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This morning I had to give a co-worker a ride to pick up his XJ6 from the British car specialty shop. It turned out that they had a small showroom, with several really nice cars crammed inside.

As a kid, I never dreamed about owning a Camaro or Corvette; the muscle-car performance formula never really appealed to me the way that the smaller sportsters and handlers did. The teched-out Japanese cars, such as the Stealth/3000 GT and 300ZX, didn't really do it either, as all of that extra stuff that they had really didn't have much to do with actually driving, and it all added weight.

What I really liked, and what I always wanted, were cars that felt like you were wearing them instead of sitting in them. I dug the first-gen RX-7, the 240Z, the early 911, and the classic Brit cars. I never had anything against American cars, or V-8's, and, being a kid, I never actually got to go out and drive stuff, but the idea of that much weight just seemed counter-productive. I also drove an 83 Accord 4-dr, which did a good job of pretending to be a nimble sports car while not letting a reckless, irresponsible kid get into too much trouble.

My favorite of the Brit cars has always been the Austin Healy 3000, though mainly from pictures and articles, as I've rarely ever gotten to see one up close. The one in the showroom today was cream white, with an overall good body, great chrome, and an interior that looked restored. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know just how good the car was beyond that, but it certainly was easy on the eye.

I know it's counterintuitive, but the fact that the 3000 is a little bigger is part of the reason I like it. The MGB and Spitfire were too small, and too cute. The 3000 certainly wasn't big, but it had a maturity and class to it lacking in all but a precious few of the sport-pints. The shape is probably the most elegant of all the Brit roadsters, and I particularly like the grille, the T-bird style chromed hood, and the silly rear-view mirrors mounted way out at mid-fender. It'll be a long time before I'll have the cash to get one, much less keep it running.

My other favorite is the MGA, with its graceful bodywork and tall chrome grille...

Getting ready to leave, hafta pick this up at home!

Ghrankenstein
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This morning I had to give a co-worker a ride to pick up his XJ6 from the British car specialty shop. It turned out that they had a small showroom, with several really nice cars crammed inside.

As a kid, I never dreamed about owning a Camaro or Corvette; the muscle-car performance formula never really appealed to me the way that the smaller sportsters and handlers did. The teched-out Japanese cars, such as the Stealth/3000 GT and 300ZX, didn't really do it either, as all of that extra stuff that they had really didn't have much to do with actually driving, and it all added weight.

What I really liked, and what I always wanted, were cars that felt like you were wearing them instead of sitting in them. I dug the first-gen RX-7, the 240Z, the early 911, and the classic Brit cars. I never had anything against American cars, or V-8's, and, being a kid, I never actually got to go out and drive stuff, but the idea of that much weight just seemed counter-productive. I also drove an 83 Accord 4-dr, which did a good job of pretending to be a nimble sports car while not letting a reckless, irresponsible kid get into too much trouble. In response to TAFreak, it had about the same handling and power as your average early Brit sportster, and it -did- have that "wearing your car" feeling I was talking about. Other than that, it was up to me being happy with what I had.

My favorite of the Brit cars has always been the Austin Healy 3000, though mainly from pictures and articles, as I've rarely ever gotten to see one up close. The one in the showroom today was cream white, with an overall good body, great chrome, and an interior that looked restored. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know just how good the car was beyond that, but it certainly was easy on the eye.

I know it's counterintuitive, but the fact that the 3000 is a little bigger is part of the reason I like it. The MGB and Spitfire were too small, and too cute. The 3000 certainly wasn't big, but it had a maturity and class to it lacking in all but a precious few of the sport-pints. The shape is probably the most elegant of all the Brit roadsters, and I particularly like the grille, the T-bird style chromed hood, and the silly rear-view mirrors mounted way out at mid-fender. Looking inside, it's about what I expected, as far as being spartan, with a couple a seats, but the big surprise was the shifter, which was about two feet long, and sharply angled twice, with a cookie-shaped knob at the end. I can only imagine how awkward it would be to use. It'll be a long time before I'll have the cash to get one, much less keep it running.

My other favorite is the MGA, with its graceful bodywork and tall chrome grille. I almost see this as the British equivalent of the 246GT, which is to say, probably the loveliest of its genre in terms of pure styling. I also like its low-cut doors. I had the chance to snag a nice one a few years back, for -way- too cheap, $3,000, but I was a grad student at the time, and I was lucky if I had $30 to my name at any given time.

