If I worked in a regular job, I would surely be fired for sending
and receiving so many links about collectible cars for sale

First, I'd like to thank SCMers Craig Wood, of Brighton, Michigan, and Donald Sanders, of Durham, North Carolina, for being so quick to respond. When I wrote in the January issue that I was looking for an Alfa GT Junior or two-headlight GTV, they responded nearly as soon as the issue left the printing press.

Wood had a white '67 GTV and Sanders a red '70 GT Junior, both in good condition and within the SCM price range of $12,000-$15,000. And Sanders introduced me to the word "scalino," which is Alfa-speak for "little step," or, as we Americans would say, "step-nose," which refers to the raised hood on the 1600-cc GTVs.

Although we wanted both, we bought neither. We had also mentioned we were looking for an Iso Rivolta to be our resident mutant Corvette, and subscriber James Doyle, of Charlotte, North Carolina, offered us a deal we couldn't refuse.

A 1968 model, s/n 740711, his, and now our, Iso, was equipped with its original 327/300-hp Corvette V8, and appeared from pictures to be in decent condition. We settled on a price of $25,000, our friends at J.J. Best arranged the financing, and soon enough the car was heading west.

Of course we didn't have it inspected. Doyle was straightforward in his approach to us, and besides, why let anything get in the way of our fantasy?

Iso fanatics to the fore

While anxiously awaiting our hybrid, we were contacted by Don Meluzio, another reader, who invited us to join the Iso users group on Yahoo.

The Internet allows groups of fanatics (who would formerly meet once a year at annual conventions, most often in crummy hotels, to swap tales) a chance to fritter away hours every day talking about their pet cars. And in general, the smaller the installed base of users, the more of their lives are taken up by their weird cars.

Iso-centric comments began to whiz into my inbox.

Luckily, my day job is writing about owning these oddballs; if I worked in a regular job, I would surely be fired during my first week for spending so much time sending and answering emails asking about arcane subjects like, "What does the steering box from the Rivolta interchange with?" (Answer: It is a Jaguar Mk I box turned backwards and installed on the opposite side of the chassis. So, our car needs a RHD Mk I assembly. Thankfully someone else had already figured this out.)

Iso authority Winston Goodfellow chimed in, "You'll like the Iso. I have known of that car for probably 25-plus years. It resided in Southern California and, if memory serves me correctly, was owned by some guy down in the Atlanta area for a long time. It had non-original wheels almost the entire time I knew of it.

"Build sheet info for the car is: Made December 12, 1968, originally sold to Belgium with a 327/300, 4-speed and 2.88 gears. It had a/c and was off-white with a burgundy interior.
"Outside slow steering (done to keep it light at low speeds), a large turning circle (which most every exotic had at the time), and a sometimes-tricky neck for the fuel tank, they are great cars."

It's heeeere

On a cold, rainy day, the car was unloaded from the BATS Motorsports truck. It was a five-mile drive to the office, and while trying to figure out how to get the wipers turned on and decipher the other switches, I think I noticed the car seemed to drive awfully well.

We're sorting it out now. It's painted a "not typical" (thank you, David Burroughs, of Bloomington Gold) but handsome burgundy metallic, the original brown interior can be saved, and the mechanicals are robust. The 2.88 rear end gives it a relaxed feel that is totally the opposite of that offered by the 4.55 in our '63 Corvette with a similar engine.

So far, it appears to be exactly what we were hoping for-a driver with room in the back for nine-month-old Bradley's car seat, and with just a few things to correct to put it into fully-operational condition.

Enter the Swede

It didn't stop there. Most of the SCM editorial staffers seem to spend half their time emailing links from Craigslist, eBay Motors, and Collectorcartraderonline to one another (see "fired in an instant from a regular job" above). But I found this one myself.

It was a 1964 Volvo PV544, same owner the past 30 years, recent bare-metal respray in the correct color to a decent standard, and with a completely original, excellent-condition interior.

I know, we just sold our Volvo 122 because it wasn't sexy enough, and alluring is hardly the word you would use to describe this goofy-looking hunchback (or do we have to reserve that word only for GTC/4s?).

It started and ran brilliantly, and for $5,000 it came home to our garage. And how can you say no to anything cool for five grand? Even better, putting in a rear-facing car seat was no problem, something we can't say about our 911SC. That qualifies the 544 as practical.

It needs a little suspension fettling, but overall has become the SCM staff favorite for lunchtime runs.

Of course, we're still going to get that two-headlight GTV, but it will just have to wait for a while.

Buy me

To make room for these two cars, two others have to go. Consequently, we're going to be selling our essentially one-owner, delightfully original 1977 BMW 320i and our classic Mini Cooper S.

The BMW is black over tan, 4-speed, no power anything, with all the paperwork from the original purchase to the current day. It has less than 90,000 miles, and is simply the best non-restored example we have seen. Including setting the front suspension straight and having the original vinyl seat skins restuffed, we've got about $4,000 in the car (notice I didn't say "invested"), and figure it is worth $3,500.

The Mini carries a 1976 Oregon title, has a fuel-injected 1300-cc engine, and a host of modern accoutrements. It shows 50,000 original km (about 30,000 miles), and we've had the suspension completely gone through. We peg this one at $12,500.

If you would like more information, contact me at [email protected]. We'll keep you posted concerning the activities of the Swede and the Italian as they sit nestled next to each other in the garage.

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