SPORTS CARS OF THE 60's

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  • itochuitochu Member Posts: 107
    Late to the party here but have to comment on some posts.
    I had a 1965 Corvair Corsa 140 HP with 4 speed, radials, konis, IECO "trombone" exhaust and I could toss that car around like you could not believe. 4 wheel drifts, etc. The Fitch was a very ltd car that had a lot of flash. The Stinger basically designed to race with its fender mounted oil cooler. I had more fun with that Corvair - sloppy shifter and all. Was the engine cammy? No, but I would take on an MGB, TR4 any time - and the Stinger took on the TR4 in SCCA Class D and did very well. Don't knock the Corvair's handling unless you drove a '65 Corsa - a '36 Buick? :confuse: Not even in the same zip code!

    Neighbor worked for Chevy and brought home a 1965 Corvette 396/425 Nassau Blue/white Convert when I was 17. One summer day he let me have it for the day - gave me $20 for gas(.25/gallon premium) and the keys. WOW - a dream come true. Problem with the car? The clutch was a bear - wore out my leg!! I ended up having to pack it in - I could not "release"it - all I could do was "dump" it at a point, so drove it home and parked it.. Awesome power - beast to drive.

    Most incredible? 427 Cobra - pulled up next to one one night - blue/black interior and a gorgesous blond driving it! I was about 20 and drivingthe Corvair. The light turned green and she was gone - not tire smoke or anything, just a roar from the sidepipes and GONE..
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    My brother had a Fitch Corvair, and it was a great handling car. Not a great revving engine but as you said, easy enough to defeat an MGB or Triumph if you just hung in there until the engine woke up. The "normal" Corvairs of 1965 and up were lovely cars but had slow steering and as you said, god-awful shifters. But these things were easily correctable, as was the somewhat gummy suspension. The Fitch Corvair could have been the American Porsche with some further refinements.

    427 Cobra---I find this a classic example of an "over-engined" car. They are too much of a bear of a car to drive with any ease. I'd take a breathed-on 289 anytime. the 427 is "too much of a good thing".

    Yep, those Corvette clutches were brutal, and without power steering, driving one got old real fast unless you were cruising at higher speeds---then quite fun!
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    I agree Shifty. I also find the 427 Snakes overstyled. I much prefer the svelte lines of the 289 as well as it's light weight. It's interesting to note that practically all the major race wins and championships racked up by Cobras were by small block cars (including the Daytona Coupes).

    As for the Corvair, it certainly wasn't a Sports Car but a college buddy had a '63 Monza
    (turbo) Spyder hich could blow -off MG's and even big-Healeys. Of course post ''65s were even better.

    "Breathed on" race-prepped 289 nestled in Cobra Daytona Coupe factory racer>

    image

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

  • itochuitochu Member Posts: 107
    I had some great old articles about the Fitch Sprint and Car and Driver testing it over the back roads of Lime Rock, CT I believe it was. The fully IRS '65 Corsa, with quick ratio steering, short throw shifter, radials, Konis and proper exhaust was just a blast to drive. I see some today with two three barrel weber carbs on the old 140 HP engine, HP cams, exhaust, etc. putting out GOBS of HP which, coupled with the Porsche like handling, have got to be great fun to drive, and a shock to the uninitiated. And what sound from those tuned exhausts!!

    Great article too in Playboy years ago by Mort Sahl the comedian and his experiences owning and driving a 427 Cobra. They had no choke on the carb so it was often wise to open the car's front end when starting it - they didn't equip them with fire extinguishers for no reason!!!! Flames would shoot up out of the carb if they had too much gas, if I recall correctly.