There was no MGA in the showroom, however. Instead, there was an old MG that looked as though it was aging quickly and in need of restoration. I asked if it was a TC, as I'm not sharp enough to tell a TC from a TD at a glance, and in fact it was. The TC and TD are also cars that I really like. They're about as aerodynamic as a parachute, but the curvy "olde-style motoring" body is neat. I'm sure your average Lada could take one easily, but it's still a car for which I have a soft spot.

The same goes for the Triumph two-seaters, with the exceptions of the bland Spitfire, and goofy TR-7/TR-8. The TR-8 has a considerable following, I know, but it has about as much aesthetic appeal as a 914 or 928 to me, name they all fall under the heading of cars that look like butt. The TR2,3,4, and 5 all were quirky, and really really slow by modern standards (or even the TR-8's standard), but you could tell what they were, and they were true to their essence of tradition.

The several Triumphs on the lot, though, were TR6's, which I hated as a kid, because the ovoid grille always seemed about 8 inches too high. It's warmed on me since then, and should I ever have the extra bucks, the TR6 probably qualifies as the most accessible old sports car other than the 240Z. I'd like to have one.

I didn't spend too much time on the TR6's, as I pretty much know the gist of them, but the real eye-popper was a late 70's Panther Lima Turbo with 14,000 miles. I thought it was some kind of a kit car, as I've never seen a Lima in person. I wasn't all that fond of the bodystyle (long pencil-body, rounded nose-cone grille, with a case of the fender-swoopies), and the Lima was slow even by late-70's standards, but had the car been 20 years older, I'd have seriously dug it, so I was willing to forgive in the name of tradition, and the fact that I'd love to have one. I don't know the Lima well enough to know if the Turbo was factory or not.

Outside were a couple of Jaguars for sale, a striking XJS Collection Rouge and a drool-worthy E-type Coupe. I remember when the Vanden Plas Majestic and XJS Collection Rouge came out in the 80's, and how much I hated them. "Collection Rouge" might very well be the most snobbed up name for a paint-trim package ever envisioned, so as to appeal to Lord Wellington in a way that "Sport Appearance Package," or "Red," never could. Even dumber was the fact that the exact same package on the XJS and XJ6 had different names.

Now, as an old car, that XJS was quite attention-getter. The red pearl paint, matched on the edges of the wheels, looked brand-new, though I didn't bother to look at the interior, since I don't walk around with a suitcase full of money all the time, nor am I able to write many multi-thousand dollar checks. It was a stark contrast to the MG TC inside. I still appreciate it over modern sports cars in that, lush though it is, everything is still designed to cater, as much as appeal, to the senses. I don't fool myself with the performance of a 4000+ lb coupe with a V-12 that could run with most engines nearly half its size, and I'd hate to have to replace anything in that car that might need replacing, but you can't fault me for looking, and imagining myself behind the wheel of a luxury GT.

The E-type coupe might be the world's ugliest beautiful automobile. It takes the phallic look of the E-type roadster, and accentuates it by adding a mighty scrotum of a ****pit. The closest comparison would have been the Porsche 928 S4, which looked like a big butt cheek, in convenient front-engine/rear drive form, but even then the E-type, which looked exceptional, had an elegance lacking in most other cars. The car is true burgundy, shining spotlessly from my vantage point. I'd almost rather it stay that way in my mind, rather than risk a closer glans [sic].

So I hopped back into my leatherless, plastic F-bod, which is far faster than any of them, beautiful to gaze over in pride, vastly more reliable, and an eminently better daily driver, and hoped that some day in the near future I might be able to have the cash handy that I might be able to take advantage of a good deal on an older sports car.

Why all the dolphin poetic, on so-called "sports" cars that struggle to hit 60 mph in 12 seconds? At times I find having all the horsepower and torque I could ever want, and cornering limits that I rarely challenge, frustrating. I enjoy every second in my Z-28, but on the odd day off I'd like to drive sports a car that could challenge me without resorting to triple-digit speeds, that made more sounds when you did stuff, and communicated the pavement in a way that modern cars just don't. The Z-28 is great in that it -isn't- perfect, and in fact everybody knows it's far from perfect, but it's still a daily driver, with cupholders, A/C you turn on, and a bunch of power accessories that aren't very hard to work without power.

I can't afford a Lotus Elise, even if I could get one, and the VVT Toyota motor seems like it's a good match in that it's goofy, peaky, and challenging versus all these fat, velvety torque curves that I even like in my regular cars. At the same time, I doubt I could afford the upkeep on any of those British dealies that I just finished geeking over.

