The Birmingham Brickham GSX utility.
1973 Marova X
Powered by the Marova Ion-6, 180 c.i. SOHC-18, inline six, developing 141 h.p. @ 6,000 RPM.
The diet of sport fun champions …
Retro Age Motors
Parking Memories in the Driveway
1983 Epoch M20 Falconeer GT6
All good things must come to an end, and Epoch’s use of their small V8’s stopped in the Falconeer after the GT8 we last reviewed. That doesn’t mean that Epoch gave up on performance, however. It just morphed into a new form.
The 1983 iteration of the M20 Falconeer, in sport trim, was called the GT6. As you can probably guess, it’s a 6-cylinder. This time a 2.9 liter, 12-valve twin cam with an output of 148 horses. Power still went to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission, which was still able to do some pretty impressive one-legger burnouts.
But the beauty of the Falconeer GT6 over the predecessor GT8 was its handling. A simple, yet effective, 4-wheel independent sport suspension was tweaked to the millimeter for handling enjoyment. Of course, this arrangement led to multiple consumer complaints of the Falconeer “breaking their butts”. Despite some billing it as a tourer, and the fact that it did indeed have upscale trappings, the Falconeer GT6 gained a bit of a rough rider reputation.
Of course, most people who hit the track don’t care so much about that. The dozen GT6’s we recently spotted doing a track day at Ridge Motorsport Park are proof of that.
Mainstream Culture - Retro Motorsport: Medium (Currently in 8th)
1970 Denver SPX
Ah, the escalating engine wars of the late 60’s. They gave us all kinds of massive, rumbling beasts to listen to. I mean, who doesn’t like the smell of unburned gas and the sound of terror coming from the tailpipes?
Enter the 1970 Denver SPX. Yes, that same Denver that got sued over the number of seatbelts in their cars.
Granted, before oh, 1973, people didn’t care much about seatbelts, and even then only grudgingly so thanks to the “nanny state”. Seriously, people hated seatbelts back then. Go figure.
Anyway, something the SPX had that people loved? A 417 cubic inch V8 monster. The Denver factory put only the bare minimum mufflers on so that everyone in the world could hear one coming. In factory tune they put out 335 horsepower, but of course aftermarket support allowed those numbers to soar. Its main competitors in the day were the oddball Meijer Hellfire, the vaunted Saetta Vega, Ardent Marathon Super T/A, and the easily winded Jaffil Hercules.
With an 8.7 second 0-60 (much of that causing a lot of smoke) it wasn’t the fastest off the line. But of these, only the Vega and Marathon could hang with it at higher speeds.
Unfortunately for Denver, both of these were less expensive and cheaper to maintain. But there is something to be said for the longevity of the SPX. It’s much easier to find one, running or not, than any of its other competitors.
That may be part of why it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity.
Mainstream Culture - Muscle Cars: High (Currently in 3rd)
1968 IP Flaire II 2600 GTV6
It’s Mamaya day again at the blog! This time, we’ve got a peek into the older portfolio of IP, with the '68 Flaire II 2600 GTV6. Quite the mouthful.
The Flaire II was also a bit of a handful on the road. With its relatively light weight, 140 horsepower V6 motor, and short gearing, it was one of those cars that could sneak up on you when doing the 1-2 shift around the corner. But it was also pure joy to drive. Not particularly fast (or slow for that matter), but very eager to carve up curves.
It was never a particularly good seller here in the States. Between the Muscle Car craze and the frankly odd advertising that IP put out at the time, most car buyers never even took the time to see one in person, let alone buy one. But for those who did, what a sweet reward.
You can find one occasionally bombing down the track or a winding highway, or even at cruise-ins. Take a peek, get to know the owner, and maybe if you’re lucky like us, you’ll get to drive one. Even if only briefly.
Mainstream Culture - Rods and Sports Cars: Medium (Currently in 8th)
1972 Birmingham Brickham GSX
In 1972, trolling was a fishing term. Not quite the same as what it means now. But the modern meaning is exactly what Birmingham did to the world in 1972 with their Brickham GSX ute.