    As for the 'Vette clutch - the only other 4 speed I had ever driven at that point was a VW!!!! When I put my foot on the clutch I thought I had put it on the brake pedal by mistake!!! Every teen age boys' dream - a 'Vette for the day in the Summer with the top down, and a 396/425 to boot, and my poor skinny 17 year old legs couldn't handle it!! When I dumped the clutch on a downshift into 1st in slow traffic trying to accelerate into the passing lane and burned rubber right in front of a cop who had someone else pulled over I figured that was time to call it a day before I hurt myself, someone else, or the car - one of the first production '65 396/425 Vettes made. I still remember C & D's description of the '66 427/425 asking how you enlarge the engine from 396 to 425 with all other specs identical and not increase HP - 425 HP with "horses with hooves as big as bushel baskets". I never got to drive the '66 427 - but that 396/425 with a 6500 RPM redline was all the power anyone could ever want with 7.75x15 tires!!!!
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Now that I think of it, my favorite "Snake" was what is known as the "FIA Roadster", these were the 289 roadsters configured to contest the FIA GT-class Championship in 1965. They look much like 427 roadsters (Phil Remington based the original 427 fender contours on the FIA roadster fenders) but there are subtle differences which make the FIA cars a little svelter but still very aggressive and fast looking>

    image

    The uprated 289s under the hood were fantastic.

    From The Cobra-Ferrari Wars by Michael Schoen:

    A stroked 289 with aluminum heads and Webers puts out as much horsepower as the original 427s with a lot less weight. We used a T-10 transmission and multi-plate small diameter clutch rated to 17,000 rpm which did not require a scattershield. Combined with an aluminum water radiator and Kirkham's aluminum uprights, this car weighs 1,999 lbs with one gallon of gas.

    I think a stroked 289 is basically the now familiar 302/5-liter.

    FIA Roadsters are now popular as replica kit cars>

    image

    This replica wears the livery of the Shelby team car raced by Dan Gurney and Phil Hill in the 1965 Targa Florio. I have a 1/24 scale model of the same car built by converting a standard 289 to FIA configuration.

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

  • itochuitochu Member Posts: 107
    396 to 427!! :blush:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Although it doesn't fit the strict definition of a sports car, the Studebaker Avanti was one of the most exciting sporty cars of the '60s. Unfortunately, the introduction of the car was delayed by production problems, causing many buyers to cancel their orders. The company also had severe financial problems by the time the Avanti was introduced, but the car's styling certainly turned heads. The interior was also modern looking. It seated four, in reasonable comfort (five in a pinch?), and the supercharged version provided exciting performance for its day.

    Production totaled 4,643 cars, not counting prototypes or the Avanti II, which wasn't really a Studebaker.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Lotsa buzz on that car when it came out but remarkably little else happened. I think one reason is that you could buy a fully equipped Chevy Impala convertible for about the same money!!

    No, it's not a "sports car" since it handled like a pig, but with the supercharged version, it could definitely go fast in a straight line.

    The looks are now terribly dated, but at the time the car was very well-regarded.

    But you're right, Studebaker was near death at the time, much worse off than Packard, who they absorbed, looted, pillaged and discarded.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    I agree Shifty, there was a huge buzz about the Avanti. I loved it and used to draw sketches of it endlessly but now when I see one I notice how upright the windshield is, how narrow the track is and how much overhang there is front and rear.

    For a "futuristic" design it has aged badly. The contemporary Studebaker Hawk has aged better IMO.

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You never know do you, I mean, about how a car's styling will appear to future eyes.

    Austin Healey 3000? YES!

    Jensen Healey? Uh-uh

    65 Alfa? YES
    85 Alfa? Eh.

    I think the "Kammback" principle (for instance) is instant death for most classic cars. There may be a kammie I like, but I can't think of it right now.

    I don't think Avanti's "shovel nose" worked in the later gen Camaro either.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Actually I like the Big Healeys even more now than I did then and I like the lighter, more spartan 100/6 even more than the 3000. Who'da thunk we'd miss side curtains, tonneau covers and erect-a-tops. ;)

    I thought the Jensen-Healey was ugly then, it hasn't improved with age.

    I'm sure you could think of a Kammback you liked, Shifty>

    image
    ;)

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well you see, the Italians made it look so good I didn't even regard it as a kammback.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    65 Alfa? YES
    85 Alfa? Eh.


    05 Alfa Si!>

    image

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Problem is the Alfas we might see here in the US are the very expensive models for the glitterati. The nicest Alfas were really the modest and affordable and lovely 50s and 60s and early 70s models. Marketing $45,000 ++ Alfas in the US will just be a turn off for 95% of Alfa lovers IMO.

