Category Archives: Disposable Sports Car

Disposable Sports Sedan #1: 1991 Alfa Romeo 164

1991 164 - 1

Poking around BaseFook the other day, one of the ads from which they thought I would derive tremendous value from was a t-shirt for The Manual Gearbox Preservation Society. “Pfft!” I thought, hating the fact that technology thinks it knows me better than I know myself. Then I started thinking that maybe the Interwebs were onto something. We’ve talked before about the gradual disappearance of the stick shift, and there’s no denying its days are numbered. So I took it upon myself to poke around looking at assorted manual cars that 1) I’d be stupid enough to buy, and 2) wouldn’t break the bank. Enter the Alfa 164, and this solid example located in Tulsa, OK for a paltry $2,500.

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TTS Quick Pick: 1971 Fiat 850 Spider

1971 Fiat 850 - 1

Welcome to the newest TTS feature: TTS Quick Pick! These posts are dedicated to cars that.. Oh let’s be real – these posts are dedicated to interesting cars we stumble across which we either a) don’t have the time to write comprehensively about or b) can’t be bothered to write more about because we are in the middle of binge-watching “The Americans” on Amazon. In any case, as part of our responsibility to bring more (any?) cars to you, we offer these short takes – starting with this pretty little 1971 Fiat 850 Spider which can be found here on CraigsList in Northern Virginia for $7,200.

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1992 BMW 318i Convertible: Disposable Sports (Sporty??) Car #12

1992 BMW 318i - 1

So first things first: how can I call this a disposable sports car when it’s so upright and seats four life-sized humans? Well, I suppose the true definition of “sports” car is debatable, but for me it is simply something that I can drive with gusto, I can row my own gears, and puts a big grin on my face every time I get behind the wheel. My sports cars aren’t required to have sloped front ends and 3″ or less of ground clearance, neither must they be limited to a carrying capacity of 2.5 people. But that’s just me. If it makes you feel better and we can move on to the car, then think of this as a disposable “sporty” car.
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1978 Fiat 124 Spider: Disposable Sports Car #11

1978 Fiat 124 - 1

After writing about that gorgeous Alfa Romeo Duetto the other day, I got to thinking: there are a lot of ways to enjoy sleek European styling and a sonorous dual overhead cam motor combined with open air motoring. Most of those have been covered in TTS before – cars like the Alfa Spider, the Jensen-Healey, and even Fiat’s 850 Spider and X1/9. Shamefully, we have not covered Fiat’s 124/2000 Spiders in any depth. Until now. This car, advertised on Craigslist in Leesburg, Virginia for $3,950, represents the same basic experience as the Duetto but for about 10% of the entry fee.

The Fiat 124 was basically the Torino firm’s counterpoint to Alfa’s Spider, and their specs are comparable if not remarkably similar: they were both penned by Pininfarina and released to the world in 1966, both had varying displacement DOHC inline-4 motors, both had full synchromesh manual transmissions and four-wheel disc brakes from the get-go, and both started rusting about six hours prior to leaving their respective factories. In many ways, choosing between the Fiat and the Alfa was really down to preference. Of course, the Alfisti will argue that their Spider came with oodles more pedigree and had sleeker, sportier styling. The Fiat side of the camp will conversely argue that their car ticks all the right sports car boxes, but with more robust running gear that was used throughout the world in hundreds of thousands of their contemporary models. Frankly, I like both of them, albeit for different reasons.
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1985 Honda Prelude EX: Disposable Sports Car #10

1985 Honda Preslude - 1

One of our favorite sayings around the TTS offices is that “nostalgia is a funny thing.” Meaning, often times we recall the cars of our past with a special fondness, often focusing on the parts of them we enjoyed – looks, smells, handling, colors, you name it – as opposed to the parts that made us sell them or otherwise move on. Of the TTS crew, I am the one who repeatedly drinks from the same well. I’ve owned multiple Mercedes W123s and W126s, two green Alfa Spiders, and even a pair of grey 1985 Honda Preludes. With the Mercedes I seem to be on a never-ending quest to find the perfect example. With both the Alfas and the Hondas I think it’s some subconscious effort to reclaim a part of my youth, the first of each having been my first and third car, respectively.

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1970 Fiat 850 Spider: Uptick in Values for Clean Survivors?

1970 Fiat 850 Spider - 1

My Dad’s 1969 Fiat 850 Spider is my oldest automotive memory. 850 spiders were also the cars that my TTS co-conspirator and I first bonded over, at the approximate ages of five and three, respectively. Suffice it to say, we both have a soft spot for Fiat 850s, especially clean, original ones like this which are essentially non-existent at this point. They were cheap when new, and most were driven hard (you sort-of had to) and left outside. Combined all that with their propensity to rust, like all Italian cars from the 1960s and 1970s, and you’ll find that nice 850s are nearly impossible to find, and the few you do find are usually out there for all the money. Find this clean survivor on CraigsList in New York for a reasonable $5,995.

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