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Build Your Own 50s-60s Dream Car



  • argentargent Posts: 176
    So many American cars, or American-engined cars...

    So how about a BMW 2800CS convertible? There were a very limited number of 1600-based cabrios built by Baur, including I think an even smaller number of '71-spec 2002s, and some weird-looking later models with fixed "targa" bars. I've always liked the six-cylinder coupes, and it'd make a snazzy cabriolet.


    (Although perhaps not...the best part of the styling, for me, is the sharp C-pillar shape, so maybe it would be better not to lose that.)
  • Maybe a nice Supra twin turbo in there? Or Mazda rotary? Hoodline is too low for a V8. And speaking of which....

    RE: American V8s --you cannot design a car without knowing the type of engine that goes into it---that's about all I'm saying.

    One reason for the growth of the monster V8 was the need to power all the accessories being sold to people. You can't have a/c, power windows, auto trans, power steering, etc, with a puny flathead six that's for sure. And these accessories are often wider than the engine, and certainly longer. So the engine/accessory package dictated very large cars.

    It was, in the 50s and 60s basically the philosophy of excess. The designs were not very rational, but rather highly emotional in content. The idea was not only "bigger is better" but "bigger is dangerous", as in battering ram or set of teeth that will eat you.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    "bigger is dangerous"

    I think that's the mentality used to sell SUV's nowadays. Or at least, "Bigger is Macho!"

    I just realized my dream car was in production since 1968, so I can include it just the way it came off the factory line. '68 Jag XJ6. Much better looking than about 99% of what BMW had, has, or will have, IMO ;-) And being a '68, it was made before the British Leyland days when the quality control guys took a coffee break and never came back. It's also a design that stayed around, in one form or another, until 1992, so Sir William did a pretty good job on the car's styling.
  • So would you keep it stock or modify it to improve reliability/performance?
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    I'd modify it. (I'm a car guy. It's genetic. I have to modify anything with four wheels and an engine. I want to built a miniature supercharger for my lawn mower.) Not sure what I could do to keep it in the '50's-'60's time frame. Most of what I would want to do would be to add fuel injection from the later cars, a Chevy transmission with an overdrive, and things of that nature. I guess keeping it within the 1950-1969 time frame, there's not a lot of modification I could do. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'd rather take an XK-120 FHC, drop in a fuel injected 4.2 L XK engine, and upgrade the suspension to XK-150 standards. That would take what is, IMO, the most beautiful car ever built, give it more power, and slightly better suspension than when in debuted in 1948. Of course, the fuel injection didn't come around until the late '70's, so that would be out on this list. Still, with an unlimited budget, I could have fun hot rodding a classic Jaguar and still keep it "in the family."
  • argentargent Posts: 176
    Another appealing Jaguar idea from my tastes... I like the Mk II compact sedans of the mid-sixties better, stylistically, than the XJ6. The XJ has a lot to recommend it aesthetically, but somehow the earlier version seems purer to me.

    My favorite Jag saloon iteration, though, was the XJ6C/XJ12C, the mid-70s pillarless two-door:

    So the mind starts thinking -- what if there'd been a '66-'67 vintage Mark II 2-door hardtop? The pillarless design is more of a 60s phenomenon, which seems fitting. With the 3.8L engine and up to 265 gross hp, the Mark II was pretty brisk for its day, although one might wonder if there was a better proprietary transmission available than the Moss 4-speed or the B-W auto.
    I'd probably be asking for trouble with such a thing. The reason why the XJC coupes of the '70s didn't last long was because Jag build quality (never a strong point to begin with, especially in those days) could never sort out the window sealing problems of the pillarless design. And the reason for the vinyl top -- the one element of the design I don't much like -- was to cover the nasty weld line left by the surgery. But if it could be accomplished (we are _dreaming_, after all), it sounds like the makings of a very pretty car.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    The Mark II's are beautiful cars, no doubt about it, but it's the "compact" part that gets me. As much as I love Jaguars, I grew up in the back seat of an American land yatch from the '70's, and I like big cars. The XJ is by no means big, but it's at least "mid-size" and not "compact." But the Mk II's styling does come from the XK's, which is a major point in its favor. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with cars such as the XK, '55 T-Bird, Corvette, and the like. Cars that are beautiful, performers, or both, on one hand, but smallish and lacking a back seat on the other. On one hand, I want one, on the other hand, I want a car that is XK-120 on the outside, Town Car Limo on the inside. Maybe I just need both my '78 Grand Marquis and a little British sportscar.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606
    ...that Jag hardtop. I'd imagine that the trunk and back seat are practically non-existent, though!
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,277
    You are not the only two with the thought of a Jag Mk 2 hardtop. I have seen a custom job advertised recently, I am sure in Hemmings. I was not interested myself, but there was a picture and it is a handsome piece.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606
    ...the hardtop I liked was that real one that Argent posted, that sexy XJ. I never really liked those little Mark II's. I could probably whip up a hardtop Mark II in Photoshop though, if anybody's interested to see what it might have looked like. I'll try to do it on Monday if I have some free time. (No Photoshop at home) :-(
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    The XJC is a nice car, but having driven both 2 and 4 door cars, my preference is for 4. Despite the sporty image, does a lack of back doors really make an XJC faster than a short-wheelbase XJ sedan? I didn't think so. I still prefer the sedan, but wouldn't cry if someone gave me the coupe version ;-)

