SPORTS CARS OF THE 60's

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  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Wanna see some funny stories/pics of people ruining perfectly good 356s?


    http://www.hcpresearch.com


    Yeah.. it amazes me how some people fail to realize what it costs to do one of these cars properly... I have seen some terrifyingly poor repairs to the structures of them as well.


    Bill

    Pissed because its' raining and I cant drive the speedster :(

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    According to an article I read about Irv Gordon a while back, he bought his Volvo P1800 back in 1966 for $4,200. I did some research at a local bookstore today, using the Standard Catalog of Imported Cars: Revised Edition as my source, and here are some sports cars from '66 that were considerably cheaper and less expensive than Irv's car:

    1. Austin Healey Sprite Mark III: $1,888
    2. MG Midget Mark II: $2,055
    3. Triumph Spitfire Mark II: $2,155
    4. VW Karmann-Ghia: $2,250
    5. Fiat 1500 Spider: $2,585
    6. Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider: $3,318
    7. Datsun 1600 Fair Lady: $2,546
    8. MGB Mark I: $2,607
    9. Triumph TR4A: $2,840

    While all of the above are nice cars to play around with today, I personally wouldn't want one to drive on a daily basis, with the exception of perhaps the MGB. They would need lots of TLC and maintenance, even the Datsun. Anybody here agree as well?

    A side note: The average '66 VW Microbus stickered for $2,300 when new. I don't see why people paid good money for those wimpy vehicles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think the Karmann Ghia, the Alfa and the Datsun could be driven daily without too much hassle at all.

    The other cars, well, it can get a bit dicey.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    But is the Giulia Spider as good as, say, a '93 Spider 2000?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, any older car needs more maintenance, like tune ups, etc. But Alfas don't chronically overheat or break down like most British cars of the 60s.

    A GiuliaSpider would be a lot more fun than a '93 Spider, and maybe even faster on the low end of things. You can crank a Giulia over 7000 rpm but you'll never do that in a '93
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    Good article about the characteristics of British
    sports cars particularly of the 60s and 70s and why they are so endearing and infuriating.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    h, what page & section was that andy?
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    I forget what they call it. If you go to nytimes.com and click on Automobiles you should find it.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    I didn't realize that the Fiat Spider and the MGB looked so much alike. I know Pinin did some clean-up on the design for MG, but take a look at the second pic down on the first column at this site--it's the model 124 BS (1969-1970). I had to do a double and triple take to make sure they hadn't slipped in a LBC on us there!


    http://www.btinternet.com/~branda/Spider/Pages/history.htm

  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    at least my '71 1600 Spider looked exactly like that except for color (positano yellow). It did look like an Italian MGB, same proportions and overall size, similar headlight and turn signal treatment. They were both very pretty cars and loads of fun to drive. Sports cars of the 60s,
    yeah baby!

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    They looked the same but boy where they ever different to drive!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    the more I realize how much more car it was from conception than the "great" British sports cars of the days.....I mean a dohc engine, 5 speed, 4 wheel disc brakes. If you mentioned that in the 70's you were talking about a Pantera, Jag (4 wheel discs?), Ferrari, Aston, or something equally exotic, not a lowly Fiat! It's so far ahead of it's peers in so many areas, I wish Fiat had tweaked a few more horses out of the motor....but then again, it still would have disappeared from our shores just the same..... I looked it up today at another site and the '82 Fiat Spider listed for $12290! You could by a decked out Z28 for less than $10000, and a Mustang GT (no V8) for less than $9000! Anyway, I'm glad I've got the one we have....

    Enjoy the weekend!
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    My parents made the mistake of buying a 1980 Fiat Brava sedan for something like $8000. Not a ton of money (dad bought a VW Scirocco S in '81 for about $10k), but it was a POS 'from the get go'. Sold, barely running and with no parts or labor support, in 1985, for $600. They bought the Fiat instead of the Audi 4000 they 'really wanted', which was around $10k. I cringe at the thought of either.

    Come to think of it, there weren't a whole lot of good cars available in 1980, so...?

    A Chevy Citation? Mercury Grand Marquis? VW Dasher? Toyota Corona? The original Honda Accord? Ick!