A 450 cubic inch overhead cam V8 with 384 horses? Under the hood of a utility-style body, and given quite short gearing. Yeah, that’s a pretty good definition of trolling. Especially since it could hold its own against most of the muscle cars of the day. Or it could just peel of layer after layer of rubber. In every. Single. Gear.
It also was well-appointed, with deluxe velour interior, a high grade 2-speaker AM radio, and power steering, all standard.
Unfortunately for the model’s longevity, it had the distinction of launching at quite a bad time, and wasn’t a particularly durable model. Thus, not very many left around.
But if you can find one, you too can find your calling as a troll. An automotive troll, that is.
Mainstream Culture - Muscle Cars: High (Currently in 2nd)
1987 Genra GXM Turbo
In the late 80’s, the death of performance was finally over. Manufacturers had done enough CPR, zapped enough hearts, and sacrificed enough chickens that once again, true sports cars were a thing. That some manufacturers managed to put out impressive performance at very reasonable prices, combined with the worship of excessive lifestyles through the decade, helped quite a bit.
Meet the '87 Genra GXM Turbo. 200 horses of mid-engine fury from 4 cylinders. 5-speed manual with limited slip differential. Thick-bolstered cloth seats. Cassette deck. Sunglasses and Miami Vice soundtrack extra.
Not only was it one of the premiere street machines to have in the day, the GXM was used by several racing teams throughout the country. Even today they are sought after for amateur circuits. Unfortunately, the number of unmolested examples is reaching dangerously low levels.
Don’t suppose there’s a barn somewhere in the Midwest that has three or four of these just lying around? Asking for a friend and his colleagues…
Mainstream Culture - Rods and Sports Cars: Very High (Currently in 3rd)
Mainstream Culture - Retro Motorsports: High (Currently in 5th)
1973 RAM Marova X
You’re driving down the street to your friend’s house. Outside of a house or an apartment building you see this ugly green or blue pile of 70’s iron rotting away. You sneer, nearly vomiting at the thought of a Malaise era “economy” car or standard sedan. An understandable reaction for many people who lack imagination and vision.
For others, that car is an opportunity to restore a little piece of history, even if a little mundane, without requiring a seven-digit salary. For these people, the 70’s and even early 80’s are now the prime target.
Then again, if you’re our associate senior editor, you go and buy one those, rip out its fatty, wheezing, decrepit heart, and replace it with something newer, yet reasonably cheap and fun.
Here’s the 1973 RAM Marova X. Not exactly the most inspiring sight, but built in large quantities at a modest price, with a 141 horsepower 3 liter straight-6 under the hood. Marova got many, many miles out of this basic motor design (pun fully intended), but by the time it was put in this particular car, the engine line was already 15 years old.
Here’s Jack’s '73 Marova X. He found it on Steve’s Note for 250 bucks four years ago. Didn’t run, engine was seized up. So what’s the logical thing to do? Of course. Drop out the wheezy old six and throw in something easy to find from a junkyard. He grabbed a 333 MechJect out of a wrecked Townsend Toulouse, cleaned it up, put a hotter cam and free flowing exhaust on it, put a burlier 5-speed behind it, and now has a bit of a sleeper that can do 60 in just 6.4 seconds. Faster than a Saetta Vega. He knows he can squeeze much more out of it if he sinks some serious money and time into more extreme mods, but as yet hasn’t.
Jack’s is just one example of many out there; the Marova’s engine bay is large and relatively easy to maneuver bits in and out of, so it only makes sense that V8 swaps of all stripes happen. Much to the dismay of the recreational restorationist, who now has to compete for sources of good cars.
Counter Culture - Classics: Medium (Currently in 9th)
Mainstream Culture - RestoMods: Very High (Currently in 2nd)
60 hours left. I’ve got one outstanding entry I haven’t reviewed yet, and prefer to do them in batches. Anyone else got anything?
