring Read More
It was evident to Porsche management in the late ’50s that the 356 series was rapidly becoming dated and reaching the end of its development potential, so in 1959 Ferdinand Porsche began designing a new car. A number of criteria were laid down: the car would have no more than a 2,200-mm wheelbase and would carry two adults and two children.
The new model was introduced at the Frankfurt Show in September, 1963. It was a significant advance Read More
The A was the car which put MG back on the map. It was pretty, it was contemporary, and it was fun. Top speed was 98 mph and 0 to 60 mph took 15.6 seconds, but raw performance figures are not the reason the MGA became the world’s most popular sports car. The A was an MG in the classic mode; the engineers at Abingdon took standard production parts and combined them in a way that made them special. Read More
The Maserati Merak, announced at the Paris Salon of 1972, was a little brother to the mid-engined V8 Bora. It used the same Ital Design steel body, but with a smaller V6, 3-liter engine—as found in the Citroën SM coupe—that liberated space for two child-sized rear seats.
The all-alloy powerplant, equipped with triple Weber carburetors, had been built by Maserati for Citroën at the Modena factory, as Citroën had a controlling interest in Maserati during the early Read More
Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, 1968—The Pontiac GTO and the Ford Mustang were about to receive a wake-up call. Adorned with the familiar cartoon decal, Plymouth’s new release took to the streets, ready to explain its creative moniker and unseen capabilities. Plymouth took the outright awesome power of the very expensive GTX, threw in some clever marketing, removed most of the costly trim and high-end standard equipment and created a sure-fire formula for a successful and unbeatable car that became Read More
Coupe, Targa and Cabriolet
While the automotive world suffered through the 1973-1977 era of dramatically tightened emission-control laws, Porsche was busy building, piece by piece, the better mousetrap that would become the 911SC. Starting with the dramatically simplified CIS fuel injection of the ’73½ 911T, the SC included the flared body of the 1974 Carrera, the engine block from the 3.0-liter Turbo in 1975, the galvanized sheet metal developed in the 1976 cars, and Read More
When the Lamborghini Miura appeared, high-performance coupes with engines in front of the driver began to look quite old fashioned to some observers. Stung by outspoken criticism of their front-engined Daytona models, Ferrari unveiled at the 1971 Turin Motor Show the aggressive 365 BB flat-twelve, mid-engined Boxer Berlinetta. At this point it was still a concept car used to make a point, demonstrating what could be done with a flat-twelve powerplant similar to that used in the Scuderia’s Formula One Read More