I’ve probably said this before, but I love the fact that sports cars of an earlier era were so much smaller than today’s fat-assed, safety-obsessed behemoths.  To whit, the 1995 Fiat Barchetta:

…the 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta:

And even by Fiat standards, the little 1950s-era 600 was a weeny:

And here are a few more, all on the same theme:

I blame it all on Mercedes, starting in that same decade:

Still, sometimes you do  need a larger car, for the family:

Or for other reasons:

I miss the old days… [sigh]


  1. When cars (and backseats) were bigger, America had a baby boom. COINCIDENCE??? I think not.

  2. You missed a few. Back in the day I owned a ’62 Bug-sprite and a TR-4. At a recent Cars and coffee I saw a restored example of the sprite. It was much smaller than I remember. … No exterior door handles. Plastic side curtains for windows. Erector set roof that took 15 minutes to assemble and setup in the rain. English electrics with magic electrical smoke . Tiny 986 cc engine. But you drove it flat out everywhere ( because it had a top speed of 70 — downhill with a tail wind ).

    But if you still want to experience the era in a modern car a Mazda Miata is always the right answer. or for more money you can look at a Boxster. But if you insist on British levels of practicality, they still make the Caterham ( Lotus 7 recreation ) https://www.ptsportscars.com/cars-for-sale/

  3. Hey! I liked an MGB! They were really practical, I carried 5 bags of cement in one with the top down, (the suspension was never the same again until I replaced it), on the other hand a Morgan +8 may have been the most impractical car there ever was.

  4. By a mile, the best car I owned was a 99 BMW M Roadster. A Z3 with the truly astonishing 3.2 litre m3 motor. I enjoyed every drive in that car. Super quick, comfortable by sports car standards, just a great car. In a moment of madness I traded it on an X5. Got home and my wife, bless her, said “if you liked it so much, why didn’t you keep it?” As in as well as the X5. Went straight back to the dealer to try and buy it back and he goes “sorry mate, it was sold as soon as you drove it in the first day” They had people waiting for them. Still miss that car.

  5. Had a ’62 Alfa Giulietta Spider in ’69, at age 17. Got it from my dad, who got it in ’66 or ’67 as a trade-in at his little used car lot. With a seized engine. We filled the crankcase with kerosene, and towed it around the block in gear. Might have just rusted the cylinders from sitting around unused , maybe (Philly area). Oil pressure closely mimicked the tach in responding to revs. (I think it was inside the tach, at the bottom, along with a second gauge.)

    Didn’t have it long, as I totaled my mom’s car chasing Alfa parts one evening. (Loved that little ’62 Opel Olympia. Oh, well.) Dad took the alfa to pay for the Opel’s replacement.

    The Alfa was replaced with a ’57 Chevy ragtop sporting a ’68 Big Block pushing enough HP to yank the front wheels off the pavement. I’m reminded of that car whenever I hear the Beach Boys singing about “getting rubber in all four gears”. In retrospect, I think I would have been happier driving the Alfa.

  6. Now that we’re twenty-five years past 1995, the first year of the Fiat Barchetta may be imported into the United States. No word yet on whether parts must also be imported, or a mechanic be adopted.

  7. While I was at Keesler AFB for tech school, a buddy of mine who was an Alfa nut found a GTV 1750 at a garage in Biloxi that was completely lost trying to fix mechanical fuel injection. Limped it back to base, replaced one temperature sensor that had been broken off, and drove it. What a fun, small, nothing extra car – my second favorite of cars I’ve actually got to drive. Last I talked to him (5 years now? – I need to call him) it was no longer a daily driver and he was tearing it down for a full restoration.

    Even the 2004 Mazda 6 wagon I just bought (5spd manual and a V6, whee!!!) has substantially less garbage loaded into it compared to today’s crop. Living in the north east, finding older, simpler vehicles that the rust monster hadn’t destroyed is difficult. Closing in on retirement, I think I need to look for somewhere that doesn’t buy road salt by the ship load.

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