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Old 22nd July 2009, 21:04   #1
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Default Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties

I had been contemplating posting this thread for quite some time.

One of my favorite dreams till today remains this:

I am born in the '40s to a wealthy industrialist in Germany, and in 1962, I get a brand new BMW 507 as my Birthday gift! (and the dream continues throughout the '60s, a new car each year...!)

Well, I feel the 1960s were the most glorious years in the history of open-top motoring. From the huge American Buicks and Cadillacs, to the tiny British Triumph roadsters, all automobile manufacturers produced their best convertibles between 1955 and 1969.

Here's a small tribute from my end, on behalf of all of us at T-BHP who think there were no cars as desirable as the '60s roadsters. My request to all fellow members to post as many relevant pictures and replies to this thread.

Most pictures posted by me have been taken from the internet for a good cause. Moderators, please do the needful if removal of any of the images is desired.

In the following pictures:

1) The BMW 507: Only 252 units of this iconic car were built (which included two prototypes). Out of these 202 are known to survive. American icon Elvis Pristley owned one which he bought for USD 3500, a fortune at that time. Swiss born actress Ursula Andress owned one in 1963, which she auctioned in 1997 for a whopping USD 350,000! One of the most beautiful and desirable roadsters of all times.

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-507.jpg


2) The Triumph Spitfire: This could well be called the poor man's 507! Penned by ace Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti, the Spitfire was a small two-seat British roadster produced from 1962 till 1980. Despite its notorious reputation of faulty mechanicals, the Spitfire was loved and lapped up by youngsters all over the world, primarily due to its affordable price, (the introductory price was 550 pounds), stunning looks and peppy performance.

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-spitfire-62.jpg

3) The Daimler SP 250 Dart: Daimler's foray into the roadster category came with the Dart. Produced from 1959 to 1964, the name Dart had to be quickly dropped due to copyright by Dodge for one of its models. About 2,700 units were produced and there is just ONE restored example in India!

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-sp250.jpg

4) The Sunbeam Alpine: About 70,000 units of this beautiful car were produced between 1955 and 1970. Though it enjoyed limited success overseas, it was a bigtime favorite with Indian film celebrities in the '60s. All prominent stars like Sunil Dutt, Asha Pareek, Shammi Kapoor owned one.

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5) and 6) The MG Midget and the Austin Healey Sprite: The reason why these cars need to be mentioned in the same breath is the fact that these were like the Ambassador and Fiat in India! Buyers looking for an affordable sportscar in the sixties, by default considered either of these options. Both cars enjoyed remarkable success globally, but it was the MG which had a better image and desirability than the Sprite. The fierce competition is evident in the remarkable similarity in design of the two cars.

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Last edited by Technocrat : 5th August 2009 at 17:11. Reason: added pics within text :)
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Old 23rd July 2009, 10:13   #2
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Lovely dream!
Love that BMW!

A few desirable roadsters from my side.

1. Mercedes 300SL
2. Ford Thunderbird
3. Chevrolet Corvette
4. Jaguar XK150
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Old 23rd July 2009, 10:13   #3
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Nice going. How about adding some other interesting roadsters like the TR series from Triumph now these were very popular and need to be spoken of in the same breath as the Healeys and the MGA/B. The list would be incomplete without the Lotus Elite and the iconic Elan

And how can one forget the XK series from Jaguar.

The we have the delectable Alfa and Fiat Spyders, the pinninfarina bodied Peugeots and the Porsches.The Lancias of this period are also very pretty.

BTW what happened to the BMW 507 you got as a birthday present ?

The last car is a personal favourite can anyone name it ?
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Old 23rd July 2009, 11:11   #4
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Guys I think you should post pics of only cars that you have seen in India rather than posting generic pictures. This way we will have a point of reference for all cars that survive in India.

Lets start again. And may suggest we call it Roadsters from the 50's and 60's. That way we can trace the entire lineage of these roadsters.

