330 GT Registry
THERE was a time when a gentleman’s carriage was made purely for joy — to transport him and his most intimate friends along streets and boulevards; down the routes nationale and through the mountains to Juan Les Pins. Now most people drive company Cortinas and only dream of lounging in the Lamborghini as the lady of the day wonders where all the traffic comes from; and what all those people are doing scurrying around in their little tin boxes. Leave them behind at the traffic lights and tell her how Enzo Ferrari, or was it Ettore Bugatti, wouldn’t fit a fan to his first cars: “If the traffic is heavy and the engine is hot, you stop for an aperitif: and when the traffic is gone, you go. A Ferrari (or Bugatti?) is for driving, not for standing still.” No matter whether it was a Ferrari or Bugatti, exotic cars are all the same: they make you feel as though you are a cut above ordinary.
We’ve all dreamed of a life with Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Astons or perhaps a Maserati. But few are those who can afford a brand-new one; the rest of us have to sit and sulk and remember that it was possible to drive off in a Daytona for less than £4,000 at the time of the oil crisis five years ago. What’s a Daytona worth now? Something like five times as much...if only we’d bought one then. True, you might still get one for £10,000, but you would only be buying yourself the right to enormous repair bills in the future. You can’t economise on an exotic, unless you are a highly-skilled engineer, and even then spare parts can be horrendously expensive. Therefore, the prices quoted in our chart are for good to average examples. Anything less spells trouble unless you’re on to the bargain of a lifetime; anything more should take you into the concours class. There’s another thing to remember about buying a used exotic: they are not like other cars — superficial corrosion and defects you can see are unimportant; deduct them from the purchase price. But hidden defects, particularly mechanical, can cost a fortune and I will detail the least obvious pitfalls here. For example, replacing the rusty sills on a Ferrari Dino costs a lot less than rebuilding the engine, the opposite to the normal criteria applied when buying a used car.
There’s hardly anything worth having for less than £3,000 either. You might get yourself an early Jensen Interceptor or an ancient E type at that price, but you will be asking for trouble. Even so, you can get some quite decent dream cars for less than £4,000, so let’s set that figure as our first rule of thumb. What can you buy for up to £4,000 that offers you the same escape from reality as a new Lambo and will not spend all its time in the repair shop: a car which can take you to the golf club, on holiday or even to work?
There is the Jaguar E type for a start; then there’s the Astons DB4, 5 or 6, a Porsche 911 from about 1970 and a Jensen a couple of years younger, plus a Gordon Keeble. You might be able to find a Fiat Dino, an AC 428 or a Maserati Mistrale; but the early Lamborghinis are the greatest of them all, providing you can afford the astronomical running costs. Later versions of these cars occupy the next bracket, up to £6000; and unlikely though it is, you might just land yourself a decent Ferrari Dino 246; more likely a BMW 3.OCSL, a Citroen SM or more practically an Alfa Romeo Montreal. Without a doubt the best buys in this bracket are the later Jensens with the FF as an outstanding bargain at around £4500. If you can stretch to between £6000 and £10,000 (you can actually buy these cars on hire purchase or lease them, you know), you’re looking at some real machinery: the most beautiful Dino 246 shouldn’t cost more than £9000, but would face competition from the under rated Maserati Bora, Lamborghini Espada, Miura or Jarama, the Jaguar XJC 5.3 or XJ-S. Alternatively, you could take off in a Ferrari 365GT4 2 plus 2 if your lady has several suitcases, but if you want reliability and a slightly sporty image you could purchase a Mercedes 350SL.
What do you look for when buying one of these cars? You must remember that repair bills tend to be related to the current new price of the vehicle rather than the price you might pay for it; and because it is a secondhand car it needs looking after very carefully if it is not to prove outrageously expensive. With a Dino 246, for instance, you might think in terms of spending £250 for a routine service. Actually, routine service is some thing of a misnomer with an exotic car. There’s no such thing... there’s always something extra which needs doing. All we can give you in our chart is a rough guide to what you might be letting yourself in for every 3000 miles or three or four months. Ideally, routine service for an exotic should extend to annual maintenance for the body, otherwise the investment will lose value at an alarming rate.
