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.
Suppose for a minute that you have managed to finagle your personal finances through a series of questionable actions to the point that you have somewhere in the neighborhood of $20K available in liquid funds. Now suppose further that you are cunning enough to convince whomever else in your household that has a say in how your money gets spent that you are car savvy enough to take that $20K and turn it into at least 25% more over the next 1-3 years. We’re not talking penny stocks going up 100X in value, but is there not some appeal to our automotive selves in the ability to buy and enjoy a car that we find interesting and end-up selling it on at a net gain? Continue reading
What would happen if a niche British carmaker, who wasn’t even as mainstream as Aston Martin, wanted to make a large coupe in the classic grand touring tradition using a honking American V8 lump that was neither quick nor fast? And just to prove they were more nichey than Aston, what if they made their car funky looking well past the point of polarizing?
What if it looked like some large insect carrying its egg pouch on its tush? Continue reading
As a Car Geek, I love a classic GT. You know – a small, personal car with enough performance to keep it interesting, lines that hearken back to a time when cars were designed by stylists and engineers (not always rowing int the same direction, mind you) as opposed to accountants and computers. The problem with so many classic GTs, however, is that they tend to be tight two-seaters with barely enough room for you and your companion, not to mention anything else that may need to make the journey as well. Enter the Shooting Brake and the subjects of this article
both presently on eBay: a 1973 Volvo P1800ES and a 1976 Jensen GT.
It was 1984. I was 13 and my family had just moved from Southeast Asia back to New England. Among the important tasks that had to be completed (there was a very long list on a yellow legal pad) was for my Dad to purchase a “station” car. Commuting into New York City from the Connecticut suburbs happens one of two ways: you take your life into your hands, pay a small fortune, and drive in every day or you drive to the train station and relax in the quiet serenity of the Metro-North railway. At the time, my dad opted for the latter and wanted a cheap, fun car that he didn’t mind leaving at the station. The Jensen-Healey was on the short list, and we went to look at a car remarkably similar to this nice red Mk II/JH5 example
which can be found here on Craigslist in Appleton, Wisconsin with an asking price of $4500.