A really great collection of over 50 Classic Sports Cars,
mostly English with some Japanese and European ones thrown in.
And, of Course they are all red.
If you remember back in your childhood,
or maybe more recently, you probably read the book
or saw the Walt Disney movie
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame,
written back in 1908. About a bunch of animal characters
in England in the late 1800s.
The leading guy was Toad, Lord of Toad Hall.
He was totally fascinated by the then new motorcar.
And, all of Toad’s cars were red too.
This same fascination is carried forward today
at the Toad Hall Sports Car Museum
at the Simmons Homestead Inn
in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. This is the
personal collection of Bill Putman, certified car nut.
Okay, Let’s go see what Bill
has in the Barn these days.
The Lotus Cars. Colin Chapman started building his first car in a garage in North London in 1948. By 1953 he had built his first ‘production’ car the Mark 6. 1958 is when his first coupe, the Elite, made it’s debut. Then till now, a great series of light, fast street cars were produced, with the Esprit and the Elise being the latest. All this was, of course, in addition to a great history of Formula One and other race cars. Here are the ones that I do have.
1960 LOTUS ELITE
Series 1 car, with the 1220 cc Coventry Climax FWE four cylinder twin SU engine that turned out 102 bhp in a 1700 pound fiberglass body. There were only 274 series 1 cars made from 1958 to 1960, all rhd. Completely restored in the 1990s. Really, the prettiest car Lotus made. I’ll probably paint it red though.
1965 LOTUS SUPER SEVEN
A series 3 car, with a Ford 1500cc single cam cross flow engine. Twin webbers. Engine was rebuilt to racing specs. The series 4 car is a better one, but the aluminum series 3 was prettier. This one is right hand drive, and finding reverse with your left hand is an art form. New panasport, mini-lite look alike wheels. Great car.
1968 LOTUS ELAN SE/4 ROADSTER
Same 1600cc twin-cam as used in the Lotus Seven. One nice thing is a fully meshed 4 speed. Beats the Moss style in all the other early English cars. Frame off restoration and the body was hung on a tubular Spyder chassis. This is a fun car. Very quick, very light. By now, Lotus had roll-up glass windows.
1969 LOTUS ELAN SE/4 COUPE
Same basic car as the Roadster, but with a graceful body shape derived from the earlier Elite. Twin cam 1600 cc Lotus-Ford engine with twin Strombergs. Having a top, it solved the problem the roadster had with what to do with the window frame and channels.
1969 LOTUS ELAN +2
Same 1600cc twin-cam Lotus/Ford engine with dual Stromberg as used in the Lotus Elan roadster and coupe. The body is elongated and there is a back seat in this little tourer. The nose is stretched out a little too, and gives the car some of the grace that the earlier Elite had. Both had the long low flowing lines of a very graceful car.
1971 LOTUS EUROPA S2
This was the first mid engine street car Lotus made. They were making mid and then rear engine Formula One cars, and thought they could work on the street. Good choice. Has the Renault 1600 cc engine that was used then. The car has great road feel with it’s great suspension.Sitting in it is like driving a formula car. You are almost lying down flat.
1974 LOTUS SUPER SEVEN
A series 4 car, built in Sussex, England. Fiberglass body over a ‘ladder’ frame. Who needs doors anyway. Lotus twin cam big valve head on a Cosworth block. Roughly 135 hp out of a bored out 1600 cc engine. Top speed is about 130 mph. The car only weighs 1220 pounds. Makes 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.
1987 LOTUS TURBO ESPRIT
Last year of the wedge body style, designed by Giugiaro back in 1974. This is the S3 with the same 2.2 liter four turbo as the 1988 listed next. The fiberglass body is a 2 piece clamshell type. Not as smooth looking as the later model, it was the classic design for upcoming super cars. The early body style was much more dramatic though.
1988 LOTUS TURBO ESPRIT
First year of the new body style, rounded out from the original design. 2.2 liter four cylinder turbo, turning out about 280 horsepower, and a top speed of around 170 to 175 mph. A lot of fun to drive at speed, competition suspension, huge Brembo disks all around. Typical Collin Chapman car. “Make them light, and make them fast.”
