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Classic snobbery?


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#1 cdrewett

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 08:42

Thumbing through the Market Review that comes with this month's C&SC magazine, I was amazed and amused by the cars that the experts listed as being worth spending up to £15k on. Triumph Spitfire, Golf GTI, Austin Seven, Land Rover Series 2, Morris Traveller, I mean come on , you're having a laugh. Badly made, unreliable, rusty and horrible to drive, they are better off in the skip.
At the same time, the experts are ignoring some brilliant cars just because they are Japanese. Why? Is it ignorance or snobbery?
Some examples: Honda Legend Coupe, with build quality better than Mercedes. Subaru SVX, which Autocar road testers preferred to the Jaguar XJS. Nissan 300ZX, as good as a Porsche 928. All lovely to drive, fast and reliable, and with elegant good looks, and all on the market with the best examples under five grand. I reckon now is the time to invest before the market catches on.
In fact I have, and I absolutely love my SVX, a dream to drive and turns heads everywhere.
Chris

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#2 BRG

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:59

.. turns heads everywhere.
Chris

Are you sure those are looks of admiration though? I think the SVX is a bit of a Marmite car.

More generally, it's a free market and people pay for the cars that they like and desire. And that doesn't include many of the older Japanese models which were thought of both at the time and perhaps today, as being rather bland and characterless. Not all of them though - try finding a cheap 240Z.

#3 cdrewett

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 10:19

Are you sure those are looks of admiration though? I think the SVX is a bit of a Marmite car.

More generally, it's a free market and people pay for the cars that they like and desire. And that doesn't include many of the older Japanese models which were thought of both at the time and perhaps today, as being rather bland and characterless. Not all of them though - try finding a cheap 240Z.


Marmite, yummy. All the comments so far have been complimentary but maybe that's just politeness. Have you driven one?
BRG you're right about it being a free market, but I do think the classic mags have an influence. Endless Spitfire/Sprite MGB/TR comparisons, but when did you last see an SVX/300zx/Legend group test?

#4 scags

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:52

Marmite, yummy. All the comments so far have been complimentary but maybe that's just politeness. Have you driven one?
BRG you're right about it being a free market, but I do think the classic mags have an influence. Endless Spitfire/Sprite MGB/TR comparisons, but when did you last see an SVX/300zx/Legend group test?

They all rusted away in the US, and none are worth spending any money to restore.

#5 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 13:02

Having restored a few MGs in my time, most British cars of the 70s etc have 100% parts availability at reasonable prices. When they are restored they are usually better than new.
I would hate to try and restore a Japanese car. Poor parts supply and a high cost I would think.

You also have to remember that the magazines do lots of features on MG?Triumphs.Minis etc as that is what their readers own and they get a lot of advertising related to the feature. They are not daft!

Edited by Derwent Motorsport, 03 July 2013 - 14:36.


#6 W154

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 13:20

Thumbing through the Market Review that comes with this month's C&SC magazine, I was amazed and amused by the cars that the experts listed as being worth spending up to £15k on. Triumph Spitfire, Golf GTI, Austin Seven, Land Rover Series 2, Morris Traveller, I mean come on , you're having a laugh. Badly made, unreliable, rusty and horrible to drive, they are better off in the skip.
At the same time, the experts are ignoring some brilliant cars just because they are Japanese. Why? Is it ignorance or snobbery?
Some examples: Honda Legend Coupe, with build quality better than Mercedes. Subaru SVX, which Autocar road testers preferred to the Jaguar XJS. Nissan 300ZX, as good as a Porsche 928. All lovely to drive, fast and reliable, and with elegant good looks, and all on the market with the best examples under five grand. I reckon now is the time to invest before the market catches on.
In fact I have, and I absolutely love my SVX, a dream to drive and turns heads everywhere.
Chris

You make little joke, yes?!

#7 Paolo

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 14:13

Triumph Spitfires are beyond unreliable, but handling is heavenly.

#8 arttidesco

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:11

I don't recall Golf GTi Mk !'s as being too shabby to drive or particularly badly made.

The only Japanese cars I see becoming particularly collectable are the Mazda MX5 and Scooby Doo Impreza, never driven either but one sees plenty of them of all vintages at car gatherings.

SVX's look too Citroenesque for my money, but I have heard they are good value for money, shame they did not make a convertible version.