Last edited by the mole : 23rd July 2009 at 11:13.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 11:53   #5
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Nice thread, let us see where it goes. Perhaps we should restrict ourselves to Roadsters in India. Roadster was a theme at the recent Cartier event in Mumbai. That is why they had many roadsters selected, 5 Jags, 2 Mercs, Healey-Westland.
According to Wikipedia,
A roadster, also known as a spyder or spider, is a two-seat car, traditionally without either a roof, side or rear windows.

Of the 6 makes and models mentioned in the 1st post, apparently no BMW 507 came to India. All the others are here, Sunbeam and Spitfire being the most common, roughly 10 pcs of each in India, lesser MG Midget's and Austin Sprite's, and there was one Daimler Dart. But there are also Jaguars, Mercs, Alfa's etc. So Karl may search out some of these cars already on the forum and link them up over here. Like the junk Spitfire seen relatively recently.
Would MG TC qualify? Or the Singer roadster, of which there are at least 5 in India?
Regarding BMW 507, one was damaged if not destroyed in a George C Scott movie, in a car chase the car gets stuck between two walls. It was a nice movie, do not recall the name, but certainly the vandalism.

Cheers harit
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Old 23rd July 2009, 13:13   #6
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my favorite will be porsche 356 and 300SL ....
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Old 23rd July 2009, 19:31   #7
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WOW! Thanks guys for your amazing contributions.

Wasif, your favorite is a difficult one! What is it? I am curious now!

GS, the 300SL and the XK 150 look stunning. Great work to find these pics in such beautiful shades and the perfect angles.

I agree with mole to appropriately include roadsters from the '50s as well. However I feel we shouldn't restrict ourselves to cars in India only. India was always a limited market for roadsters (two-seater convertible sportscars). However, there were many four-seater convertibles that did arrive to our shores, but lets not include those in this thread.

Here are a few more additions from my end:

1) 1952 Mercedes Benz 190 SL

2) 1954 Porsche 356 Cabriolet

3) 1958 Triumph TR-3a

4) 1968 Porsche 911 Targa

5) 1969 Mercedes Benz 280 SL

Keep posting guys!
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Old 23rd July 2009, 20:13   #8
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Nice thread. Beautiful pics Guys. Fantastic machines. Merc 280SL and 300SL looks fantastic . Some more pics of Jags and Mercs please.

Last edited by mnhegde : 23rd July 2009 at 20:15.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 20:24   #9
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I'll go the mole's way.

Here are a couple of examples I'd snapped at last year's Vintage and Classic Car Rally, Mumbai.

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-img_1391.jpg

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-img_1400.jpg
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Old 24th July 2009, 13:10   #10
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Default And some more....

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-img_1341.jpg

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-img_1329.jpg

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-img_1396.jpg

Captured these at the same rally, circa 2008.
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Old 24th July 2009, 14:26   #11
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I for sure, know that the 1958 Triumph TR-3a posted by Love Herald (similar one not the same) used to exist in Chennai in the late 70s and early 80s with a friends father who was a avid collector and a racer (at sholavaram) those days. He used to race in his Vijay super scooters. It was in the same color too (green).

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Old 24th July 2009, 14:27   #12
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FOr me the best roadster of the swinging sixties was this one ;

The 1968 Corvette : AKA : StingRay. IMHO one of the most beautifull looking automobile ever

cheers,
ac
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Old 25th July 2009, 14:57   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVE HER(ALD)! View Post
WOW! Thanks guys for your amazing contributions.

Wasif, your favorite is a difficult one! What is it? I am curious now!

Keep posting guys!
Take a guess!! Meanwhile I'm gonna post it on the what Car is this thread for more comments and possible identification.
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Old 29th July 2009, 17:45   #14
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Two cars from the 60s do it for me.
#1. Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster. Probably the most timeless design ever.
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#2. Austin Healey Mark 3
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Old 1st August 2009, 23:32   #15
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Perharps one of the most beautiful automobiles ever. The unfortunately one-off 1968 Lamborghini Miura Roadster.Sigh!
Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-lamborghinimiura_roadster_1968_1024x768_wallpaper_02.jpg

Most desirable roadsters of the swinging sixties-1968_lamborghini_miurap400roadster1.jpg
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