1991 LOTUS ELAN M100
Made in England from 1991 through 1993, but only imported here in the 1991 model year, and only 380 of them at that. This was the period Lotus was owned by GM. The engine is a 1600 cc Isuzu (GM) twin cam modified by Lotus, then Lotus Engineering added a turbo and really made a screamer out of it. Car turns out about 185 HP and weighs a tad over 2000 pounds.
1999 LOTUS ELISE 190
First year of production. Not available in the US, but Lotus shipped over 24 of them for race use only and tried to set up a Series like they have in England. Street version was 140 HP, race version 190 HP, this one 225 HP. Aluminum monocoque tub and fiberglass body. 1370 pounds. Mid-engine 1800 cc Rover 4 with Lotus twin cam head.
2000 LOTUS EXIGE 200 COUPE – RACE CAR
This is the rarest I have. Only made about 200 in total and only 50 in the ‘race version.’ Of these only 6 came to America, and this is the only one red one! Basically same as the Elise, but a slightly upgraded engine. About 200 hp out of the Rover 4. Sophisticated body aerodynamics and simply awesome.
2005 LOTUS ELISE MK 2
This second series Elise is finally coming to these shores this coming Summer. Instead of the 1800 cc Rover Twin Cam, it will have a Toyota 1800 cc 2ZZ-GE DOHC turning out 190 bhp and almost as fast as the earlier race version. It has had the head and the VVT reworked by Lotus. My order is in and should be here by August.
Well, back to England. Austin Motors had been around a long time making all sorts of cars, but Donald Healey went into a kind of partnership with Leonard Lord of Austin in 1951, and the combination turned out a great series of cars for almost 20 years. The first, the AH 100 or 100-4 made it’s debut in 1952, the last of the ‘big Healeys’, the 3000 was last produced in 1967. The Sprites went another 2 years. Donald had the idea that if you made a really nice sporty looking car, chucked in the biggest engine around, put in good brakes and suspension (for those old times), that you could turn out a great sports car. And they did. This famous partnership turned out some of the prettiest and fastest sports cars of the times. They ran early models at Le Mans, and dominated their classes in sports car racing in England and the United States up to today and into tomorrow. Great cars, great rides.
1955 AUSTIN HEALEY 100-4
First of the Healeys. This is a BN-1 that I’m making over into a ‘M’. Louvered hood, larger SU carbs and cold air box instead of air cleaners. This has a 2660 cc Four producing about 90-95 bhp. This is huge Four, same cc as the upcoming 100-6. Several unique things about this car are the windscreen that ‘folds’ down, louvered hood and leather strap for securing it.
1959 AUSTIN HEALEY 100-6
First of the 6 cylinder Healeys. This is a BN-6. Smaller than the later 3000 ‘big Healeys’, but a more agile car. Inline six cylinder 2.6 liter BMC engine with triple SU carbs. Roughly 115-120 bhp and a speed of about 100-105 mph. Like the 100-4, this is a rare two-seater. It also has a 4 speed transmission.
1959 AUSTIN HEALEY BUG-EYE SPRITE
The bug-eye! Spartan as they come. No carpets no nuthin. Just a steel tub with a couple of seats and a top. Another total restoration, new grille to boot. New 1250cc Four with tiny twin SU carbs. Like the Lotus Seven, your head is a little over the windscreen, so it’s like riding a motorcycle. In England, they are Frog-Eyes, probably in honor of Toad.
1968 AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE
The Midget look-a-like, is why both were commonly called ‘Spridgets.’ The sprite was a slightly upscale version. This has the 1275 cc four cylinder that now turned out an amazing 65 bhp. Sound low, well the old ones only had 59 bhp. Very nice restoration. Got a roll bar in case it ever goes SCCA Solo II.
After finishing up the relationship with Austin, Donald got together with Kjell Qvale, president of Jensen Motors. Kjell loved the then old Austin Healey 3000, and thought he and Donald could do even better. This new partnership produced the Jensen Healey from 1972 through 1976.
1975 JENSEN HEALEY ROADSTER
Only made for 5 years, a great road car This was only year for the 5-speed. The car uses a 2 liter Lotus twin cam 4 cyl. dohc engine with twin SU carbs that turns out around 140 bhp that gives a top speed of around 120. Not bad for those days. Big for a roadster in those days, but about perfect now. A great driver!
