Archive for July, 2009

Fiesta! Party! 1978 Ford Fiesta S

July 31, 2009

Thanks to its looking much like a VW Rabbit, this car has appealed to me for a long time. I like the simple design, and I like the promise of European handling in a small car that’s pretty common, has great parts availability, and is frequently modified for sporting events. Unfortunately, all US-market Fiestas were sold here from 1978 – 1980 and are therefore not smog-exempt, so you’re still in for that. Unfortunately, the Fiesta was at that point replaced by the Escort. Which would you rather have – a car named after a party, or one named after a high-class lady of the sort accompanying certain politicians?

Surprisingly, there are a fair amount of these cars out there on the market if you’re willing to travel a bit. This 1978 Ford Fiesta S in Las Vegas, listed on the dealer’s website as well as a couple of other sites, looks like a pretty tidy example. It does seem to have some minor dents from storage, as well as a missing outer door handle and inner door panel, but other things point to it having had fairly light usage.

1978 Ford Fiesta front



London Bridge is Falling Down – 1966 Datsun Fairlady Roadster

July 27, 2009

Back when I was looking at buying my first sports car, this was among the list of possible cars. They were (as they were originally marketed) a reasonably-priced sports car with European style and near the top of their class (4-cyl. roadsters) in power. As it happens, I ended up with my Alfa, largely because the Datsuns were fairly uncommon, even in the early 90s, and 60s Japanese cars did not have as much cachet as they do now. As with most older sports cars, their shrinking numbers, and the increasing disposable income of buyers, means the cost to purchase one of these has gone up, at least one that fits into the rusty-but-trusty segment of the market.

The subject of today’s post is this 1966 Datsun 1600 Roadster in Placerville, CA for $2500. As one of the earlier cars, this has less power (a still respectable 95hp), but no doubt, fans of the 1600 will tell you a smaller engine revs more sweetly.

1966 Datsun Roadster front


Fiat Fun – Pre-Smog Fiats

July 22, 2009

After running through the asinine gauntlet that is California smog law yesterday (my Alfetta, which does about 2K miles per year while I use transit to get to work), I thought I’d shift my focus to some pre-smog cars… specifically, the Italian ones. With that off my chest, here are a couple that look fun while also saving you the pain and cost of running an occasional driver through smog every two years.

First off is this 1970 Fiat Spider in Spokane, WA for $1350. Notice the cleaner-looking early style with small chrome bumpers, hubcaps, and no hood bulges. Fiat Spiders actually have a great level of significance to me since my parents had a light-orange ’69 on their honeymoon, and my first ride in a convertible was in an early 80s model on a beach excursion with my teacher from the Franco-American school in Palo Alto. I also considered one as an alternative to my Alfa Spider when I had my accident, but the cars that were affordable were also less attractive. Lastly, knowing what the Lampredi twincam can do under the hood of my smog-burdened Beta, I’d love to see what this 1970 car could do with twin carbs and some light modifications… I’m sure it would be able to hold its own with any contemporary Alfa.

1970 Fiat Spider