Scott Lear
Scott Lear
11/10/10 10:35 a.m.

In the world of fashion, it’s considered something of an embarrassment to show up at a prestigious event and find that someone else is wearing the same designer outfit. Luckily, the automotive world is more forgiving—many great friendships are formed at car shows and races between drivers who happen to own the same type of car. Still, being just a number in the crowd can be a bit discouraging. A red Ferrari 308 loses some of its visceral impact when surrounded by 17 other red Ferrari 308s. The machine is no less wonderful than it was before it joined the herd, but it does lose the distinctness it enjoys when motoring out in the world of common cars. Standing out in a large crowd of enthusiasts requires a car that’s a bit obscure. However, few drivers want to give up spirited performance and quality engineering simply for the sake of being different. Fortunately, nearly every desirable classic in the world has a lesser-known spiritual counterpart, a car that provides the same thrills while avoiding the me-too syndrome that comes with the ownership of more popular autos. To help with the hunt, we’ve chosen four benchmark classics from different sporting categories and uncovered a lesser-known alternative for each. Be forewarned: Ownership of any of these offbeat cars will guarantee plenty of curious onlookers with a never-ending barrage of questions—you might just make more friends than you can handle.

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sfisher71
sfisher71 New Reader
11/10/10 1:39 p.m.

I always thought the 122S was cute and quaint, till I saw one on a lift. The Panhard rod at the rear, combined with four trailing arms and coil springs, got my attention. Then I looked up front and realized that the upper A-arms were bolted to the inboard side of the crossbrace -- meaning you can get as much negative camber as you want simply by shimming the inner A-arm mounts. A couple of aluminum spacers and you could make this thing as knock-kneed as an F1 car. Somebody was thinking when they put it together.

Couple this with a solidity that always made it feel as though the car had been machined from a solid billet, and ours was a rewarding family car for us for many years. I used it on a number of classic-car tours in the San Francisco Bay Area, drove to the wine country and back, and was always pleased at the amount of affection and attention the car received as our daily driver for most of a decade -- all after the car's 30th birthday.

tuna55
tuna55 UltimaDork
11/11/10 11:30 a.m.

We've done that exact camber modification along with several others. -Brian from the Tunachuckers

mjamgb
mjamgb New Reader
1/12/11 4:32 p.m.

I got a '67 122s for free a few years ago... "just needs head-work."

Well, it now has a b20 from a wrecked p1800, rebuilt steering, rebuilt suspension, brakes and drive-train. I put Ford Ltd. wheels on it and quite frankly it is a hoot to drive. If only it wasn't still rusty with an ugly paint job!

Son (11) has put in dibs on it since he knows he will never get the truck at 15.

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