Fiat Chrysler kicked off its first Cars and Coffee the manufacturer has ever hosted, and we were there bright and early with a camera, a 2016 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Shaker, and thankfully, a cup of coffee. Here are our Top 10 picks from FCA’s first Cars and Coffee.
Lancia Beta Zagato
Lancia might have pulled out of the U.S. market in 1982 alongside Fiat, but that hasn’t prevented dedicated enthusiasts from keeping their beloved marque on the road. This corrosion-prone Lancia Beta Zagato is a rare sight even outside the U.S, with a little over 9,000 ever produced. Called the Spyder overseas, the convertible Beta Zagato is an off-beat and uncommon alternative to the dime-a-dozen Alfa Romeo Spider.
Rover 2600 (SD1)
A rare sight on our shores, Rover’s offering for the premium sedan market is a very attractive alternative to the contemporary BMW 5-Series. This particular example is powered by a 2.6-liter inline-six engine, with power sent to the rear wheels through either an automatic or manual transmission.
Ferrari F430 Scuderia
The follow-up to the spectacular 2003-2004 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale, the Scuderia was the stripped-out, hunkered-down track-ready variant of the F430. Output of the 4.3-liter V-8 engine jumped from 490 hp to 503, with power managed by a six-speed semi-automatic transmission. Compared to the regular F430, weight dropped by 220 pounds, allowing the Scuderia to scoot to 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, and the top speed stretched to 198 mph. Around its home test track, Ferrari claims the Scud trumps even the mighty Enzo hypercar.
1960’s Porsche 911
Here’s an example of what keeps Porschephiles up at night. This is prime time for when 911s were still aircooled, with a lightweight driver-focused construction that made both the brand and the nameplate so famous. This 911 is powered by either a 2.0- or 2.2-liter flat-six engine, mounted over the rear axle.
1954 Austin-Healey 100
The first of the “Big Healeys,” this 100 is one of Austin-Healy’s iconic roadsters. The “100” in the name is for the reported top-speed of the roadster, at 100 mph. While not considered to be fast in today’s field saturated with cars like the 707-hp Hellcats, the 100 was sprightly for its time. The 100-4 saw this three-figure top speed thanks to the massive 2.6-liter four-cylinder under the hood. A six-cylinder Austin-Healy 100-6 followed in 1956, eventually leading to the renowned Austin-Healy 3000.
Sporting a very convoluted name, this is the first production iteration of the civilian-available Jeep CJ. This clean example wears handsome Pasture Green with Autumn Yellow wheels, with an extremely clean canvas top and restored chrome fixtures. Under the slab-sided body beats the coolest-named engine of all time, the “Willys Go Devil” 2.2-liter four-cylinder, sending power to all four wheels through a three-speed manual transmission.
You think crossovers are the product of the oil-hungry SUV boom of the 1990’s? Think again. American Motors Corporation mated the four-wheel drivetrain from a Jeep platform with the body of a rather frumpy AMC Concord sedan, and created the predecessor to your mother’s Lexus RX350. The Eagle proved to be reasonably popular, and the 4×4 sedan was produced from 1980 through Chrysler’s takeover of AMC in 1987.
1964 Jeep Gladiator J200
With Fiat Chrysler as the host, it’s no surprise the show was proliferated with Jeep’s finest. One of our personal favorites was this bright red 1964 Jeep Gladiator J200. This short-wheelbase Gladiator is in desirable four-wheel drive specification, with a Jeep Tornado 3.8-liter inline-six likely under the hood.
Dodge Viper in Plum Crazy
Well, it might not actually be the official “Plum Crazy” shade of purple, but it’s good enough for us. It’s not often you find the third-generation of Viper in purple, so we had to include it on the list. Under the massive front carbon fiber clamshell hood beats the 8.4-liter V-10 engine, returning 640-645 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, routed to the rear wheels through a heavy-duty six-speed manual transmission.
Chrysler Turbine Car
We would be remiss if we didn’t include the mighty Chrysler Turbine Car. An oddity we have covered before, the Chrysler Turbine is a relic of a much more off-the-cuff and experimental time. The wildly styled cars were powered by a Chrysler-designed turbine engine with an operating speed around 45,000 rpm. Because of the nature of the turbine, the car could run on nearly any sort of combustible fluid, including one apocryphal instance when the President of Mexico ran one on tequila. The car was initially available for internal fleet testing, but eventually the program was scrapped due to reliability issues. 55 cars left the factory, with all but nine scrapped. Lucky for us, the Chrysler Museum owns two, and rolls them out for special events.