Starting at the bottom of our scale, the Jaguar E type is a remarkably reliable vehicle if it is kept carefully. Rampant rust is the major problem. The roadster is by far the most valuable of the three body styles: open, two-seater fixed head coupe, and 2 plus 2; and the 4.2-litre series 11 made between 1968 and 1971 likely to be the best in our lower price bracket, It is nearly as fast as the later V12, good examples of which hover either side of the £6000 category; besides, the series 11 costs less to run.
Aston Martin DB4s, 5s and 6s look wonderful and handle beautifully when they are in perfect condition; but few of those in the lower price ranges are. They are frequently afflicted with rust which attacks the outriggers and frames which support their lovely alloy bodies. As the ultimate bizarrity (if there is such a thing) you could be left with a magnificent set of alloy panels with nothing to support them. Parts are expensive and tyres and clutches last only 10,000 miles on examples driven in the manner in which these cars almost cry out for. Nevertheless, they are the only really exotic British cars and although many have been well looked after by enthusiasts, the chances of finding a cheap one are pretty remote.
In many ways, a Porsche made after 1969 is a better buy than an Aston. Beware of the exhaust system and heat exchangers, though. Between them, they cost £500 to replace and do not last all that long. In a similar way, when a Porsche does need spare parts, they can be very expensive. Running costs can be high, too, on the fuel injection versions, which really need a rolling road to set them up. Their handling is hardly in the Aston class either.
Jensens are as solid as they look. They have a really heavy chassis and their body is not bad. Watch the dampers on early models: they were ancient Armstrongs which have a limited life and are expensive to replace now that few cars use them. Jensens are generally prone to excess underbonnet heat, so close attention should be paid to hoses and the like when servicing. Don’t be put off by a peculiarity known as axle steer. Some secondhand Jensens may have tyres worn to quite different tread depths; this can cause the limited slip differential to come into operation when it shouldn’t, with alarming results. Matching the tyre circumferences can often cure this. But don’t consider a Jensen if you want to carry anybody of any stature in your back seat; look for a Gordon Keebie or an Iso Rivolta. They share the same mechanical attributes as the Jensen with more useable space. If you are the huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ type, you don’t even have to remove your hat when sitting in the Keeble, there’s so much headroom. You’ll have to get on the bandwagon fast, though. Not much more than a year ago, you could have had a beauty for £2000; now people have caught on and they have doubled in value.
The Maserati Mistrale suffers from similar problems to those of the fuel injected Aston Martins and the people who can deal with them in Britain are few; a rolling road is a must for a Mistrale, although perhaps there’s more hope for owners as MOT garages are having to install such equipment now. But anybody who has ever seen a Mistrale — guess where Jensen got that back window? — could not fail to forgive it for not being practical. It’s a dream car that should not be exposed to the harsh reality of salty roads and stop-start traffic.
The Fiat Dino is a bit of a mirage too. It is a super car, but the chances of finding one that is not a rust-ravished wreck are as likely as finding water in the Sahara. Like practically every exotic car they will not tolerate anything other than the gent- test treatment when starting from cold. Only Jaguars, Jensens and those powered-by-Ford have really tough engines and transmission.
Don’t despair, though, if you have less than £4000 to spend on your dream car. There is one which is terribly under valued: the Lamborghini 350 or 400GT. The 350GT made between 1964 and 1965 was a jewel of a machine; it has a sweet engine and handled beautifully. The longer wheelbase 400 that followed until 1968 was nearly as good, and today both classics are appreciated by only a few. If you can find such an early Lambo in really good condition it is worth busting the bank, providing there will be a day when you can afford the astronomical cost of running it.
