Wednesday September 21, 2016
Written by Andy Roberts.
Do you dread the thought of leaking hoods and malfunctioning heaters as autumn approaches? Then have no fear of frost or damp as we present a list of our Top Ten 4-Seater Coupes!
Ford Capri Injection 1981 - 1986: An object lesson in how to end production of a long-running model with flair, the Capri Injection offered a 2.8-litre V6 engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, lowered suspension and alloy wheels. More importantly (except possibly to provincial boy racers) it had a top speed of 130 mph and was, quite simply, a truly great RWD coupe.
VW Karmann Ghia Type 34 1961 - 1969: This VW may be extending the definition of ‘4-seater’ to its absolute limit – any rear seat passengers will have to be very uncomplaining – but Ghia’s coachwork has an angular beauty that is entirely its own. For far too long the Type 34 has been overshadowed by the Type 1 but it is a splendid car in its own right.
Vauxhall Cavalier Sports Hatch 1978 - 1981: Luton’ 3 door coupe was available in either 1.6 or (far more desirable) 110 mph 2.0 GLS trim. Wayne Cherry’s styling lent itself extremely well to a hatchback treatment. Worth seeking out, especially as in its heyday the GLS was seen by many drivers as more refined and better handling than its Capri 2.0S Mk. III rival.
Sunbeam Rapier ‘Audax’ 1955 - 1967: A coupe that is positively made for cravats, Brylcreem (chaps), headscarves (chappesses) and jauntiness in general. The original Series 1 versions are now very rare and the 1965-1967 Series V, with its 1,725cc engine, is possibly the best-suited to modern traffic but any Rapier comes with a rally pedigree and lashings of charm.
Datsun 240K Skyline Coupe C210 1977 - 1981: Lavishly equipped, with electric windows, electronic ignition and PAS as standard, the 240K boasts distinctly ‘Japanese-American’ pillarless styling. It was available with a five-speed manual box but, as a long distance cruiser, the Skyline is probably best suited to automatic transmission. An off-beat alternative to the Scimitar GTE?
Alfa Romeo Alfasud Sprint 1976 - 1983: Not terribly practical (the rear seats did not fold down) and comparatively expensive in the UK but then when did any Alfa Romeo enthusiast bother about such trivial details? Giorgetto Giugiaro’s coachwork was an aesthetic triumph and the flat-four engine positively demands to be driven. In short – a beautifully honed gem of a car.
Lancia Beta HPE 1975 – 1984: Handsome – subject though these matters are – versatile, with genuine seating for a quartet of reasonably sized adults and, in 2-Litre form, fast. The HPE offered a great deal to the ‘discerning motorist’. The rare survivors continue to do so, although you would be hard-pressed to find many examples of the supercharged Volumex model still on the road.
Audi 100 C1 Coupe S 1970 - 1976: Before the debut of the Quattro in 1981, this was the coupe that was automatically associated with the Audi badge. The lines were reminiscent of the Aston Martin DBS and the Coupe S had an understated appeal to the sort of motorist who craved high standards – and who regarded the Triumph Stag as rather flashy.
Fiat 124 Coupe 1967 - 1975: Sometimes mistaken for a miniature Ferrari (understandable as it was styled by the man who devised the coachwork for the 250 GT ‘Bonaro’, the 124 may have a biodegradable body but it is swift, lithe and an overall delight to drive. After experiencing the Fiat, many a coupe will feel like a tank by comparison.
Jaguar XJ6/XJ12C 1975 – 1978: Take all that is wondrous about the XJ12 Series 2 – together with its drawbacks, such as the XJ12’s vast thirst and certain reliability issues - and then turn that near-iconic shape into a two-door coupe. The result was a car fit to compete with the Rolls Royce Corniche, at a fraction of the price.