    1980: poorly built American cars, Japanese cars with no creature comforts or room, overpriced, underpowered, unreliable European cars. Woo-hoo.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    it was still too close to the 70's (worst cars ever).

    BTW, my original '79 Accord was a pretty good car for it's time. The 80's were essentially the same. the weren't great by modern standards: rust-prone, poor seats, lousy brakes and all but great compared to the other junk that was around.

    It was the "Mercedes" of Japanese econoboxes (smaller than a present day Civic).

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    but when the 124 Spider was first made in the late 60s (I think '68 was the first US model) it represented an incredible bargain. Sebring is correct that they were unusually well-equipped.
    For about the same money as a typical Brit sports car you got features that none of them came with:

    4 wheel disc brakes
    5-speed gearbox standard*
    Air horn
    Easy up/down top with good side
    visibility.
    A trunk that could hold more
    than a six pack.
    Seatbacks with rake adjustment.

    *Brits could be had w optional electric overdrive
    giving 6 speeds.

    To be fair the 1300cc Fiat (later enlarged) gave some torque away to the beefier British fours and sixes.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    In addition to all that you mentioned, by 1980, the Fiat was electronically fuel injected... another feature normally offered only by "exotics".

    Speaking of Accords I bought a 1980 4 door Accord brand new, no a/c, no radio, just floor mats and a 5 speed. I had Frigid-Air in Chattanooga (the big truck refrig company) install an after-market a/c and I put in my own stereo. Drove it 84,000 miles in 2 1/2 years sold it to a guy who rolled the mileage back about 20-25k and sold it to his son in-law! I met the son-in-law about 2 years after he had bought the car. His comment was, great little car, had to replace the CV joints at about 90K--so it was well over 100k and still going strong. All I did the time I had it was rotate tires and change oil! Great car! After I sold it I bought an 83 that the dealer had used as a "demo" car and it had every option and add-on you could hang on the little car--5 speed, a/c, stereo, cruise, trim, trim, trim. Again, I ran the wheels off it for 2 years and when the a/c compressor died an un-naturally young death, I traded it for the hottest thing on the market at the moment--a Dodge mini-van and got within $750 of what I gave for it! I'll never complain about Hondas!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Unreliable European cars in 1980? Volvo 240, most definitely. Volvo 260 or Saab 900? No way, dude.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I had three unreliable Saab 900s. Musta been a bad batch, like from 1986-1994

    Fiat's main problem (and Alfa's for that matter) was not very good parts and service networks. The British cars had more dealers and cheaper parts for one thing, and certainly more qualified mechanics.

    Nowadays, the British aftermarket parts network is still excellent, Alfa is very very good and Fiat is a long third. This of course affects present day restoration and ownership.

    .
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    So you owned three Saabs between the years 1986 and 1994? Yeah, all Saabs from that era are on Consumer Reports' "Used Cars to Avoid" list.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I shoulda listened to them. I've owned well over 100, maybe 150 cars, and I'm trying to think if anything was worse than those Saabs in terms of reliability--don't think so. But they were run to drive, so I hung with them longer than I should have. Oh, the Audi 100LS I had might have been worse, but not by much.

    Saab needed to learn how to make a head gasket for one thing.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    But I tried my best to talk my dad into buying a new Volvo 164E in, what would that have been? 1974, 1975? British Racing Green, tan leather interior, 5 speed stick, sunroof..... I thought I had him convinced until Mom saw the stick. She's the hotrodder of the family (I inherited her lead right foot) but she wasn't about to go back to a stick shift. So my dad traded our 1969 Mercury Marquis with the 429 4V hi compression for a 1975 Buick Regal with a 350 2V that wouldn't pull the hat off your head! Neither Mom nor I was ever satisfied with the Buick. I remember her saying to dad, I can get out and crawl faster than this thing will take off! Sad times, dark days for American automobiles--mid 70's!