Otherwise, you could do what many people have done over the past few years: buy a used exotic car, keep it in the garage most of the time, and sell it after a year or two when the price has risen sufficiently. Providing the car does not stand too long, and the conditions in which it is stored are good, you should not lose money — but do not kid yourself into thinking you are making a fortune. Only the AC Cobra (I bought one for £1400 in 1967 and you’re into £35,000 for one now), Ferrari Daytona and Jaguar E type have appreciated at such a rate in recent years that they would have been a better investment than a unit trust. Astons are showing amazing short-term gains, however, so perhaps others will follow suit, although viewed as a long-term investment they have, almost without exception, kept pace only with the interest you would have received from a bank.
The Fiat 130 coupe looks like a good investment at the moment at somewhere around £4000. It is such a good- looking car that it is bound to start pulling in the customers soon, say specialist dealers such as Adrian Hamilton who runs Duncan Hamilton cars at Bagshot, the firm started by his father, the famous racing driver of the 1950s. That’s the good side of the Fiat; as with all cars there is a problem side. They need meticulous servicing like almost any other exotic car and suffer terribly if they do not get it — and because the 130 coupe has been relatively underpriced, it may have fallen into unsympathetic hands.
The early Ferrari Dino has frequently suffered a similar fate. A car dealer from Bristol told me the tale of a 1971 246. ‘When I first saw the Dino, it had been hammered for 60,000 miles,’ the dealer said. ‘The exhaust system had fallen off, the engine was misfiring, and the gear-change was terrible. All the body was corroded and the bumpers were dropping off. It was a pitiful sight and the car was only five years old. But it was one of the most beautiful Ferraris made in my opinion and I paid top ‘book’ price for it— £2250. We had her up on the ramp and got the engine going quite well, goodness knows how — although I suppose that £150-worth of exhaust system helped. By then all the local dealers had spotted her and I eventually parted with her for £2950. The dealer who bought her made a few hundred and eventually somebody did it up and sold it for £5000. It’s always the same with the exotics. You can throw Glass’s Guide out of the window. That Dino fetched well above retail (at the time) because of the work that had gone into it; and I paid more than I ought to have done because I reckoned I was in a rising market. Buying a used exotic is like putting money on the horses; you’ve got to back your hunches. The dealers are like the bookmakers; they always make a percentage; the punter has to be really lucky to win.’
Madly fluctuating values aside, that’s the 246 Dino. As frangible as any Ferrari and as prone to corrosion as any Fiat. The 1970 Maserati Ghibli that falls into our £6000 category is much the same, except for one alarming fault. The anti-tramp bars on the back suspension are likely to snap. Otherwise the engine and running gear are quite durable.
You cannot say the same for the BMW 3.0CSL. Their engines need rebuilding every 45,000 miles or so because of the camshaft design, a weakness shared with the Ferrari 330GT. Generally, twin cam engines last a good deal longer. The body on this BMW is beautifully made, but the ultra-lightweight panels are easily damaged. The fuel injection is very difficult to adjust — particularly the cold start setting — so it is essential to have a good garage to maintain the car.
The Lamborghini Urraco — you can get a very early one for less than £6000— poses bigger headaches. It is the Italian firm’s cheapest jewel of recent years, but needs attention every bit as skilled as its V12 sisters demand. Head gaskets need replacing at between 15,000 and 18,000 miles, a major job which means taking the engine out and this frequently turns into a complete overhaul costing four figures. Differentials can give problems on the Urraco, too, and the cost of parts is high; a steering rack runs to £450, for instance. The rear suspension (of similar design to that in Ferraris) needs meticulous servicing: unless the bottom wishbone pivot is not stripped and repacked with grease very time the car goes in, the whole rear end can seize and collapse. The danger sign when buying such a car is near-solid rear suspension. The parts needed to rectify such a condition cost £100 alone.., but what a car! Like the Maserati Mistrale, you could forgive it anything.
The Citroen SM is another exquisite machine but it can land you with similar financial problems. The bottom timing chain is liable to break on the early models with disastrous results for the engine — and the modification which alleviates this condition costs a fortune. It really pays to steer well clear of an SM if it is an early model, despite its long list of attributes.
