Tag Archives: Classic Driver Magazine

Greatest Cars Of All Time: “1961 Jaguar E-Type” (Video)

‘Project ZP’ proved the Jaguar E-type was as fast as it looked.

Although the response to the E-type was frenzied, Jaguar knew that more than a pretty face was required to secure the model’s future. Under the veil of ‘Project ZP’, seven of the earliest E-types were transformed into racers. And this particular car stands today as the best of the bunch…

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Classics: “1959 BMW 507 Series II” – Amazing Story Behind The “Perfect Car”

From Classic Driver Magazine (April 18, 2020):

1959 BMW 507 Series II Interior“Astonishing” is the word we are looking to describe this BMW 507. A word we use a lot if it comes to selling classic cars, but only a little few deserve this ‘title’ like this 507 does. When an exceptional model, with an unique story, from what the historical documents are well archieved, it just makes us going crazy. Add matching numbers and -colors tot his list and we are losing it totally. That’s no different with this 507.

1959 BMW 507 Series II FrontMax Hoffman convinced BMW that if they built a competitor to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, he would sell it profitable in the United States. The BMW was intended to fill the gap between the affordable sports cars like the triumph and MG and the exclusive cars like the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and Ferrari 250 GT California. Though, BMW couldn’t achieve their target price, for what the BMW 507 was even more expensive than the 300SL. BMW found itself in a financial difficult situation and almost went bankrupt. At the end of the day, BMW recovered from this “failure” and the 507 even became a true flagship in the whole history of automotive.

Classic Driver MagazineIn the ‘50s BMW disposed over all fundamental ingredients which would make the 507 complete. An all-aluminium 3.2-litre V8 engine was placed in a shortened chassis of the 502. This ingenious masterpiece produced no less than 150hp and sounds like a guitar solo in your ears. To save weigt, the body was made of aluminium, which results in a 1280kg’s for a fully finished 507. Besides the phenomenal results, BMW wanted to offer luxury as well. Both aspects are just spot on.

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American Classic Cars: “1948 Packard Standard Eight Station Sedan”

1948 Packard Standard Eight Station Sedan Interior Classic DriverPackard Super Eight was the name given to the larger of the two eight-cylinder luxury automobiles produced by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan. It shared frames and some body types with the top model Packard Twelve. Following the discontinuation of the Seventeenth Series Packard Twelve after the 1939 model year, a new Super Eight One-Eighty was derived from the Super Eight as the new top car range. The Super Eight was renamed the Packard Super Eight One-Sixty.

Classic Driver logoAfter 1942, Packard concentrated on the new Clipper styling that was developed for an upper-class sedan the previous year. There were Super Clippers and Custom Super Clipper in the One-Sixty and One-Eighty tradition until 1947. After a heavy facelift, the name Clipper was dropped. The most senior Super Eight One-Eighty became the Custom Eight, while its slightly lower-priced sibling, the Super Eight One-Sixty, once again became simply the Super Eight. Clipper Custom Super Eights and Custom Eights were very close relatives to their respective Super models, distinguished outside by the lack of an eggcrate grille and small rear chrome trim moulding under the trunk lid on Supers. In 1949, a new Super Eight Deluxe was added to the line. This car had also the Custom Eight’s eggcrate grille, but not the rear trim.

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From Wikipedia

American Classics: “1937 Cord 812” – Front Wheel Drive, Hidden Headlights

1937 Cord 812 Interior Classic DriverThe Cord 810, and later Cord 812, was a luxury automobile produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937. It was the first American-designed and built front wheel drive car with independent front suspension. It followed the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant and the Cord L-29, both of which also had front wheel drive. Both models were also the first to offer hidden headlights.

Classic Driver logoThe styling of the Cord 810 was the work of designer Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists, which included young Vince Gardner and Alex Tremulis. While the first American front-wheel-drive car with independent front suspension, it had an archaic tube rear axle with semi-elliptic rear springs. Power came from a 4,739 cc (289 cu in) Lycoming V8 of the same 125 hp (93 kW) as the L-29. The semi-automatic four-speed transmission (three plus overdrive) extended in front of the engine, like on a Traction Avant. This allowed Buehrig to dispense with the driveshaft and transmission tunnel; as a result, the new car was so low it required no running boards. It had a 125 in (3,175 mm) wheelbase (shared with several 812 body styles), and in 1936 came in four models: the entry-level sedan at US$1995, the Beverly sedan ($2095), Sportsman ($2145), and Phaeton ($2195). The 1937 812s had the same models, priced $2445, $2545, $2585, and $2645, plus two more, on a 132 in (3,400 mm) wheelbase, the $2960 Custom Beverly and $3060 Custom Berline.

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From Wikipedia

1950’s English Sports Cars: “1956 Austin-Healey BN2”

From Wikipedia:

1956 Austin-Healey BN 2 100 BN2 Le Mans ‘ M’ Interior Classic DriverThe Austin-Healey 100 is a sports car that was built by Austin-Healey from 1953 until 1956.

Based on Austin A90 Atlantic mechanicals, it was developed by Donald Healey to be produced in-house by his small Healey car company in Warwick. 

Healey built a single Healey Hundred for the 1952 London Motor Show, and the design impressed Leonard Lord, managing director of Austin, who was looking for a replacement for the unsuccessful A90. Body styling was by Gerry Coker, the chassis was designed by Barry Bilbie with longitudinal members and cross bracing producing a comparatively stiff structure upon which to mount the body, innovatively welding the front bulkhead to the frame for additional strength. In order to keep the overall vehicle height low the rear axle was underslung, the chassis frame passing under the rear axle assembly.