#9 Macca

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:17

I think that with the expanding world economy and population there are too many people and too much money chasing a finite or diminishing number of classic cars.

A friend bought and restored an MGTF some 10 years ago, and would like to apply his skills to restoring another British 1950s car of some sort..........but even poor examples of cars that weren't great in their day have shot up in price to be out of his reach.

Just look at the Ferrari GTO....there are so many billionaires chasing the kudos of having one of the few originals that the prices have gone beyond a joke, and the trend is working its way all the way down through the classic car market. Twenty-five years ago there was a good chance that my rising salary might match the prices of the sort of classic car I'd like to have owned, but then it all got silly.

In 1979 I bought an A40 for £200 - now £3k seems to be about the level, but my salary hasn't gone up by fifteen times!

Paul M

#10 Bloggsworth

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:31

Austin 7 had the sharpest turn-in of any car I've ever driven. It had 1/4 elliptic rear springs which meant that you could steer the car by sliding from one side to the other of the back seat! As soon as you turned the steering-wheel, and the car leaned, it lengthened the wheelbase on the outside of the curve, this meant that you had to coax the car into a corner and estimate the roll angle and concomitant rear wheel steering, then apply the correct amount of lock.

The MX5 was designed unstable, like a modern fighter jet, and is almost undriveable in the rain if the traction control is switched of, it will spin its wheels if give the dashboard a dirty look.

Edited by Bloggsworth, 03 July 2013 - 15:38.


#11 PS30-SB

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:34

......but I do think the classic mags have an influence. Endless Spitfire/Sprite MGB/TR comparisons, but when did you last see an SVX/300zx/Legend group test?



You only have to look at the advertising in the classic mags to realise that most of those endless Spitfire/Sprite and MGB/TR comparisons ( not to mention the endless Jaguar et al cover stars ) are actually only a few steps away from advertorial. It's the likes of the big parts suppliers for those marques that keep the mags going with their advertising revenue.

It goes further than road cars, too. When did you last see a feature on anything to do with the Japanese domestic racing scene in the 60s, 70s and 80s in a classic mag, or in the likes of Motor Sport? There's a rich and very interesting seam of gold there just waiting to be mined. They don't appear to be interested...





You're an SVX owner? You are a man of impeccable taste, sir! :)


#12 PS30-SB

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 15:49

The only Japanese cars I see becoming particularly collectable are the Mazda MX5 and Scooby Doo Impreza....


MX5 and "Scooby Doo Impreza"? You appear to be the proof of the pudding.

Never heard of the likes of the Prince Skyline Sport, PGC10 / KPGC10 and KPGC110 Skyline GT-Rs, Nissan Fairlady Z432 and Z432-R for instance? I could name ten, twenty, thirty others quite easily. All 'collectable', sought out, restored and avidly collected, and in finite supply. Just as importantly, they are well engineered, beautifully designed and arguably very interesting cars. Some of them are a far better drive than their non-Japanese contemporaries. Prices are becoming quite frightening. It's mostly happening in Japan, but happening it is.

Surely you've heard of the MF10 Toyota 2000GT, at least?


#13 Sharman

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 16:56

Triumph Spitfires are beyond unreliable, but handling is heavenly.

Yes, in my day if you took liberties you were heaven (or the other place) bound


#14 Bloggsworth

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 17:16

A friend used to have a tray of bricks in the boot/trunk in order to keep his Spitfire's rear camber negative...

#15 arttidesco

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 17:59

MX5 and "Scooby Doo Impreza"? You appear to be the proof of the pudding.

Surely you've heard of the MF10 Toyota 2000GT, at least?


Heard of yes it was a Bond car afterall, but can count on the fingers of one hand the number I have seen in the flesh and I have been to motoring related events on average three times a month for the last three years.

There are plenty of Skylines about, most with claimed 500+ hp motors, silly body kits and outlandish alloys, how does the cost of keeping a monster, with as much Clarkson Credibility as that, on the road compared to a 35 hp Morris Traveller ?



#16 PS30-SB

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 18:32

Heard of yes it was a Bond car afterall, but can count on the fingers of one hand the number I have seen in the flesh and I have been to motoring related events on average three times a month for the last three years.


I'd have hoped that - as a car enthusiast - you might have known about the Toyota 2000GT despite the bit part in a Bond flick. The MF10 is a very interesting car in its own right, and - having been lucky enough to have been allowed a drive in one - I can vouch for the fact that they drive very nicely indeed.