A far more practical car for the same sort of money — around £4000 — is a three-year-old Alfa Romeo Montreal. Its biggest problem is blown head gaskets, and engine spares can be difficult to obtain. Other drawbacks include a rather soft rear suspension, poor paintwork and a fuel injection system that is expensive to set up and repair.
The Maserati Merak suffers from the same defect as the Citroen SM, with its similar engine, and big Lamborghinis can be just as problematical as the cut-price Urraco. The price range on Espadas is as wide as their production life has been long: from £4000 to £10,000. Early Espadas suffered from torn steering box mountings; timing chains need changing at 15,000 miles; second gear can be difficult to engage from cold and the clutch clearance is critical to its life. Parts are no problem, except in price, as with the Miura, Jarama and Islero. The later the Miura the better; the early ones made between 1966 and 1971 were really rather wild. The later Urracos with the three-litre engine, which fall into the £10,000 price bracket, are better buys than the earlier ones, but are as scarce as 1975 claret on supermarket shelves.
In the same way, a Merak can give you the taste for a Bora, although not many people have laid these ones down. The big Maser is somehow rather unfashionable although it really goes and is more reliable than the older Meraks, which cost the same secondhand, anyway.
The equally-muscular DBS is much like other Astons, except when it comes to driving it; then it reveals its heavyweight character. The 911S and Carrera should pose no particular problems not associated with other Porsches; if they were made after 1973 they have wonderful galvanised underbellies to resist rust. If you suspect that Porsches might have tricky handling, you should try a de Tomaso. The Mangusta is a real handful in inexperienced hands and if you lose a Pantera, it is a question of saying Goodbye and wishing yourself Good Luck. They also have an odd way of tuning themselves into your conversations —the frequency of the engine vibrations can scramble all vocal communications with your mate, but what a buzz box! Watch their rear wheel arches (a vital structural component) for runaway rust though. One of the exotica in this higher-priced bracket which doesn’t suffer from undue tin worm is the Jaguar. The XJC 5.3 coupe and the XJ-S are super cars providing you look after the dozen-and-a-half inaccessible hoses on their magnificent V12 engines and make sure the head gaskets are good. Don’t listen to Jaguar-knockers, they’re heading for stardom.
The Mercedes 350SL is a safe bet too, providing it is not an early, high-mileage, model. Those have a tendency to snap their transmission bands. Timing chain tensioners and camshafts can give trouble at higher mileages, too. The only real trouble about the bulbous Merc is that it is so common, quite unlike the Monteverdi from Switzerland. This crude exotic produced in the back of a BMW garage can be quite a challenge when it comes to servicing. On one model you have to take the engine out to change the battery and on another the electrical development work consisted of simply fitting progressively bigger fuses until they stopped blowing! Nevertheless, the Monteverdi is a very fast, and strong, car. It’s just details such as this that can be a problem.
If you really want to save yourself such trouble and a lot of money at the same time, it is worthwhile availing yourself of the services of somebody like Steve Brazier of Stephen Victor Garages, Clapham Old Town, South London. He can check your enchanting exotic in four or five hours for about £40, which must be one of the few bargains in this field when you consider the frighteningly expensive cost of some of the less obvious faults we have listed.
The only problems associated with insurance for these cars is the high price and the difficulty in getting an agreed valuation; providing you have a good record and were born in the British Isles, that is. And there is surprisingly little difficulty in finding the money to buy one! Various firms run schemes whereby you can lease an exotic car, paying eight monthly sums in advance; buy it on hire purchase with a deposit of one-third and the balance over two years (one third down and three years to pay if you are VAT-registered); that is providing you have the right status/age/background! and banker’s reference. There is no limit to the size of the advance, as there seems no limit on the value men are liable to put on the cars of their dreams. The prices in our chart are averages taken from recent sales. There’s no such thing as a price structure in the exotic car field; the values of many of these cars are only established when several people have actually paid that amount for them.
