Some of my vintage magazines are so chock full of history, it's almost unbelievable. Take this April 1970 issue of Road & Track magazine. Besides the gorgeous Lamborghini Muira on the cover (and yes, the young casey/artandcolour drew a circle around the badge on the hood... an early design critique, lol?), the new-to-America Datsun 240Z is tested—0-60, 8.7 seconds; curb weight, 2,355 lbs; list price $3,526: "New standards in performance and elegance for medium-prices 2-seat GT cars," states R&T. There is a wonderful 2-page spread of pen-and-ink drawings, a styling analysis of the 240Z by Werner Bührer, below.
I used to love these styling analyses in Road & Track. I'd say my critical "eye" was helped immensely by these Werner Bührer drawings and opinions. Robert Cumberford, in Automobile magazine, currently writes a monthly column doing the same thing, but I frequently find that he writes about concept cars I have no interest in, and that won't end up influencing much at all.
Other highlights in this April 1970 issue include:
- Porsche 914 road test: "Leisurely performance and high price make it less than a bargain." 0-60, 13.9 seconds; curb weight, 2,085 lbs; price as tested, West Coast, $4,047.
- Lamborghini Muira road test: "An exercise in automotive art." 0-60, 5.5 seconds; curb weight, 2,905 lbs; $19,250.
- Jensen Interceptor II road test: "Chrysler engine and transmission clothed in an elegant European GT car shape." 0-60, 7.1 seconds; curb weight, 3.695 lbs; list price, $10,440, UK, US price not established.
- Fiat 850 Racer (2 door coupe version of 850 Spider) road test: "Slightly more usable, weatherproof, custom-styled version of the Spider." 0-60, 17.9 seconds; curb weight, 1,690 lbs; price as tested, West Coast, $2,674.
- R&T's annual "April Fool's" road test was the new Mercedes "GT," a European Garbage Truck! 0-50, 43 seconds; curb weight, 21,890 lbs; $19,600; 11 liter, 200hp diesel inline 6 cylinders; Fuel Economy, 6 mpg average.
- Amazing paid ads for (now) historical cars: Lotus Elan S4; BMW, prices ranging from under $3,000 to $8,277; Volvo P1800E; Triumph, $2,395 to $3,595; Renault 10, 35 mpg; Citroën-$19,000 car for $15,000 less!; VW Karmann-Ghia, $2,399; second generation Camaro Z28-Separates the Men from the Boys, 360 hp 350 V8; Audi LS 100, "Introducing Audi," First ad for the Audi in the US; Buick GSX, 350 hp, 455 V8, "A Limited Edition"; Peugeot 504, "Italian style, French soul, International Muscle"; Porsche 911, "The Almost Perfect Car"; AMC AMX, $3,395, 360 V8, 4 speed Hurst shifter, 140 mph speedometer and "big" tach; Meyers Manx SR, "New as the Seventies!";
- Miscellaneous Ramblings column included a photo and item on the new Stutz Blackhawk. Although its 118" wheelbase and blue-printed 400 V8 is mentioned, nothing is said of it being based on the Pontiac Grand Prix, and that the interior was almost completely stock Poncho. Price is given as $22,500, but a VIP model was mentioned for $75,000!
- In the Ampersand column at the back of the book, the new AMC Gremlin received a photo and mention. They called it "a disappointment," not unexpected for the high-brow magazine, also calling it "basically a 6-cylinder Hornet," which of course, it was. They also mentioned that it "demonstrated AMC's lack of understanding of what makes a small economy car, or the company's lack of financial capital to invest in new model development." We now know which one it was.
- The always-interesting Market Place at the back of the book listed a 1959 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk III in immaculate condition for $2,995; several Lotus Elites are listed in the $2,000 range; 1959 Edsel Villager wagon, "best offer"; 1959 Jaguar XK-150 coupe, 6,000 miles on rebuilt engine and automatic condition, $1,950; at least 100 other very desirable and historic cars for what seems like ridiculous prices today!!!
- The center of this issue is a 16-page stapled insert, entitled, The Enthusiast's Europe, 1970, and is a comprehensive guide to "what's doing and what's to do" in Europe for the summer. Features include the late, great Henry Manney's Helpful Hints for the European Traveler; major Automotive Museums; the addresses for major race car builders and car factories open for to the public; buying a car in Europe; a calender of events for the car aficionado; and racing circuits you can drive around. This insert is overprinted in orange, as if printed on orange paper, and is extremely text-heavy. I can guarantee if this type of feature were to be published today, there would be 1/4 of the text and the rest would be filled with large visuals. I really don't think "we" as a public, have the time or the patience to actually read as much as we used to. Sadly, we depend on photographs and charts to help us disseminate information, and we're the poorer for it!
B T W :
Mystery Car For Sale!
A 1958 AC Bristol, with a body that looks for the world like a specially-bodied Ferrari, was only $2,950, photos were $1 each. It also resembles the Nash Palm Beach dream car by Pinin Farina. I wonder what happened to this car, and I wonder why the seller didn't mention that it had to be a one-off? Or is this the wrong photo for the ad, lol? I know that many carrozzerias used similar bodies on different chassis back then, creating one-offs for weathly clients. I'm thinking of a body design firm that was named something like "Buono" but I can't find anything online right now. I'm mystified by this car!
U P D A T E :
Thanks to loyal reader, and automotive historian/guru, Paul NYC, I've found the Ferrari I was looking for. In the comments section Paul mentioned I was probably thinking about the design house, Boano—hey I was only one letter off, lol! As soon as I plugged in Ferrari Boano into Google Images, I came up with the car I was looking for. Well, this is the soft top version, but you can see it matches line-for-line with the "AC Bristol" above.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT by Boano, virtual twin for the R&T ad for the AC Bristol above. Same body, different chassis, or wrong photo in R&T's want ads? Maybe I should look to see if I still have the May or June issues and see if R&T ran a correction.