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girlyswot
06-21-2009, 10:04 PM
I don't know anything about cars - I can identify their colour and then I'm stumped. But I have a character who owns some kind of seriously impressive vintage sports car. Expensive, yes, but more importantly one that is in some way rare or particularly coveted. Runs especially smoothly, or something like that. It's okay that it costs a fortune to keep it on the road. Oh, and my character is in the UK, so it'll probably be a British or European car. And it's summer, so it needs to have an open top.

What should I give him?

Gary
06-21-2009, 10:35 PM
Aston Martin in the 1950-1960 range.
http://www.prewarcar.com/pre1966/postwar_searchresults.asp?make=Aston%20Martin

redpbass
06-21-2009, 11:48 PM
There are a lot of nice old cars like that. You could go to supercars.net and scan through the index of cars there. They're arranged alphabetically by manufacturer, and the year each car was built is clearly labeled.

For something impressive, I'd suggest a Jaguar E-type or a Lotus Seven, or one of the old Ferraris. Of course, these are pretty well known cars even among non-car people. If you want something virtually unknown but still impressive, it'll be a lot harder.

girlyswot
06-22-2009, 12:38 AM
For something impressive, I'd suggest a Jaguar E-type or a Lotus Seven, or one of the old Ferraris. Of course, these are pretty well known cars even among non-car people. If you want something virtually unknown but still impressive, it'll be a lot harder.

It doesn't have to be virtually unknown, but I'd like it to be something that people who are into this sort of thing might be more impressed by than the general public, if that makes sense.

firedrake
06-22-2009, 12:41 AM
How about a Morgan?

Hand built to order and a real head-turner because there's not many around.

Old Hack
06-22-2009, 01:00 AM
Picky me.

For a car to be a vintage car it has to have been made prior to 1933 (or 1933 and earlier); for veteran cars, I think the break-point is 1908. Most Aston Martins are contemporary, but could be considered a classic: but unless they're more than 80 years old then they're not vintage.

If you really want a vintage car then you could contact the Brooklands Motor Museum in Weybridge, which is wonderful. And just in case you're wondering how I know all of this, a friend of mine races Fraser Nashes (she has two, both from 1930), and held her wedding reception at Brooklands.

vixey
06-22-2009, 01:03 AM
I own a 1962 Triumph TR4 convertible - RED! :D Being a 47 year old car, I have to say it doesn't purr!!!! :tongue

(But it's really fun to drive....)

Bmwhtly
06-22-2009, 03:17 PM
The E-Type (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_E-type) and Aston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aston_Martin_DB4) have already been mentioned.

I'd add the Jag XK120 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_XK120).
If you'd relax a little about it being a convertible, you could go the Ferrari Daytona (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3225/3077384772_0d020203e7.jpg).

Mind you, if he's managed to keep an Alfasud (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_Alfasud) running this long (or rather, in one piece this long) that in itself would be almost a miracle.

Or you could go for status, rather than sporting ability and give him a Corniche (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Corniche) drophead.

Ruv Draba
06-22-2009, 06:20 PM
If you want to make the car credibly great, know what's good about it and let it change more than one character in the story. Let it change how they think of themselves, their relationships or their destiny. But don't just name-drop: one reader's drooling fantasy is another reader's clunker.

Strictly speaking, a British vintage car (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vintage_car) would have been made between the end of WWI and and the end of 1930. Cars made at that time didn't have the luxuries we now see as standard. Heavy-bodied with stiff suspension, no climate control, no safety features and engines you often had to crank by hand. There were touring cars and luxury cars and the beginning of racing cars, but none of them could match anything made from around 1950, except in terms of style.

A vintage car driver will almost always be considered quirky. A lovingly-restored vintage car is normally only driven on weekends and at club rallies because damage and wear normally has to be repaired by hand, and because they're very dangerous in wet weather.

Perhaps what you want is a classic car (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_car) -- anything made from about 1925 through about 1959 (or 1979 if you want to include 'modern classics'). Stimulated by a growing racing-car industry post WWII, many sports cars were produced. However, even sports cars of 20 years ago find it hard to keep up with modern design and construction -- lighter materials, more efficient engines, better brakes and suspension mean that classic and modern classic sports cars are admired more for their history and style than for the reason they were originally bought -- their performance.

British automotive design has tended to be quaint and quirky (like the three- wheeled Morgan F4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morgan.f4.arp.750pix.jpg)) or boxy and dependable (like the Morris Minor 1000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morris.minor.bristol.750pix.jpg)). But in certain periods, some British marques were a watchword for cool. The 1965 XKE Jaguar Roadster is an example: sporty, phallic, elegant, aggressive and jet-set ultra-cool.
http://www.gravesplating.com/newphotos/jaguarroadster_large.jpg

An enthusiast would love its styling along with its acceleration, its light, neutral steering (making cornering a delight), and its ability to accelerate hard into corners. Every classic car needs its quirks and with the XKE it was very high oil consumption; constant replacement of spark-plugs (little disposable devices that light the fuel in the engine); and weak, squinty little headlights that made cornering on bendy roads at night potentially lethal.