|AC 428 coupe. £4000—£7000. 7-litre V8, 135mph, 6.2sec0—60, 12mpg, running costs moderate, apart from petrol, parts availability good, cost moderate. For: brute power, reliability. Against: rust, heavyweight Maserati Mistrale, noise. In brief; rarer than a Jensen, seven-litre models and drop-heads fetch more.|
Aston Martin DB4/5/6 saloon. £3000—£10,000, up to £18,500 for convertible. 3.7-litre/4-litre straight six, 145mph, 7sec 0—60, 16mpg, running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: Englishman’s Ferrari with better roadholding. Against: corrosion. Can consume clutches and tyres quite quickly. In brief: Twickers and tweeds, Vantage models even quicker, autos disappointing.
Aston Martin DBS and V8. £4000—£24,000. Aston 4-litre straight six or 5.4-litre V8. Six- cylinder performance slightly slower than DB, quicker with V8. V8 Vantage very fast, all V8s very thirsty. Running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: fast, strong. Against: really rather heavy, skinny tyres on six. In brief: great car if you don’t mind the weight and can afford the running. Automatic six disappointing.
Alfa Romeo Montreal. £3000—£5000. 2.6- litre V8, 132mph, 8sec 0—60, 17mpg, running costs high, parts availability mostly good, cost moderate. For: performance, Against: heavy
steering, blind spots. In brief: better than it looks.
BMW 3.0CSL. £4000—f5000. 3.2-litre straight six. 135mph, 7 sec 0—60, 22mpg, running costs moderate, parts availability
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (1969 model — one of the best). Approx £5000 depending on specification. Various V8s, approx 140mph, 6sec 0-60, 12mpg, depending on specification; typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost medium. For: rugged good looks, mind-boggling range of options. Against: not very exotic except in appearance. In brief: hoister’s favourite, ultimate pony car.
Citroen SM. £5000 2.6-litre V6, 137mph, 8.2sec 0—60, 22mpg, typical running costs moderate, parts availability fair, cost high. For: civilised super rider, aerodynamics. Against: overall appearance, reliability. In brief; you’ve gotta have something in the bank, franc. de Tomaso Mangusta. £7000. 4.7-litre/5-litre V8, 146mph, 7sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability, good mechanically, cost moderate. For: fantastic appearance. Against: lack of steering ability, half-finished development. In brief: the name means Mongoose, a well-known Cobra-eater. Watch it, or it might make a mistake and eat you, too.
de Tomaso Pantera. £7000—£10,000.5.7-litre V8, L version 158mph6.9sec0—60, 12mpg; GTS 170mph, 5.9sec 0—60, 10mpg, typical running costs high, plus annual body bills, parts availability good, cost reasonable. For: appearance, acceleration. Against: weird handling, needs constant attention to fight rust. In brief: the poor man’s Miura.
de Tomaso Deauville £7000. 5.8-litre V8, 140mph, 7sec 0-60, 12mpg; typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: practical performance except at high revs when engine may blow. Against: ticky-tacky finish. In brief: rare copy of an XJ6.
de Tomaso Longchamps, £7000. 5.8-litreV8, 150mph, 6sec 0-60, 13mpg; typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: as Deauville except shorter wheelbase makes it more exotic. Against: as Deauville. In brief: plagiarised 450SL. Chassis faster than the engine.
Facel Vega HK500. £1500 (poor, many are), up to £5000 (good). 6.3-litre V8, 132mph, 8.4sec 0—60, 11 mpg, typical running costs moderate except for petrol, parts availability scarce, some very expensive. For: fantastic Lady Penelope appearance, performance. Against: good, but expensive. For: performance. Against: psychedelic colour scheme, dainty body panels. Against: age, rust heavy controls, early models lack In brief: Hotel Negresco revisited.
Ferrari Dino 206GT. £4000—£5000. 2-litreV6. 142mph, 6.8sec 0—60, 14mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, very expensive. For: appearance, handling, alloy body panels. Against: obsolete left-hooker. In brief: the way up.