    Alfa needs to send us a Miata, not a Lexus.

    If you look at a 60s Alfa spider or coupe, they are so clean simple well-made and stylish. Not enormously powerful, they are enormously fun to drive, rev like crazy (up to 7,000 rpm and perhaps more). They are light, economical, easy to fix, comfortable, weather-proof and technically right up to date.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    Alfa needs to send us a Miata, not a Lexus.

    Agreed but at least they're considering sending one Alfa over for the Budget crowd, the Mi.To and there are rumors that it'll be priced to compete with a Mini. There's even speculation that they'll make a Spider version.

    I think the Brera in basic 4-cyl trim cost less than $45K across the pond. The bad news is the Brera and Mi.To are both FWD.

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

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Anytime someone tells me FWD cars can be "sportscars" I ask them if they'd buy a FWD Corvette or Cobra. Unless you consider a Honda Del Sol a sports car I guess.

    True the original MINI was FWD but even that's only a sports sedan.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Andys 120, your reply to Shifty's message #369 took te words right out of my mouth. And Shifty, you're spot on; enthusiasts would prefer to see a competitor to the Miata from Alfa, instead of a competitor to the MINI. Unfortunately it doesn't appear as though this will happen. I've read that Alfa will convert its large sedan to RWD, but it'll be an expensive car. I haven't heard of any plans for Alfa to introduce a small RWD platform.

    But wait, there will be a small Alpha car after all. Cadillac will introduce a RWD Series 3 fighter in 2010, as a 2011 model. It won't be an Alfa, but I'm excited about GM's forthcoming Alpha platform.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,961
    Mr. Shiftright, there's sure a lot of "fuzzy memory" in your post about the Avanti.

    It surely didn't handle like a 'pig' compared to an Impala convertible of the day, with its traction bars and radius rods, and braking was the best in the industry with the only domestic use of discs at the time. In automatic form, it had a 3-speed that could be shifted manually through three gears, as opposed to Powerglide only in the Chevy. And frankly, at $4,445 base cost, it was more than an Impala convertible and was priced right up there with its fiberglass cousin, the Corvette!

    As far as the purchase of Studebaker by Packard, Packard had more money on hand at the time of the 'merger', but they should have, with as little updating as they did on any of their postwar offerings right up until the '55 model year, unlike Studebaker (new cars in '47, new trucks in '49, an OHV V8 in '51, two new bodies in '53). In '56, the company's combined loss was $43 million. In '57, without Packard and with only a modestly-restyled '57 Studebaker, the loss was down to $11 million. In '59, with the Lark, they had a $28 million profit, and Packard (and Edsel, run by Packard's Jim Nance and with two levels, senior and junior, like Packard) were gone or near-gone. This should show where the production costs and sales problems really were in '55 or '56 for Studebaker-Packard Corporation.

    Styling is of course subjective, but the Avanti, with its curved side glass and lack of fake scoops and bright trim, certainly looks less dated today (and I mean by today's standards) than absolutely any '63 domestic I can think of..and I include Corvette...

    Although, I must admit I still love a '64 Studebaker Hawk, which was basically the '53 bodyshell, heavily updated. Such was the beauty of the '53, as eleven model years later with updates, it still looked great, in and out, and is considered a "Milestone" car now.

    And I grew up thinking there was no other car worth looking at besides a Chevy!

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That was not to imply that the Impala didn't handle like a pig as well. In fact, just about all Americans sedans and coupes of the day handled like pigs.

    But yes, you're right, relative to all other cars, the Avanti certainly was not the worst handling car of its type and probably better than most. I've driven Avantis, and they are alas typically American in how they feel---soft, lots of push, and god help you if you hit a bumpy turn at high speed. Fast, fun, primitive. You must remember that American automakers were under no compulsion to innovate at this period of time.

    You hit it right on the head---the Avanti was WAY too expensive.

    Yes I liked the Gran Turismo Hawk as well. I used to own one and it was a good 'ol car and very handsome I thought.

