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Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter
12/10/07 1:09 p.m.

My top pics for classics that are really pretty good little cars, but get no respect:

E21 BMW 320i - Sandwiched between the 2002 and E30 325, it tends to suffer in comparison to either, but I love 'em. More comfortable and easier to live with than a 2002, better looking and more tossable than the 325. TR7 Spider - OK, the first TR7s were pretty doggy, but later ones actually sorted out most of the problems and became pretty good little sports cars. Rubber Bumper B - they get no love, but they've got better ergonomics than any B, post '76 actually handle pretty well thanks to a rear sway bar, and they definitely work better for modern bump-and-go traffic.

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 GRM+ Memberand None
12/10/07 7:44 p.m.

Good start! I'd also nominate the '80-'83 Toyota Corolla TE72 and AE71. They share essentially the same floorpan and suspension design as the acclaimed AE86 Corolla GT-S, so performance parts and backdating opportunities abound. While the 3T-C won't set the world afire, it is a very stout and torquey unit which takes to tuning pretty well, with or without boost. The other engine they came with (the 4A-C) is crying out for a bolt-in 4A-G swap. This generation also came in six bodystyles, all fairly boxy, but with either square or dual round headlights, so everyone can find a pleasing aesthetic. Prices are still low, as they aren't the AE86 and they are old enough to be at the low part of the depreciation curve.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA None
12/10/07 8:06 p.m.

I'll nominate the SAAB 99/900 series. Currently they're getting some love in GRM. I guarantee that series is the only place the 99 is getting any appreciation except for the extremely occasional Practical Classics article.

The 16-valve motor can put out ridiculous amounts of horsepower. Just turn up the boost and increase the intercooler size. The transmissions are the liniting factor but these can be modded for increased output.

A whole 900 drivetrain can be shoehorned into a 99. Those cars have less overhang and are lighter to boot.

Even the handling can be improved greatly by those patient enough to tackle it. The cars are ridiculously tough (except the trannies) so the efforet is not only worth it, the result will be around for a long time.

By the way. Why is the 99 project in GRM and not over here? After all, Per is building a vintage rally car with some modern safety updates.

Jerry From LA

Reunite Pangea!

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/10/07 8:19 p.m.

AE86, I keep thinking of all the sweet things I could do with an old RWD Corolla wagon:

It'd be cruel to drive in in the snow and ice, though.

ddavidv
ddavidv None
12/11/07 4:16 p.m.

Sunbeam Alpines. Forever stuck in the shadow of the Tiger, yet not a bad car on it's own.

Fiat 850s, the forgotten rear engine Fiat. Not as cute as a 500/600, not as powerful as a 124, but every bit as sporty as a Spridget/Spitfire.

Fiat 124 sport coupes. With a decent dealer network they could have competed better with the 2002 and 510.

Ford Capri (sorry, can't bring myself to call them Mercurys). Yeah, the German ones. Why are Cortinas more collectible???

KaptKaos
KaptKaos None
12/11/07 4:39 p.m.

ddavidv - man you and I are on the same wavelength. I have owned an 850 Spyder (wish I never sold it), lust for a 124 Coupe and have a 74 Capri sitting in my driveway as my next project.

I think the Fiat 128 should be on the list, as well as the Porsche 914. While the 914 has a good following, the ass-dragger crowd turns their noses up at the 914. MK1 Sciroccos should be on the list too.

ddavidv
ddavidv None
12/12/07 6:34 a.m.

I think it's bias. :) I had an 850 Spider (pic on my web site) and a couple 124 coupes. I drove a 124 CC coupe in high school, parked in a field of Camaros and Monte Carlos. I owned a Mk1 Capri for awhile, but never did anything with it, and still regret selling it. I think the problem with the 914 is, for the money they cost to buy and maintain, you can get more car. I have tried to like the 914, but there are too many other cars I'd rather have. Never owned a Scirocco. Did have a ton of fun driving an early German built Rabbit delivery car for a year though. ;)

cherokee
cherokee
12/12/07 9:07 a.m.

I know I have a bias, but I like the Opel GT. And am getting started on my 850 Spider. I think they are good cars just never got popular like MG's and Triumphs did.

rconlon
rconlon None
12/12/07 3:20 p.m.

I owned two mid 70's Honda Civics. The CVCC 5 speed was sporty and very robust at a budget price. I bet a nice one would gather a lot of interest at a car show.

Cheers Ron

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 GRM+ Memberand None
12/12/07 4:40 p.m.