Cars change peoples' lives because of the way they come to covet them. To many, a car means power, freedom, control, identity and status. A classic car means a classic image and with the XKE it's all about virility. This is a car you'd drive to have sex with the road, a purring phallic monster that leaves others looking limp and impotent at the traffic lights like a stick of celery in a sauna. This is not a vehicle you take your Mum to the shops in. You'd take your boss's wife out in it for a drive to the country club, intent on a dangerous liaison. Those are the memories that would shape the person who would love a car like this, and that would ring echoes in anyone who'd envy you. The conversations of pea-green jealousy wouldn't be just about the car itself, but what you'd done with it, and who you'd done it to.

Hope that helps.

Timoun
06-22-2009, 06:34 PM
MG TC

RedScylla
06-22-2009, 09:32 PM
You want really swank, how about a Maybach (http://classiccars.about.com/od/classiccarphotogallery/ig/Auto-Collectors/1939Mayback38.htm)?

Williebee
06-22-2009, 09:46 PM
One of my favorites is the Talbot-Lago (http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1938-talbot-lago.htm), particularly around 1938.

The 1938 Talbot-Lago was a design marvel considered by some to be outrageous and indecent.

Sir William Lyons, Jaguar's creator and designer, was quoted as having said to Brooks Stevens, "The lines of that car are positively indecent." And sensuous. Likely, it's those very lines that caused Stevens, a noted industrial designer with the Excalibur and many other cars to his credit, to seek out the Talbot's owner in a restaurant and to later buy it from him.

Team 2012
06-22-2009, 10:00 PM
Morgan 2x2 Definitely a "snob car". Lacks the mass appeal and sexiness of those mentioned above and doesn't run smoothly. It's a car only a real car nut could love.

Williebee
06-22-2009, 11:24 PM
The Morgan is very much a car for the driver who is trying to reflect "status". (just imho, and I'd still love to have and drive one. My last import was an Austin.)

This is as opposed to the cars that reflect status.

Girlyswot, you want a convertible?

Check out the Delahaye (http://www.2blowhards.com/Delahaye%20165%20M%20-%201939%20-%20Figoni%20et%20Falaschi.jpg).

50's - 60's California Street cred, and it was only 1939 France.

15 years ago we were talking over a million dollars on four wheels.

Team 2012
06-23-2009, 08:00 PM
Whoa! Looks like a prop from "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Daddy Warbucks wheels.

archerjoe
06-23-2009, 09:30 PM
I own a 1962 Triumph TR4 convertible - RED! :D Being a 47 year old car, I have to say it doesn't purr!!!! :tongue

(But it's really fun to drive....)

I had a 67 TR4-A. Originally in British Racing Green but there was so much primer when I bought it, I painted it red to match the re-upholstered interior. I really miss that car.

As far as an impressive vintage car, I'd agree with the Ferrari comments. Hard to come by.

pdr
06-24-2009, 11:56 AM
a sports car much beloved of the RAF pilots. It was expensive and gorgeous and I thought it was a Jaguar but can't trace it in a quick google.

I remember it as a soft blue, with a soft top, purred not roared, walnut dashboard and leather, properly sprung seats - 2 seater but roomy- and those pilots driving it with their silk scarves flying were quite something.

SirOtter
06-25-2009, 09:57 AM
How about a Morgan?

Hand built to order and a real head-turner because there's not many around.

Are you referring to the three-wheeler Runabouts from the 1930s? Distinctive, indeed.

I'm sure Auburn must've sent a few boat-tailed Speedsters across the Big Pond in 1935. The most beautiful machine I've ever seen in person was one that pulled up next to me at a red light in Knoxville, Tennessee in about 1982.

Melisande
06-25-2009, 11:19 AM
I'd go for a Bugatti.

Don't know very much about cars either, but I do know that a Bugatti would fit all your criterias.

Here's a link;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugatti

pdr
06-25-2009, 01:36 PM
Forgot to add that this Jag? MK12 or 20? sports car was very expensive and a status symbol in the 60s. My brother and his friends all tried to buy one and always were outbidded by thousands!

SirOtter
06-26-2009, 12:41 AM
You could go with one of the Bentleys John Steed drove in The Avengers.

Nivarion
06-26-2009, 01:58 AM
Perhaps what you want is a classic car (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_car) -- anything made from about 1925 through about 1959 (or 1979 if you want to include 'modern classics'). Stimulated by a growing racing-car industry post WWII, many sports cars were produced. However, even sports cars of 20 years ago find it hard to keep up with modern design and construction -- lighter materials, more efficient engines, better brakes and suspension mean that classic and modern classic sports cars are admired more for their history and style than for the reason they were originally bought -- their performance.

I actually have to disagree on the performance. I have a 409 in my '55 chevy, and that thing has some get up and go. It shoots my tank of a car up to 60 is less than three seconds and has it screaming past a quarter mile in less then 10.

vroom vroom.

Ah i love my chevy. paid $700 for it, with original interior, front and rear windshields and wiring (replaced) and a 409.

ETA a 409 may have more horse power than a modern engine but it only gets 3 miles to the gallon. =( so i had to pull it.

pdr
06-26-2009, 01:32 PM
you could go with one of the Bentleys John Steed drove in The Avengers.

Sounds perfect gs?