Ferrari Dino 246GT. £5000—£8000. 2.4-litre V6, 155mph, 7.5sec 0—60, 14mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: appearance, nice engine, handling and nature. Against: rust-prone, many examples badly treated, vague gearchange. In brief: lovely little classic.
Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Lusso. £25,000 (more or less depending on market trends). 2.9-litre V12, 150mph, 8seco-60, 14mpg; typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: fabulous appearance, wonderful car to drive. Against: nothing. In brief: classic of classics.
Ferrari 330GT. £3500—f5000. 4-litre V12, 152mph, 7.5sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For:
Colombo sound, performance, big back seat. Against: finish, bulk, driving position, cart springs, twin headlight model unpopular. In brief: under-rated, twin headlight models are quite good really.
Ferrari 365GT 2 plus 2. £8000. 4.4-litre V12, 146mph, 7.8sec 0—60, 11 mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: appearance, super-civilised. Against:
heavy, feeble clutch, watch it in the wet. In brief: svelte.
|Ferrari 365GT4 2 plus 2. £8000. 4.4-litre V12, 152mph, 7.1 sec 0—60, 10 mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: modern, practical, that noise. Against:|
harsh handling, heavy, thirsty. In brief: the Queen Mother of Modena.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (the car everybody except Ferrari calls the Daytona) £15,000—£20,000 4.4-litre V12, 174 mph, 5.9sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, costs high. For: performance, appearance. Against: can get you into trouble with speed limits! In brief: last and greatest of the front-engined GTs. Cannonball King.
Ferrari 500 Superfast. £15,000— £20,000. 4.9-litre V12, 170mph, 6.Ssec 0-60, 11 mpg; typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: exclusivity. Against: not so wild as a Daytona. In brief: greybeard GT, Enzo's favourite exotic.
Fiat Dino. £1000 (poor(, £3000 (good). 2-litre V6, 125mph, 9sec0—60, 16mpg, typical running costs high, especially on body, parts availability fair, cost high. For: practical performance. Against: rust, all left-hookers. In brief: poor man’s Ferrari Dino with chronic crumbling corrosion.
Fiat 2300S. £2000 if good. 2.3-litre straight six, 120 mph, 1 0.Ssec 0—60, 19mpg, typical running costs moderate, parts scarce but cheap (mostly in scrapyards). For: lithe, individual, designed by Lampredi. Against:
some see it just as a rusty, gadget-ridden Fiat. In brief: under-rated rust bucket.
Ford GT40 £35,000 (more or less depending on condition and history). 4.7 litre V8, approx 180mph, 4sec 0-60, 12mpg, depending on specification; typical running costs high, parts availability excellent, cost high (many are bespoke). For: fantastic road car, great investment. Against: rust problem. In brief: ultimate status symbol.
Gordon Keeble. £4000 good, cheaper if tatty. 5.3-litre V8, 138mph, 6.2sec 0—60, 16mpg, typical running costs moderate, parts availability good, cheap, except for bumpers and Ferrari 330 rear lights. For: headroom, reliability, comfort. Against: nothing to grouse about (aristocratic joke, titled chaps used to buy these cars), Pity about the peculiar plastic interior. In brief; rising asset, pretty good car.
Iso Grifo. £5000—£8000 if you can find one. 5.4-litre/7-litreV8, 150/160mph, 7.4sec0—60, 15mpg, typical running costs moderate, mechanical parts availability good. For: great appearance, stability, performance. Against: noisy. In brief; who cares if it has a lump of Detroit iron? It goes like a V12.
Iso Rivolta. £3000. 5.3-litre V8, 142mph, 9sec 0-60, 12mpg; typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: more practical than a Ferrari 330GT. Against: nobody knows what it is, if they find out they make jokes about its name. In brief: under-rated Italian Gordon Keeble.