Hmmm...I am too young to remember when these car were new, but my dad had a progression of roadracing cars; a two-stroke Saab GT850, a slow 998 Mini, a faaaast 1275 Mini, and then a built 850 Spider. I hear all kinds of fond stories about the Saab and the Minis, but none about the Spider. I'm not sure what that means, except that maybe the Fiat is an aquired taste.

Here's a nice Toyota wagon for inspiration:

Although my fantasies are more often about the liftback, lowered with some fat tires:

Jack
Jack None
12/12/07 11:38 p.m.

Tim,

You mentioned the TR7. I suggest the TR8. Much like the Sunbeam Tiger or Cobra (to a lesser extent) The TR8 is a british sports car with an american V8. Plus, less than 3,000 were built. The TR8 should be worth far more than it is.

Jack

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
12/14/07 5:49 p.m.

I have two 99s...the stocker 'Garfield' is migrating to Classic Motorsports while the rally car, 'Odie' is staying at GRM. Why? Because hardcore stage rally isn't really the scene for Classic Motorsports.

Plans for Garfield are essentially 'fix and drive' which is what a lot of our readers do with the forgotten and underappreciated classics.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/15/07 12:41 a.m.

How about the earliest VW Rabbits? They're as old as a rubber-bumper MGB.

Coupefan
Coupefan
12/15/07 9:24 a.m.

Also a fan of the Fiat 124 Sport Coupe. I believe if the factory had given a damn, it would have mounted quite an offensive to the Datsun 510, BMW 2002 and Alfa GTVs. The history books might have read a little different today regarding the 2.5 Challenge.

Luke
Luke
12/15/07 6:45 p.m.

^ That's a rad BC!

I'd like to add the Alfa GTV 2.0 (not the GTV6) and E28 Bimmers to the list.

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand None
12/15/07 7:31 p.m.

David, while the original Rabbits are cool, the first Scirocco is the real classic. So pretty.

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 GRM+ Memberand None
12/17/07 8:43 p.m.

Luke, I think the car you are referring to is the one known in the States as the "Alfetta GT"...I presume you are talking about the same bodystyle as the GTV6, only with the four cylinder? When you say GTV 2.0, I think GTV 2000 (as in late big-engined car in the classic Gulia coupe line) which is great classic, but seems to be universally recognized as great. The Alfetta GT is certainly underappreciated in the shadow of the GTV6....the Italian ape driving position and the vague shift action of the transaxle take some getting used to, but they are pretty nicely balanced!

racerdave600
racerdave600
12/18/07 12:18 p.m.

Of course to make it more confusing, the Alfetta GT was also known as a GTV and a Sprint Veloce during its lifespan. It might be easier to just go by its series number, only I can't remember what it is off the top of my head!

Anyway, I owned a version of all 3. I liked them, but the GTV6 is a much better car. For the money I'd go for the 6 without question.

I'd also second the 124 Coupe. A very nice car to drive, and rated ahead of the 240Z in driving dynamics by most magazines when new. Too bad they're so rare now.

Luke
Luke
12/24/07 2:29 a.m.

Thanks for clearing that up guys, the Alfetta GT is indeed the car I was referring to.

Here's another, the Fiat 126! Basically a square and ugly lookin' 500 (although it wasn't available in the 'States.)

Coupefan
Coupefan
12/24/07 10:15 a.m.

My grandfather had a Fiat 126. I can still remember it, over thirty years later. A light blue, very spartan form of transportation. He lived on a steep road and would always park it facing downhill. Rolling it downhill and disengaging the clutch was his preferred method of starting it. After he passed away, it sat around for a few years. I think my grandmother eventually gave to one of my cousins. Thanks for the memories. And Merry Christmas.

Luke
Luke
12/25/07 12:09 a.m.

Thanks for sharing. I've just gone and bought a 126 myself (see Reader's Rides in the GRM forum), and I've spent the last few hours trying to get the damn thing to start. My carburettor fiddling seems to make matters worse, but it'll be coming off soon for a rebuild anyway. Unfortunately I don't have the room to try a rolling start :)

bravenrace
bravenrace
1/2/08 11:35 a.m.

TVR 2500M. I've got one and it's one heck of a car!

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
1/2/08 11:52 a.m.

I've always been a sucker for TVRs myself.

Shinsen774
Shinsen774 Reader
5/18/08 5:17 p.m.

I saw a 1982 VW Rabbit GTI yesterday that looked geat! I almost bought one back in 1982, but it was just a little out of my price range at the time, right out of college.

purplepeopleeater
purplepeopleeater New Reader
5/21/08 7:18 a.m.

Had a Fiat 850 Sport Coupe that I loved, Konis, a camber compensator & 10mm bigger tires. Unfortuneately when a 4-door T-Bird drove me into a Cougar it became the filling of a bologna sandwich. Alex

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