    Later,

    Hal
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    mid 70s, American and imported.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Lucky your dad didn't take your advice, you would have been homeless!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    and there was a Renault Caravelle. I remember those from sometime in the early sixties. Totally had forgotten they ever existed. I remember equating them at the time with the Volvo P1800, which came out about the same time. KInd of a "wannabe sportscar".
    Any comments out there about the Renault Caravelle? Shifty? [I don't think they came with that weird Ferlac clutch, did they?]
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    just a Dauphine dressed up in a sporty body.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    So that's what the Caravelle really was, just like a Karmann-Ghia being a glorified Bug and a P1800 being a glorified 122.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, the Caravelle was rather cute but of course suffered all the foibles of the regular Renault sedans of the times. I remember a Caravelle called the "Floride". Now a Carvalle Gordini might have been nice, (sort of Renaults' equivalent of Fiat's Abarth) but I don't think they ever made one....or maybe they did and I missed it.
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Member Posts: 811
    I'm very familiar with the 4-cyl 1966 TR4A/IRS; had one in the family since new and it was recently restored.

    Checking into a nice-looking, original '74 TR6 for sale with 120k miles; it's always been a California vehicle after import.

    Lord - those front bumpers are UGG-LEEE!

    Anybody out there had one and cares to comment? Asking is $7500 but they'll go lower. Lady has a new Tbird on order.

    Thanks.

    Jeff
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    You might be able to unbolt the ugly bumpers and put on the ones from a earlier year but that won't help the engine which is strangled by anti-smog controls.

    It's best to stay with pre-74s because of the smog controls. Those are reasonably nice. They aren't hell-for-leather race track sports cars but they're good long-legged cruisers with a nice exhaust note.

    The driving position takes getting used to, the wheel is really close.
    So does the yoyo effect of the irs which squats and jacks up quite a bit under acceleration/braking. Irs makes for a nice ride in what is essentially a 60s design.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, they're better than a TR4. Actually, the 6 cylinder Triumph to have is the 1968 TR 250

    As for TR6 issues, Andy has already mentioned a few. Another one is that there is a mounting bracket for the differential assembly that seems to want to break off on those, again probably frmt he torque. So if you hear clunks on taking off, plan to get out the welding torch.

    I agree with Andy, the small bumper TR6 (1969074) is a better car and will be more collectible in the future. It is also worth about $2,000 more than the 1975-76 models, so if you saw a very charp TR6 small bumper for $7,500, that would be a decent buy. A TR250 will cost you even more, maybe $4,000 over a large bumper TR6.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    My brother had one, sadly it was stolen (c 1975).

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Member Posts: 811
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    We've always mentioned how MGBs were always fun to drive when they were around and reliable if you kept on top of the maintenance. How good are their 4-speed manual gearboxes, though? Are they Borg-Warner or ZF units? I've heard many good things about MG transmissions (the all-synchro units, that is). Sames goes with Alfa Spider 5-speed gearboxes.

    On the other hand, I've read a lot of horror stories about the 4-speed manuals in the Triumph TR7. It seems as if those were also found in the Austin Marina, and were very troublesome units manufactured by British Leyland. I've heard that they self-destructed very quickly if you didn't know what you were doing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    THE MGB gearbox is excellent, especially the all synchro unit in the MkII cars. For its time, as good a gearbox as you'll find in any car.

    There are adapter kits to use a Datsun 280Z five speed and also a kit from the UK that uses a 5 speed trans from a Ford Sierra. This gives the MGB an overdrive gearing which it sorely needs, since the MGB engine is torquey and can easily pull a 5th gear if it had one.

    MG also offered an overdrive transmission which is also very good but had a number of Lucas electrical attachments which can be bothersome.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    My '69 MGC had an electric overdrive, like all things electrical with British cars, it was kind of like The Force, sometimes it was with you, sometimes it wasn't. I remember going home from college one weekend and the od refused to kick in. I was miserable and so was that big 6! Seems like my dad and I got it up off the ground in a neighbor's tractor shop and cleaned all the connectors, switches, etc. we could find between the column and the tranny. It worked flawlessly from that point on (and I drove it another 7-8 years after that).