CARS OF COVENTRY
The big cats. Jaguar has made a lifetime of turning out great sports cars. William Lyons began the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922 in Blackpool where TVRs are made today. The Jaguar Marque began in 19455, as the company’s earlier logo of SS didn’t sound too good after WWII. They produced XKs and earlier, E types, and I have a couple of their great V-12 Coupes from the mid 1970s that I use as Inn Cars to shuttle guests around. Someday I’ll get a 120 or 140, but as of now begin my group of these cars with the XKEs.
1968 JAGUAR XKE CONVERTIBLE
First of the Series 2 cars. A 4.2 liter in-line 6 cylinder turning out 250 bhp and a top speed of 150 mph or maybe a tad better. The roadster version of the E-type Jags were just so flowing and graceful. This is not only a classic, but a real beauty. Larger than stock tires fill out the wheel wells a tad.
1970 JAGUAR XKE COUPE
Series 2 cars. A 4.2 liter in-line 6 cylinder turning out 250 horsepower. Always think of these as sports cars, but they were built as luxury cars. Heavy, stable, solid feeling with a huge engine to move the whole thing along. All original. It has only had a little over 1000 miles logged in the past 20 years. And the A/C still works just fine. A really good road car to drive most anywhere.
1976 JAGUAR XJS COUPE
A stretched out GT tourer made from 1975 through 1981. Same 60 degree V12 as the XJ12, same 5.4 liters but 285 bhp and a top speed of over 150 mph. Bonnet is about as long or longer than the E types. Just looks like it wants to get going. Fuel injection soled a lot of the problems found in earlier 12s. Also another of the Inn Cars.
1976 JAGUAR XJ12 COUPE
Only made from 1973 to 1977, the 2-door coupe was probably one of the best looking touring car made by Jaguar. Vinyl top, no center pillar and the big V12 engine. 5.4 liters turning out some 240 bhp and a top speed of 135 mph. Best is there is a back seat so it can be used as one of the Inn cars to pick up or drop off guests at the Inn.
MORRIS GARAGES MAGIC
Then there are the really classic MGs from the Morris Garages. These were the cars that started coming to America after the war. True sports cars in every sense. Cecil Kimber was Sales Manager at Morris Garages working for William Morris back in 1921. He moved into design and then into full production of cars of his design. By 1924, the cars were simply called MGs, and are still today after a whole series of owners. The early cars were called Midgets up through the TD. Then came the MGA in 1955, the Midget MK I in 1961 and the KGB in 1962. The MAC in 1967. British Leyland took over ownership in the 1970s and then went out of business in 1980. The company was resurrected in 1990 and is still going today, but the cars are sadly not exported to the Colonies.
1951 MG-TD MIDGET
The classic post war British Roadster. 1250 cc Four that turned out an outstanding 54 bhp with a top speed of 78 mph. To compare with modern speedsters, this car can do 0-60 in a mere 21 seconds. The windscreen is hinged, so it can lay out flat over the hood. Probably when goggles got to be important. Produced from 1949 to 1953, so this one is right in the middle.
1958 MGA ROADSTER
Running MGB disk brakes, competition suspension and sway bars, B head and autocross cam. Bored out 1500 cc in-line 4 with an MGB head and twin SU carbs. Runs just great. No clue as to horsepower or top end speed. Loud as heck, but no room under the wooden floorboards to put a muffler. A real classic. First ‘modern’ car after all those years of the ‘T’ models.
1958 MGA COUPE
The hardtop version of the above car. This was obviously designed in an era before the ‘fast back’ look became popular. Basically the same 1500 cc four in the roadster, but this has stock heads and all that. Feels the same as the roadster, but a bit claustrobic as it closely surrounds you. But there are glass roll up windows, door handles and all that stuff. Very few were made.
1965 MGB ROADSTER
Another case where earlier is better. This early B has the nice thin chrome bumpers and a grille. Great job on restoration, new everything and motor with 10 miles on it after a complete rebuild when I got it. Has the 1800 cc Four with twin SU carbs. In this case the windows actually go down and disappear. Neat. This is the car that Datsun copied to make their Fairladys.
1974 1/2 MGB GT COUPE
A salon version of the roadster. It has the same 1800 cc four that the MGB roadster has, but a more sophisticated suspension system. The rubber bumper thing met Federal standards, but did not meet much in the way of eye appeal. Overall, a great touring car. Also they made good race cars back then.