'71 Bogliq Maverick 700AE
Bogliq USA’s Heavy Artillery in the power wars against Ardent and Sinistra Motors
The ultimate expression of the American Dream, the 1971 Maverick 700AE is a purpose-built racer for the everyman. Sub 6 sec 0-100 and sub 15 sec Q/mile meant the Maverick AE, when launched correctly, was terrifyingly fast and it uses fuel like there’s no tomorrow. Thankfully it uses 91RON unleaded so at least the fuel bill isn’t too terrible, if you call just under 30L per 100Km of 91RON usage “not terrible”!
Cost Price: $3,650 USD
One of these might go alright with a V8… or it might not. The Darwin was Oldman’s Family sized car, and it looked like something they could get Americans to buy. Maybe a touch on the thirsty side for some… maybe a good idea living near a refinery.
OOC: here is pretty much the only viable car for this
PRESENTING: The Anhultz Minimas Concept
You want REAL good value AND good MPG’s*?
The Anhultz Minimas Concept!
Just 811$ (5900$ in 2010 automation-currency; at 10%)
- at 40MPH (65kph): 45.63US MPG (5.15L/ 100km)
- at 55MPH (90kph): 26.11US MPG (9L/ 100km)
Some History Stuff
note: my lore is currently at 1962. anything past that is preliminary ang might be subject to change.
also, there will be little “specsheeting” here, as you have a car to look at if you need the info.
The Anhultz Minimas was born out of a mix of desperation and boredom.
The few tiimes Anhultz had tried doing sports cars* were of limited success, which resulted in them giving up on redoing the Anhultz Saturnus**. As sich, there was some time left to start working for future vehicles. The current entry level Anhultz 100 series*** was to be replaced in 1964. And since Anhultz also needed something to poke out of the common sea of cars, the CEO ordered a low-volume concept to be engineered and sold to find out, if a… say… less traditional car would make the cut in the general public. The result was the Anhultz Minimas concpt, with fully independant double-wishbone suspension and a rear-mounted engine.
This car was to be sold alongside the Anhultz 100 to study customer reactions on this vehicle. As such, in late 1961, two thousand vehicles left the Anhultz Manufacturing Plant at Aachen, half of which were directly shipped to the US for the very same reason.
Because of the Minimas being as cheap as the base-spec 100, while offering far greater comfort and speed,
selling the Minimas was a success in the eyes of Anhultz, which led to the 100 series being replaced by an improved version of the Minimas in 1964.
now the lore is very vague… so i´ll stop here
Anhultz Nereid 160 (1953)
Anhultz Saturnus (1956)
Anhultz 100 (base spec; price equivalent to Anhultz Minimas Concept)
1967 Lavache Ramjet W410R
Today’s topic is possibly the quirkiest of quirkies to come out of the Muscle Car era. It’s not the 305 horsepower 410 cubic inch engine that’s so weird, or the mile-long boat it’s in. No, that was all normal.
Listen to this exhaust note. Sounds odd, right? Certainly not something you’d expect from a V8 bruiser. So what could it be?
The LaVache Ramjet W410R. That, my friends, is a narrow-angle V6, pushrod engine, of gigantic proportions.
As if that wasn’t weird enough, let’s add on that it’s a full-on station wagon. And like many wagons of the era, the LaVache has a third row. But it’s not a set of pop-up rear-facing jumpseats in the trunk, but rather a full size, foldable forward-facing set. Interior appointments were quite nice, as well, with deluxe overstuffed vinyl bench seating in all three rows and a split-bench slider in the front.
What a way to pile 8 of your closest friends in and go to the drag strip.
Oh, and in case that confuses you, yes, there is an entire subculture of hot-rod station wagons. Gotta get them groceries fast!
Mainstream Culture - Muscle Cars: Medium (Currently in 6th)
1961 Anhultz Minimas Concept
What you see is a tiny postwar European car, one that likely choked city streets or served as runabouts for the masses when gas was expensive and economies were still weak, right?
Well, this particular one was found at a car show in Tucson this last winter. And as far as the States go, it is extremely rare. More so that a great number of cars that we’ve already covered here, including import-only models.