    As far as the vinyl top goes, some owners have ditched the top, had a little body work done to clean up the seams, and repainted. The car looks good without the vinyl. Some cars, like a '78 Mercury, look better with Vinyl. Jags don't. The C-pillars just aren't substantial enough to pull it off, and they flow into the body too much. If you're gonna do vinyl right, you need an upright, formal looking roofline that hasn't rolled down the assembly line sinse the 80's to make it look good. When Ford redesigned the Crown Vic in '92, they quit making the last car vinyl looked good on. This is going waaayyyy off topic I know. Thus is the internet!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,405
    I grew up on the 4-door pillarless HTs of the 50s and 60s so I never could figure out why the Jag coupe didn't look as good (to me) as the pillared 4-door.

    I think the Mk II was one of the best looking, sportiest sedans ever made anywhere by anyone and I loved the overall size.

    There are outfits in the UK that rebuild them from the ground up with modern electrics and brakes etc. I wish I could afford one.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,700
    Jaguar coupes don't work for me, and it seems like the majority of buyers agree with me, since the Jaguar coupes do not seem to bring much of a premium as used cars. Mercedes coupes face the same problem--they do not attract too many people.

    Mark II prices are going through the roof. It's not a car you'd want to chop up for a project. Better to molest an XJC as it's going nowhere in value.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606 that the hardtop is such a uniquely American innovation. The very first ones were merely hatchet-jobs, taking a convertible and actually attaching a fixed roof to it, but after a few years, cars were designed often with the hardtop style in mind. As a result, the hardtops usually looked good, but then the sedans looked ungainly.

    With Mercedes and Jag, it's more like the hardtop never really got past the "hatchet-job" stage, although they're finally learning. The latest Mercedes hardtops have beautiful rooflines. Still, with the Jag and Benz, 4-door sedans are their focus, so that's what they concentrate on, and those hardtops were probably created with as little added expense as possible.

    The Jag hardtop's biggest problem is that the C-pillar just doesn't blend that well into the beltline of the car. The car itself is actually somewhat angular, in the '60's tradition, where that hardtop roof would've looked at home on a 50's car. Both parts look good by themselves, but just have trouble blending.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,700
    Yes, you're right...they just look awkward, like the hardtop was trying to hard to be a hardtop.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,405
    IIRC the classic HTs of the 60s used shorter windshields and lower rooflines to give the impression of "Longer, lower..."

    If they weren't lower they suire created the illusion pf being so.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606
    ...I don't know if all cars used a different windshield for the hardtops, but I think most of them did. Even the fairly upright windshield on my '68 Dart is lower and more raked-back than it is on the sedans (found this out when I needed to replace the windshield). I think usually hardtop coupes, sedans, and convertibles shared one windshield, and 2-door and 4-door pillared sedans and wagons shared a more upright one.

    There really aren't that many cars anymore that have a similar 2-and 4-door bodystyle...usually there's a big difference (I'm thinking along the lines of, say, Camry and Solara here). I wonder though, if the Grand Prix coupe and sedan share the same windshield?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,606's about something like this?


    I lowered the roofline a bit, made the windshield a bit more rakish, and brought the C-pillar forward a bit.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    First thing I think of when I see that is an XK-150 FHC. The 150's just seemed to have that porkiness that the sedans did to me. The 120's and 140's (especially the 120's) seemed a bit more sleeker, a bit better looking to me. Now, mind you, the 150 is not an ugly car by any stretch of the imagination (the only ugly Jag I've ever seen are the early XJS's), and would probably rank in the top 10% of cars as far as looks goes, but when it comes to other Jaguars, the 120's and 140's are, to me, the very best ever made, as evidenced by the fact that their design is still having an influence on modern Jaguars. (Compare the front end of a 120 with a new S-Type, and tell me if you can't tell where the S got it's DNA.)
  • argentargent Posts: 176
    Andre--very nice job, that's exactly what I was talking about. It does look snazzy, I think.

    (Keep in mind, I'm presuming this as a _dream car_ -- a sort of "what if Jag had had more development money and did a Mk2 spinoff" -- and NOT proposing a customization of an existing Mk2 sedan. That would be economically foolish and probably functionally dire; I wouldn't go there.)
This discussion has been closed.