Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
9/23/11 11:24 a.m.

I've always sorta wanted a car from my birth year. Am I alone in this desire?

It's an arbitrary thing, and I can't really justify why since 1974 was an awkward year for cars here in the States. Whatever I eventually pick, I'd like it to be the "right" car, not a poor example of a car that was better earlier or later in the production cycle. (Thus, Triumphs and MGs are mostly absent from this list, as is the 260Z.)

Leading candidates-
Porsche 914
VW Thing
Ford Bronco
Honda Civic

Dark horses-
Lotus Elan 2+2
TVR 2500
Jaguar XJ

What am I missing?

wlkelley3 Dork
9/23/11 11:42 a.m.

That was the year I got my license.
Now I can only think of a couple off the top of my head for 1958. Corvette tops the list. A big Healey would be next. A squarebird (T-bird) would also be on the list. Have to think about others though...I'll get back to you on that.

rconlon HalfDork
9/23/11 2:25 p.m.

Tom: A case can be made that the 1974 Fiat Spider was one of the best model/year. Bigger 1800 cc with performance carb Flat hood Small Chrome bumpers

Cheers Ron

Bainford New Reader
9/23/11 2:30 p.m.

I've considered this as well. The year would be 1966, so there are options available. I agree that 74 could be a tough year, especially for American cars. There must be some Euro choices that would tickle the fancy, though. I just picked up my 74 Europa last summer. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but a decent year for the marque.

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
9/23/11 2:34 p.m.


cyncrvr New Reader
9/23/11 9:07 p.m.

You didn't mention what type of budget you are working with and 1974 is a tough year especially for American cars but here are a few that come to mind:

Fiat X1/9 or Spider, Alfa Romeo, BMW 2002, Datsun 510, Mercedes benz coupe, Pontiac Trans Am (you could still get the 455 in 74), Porsche 911, Pantera, Saab 99, Volvo 240 series (I think the P1800 ended in 73), Land Rover series 3, Jeep CJ5, Toyota FJ40 or Land Cruiser.

There are likely many more and I think the choices you list are first rate also.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
9/26/11 1:25 p.m.

Thanks for the suggestions, gang!

A Bronco would probably get the nod for an American car from 1974; the Trans-Am I really want is from 1977.

I hadn't thought of a Europa; that gives me something to consider. A Fiat Spider is also now on my list.

I left the budget out of the equation since this is kind of a lark; there are too many variables already so why limit the exercise.

1966 leaves a ton of great choices. Shelby Mustang, Chevy Nova (a weakness of mine), Sunbeam Tiger, Volvo 544, Sprite, Datsun Fairlady would almost be harder to have so many options!

oldtin Dork
9/26/11 4:21 p.m.

246 Dino, 512 BB, 308GT/4, alfa GTV, aston v8, porsche 930, pantera... high school poster nirvana

andy303 New Reader
9/26/11 6:21 p.m.

I will second the suggestion of the 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider. This was the last year of the very handsome chrome bumper, although with rubber over riders. Great specification: 2.0L DOHC, 5 speed, four disc brakes, much better suspension than found on any British car of the era, fantastic one-hand only operated soft top, can be easy fitted with the headlight covers found on the earlier models - a beautiful car all around.

These cars are very underrated and can be had for relatively cheap. Parts support is excellent. The US models came with SPICA fuel injection which got a bad rap, but is actually great setup as long as the owner keeps his hands off. When properly overhauled and set-up by someone who knows what they are doing, it is very reliable. Many convert them to the Euro-spec dual Weber spec, but this is done best using the factory manifold and airbox.

aeronca65t Dork
9/27/11 5:02 a.m.

In 1951, which is the year I was born, BMC came out with the popular Austin A30/A35 series.

I own one.

The wonderful Jaguar XK-120 was in the middle of its production ('48 to '54) the year I was born......a ground-breaking car that I'd love.

The hugely popular MG Midget TD that affected sports car culture more than any other car was built in '51 too....I own a more modern iteration (several, actually).

TR8owner Reader
9/28/11 8:47 a.m.

In reply to Tom Heath:

You're a year too early for a TR7 but the TR6 was still available.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
9/28/11 11:27 a.m.

But if I were getting a TR-6, I'd rather get an earlier one. Actually, I'd be more likely to seek a the headlight eyebrows!

93EXCivic SuperDork
9/28/11 11:54 a.m.

What was there in 1988 (my birthyear) worth buying?

E30 M3

rconlon HalfDork
9/28/11 12:07 p.m.

The problem with birthday cars for me is that I was very young at the time. It would be the cars that I admired when I was in my teens that still demand my attention. Cheers Ron

Shinsen774 Reader
9/30/11 8:51 p.m.

I'd love to have a 1958 MGA.

wspohn Reader
10/6/11 11:31 a.m.

While the TR250 does look nice, I could never get over the knowledge that it was slower than the 4 cylinder because the federal smog regs had gutted it by banning the injection used on the home market version and it lost almost 50 BHP!

The 1958 MGA is a particularly auspicious) or disastrous) year, as you could get the then leading edge Twin Cam with DOHC engine putting out almost 30 more BHP, revving to 7000 and with 4 wheel disc brakes. It was a bit of a marketing/warranty fiasco as management had pressed them into releasing the model before the bugs had been worked out, but that shouldn't bother modern owners as it was all sorted out (after production stopped, ironically)

I don't have a good answer to the original question, because the 1970s were the Dark Ages for performance cars, with Corvettes putting out less power than a modern Honda Civic. I never found anything at all worth owning from that lacklustre decade, or I should say the period from about 1972 on. Taking the Corvette as an example. the small block version bottomed around 1974 when it went below 200 BHP (about 165, actually) and it stayed there until the early 1980s.

DeadSkunk Dork
10/6/11 3:19 p.m.

There isn't much from 1952 that turns my crank, at least nothing I can actually afford.

VClassics Reader
10/6/11 5:10 p.m.

I'll take a '53 Lancia Aurelia GT, thank you very much. Hey, it's a birthday car, so it's a present, right?

dougie Reader
10/6/11 10:03 p.m.

Great question.........that was my motivation to purchase my 1965 (build date 8/12/64) Austin Healey 3000 MKIII 18 years ago.


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