Anhultz, in the late 50’s, began a design study for a small, quirky car to be produced in “limited” numbers as a test market. This live-market concept was an interesting one, with a few hundred units being shipped to various countries. As one might imagine, a cramped 5-seater with a sub-1 liter engine wasn’t exactly popular in the States in 1961 when this experiment occurred. The results were different overseas, particularly as the Minimas was cheap to buy, own, and maintain.
But rare doesn’t always mean better. It takes true passion and dedication to commit to owning a car with such limited appeal and support around here. It’s interesting to see, and the little Anhultz got quite a bit of curious attention. But when polled, none of the contributors to this blog were interested in even driving it, much less owning one.
Perhaps why they’ve almost all rotted away.
Counter Culture - Classics: Very Low (Currently in 14th)
1987 Oldman Darwin GL
Australia. The land where all the animals want to kill you, but the cars are pretty chill. In fact, a lot of the cars from the 80’s on from there were actually a lot like ours, only much less disappointing.
Take, for instance, the 87 Oldman Darwin. This is an Australian take on the sport sedan. About the size of an intermediate American car. V8 powered, too, albeit in the form of an all-aluminum 32-valve SOHC. Perhaps a bit exotic for our Budweiser-swilling pallates at the time, but quite nice. With 208 horsepower, it had a lot more grunt than most of what was offered, without horrible gas mileage either.
OK, so maybe it got a bit too odd for us when it showed up as a 4-speed floor shift manual and front-wheel drive, and that’s too bad. More of them really should have been sold over some of our other offerings here. I mean, the Ardent Chancellor? Booooring. The Darwin? Flat out fun by comparison, with a 7.4 second 0-60 and top speed of 131 MPH.
Clean examples are fetching high prices and showing up more often at show and shine events.
Maybe the best thing to do is go for a walkabout with one, mate.
And I promise never to do that accent ever again.
Mainstream Culture - Classics: Very Low (Currently in 5th)
1971 Bogliq Maverick AE
When fast is the name of the game, the Bogliq Maverick 700AE comes up. With its 323 horsepower, 427 cubic inch (or 7.0 liter, thank you very much Moldva) V-8 engine, Bogliq came to fight in '71. It was thrown up against the likes of the Vega Alameda, and of course nemesis Ardent’s offering in the Marathon Super T/A.
In 1971, this baby had a 5.9 second 0-60, and could damn near hit 150 miles per hour. Faster on both counts than the Vega and the Ardent. Truly, this was a burly big-block king of the era. And this king had one of the best stereos of the era as well.
In a rather remarkable reversal of the status quo, however, the Bogliq cost a significant chunk of change more than the Ardent in the day. We’re talking 25%. And Bogliq’s complicated quad-carb setup on the Maverick had some very negative ramifications with regard to maintenance and reliability.
Someone might want to let the King know that he’s got arthritis.
Mainstream Culture - Muscle Cars: Very High (Currently in 1st)
well THAT was brick wall for my project…
1973 Sinistra Savage 662 MCI
Released as a brutal response to pressure from Bogliq and Ardent in the late 60’s, the Sinistra Savage started out as a FWD muscle car that could handle with the big guns. 464ci of big-block V8, and early adoption of the Radial tire, gave the Savage a leg-up on competition. High starting costs kicked it back down, though it didn’t fair too badly in Motor World Review’s 1969 article, despite the quirks and price.
With continued pressure being applied, Luke Sinistra took the same chassis and gave it a mighty 662ci power plant, which was initially planned on just being a rally special. The ‘prototype’ mechanical fuel injection system was refined enough to make it feasible to mass-produce, and while the Savage 662 isn’t exactly rare, genuine examples are a little harder to find. With Sinistra selling 662ci power-plants as crate motors, often complete with transaxles, to anyone who was willing to pay the price, many 1973 Savages had their 464ci engine replaced with this unit. And many others, often originals, had their engine and transaxle pulled for unique engine swaps with other cars.
But, for a short time, the worst thing you could see at a stop-light was the tell-tale triple-tipped exhausts and the “Tri-Valve Injection” badge, right next to “662ci” as your only warnings to lighten your foot, because you won’t win this.