You may not have seen one on your travels in the last three years ( it's not all that surprising if you haven't been in Japan ), but I can assure you that there are a good proportion of the 350-odd originally made still left on the planet. They qualify!

There are plenty of Skylines about, most with claimed 500+ hp motors, silly body kits and outlandish alloys, how does the cost of keeping a monster, with as much Clarkson Credibility as that, on the road compared to a 35 hp Morris Traveller ?


Sorry, I wasn't talking about 1980s / 90s cars. In fact, I wasn't talking about anything made post-1973. The BLRA-3 Prince Skyline Sport was introduced in 1962, and the PGC10, KPGC10 and KPGC110 Skyline GT-Rs and the PS30 Fairlady Z432 and PS30-SB Fairlady Z432-R were all built within the 1969~73 period. They are already 'classics'.


#17 David Birchall

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 19:13

A friend used to have a tray of bricks in the boot/trunk in order to keep his Spitfire's rear camber negative...


I recall driving my Triumph Herald (same chassis/engine of course) into work in Torquay at about 6.00am on a wet day-1969-70. Rounding a corner at moderate speed I lifted for some reason --cat in road, other road user, momentary black out--and got an INSTANT wake up! Never did that again!

#18 Paolo

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 21:33

Yes, in my day if you took liberties you were heaven (or the other place) bound


Some of us LIKE oversteer.

#19 Belmondo

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 21:43

Morris Traveller is a delight to drive.

Best Japanese car I've driven was my brother's old MR2 Mk. 1. No beauty, but after my Morris felt like I was sitting in a GT40. They've probably all rotted away by now.

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#20 GMACKIE

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 22:49

Some of us LIKE oversteer.

Ain't nothing like rear swing-axles - especially with a big lump of metal hanging out the back! :cool:


#21 JtP1

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 23:14

In fact I have, and I absolutely love my SVX, a dream to drive and turns heads everywhere.
Chris


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One must consider which direction people turn their heads and why. :cool:

#22 MattFoster

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:16

From most of the responses classic snobbery is alive and well here too.

#23 GMACKIE

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 01:47

From most of the responses classic snobbery is alive and well here too.

Very much so.....and in most one-make clubs. :rolleyes:


#24 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 03:06

As for TR Spitfires...

The first time I ever competed in a motor sports event was in a parking lot slalom in 1971. I was using my A-H Spirte MkIII. A Spitfire was entered and my jaw bounced off the ground when I saw it perform as we see below...

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Gotta love them swing axles! :lol:

Edited by Manfred Cubenoggin, 04 July 2013 - 03:07.


#25 MattFoster

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 03:42

Very much so.....and in most one-make clubs. :rolleyes:



A classic is a classic no matter where it is from. I am glad I am in Australia, we have an appreciation for Japanese as well as European and American classics.

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 03:55

As one who has worked for a Classic Car magazine, let me just say that their principal interest seems to be to keep everyone happy...

The readers ("We must have a European car, an Australian car, a Japanese car and an English car in each issue, and in that representation there should be a family sedan, an open car, a sporty car etc..."), the advertisers ("One of our advertisers will submit regular articles on restorations they do...") and the car clubs.

Through it all I developed an expression that puts it all, I believe, in perspective:

"You have to remember, every car that was ever built was only built for one purpose... to make money for the manufacturer!"

#27 Gary Davies

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 04:10

Triumph Spitfires are beyond unreliable, but handling is heavenly.


Good heavens, this bloke must be Bernd Rosemeyer reincarnated!

I know that my MkIII Spitfire made several attempts to kill me between 1969 and 1972 when I passed it on to another brave lad. That I survived its rear suspension's malice can only be explained by some mysterious combination of luck, doggedness and discretion with perhaps a soupçon of skill thrown in. The picture in post #24 says it all.

As for classic snobbery, I rolled the old eyes a couple of years ago here when some contributor or other described the MGB as an Oxford convertible yet happily confessed to be a fan of the Morris Isis! Even owns a couple of them, I believe.

As a much missed Cockney mate once said, "Can you believe the infrontery of it?"






#28 packapoo

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 05:23

Having waded through the posts so far, and, bearing in mind the thread title, I fear the answer must be 'YES'.
You got it in one. :wave:


#29 Sharman

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 06:37

Some of us LIKE oversteer.