    What I'd like to do right now is to get a genuine overdrive 5 speed for my son's 1973 JH....that car needs a 5 speed in the worst way! Geez, it's a nervous little critter up there around 75-80 mph! Yes, the latter ones had 5 speeds, but not an od 5th! Same gearing as 4th on the earlier cars! What idiot....oh, sorry, I forgot, I was talking about British cars there! I heard some guy in Chattanooga, TN (or close thereabouts) was selling a Toyota 5 speed and bellhousing adapter for the JH. With my son at the academy for another 2 years, I don't know if it would be worth the investment or not. It will be an "occasional use" car from now on, as he'll be buying something newer next spring......

    Ahhhh, fall temps, lower humidity, fewer mosquitos, I can't wait!

    Hal
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    a 1970 MGB-GT, "Sebring" replica. Something I've always wanted to do. Guy's replaced the hood with an MGC hood, flared the fenders front and rear, no bumpers, grill openings filled with fog lamps and air ducts. Really cool! Unfortunately, I'm in no position to buy at this time. What I'd really like is to stumble across a MGB GT with a trashed motor and replace it with a V6 and real 5 speed and make the Sebring/LeMans conversion..... are leather straps on the hood legal?

    Enjoy!

    Hal
  • roaminchargerroamincharger Member Posts: 11
    I'm not in here too often but I saw a late model Jag today that looked a lot like a P1800, long greenhouse and 2 doors. Anyone have any info on it. appreciate any reponces.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's made by Lynx Motors UK, who have made a number of Jaguar replicars, often using Jaguar componentry. These are a lot nicer than "kit cars" and are very expensive reproductions of such famous Jaguar cars as the C Type and D Type.


    But to the untrained eye they look very very good and they are fun to drive. They are very well engineered reproductions and have some respect, even among Jaguar purists. Of course, they are still "fakes" and as such will never approach the value or desireability of the "real thing".


    The Eventer is, if you don't mind me saying so, a homely modification of an already homely car to begin with, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so we don't have to argue about it. Sometimes, though, ideas like this should just stay as sketches on a drawing pad. I suppose the rationale was to take what is basically not a valuable car, a V12 XJS, and make something more useful out of it. Me myself would have used a 4-door 6 cylinder XJ, since it is a) better looking, b) has 4 doors, c) is easier to maintain, and d) has some head room.


    Here's a link to a photo:


    http://www.stationwagon.com/gallery/19xx_Jaguar_XJS_Eventer.html

  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    the newest chrome bumper car I've seen. Had the side marker lights and rubber strips on the front chrome uprights on the bumber. Must have been at least a 68-maybe on up to 73-74? Makes me want to go back in the book and look up all the differences between these years. Anyway, a gorgeous car, in a deep maroon, with tan leather seats. Looked like either fully restored, or a pampered garage queen that had been kept up. Anyway, made me want one! Maybe I'll check the market and see what's out there. My old Austin Healey days in the 60s are still in my blood.
  • roaminchargerroamincharger Member Posts: 11
    Mr. Shiftright, thanks for the quick responce,I only had a quick glance at the jag as it passed me on the hiway. My vote for a homely car goes to the Avanti(which I love)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yeah, sometimes cars have certain lines that are attractive but the whole car just doesn't work...Avanti is like that also. I like the coke bottle shape and rear end but the shovel nose looks very dated to the modern eye. A real "beauty" is harmonious throughout, and few cars really pull that off totally and with no argument.

    It's a rare person, for instance, that thinks a Series I Jaguar E Type is ugly, but you'll get plenty of people who think a Series II 2+2 or a Series III convertible are struggling to look good.
  • starrow68starrow68 Member Posts: 1,142
    Looked at sports cars from afar while driving a '54 Ford, '60 Falcon, '64 Fairlane, '70 Torino and didn't make the step until the '72 MGB. IMO great car and put on 12 years of mileage, starting with 10k before bringing it home from the factory. Of course the lucas electric speedo quit at 12k and I never replaced it since I know my speed from the tach and what gear I was in up through the electric OD, it did make a difference. Being a '72 it had the original bumpers and they didn't get replaced until '73 or '74 for sure. It was still only $2800 picked up in England at that point and fairly cheap to ship back, even to the west coast. So much cheaper than the '72 280SL, which at 9k+ in Germany was way out of my range.
    Don't know real mileage for the 12 years I owned the 'B but must have been between 125k and 150k+ and believe it or not, very reliable. Never left me on the road even once. Did leave me in my garage a few times but the dealer was close. Had one quirk with a wire you could reach from under the driver side door, the car would quit and you pulled off, got the tarp down beside the door, crawled out to reach under, squeezed the connector and slipped it back on and drove away. Never did figure a permanent fix.
    Wasn't the engine something like a 1940's tractor block design, at least that is what I remember from discussions at the time?
    But, as much fun as it was in my 20's and 30's, not sure I would appreciate it today and having acquired the mother-in-laws '71 280SL I don't think I would go looking for one. Sold it with body damage, parking lot fender crunched for $1800 and pocketed a $1000 insurance check for the fender in '84, only car, up till then, that ever cleared what it originally cost at the end of it's life. Great car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, I don't know. The MGB has equal charm to a 280SL, and is more the sports car by far. You wouldn't have the weather tightness or innate sturdiness of the Benz, but you'd have a lighter, more agile and better handling car.

