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  #1  
Old 01-12-2015, 02:22 PM
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Talking Retro Cars

It was a car-centric day yesterday for me, starting with the Arizona Concours and then Barrett Jackson. One of the more lively discussions I had with my host as we walked through the concours was about Japanese sports cars in the 60's when we came upon one of these in a far corner of the grounds:



A Mazda Cosmo from the late 60's. To me it was an example of the Japanese blending classic European cars in to a Frankenstein. The Cosmo would have been the result if an Alfa mated with a Jag or Lotus. That led to a discussion of the Toyota 2000, the 240Z and yes, on this forum, the beloved Mazda Miata.

Over at Barrett Jackson there were several "retro mod" cars, including a Porsche 928 that had been converted to a retro "spyder"



From past conversations, I knew my host was keen on these conversions since they provided "the look" with modern hardware. My take is that these retro things should be repulsive to enthusiasts as the look is hardly a decent exchange for what made the original special. If you want a 550 sypder, go get one. Or at least a quality "reproduction" as most Cobras are these days.

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Old 01-12-2015, 04:15 PM
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I'd hardly call the car above a "928", about the only visual cue is the headlight cover shape and even that is a stretch. This car is in the same class as the 190SL that got stretched and widened to fit in a late model floor pan. RE: Some of the parts started out as a car but most of it is long gone.

I'm OK with modified cars to an extent as there are way too many original cars out there for the number of people in to them. And even the modified segment has lots of cars.

Original muscle cars didn't steer, stop or go around a corner all that well and weren't all that fast. Having one with modern parts and engine makes for a usable car.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:42 PM
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Under that "skin" is a 928 chassis and V8 drivetrain.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:29 PM
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I like the Cosmo, have to admit it's a little odd looking. The Toyota 2000, is in my top 5 of most beautiful cars ever made.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:48 PM
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Under that "skin" is a 928 chassis and V8 drivetrain.
Yes, and that is what I'd call it, a scratch built car that happens to have a 928 drive line in it not a modified 928.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:10 PM
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With the long-tail proportions and the diagonal chrome hashmarks on the front fenders, I think that Mazda was attempting to woo Asian '56 Thunderbird enthusiasts...
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:25 AM
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The Cosmo is pretty, but I think it can't decide what it wants to be. Does it want to be an E-type, does it want to be a Thunderbird? Does it want to be sporty with those fender vents, does it want to be classy with that B-pilar detail and chunk hubcaps. I think the Cosmo winds up being a very busy design for an era when cars where more simple in their beauty.

It's one of the prettier Japanese cars, but it doesn't match the E-type, 911, or Pagoda for grace.

Whatever my $.02 are worth.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:05 PM
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When leaving Barrett-Jackson, we came across the new AMG GT in yellow. What a stunner. Not as big as the SLS and with a rear that would make you think it was from Zuffenhausen, not Affalterbach.



The car has great proportions, but does anyone see styling cues from other cars? Jag, Aston?
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:07 PM
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I may be the only one here who likes the Cosmo....either way considering the maintenance and attention my rx8 needs, I can't imagine what a 60s era wankel was like to own!


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Old 01-13-2015, 12:12 PM
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I may be the only one here who likes the Cosmo....either way considering the maintenance and attention my rx8 needs, I can't imagine what a 60s era wankel was like to own!


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As long as you were accustomed to replacing the engine every 6 months, probably not so bad. The local Mazda dealer service department was just a continent away back then.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:16 PM
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The Cosmo is "interesting" but I wonder if I would just think of it as copycat Alfa Spyder. I had the same initial reaction to the Toyota 2000GT . . . did I like it because it was Jag XKE/Ferrari GTO-ish, so by the time the Opel GT came out, I was completely confused.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:22 PM
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While both designs are certainly derivative, the Toyota GT was practically a Pininfarinaesque work of art, compared to the lumpy, misshapen Cosmo.
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbomachines View Post
I may be the only one here who likes the Cosmo....either way considering the maintenance and attention my rx8 needs, I can't imagine what a 60s era wankel was like to own!


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I like it, I'm just not in love with it. Seen them in person at the local concours, certainly a welcome deviation from the standard American, British, and German fare at the car shows. When we think Japanese cars we rarely think of classic cars. So they are refreshing to see.
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by P.C. View Post
As long as you were accustomed to replacing the engine every 6 months, probably not so bad. The local Mazda dealer service department was just a continent away back then.

Well, carrying several gallons of oil and apex seals too....


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Old 01-14-2015, 12:05 AM
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I like it, I'm just not in love with it. Seen them in person at the local concours, certainly a welcome deviation from the standard American, British, and German fare at the car shows. When we think Japanese cars we rarely think of classic cars. So they are refreshing to see.
Japanese cars were denigrated for years because of the anti Japanese sentiment from the Second World War and also the snobbish attitudes in regards to what constitutes a sports car or classic.

It's so ironic to see speculators buying mass produced domestic junk from the sixties and seventies and hinting they bought the holy grail of collector cars. Priced a pedestrian '70s Chevy Nova recently?

If you want a reality check go drive a late '80s Toyota Supra, and then drive a contemporary Fox body Mustang.

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