Almost as good as new, this well-looked after coupe is a pleasure to gaze at and drive
This must be the nearest thing to a new C123 you could find outside the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. It’s got low mileage for a 26-year-old Merc and its only flaws are a tiny rust bubble on a front wing and two tiny splits on the piping on the centre armrest.
Part of its fine condition must be down to it being a practically one-owner car (from 1987- 2008) that’s been looked after. Avantgarde’s Jonathan Aucott sourced the car for the current owner, who has now decided to let it go. There’s a stamp in the service book showing 51,941 miles on May 28,2008, and it’s just been serviced again at 55,703 miles.
You’ll find this example of the ultimate Eighties rally legend hard to resist
Even if you knew nothing about this squat red hatchback, the power bulge on the bonnet and flared wheelarches would tell you that the word homologation features in its background. By the time this Evoluzione version of the Integrale was launched in 1991, Lancia’s Group A cars had already won the World Rally Championship Ave times and would do so again that year.
Make no mistake though, when you slip behind the (left-hand drive only) steering wheel you feel you’re in a nicely appointed road car cabin – we’re not into the era of carbon- fibre highlights yet. And judging by the state of the interior and those body-hugging sports seats this example has been well cared for – not always the case with these cars: many fell into ‘can buy but can’t maintain’ territory.
It might not be a concours winner, but this very tidy Alvis is still a fine gentleman’s carriage
This Alvis was restored some time ago and has obviously been well looked after since. Pleasingly, it has the desirable five-speed ZF manual gearbox rather than the earlier four-speed ‘box or the three-speed automatic option. The aluminium body is as straight as a TD comes – it has decent door fits, is free from corrosion and bubbles, and the paint is still good, although its age isn’t certain – the car was originally Sand.
Underneath, the chassis is solid, the rear dampers look newish and the exhausts are in good shape. The wheel spokes ring evenly, their rims shod with aggressively treaded Kumho Powerguards at the rear and Bridgestones up front, with good tread remaining on the spare, and there’s plenty of life in the brake discs. Brightwork is all good, including the inset foglights, which are unique to the Series II.
Maserati’s hand-built Sixties grand tourers exude an understated quality, typified by this example
This Sebring has had only three owners from new, the first for 31 years, and today remains in very tidy, gently patinated condition. The well preserved interior is original, but the body and engine underwent a complete rebuild in the early Nineties, the body being repainted twice by different workshops within two years.
The paintwork and panels look to be in good overall condition, with straight sides, even shut-lines and no sign of rust. There are a few tiny chips to leading edges, such as the door edges or the side of the petrol cap, but the overall impression is first-rate. The paintwork exudes the more gentle lustre of an older restoration, but nevertheless retains a deep gloss finish.
With a five-speed manual gearbox, this well-documented DB6 is a nice drive
This DB6 is an original right- hand drive car, which has been enhanced by a swap to a five-speed ZF gearbox in place of the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic with which it left the factory. The ZF ‘box was specified on many DB6s when they were new. The copy of the original build sheet in the car’s history file shows it was supplied to Ireland in January 1969 in this Caribbean Pearl shade, and with optional power steering and Marchal spotlights – and that the factory charged extra for seven pints of antifreeze.
Since then five owners have spent plenty of money on the car. The bodywork was last attended to in 1992 when the whole car underwent a £22k refurbishment. Today the body is still very straight with excellent panel fit and flawless paint.
More sporting than Bentley, Alvis Speed models are also arguably the best-looking British cars of the Thirties
ALVIS’S IMAGE changed forever with the introduction of the Speed 20 in January 1932. The model transformed the company from a small concern with shaky finances to a fashionable, successful upper-crust marque with a full order book.
By putting an expanded version of its six- cylinder engine into a new chassis, Alvis created a dashing, low-slung sports car with excellent performance. As the years went by and updates came thick and fast, the model evolved into a gentleman’s express clothed with larger, more luxurious open tourer, drophead coupe, two- and four-door saloon and even sedanca bodies.
To boost its dreary image DAF built a madcap works prototype to shake up Group 6 rallying. We drive a rare survivor of the DAF 555
DAF – van Doorne’s Automobile Factory – was founded by brothers Wim and Hubert ‘Hub’ van Doorne, who had built trailers before World War Two. With the return of peace demand for cheap personal transport was high, so Hub decided to make a simple but smart car. The result was the DAF 600, launched in 1959. The small four-seater was revolutionary because of its Variomatic automatic transmission. More models followed and within a decade DAF was established as the Netherlands’ largest carmaker. But while DAF models fulfilled Hub’s dreams to mobilise the Dutch, his cars’ plain styling and air-cooled two-cylinder engine producing a mere 19bhp didn’t do much for the company’s image – and that was a thorn in the flesh of Martien van Doorne, Hub’s eldest son who loved all things motoring, especially if they were fast. He decided DAF needed a works competition department and created it in 1964. To run it DAF hired 28-year-old Rob Koch, who is still surprised by his sudden career move.
This charming, rear-engined French saloon brought whole new levels of chic compact motoring to Britain’s roads in the Fifties. Vive la France!
For Britons of a certain age, driving off in a Renault Dauphine is to be instantly confronted by countless memories: that unforgettable aroma of lightly boiled rubber, watching the needle on the faintly illuminated speedometer slowly progress towards the 60mph mark, forcing the stiff catches on the sliding rear windows…
Of all the imported models on British roads 50 years ago, it was the Dauphine that seemed almost as ubiquitous a sight as any Vauxhall or Austin. Fewsuburbs were free of the distinctive sound of its engine clatter, and the Dauphine was found at all levels of British society, from the Royal Mews to pioneering mini cabs.
Equally brilliant to drive or ogle, this sublime racer was born of its maker’s near-bankruptcy
Beautifully made, with an exceptional performance for the period and stunning aesthetics, the Tipo 60/61 – universally known as the Birdcage – is not just a Maserati great, it’s one of the all-time motoring greats. This sports racer managed beautifully to combine the two essential elements of racing car design: function and form.
Which is all the more remarkable considering it was developed in an astonishingly short time on a spectacularly modest budget. First seen in June 1959, the Tipo 60 owes its creation to Maserati’s gifted chief engineer Giulio Alfieri and the company’s near bankruptcy in 1957. Trained at Innocenti, he joined Maserati in 1953. Alfieri was intimately involved with the long-lived and successful Maserati 250F and not only understood the spirit of Maserati but embraced and fostered it.
Does buying an aluminium-bodied, six-cylinder, triple-carburettor British thoroughbred for less than £10,000 sound good? After a closer look at the AC 2-Litre, it certainly should
Once upon a time AC Ace values were closer to those of Austin-Healeys than Aston Martins or Ferraris. But these days, perhaps belatedly, prices have started shifting into more exotic six-figure company. AC’s previous sports model, the two- seater 16/80 of the late Thirties, is just as highly valued in its own small market.
Aesthetic appeal determines a car’s worth above and beyond rarity, high performance or competition history. While both the Ace and the 16/80 have a claim to the three latter qualities, looks matter above all and each must be a candidate for prettiest British car of its generation. So when there’s nothing obvious other than rarity to crow about, and without the same universally adored appearance, what are you left with?