One of the all-time great sportscars is the Porsche 911. The 1963 Porsche 911 was the first of its kind. When the company released it, it was called a 901. Peugeot had a problem with the number, so Porsche renamed it. The history of the car goes back to the fifties, when Dr. Ferdinand Porsche based his vehicle on the VW Beetle. Taking it into a sportscar direction evolved the car until Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, the grandson of the company founder, led it to the epic sportscar we know today.
He made it more aerodynamic and lightweight. Placing the engine in the rear contributed greatly to that end while raising the bar on handling. It also had the effect of streamlining the hood. Inside was snug, but austere. A 6-cylinder 2.0-liter engine put out about 130 horsepower. It was only the beginning of the Porsche brand.
1963 Studebaker Avanti
The design scheme of the 1963 Studebaker Avanti was famously sketched out by Studebaker’s new president, Sherwood Egbert, whose doodles were sketched on a jet flight to Chicago. The company hoped the Avanti would turn fortunes around. And the car garnered attention, people flocked to showrooms, but the company did not deliver.
It was unable to ship enough cars to the sales floor, and this, in turn, led to the Avanti going out of production the very next year. If you find one, you’ll find it’s packed with a Studebaker Hawk V-8, a 289 cu. in. 290-horsepower engine, driving an automatic transmission.
1967 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
A 4-speed manual transmission driving a thunderous 800 horsepower barreled the 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake 0-100 mph in just 10.3 seconds. Carrol Shelby said of this vehicle, “When I built this dual supercharged 427 Cobra in 1966, I wanted it to be the fastest, meanest car on the road.” Mission accomplished. It’s one of the most extraordinary cars ever made.
In its day, Road & Track called it “The Cobra to End All Cobras.” And, in January of 2007, a Shelby Cobra 427 fetched $5.5 million at auction. All other muscle cars sputter in comparison.
1968 Dodge Charger R/T
When this classic muscle car was brand new in 1968, it was markedly different from the former-year model. People loved it! They flocked in droves to the imposing and impressive, newly designed shark-like Dodge Charger R/T. The popular ’80s hit TV series, 'The Dukes of Hazard' showcased a NASCAR version of the R/T splashed in orange and called it “General Lee.”
The ’68 Charger came equipped with new features, like power-window safety lockout, recessed ashtrays, and padding on the dash. A V-8 engine was a popular option. Yet, the standard engine featured a burly 2-barrel 5.2-liter 375-HP engine. As an optional feature, Road and Track (R/T), was introduced in ’67, a muscle car innovation that included anti-roll bar, hefty front torsion bars, rear leaf springs, shock absorbers, and the largest standard engine and brakes available.
1961 Jaguar E-Type
Even Enzo Ferrari described the 1961 Jaguar E-Type as “the most beautiful car in the world” after it premiered at the Geneva Auto Salon in 1961. With a 3.8-liter inline-6 265 HP engine, this little car could scoot. Claiming a top speed of 150 mph, the manual 4-speed was a road car made for the joy of driving, and its beauty is still celebrated.
At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the E-Type roadster was added to the permanent design collection, making it the second car ever to be so honored. With a price tag of $5,895 back in the day, it seems like a steal! Even back then, it was half as much as an Aston Martin or a Ferrari.