5. Cunningham C-3
Briggs Cunningham was a world-known entrepreneur, racer, and constructor who introduced American cars to Europe’s sports car scene in the 1950s. His dream was to build a racing car that would be dominant on both sides of the ocean and win Le Mans with an all-American machine, drivers and crew. From 1952 to 1955, Cunningham entered the Le Mans race with several cars of his own design. However, in the same period, he produced a road-going sports car in the form of the beautiful Cunningham C-3.
The C-3 was a two-door coupe or convertible produced in his West Palm Beach facility. It used the Cunningham C-2 R racing chassis but converted for street use, and the bodies came from Italy, designed and produced by Vignale. Under the hood was Chrysler’s 331 Hemi engine but tuned to produce 300 HP. The C-3 was a luxury sports car that could easily rival any Ferrari or Maserati, and it was also very expensive with the prices close to Rolls Royce of the day. That is why Briggs Cunningham produced only 25 cars (20 coupes and five convertibles), all of which still exist today.
4. Fiat Coupe
This interesting car was never imported in the USA but is now eligible for import since it is older than 25 years. The Fiat Coupe was introduced in 1993 and stayed in production until 2000, selling in Europe and selected markets around the globe. At one point, it was the fastest and most powerful Fiat product and definitely the one with the biggest potential to become a classic and sought-after model.
The Coupe was a front-wheel drive, four-seater, a two-door model with interesting design and elegant interior. It was based on the standard Fiat platform, but it had performance-tuned suspension and steering to make it more sporty and dynamic. The engine lineup started with rather anemic four-cylinder engines. Still, it ended up with a pretty potent 2.0-liter turbocharged five-cylinder unit with 220 HP, which was quite a power output for the early ’90s.
Fiat Coupe was a fast car in turbo guise, and with unique styling, it was a real head-turner wherever it appeared. With 0 to 60 mph time of 6.3 seconds, it is quick by today’s standards. The prices are not high, so you should jump to the opportunity to own a rare car in the States and a gorgeous Italian coupe with all modern features like air conditioning, ABS brakes, and airbags.
3. Isuzu 117
The gorgeous Isuzu 117 Coupe was never offered on the American market, which is a shame. Even with its limited production, it managed to become one of the early Japanese classic and very influential models. Back in the late ’60s, Isuzu was building and selling passenger cars, which were later abandoned in favor of trucks and pickups. The company needed a halo car, something that will turn the industry’s attention on Isuzu and present it in the best possible light.
So, they used the existing passenger car rear-wheel-drive platform with 1.6 and later 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and went to Italy to find a fashionable suit. There, Isuzu contacted famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who provided them with an elegant and cool-looking coupe design. This was the final piece of the puzzle, and in 1968, the beautiful Isuzu 117 Coupe debuted. The car stayed in production until 1981, and it was sold in reasonably large numbers. Despite the fact it wasn’t particularly fast or agile, the 117 Coupe was a comfortable and fast GT, which was perfect for relaxing cruising.
2. Nissan Sylvia CSP 311
You all probably know Nissan Silvia for its widely popular S14 and S15 versions produced in the ’90s, which became the definitive drift car. Still, Silvia’s story as one of Nissan’s most legendary sports cars dates back to the mid-’60s and cool looking Silvia CSP 311 coupe, which was one of the first modern and proper sports cars from this brand.
Introduced in 1964 on the Tokyo Motor Show, the Silvia CSP 311 was a big step forward for this still obscure manufacturer. The car had European looks and proportions, and it was a luxurious (for the Japanese standards of the times) sports coupe with rear-wheel drive. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder powered it with 96 HP, which gave it decent performance.
However, the first Silvia was a pretty expensive car for the Japanese domestic market, and it sold in just 554 examples, most of which stayed in Japan. Today, it is widely regarded as one of the most influential early Japanese sports cars.
1. Audi 100 Coupe
Virtually unknown to US car enthusiasts, Audi 100 Coupe was an elegant, front-wheel-drive GT model produced from 1969 and sold through 1976. It was based on then biggest Audi model and featured a totally different fastback coupe body. Since the mechanics were unchanged, the 100 Coupe didn’t have much performance credentials, and power came from a rather anemic 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.
However, the main thing about this car was the looks, and it looked much upscale and expensive than it really was. With four headlights, a sporty silhouette, and chrome trim, the Audi 100 Coupe was considered an upscale proposition on the European market.