If you’re looking for a summer ride that won’t break the bank, you’re in luck.
A web site, ClassicCars.com, has picked five used cars that fit the bill for summer fun, mostly small roadsters and under $10,000. Here’s the lineup:
The MGB is called “every bit as fun and stylish as the pricier British roadsters.” There are many enthusiasts who own them and parts are still available to fix them, which judging from those we know who have owned one, you’ll be doing often. ClassicCars.com says the best years are 1966 or 1967. The 1970s ones are the cheapest.
The Triumph TR6 is set apart by what ClassicCars.com calls as “lusty six-cylinder engine.” It says the car has been underappreciated in the last decade, which could help when it comes to price.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Even today, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is still made and has such devoted fans that Mazda has been able to drop the “Miata” part out of the name. It was introduced in 1990 and the early ones are fun because of their hidden headlights.
Subaru’s are known to roar through the road and are rally cars, but aren’t so fuel efficient. Subaru hopes the redesigned WRX line will capture a wider customer base with better fuel economy and safety features after spinning off the nameplate from its Impreza stablemate.
The longer, roomier and sportier looking WRX went on sale in the U.S. in the spring and was released in Japan on Monday.
The performance car, long a staple of the rally circuits, already has a dedicated motor-fan following. But Subaru wants to cast a wider net with better fuel consumption and safety features, Takeshi Tachimori, executive vice president in charge of global marketing, said at the car’s home market debut.
“So far, the WRX was a very narrow, polarizing category, but we want to make it appeal to a wider customer base,” he said.
That’s one reason Subaru brand parent Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., decided to make the WRX and tuner STI variant a standalone entry after long offering it as a sub-brand of the Impreza.
That, and the goal of strengthening Subaru’s sporty lineup.
The Japan and U.S. versions of the base WRX chug less gasoline thanks to a new 2.0-liter direct-injection engine mated to a continuously variable transmission or 6-speed manual.
And both variants get a more rigid bodies and chassis set-ups, replete with more use of high-tensile steel plating, to enhance control and crash-worthiness. It gets the same reinforced frame structure used in other models that passed the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap crash test.
The Japan spec car also offers the latest version of Subaru’s trademark Eyesight camera-actuated pre-crash safety system, which delivers automatic braking and active lane keep assist. Will all of these new bells and whistle be enough to capture their new customer?
Cadillac was once at the top of the charts for sales, however over the last few quarters they are fallen rapidly. General Motors global product chief Mark Reuss said that a large luxury sedan being developed for Cadillac will “define its brand” and is a prerequisite to competing against rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.
“If we’re a serious luxury carmaker, it’s really important to us,” Reuss said at an event here Tuesday.
“This is a car that Cadillac needs, that will define its brand in terms of innovation and excellence,” Reuss told reporters. “That’s the mission.”
Cadillac’s chief engineer, Dave Leone, told Bloomberg last week that the rear-wheel drive sedan would arrive sometime in late 2015. It was the first time a GM official has publicly given a timeframe for the long-rumored sedan, codenamed LTS for now.
Reuss declined to discuss specifics but said Cadillac’s entry in the large luxury sedan segment “has got to be a symbol of excellence.”
Engineering mules of the sedan have been spotted recently being put through the paces at GM’s proving ground in Milford, Mich. It’s expected to ride on a new rwd platform and compete against the Mercedes-Benz S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8.
Reuss downplayed Cadillac’s sluggish U.S. sales, which have fallen 2 percent this year through July, vs. 6 percent for the luxury market and 5 percent for all light vehicle. Will this Sedan be enough to bring Cadillac back to where it once was?
Lamborghini’s are hard to find in British Columbia . Even in supercar-crazy Vancouver there’s maybe a half-dozen total, and most for-sale examples are in the southern U.S, says Jeff Dow. With so few available, when Dow found a red ’84 up for grabs in Calgary seven years ago, he had to have it.
“For me, it was the first car that fit the definition of ‘exotic,’” he says. Wherever Dow drives, people comment on it—and smile when its ‘scissor doors’ flip up. “When it came out, I don’t think any other car had anything besides regular doors, other than maybe the ‘gullwing’ and the Kaiser-Darrin,” Dow says. “Not only was the Countach a big wedge with a huge V12 engine right behind your ear, but on top of that, you flip the latch and the door scissors up. It’s a defining feature.”
The scissor doors: then
In October 1968 stylist Marcello Gandini of design studio Bertone introduced the world to a new way to open car doors: upward and forward.
His Tipo 33 Carabo stole the spotlight at the Paris Motor Show that year with its scissor-style doors, which Gandini incorporated to help clear the wide door sills of the Alfa Romeo racecar the Carabo concept car was based on.
When shortly after he was tapped by Lamborghini to work on Project 112, the Countach LP500 prototype, Gandini again went with scissor doors to work around that car’s space-frame-style chassis.
They helped make the car a hit at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, but posed some problems during development.
The opening mechanism was simple enough: a single gas strut forced the doors to swing upward just more than 45 degrees to open 80 inches. But by autumn 1973, engineers gave up on trying to build a traditional two-piece side window into the door – they found it kept shattering – and went with a three-piece configuration instead.
The production LP400 bowed in 1974, and looked largely liked the prototype (though the NACA-style ducts in the doors were now painted black). Almost immediately the unique design of the doors made for some interesting owner experiences.