    An interesting car, the Avanti, to be sure, but surely not a 'sports car' by any stretch of MY imagination at least. Even a Corvette barely makes the grade in 1962, but a Vette could handle reasonably well on a smooth flat track without too many sharp turns. Take it on a *tight twisty road course* and the MINI Cooper S used to beat up the Corvettes pretty badly. The Corvettes roared ahead on the first stretch, the MINI caught them in turn 2, and the Vettes never saw the MINI again, because their brakes were on fire. This is why Corvette never amassed much of an International racing records. It had way too much power for its suspension and brakes. We'd have to wait for the Ford GT40 for that kind of glory.

    Of course you are correct, styling is subjective. I think though that if we include all the subsequent failures of the Avanti design (as we speak, someone is probably coming out with the Avanti XII), we have to entertain the possibility that not too many people really want to look at that shape anymore, or at least not PAY for it.

    Consider how many still pay for the shape of a replica Cobra!

    As for Studebaker, compared to Packard, it did not have anywhere near the engineering skills and its management style was near-barbaric, even by GM standards. As a member of a Packard family, I was delighted to see Studebaker fall victim of its own business incompetence.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,961
    Well, now that I know you were a member of a 'Packard family', things become clearer (just joking!).

    I admire many Packards, but they were late to the party with a postwar car (and even when they did one, it was still the pre-war car underneath...the 'bathtub' or 'pregnant elephant' models); they were last to the party with a V8 (inexcusable in their price class), and to go fro '51 to '54 in that price class with such little styling change and that old-fuddy-duddy high beltline...well, I'm not so sure I agree with your engineering assessment.

    They tried to play catch-up in '55, and the Torsion-Level provided a remarkable ride; best in the industry I've heard folks say and I agree it's smooth (I've ridden in several), but quality control was among the worst in the industry too, with many, many fit and finish issues and problems with rear axles, Ultramatic, and the V8 engine, right out of the box. An excellent book on this period is James Ward's "The Rise and Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company" which is available in my local library. It's the most unbiased reading on the subject I've seen, and was written largely from documents of that period located in the Studebaker National Museum, without the hindsight of years and wishful thinking to cloud realities.

    Bill P.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,961
    Also, not sure where the 'barbaric management' style concept came from; that is in direct contrast with everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, I've read. They had a thoroughly spoiled workforce up until the mid or late '50's...in fact, were paid hourly rates higher than the Big Three. Their plant was widely known as "America's Friendliest Factory", and in fact took extreme steps to avoid strikes, which ended up being part of the company's problem. Their ads show many, many two and three-generation teams of family members who worked in the plant.

    Perhaps the way they ended up South Bend production was harsh, true.

    If ever in South Bend, check out the brand-new Studebaker National Museum building and its collection, and Archives Center right next door. Truly impressive for a defunct auto maker (and in fact, truck maker until Dec. 1963).

    I always thought that even though they were smaller than AMC, they made more interesting cars right up 'til near the end (Gran Turismo Hawk, fiberglass Avanti, Lark Daytonas, sliding-roof wagons, pickups, big trucks with or without diesel, superchargers, three-speed automatics that could be shifted manually through three gears, disc brakes, full gauges, sun roofs, reclining seats, etc.)

    One last thing, in your assessment of 'Vettes of that period...my favorite 'Vette is a '62 with hardtop! Primitive in the way a '64 Studebaker Hawk might be considered, but I think better styling than the better-engineered Sting Rays!

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You want barbaric. I'll give you barbaric.

    How about this?

    Studebaker threw the entire Packard archives into the trash. :cry:

    Hey this is a great subject but let's not veer from topic, which is "Sports Cars of the 60s"

    I'm a Host, I'm supposed to set a good example about 'topic drift'. :P

    We can continue this discussion here if you'd like!

