GREENWICH, Connecticut — Half the fun of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance is enjoying the spectator’s parking lot. It summons other area car enthusiasts to bring their cherished rides out from winter hiding, often making it a car show of its own outside the Concours. Here are five favorites from the spectator’s lot from this year’s show.
1. 1963 Ford Thunderbird
Harking back to this long-lost, but still beloved Ford model, is this 1963 Thunderbird. As Ford’s “personal luxury car” offering, this 1963 car is of the last-model-year for the third generation, with its rounded shape and compartmentalized headlights. It ran as the Indianapolis 500 pace car in 1961 and often shared a spotlight with late U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade. Power came from Ford’s tried, tested, and true 6.4-liter V-8 with 300 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of twist, through a three-speed automatic.
2. 1967 Alfa Romeo 2600 SZ “Sprint Zagato”
Said to be the most desirable variant to the Alfa Romeo 2600 line, the Sprint Zagato, or 2600 SZ, featured special bodywork compliments of renowned designer Ercole Spada under the firm, Zagato. Only 105 were ever made with 63 believed to still be on the road or currently under restoration. It started life as a Bertone-bodied Alfa Romeo 2600 coupe, the last Alfa to feature a twin-overhead camshaft inline-six, the traditional Alfa Romeo configuration since the 1920s. Power comes from a 2.6-liter DOHC inline-six with triple-carbs by Solex to produce 165 horsepower, mated strictly to a five-speed manual.
3. 1977-1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Heralded as Britain’s first super car, also known as the “British muscle car,” the original Aston Martin V8 Vantage of the 1970s is a genuine favorite. Not only was it James Bond’s ride of choice for the 1987 film, “The Living Daylights,” but it was insanely fast as well. Thanks to utilizing the same V-8 as the Lagonda sedan, but with high-performance camshafts, a higher compression ratio, and better intake airflow for the larger carburetors, it would do 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph, faster than a Ferrari 365 Daytona. Early versions put out around 375 horsepower but power peaked to as high as 403 by the end of the production run, thanks to fuel injection and the introduction of Cosworth pistons and Nimrod racing heads.
4. 1979-1985 Ferrari 400i
Ferrari’s edgy grand tourer from the early 1980s was often overlooked thanks to stunners like the 512BB, the Testarossa, and the 288 GTO. With its significantly toned down, but still unique bodywork penned by Leonardo Fioravanti of Pininfarina, it’s easy to see why. It originally sold as the 365 GT4 2+2, before being updated twice to become the 400 and the 412 coupes. This specific model’s “400i” designation denotes the use of Bosch K-Jetronic electromechanical fuel injection in place of the original six-Weber carburetor setup for the 4.8-liter V-12, resulting in over 300 horsepower and a top speed of 149 mph. Only, 1,305 400i’s were ever made.
5. 1986-1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL
The Mercedes-Benz R107 and its hardtop version, the C107, remains to be one of Germany’s most iconic sports grand tourers. From the California jet set, to the streets of Miami. The R107 SL roadster took the role as the quintessential luxury sports roadster of the 1970s and 1980s. It also remains to be one of the company’s longest-running production vehicles after being introduced in 1971. This later 560SL model was the last update to the R107 before its revolutionary replacement, the larger, 1990s R129 SL roadster. It featured the same 5.6-liter V-8 as its larger, four-door cousin, the 560SEL. First run R107s in the 1970s came with earlier versions of the 5.6-liter V-8, in 4.5-liter form. Beginning in 1981, Mercedes-Benz introduced the smaller-engine 380SL, replacing the 450SL, until the introduction of the 5.6-liter in 1986. The larger V-8 500SL between 1981-1985 was not available in the U.S and the SLC coupe discontinued in 1981.