The Fiat 124 Sport Spider and the Alfa Romeo Spider, two Italian twin-cam beauties introduced 50 years ago this year, will be among the special classes at the 11th annual Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car Show, scheduled for Saturday, August 6, at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York. They join Jaguar (pre-1992), Porsche 356, Toyota sports cars and GTs (pre-1992), and BMW Motorcycles (pre-1992) as this year’s special judged classes. That’s in addition to our customary classes: pre-1992 sports cars, GTs and exotics from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Sweden; other imports; Driveable Dreams, or preservation cars; and modern (1992 and later) exotic cars.
Of the two Italian spiders, the Alfa Romeo was the first to arrive on the scene, unveiled in Geneva in March 1966. Styled by Pininfarina – the last car that Battista Pininfarina had a hand in, in fact – the Spider would go through four series before ceasing production in 1993. The Fiat, first shown in Turin in November 1966, was also a Pininfarina product, styled by Tom Tjaarda. It remained in production until 1985, marketed as a Pininfarina Spider Azzura for its final three years.
“In all my life I have hardly encountered any motorcar that releases emotions as does the Jaguar,” Sir Nicholas Scheele, the chairman of Jaguar Cars from 1992-1999, wrote in a foreword to a marque history. One of postwar Britain’s greatest success stories, William Lyons’s company introduced hit after hit – the DOHC straight-six powered XK120, the E-type, the Mark 2 and XJ sedans and so many more – and in the process won Le Mans five times. Jaguar survived the wreckage of British Leyland, and continues to embody the ideals of elegance, performance and luxury.
Project number 356 was Porsche’s first car, laying the groundwork for all the greatness that was to come. It broke with sports-car orthodoxy, with its modestly sized, air-cooled engine in the “wrong” end, and put aerodynamics ahead of the traditional open-fender look. From the “pre-A” through the last of the 356C’s, its evolution demonstrated Porsche’s commitment to a philosophy of continual improvement.
The Toyota 2000GT has only recently been elevated to its lofty status as a seven-figure collector car, but its acceptance among collectors perhaps signals that the products of Japan are, at long last, being appreciated. Though more commonly associated with cars like the Prius and the Camry today, Toyota has given the world a number of sporting models over the years, such as the beloved 800 Sports, the Celica and its six-cylinder big brother, the Supra, and the mid-engine MR2.
BMW this year celebrates its centenary, tracing its origin to the reorganization of an aircraft engine builder. The first vehicles to wear the blue-and-white badge were not cars, but motorcycles. The R32 motorcycle of 1923, BMW’s first “across-the-frame” design, combined the air-cooled boxer engine with shaft drive, two features that would become enduring elements of the company’s designs. Not for their excellence alone should BMW’s motorcycles be appreciated; a car powered by a motorcycle engine, the Isetta, was all that stood between the company’s survival and failure during one of its darkest days.
Come on out, and enjoy the company of fellow enthusiasts. Enter your car, and you might see its photo in the magazine, or bring a trophy home with you. To register, visit our website, or contact Trisha Grande at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 800-227-4373. Admission is $15 for judged vehicles; vehicles not eligible for awards will be admitted for $10. Registration on the day of the show begins at 8 a.m.; the show begins at 9 a.m., with awards scheduled for 2 p.m. The first 300 entrants will receive a commemorative magnet. As always, spectators will be admitted at no charge.