Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Fast Thinking

Fast Thinking Published: 23rd May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fast Thinking
Fast Thinking
Fast Thinking
Fast Thinking
Fast Thinking
Fast Thinking
Fast Thinking
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Don’t fancy or can’t afford an 02 or GTV? Then take a gamble on these great, cheaper alternatives

Ford Escort

 

Working class heroes

Any big-engined Escort is vindaloo in today’s classic circles and five figure sums are a given – more so if certain RS parts or a proven history are included. All are cracking sports saloons even if they lack a posh brand name and build. But let’s be frank, is a common Escort really worth so much? Watch for fakes (RS Clubs will help) and theft.

Lancia Beta

 

Alfa beaters?

Sibling rivalry between Fiat’s sporting brands culminated in Lancia launching the Beta in direct comparison to the Alfa. Highly regarded in its day the coupé is no second stringer to the GTV, and was joined by the HPE (High Performance Estate) as well as a very nice Spyder cabrio. Betas are available in a variety of engine sizes, all with five-speed transmissions, while last of the line models had a supercharger offshoot. Rust and a ruinous reputation took too long a time to live down meaning even now they remain cheapish cultured classics.

Opel Manta

 

In its day, a worthy BMW alternative

Opel’s answer to the Capri, but a far more sophisticated effort, was seen as a BMW rival in its day with a build quality well up to Bavarian standards. With its excellent handling, Mantas always deserved more power which they only got with the 80’s GTE. Don’t forget the identical Vauxhall Cavalier Coupé or Sportshatch. Spares and support is never as good as a Capri but all that you need is out there – somewhere.

Jensen GT

 

More an upmarket MGB GT or GT6?

Taking a leaf out of Volvo’s book, Jensen discarded the original sports car for an upmarket GT sportshatch that was a great up-todate replacement for the MGB GT. Still Lotus powered, and now marshalled by a Getrag five-speed gearbox to aid cruising, the GT had most of the J-H’s numerous ills finally ironed out. Alas, it came too late to save Jensen and less than 500 were made – which makes it a classic in anyone’s books.

Triumph Dolomite Sprint

 

Hot favourite for 2018

This was the 16 valved sports saloon that, when launched in 1973, made an Alfa or BMW look overrated and overpriced; and little has changed over 45 years. Rust and problems with that half Stag engine (with all the hassles!) are still a worry but a good well restored one (few are original) is a pleasing performer although it’s not as refined as you’d expect. Majority can be bought for well under nine grand and we tip Sprints to be one of the best buys of 2018.

Volvo P1800

 

Saint’s come marching in

Launched in the late 1950s, the P1800 certainly feels it when compared to the BMW and Alfa. For all that, the P1800 is a great, classy GT coupé boasting great looks time hasn’t diminished although the sportshatch replacement (1800ES) isn’t so head turning but is individual and practical. Later 2-litre engine is quite quick in fuel injected form but all are a bit dated to drive.

Vauxhall Firenza HP

 

Hot shot with silver bullets

Better known as the Droopsnoot, this Vauxhall was launched just after the Dolomite Sprint and the silver coloured Vauxhall was slightly more powerful (131bhp) plus boasted a five-speed gearbox. A real driver’s car, but, what let this Vauxhall down was its lack of refinement and pedigree; the type of qualities the Alfa and BMW drown in. As only a couple of hundred were made their rarity will ensure good financial returns but spares will be a perennial problem.

Alfetta GTV

Another romeo romance

Considering how great the first GTV was, the Alfetta GTV initially was a bit of a let down, its main face saver undoubtedly being the 2.5-litre V6 (from 1980) that was further developed with fuel injection for 160bhp. A fast and attractive coupé that became better over the years, it’s more value than the earlier GTV but prices are playing catch up.

Audi 100S Coupé

 

DBS duplicate?

Did Audi copy Aston with its 100S because there’s an unmistakable touch of the DBS about this German which, in its day, was squarely pitched against BMW and Alfa. As it’s only a 1.9-litre, performance is at best fair but good aerodynamics and high gearing make ita better cruiser than that pair. The 100S is a very nice, roomy and civilised 2+2 although hardly sporting. Prices used to be cheap but not anymore and beware of rust and high replacement panel prices.

Lotus Elite/Eclat/Excel

 

Buy cheap while you still can

Excel was the final development of the Eclat which was a coupé-styled offshoot of the 1974 hatchback Elite. All were designed to take Lotus upmarket but sadly the Lotus was out of its depth. A lack of refinement and reliability means they remain forgotten Lotuses. Reputation aside however, there’s no argument that a good one is a joy to drive, especially the final fling Excel. We still say these Lotuses will all appreciate, so buy while they cost a relative pittance.

Porsche 924/944

 

Proper Porsches!

How about a penny-wise Porsche? Yes, that infamous 2-litre engine was also fitted in the VW LT van… but the 924 is far more Audi than VW and is a good little, highly usable 2+2 with ample performance and, care of its rear-mounted transaxle for near-perfect weight distribution, excellent handling. But there’s no getting away from the fact the similar 944 evolution sporting full blown Porsche power is the better car. Common to both is the versatility and usability of a Golf, plus containable running costs.



User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Subscribe