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Old 08-05-2011, 09:01 AM   #151 (permalink)
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I remember the high performance car magazines making fun of the Camaro slaughtering the Mustang in track testing because Ford used a smaller V-8 instead of a bigger one. And then GM couldn't sell enough of them to make a business case to keep the car. Sort of like in the 70's when they made fun of the downsized Mustang II and bragged on the Camaro. Ford's "little gem" {just a nick-name, not a fact of great quality} went on to outstanding sales while the Camaro and Firebird were kept in the lineup because GM refused to admit defeat.

I agree with the vast majority of what Frank Lee said. How else can you explain a group of people bragging that their 7 passenger SUV has 11 cup holders in it? Of course consumers share in the blame. After being massively bombarded with advertising, they go out and buy a vehicle that is suited for anyone trying to transport their family and their best friends family while towing a cabin cruiser over the Rockie Mountains. And then they complain when the price of fuel goes up, that it is hard on their budget. Go figure.

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Old 08-05-2011, 01:22 PM   #152 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aporigine View Post
Ooohh them's fightin words!!
Contingent, of course, on how you and I define "sports car".
I obviously use your second definition:

Quote:
..."small sporty convertible", typically British, with the center of cultural gravity around any number of Triumph, MG, some Jag and perhaps Healey models.
So by that definition, the mid-50s T-bird and Corvette were really the last notable attempts by American manufacturers to produce something in that market. (There were a few others - Studebaker's Avanti in the early 60s, the Pontiac Fiero - but nothing significant.)

The later Corvette is sort of an iffy case, I think more like your European GT cars than anything. Too much engine and not enough handling for a true sports car.

The rest - Mustangs, Camaros, and their descendents, including that V10 thing - I'd say belong to that uniquely American breed, the muscle car, which is designed to go very fast (or at least appear to do so) in a straight line.

Quote:
...the AC/Shelby Cobras (60s)...
I wouldn't say that those (or the Tesla) are really products of the mainstream US automakers, being British body & chassis with US powerplants fitted. And the later Cobras were really over-engined for sports cars.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #153 (permalink)
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jamesqf -
I guess we'll always sit on opposite sides of that table. I worry that I have offended a matter on which your feelings are strong. For that I apologize, and I will desist. But not all at once (giggle!) -

That said, I'll hazard two possibly dissenting opinions:
the current Corvette, not enough handling? Its Nurburgring/Nordschleife times, for me the #1 ordeal-of-righteousness for any sports (or more accurately: sporting) car, are simply stellar!

Also the Solstice would seem to qualify nicely as a small nimble convertible, although its smallness was somewhat bloated by the regulators' insistence, and the customer's preference, for impact ratings, antilock brakes etc. They've discontinued it of course, since Pontiac has gone the way of the megatherium. In the USA, the roadster market seems effectively owned by the Miata. It doesn't leave enough market in the USA for our domestic makers to bother with a competitor, especially against such brilliant others as Honda's S2000 or the Germans' Z4 and Cratester.

hope your day is good - cheers apo
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:19 PM   #154 (permalink)
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Arragonis:

I did not know that the first iteration of the T-bird was well-regarded. Guess I'll have to learn something. (grin) I was always prejudiced by its being marketed as a "personal car", neither a full-blooded sporter nor a great comfy ship-of-the-line such as its Buick contemporaries. Imo the current retro 'Bird perfectly captures that original posture: neither fish nor fowl. Indeed I haven't seen anyone under 60 driving the NewOld Thunderbird.

I also acknowledge that the GT40 was something special, the instantiation of an auto magnate's revenge and aimed squarely at Le Mans. I wasn't really thinking of that one when I wrote yesterday but rather the unnumbered Ford GT of a few years back. That was made for the buying public, and it was softened from the original to the point of being a credible civilian (?) machine.

" If you are in the position to afford a high performance GT like that would you buy one with a Chevrolet badge on it - which has no status at all here - or one with a prancing bull or horse or a 3 pointed star ?"

I've always been a horsey kind of guy, either il cavallino or the Stuttgarter Roessl. I hold the minority opinion that the 550 Maranello is one of the loveliest cars to ever come from Modena ... not over the top like the Testarossa or almost all of its tauronymic arch-competitors. Elegant, classy, understated and yet imbued with the "song of the twelve".
Does the three-pointed star make real GTs? Excepting the very recent (and deliriously priced) SLS, I would have said No. The SLs, from the 450 on, are called Beverly Hills Mustangs for a good reason imo ... middling-to-good in a straight line but they get a bit discomposed at 10/10ths in the twisty bits.
But *for the money*, I give the nod to the 'vette as a brilliant effort ... leaf spring and all! (smile) In re status, I consider that not a bug but a feature ... I've always preferred the underdog assuming it can "walk the walk", which the current Corvette seems to do, even if Jeremy someone has excellent fun excoriating it mercilessly on that Longest Available Ratio show of his.
...Another overwhelming factor that would draw me to the Corvette is that, as I live in a nonurban area, I can get it serviced locally. A 911 is an exotic hereabouts.

