Last post on Apr 09, 2001 at 5:14 PM
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Mar 15, 2001 (3:15 pm)
Where does the Alfa fall through on that list? You said yourself that yours have been reliable, likewise so has mine. That 2 liter is a VERY strong engine. Its alot of fun. Very well built goes along with reliable. I think it is beautiful (again, subjective area). How much were they new? I'm unfamiliar with this. Mine was VERY affordable, but it was also 13 years old when I bought it.
The only thing I see in that list is the aftermarket. The aftermarket is very good for the Alfa. Great? Hmmmm... not sure. Again, that's subjective. I can get a couple grand of aftermarket parts for the Alfa. Seems good enough to me.
Sorry, but you're still not convincing me.
Mar 15, 2001 (5:37 pm)
Well, if we were talking about the late 50s Alfas, then sure, I think it would have to be on the list, because the little Giuletta gave the USA the first dohc 5-speed roadster....upon which, I might add, all modern roadsters are modelled. A beautiful, fun, decently reliable car that was well put together (unlike its Fiat brethren). The later 1750s Spiders weren't so hot because of the Spica injection system, and by the time the 2000 roadsters came out (the last model we saw in the USA, up to 1993), about all Alfa could give us was variable cam timing...quite a few years before Honda. But by that time, the 2000 Spider was a pretty old fashioned car, hardly the "best" anymore.
So the Miata was the "smash hit" of 1990 just like the Alfa was in 1955....man 1955-56 were great years for cars, wasn't they? Mercedes Gullwing, '55/56 Chevy, first V-8 Corvettes-- and I'm sure more I can't just think of right now. Definitely a "vintage" year!
#155 of 162 Is it the 4th of July already?
Mar 15, 2001 (6:30 pm)
That might explain the flags.
You guys sure know more about sports cars than I do, but it's an interesting conversation so I'll weigh in anyway.
There's no denying the Miata's effect on the car industry--and the boost in morale it gave car guys just by being around during some fairly dark days--but I never found it compelling.
A B was my daily driver for several years, and I drove my brother's Fiat 1500 and 850 regularly too and really enjoyed all of them, so I guess I like traditional sports cars. The B in particular had loads of personality.
So I wanted to like the Miata. I remember reading the first test in Road & Track and thinking Hallelujah there's hope for car enthusiasts.
So I take one out and well, I didn't hate it, but it was close. That $100k exhaust note sounded like a Protege with a bad muffler. Acres of black plastic. A nervous feel that the B and Fiats didn't have. Even the vaunted shifter didn't have the pure mechanical feel of the B.
On the other hand I loved the MX-3 V6 I drove at the same dealership, so maybe I'd "graduated" from sports cars to GTs--got old and lost my fastball without any warning.
Mar 15, 2001 (8:35 pm)
MG-Bs certainly wouldn't be called "twitchy" -- "slow," maybe, or "crude." But they sure were pretty, weren't they?
Thing is, most of these cars are sentimental in nature, so the originals are the only ones that evoke that feeling of passion. I doubt you would be as enthralled with the new MG-B as the old, even though it's a much better car. It wouldn't have that whining gearbox, that wonderful smell of leaking oil, that clunky shifter or the leaky top...
Mar 16, 2001 (10:24 am)
That's always the trouble with these BEST lists....you have to view the cars in the context of the time they were built.
Still, some older cars are still very charming and fun to drive, and some can even match modern cars (especially if you do them the favor of modern tires).
BEST is a strong, formidable word....so you wouldn't want to assign it lightly to any car. A "best" car has to be really significant, and really excel in all areas...it can't just be outrageous or stylish....it needs to combine lots of accomplishments all rolled up into one car....and it needs to have excelled in its time and among its peers.
What a Miata really is, is a British sports car that finally works....what it is NOT, however, is a car with old world charm. I wouldn't penalize it for that, because we are talking about Time Periods here, but you are right, there is a certain modern dullness and sameness to the Miata, and for that matter, to most modern cars, as wonderful as they are. There are no more hand-built cars from major manufacturers, and the computers and machines of today tend to make cars all the same.
Mar 17, 2001 (6:56 pm)
tremendous differences between cars such as the 200ZX, Supra, RX7 and Corvette, or the Inegtra, Celica and Eclipse. They are all styled entirely differently, have dissimilar drivetrains, and have their own unique personalities. Once again, I think we tend to look at the past with rose-colored glasses. Sentiment is rarely accurate, but it's a powerful thing.
#159 of 162 Who, us? Sentimental?
Mar 17, 2001 (10:18 pm)
And why does Shiftright always get what looks like the German flag?
Just had the pleasure of test driving several sports sedans, near luxuries or whatever, and they had definite differences.
The Saab 9-3 was the feistiest, the one I keep thinking about despite the fact that it's not the best for my needs. The 9-5 was pleasant but forgetable, although it might be easier to live with for 3 or 4 years.
The year-old 323 5 speed was a combination of adrenaline and refinement. Wow.
The Audi A-4 1.8T was rock solid, very refined and quicker than I would have thought with AT. I think the Germans are starting to get the hang of dialing in cars .
The Catera was a pleasant cruiser but the lack of power was a bummer around town, and they seem to have left most of its personality back in Germany.
The Aurora, well, I like the looks and it's a competant set of wheels, but the General has let me down once too often. Besides, prestige is a big part of that market and the Aurora doesn't have it have now that Olds is GM's DeSoto.
The Lincoln LS with Sport Package, and that's about the only way they come in my area, is extremely stiff over rough pavement. I can't believe anyone is happy with that suspension. The handling is there, and the 5 speed AT has three very close ratios that are a treat around town, but then comes 4th and not much power.
So there are differences, maybe not like the old days, but enough to make it difficult to choose.
#160 of 162 that' s not what I meant, sorry!
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Mar 18, 2001 (3:03 pm)
No, no, I meant that all the CARS OF THE SAME MAKE AND MODEL are made the same...every Miata is just like every other Miata of its year....in the "old days", even your Chevy or Ford could be ordered with 7 different engines, 3 or 4 transmissions, and myriad other options.
Apr 09, 2001 (4:09 pm)
How about several lists? One of the hundred most influential, one of the hundred best regardless of time (will probably mostly be 1990s cars), one of the hundred lightest street-legal, two of the hundred fastest (one top-speed, one over a road-course), and one of the hundred cars you would like a full-size Revell model of.
Apr 09, 2001 (5:14 pm)
Yeah, that would be interesting, although I don't think you can talk about "best" without talking about the time the car was made in....maybe we should have "best in its time" for different decades...and we should really try to define "best" at least somewhat. Any theory that includes everything really says very little about anything. It's like an empty argument.