The biggest car company in Brazil was Volkswagen. The combination of air-cooled quality, usability, and low price made Volkswagens the most popular car in Brazil by far. However, Volkswagen didn’t have any performance credentials or a sports model, and in the early ’70s, they wanted a piece of the action (via Silodrome).
So, they took the Beetle floor pan, a 1.7-liter flat-four engine, and tuned it to 75 HP. And although that wasn’t much, it was faster than the stock Beetle. They called the finished product the SP2, and it debuted in 1972. It looked modern with a long front end, low profile, and sporty silhouette.
Even though SAAB was always famous for sedans or convertibles with turbo engines, they produced a sports coupe during the ’60s and early ’70s. And as people expected, it was strange, obscure and quirky just like the rest of the range. In fact, there were three generations of the SAAB Sonett sports car (via Top Gear).
The first one was a racing prototype from the ’50s, but the second and third were regular production models. They designed it on a box chassis and fitted it with a fiberglass body. Initially, they equipped the Sonett with SAAB’s tiny three-cylinder two-stroke engine delivering just 60 HP. As you can expect, their customers were disappointed with the poor performance. But, soon, the company fitted it with a 1.7-liter V4 borrowed from Ford’s European division. Even though that was an improvement, it wasn’t enough to save the model. Due to disappointing sales numbers and the 1973 oil crisis, Saab ceased production in 1974.
In 1970, the hottest Corvette pumped out a whopping 435 HP. But by 1980, the hottest Corvette only produced a modest 180 HP. But in California, due to the stricter emission standards, it was even 10 HP less. So, what happened in only 10 years? Where did all those horses go (via Car and Driver)?
You can blame the recession and the tighter emission standards and safety regulations. In fact, they killed almost all the performances from the legendary Corvette. The 1980 Corvette was a bit of a dinosaur with old technology under its plastic skin. Also, it came with lazy engines and an outdated interior. It still looked like it meant business, but the years caught up with it.
During the ’60s, Skoda’s main sedan model was the 110. It was a basic four-door car with a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine. In Eastern Europe, sports cars were almost nonexistent as a category in those days. So Skoda wanted to introduce a sports coupe to widen its appeal and export sales. The result was the Skoda 110 R, a true sports coupe with a dynamic fastback design and more power (via Skoda).
They presented the 110 R in 1970 and immediately became a highly sought-after model in the whole of Eastern Europe. It retained the basic technical layout but had an upgraded engine producing 62 HP. But even though the performance was diminutive by today’s standards, back in the early ’70s in Czechoslovakia, it was a proper sports coupe.
Debuting in 1980, the Mondial was a successor to the 308 GT4. It was a compact Grand Turismo sports car with a 2+2 seating configuration and a mid-engine layout. And that meant it offered more space than the 308 and 328 GTB models, which were only two-seaters (via Autoexpress).
Even though the Mondial was more practical and somewhat more affordable, it wasn’t particularly popular. Today, it is one of those rare yet poorly regarded models in the Ferrari community. That was because the design wasn’t dynamic. Also the performance figures were much slower than the rest of the Ferrari lineup.
Sunbeam is a classic English brand, long gone from the market and remembered by only a handful of enthusiasts. But the Alpine is a nice-looking car with dependable and conventional mechanicals. Also, it comes with a small 1.5 or 1.7-liter four-cylinder motor. Over the years, Sunbeam built over 60,000 Alpine roadsters, so finding one is easy. For under $20,000, you can find a nice example of this interesting car (via Top Speed).
However, if you are looking for a more serious machine, you might want to look for the Sunbeam Tiger. This model looks identical to the Alpine but packs a 260 or 289 Ford V8 engine under the hood. And that gives it much better performance and soundtrack. However, still not exhilarating. But best of all, the legendary Carroll Shelby designed this model before he worked for Ford.