It wasn't oversteer as we know it Jim! The outside wheel would tuck under and on a wet road all control could be lost. If there was a kerb in the way it was good night Vienna. Another from the same era which would do the same was a Renault Dauphine, and that had its own tray of bricks over the rear axle.


#30 GMACKIE

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:17

After one particular race at Warwick Farm [1963], in my [swing-axle] VW Beetle, I noticed the 'Michelin' writing was worn off the side of a rear tyre, and there were abrasions on the wheel rim. :eek:

#31 byrkus

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:25

Another from the same era which would do the same was a Renault Dauphine, and that had its own tray of bricks over the rear axle.


That was problem with many of those rear-engined small cars of the era. VW beetle was no better (until ca. 1970, at least), Skoda 1000 MB (remember those...?) was even worse; the leading Slovenian/Yugoslav car magazine of the time even went so far to claim that 1000 MB had the worst handling, they've ever experienced. Of course, the recipe was the same: engine behind the rear axle, and swing axles, which were probably the easiest way to build independent rear suspension. Easy, maybe; but user friendly? Not quite. :)

It's kind of funny however that Fiat 600, the legend of its own, didn't have swing axles - and it actually behaved surprisingly better than many of its -mostly costier- competition. Dante Giacosa pretty much knew, what he was doing.;)

By the way - the pioneer of such build is of course Tatra. Which I consider as one of THE most inovative makes of all times. It's true the the beauty is in the eye of beholder (or beer holder), but Tatra 87 for me is just such an amazing vehicle... :blush: :love:


#32 Stephen W

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:38

Austin 7 had the sharpest turn-in of any car I've ever driven. It had 1/4 elliptic rear springs which meant that you could steer the car by sliding from one side to the other of the back seat! As soon as you turned the steering-wheel, and the car leaned, it lengthened the wheelbase on the outside of the curve, this meant that you had to coax the car into a corner and estimate the roll angle and concomitant rear wheel steering, then apply the correct amount of lock.


Austin 7s are still affordable vintage cars and can be made to handle superbly - just watch the guys and gals in the Bert Hadley Memorial Championship.

MGs are starting to appreciate in value apart from the MG B. The B was made in such vast numbers as to be somewhat too numerous to have great value although occasionally people who restore them seem to think they should get the total restoration costs back when they sell. For a good B shop around and buy a car that was restored 5+ years ago.

A few years back I started looking for a replacement for my Elan which on reflection I should not have sold. At that time for a reasonable historic sports car a budget of just under £10k would have been in order, now you need a tad over £15k for the same vehicles.

I have a couple of cars in mind and will be venturing into the market shortly.


#33 Odseybod

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:57

By the way - the pioneer of such build is of course Tatra. Which I consider as one of THE most inovative makes of all times. It's true the the beauty is in the eye of beholder (or beer holder), but Tatra 87 for me is just such an amazing vehicle... :blush: :love:


Ah, he speaks my language, though we should of course remember it had an 8-cylinder 'tray of bricks' behind the rear axle, with handling implications that caused the German occupying forces in WW2 to ban their members from driving them, as the Tatrovkas were wiping out more German soldiery than the keen local resistance managed. The 602 was even more exciting in its way, with the same configuration (though with more power and a heavier engine), plus a petrol-fueled interior heater under the front passenger seat to add to the fun. Now, what could possibly go wrong with that ...?

Edited by Odseybod, 04 July 2013 - 08:57.


#34 GMACKIE

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 09:12

As for classic snobbery, I rolled the old eyes a couple of years ago here when some contributor or other described the MGB as an Oxford convertible yet happily confessed to be a fan of the Morris Isis! Even owns a couple of them, I believe.

A friend of mine once called my Porsche "The Volkswagen Fairmont". :lol:


#35 Bloggsworth

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 09:49

A friend of mine once called my Porsche "The Volkswagen Fairmont". :lol:



I once drove a Porsche 911T and once was enough; my Ford Cortina Estate handled better...

#36 GMACKIE

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:07

I once drove a Porsche 911T and once was enough; my Ford Cortina Estate handled better...

Or perhaps just more forgiving if you 'got it wrong'?