    PACKARDS
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    interesting stuff Bill. Have you read #377 yet? If so, let's meet over at the other topic, or if you wish, you can start one on Studebaker.

    best

    MrShiftright
    Host
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,961
    Another item about the original Studebaker Avanti that I think bears mentioning in this forum about '60's "Sports Cars"...it set 29 new stock car records at Bonneville under the direction of Andy Granatelli...including the American and National Closed Car Division records of the U.S. Auto Club for the five-and-ten-kilometer and five-and ten-mile standing start; and for the one-, five-, and ten-kilometer and one-, five-, and ten-mile flying start. In Oct. '63, Bill Burke set an E-Supercharged class record (147.36 mph) driving a blown Avanti. At the same time, Studebaker President Sherwood Egbert became the fastest American auto company president in history (Langworth feels he still holds that title) by personally driving an R3 Avanti to 168 mph at Bonneville.

    Bill P.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That's a muscle car though not a sports car :P If Andy had tried to turn at those speeds he'd still be out there.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,342
    50 years ago this month in March 1961 the Jaguar XK-E/E-type was first revealed at Geneva. It's hard to recall just how completely this daringly styled car blew away the automotive conventions of the era.

    Here's how it looked the next month at the International Auto Show in NY>

    image

    The E-Type was technically advanced with twin cam heads, 3 carbs, 4wheel disc brakes and IRS. In fact it was so technically advanced that Enzo Ferrari's sales chief told him they'd better get to work on matching it and eventually this resulted in the fabulous racer, the 250 GTO and the road-going 275 GTB which cribbed the entire front end of the Jag.

    There's no doubt that however advanced the E-Type's design was marginal, cooling systems, electrics and braking systems were maintenance nightmares and you had to pull the engine to change the clutch. However I was fortunate enough to drive a well-maintained '67 Series II (4.2 motor/all syncro trans) and I've never driven a nicer car, in fact I'm not sure there ever could be a car nicer to drive. I also doubt anyone will ever make a regular production sports car more exciting to look at.

    Happy 50th Anniversary, E-Type Jag!

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

  • martianmartian Member Posts: 220
    You are certainly correct-the E type was a nice looing car. But it was an engineering nightmare-the braking and cooling systems gave all kinds of troble, and the winshield had an annoying tendency to vibrate (a kluge fix was added-a bicycle-spoke like rod holding the top of the window frame to the dash! Add in unreliable Lucas electrics, and the car was a disaster
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    All automakers should have such disasters. :P

    The car's bugs didn't seem to slow down its popularity, sex appeal, current high values or the ambition of restorers, so what's not to like?

    Besides, modern fixes for all those bugaboos are now abundantly available.

    Even the 300SL Gullwing (a far better, and way more technically advanced car) couldn't match the impact the E-Type had on the automotive world. I doubt another car will ever equal the shock and awe of it in 1961.

    It looked *great*, it went *fast*, and the rest is history, yep. I think it was the only car to ever be put in the Museum of Modern Art in NY
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 56,994
    Not to mention, it was a bargain. It wasn't cheap by any means, but in bang for the buck, not much else compared. Milestone car for sure, amazing follow up to the XK120.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited May 2011
    They are a challenge to restore, that's for sure, but a pleasure to drive. Yes it'll be a long time before we see that level of "bang for the buck" again in a hi-performance car.

    The car also makes you realize how far the modern day Jaguar company has deviated from its origins.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    In very different ways from the E-Type Jag, the '65 Mustang, '86 Taurus, and '84 Dodge and Plymouth minivans also delivered shock and awe. All three resonated with the buying public way beyond expectations. Like the E-Type, each had weaknesses. However, their breakthrough configurations, coupled with competitive pricing, gave each of them a strong "gotta-have-it" appeal.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,641
    Yes it'll be a long time before we see that level of "bang for the buck" again in a hi-performance car.


    While I know you're not a fan, Shifty, the current 5.0 Mustang has gotten positive press from pretty much everyone, big power + handling for decent price.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited May 2011
    Yeah the 5.0 is a good bang for the buck but it's a low-prestige item, a dime a dozen, and rather poorly built and its not, of course a sports car. There's some "bang" but not BANG like the E-Type.

    I couldn't even put "Taurus" or "Minivan" or Mustang in the same universe. I mean, there may be categories of "bang" called *utility* or "value* but people went NUTS when the E-Type came out. I mean, they were wild, rhapsodic, beside themselves.

