Alfa Romeo GTV Spider
Style doesn't have to cost the Earth, and timeless good looks shouldn't break the bank. These five start at just over £2000.
1 - Jensen Interceptor (1966-1976)
If you think it looks good now, imagine how it was received in 1966. With that gorgeous Italian styling and a burbling 325bhp 6.3-litre Chrysler V8, the Interceptor was, for a time, the smart set’s GT of choice.
On the road, it was quick — 140mph and 0-60mph in 6.5sec — and incredibly thirsty. Although it was as fun to be in as it was to look at, it could be unruly, but a four-wheel-drive version, the FF, was better behaved.
Parts for the V8 and its ancillaries are readily available and reasonably affordable, but the body is fragile and expensive. New sills alone can cost £5000. So it’s worth avoiding the cheaper cars and spending upwards of £20k on a tidy one.
2 - Porsche 928 (1978-1995)
The iconoclastic 928 oozed style and its curvaceous shape cocked a snook at the straight-line thinking of the 1970s.
Its 4.5-litre V8 went against the zeitgeist, too, and its front location and liquid cooling defied Porsche’s own conventions. Its speed matched its looks: 0-60mph in 6.5sec and 155mph flat out.
Much else was good. There was an optional automatic gearbox (most chose it), perfect weight distribution and sticky Pirelli P7s. Its aerodynamic body had integrated plastic bumpers and the interior used refreshing op-art fabrics.
Buy one in reasonable condition for £10k and up. Try to find an earlier car, though. Later models were faster but fatter, and not nearly as cool.
3 - Alfa Romeo GTV Spider (1995-2006)
This was Italian drop-top style, all the way from its quad headlights and triangular grille to its pert, kicked-up rump.
The engines were good, too: either the lively 150bhp 2.0-litre Twin Spark or the 218bhp 3.0-litre V6. With the larger unit, the Spider was a 150mph flyer and 0-60mph was dispatched in just 6.5sec.
It had engaging handling and very quick steering so it felt surprising agile. Many preferred the balance of the Twin Spark car, but on a winding road either will stir your soul. Such beauty comes at a price, though: its Coupé sibling was stiffer in the body and better to drive.
Prices start low, from £2k, but avoid examples without a history. Hoods are expensive, so check carefully.
4 - Bentley Arnage (2002-2009)
Big and butch, the imperious Arnage has old-school style by the bucket load. And power, too. It packs a 459bhp twin-turbo 6.75-litre V8 under its elegant bonnet - enough to waft this 2.5-tonne luxury monster from zero to 60mph in just 5.5sec. It’ll accelerate like a locomotive all the way to 170mph.
It corners pretty well, too, and, provided you have the skills and the space, it can even be made to drift.
Inside is a surprisingly intimate cocoon of leathery opulence, with all the usual wood trimmings. Bits might fall off here and there but that’s all part of its charm.Pick one up now from as little as £25k, but expect running costs, like everything about this car, to be huge.
5 - Fiat Coupé (1993-2000)
Controversial designer Chris Bangle penned the Coupé, its slashes hinting at the art of the Italian Spatialists.
Beautiful details included a cast alloy petrol cap, bubble headlights and round Ferrari-esque tail-lights. Inside was a Pininfarina-designed interior of sporting appeal, featuring a body-coloured metal dashboard and door caps.
Early cars used the firm’s exemplary 2.0-litre in-line fours, but later models upped the ante with new five-cylinder engines, topped by the 217bhp turbo model. Thus equipped, this likeable four-seater could see off 0-60mph in 6.5sec and reach 155mph. Handling was spirited, surefooted and fun.
Prices vary considerably depending on condition, but £2k buys a good one. Avoid modified cars.
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