1974 MG MIDGET MK IV
Last year for the chrome bumpers. The Mark 4 had the 1275 cc four, a nice upgrade from the earlier 1098 cc engines of the 1960s. A tad bigger than my Bug Eye, but identical to the later Sprites, which were a kinda joint venture of MG and Austin Healey. Each year made, they were alike. ‘Spridgets.’Doesn’t eat up a lot of garage space, or road space either.
TreVoR Wilkinson started a little garage in Blackpool in 1946, and got out his first car in 1951. The cars were all of fiberglass, and used the ‘kit-car’ concept of offering various drivetrain options from Coventry Climax to MG & Triumph. Trevor left the company in 1961 and there has been a series of owners ever since. Jack Griffith got involved in 1962 and all cars with a V-8 are called ‘Griffiths’ to this day. TVR is now England’s largest car maker. Their cars were imported in the U.S. from 1962 through 1987. TVR now makes their own engines, but in the past the cars used the best drivetrains they could find at the time.
1971 TVR VIXEN 2500
Built in Blackpool, England. Has the same basic drive train as the Triumph 250. In-line six engine that produces 160 horsepower. The fiberglass body and better aerodynamics makes it much faster than the TR 250 or TR 6 which have the same running gear. They also made a TVR Griffin which ran a Rover V-8 in the same basic body, and it was a real screamer.
1987 TVR 280i ROADSTER
Another great car. The wedge shape and interior are based on the Lotus Esprit of that era. Lotus, located about 20 miles away also designed the interior. The car is an upgrade of the Tasmin begun in the early 1980s. The engine is a 2.8 liter Ford Essex V-6. Typical TVR, light and fast. Their cars featured sophisticated suspension and braking systems.
1994 TVR GRIFFITH 500
Little roadster weighing 2300 pounds with a 5.0 liter Rover V-8 turning out over 350 bhp. Interesting and very graceful fiberglass body with nary a single bit of Chrome anywhere. Right hand drive, so takes getting used to where the gear selector is. Kinda copied the Viper in the door treatment. Probably the quickest car I have, and one of only about two in the Country.
Standard-Triumph, later British Leyland, really got going with a series of two seater roadsters right after W.W.II. By the early ’50s, the TR2 was introduced and the rest is history. The company went out of business in 1981, but in those 30 years some real classics were produced. Each model was a great design and has become somewhat timeless over the years. Even though it was not overly popular when it was introduced, the TR8 looks better with time. Along with MG, this Marque is classic British all the way.
1954 TRIUMPH TR 2
This was the first in a great series of Triumph roadsters. This one was made in the first year of production, and has been beautifully restored. The 1991 cc Four has been completely rebuilt and turns out about 90 hp. Should be able to match the 104 mph capability it was ‘born’ with. Only 8600 were produced before the TR-3 was introduced in the fall of 1955.
1962 TRIUMPH TR 3B
One of the last ones of this series. Very nice restoration. This one has the 2138 cc 4 cylinder engine that goes next into the TR4s. Twin SU carbs and about 100 hp with a top speed of about 105 mph. The last Triumph model before being squared off on the door lines. In my eye, this and the Morgans are the classic Sporting Cars. Just fun to drive around in, solid and somewhat nimble.
1965 TRIUMPH TR 4A
An older restoration with lots of original touches. 2138cc Four with dual SU carbs turns out about 100bhp and should do about 100 mph. Doesn’t have the independent rear suspension of the later TR4s, but works just fine. Strange convertible top, glass rear and top section like a Targa type. We also get roll-up glass windows with this model. Nice touch.
1967 TRIUMPH SPITFIRE
One of the early ones, still had the chrome grill and normal looking chrome bumper setup. The Mark 2 was only made from 65-67, and had a 1296 cc in-line 4 cylinder engine with twin SU carbs. Turned out a whomping 67 HP at 6000 rpm. That would get you slightly better than 92 mph. It has front disks which were new at the time, rear drums.
1968 TRIUMPH TR-250
Only made this one year. Basically a late TR4A body with the ‘new’ TR6 six cylinder engine with twin SU carbs. 2498 ccs and 150 bhp with a 4-speed tranny. 0-60 was 8.1 sec and the top end 117 mph. Has different side trim than the 4A, but essentially the same. It was a quicker car than the upcoming TR6 as it weighed some 250 pounds less. Very quick car that did well in SCCA C-Production.
