Rare vehicles



March 28, 2022

Rare vehicles


Malik Nasir Mahmood Aslam looks at some attractive vehicles

Rare vehicles makers sometime indulge in highly artistic designs and bring out models that become iconic in their shape and form. Such vehicles become rare productions and are usually appreciated by connoisseurs of this specific genre. These designs retain their flavour even if they are manufactured no more.
Alfa Romeo: 33 Stradale (18 built, 1967-1969)
The 33 Stradale introduced in 1967 took performance to an entirely new level, even for a company like Alfa Romeo that’s firmly rooted in racing. Closely related to the race-winning Tipo 33, it was one of the first supercars thanks in part to a 230 hp V8 engine that lowered its 0-60mph time to under 6 seconds. Stylists even fitted it with head-turning butterfly doors like the ones McLaren uses in 2020. Stuffing race-proven technology in a street-legal package came at a high cost and the 33 Stradale was more expensive than the Lamborghini Miura. 18 units were made by hand before production stopped.
BMW: 507 (252 built, 1956-1959)
BMW management designed the 507 for the American market and was expected to boost the brand’s image as a purveyor of sports cars in what was then the world’s largest and most lucrative market. However, 507 failed as it was far more expensive than anticipated. It nonetheless ended up in the hands of celebrities like Elvis Presley, who owned two. BMW canceled the 507 after making 252 examples between 1956 and 1959. It then turned its attention to designing high-volume cars like the 700 and barely avoided running out of money.
Citroën: Bijou (207 built, 1959-1964)
The elegant Bijou is a true automotive oddball. Citroën developed it for and manufactured it in England using a platform that underpinned millions of cars for decades. The glass-fiber body hid a frame, an air-cooled flat-twin engine and other components shared with the 2CV. At the time, executives hoped offering a coupe with a more graceful design than the 2CV’s would help them increase their share of the British market. It could have worked but it didn’t. 207 examples of the Bijou were built in Slough, England, between 1959 and 1964.
Fiat: 8V (114 built, 1952-1954)
Nothing about this curvaceous GT suggests it was born under the same roof as the Fiat 600. And yet, the Italian firm positioned the 8V at the very top of its range between 1952 and 1954. It was developed as a halo model that would help Fiat reconstruct its image after World War II by renewing ties with its motorsport heritage. Its 2.0 V8 fell on the right side of Italian regulations that taxed large-displacement engines and put 105 hp under the driver’s right foot in its most basic state of tune. The few motorists in a position to buy a car like the 8V in the early 1950s preferred to be seen in something more prestigious than a Fiat. Production ended after 114 examples were made. Many ended up in the hands of coachbuilders like Pininfarina so one- and few-off variants are common.
Ford: Durango (about 212 built, 1979-1982)
Ford used the Durango nameplate before Dodge put it on an SUV. This trucklet started life as a Fairmont Futura, which was an unremarkable coupe that shared its Fox platform with the third-generation Mustang. Los Angeles-based National Coach Works converted it into a pickup by chopping off the back half and adding a tailgate before sending it back to Ford, which injected it into its sales network. It was sold by Ford dealerships in the United States and covered by the same warranty as a Fairmont. Executives hoped the Durango would fill the gap left by the Ranchero in the Ford range. It did not though no one knows precisely how many examples were built but most sources agree on 212.
Kia: Elan (1056 built, 1996-1999)
Kia purchased the rights to the M100-generation Elan from Lotus and launched the car in 1996 after making several modifications to it. It redesigned the rear lights (Lotus used clusters sourced from Alpine) and replaced the Isuzu-built 1.6-liter engine with a 1.8-liter it had in its parts bin. 1,056 examples of the Kia Elan were built. Most were sold in South Korea but some made it to England and Japan. TW

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