Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
A friend of mine asked if I knew where to find a Sunbeam Tiger to buy for her dad, who's retiring soon and wants a project car. Sounds like a good plan, because the Tiger has a Ford V8 designed around the time humans discovered fire. Trouble is, Tigers are either in concours condition or in such bad shape that a restoration would probably lead to thousands of dollars spent on materials – maybe a divorce, too.
In lieu of a Tiger, I'm looking at some British sports cars that may be more common, but have at least down-to-earth prices and are still good looking in their own right. Neither of these will offer the pain-free ownership of something German of the same era, but hey, these cars are around 40 years old.
I'm a huge sucker for a Triumph TR6, no matter how lunatic it can be. I've never driven one, but my uncle had one back in the ‘70s to replace a Porsche 356 and I think the original British Leyland handbook is lying around somewhere. But this 1974 Triumph looks clean and tidy, with bright chrome, period wood dash and boot over the folded soft top.
The 2.5-liter straight six only musters out something like 100 horsepower through a four-speed manual, but has two more cylinders than a lot of sports cars this size. Too bad this one is a dour shade of brown rather than British Racing Green or blue or something like that, but for less than $10,000, this is way more exciting than picking up a ratty Z3 from Craigslist.
Now a roadster is nice, but who said a British sports car had to be a convertible. Even though the Brits seem to love the folding roof, they were never very good at keeping the elements out of the car when the roof was up – as if they really enjoy being damp all the time. That's why this MGB GT jumps out at me.
It's a 1969 example, which means it predates stuff like rubber bumpers and black grilles that BL festooned on this handsome car as the ‘70s progressed. With gleaming chrome trim and wire wheels, it just screams old-school sports car. The B was never a tower of power, but this car is just so handsome with its Pininfarina-designed roof. This GT was definitely well-loved for 81,000 miles and could use a bit of tidying – getting rid of some rust spots and giving the interior a once over. But for less than $9,000 it sounds like a bargain for a hobby car. And there's never going to be fear that some hoodlum slashed your roof open.
This is a tough one for me, because I love the butch lines of the TR6 and that it's not always the first name you think of when you say "British roadster." But I think I have an even bigger soft spot for the GT. I'd take it and find a Rover V8 to replace the four-pot in there now and find a Tiger owner to smoke at the lights.
Tell us — which one would you choose?
Photos credit eBay.