This one is now down to the frame, but should be ready by Spring to take a photo.
1972 TRIUMPH GT-6 COUPE
The fastback version of the Spitfire, with a 2 liter inline 6 with dual SU Carbs. These cars were not overly popular at the time as street cars, but made great racers. Group 44 took the E-Production championship for 2 straight years untill they bumped it up to D-Production.
1976 TRIUMPH TR 6
Last year of production. Full TR 250 drive train, in-line six cylinder engine. 155 horsepower. Really one of the classic British roadsters. This is probably my most popular car with visitors. Hate the clutch, but even the after market ones lurch into full grab at about a half inch off the floor. Very similar to the racing clutch in the 240Z. Digs up the gravel drive any chance it gets.
The rest of the cars from Toad’s Country! The reason I have so many English cars is that there were so many really classic ones. The U.S. never really built any neat little roadsters, but the Brits sure did. Even today MGs, TVRs, Morgans and others are on the roads in the UK but not in the US since the 80s. What a shame. But here are some early classics from the Isles. I’m including the Inn Car, the Bentley here for want of a better place to put it. Not sporty, but sporting in it’s own way. Another classic.
1966 SUNBEAM TIGER
The Rootes Group built the Sunbeam Alpine in several versions. The Tiger was the killer of the group. The engine was a 289 Ford V-8 turning out 205 bhp in a car weighing some 2500 lbs, Very fast. Sounds like the ’60s muscle car it really was. Car also handles well, and was a great race car back then. Car has a soft top and a detachable steel one as well. Same engine Shelby put in his Cobras.
1965 MORGAN 4/4 ROADSTER
A series III car. 4 cylinder Ford Cortina engine. 1498 cc with 96 hp, and a top speed of about 100 mph in this stock trim. First series with disk brakes. Classic English roadster that really didn’t change much from the ’50s to the ’90s. Love the leather belt that holds the bonnet in place. Still being made today.
1999 MINI COOPER
This is as British as you can get. This one is the Monte Carlo Rally edition. Has ‘huge’ 13″ wheels instead of the stock 12″ variety. 1.3 liter four with 65 hp and a top speed of about 90 mph. Teeny little thing, but fast as all getout. They were originally Austins, but this one was made under Rover ownership, so has their engine. This was the last year of their production before BMW took over.
1967 BENTLEY TYPE T
The official Inn car. Every Inn should have a Rolls. This fella’s main job is to sit out front and add a bit of class to the joint, and to shuttle guests to town and the airport. Everything reasonably well restored. Right hand drive looks great, but takes getting used to. Got rid of the twin Strombergs, and put in a Holly so the car runs better than it ever did.
HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN
Ah, the Japanese Invasion. We beat them in W.W.II, but they came right back and beat us in electronics, cars and many other things. But in all these fields they built reliability and technology. The Datsun Fairlady may be a direct copy of the MGB, but it was a better car. The Zs and RX7s were light weight rocket ships with great styling. Although they really hurt the US auto makers, they made street and race drivers very happy.
My other, along with Lotus, and probably my first, favorite marque is the Datsun. Always made by Nissan Motors, but back in their heyday, and in the days and years I raced them, they were just Datsuns. Once they were started to be called Nissans, they had lost any resemblance to a sports car. During the mid and late ’70s, I raced a 1972 240Z in SCCA C Production and a 1971 510 Coupe in B Sedan. Mostly in the Z-Car. In fact the 240Z is still active as of 2003. It’s owned by a guy in Houston, and he finished in the top 10 of class at the 2002 National Championships at Mid Ohio. These are simply race cars right off the dealer’s floor.
1972 DATSUN 240Z
The old race car. Bought it new in 1972, and sold it in 1980, but this is where the love affair began with this breed of cars. Mostly fiberglass, 280 block .40 over, early 240 head with triple Mikuni Solex carbs and every trick part known then. Car weighed 2100 pounds and turned out 310 bhp. Handled like a dream! Won a LOT.
1964 DATSUN 1500
This was the first Fairlady. Never saw one in the flesh till I got this one.
The car is all apart, but will be in the shop by Spring. Get a progress photo up then.