#37 RCH

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:32

That was problem with many of those rear-engined small cars of the era. VW beetle was no better (until ca. 1970, at least), Skoda 1000 MB (remember those...?) was even worse; the leading Slovenian/Yugoslav car magazine of the time even went so far to claim that 1000 MB had the worst handling, they've ever experienced. Of course, the recipe was the same: engine behind the rear axle, and swing axles, which were probably the easiest way to build independent rear suspension. Easy, maybe; but user friendly? Not quite. :)

It's kind of funny however that Fiat 600, the legend of its own, didn't have swing axles - and it actually behaved surprisingly better than many of its -mostly costier- competition. Dante Giacosa pretty much knew, what he was doing.;)

By the way - the pioneer of such build is of course Tatra. Which I consider as one of THE most inovative makes of all times. It's true the the beauty is in the eye of beholder (or beer holder), but Tatra 87 for me is just such an amazing vehicle... :blush: :love:


Mike Parkes and Tim Fry sorted rear engine handling out pretty well with the Hillman Imp. One of the very few "run of the mill" saloon cars that I consider can be called a classic. But then I'm probably biased.

As for Japanese cars, well really! :drunk: When I were a lad growing up in (just) post war Britain I was told that anything with "Made in Japan" on it was cheap and nasty rubbish. May be an old fashioned and even racist viewpoint but I've never been able to shake it. My own experience of Japanese cars, a Datsun 180B (mentioned on another thread) felt so shoddily constructed that I was afraid to use the controls in case they fell off and later a Nissan Primera which was so bland as to make a Vauxhall Vectra exciting! There were also a couple of late '70's Mitsubishis on the company fleet, pretty Capriesque coupes, I keep thinking Colt Mirage but I think I may be wrong. Quite nice cars but they were rusting well after 2 years.

Illogical classic car snobbery? Definitely but to me nothing from Japan but a Honda S800 or a Datsun 240Z qualifies for the title Classic Car.

#38 PS30-SB

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:54

Illogical classic car snobbery? Definitely but to me nothing from Japan but a Honda S800 or a Datsun 240Z qualifies for the title Classic Car.


Yes, it certainly seems totally illogical to me. Bizarre, even.

Would you accept that there are *possibly* Japanese cars other than the Honda S800 and Datsun 240Z that qualify for the title of 'classic car', and that you *possibly* just don't know anything about them...?




#39 BMH Comic

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 11:34

Yes, it certainly seems totally illogical to me. Bizarre, even.

Would you accept that there are *possibly* Japanese cars other than the Honda S800 and Datsun 240Z that qualify for the title of 'classic car', and that you *possibly* just don't know anything about them...?


Oh dear some are living in the dark ages,

Even my dear old dad wasn't that bad and he was a survivor of the aftermath that was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He had plenty of reasons not to buy Japanese but in 1964 he even capitulated and purchased a Nissan Cedric 1900, that was 20 years after he had them in the x hairs, he enjoyed the 4 speed gearbox and search tune radio and creature comforts that were light years ahead of the EH which was again way ahead of the poor old Falcon which was straight out of Homicide.

He chose the Cedric over some lovely jap cars like the Prince Skyline GT, mainly because there wasn't the room to squeeze us six kids in the back. Now would you believe that the Skyline is very much a collector car these days.

intermixed with this we had lots of Jap Junk that is now highly collectable very expensive and were great cars in there days too. KP710 Bluebird one of my favourite's. The Honda range of coupes from 600 to 1300s and Coupe 145's They are price equivalent of Rocking horse manure these days. Isuzu coupe was a rocket ship when rocket ships weren't even invented. For humour value there is the Subaru 360 again very collectable. Nissan president V8 wasn't too bad either, try getting a 60's one of those these days. They had parking sensors in domestic production.

Mazda I think ought crack a mention for the RE100 and on rotary powered machines and these twin turbo RX8's will probably hold there own up against giant killers like the NSX which will I believe end up the top of the heap as far as Jap Crap collectables go. Followed by the quirky life or the N360. But then again I assume some of you have no idea what im on about here.

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#40 cdrewett

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 11:36

Illogical classic car snobbery? Definitely but to me nothing from Japan but a Honda S800 or a Datsun 240Z qualifies for the title Classic Car.