Jaguar E type. £1500 poor, £5000 good (six-cylinder model). 3.8-litre/4.2-litre straight six, 150mph (early), around 130mph (later), 6.8sec 0—60, 17mpg, typical running costs moderate, parts availability good, cost expensive. For:
appearance, performance, reliability if well maintained. Against: rust, many mistreated. In brief: practical classic.
Jaguar E type series III. £3000—£7000. 5.3- litre V12, 146mph, 7.2sec0—60, 14mpg, typical running costs moderate except for petrol, parts availability good, expensive. For:
performance, reliability. Against: over-light powersteering, rust. In brief: smoothie chops.
Jaguar XJC. £6000—£8000. 5.3-litre V12, 144mph, 7.6sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs moderate except for petrol, parts availability good, expensive. For: rarity value, performance, durable, excellent handling, silent rider. Against: over-light power steering. In brief; grab one quickly, this Big Cat is about to take off.
Jaguar XJ-S. £8000 plus. 5.3-litre V12, 152mph, 6.8sec 0—60, 14mpg, typical running costs moderate except for petrol, parts availability excellent, expensive. For: overall performance, smoothness, handling, ride. Against: nothing (although some people don’t like its looks, goodness knows why). In brief:
super car, under-rated.
Jensen CV8. £3500. 6.2-litre V8, 130mph, 7.4sec 0-60, 15mpg; typical running costs low except for petrol, parts availability fair, cost fair. For: Man’s GT, auto as good as the manual. Against: odd styling. In brief: sweetcar, Mark III version is best.
Jensen Interceptor and FF. From £1850. 6.3- litre V8, 135mph, 7.8sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs moderate except for petrol, parts availability good, expensive. For: solid, reliable. Against: tank-like handling, back seats for the legless. In brief: FF is a bargain classic at around £3500. Convertibles up to £10,000. Lamborghini 350/400GT. £3000—£5000. 3.5/4-litre V12.350:145mph, 6.1 sec 0—60, 15mpg; 400: 156mph, 6sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs very high, parts scarce, cost high. For: everything except appearance, 350 is the best. Against: Britain’s balance of payments. In brief: raises more pulses than Sophia Loren, but could you afford either?
Lamborghini Espada. £5000 plus for a decent one. 4-litre V12, 155mph, 6.9sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs very high, parts availability good, but expensive. For: wonderful four-seater. Against: Bank managers. In brief: what a car if you can afford to get it out of the garage. Be wary of older examples.
Lamborghini Islero. £3000—£5000. 4-litre V12, 157mph, 5.9sec 0—60, typical running costs very high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: handling. Against: looks. In brief; bread-and-butter intermediate.
|Lamborghini Jarama. £7000—£8500. 4-litre V12, 162mph, 7.2sec 0—60, 11 mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: practical, ride, handling. Against: chunky, heavy to park.|
Lamborghini Miura. £8000 with variations as wild as the car. 4-litre V12, 178mph, 5sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs very high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: sheer excitement. Against: he-man handling. In brief: go for the later ones. Bull Market stuff. Lamborghini Urraco. £8000 (more of less depending on year). 2.5/3-litreV8, P250: l45mph,8.2seco—60, 17mpg; P300: 158mph, 6.2sec 0—60,14mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: superb handling and ride, forgiving nature, wonderful engine. Against: 2.5 not so good as 3.0. In brief: lovely lightweight Lambo.
Lancia Stratos £10,000 (more or less depending on condition, history, desire of seller to get rid of it). 2.4-litre V6, 145mph, 7sec 0-60, 16mpg; typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: soul-stirring road car, very exclusive. Against: cramped, nervous, rust-prone rally special. In brief:
wonderful for the few who fancy it.
Maserati 3500. £2000. 3.5-litre straight six, 127mph, 8.1 sec 0-60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability limited, cost high (it has a 12-plug head). For: the name, Italian Jaguar XK. Against: antiquated, nothing like so good as its contemporary racing cars. In brief: poor relation.
