Three sports coupes reflecting the automotive diversity of the 60s and 70s.
Now they are looking at each other again. They hide, still defiantly looking into each other's eyes - sorry, headlights - as they once did in the early 70s. Then, when Alfa Romeo was a company with a solid reputation in the touring car class, Ford pioneered the feeling of an oil car on German roads, and in its rainy kingdom the people MG realized in their Model B the advantages of a coupé body over agile roadsters. Even today, in our meek photo shoot, there is a sense of competition in the air. This is probably how it should be when three sports cars meet - in this case, the Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce, Ford Capri 2600 and the MGB GT.
Let's stop for a while in the 70s, or rather in 1971. Then the 2000 GT Veloce is a completely new model and costs 16 marks, and our dark green Capri I, just before the premiere of the second series, sells for 490. brands. What about the white MGB GT? In 950 it will cost about 1971 15 marks. That amount could have bought three VWs, but as you know, the enjoyment of a sports car always required additional funds - even if it is not more powerful and not faster than a regular model with a decent engine. It was the MGB GT that was sharply criticized in this regard as early as 1200 by the automotive and sports tester Manfred Jantke: “The narrow two-seater is far behind sports cars in terms of the weight of a four-door sedan and a light lift engine. less workload and less cost. "
Here it must be said frankly that today neither the highest sports qualities, nor the dynamic indicators play a role. Today should show something else - how different car philosophies were in northern Italy, along the Rhine and in the British Isles. And in order not to get into any rating, despite this warning, the participants will be presented in alphabetical order.
Form for eternal times
So, And as Alpha. The GT Veloce 2000 is already waiting for us with a warm engine - beautiful as a picture, and at the same time an unrestored copy of 1972. But let's go ahead and go - no, this time we won't do that because our eyes want to see first. Technically, the 2000 GTV was a longtime familiar - because, strictly speaking, our model differs only in a few details from the Giulia Sprint GT introduced in 1963 - the first 2 + 2 coupe designed by Giorgio Giugiaro in Bertone.
The striking sheet metal lip, which runs through the nose in front of the engine and from the beginning gave the car the nickname "lip front", was changed in various models between 1967 and 1970 in favor of a smooth front (with the introduction of the so-called front lip). Alfa's round bonnet also ditches the Giulia name in the sports coupe). And twin headlights adorned the previous top model, the 1750 GTV. Exterior 2000s are truly new in the chrome grille and large taillights.
But let's put our hand on our hearts and ask ourselves - should anything improve at all? To this day, this exquisite coupe has literally lost nothing of its charm. This line, from the upper edges of the front fenders to the descending rear, which has always resembled a luxury yacht, amazes you today.
GTV is the undoubted athlete
The interior continues to admire the view. Here you sit deeply and comfortably, even on the spot you feel that you have taken care of sufficient lateral support. Immediately after that, your gaze falls on the tachometer and speedometer, between which there are only two small fuel and coolant temperature indicators, which in the previous model were located on the center console. The right hand somehow spontaneously rests on the leather-covered tilted gear lever, which - at least you can feel it - leads directly to the gearbox. With your left hand, hold the wooden wreath on the steering wheel deep in the middle. Without a doubt, this is a sports car.
When we fire up the GTV engine, the powerful, sonorous roar of Alfa Romeo's largest all-alloy four-cylinder unit to date immediately awakens the thirst for ownership - not least because you know that in its base design it comes from the engines for the 30 Grand Prix. -x years But despite the fact that many songs of praise have been sung for this two-camshaft engine, the author of these lines cannot do anything but emphasize once again how impressive this two-liter unit with 131 hp is.
The long-travel car spontaneously reacts to every accelerator pedal movement, has amazing intermediate thrust, and at the same time, as speed increases, it sounds as eager to attack as we know from racing cars. It is quite clear that with this wheel you will always be a little faster than you actually need.
The chassis inherited from Julia perfectly matches the GTV character. The turns are not at all intimidating to the light coupe, and the course change, of course, is done as a joke when there are only two fingers on the steering wheel. And if in the worst case all four disc-braked wheels can skid at the same time, a little steering wheel adjustment is enough. Few cars are as easy to drive as the Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce.
Low price, impressive appearance
What if we crave more power, but our money is not enough for a relatively expensive Alfa GTV? In many cases, the answer was: Ford Capri 2600 GT. Its low price was the strongest argument in favor of this sports model for the whole family - along with the great looks, of course. Compared to the Bertone body, the dark green 2600 GT XL from the collection of Capri specialist Thilo Rögelain plays the role of macho, as it has a wider and more muscular figure, and with a long torpedo and short butt it has classic sporty proportions. a machine. The relationship with the American Ford Mustang cannot be denied regardless of the angle (although the roots of the model go back to England and it was based not on the Falcon, as in the Mustang, but on the Ford Cortina). From the large American model, there is an expressive fold in front of the rear wheels, in which two decorative grilles are built. Yes, Capri lives by its shape. And its absolute recognizability.