Ah, pony cars. Yes, cost is mentioned in re the current Mustang's primitive rear suspension. American car testers use donuts on a skidpad as a measure of a car's handling, and it isn't hard to tweak a live axle to do well there. That conceit evaporates on a road course with its higher-order dynamic demands. The current Camaro might have had a chance - its numbers are quite good, if you forgive a) its weight and b) the fact that it's really a Holden. But I've seen road-course tests, and again, the car loses its composure away from straights or ovals. Close but no Cohiba, quoth the aporiginal one. (big cheez-eating grin)

cheers apo
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:36 PM   #155 (permalink)
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I have a SuperCoupe TBird with IRS and it is one heavy yet powerful and fast SOB!
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:22 PM   #156 (permalink)
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Kudos to you aporigine!

I've never read a post written by (ab)normal people such as we, that included so many words requiring me to use a dictionary.

Readers Digest would be proud for expanding our vocabulary!
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:47 PM   #157 (permalink)
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gasstingy:
Heartfelt thanks! You inspired (?!) me to reread my posts, and oh my, I really did lay it on a bit thickly, didn't I? Ordinarily I try to dial it back, but sometimes my hypertrophic predilection for polysyllabic vocabulary gets the best of me. The kudos migrate right back across the savanna to you ... for actually reading my verbal impasto!!
(Must be a similar impulse that drives my quest for fuel mileage. I try to say the most using the least word count. This leads to my automatically scouring the dictionary's outback...)
Wanna hear something truly frightening? I talk exactly in the same manner as I write. If I read my stylings aloud, they become almost musical...

.......almost......

cheers apo
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:08 PM   #158 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aporigine View Post
I did not know that the first iteration of the T-bird was well-regarded....
I was surprised too but "Classic and Sportscar" (a mag here which tends towards the "classic British GTs are best" meme) did a side by side test of an XK140 against a "MK1a" Thunderbird echoing tests by others at the time. The details were there including memos written by Jaguar's distributors in the US to the factory in the UK. At the time Jaguar were a limited production company hoping to make as much money as possible abroad including the US by basically offering a cut-price exotica experience. The Thunderbird threatened that dream.

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Originally Posted by aporigine View Post
I hold the minority opinion that the 550 Maranello is one of the loveliest cars to ever come from Modena ...
The absolute beauty for me is the 250 GT Lusso which I have appreciated since I had a toy one (Matchbox) as a child, but from your era the one before the 550 - the 456 was sublime IMHO. I'm odd though, I like the Bertone Ferrari - the 308 GT/4, and the farina 400/412.

My all time favourite supercar is not a Ferrari though, it is split between the original LP400 Countach (the one without the wings and spoilers) and the Lancia Stratos. The LP400 is a 70s spaceship on the road, which is what a supercar is all about.

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Originally Posted by aporigine View Post
...even if Jeremy someone has excellent fun excoriating it mercilessly on that Longest Available Ratio show of his.
Mr Clarkson apparently likes the modern Corvette - for the money. He hated the original 1984 one (google his video review) only because of the ride and the OHV engine, which is fair enough if we are honest.

To be a world winner the modern Vette only needs some really cool GT styling, and perhaps RHD ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aporigine View Post
Ah, pony cars. Yes, cost is mentioned in re the current Mustang's primitive rear suspension...
I read a long and rather boring posting somewhere (TTAC - yawn) about how the Mustang's designers selected a live axle because of the drag racers - apparently a solid cart beam gives some kind of advantage there - and the factory wanted to support the racers. The argument didn't gain any, excuse the phrase, traction. And TBH my response is "yeah, right, moving on...."

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Originally Posted by aporigine View Post
cheers apo
Cheers yourself, I like supercar talk.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:25 PM   #159 (permalink)
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Early Pantera's have made my heart beat! The Mangusta looks almost better, if only it handled as it looks.

Hard to argue with the great looks of any 250 Ferrari , or the Daytona.


The Shelby Daytona coupe is nice too. Wish there were more BMW M1's around.

I agree with Arragonis about the 1st Countach!

The Zagato (Aston Martin '62)

The biggest beef I have against anything newer is the ugly headlight arrangements. I don't care if it has the optic power to burn through walls; make it PRETTY like '60's, and some '70's cars! It's ALMOST as bad as looking at an ugly fuel filler door!
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:46 PM   #160 (permalink)
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Arragonis -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
...

The absolute beauty for me is the 250 GT Lusso which I have appreciated since I had a toy one (Matchbox) as a child, but from your era the one before the 550 - the 456 was sublime IMHO. I'm odd though, I like the Bertone Ferrari - the 308 GT/4, and the farina 400/412.

...

Cheers yourself, I like supercar talk.
Feast your eyes on my 250 "electric" :



CarloSW2

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