Whether you’re a long-time classic car enthusiast or you’re just getting started in the world of classic cars, vintage vehicles and retro-modern motors, you’re sure to have a few favourite marques and models. Most of us will be familiar with the more popular classic cars, such as the Aston Martin DB4, the Triumph Stag and the Jaguar E-Type; but there’s a whole host of other classics out there that don’t get the love they deserve. From ’80s sports cars and ’70s grand tourers to art deco racing vehicles and 1960s prototypes, we’ve found a little something for all tastes!
Read on to find out more about the 5 classic cars you might’ve forgotten about!
#1 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Compact and attractive, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia was launched in 1955 as the manufacturer’s first foray into sports cars. A blend of German engineering and Italian design, this car was the result of a collaboration between WV, Italian car designers Carrozzeria Ghia and Karmann, a German coachbuilding company.
The car was an instant hit in both Europe and South America, with more than 440,000 made during the vehicle’s production run. Described by motoring journalists of the time as being “…the sort of car you just want to walk around, touch, look into and admire…”, the Karmann remained in production until the mid-70s, when it was replaced by the Scirocco.
#2 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Pourtout Coupe
Sleek and unique, the Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Portout Coupe (also known as the ‘Teardrop’ or the ‘gouette d’eau’) is a feat of art deco design. With smooth curves and a voluptuous shape, the T150C was one of the first race cars that blended form and function into something truly elegant. The aerodynamic shape of the Teardrop spurred other manufacturers of the time to opt for more streamlined bodywork designs.
Only a small number of these vehicles were manufactured by Talbot-Lago, so the ones that do hit the market command eye-watering prices. A 1938 model with a rare factory sunroof sold in 2011 for €3,136,000 and a 1936 model sold for a huge $7,150,000 a few years before that.
#3 Lotus Excel
If ’80s sports cars are your kind of thing, then you’ll probably love the Lotus Excel! Based on the company’s Eclat model, the Excel benefitted from Toyota parts sharing, as a consequence of Toyota’s investment in the company. The end result was a car with great handling and performance, as well as eye-catching good looks.
Despite having a decade-long production run, only 2,000 or so Excels were manufactured, owing to poor sales in Europe and the decision not to launch the car in the USA. There are still a small number in the UK, though the majority are SORN.
#4 De Tomaso Longchamps
Lavishly finished, sporty and packed with modern features, the De Tomaso Longchamp was the final model to be produced by under the De Tomaso/Ford-Ghia collaboration. Debuted at the 1972 Turin Motorshow, the Longchamp was inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC and served as the marque’s premier grand tourer. With a 5.8L V8 engine, 5-speed manual transmission and Pirelli F7 tyres, the Longchamp was every bit as powerful as it was luxurious.
Around 400 Longchamps were built between 1972 and 1986, with a tiny number of convertible versions produced. An even smaller number of vehicles were GTS models, resulting in the Longchamps GTS Spyder being an ultra-rare and covetable car.
#5 Jensen P66
The Jensen P66 was a concept created by Jensen Motors in 1966, as a planned replacement for the Austin-Healey 3000. The car was designed to have a 6.2L Chrysler V8 engine and an aluminium body atop a steel platform and tube chassis. The company made a hardtop and convertible version and exhibited one at the 1965 London Motor Show.
Due to company conflicts, the Jensen P66 was never put into production and only two models were ever made, with just one surviving today. The surviving vehicle has survived in original condition and is regularly exhibited at car shows, winning ‘Car of the Show’ at the 2015 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show,
Stay tuned for more blogs on the classic cars you might’ve forgotten about! Next time around, we’re going to look at sports cars from the 1960s to find some hidden gems, feats of design and the odd affordable classic.
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