Monday, April 9, 2012

Gimme, Gimme Good Lovin'

In every hobby there are objects of interest that may be deemed more desirable than other similar ones. In the British car hobby, we've got a few instances of certain series of car models not held in as high esteem as other (usually earlier) series of the same line. Thankfully, the South Alabama British Car Club is a pretty inclusive bunch so we don't hear disparaging remarks about the cars that follow below.

Jaguar E-Type 2+2
Jaguar E-Type 2+2. Prices confirm that the 2+2 is not collectors first choice in E-Types. While the 2+2 filled a niche that Jaguar wished to exploit in the '60s, it was the final incarnation of the fixed roof body style at the end of production. Some enthusiasts claim that the roofline and windshield are too high for the rest of the body giving it a less graceful look than the original coupe fixed roof model. I believe that had the 2+2 had been rolled out in 1961 instead of the coupe, it would have been just as big a sensation in the automotive world. But it wasn't. And, sadly, it isn't.

Your Blogger's Faithful MGB
"Rubber" Bumper MGB. Being a member of the black bumper MGB owner's guild, I've heard all sorts of comments about the raised ride height and heavy bumpers of the '74.5 through '80 MGB and MGB-GT. True, the 'B lost some of its nimbleness in the transition and they do look a bit like they are on stilts, but they are a big part of MG history. With new US safety regulations in the works and a starvation budget on which to meet them, the people at MG did the best they could to keep this sports car on sale here.

Mini Clubman - The Original
Mini Clubman. No, not the current station wagon thingy that MINI is offering but the square nosed two door produced in the '70s and not generally seen on these shores. BMC snagged some Ford of Britain stylists and gave them a brief to "update" the look of the standard Mini. They responded with the Clubman. Looking somewhat like a Ford Cortina from the front, the Clubman offered wind-up windows and an instrument binnacle placed in front of the driver instead the center of the fascia. The Clubman was available in hot 1275 GT form, but only dyed-in-the-wool Mini enthusiasts are in the know about that one in the States. The Clubman boasts more under bonnet space meaning that the grill does not have to be removed to change the oil filter.

MG Midget 1500
MG Midget 1500. The poor "rubber" bumper Midget doesn't get a lot of love and that's a shame. The run-out Midgets are probably the least expensive entry into the British car hobby and they repay every kindness shown them. Again, the MG designers were hard pressed to keep the littlest MG on sale in America and they followed the same recipe that they did for the MGB: black bumpers and raised ride height. But, unlike the MGB soldering on with its 1800cc engine, the Midget went from a 1275cc A-series to the 1500cc lump found in the Spitfire. The extra power helped keep performance respectable for the time. While serious restoration of a late Midget is probably uneconomical, the fun factor in running a less than perfect example can be huge.

Do you know of a model loved less than its brethren? Drop me note in the comments section.

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