It's fun to have set this little hare running although I expected vitriol from the Spitfire and Traveller owners clubs. I have to confess to having had an anti-Japanese prejudice until my son bought a Mk1 MR2 which was great. Then I tried a Honda Legend Coupe and was seriously impressed.
Rust? Well my SVX is 20 years old and not a spot. Have you seen a rust-free unrestored Mk1 Golf lately? By the way, there's a superb SVX on Fleabay at present with the current bid at £500.
Chris
Chris

#41 Allan Lupton

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:42

I wasn't going to bother with this thread as I have never liked the term "Classic car" not the way it is applied. That is because nobody in the UK "owns" the term, unlike say "Vintage" or "Veteran", so people are free to regard anything they like as "Classic" whether the rest of us write it off as mass-produced grey porridge or not.

However I would encourage people to own and preserve any old car they like, whatever they call it, as we can then see what it was about the cars of the time that made this or that highly regarded car special. Oh, and that can make you wonder if some people in design offices even talked to the chap at the next board: that Triumph Spitfire swing-axle i.r.s. in the photo above was more or less the contemporary of the Triumph TR4A's semi-trailing arm system which worked well but never found its way into the later Spitfires

#42 Paolo

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 14:16

It wasn't oversteer as we know it Jim! The outside wheel would tuck under and on a wet road all control could be lost. If there was a kerb in the way it was good night Vienna. Another from the same era which would do the same was a Renault Dauphine, and that had its own tray of bricks over the rear axle.


I know. I have had a two years long love story with a light blue 1978 Spitfire, 1600cc. It was some 10 years old at thetime.
About two hours to the mechanic for every hour of motion, limited to 140 Km/h by power and a tendence to sweep sideways at every gust of wind.
But... turning a Spitfire means you enter the bend, lightly touch the steering wheel , push on the gas pedal and round it goes. Driftable in every bend, remaining fully in control.

I miss her so much. I now own a BMW Z3 Coupe, beautiful to the point of tears and a chick magnet (oh, and even carries luggage....) , but it understeers at any legal speed, and opening the throttle has very little effect on its oversized tyres.

#43 RCH

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 16:51

Yes, it certainly seems totally illogical to me. Bizarre, even.

Would you accept that there are *possibly* Japanese cars other than the Honda S800 and Datsun 240Z that qualify for the title of 'classic car', and that you *possibly* just don't know anything about them...?


Well look at it this way; I reckon I'm pretty knowledgeable about cars, I'm sure there are probably some Japanese efforts which were so awful that even their most optimistic marketing gurus reckoned were unsaleable outside the home country but pretty well everything that came to the UK I would know about. :well:

I've never been one to follow the crowd and in the early eighties I was getting more and more annoyed when everyone and his dog was telling me how wonderful the latest bland, ugly Japanese creation was. I became more and more sceptical when "Which" was telling us how wonderfully reliable these Japanese machines were. I was doing thousands of motorway miles at the time in a succession of ultra reliable Cortinas, Cavaliers and Citroen BXs and what did I see most drawn up on the hard shoulder? Why, those very, very reliable Japanese cars. I cane to the conclusion that anyone who bought Japanese soon realised they had bought a pup but were too ashamed to admit it! :rotfl: Then they bought another one because only the Japanese dealers would give them a decent trade in. :drunk:

Final word on the subject which just about sums up the illogicality of the Japanese car buyer. I was sitting quietly eating my lunch in a pub way back in the '80's sometime. I couldn't help but overhear the Colonel Blimp character at the next table telling his friends that he couldn't possibly buy a German car because of their war record. It so happened I followed him out of the pub where he climbed into his Honda Civic.  ;)

#44 PS30-SB

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 17:16

Well look at it this way; I reckon I'm pretty knowledgeable about cars, I'm sure there are probably some Japanese efforts which were so awful that even their most optimistic marketing gurus reckoned were unsaleable outside the home country but pretty well everything that came to the UK I would know about. :well:


No offence intended, but despite claiming to be "pretty knowledgeable about cars" it seems that your opinion about all of them is based on what was imported into your local market, and/or what you happened to notice. It also seems that you think Japan's auto makers exported only the very best models that they made. In fact, what happened was arguably the opposite.

In Nissan's case, what was sold in the UK market was initially pretty much up to the concessionaire. Suffice to say that the concessionaire's choice was broadly not that much different to an importer of 'white goods'. They certainly didn't bother with many of the better designed, better engineered and better-driving drivers cars that Nissan was making in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

My own focus of interest is in sporty cars ( sports cars and sporty saloons and coupes ), and all the better if they have some motorsport-related heritage behind them. Japan was making many such cars between - for example - 1965 and 1975, but very few of them were exported and sold outside Japan. And if they were they were often softened up and dumbed down ( for example, the 'Datsun 240Z' ) to suit the perceived needs of the target market, or to make them easier to market and service. The Japanese domestic market tended to be a lot more interesting.