This quality could be further improved with a nearly endless list of additional items and accessories that worked very well with the Mustang. In the immediate aftermath of the Capri's debut in January 1969, buyers were able to choose between five equipment packages and, by ordering a few gadgets, transform their car into something like a factory unique.
On the other hand, Capri is technically pretty straightforward. It has neither brilliantly engineered engines nor a sophisticated chassis, but remains a massive car made from standard Ford components, including a rigid leaf-spring rear axle and cast iron engines. Initially, however, the choice included three V4 engines from the 12M / 15M P6 models - 1300, 1500 and 1700 cc. Six-cylinder V-units have been available since 1969, initially with 2,0 and 2,3 displacement. , 1970 liters; cars equipped with them can be recognized by the hood protrusion. This, of course, brightens up our model with the 2,6-liter 125 hp unit produced since the year XNUMX.
In addition, the GT XL version is furnished quite elegantly. The dashboard has a wood-like pattern, along with the speedometer and tachometer, there are four smaller round instruments for measuring oil pressure, coolant temperature, fuel level in the tank and battery charge. Below, on the veneered center console, there is a clock, and a short gear lever protrudes - like in an Alfa - from a leather clutch.
The coarse gray cast iron assembly accelerates a lot from low revs and seems to thrive best between three and four thousand rpm. Carefree driving without frequent gear changes pleases this quiet and quiet unit more than a fast pace. As a matter of fact, this is not a real V6, but a boxing technique, because each rod is connected to its own crankshaft neck.
The pleasure this car delivers to its driver is unevenly overshadowed by the very light travel of the shock absorbers. Where the Alfa follows the direction calmly, the Capri bounces to the side with its simply tailored rigid leaf-spring axle. It’s not so bad, but it’s quite tangible. In a major test of Capri in automobile and sports cars, Hans-Hartmut Münch recommended gas shock absorbers as early as 1970 to continuously improve road behavior.
So we come to the MGB GT, a 1969 set that feels a few years behind you than when you sit in the Alfa or Ford models. The posh fastback coupe designed by Pininfarina was unveiled in 1965, but its design is based on the MGB that had appeared two years earlier. Our model immediately shows the changes that MG has made to the technical essence of its bestseller over a 15-year production period - almost no changes. Isn't that a rebuke to the white 1969 MGB GT Mk II? Exactly the opposite. “It is this pure and genuine driving feeling that makes every journey in this car a real pleasure,” says owner Sven von Boetticher from Stuttgart.
Dashboard with airbags
The instrument cluster with its classic, beautiful round gauges and the perforated three-spoke steering wheel show that this GT is a made for the USA model. In response to MG's new safety laws, they have built in the roadster as well as the interior a massive upholstered dashboard dubbed the "Abingdon Airbag."
The British Motor Corporation's 1,8-liter cast-iron four-cylinder unit with an overhead camshaft and lift links at idle sounds rougher and raspy than the engines of the other two participants in the meeting. With ninety-five confident horses and as much torque as you need just above idle, the excellent manner in which this noisy machine does its job is admirable from the first meter. Which, of course, has to do with the gearbox. With a short joystick lever that comes out of the gearbox itself. Is it possible to have a switch shorter and drier? Maybe, but it's hard to imagine.
The first impression when we hit the road is that the rigid rear axle transfers any unevenness to the cab unfiltered. It's a revelation that this Englishman is still firmly attached to the asphalt. However, quick maneuvers on the road require strength, like the rudder of a three-masted ship. And your right leg must be well trained to get some braking effect. Driving is very simple - some call it quintessentially British. In any case, the MGB GT is an effective remedy for car boredom - a discipline that the Alfa and Ford models have also mastered almost perfectly.
Editor Michael Schroeder: An Italian purebred athlete, a German oil car and a British good-natured thug - the difference really couldn't have been more. As a road speaker, the Alfa is my favorite. However, I have long since fallen in love with the powerful versions of the Capri, and the exquisite MGB GT still somehow eluded me. Today it became clear that this was a mistake.
Text: Michael Schroeder
Photo: Uli Ûs
|Alfa Romeo 2000 GT Veloce||Ford Capri 2600 GT||МГБ GT Mk II|
|Working volume||1962 cc||2551 cc||1789 cc|
|Power||131 k.s. (96kW) at 5500 rpm||125 k.s. (92 kW) at 5000 rpm||95 k.s. (70 kW) at 5500 rpm|
|181,5 Nm at 3500 rpm 181,5||200 Nm at 3000 rpm||149 Nm at 3000 rpm|
0-100 km / h
|9,0 s||9,8 s||13,9 s|
at a speed of 100 km / h
|no data||no data||no data|
|Maximum speed||200 km / h||190 km / h||170 km / h|
fuel in the test
|12–14 l / 100 km||12 l / 100 km||9,6 l / 100 km|
|Base Price||16 490 marks (in Germany, 1971)||10 950 marks (in Germany, 1971)||15 000 marks (in Germany, 1971)|