Classic Driver logoLord struck a deal with Healey to build it in quantity; bodies made by Jensen Motors were given Austin mechanical components at Austin’s Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100.

The “100” was named by Healey for the car’s ability to reach 100 mph (160 km/h); its successor, the better known Austin-Healey 3000, was named for the 3000 cc displacement of its engine.

Apart from the first twenty cars, production Austin-Healey 100s were finished at Austin’s Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich—in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports. 14,634 Austin-Healey 100s were produced.

The 100 was the first of three models later called the Big Healeys to distinguish them from the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite. The Big Healeys are often referred to by their three-character model designators rather than by their models, as the model names do not reflect the mechanical differences and similarities well.

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Classic Cars: 1954 Ford Crestline “Skyliner” Featured A Glass Roof

From a Classic Driver online listing:

1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner Classic DriverIn 1954, Ford added a new niche model to the top-of-the-line Crestline series : the Skyliner. The car had a glass roof section over the front seats, made of blue-green tinted acrylic and letting a diffused yet filtered light through. Ford claimed that 60% of the sunrays were filtered out.

The Skyliner offered a very light interior, with a soft green glow : the perfect car for the drive-in cinema, and a a great view of the future’s past, developed in an era obsessed with Jet Age design features. The Skyliner was only in production for one year, and in total 13.144 examples were sold.

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American Cars: “1959 Plymouth Sport Fury Coupe” (Classic Driver)

From Wikipedia:

1959 Plymouth Sport Fury Coupe Rear View Classic DriverIn 1959, Plymouth introduced the Sport Fury as its top model, and the Fury as its second from the top model to replace the Plymouth Belvedere at the top of the Plymouth line-up. The Fury range was now available as a four-door sedan and station wagon, as well as a two-door hardtop and sedan. The Sport Fury series had only a two-door hardtop and convertible. The Sport Fury was dropped at the end of 1959, but was reintroduced in mid-1962 and discontinued in 1971.

Classic Driver logoThe Plymouth Fury is a model of automobile which was produced by Plymouth from 1955 to 1989. It was introduced for the 1956 model year as a sub-series of the Plymouth Belvedere, becoming a separate series one level above the contemporary Belvedere for 1959. The Fury was a full-size car from 1959 to 1961, then a mid-size car from 1962 to 1964, again a full-size car from 1965 to 1974, and again a mid-size car from 1975 to 1978. From 1975 to 1977 the Fury was sold alongside the full-size Plymouth Gran Fury.

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1960’s Classic Cars: 1966 Citroën DS 21 Convertible

From Wikipedia:

1966 Citroen DS 21 Interior Classic DriverThe Citroën DS is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive executive car that was manufactured and marketed by the French company Citroën from 1955 to 1975 in sedan, wagon/estate and convertible body configurations across three series/generations.

Noted for its aerodynamic, futuristic body design and innovative technology, the DS set new standards in ride quality, handling, and braking — the latter as the first mass production car equipped with disc brakes.

Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre styled and engineered the car, and Paul Magès developed Classic Driver logothe hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension. Citroën sold 1,455,746 examples, including 1,330,755 manufactured at the manufacturer’s Paris Quai André-Citroën production plant.

The DS placed third in the 1999 Car of the Century poll recognizing the world’s most influential auto designs and was named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic & Sports Car magazine.

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1930’S Racing Cars: Amazing “Bugatti Type 59” Reunion (Classic Driver)

From a Classic Driver Magazine online article:

Bugatti Type 59 Classic Driver photo 2019During this year’s Monterey Car Week, all four of Bugatti’s hallowed Type 59s were reunited for the first time since 1935. We spoke to the man who pulled off arguably the most historically significant automotive rendezvous of the decade…

In the fabled legend of Bugatti’s racing cars, there is one model that is so beautiful and so elusive that is stands at the top of every enthusiast of the great French marque’s wish list: the Type 59. Along with the input of Jean Bugatti, who had been one of the Classic Driver logodriving forces behind the introduction of the twin-cam engine, Ettore Bugatti created the ultimate expression of his jewel-like Grand Prix car.

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Classic Cars: “1965 Corvette L76 Stingray”

From Wikipedia:

1965 Chevrolet Corvette L76 Stingray interiorFor its third season, the 1965 Corvette Sting Ray further cleaned up style-wise and was muscled up with the addition of an all-new braking system and larger powerplants. 1965 styling alterations were subtle, confined to a smoothed-out hood now devoid of scoop indentations, a trio of working vertical exhaust vents in the front fenders that replaced the previous nonfunctional horizontal “speedlines,” restyled wheel covers and rocker-panel moldings, and minor interior trim revisions. The 1965 Corvette Sting Ray became ferocious with the mid-year debut of the “Big-Block” 396 cu in (6,490 cc) engine producing 425 hp (317 kW).

Ultimately, this spelled the end for the Rochester fuel injection system, as the carbureted 396ci/425hp option cost $292.70 to the fuel injected 327ci/375hp’s $538.00. Few buyers could justify $245 more for 50 hp (37 kW) less, even if the FI cars offered optional bigger brakes not available on carbureted models.[18] After only 771 fuel injected cars were built in 1965, Chevrolet discontinued the option. It would be 18 years until it returned.

Classic Driver logo1965 also added another 350 hp small block engine (Option L79) which used hydraulic rather than solid lifters, a milder camshaft and a modestly redesigned smaller oil pan.[19] Otherwise, the 350 hp engine was cosmetically and mechanically identical to the 365 hp engine (Option L76) solid lifter engine. The smaller oil pan allowed this high output small block 350hp engine to be ordered with optional Power Steering for the first time amongst the optional stable of higher output small block engines. Power steering was previously only available with the lower 250 hp and 300 hp engines.

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