    Reliability would be about even. While the Benz would do much better overall, and certainly better in pieces not falling off it, it is still a fussy car regarding ignition and plug fouling. And it has some annoying features--a harsh shifting automatic, poor ventilation and a thirst for fuel. It also can't have overdrive, which a B can. Both the SL and the B suffer from too high RPM at highway speeds.

    And one of these days, believe it or not, a completely restored MGB won't be worth that much less than a clean 280SL. Right now the spread is maybe 25K for a great 280SL and 15k for a really well done MGB.

    Also, the MGB is so much cheaper to restore, and parts are readily available at very decent prices. So this means that decrepit SLs will be parted or nursed along out but decrepit Bs might get saved. You can probably restore a B for $20K but I doubt you could an SL.

    Both cars are quite plentiful in the marketplace, so rarity is not a factor in either.

    I like both cars, but would much prefer a 280SL with a 5 speed manual transmission from Europe.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    I read the new Sept. issue of Men's Journal magazine at a store this morning, which named the 25 greatest cars of all time. They used a panel of expert judges, ranging from Richard Petty to Csaba Csere of Car & Driver. Some of the cars: original Porsche 911, 1962-65 MGB Mark I, Jaguar E-Type Series 1 (that car is seriously a beauty). But very surprising that the Volvo P1800 did not make that list or was even mentioned.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,349
    I doubt it would make a list of the 500 greatest cars. You certainly wouldn't mention it in the same company as 911s or E-Types.

    The 1800 was a kind of Swedish Karmann-Ghia, not a real sports car (which the MG-B certainly was.)

    It's not surprising to me that a high proportion of the "25 greatest cars" were 60s sports cars. That's why I started this topic.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I wouldn't put a P1800 on a list for anything flattering that I can think of as normally associated with fine cars. It's a simple strong two seater lacking grace, performance or beauty. But it did run well, gotta give it that!

    To drive one is to know one, and to know one is to wonder what the Swedes were thinking.

    It's not a "bad" car at all, but I wonder if Volvo had actually ever seen a sports car before, or just tried to copy one from a photo washed up on shore.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Maybe they just set out to make a Swedish Karmann Ghia. Maybe that was easier than developing a real sports car.

    Don't tell Irv I said that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well the Karmann Ghia is having the last laugh--they are getting pretty valuable if they are very very sharp.

    Even Benz used sedan underpinnings for its 190SL, which is another heavy car of modest performance and styling that takes time to get used to.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    But the best P1800s won't appreciate in value like Karmann-Ghias, I presume?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    who knows? It's all supply and demand that drives collector car prices. It's not based on rarity and it's not based on the merits of the car.

    Generally speaking, if a car knocked people out when it was new, and had lots and lots of "buzz" from media and new owners, and great eyeball for the general public, these are the cars that become the collectibles of tomorrow.

    If, on the other hand, the car was introduced mostly unnoticed, or with a few polite comments, chances are it will never be a *first-tier* collectible -- but it might have some appeal to a limited audience of collectors.

    I think the P1800 fits into the later category. If they are well restored you can get some decent money (maybe $7,500-9,000?) but of course that is far less than the cost of restoration. You can see the probably fate of most P1800s from doing the math of restoration vs. payback.
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