It seems to be a fairly indisputable fact that men develop their lifelong obsessions at an early age. My own, and I suspect many blokes approaching their mid 40’s, include Northern Soul music, 70’s porn, classic Vespas and how sporty cars looked in the late 60’s and 70’s. So, here is a list of what I consider to be the most beautiful cars, largely of that era. As the 80’s dawned cars became less interesting to me as either aerodynamics took over or the designers seemed to forget about two-seaters and coupes in favour of tarting up standard saloons and hatchbacks. Yes, if you read on you will be absolutely entitled to call me a complete fucking hypocrite but the Mexico gets in.
Fiat Arbarth 124 Rally
Younger car buyers may have seen Fiat as a bit of a mass market shitbox-monger until the recent release of the cute little 500 but go back a few decades and this little fella was quite the thing of beauty. I bet it didn’t work though and rusted through after 5 minutes parked up in Whitby.
Renault Alpine A110
Not to be confused with later Alpines which were more angular and generally hideous. This, like the Fiat, was from a time when all you needed was a shit load of spots, fat wheels and flared arches to be cool. A fact ably demonstrated by the orange Mini in the same picture.
Yes, it’s Simon Templar’s motor but possibly not as you’ve seen it before. Volvo’s have generally been too long and heavy to be decent rally cars, but I think I’d rather be in one of these rather than a Fiat if I was to hit a tree at speed in a Swedish forest.
In some ways this is always seen as an obligatory entry in any discussion of older rally cars but the window design alone books its place for me. It’s a genuine design classic that you can get fed up of seeing.
This, like the Fiat, was from a time when all you needed was a shit load of spots, fat wheels and flared arches to be cool.
Ford Escort RS Mexico
Iconic design and a real thing of beauty. I recall a bloke near us having a Mark I Escort and he jacked up the back and had lighting underneath it, presumably so you could check out the transmission I guess. It didn’t catch on.
Alfa Romeo GTV 1750
This is so pretty you could kiss it. Any car list has to have an Alfa on it, not just because they are beautifully designed cars but so that Seat owners can realise they bought the wrong car.
A bump into the 80’s here I’m afraid, and I include it not necessarily because it looks good, although I think it does, but because I think it was a massive missed opportunity for Ford. In 1984 the Ford Capri was well past it’s sell by date and Ford were crying out for a sporty number to attract the more discerning young man. Hot hatches were the order of the day but as they found out with the Puma some 13 years later, there was a demand for little sporty things that were not just family kid carriers with stripes.
The prettiest thing that Datsun/Nissan have ever produced, although the re-launched version is actually really nice too. In fact, other than that they seem to make about 15 interchangeable 4x4 soft roaders these days. The rally versions had huge knobbly tyres and they have a huge cult following in the US.
Had to get a British Classic on here somehow, and to be honest I think this is more of a hill climber than a rally car but it’s got a number and big fuck off wheels and arches going on so it’s in.
Not to be confused with the early 80’s Talbot Sunbeam but it was made by the same group. Generally seen as an underpowered sixties chick wagon whose looks to it plenty of TV and film work at the time. You may recall it from such boys classics as early Bond films, Get Carter and McVicar, all chic driven but the V8, Tiger version had much horses.
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