Archive for November, 2009

Not so sure: Jaguar XJ6L

November 29, 2009

Right up front, I have to say I’m a little conflicted about this. My experience with the XJ6 so far makes me think of a Buick with a better ride and a nicer interior. The car in question, which I drove while working at the Larz Anderson Museum, was a fairly late model, possibly a 1987. Mechanically, it was in pretty good condition, and despite the gaping hole in the floor and some other east coast issues, drove fairly well. But I was expecting a bit more of a sporting feel from the company that built the Mark 2 and the E-type, and I definitely didn’t get that feeling from this car. What’s more is, as a cheaper car they’re not exactly known for being terribly robust.

That out of the way, this is an iconic design with a historic engine. Moreover, the western cars should be a bit less rust-prone, so they might be within budget range for our purposes. This example looks like a good candidate – even though it was built during some of the darkest British Leyland days, the pictures show it to be in pretty good cosmetic shape on the outside, and it seems to have had much recent work. The BRG on tan color combination is classic, and should be appealin to a larger market when you decide to move along. Check it out on craigslist in Portland, OR for $3295.

1978 Jaguar XJ6L front

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Type 3 Times Two – 1971 VW Squareback & 1972 VW Fastback

November 27, 2009

Having recently read something about the pancake-engine Type 3 Volkswagens having more power, which I realize may be untrue, I got inspired to try to find one of these for sale within the RustyButTrusty budget (about $3K). Oddly enough for something called a Volkswagen, these are not really priced for das Volk, either being complete heaps with body or mechanical damage and 3-figure prices, or restored/survivor cars in the high 4-figure or low 5-figure range. I was also hoping for the earlier 1960s Type 3 with the more delicate lights and chrome bumpers that give much more of a 1960s European family car feeling. My other mistaken assumption was the oddball Type 3 cars would be more reasonable, much like many other cars documented here. But, no such luck, so I looked at the 1970s cars. Even that was hard, but I did manage to find a couple of interesting examples.

The main feature is a 1971 VW Squareback in yellow. There’s been recent work to the interior and the injectors, and it only seems to have one small dent. Notice the quad (!!!) exhaust tips poking out the rear end. The VW logo is in an odd location at the lower left corner of the hatch, and the wheels are mismatched, so I’d check for previous crash damage repair. The pale yellow does lend it a bit of the feel of the earlier cars – the later ones tended to show up in more bright colors like orange. Find this car in Priest River/Newport, WA, near Spokane, for $2400.

1971 VW Squareback right

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Proven duo: 1979 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce

November 20, 2009

Having just got back into my Alfetta, and realizing what a great car it is to drive, I thought I’d look up a couple more of these. For the money, as long as you’re patient have deep pockets to get you through smog, these can be a lot of fun. Aside from the SPICA pump oil filter, which has been craftily hidden behind the oil pump, they’re fairly easy and straightforward to work on. While they don’t have the extensive US competition history the 105/115 GTVs have, they’re still attractive cars with a design that is clearly related to the Scirocco and Esprit. Changing to smaller European stainless bumpers also does a lot to clean up the look – I highly recommend this for anyone with a US-market Alfetta.

Anyway, enough waxing on about these cars – here’s our first example, a 1979 Sprint Veloce that can be found on craigslist in Bellevue, WA for $2500. This car might be a Velocissima edition Alfetta, which got the Ronal A1 wheels you see here, along with some other aerodynamic bits and pieces that would be hard to see on a black car. Seller seems to have read the manual on how to photograph cars for sale, since he’s included 2 outside pics from different angles (one from the rear would have been better), an interior shot, and an engine shot. He also claims extensive service history, including an engine service for $4K, and some performance modifications. Detail-oriented eyes will notice some rusty-looking areas on the passenger-side inner wheel well, but I believe those are just smog stickers. Get rid of the Ferrari logo on the wheel, fix the key marks in the paint, and you should be good to go!

1979 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce

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