Maserati Mistrale. £4000. 3.7-litre straight six, l3Smph,6.Ssec 0—60, 12mph. For: wonderful appearance. Against: as temperamental as Maria Callas used to be. In brief: you can forgive it anything when it is on song.
Maserati Sebring. £3500. Ugly version of the Mistrale. In brief: what a pity.
Maserati Ghibli. £6000. 4.7-litre V8, 154mph, 7.5sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: beautiful body, strong. Against: clumsy in the clinch, cart springs. In brief; if you fall for its body you’re hooked for life.
Maserati Indy. £4500-ish 4.7-litre V8, 145mph, 8sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For: strong and simple. Against: cart-spring rear suspension. In brief: Ghibli gone to fat (four seats).
Maserati Mexico. £4500 or so. 4.7-litre V8, 140mph, 9sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For:
tree-wood, cow-leather, pile carpet. Against: lacks any other finesse. In brief: don’t raise your sombrero.
Maserati Bora. £8000 plus according to year. 4.7-litreV8, 168mph, 5.8sec 0—60, 11mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, expensive. For: very strong, very fast, very safe. Against: very heavy, unsophisticated handling on early models. In brief: grossly under-rated.
Maserati Merak. Price as Bora. 3-litre V6, 150mph, 6.8sec0—60, 16mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, expensive. For: handling, strength. Against: not so quick as the Bora. In brief; you’re better with a Bora.
Mercedes 190SL/230SL. £2000— 1.9/2.3-litre straight six, 106/115mph, 11/l3sec 0—60, 20mpg, typical running costs moderate, parts availability fair, cost high. For: teutonic efficiency. Against: slow, expensive. In brief, not very exotic.
Mercedes 250SL/280SL. 2.5/2 .8-litre straight six, 115mph, 11/10sec 0—60, 16mpg, typical running costs moderate, parts availability good, cost high. For: practical, last of the slim-line Mercs. Against: not very quick. In brief; well made, but wishy-washy exotic.
Mercedes 300SL £5000 plus for roadster, £15,000 for gullwing coupe. 3-litre straight six, 130mph, 7.6sec 0—60, 15mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, cost high. For:
based on an outstanding racing car, coupe looks wonderful, very strong. Against: twitchy handling, tyres should take care. In brief:
fabulous classic, roadster under-priced. Mercedes 350/450SL. £5000-plus depending on year. 3.5/4.5-litre V8, 130/134mph, 9.1/8.9sec0—60, 16/14mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability excellent but expensive. For: dreadfully practical. Against:
dreadfully ugly. In brief: dreadfully likely to succeed.
Monteverdi 375L. £6000 if you can find one. 7.2-litreV8, 145mph, 7.2seco—60, 12mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair for mechanical side, cost moderate. For: very rare, reliable. Against: crude, under-developed Lambo. In brief; do-it-yourself development.
Pegaso. £12,000—£25000. Mostly 2.8 or 3.2- litreV8, performance estimated at 130mph, 7.5sec 0—60, 12mpg, typical running costs very high, parts availability nil; cost of making them yourself very high. For: very rare, fantastic exotic. Against: running costs. In brief: dream car.
Porsche 911S £1500—£3000 (to 1970). 2/2.2- litre flat six, 137mph, 8sec 0—60, 18mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability fair, very expensive. For: well-made, practical performer. Against: row it along with the gearlever, rust, dodgy handling. In brief: good, but far from exclusive.
Porsche 911S(1970-3). £3000—f5000. 2.2/2.4-litre flat six, 2.4: 144mph, 6.Ssec 0—60, 19mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, not so dear as earlier models. For: well-made, good performer. Against: rust, handling still tricky.
Porsche 911S/Carrera (1973-ish) £8500 (more or less according to year) 2.7/3-litre flat six, 145/150mph, 6/5.7sec 0—60, 22/19mpg, typical running costs high, parts availability good, cost high. For: safe bet, corrosion much reduced after 1973. Against: rather formulated for an exotic. In brief: halfway to a Turbo.
Old Motor, August 1979