The oldest thing known to getter better with age is wine. The other amazing human invention that gets better as time flies by is a well-built car. The best indicator that old cars get better over time is the hefty prices that some of them attract in the aftermarket.
All classic cars aren’t built equal. Some hold so much value that their story will continue to be told for generations to come. Indisputably, European carmakers hold the prize for some of the most iconic classic cars of all time. From Italy to Britain, Germany to Sweden and France, European automakers have ruled the rubber and road for a long time.
In spite of this very commendable reputation, Americans managed to catch everyone by surprise when they brought out the first muscle car in the sixties. The race and craze that followed the introduction of the Pontiac GTO was like nothing witnessed before or since. This season saw monumental growth of specific brands and the entire industry at large. Mony Ford and Chevrolet sports cars owe their uniqueness to this ear
European automakers were never left behind in the race to build iconic muscle cars. Renowned manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, and lesser-known builders such as Gordon, Ghia, and Iso all joined the race.
In a competition between American and European muscle cars, the former is an ultimate leader. We reveal some classic European cars that we would drive over their modern American counterparts. Here is our list.
This is a European car by conception, powered by an American engine and living as a global legend several years after its official demise. The Jensen Interceptor is a superb representative of living a crossbreed life.
Introduced in 1966 by Jensen Motors and built-in West Bromwich, the Interceptor had its eyes focused on competing against other well-endowed machines such as the Jaguar E-Type and Ferraris of the time. Using a 6.3-liter V8, 325-hp engine from Chrysler, the Interceptor was doing considerably well, managing 0–60mph in just 7 seconds.
This engine is paired with Chrysler’s 3-speed automatic. The Interceptor came in varied versions over the years, including the famed steel body shell. Several iterations, such as the Interceptor FF that permanently drove on four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes helped to write this British car into the annals of history.
1972 Aston Martin V8
Among the best collectible European cars from the hailed era of muscle cars and supercars is the Aston Martin V8. Its fame and glory may have been overshadowed by its movie star cousins the DB5 and DB6, but it’s cannot be shoved off.
Distinguishing factors in its looks included a large scoop on the hood, front-end quad headlines, and a full-width grille that incredibly pronounced Aston Martin traditions. Making use of a 5.3-liter engine and a mechanical fuel injection developed by Bosch, this AM V8 managed 320 ponies. Available transmission options included a ZF five-speed manual and Chrysler Torqueflite three-speed auto. With nearly two tons of weight, this car hitting 160 mph attracted a huge following. The company built more than 2,800 units in 1975 alone.
Gordon-Keeble isn’t among the top names that would ring a bell in the minds of many enthusiasts. Actually, its maker was an unusual British marque that existed between 1964 and 1967. Ironically, they chose a tortoise as the most prominent symbol of their logo, despite building cars that carried a powerful 5.4-liter Chevrolet V8 engine that rose all the way to 140 mph.
Do doubt this was among the most talented British cars. Benefiting from the design talents of tyled by the youthful Giorgetto Giugiaro and built on elegant glass-fiber bodywork, the Gordon-Keeble GT bowed out production after only 99 units following troubled financial circumstances.
Bizzarrini GT 5300
For four years between 1964 to 1968, a small Italian manufacturer Bizzarnini S.P.A produced about 200 unconventional cars, the most successful of them being Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada. Giotto Bizzarrini, a former Ferrari engineer who helped bring to life some of the famous Ferrari 250 GT, set up his outfit and gave us an outstanding car worth celebrating.
The Giotto Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada(“Street”) used Chevrolet’s small engine block that carried 5.4 L and produced 365 hp. The ultra-low slung vehicle had its mid-mounted engine taking up a four-speed manual gearbox. Most of its cars used aluminum to allow bodywork, with the rest of the pack taking up fiberglass panels. This remains a truly Italian collectible today that you can proudly take for a ride on American roads.
Ghia 450 SS Boxer
In yet another spectacular version, the gifted hands and brains of Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro make a solid representation on the Ghia 450 SS Boxer. This creative gem of the 60s has a long history, originating with the desires of Hollywood producer Burt Sugarman to own a unique ride. Sugarman motivated Italian manufacture Ghia to produced the 450 SS, and it went on sale through his subsidiary Ghia of America, priced at a whopping $11,000 USD. Only 52 units were created.
This car utilized a Chrysler Commando 273 cubic-inch V8 engine that mates to a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.It was good enough for 235 horsepower. These hand-built cars got to the United States through a dealer in Beverly Hills, California.
If you wish to drive an Iso Grifo today, you need an average of $487,000. This figure accurately tells us what kind of a car the Iso Grifo really is. This grand tourer was produced by 1965 and 1974 this muscle car took up a Chevrolet small-block engine, one of the most respected of that season. This 5.4-liter engine pushed about 300 hp through a 4-speed manual transmission.
Borrowing American power, this Italian beauty became a covetable head-turner in every conceivable way. It made a very good balance of both worlds with the rarity of design and elegance in styling.
With an extremely limited edition of just eight cars built, the AC 428 is far too rare, which justifies why you may pay as much as $164,000 for a piece of the pie today. The most interesting part of its story, however, is picking up a Cobra engine, which essentially meant that it could have the power to perform competitively against its peers. Precisely, it carried a 7-liter Ford engine breathing a massive 345 hp.
To say the least, this is massive power, enough to propel it from 0.60mph in just six seconds. The chassis was firm and the suspension sturdy, giving this car impressive handling, much to the appreciation of enthusiasts.
Facel Vega FVS
The Vega was introduced in 1954 and quickly caught the attention of industry players for its outstanding looks and luxurious feel. The market gladly accepted its unusual design and production went on for 10 versions. The Facel was among the first cars to combine French and American elegance, resulting in a very fashionable machine.
The Facel Vega used a DeSoto Firedome 4.5-liter Hemi V-8 engine that pushed 180 ponies. It worked in tandem with a two-speed automatic or an optional four-speed manual transmission.Classic.com observes that “the interior was uncommonly luxurious and of exceptional workmanship”
Mercedes AMG 300E 6.0 Hammer
If you thought the “Hammer” is a post-millennium nameplate in the automotive industry, then you may need to revisit history. It appeared as back as 1984, on a Mercedes 300E that was powered by a 3.0-liter engine. This car was built just a few years before AMG officially and permanently felly into the Mercedes stable.
So good and appreciated is the AMG Hammer that one reviewer said that, “It has become a kind of cultural myth, a great car by which other great cars are measured.” Such impressive descriptions are hard to come by, especially in an industry that is relatively populated.
Alfa Romeo Montreal
There is a lot of resemblance between the Alfa Romeo Montreal and the Lamborghini Miura with the unmistakable four headlamps. The grille was outrightly unusual and instantly caught the public attention.
The Alfa Romeo Montreal came out as a concept car in 1967, but the first production car appeared at the 190 Geneva Motor Show. Production took place in Arese, Italy, and two more Bertone factories outside Turin.
Although emission regulations prohibited the sale of these cars in Canada and America, these cars have found their way into this market today with a $50,000-$110,000 price range. Under the hood is a 2.6-liter engine V8, built to hit a top speed of 137 mph, taking just eight seconds to hit 60 mph.
Modded classic muscle cars represent the best of owners sticking two fingers up at the purists and doing things their way.
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