1967 DATSUN 1600
This was the second Fairlady, with the lower early version windscreen. A great roadster. 1.6 liter engine, with twin SU carbs. Five speed tranny and a great car for street or track. Got this fella in Arizona with no rust and was an easy restoration project. These were tops in G-Production, and pretty much still are. Thanks to ‘General Joe!’
1968 DATSUN 2000
This was the last Fairlady, a great roadster. Big 2 liter engine, with twin SU carbs. Five speed tranny and a great car for street or track. Got this one in California as all the ones on the east coast rusted away years ago. 135 hp and a top speed of almost 120 mph. In race trim, they dominated D Production.
1971 DATSUN 510
This is the other car that I raced in B-Sedan in the 1970s. Guy out in Seattle made this one look like my old car. He ran it in some SCCA rallies. 2.0 liter engine, dual Mikuni .44 sidedrafts, comp suspension, 4.44 rear end, 15 inch wheels and other goodies. Then he put in Lexus seats and race harnesses. Fiberglass flared fenders, and of course, I had to add the rear wing.
1972 DATSUN 240Z COUPE
Same year as my old race car was. In-line six with 147 horsepower and a top speed of 125-130. The ’72 race car had 310 ponies and a top speed of 165 plus. Even more fun to drive, especially at Lime Rock or Watkins Glen. Gonna rebuild the engine kinda to the race car specs. 280 block, 240 head, triple Solexes and a slalom cam.
1993 NISSAN 300 ZX ROADSTER
Only made for two years. 3 liter V6, 222 horsepower. Top speed of about 155 mph. Pretty much stock except for fore and aft wind deflectors. Handles well, but not much in the way of exciting power. Just too big and heavy and comfortable to really be a sports car. No wonder they stopped making them. Also priced out of the market.
ROTARY ROCKETS & MORE
The Wankel engine was designed and built in 1957, and used in the German NSUs, and then taken on by General Motors for use in the newer Corvettes which never materialized. But it really took off when Mazda, then Toyo Kogyo Motors, got their model going in 1967. RX7s were simply one great and fast sports cars. The old RX3 was a neat little sedan as well. Honda began making some pretty nice sports cars in the 90s with the Acura NSX and finally the S2000 roadster. Of the 4 main cars in the movie The Fast and the Furious Two, one was the 3rd generation RX7 turbo, and another the S2000.
1987 MAZDA RX7 TURBO II
Second year of the series two body style and the first year of the turbo. Stock was 160 horsepower. Played a lot with this engine and turbo system, and now get 255 horses out of the car with adjustable boost. Top speed about 175 mph. Thank you very much Corky Bell and the guys at Car Tech in Dallas.
1988 MAZDA RX7 ROADSTER
Regular normally aspirated twin rotor engine. Nowhere near the power of the RX7 Turbo, but handling is almost identical. Interesting convertible top with two panels. Can take off the front top and get a Targa effect, or just retract the whole thing and get a really nice looking roadster. Just sold.
1993 MAZDA RX7-R1 TURBO
Third generation RX7. Made from 93-95, and the R1 Touring edition only in 1993. Stock had 255 hp, but this one has dual Farrell intercoolers, M2 air induction and computer and much more and gets over 350 hp. Last guy also added wheels, racing brakes, exhaust, new paint, leather interior. This is a real one of a kind and a real kick to drive.
2000 HONDA S-2000
First year of only three years that this neat little thing will be made. Very limited production. 2 liter in-line 4 with dohc shafts. This engine turns out 120 hp/liter, more than any other no turbo car ever made. All aluminum engine with the Honda VTEC valve train. Double wishbone suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars make handling perfect.
THE AXIS COLLABORATION
Ah yes, more countries that didn’t fare too well in W.W.II, but seem to be doing just fine in the automotive World. The European car makers found the War a pain in the butt, and really got back on track in the later 40s. Porsche made some tanks and trucks, but would have much rather been building little open wheel things. These were marques that dominated all the forms of serious motor racing, Formula One and Le Mans for decades. And they got right back into it, as did the Brits who missed racing the last seven years. Funny how Britain and their old enemies, became friendly again on the track like nothing happened. Then by the 1950s, they started making street machines. Germans first, but took Enzo and some Italians a bit longer, as they were more interested in going racing, than driving around the countryside. Also, speaking of allies and enemies, have you ever wondered about the ownership of German cars? Like the percentage of ownership of Porsche and Mercedes Benz that is Jewish? Don’t they remember either? Anyway, here are a few of the classics I have from Europe.