    Nobody ever swooned over a Taurus that I saw....polite applause from the back of the room, maybe.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2011
    Shock and awe, and swoon aren't quite the same. While I'd agree that people didn't swoon over the Taurus and Mopar minivans, I'd say they did swoon over the Mustang.

    I think the '49 Jaguar XK-120 was phenomenal in its day, in terms of styling, performance, technology and value for the money. One could argue that the XKE was the spiritual successor to the XK-120.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited May 2011
    I just dont' recall anywhere near the level of awe of the E-Type being generated by the Mustang 5.0. The reason people liked the 5.0 so much is because of the dismal Mustang II that preceded it I think. Besides all that, the 5.0 was a low-buck, low-tech car that many car enthusiasts would take a second look at. The 5.0 was all about the 5.0, and that's about it.

    I guess I just wanted to emphasis, in my own opinion, that no car EVER, before or since the E-Type, in the history of the automobile, has ever created such a stir, such desire and such praise.

    Perhaps this has now somewhat faded a bit, but history is, after all, "in the books" and we can look it up.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 233,006
    Hey....wait a minute!

    My Mustang II had a 5.0 :surprise:

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  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,641
    edited May 2011
    Well....a 4.9, actually, but Ford loved calling the 302 a "5.0".

    Just to be clear, I was talking about the 2011 with the new 'full' 5.0 l engine. Shifty, you might want to take one out for a test drive, the quality is way up, as is the fun factor compared to earlier Mustangs.

    But I won't argue that any Mustang generated the impact of the E-type.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2011
    I was referring to the '65 Mustang, as a follow-up to my citing the Mustang, not the 5.0, in applying the term shock and awe. I agree with you that the 5.0 didn't qualify, for the reasons you stated.

    While the '65 Mustang didn't feature new technology, it introduced original new styling, and a wide choice of configurations for varying needs, from trendy economy to high performance, all at an affordable price. It was aspirational, yet attainable. The result was a smash hit of historical proportions. The Mustang, more than any other model, was responsible for creating the pony car segment in the market.

    The most that could be said about the Fox platform 5.0, beginning in '83/'84, was that it was a breath of fresh air, after a period of dashed hopes for performance buffs. It announced that affordable high performance could co-exist with tne tightened emissions and safety regulations. The fact that the 5.0 used massaged old technology was disappointing to some (including you and me), but it hardly mattered to pony car buffs. In fact, it may have been a plus to many, because they were familiar with it. Ford successfully appealed to the intended market with the 5.0. It should also be noted, in evaluating the 5.0, that in North America the pony car market is considerably larger than the sports car market.

    Going back 10 years, the '55 Chevy also generated shock and awe when it hit the showrooms, in my estimation. It was a game changer in the "low price field." I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the '55 Chevy lifted spirits in America.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited May 2011
    Yep, the original '65 Mustang generated a lot of buzz, even among the general population, and certainly with the media, but of course not among "sports car enthusiasts", who were not much interested in anything except a Corvette or a foreign sports car.

    I had no idea you were referring to the new Mustang--I read the road tests of the Laguna Seca model, and it seems like a very impressive car indeed.

    But again, there's nowhere near the excitement among the general population that the E-Type elicited--that car excited people who didn't even care about cars.

    To be fair about it, I don't think we live in an age where that level of excitement about a mere car is even possible anymore.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Member Posts: 3,425
    "that no car EVER, before or since the E-Type, in the history of the automobile, has ever created such a stir, such desire and such praise. "

    I appreciate your assertion, but the fact is the '65 Mustang created more of a stir, desire & praise because it was significantly more affordable than the E type Lucas carrier.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited May 2011
    Perhaps in some ways, but not to technical people, or to dreamers, since a '65 Mustang was about as advanced as a 1935 Buick underneath the body. It was in my opinion, praised for its "value", its affordability, its great looks, not for what it could do or how it was built (it was built rather cheesily, to say the least, but it looked *great*).

    I just don't see the two cars in the same universe much less the same showroom. It's not the same market, and lets' face it, what is less attainable is by definition more desirable to those who cannot afford a thing. The Mustang was easily bought by a secretary or the common man. So it's more Model A than E-Type.

