Wednesday November 8, 2017
With Autumn upon us, this is the time of year when the thoughts of even the hardiest sports car driver often turn to words such as ‘warmth’ or at least ‘not being really cold’.
Hence my not at all definitive but very eclectic choice of -
Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce 105-Series
In my not at all biased opinion, one of the most beautiful vehicles of all time, even if any Alfa Romeo of that era is not exactly the most practical of cars for this time of year in the UK.
The styling was by Giorgetto Giugiaro, power was from Alfa’s renowned twin-cam engine and although in 1967 import duties originally raised its price to near Jaguar E-Type levels, devotees believed it was worth every £sd.
BMW 2000-02/2002 Touring
In 1971, BMW combined the famed abilities of their 1968 2002 with a hatchback body and the result was one of the finest Q-cars on the market, particularly in Tii – ‘touring international injected’ - guise.
The brochure did not exaggerate when it promised the driver ‘, handling, manoeuvrability, acceleration, and youthful performance’
Ford Capri 3.0 Litre Ghia Mk. II
Countless readers will have their preferred version of the Capri and mine is the second-generation flagship. With the Mk. II the Ghia badge now denoted the range-topper and there is something quintessentially late 1970s executive about its appeal, from the velour trim to the vinyl-covered roof and when fitted with automatic transmission, the Capri is the ideal motorway cruiser.
You can even imagine yourself as one William Andrew Phillip Bodie en route to reporting yet another successful mission for CI5.
Our familiarity with the MGB often masks just how remarkable the GT would have seemed to visitors at the 1965 Earls Court Motor Show – a 2+2 three-door coupe with a Pininfarina styling that accentuated rather than marred the Roadster’s famously elegant lines.
And at a price just £998 8s 9d, it would be a false economy not to invest another £14 16s 1d in fitting your new MG with a heater.
Reliant Scimitar GT
To a degree, the GT is overshadowed by the GTE estate but its importance to the Reliant marque’s image cannot be overstated.
The body, courtesy of Ogle, was originally intended for a facelifted Daimler SP250 ‘Dart’, a move frowned upon by Jaguar’s management. The first examples appeared in 1964 and were powered by the engine from the Zodiac Mk. III but from 1966 onwards the GT was available with Ford’s ‘Essex’ V6 engine.
In the words of Autocar, this was a ‘businessman’s express coupe for travelling far and very fast’.
Rover 800 Coupe
When did you last seen one of these on the road? The 800 Coupe was one of the stars of the 1991 Motor Show and provided post-Yuppie transport for the corporate type who could not quite run to a Jaguar XJS.
It was imposing, luxurious, beautifully finished and should, if the fates were kinder, have stood a chance in its intended US market.
Sunbeam Rapier ‘Arrow’
A Sunbeam that is celebrating its 50th birthday this year with Roy Axe coachwork that bore quite a similarity to the Plymouth Barracuda, although this was coincidental.
The last generation of Rapiers were smart, very well-equipped and slightly more discrete than a certain future Dagenham rival.
The H120 version with its 1,725cc power plant tuned by Holbay Engineering is probably the most desirable version, giving a top speed of nearly 110 mph.
Toyota Crown Custom Coupe MS75
If you are going to be comfortable during the colder months of the year, why not go the whole way with the sheer decadence of a Crown Custom Coupe?
The 1971 – 1974 MS75 was ultra stylish and if it was not especially swift the central locking, two cigar lighters, electric back windows, FM/AM radio and 8 track cassette player with controls front and rear more than compensated.
Especially as the early 1970s was an era in which a Hillman Avenger could be specified with a fixed passenger seat…
Vauxhall Firenza Sport SL Coupe
Of all the many versions of Vauxhall’s Capri rival, this is my Firenza of choice, not least because it looks though it has strayed off the set of a late-period ITC adventure.
No 1971-vintage self-respecting sales rep who travelled in a cloud of aftershave and hairspray would have opted for the entry-level 1,256cc De Luxe, as only the 2.3-litre engine and an Aqua Starmist paint finish would establish his credentials as a (junior) member of the jet set.
Volkswagen Scirocco Mk. 1
Although not the first FWD car to wear the VW badge – that distinction goes to the K70 saloon – it is sometimes forgotten that the Scirocco predated the original Golf by several months.
In 1974 its Giorgetto Giugiaro styling was in marked contrast to the outgoing Karmann Ghia and for many enthusiasts, the ultimate version has to be the Storm.
And it must be said that a Scirocco fitted with a body-coloured front spoiler, leather seats and multi-spoke alloy wheels has to be one of the most desirable coupes of 1979.