1964 PORSCHE 356 SC
Classic Bathtub coupe. Flat four, rear engine car. 1600 cc that turns out about 140 hp and can do about 110-115 mph. The pre-runner of the 912 and then the 911. Styling hasn’t changed much in 50 years. This was the car that Ferdinand Porsche’s son Ferry took from drawing board to production. Race Car at heart. This was the last year of production.
1974 BMW 2002 COUPE
The classic BMW along with the 3.0csi coupe. Boxy, but a great race car in it’s day running in B Sedan along with my Datsun 510. In line Four with 1990 cc and about 140 bhp. Should have a top speed of 120 mph. The original owner had the car from 1974 till 2001 when I bought it. Only 31,000 total miles, and everything is original. A great car, no wonder Datsun copied it for their 510.
1998 BMW Z3 ROADSTER
A car I was never sure I liked until I saw this one, the first red one I’ve seen. Like it okay now. Has the large 2.8 liter in-line six. Feels like an older roadster (unlike the S2000 or 300 ZX), sits lower and feels smaller. Reasonable low end and very nice high end. Handles well. The Germans make good sport suspensions. Added a wing and Speedster tonneau.
1985 FERRARI TR 512 TESTAROSSA
European Version, constructed before they were imported to America. 420 plus horsepower flat 12 engine which is 20 horsepower more than the same year American version. Top speed close to 200 mph. The engine is number 40, everything metric. Added the wing, just couldn’t leave it alone. Note the wheels, came off the F-50.
2000 AUDI S4 TURBO QUATTRO
My practical car. Has stuff like a back seat, trunk and a heater that works. After all that, it is also my fourth fastest car. Started off life with twin KKK turbos, 8 pounds boost and 250 HP. After a tad of computer, exhaust and intake work, it turns out about 340 HP and 18 pounds boost. Six speed, and a good handler. It is all wheel all the time, 60/40 front to rear every minute.
HOW THIS CRAZINESS
ALL GOT GOING
Started way back in when I got a ’49 Ford ragtop in high school. Spent a bunch of years building a hot flat head V-8 with triple 2 barrel carbs, cam and trick ignition. Got rid of all the chrome, Frenched all the lights, dropped it down in the back, and all that. No door handles, you just pushed a small button in the rocker panel with your toe to pop it open. Painted it, of course, a metallic red. Still a true classic. Ford brought out a showcar in 2001 called the Forty-Niner. Brought back all sorts of memories. Probably never go into production, but sure wish it would.
Then back in the early 1970s, bought a 1972 Datsun 240 Z, tricked it up a bit and after about a year took it out for some time trials at Lime Rock and Bryar racetracks. That was enough fun to get me to tear it apart that winter and make a race car out of it. Ran it quite successfully in SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) in C Production from 1974 ’til 1980. Won it’s class in the North Atlantic Road Racing Series most every year. But things like no prize money, a family and a mortgage eased me out of that. The, got in the habit of putting MINUTEMAN RACING stickers on my street cars. Haven’t grown up since, even the sedate Bentley has the stickers on it.
Along the way in the race car days, took another 1972 Datsun Z car, put on old race car suspension, added all the fiberglass parts that I made molds for the race car, Got a G-nose out of Japan (way the Datsun, called a Fairlady over there, was made). Plopped in a 1968 Corvette LT1, 350/350 V-8 with an Isky cam in 202 Fuelie heads. Bored it out and was getting some 420 BHP. Tied that all to a Muncie M24 four speed, then to a Datsun Comp 4.44 rear end. That kind of HP in a 2100 pound car resulted in the fastest thing around at the time. Bar none! Had enough torque to want to turn the car over sideways. Guy thing!
MINUTE MAN RACING
The fun years of SCCA Club Racing
THE RED NEON CARS
You may have noticed in the earlier shots of the Garages, that I have had templates and then neon lights made of most all the cars I have. Company out in Arizona makes them for me. Mine are all red, but they can come in any color of neon glass. They would retain for about $250-275 each, but I get them for around $150-160, tack on about $30 to defray the template charges, and can have them drop shipped directly to you. If you are interested, drop me a line. They are about 18-24 inches long. Bases come in black or white, and they have table bases as well as the wall mount type shown here. They are fun and last forever. They even make a green toad light.