10 Best Classic Motor Sports Cars Before You Can Buy

ByDavid M. Conte

Oct 11, 2021

There’s a lot to be said for getting the front engine down classic car road. No complicated electronics, no safety gimmicks to spoil your fun, and more importantly for gearboxes who love to tinker, easier to adjust and maintain.

Of course, there will be days off when something won’t quite work, but rather than calling a garage or a breakdown service to plug your motor into a laptop, just pull out the service light and get them. tools to see what it is. By the way, how often do you see a classic car parked on the side of a highway? Well maintained, these old classics are just as reliable as anything on the road today.

With reliability myths dispelled, the only choice left is which pre-engine classic to buy? American V8s make a wonderful sound and go fast too, or how about a more delicate European roadster or coupe? As for the front engine layout, it is simply better balanced, the front engine driving the rear wheels is about as clean as the ride is.

Chevrolet Corvette (C2)

Chevrolet Corvette - Front Quarter

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The winner of any smile-by-mile competition, the second-gen Corvette does it when it comes to looks! We challenge anyone not to take at least a few glances in the direction of the prettiest Vette ever.

Chevrolet corvette - Rear quarter

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However, this astonishing example from the history of American sports cars is not all about looks, when production ended in 1967, Chevrolet brought out the big guns. The standard 435bhp L89 V8s were the more common choice, with the rarer L88s producing well over 500bhp if you believe the unofficial claims.

Triumph Spitfire 4 / Mk. 1

Triumph Spitfire - Front Quarter

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Around the same time across the Atlantic, Triumph unveiled the Spitfire, which sadly, despite being named after the legendary WWII fighter, was not equipped with an engine. V12 Merlin. Instead, the best reducers one could hope for in the early years were 1.2-liter four-pot mills producing 63 hp.

Trumph Spitfire - Rear Quarter

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True to form, like all British manufacturers of the time, Triumph focused on affordable performance, with weight playing a key role. The Spitfire was built on a shortened Herald chassis, and although it lacked power stakes, it offered its best driving experience on twisty country roads where its agility shone.

RELATED: 9 Classic British Sports Cars Nobody Cared About, But They’re Now Worth a Fortune

AC Cobra Roadster

AC Cobra - Qyarer before

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Moving firmly into moot money territory and worth every penny, the AC Cobra is the ultimate sports car-powered experience you can get before. Anyone looking for one of the original 31 factory-made 427 S / Cs will need big money, as prices can run up to $ 6 million.

AC Cobra - Side view

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For that kind of money, we’d want some serious adrenaline pumping action, and the AC Cobra doesn’t disappoint. Up front, Ford’s big-block 427 FE engine produces 425 hp, ensuring that anything that isn’t a supercar will struggle to keep up. Cutting the throttle off the line you see sixty in 4 seconds, keeping it flat on the ground, and you’ll see 165 mph before the Cobra runs out of growl.

Volvo P1800

Volvo P1800 - Front Quarter

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Any gearbox on the market for a slim European classic coupe could do a lot worse than Volvo’s P1800. Released in 1961, this Swedish-born 2 + 2 coupe with a hint of Italian flair was initially a coupe before the arrival of a follow-up brake in the early 1970s.

Volvo P1800 - Rear Quarter

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Volvo, not known for its sports cars, nearly boxed the project for lack of internal support, the first externally funded show car forced the Swedish automaker to accept its existence after a press photo leaked. This happy turn of the vents ultimately led to the production of 10,000 cars, many of which are still in operation today, including a 1966 example with over 3 million kilometers on the odometer.

Jaguar Mk. II

Jaguar Mk.2 - Front Quarter

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The most elegant of all Jaguar sedans, the Mk.2 was a leader in sporty refinement, a trait commonly referred to as Jaguarness. Known for its smoothness of handling and level of sports car performance, the Mk.2 has attracted the attention of more shadowy owners, with the Jag becoming the favorite of runaway drivers.

Jaguar Mk. 2 - Rear Quarter

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Picking one up today always comes with a certain air of “Jaaag” caddish, but that’s part of what makes the Mk.2 so desirable. In various forms, the XK series engines powered the sedan, with by far the best choice for later 3.8-liter versions producing around 220 hp.

RELATED: Here’s Why The Jaguar Mark II Is One Of The Most Beloved Classic Cars

Ferrari 365 GTB / 4

Ferrari 365 GTB4 - Front quarter

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When Lamborghini took the mid-engine route, Ferrari went with a conventional front-engine and rear-wheel drive setup for the 365 GTB, making it one of the greatest grand touring cars we’ve ever seen. On paper, the two were tied in terms of sprint time and top speed.

Ferrari 365 GTB4 - Rear quarter

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The 365 GTB is a purebred, Pininfarina’s best effort to date, a low-slung 2 + 2 coupe with a serious punch. Equipped with a glorious-sounding Ferrari 4.4-liter Colombo V12 that sends 352 hp to the rear wheels, with sixty passes in 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph, the 365 GTB4 is blazingly fast, even according to modern standards.

Chevrolet Camaro Yenko

Yenko Camaro - Front Quarter

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As the Dealer Special Edition rolls out, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything as special as the Yenko Camaros, taken from the same production facility and fitted with bigger, more powerful engines.

Yenko Camaro - Rear Quarter

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As standard, Chevrolet fitted the Camaro with disc brakes, quad-core rads, and heavy-duty suspension, leaving Yenko to fit a 450bhp version of Chevrolet’s 427-cubic-inch V8 engines. To complete the package, custom paint jobs, front and rear spoilers and a muscular bonnet hood. Now, for the bad news, Yenko only produced 201 copies, which makes them rare and expensive.

Shelby Mustang GT500

Shelby Mustang GT500 - Front Quarter

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The holy grail of Mustangs, Carroll Shelby’s first model to carry the GT500 designation arrived in 1967, low production numbers and on-screen appearances increase the model’s appeal to collectors.

Shelby Mustang GT500 - Rear Quarter

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In creating one of the most famous Mustangs of all time, Shelby American used their racing experience, where possible, fiberglass panels replaced steel, including the hood, doors, front and rear deck. Under the hood, Ford FE 428 Police-interceptor engines topped with Holley carburettors boosted horsepower to 355 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

RELATED: Here’s How the 1967 Shelby GT500 Compared to Its Rivals

Lotus Elan Sprint

Lotus Elan Sprint - Front Quarter

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A simple formula of lightweight fiberglass bodywork on a steel chassis has made the Elan one of the most maneuverable sports cars we’ve ever seen. Even Gordon Murray, designer of the legendary F1 hypercar, lamented that the McLaren didn’t have the same level of steering feel as the Elan.

Lotus Elan sprint - Rear quarter

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Under the skin, a multitude of original Ford components made up the powertrain, the engines receiving certain settings from Lotus. Towards the end of production, Sprint models aimed to increase sales with larger 1.6-liter twin-cam engines delivering 126 hp, the most powerful model ever made.

Porsche 928 S

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Unloved at first, the Porsche 928 was originally intended to replace the iconic 911, as the Stuttgart bigwigs changed their minds, leaving the front-powered sports car to fill the role of ‘a long-distance cruiser.

Porsche 928 S - Side view

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Despite low sales the decision to keep the two models separate turned out to be correct, those who drove the 928 were amazed at its speed and mileage comfort. Unlike its sportier 911 cousin, the 928 used V8 engines, a first for Porsche, released cars using 300bhp 4.5-liter units, with later cars getting bigger V8s and more horsepower.

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