Six Underappreciated European Classic Cars Jul 7, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
From the classic roadster to the first grand tourer, it is impossible to generalize about classic European cars since there are so many different vintage vehicles. Over the years, the best models have become classic cars while the rest have been forgotten. Classic cars tend to have something unique that led them to stand out from the crowd, capturing the hearts and minds of enthusiasts and collectors. However, there are some cars that are so rare or unique that they don't always receive the appropriate attention. Here are six of our favorite underappreciated European classic cars.
1950 Abarth Vignale
Combining the racing prowess and design expertise of Abarth and Vignale, this model from 1950 had a Cisitalia inline-four engine with two valves per cylinder and a displacement of 1,089 cc. It generated 68.87 horsepower per liter and had a stylish and durable aluminum body hiding a pressed steel frame. It could go up to 105 mph (170 km) and hugged the track like a dream. There were only three of these bespoke coupes ever built and they are all in the hands of dedicated owners.
1950 AC 2-Litre Buckland Sports Tourer
Another motor produced in 1950, the AC Buckland Sports Tourer harkened back to an earlier era of hand-crafted coaches. The 1950 model featured all-new open coachwork made by Buckland Body Works of Buntingford, England. Compared to earlier Drophead Coupes, it had full-length front wings, and the windscreen folded flat in one piece. You can find models of this classic car made as late as 1954.
1958 Austin Healey Sprite
The Austin Healey Sprite was introduced in 1958 and was instantly recognizable due to its prominent headlights. This was the first unibody sports car produced in a large volume. Originally, it ran on an inline-four engine with 43 horsepower. Interestingly enough, it didn’t have a trunk lid or door handles; instead, you had to fold the seats forward to store cargo. It was intended for pure driving pleasure. You can find versions of this model produced between 1958 and 1971.
1975 Autobianchi A112 Abarth
This classic car from 1975 stood out with its impressive 1,055 cc engine that generated 70 horsepower. To make it fun to drive the pioneering vehicle weighed only 1,540 pounds. Combined with the overpowered engine, there is no wonder that this vehicle was called a "supermini." It was a great vehicle without any adjustments, but some original drivers and later collectors have made modifications that turn the A112 into a champion rally car.
1970 Citroen SM
The Citroen SM is a classic French car with a sleek appearance that you don't see on the road today. In 1968, Citroen purchased Maserati and the Citroen SM ("Systeme Maserati" or "Sports Maserati") was the result: a racing car with the engine of a Maserati with the great suspension of a Citroen. The combination of the Maserati V6 and Citroen’s technical improvements created one of the best supercars in the world.
1986 Porsche 959
Some people may not consider the Porsche 959 to be a classic car since it entered production in 1986, but numerous collectors can only hope to get their hands on this model. The aerodynamic vehicle was designed as a racing car and subsequently released as a legal production car to meet homologation requirements. At the time, it was the fastest of all street-legal production vehicles, with top speeds of 195 mph (314 kmh), with the sport model capable of reaching 197 miles per hour (317 kmh).