What's an elemental driving geek to do?

Ghrankenstein
 

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I am just getting into this stuff, a little. I have a Spitfire sitting in my garage in a million parts. I got it for "free", though I recently saw a GT6 I would rather build, it was free.

I am not going to go "original" with this car. It is a '78 and has some parts missing. I am thinking about motor swaps and while I am not wanting it to be original, I do want to keep some of the original idea, just with a lot more testosterone. I have toyed with the thought of a V8 but it seems like an axe when a sword would do better. I want it to remain light, 1800lbs or so. And yes an LS1 would be nice but I don't think I can afford this and probably not some mentioned below but who knows. Anyway.....

Options:
  • Ecotec (2.0, 2.2, 2.4(if it is out))
  • 2.4 Twin Cam
  • 3400 OHV
  • 3.4 DOHC (Z34, etc.)
  • 3800 Series II (F-body w/ tranny)
  • 3.5L Short star (may be difficult to conv. to RWD)
  • S/C 3800 II (again difficult to conv to RWD)
  • 3.2 from CTS ($$ and availibility pending)
  • 4.3L (mmm..possible 6spd)
I will probably add a power adder, turbo, maybe S/C to any of them that don't have one.

Anyone else have any suggestions? I want to keep the powerplant GM. I am working on a UK/USA logo scheme and I am a GM man. I was considering others but it just wouldn't feel right to me.

May use a 4 spd Auto, but probably a 5 or 6spd manual(probably 5 due to cost).

May also be converting to Vette rearend(shortened) if need be.

I am 6'1", 260lbs. This thing is going to be a clown car to me. :D

Am I missing anything? Any reason I should chose one over the other?

Happy Holidays,
SYK
 

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Originally posted by sykboy@Dec 29 2003, 06:09 PM
Options:
  • Ecotec (2.0, 2.2, 2.4(if it is out))
  • 2.4 Twin Cam
  • 3400 OHV
  • 3.4 DOHC (Z34, etc.)
  • 3800 Series II (F-body w/ tranny)
  • 3.5L Short star (may be difficult to conv. to RWD)
  • S/C 3800 II (again difficult to conv to RWD)
  • 3.2 from CTS ($$ and availibility pending)
  • 4.3L (mmm..possible 6spd)
umm... GN/GNX/TTA 3.8 turbo motor?? :zap: duh!! Its RWD, you can make a 5spd or 4spd to it, and a 6spd if you want, bingo. Or, an LT1 or TPI set up? Is this a race car or a street/etc car? The torque of a moddified TPI 355/383!!! Parts are cheap for the SBC, EFI gives it a "neat-o" factor, and a polished TPI set up lookes awesome if I say so myself!!
 

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If I could find a T-type motor something it would be great but I haven't seen too many of them around lately, have you? I thought they were getting scarse?

too much weight with the SBC. I don't want to add a 550lb motor where a 220lb motor was. This thing only weighs 1700 or 1800lbs or so and I don't want to make the dynamics change for the worse. Like I stated earlier, an LS1 is in the upper bounds of what I am looking for and costs too much.

I will have to admit, a drag rocket is appealing and I have considered a 5.7L vortec with mods but it just isn't as appealing as around the same horsepower with less weight and less torque. I would be pushing it with the rearend at 170HP.

1700lbs is probably doable and it would only take 170HP to be 10HP per pound.

I am thinking 200+ out of a lighter package.

I don't know how easy a Turbo 3.8 would be to come by but if I stumble on one, that may be what I use.
 

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Originally posted by sykboy@Dec 29 2003, 06:44 PM
If I could find a T-type motor something it would be great but I haven't seen too many of them around lately, have you? I thought they were getting scarse?

too much weight with the SBC. I don't want to add a 550lb motor where a 220lb motor was. This thing only weighs 1700 or 1800lbs or so and I don't want to make the dynamics change for the worse. Like I stated earlier, an LS1 is in the upper bounds of what I am looking for and costs too much.

I will have to admit, a drag rocket is appealing and I have considered a 5.7L vortec with mods but it just isn't as appealing as around the same horsepower with less weight and less torque. I would be pushing it with the rearend at 170HP.

1700lbs is probably doable and it would only take 170HP to be 10HP per pound.

I am thinking 200+ out of a lighter package.

I don't know how easy a Turbo 3.8 would be to come by but if I stumble on one, that may be what I use.
you can get a LS1 out of a wreck for cheap? with 6spd ive seen then for 5k and PCM and harness too.
 
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