It’s not everyday that someone tells you about a Porsche 356 Speedster languishing in a chicken coop. In fact, Allen “AJ” Johnson’s Porsche may be the only Speedster in existence that was ever saved from such an ignominious fate. Whatever the case, back in 1984, when AJ heard about the car from a friend, he didn’t waste any time in tracking the car down to take a look at it. Of course, this was back when old 356s were just that- old Porsches. While they were worth some money, they had not reached the silly prices that vintage Porsches, in particular 356 Speedsters, have reached in today’s crazy collector car market.
If there’s a Porsche just begging for more power, it’s the 944 Turbo, a box-fendered 80’s hero that is quickly attaining classic status. Thanks to its ideal 50/50 weight distribution, the 944 is a supremely capable machine that in it’s day was a world class road handler that was called the “best handling car in the world” by more than one car magazine. It’s still an impressive drive all these years later. But though the 944 Turbo- referred to by its internal designation of 951 by devotees- was considered powerful in its day, in today’s world of 600+hp production Porsche Turbos the 951’s stock 217-hp is a little conservative, which is putting it mildly.
For many BMW 5 Series enthusiasts, the E34-generation represents the end of an era. The E39 that came afterthe E34 was faster, more luxurious and more accommodating all around. But in some ways it was less mechanical feeling than its predecessor thanks to the additional weight and its refined nature. And then there is the matter of styling. While the E39 is undeniably a good looking car, its not as simple and tough looking as the E34, which had very traditional BMW styling cues, from the boxy shape to the round headlights and trademark kidney grill.
Open the engine lid on John Asselta’s 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS and the everything looks close to stock, at least at a glance. There’s the trademark wrinkle-painted air intake cover above what appear to be downdraught Weber carburetors. Look a little closer though and some differences become apparent. Rather than carbs, there are eight individual throttle bodies feeding air to the V8 engine. Another tip off that all is not stock in the Ferrari are the relocated plug wires and a fuel injection computer that has a cooling duct leading to it. Though it looks close to stock, this 308 has been upgraded in key mechanical area, resulting in a faster, sharper version of Ferrari’s mid-engine classic.
There are few machines that embody the “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” mantra as comfortably as the Porsche 911. Porsche's rear-engine wonder has been successfully raced from its introduction in 1964 and its on-track prowess has not diminished at all since then. But it has also become one of the most iconic road cars ever produced, in large part because of the direct connection street legal versions of it share with race bred examples.
The Viper Green Porsche featured here may have the general profile and dimensions of a 914, but it’s probably about as extreme as road-legal, classic Porsches can get. The bright green paintwork and somber black trim and wheels conspire to give it the appearance of something you might see a bad guy driving in Mad Max.
Anyone who attends track days knows what a slippery slope of car modifying it can lead to. A few laps around a track with a stock or nearly stock car has the owner quickly devising ways to get more speed, more handling, more braking and more performance in general from their vehicle of choice. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a Volkswagen GTI, or in the case of Dave Deisen, a Ferrari. Track days almost always leave you wanting more speed and control and faster lap times.
“It’s in the spirit of the early privateer competition 911s- tough and fast,” says Alex Motola of his stunningly executed 911ST homage. “It was built to be a great all-rounder, and that’s how I intend to use it.” It doesn’t take much digging to find the qualities that make it such a great all rounder, either. From the 3.4-liter flat-6 that uses Haltech fuel injection to the unusual wheel choice and even the elegant, Alcantara-clad interior, it’s plain to see the amount of passion that was poured into the build.
Ferraris have a reputation for being fragile, unreliable and expensive to maintain. And on the face of it, it's hard to argue with those sentiments. These are expensive cars to own for sure, but treated properly, they're far from fragile and unreliable. The 308 GTS pictured here is an excellent illustration of how to make a vintage Ferrari suitable for frequent or even daily use.
As the first mid-engine production Porsche, the 914 occupies a very important position in the German company's history. It paved the way for a multitude of other successful Porsches- from the Boxster to the all mighty 918 Spyder- that shared the 914's optimal chassis configuration. Ironically, though the model has spent many years considered to be something of a lesser Porsche, in large part do to the supersized shadow cast by the mighty 911.
With it’s unusual plexiglass covered headlights, long coupe profile and crisp detailing, the BMW 2000CS coupe looks more like a concept car than a production vehicle. And while this model belongs to the same family as the more commonly seen the examples of the E9 coupe (2800CS, CSi and CSL), it’s far more rare. It’s also a pretty polarizing BMW, with styling that inspires admiration or downright dislike.