“It took a while to figure out the easiest way to get in and out,” explains Dow. “Personally I just slide in backwards, put my ass in the seat, then swing my legs in, and vice-versa getting out.”
The car’s poor rearward visibility, combined with those wide door sills, also led many drivers to try a new way of reversing into a parking spot: by opening the door, sitting on the sill, and looking backward over the top of the car’s rear.
By the time its successor, the Diablo, came out in 1990, the Countach and its scissor doors were already an icon. Including the scissor doors on the new offering cemented their status as a trademark Lamborghini design feature, and helped ensure that from then on they would widely be known as “Lambo doors.”
The Diablo’s one-piece, electrically powered side windows were a major improvement, and the door opening was slightly larger, too. In 2001, when the Murcielago debuted, it, too, featured scissor doors that opened even wider, as well as a 25-mm lower door sill.
The scissor doors: now
Though they’re universally referred to as “Lambo doors,” today you can find aftermarket-fitted scissor doors on everything from Plymouth Prowlers to Volvo station wagons to Geo Metro hatchbacks.
Several supercar rivals have adopted similar “vertical lift system” or “jack-knife” doors, too, but still nobody does it like Lamborghini.
“For us, the [scissor] door is something very important, very unique; in other cars, it works in a different way. We have a tradition with it,” says Filippo Perini, Lamborghini’s chief of design since 2004.
On the brand’s new Aventador, the doors open not just upward, but also outward slightly, to allow them to better seal shut, reducing road noise. Outside of engineering that change, the doors posed almost no design problems—almost.
“The only problem you face designing a car with doors like this is it is immediately compared to the Countach, and that does not make us comfortable as designers, because we have to do something better,” Perini chuckles.
“We are not allowed to do just a beautiful design—we have to do iconic design.”
The Aventador’s sharp creases and planar surfaces were very much inspired by modern stealth fighter aircraft, Perini says, and the doors fit that theme as well since they flip forward like a jet canopy. What will be the new look for this iconic car?
Ladies and gentleman, I give you the new and improved Aston Martin.
You have to hand it to Aston Martin. Its entry-level V8 Vantage may be nearly a decade old, but the British automaker never tires of rolling out ever more powerful versions. Where the original packed a 4.3-litre V8 derived from a Jaguar design and producing 380 horsepower, this latest version packs 565 hp to become the company’s quickest and fastest roadster to date, not to mention its most powerful.
Following the debut of the V12 Vantage S coupe, the new V12 Vantage S Roadster packs the most powerful iteration of Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-litre V12 engine to date. Equipped with CNC-machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts, unburdened of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of excess weight and mated to Gaydon’s latest Graziano-developed Sportshift III seven-speed sequential gearbox, that engine is capable of propelling the open-top rocket to 60 (0-96km/h) in 3.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 201 miles per hour (324 kilometres per hour). That’s considerably quicker than the flagship Vanquish Volante, which runs to 60 (96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds and tops out at 183 mph (295 km/h), painting the V12 Vantage S Roadster as Aston’s most performance-focused droptop to date.
It’s also got a flatter and fatter torque curve than the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, three-stage adaptive damping, three-stage stability control and two-stage ABS, carbon-ceramic disc brakes and a lightweight exhaust derived from the pipes on the One-77. Like what you see? There are more details to digest in the press release below, including a full range of customization options from the Q by Aston Martin catalog. This beautiful vehicle should do wonders in the higher end market.
What the cloud system has done for computers may be implemented within vehicles in the near future. Trips to your local mechanic might become less frequent as new technology develops that could make it possible for cars to essentially fix minor glitches themselves. Whether it’s realigning the sensors that prevent you from backing into a pole, or updating the guts of the dashboard software, new technology from a subsidiary of smartphone maker BlackBerry (TSX:BB) will give car manufacturers the tools to communicate directly with vehicles linked to their system.
QNX Software Systems executive Derek Kuhn said automakers will work as technical assistants from afar. “Instead of going into the dealer to get something fixed or adjusted, that could be done remotely,” the sales and marketing vice-president said in an interview. “They can update and keep the car fresh.”
While the technology isn’t yet built into vehicles, Kuhn said it will soon be available to consumers. The development is part of Project Ion, a move by BlackBerry to become a leader in the technology that connects everyday things, such as home appliances and smart watches, to wireless networks.
Kuhn spoke from CE Week, a consumer electronics show in New York City, where QNX is showcasing its latest vehicle acoustics and noise-reduction technology. The event also brings experts from the industry together to discuss what’s on the horizon. BlackBerry’s QNX, which is based in Ottawa, already develops technology for cars and trucks, including dashboard systems that connect directly with a driver’s mobile phone and outside networks.
Audi uses QNX’s technology to give drivers instant access to the cheapest gas prices and parking lots near their destination. Drivers can also link their smartphones to the dashboard computer system to read out and transcribe text messages.
Dashboard technology has become the next frontier for interactivity, with Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC.A) president Michael Medline telling a retail conference earlier this month that he believes consumers will soon have the option to shop from their car.
The in-car retail technology is already in the works, said Kuhn. He believes the fast food industry will likely be early adopters — giving drivers the ability to select a restaurant, a location, and a menu. “You can actually place your order so, by the time you get to the window, (the food) is already done and ready for you,” he said. This new technology makes driving easier, and safer. It will certainly be a game changer.