    But yeah, people were camping out at dealerships to see the new Mustang. It certainly drummed up curiosity and a *lot* of buyers.

    But you weren't going to go 150 mph in one, get onto a race track, or go around corners really fast, and you certainly weren't going to attract a trophy wife (or husband I guess :P )
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    We may have touched on this before, but in the 50s and 60s, the difference between a "sports car" and a regular passenger car in the USA was very dramatic, unlike today, when we have 4-door sport sedans that probably could have easily won LeMans in 1955!

    When you stepped out of dad's car into an MG or Jaguar or Alfa or ???, you stepped into an entirely different universe.....NOTHING was the same as in a regular passenger car, except a steering wheel and seats. The dash, the wheels, the engine, the body, everything was different, and solely dedicated to...well...sport.

    comfort? reliability? practicality? luggage space? BAH! simply "not the point of it all".

    The only reason it took a few years for Corvette to be called a "sports car" and why T-Bird and Mustang never were called that, was because Corvette didn't 'get it right' the first few years.

    The basics for a sports car were:

    bucket seats
    4-speed floor shift
    two seats or 2+2
    wire or fancy wheels
    light weight
    excellent performance and handling (for the time)

    So Corvette didn't sort all that out until (starting in) 1956 and gradually getting the braking and handling required to do something other than go fast in a straight line.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Member Posts: 3,425
    Thus a '63 Fiat 1500 Spider would be a sports car while the 63 Fiat 1200 Spider would be an Italian T Bird?

    My '66 Ford Mustang GT Coupe devalues your opinion of 1st generation Stangs so we are not always in agreement. Shelbys?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited May 2011
    Point taken but your very nice car is not a sports car (in stock form it would not be very happy on a race track) and a Shelby is not a '65 showroom Mustang. So really, the Mustang "buzz" wasn't about performance --it was a "bang for the buck" thing.

    I think the Shelby phenomenon edged closer to the sportscar crowd, but really the Shelby 350 was a rather brutal car---sophisticated, it was not. It's not like you put on your string gloves and leather Italian driving shoes. More like a cowboy hat and a cigar.

    Ah, the 1960s....when race drivers were fat and their tires were thin!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Crackpipe or not, this overpriced, failed attempt at greatness can be added to the list for purposes of this topic. I can't imagine who would even cough up 25 large for this one, but it'll be interesting to see what it actually sells for.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The Mangusta is an odd duck in the sports car world---it has a lot of eye appeal, so a person is drawn to it. Then the idea of not having to deal with an exotic, french-poodle foreign engine of the 60s is also attractive--"gee, I could rebuild that myself with parts from Home Depot!".

    But then comes the sobering cold shower of reality. Trim pieces? Wheels? A steering wheel?----where on earth is THAT coming from and how much will I have to pay for it?

    Then there's the problem of "do I really want to drive this thing?" Here we have a honkin' 300HP in the same chassis as a Detomaso Vallelunga---be afraid, be very afraid.

    Would I like to take this car out for a straight line burn? Yes! Would I like to own it? No!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2011
    In addition to the issues you mentioned, I think the other factor that makes the Mangusta virtually worthless is that very few people are aware of its existence. Whom are you going to impress with it? And let's be truthful about it, you wouldn't pay a premium price just to impress yourself.

    As for straight line acceleration, you can buy this level or performance for less elsewhere. This car does have an exotic sounding name, though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well it would have limited crowd appeal as in: "What IS that, anyway?" but honestly, you could get more attention with a Nash Metropolitan, and possibly better handling :P (that was a joke).
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,961
    It looked *great*, it went *fast*, and the rest is history, yep. I think it was the only car to ever be put in the Museum of Modern Art in NY

    There is a Studebaker Avanti in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited September 2011
    The Avanti isn't a sports car however. More typically a "GT" type of car.

    Loewy was born in Paris actually. The French are fond of him.

    Are you sure you don't mean the Industrial Design exhibit at the Louvre (temporary exhibit)?
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