#45 garyfrogeye

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 18:52

I have a Mk1 Sprite (quite modified), with a Datsun 5 speed gearbox (from the Datsun new sunny). parts for the Sprite are simple to get and cheap but more recently of dubious quality. I broke my Datsun gearbox at llandow and eventually got the spare part from the USA after failing to get it here in the UK or in Japan. As a result the car was off the road for nearly four months. If I'd had the A series box, the car would have been back on the road by the following weekend. I think that answers some of the reason for the lack of old Japanese cars on the road. However, If you pop down to the Ace Cafe on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, there will be a handful of excellent 1980's Japanese cars, usually driven by classic car owners of Asian descent. As my Frogeye is my nostalgia, Their early Datsuns , Toyotas and Mazdas are theirs. If I could have my old Datsun 1600 SS back again, I would in a shot. it was a really great car despite being mustard colour and dissolving before my very eyes. I also loved my dads Datsun 260C estate with Wolfrace wheels.

#46 Sharman

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 19:19

I have a Mk1 Sprite (quite modified), with a Datsun 5 speed gearbox (from the Datsun new sunny). parts for the Sprite are simple to get and cheap but more recently of dubious quality. I broke my Datsun gearbox at llandow and eventually got the spare part from the USA after failing to get it here in the UK or in Japan. As a result the car was off the road for nearly four months. If I'd had the A series box, the car would have been back on the road by the following weekend. I think that answers some of the reason for the lack of old Japanese cars on the road. However, If you pop down to the Ace Cafe on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, there will be a handful of excellent 1980's Japanese cars, usually driven by classic car owners of Asian descent. As my Frogeye is my nostalgia, Their early Datsuns , Toyotas and Mazdas are theirs. If I could have my old Datsun 1600 SS back again, I would in a shot. it was a really great car despite being mustard colour and dissolving before my very eyes. I also loved my dads Datsun 260C estate with Wolfrace wheels.


But it wasn't just Japanese rubbish that rotted, I bought from Brian Classick (long before he achieved his present standing as a dealer in exotica) a Guilia Sprint Speciale, it was just a year old when I acquired it, by the time it was 12 months older the front wings were totally rusted through. Italian coach builders did not know about salted roads.

#47 h4887

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 19:50

Ain't nothing like rear swing-axles - especially with a big lump of metal hanging out the back! :cool:


You must be talking about the Alpine A110. They used to go quite well, didn't they? :wave:


#48 Charlieman

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 19:54

I became more and more sceptical when "Which" was telling us how wonderfully reliable these Japanese machines were. I was doing thousands of motorway miles at the time in a succession of ultra reliable Cortinas, Cavaliers and Citroen BXs and what did I see most drawn up on the hard shoulder? Why, those very, very reliable Japanese cars. I cane to the conclusion that anyone who bought Japanese soon realised they had bought a pup but were too ashamed to admit it!


Surveys with self selecting respondents throw up strange results. Satisfied owners tend to praise more generously than might be justified. Lemon buyers vent their fury (if you buy a lemon, the problem lies with the dealer as much as with the manufacturer). The opinions of fleet managers and users may not be reported accurately.

Disclaimer: In the 1980s I worked for a market research company providing analysis to Nissan (JP/EU offices), GM (US/EU), Austin Rover (UK/EU), Honda (JP) and others that I have forgotten about. I learned more than you can imagine about the irrational perceptions of car buyers.

#49 D-Type

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 20:22

It's a national thing: see what the Americans go for
I'm sure the Italians restore Fiats, Lancias and Alfas, while the Germans restore VWs, Audis, Mercedes and BMWs, the French Peugeots, Renaults and Simcas, the East Germans Wartburgs and Trabants, the Russians Ladas and Moskvitches, and the Australians Holdens. I assume the Japanese restore Datsuns, Hinos, Toyotas etc. Maybe a few Korean enthusiasts are preserving Hyundai Ponies, Dae Woos and Kias

And on the question of snobbery, didn't it take the [British] VSCC about 50 years to decide that perhaps they should accept an SS Jaguar as a PVT!

#50 GMACKIE

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 22:22

Any DAFs being restored in Holland, I wonder?......Are drive belts still available?