Giorgetto Giugiaro's first clean-sheet design project when he went to work for Ghia was Isuzu's commission for their new halo car, the 117. Initially hand built when they were introduced in 1968, production went through 1981. This example is from the last year of production and is the only 117 in North America. Notice the strong resemblance to the Fiat Dino coupe, another Giugiaro design, but for the house of Bertone.
1964 Porsche 901 pre-production prototype. Originally conceived as a 901 (911) cabriolet prototype, the Porsche management board feared pending rollover legislation in the United States which was their biggest market. They instructed Butzi Porsche and his team to come back with an open car that met the rollover protection guidelines. They used this car and one other prototype to develop what is now universally known as the Targa top, Porsche’s most significant contribution to the world of coachbuilding. Of the fifteen original 901 pre-production prototypes, only two are known to exist. This is the only one which is unrestored.
The Honda 1300 Coupe was the last project on which Dr. Honda personally lead the engineering. It was leaps and bounds beyond anything the company had done to that point. State of the art features such as redundant wiring, an aircooled, dry sump, transversely mounted engine with multiple carburetors and front wheel drive were all standard on the the 1300 Coupe. Built between 1969 and 1972 for the Japanese market, this 1972 GTL marked the end of the line.
Hollywood producer fell in love with a Ghia concept car he saw at a European auto show and decided to have a car designed and built for himself and his friends. He set up a dealership, Ghia of Beverly Hills, and in 1966-7, fifty two Ghia 450SS convertibles were built and delivered, many to American celebrities. This was the first Ghia 450SS. Ownership eventually went to NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain, who had the late custom car builder Boyd Coddington tweak for more power and interior room.
The Mazda Cosmo Sport was the world's first production twin rotor car and Mazda's first production rotary powered car. They were hand-built at the rate of approximately one per day between 1967 and 1972. Ours is one of the very last ones ever made.
Combine questionable British automotive engineering and casual Greek manufacturing techniques, take away one wheel and what do you get? The MEBEA Robin of course! Built in Athens between 1974 and 1978 under license from Reliant, a whole generation of yia-yias and papous learned how to terrorize the narrow streets of Greece with these rolling (and often rolling over) motorized death traps.
Dr. Felix Wankel was chief engineer for the German auto firm NSU. His passion for rotary engines led NSU to create the Spider, the world's first production car powered by a rotary engine. They were plagued by reliability problems which eventually led to the company's demise. Between 1965 and 1967, only 2500 Wankel Spiders were produced.
The Citroen CX was introduced in 1974 as the replacement for the legendary DS line. Designed by Robert Opron, its aerodynamic shape was as revolutionary as many of its cutting edge technological features. Many consider it to be the final "true" Citroen, since it was the last car introduced before company was taken over by Peugeot in 1976. This all original 2.5 TRi is from 1985, the final for chrome bumpers and the unique drum gauges. Citroen never officially imported the CX to the U.S. in its entire eighteen year model run.
The Toyota Sports 800 was the very first production sports car from the firm. Built from 1965 through 1969, slightly more than 3,000 examples were produced. The power comes from a front mounted, two cylinder, horizontally opposed and air cooled engine with twin carbs. It is driven through four speed transmission and a rear-mounted live axle. The body is made of steel but doors, deck lids and removable Targa top are fabricated of aluminum, resulting in a total weight of less than 1200 pounds. Never imported to North America, it is believed that fewer than three hundred examples exist worldwide with only about two dozen in the U.S. and Canada.