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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

You've been lucky, if could be see one of these cars

Maybe you are wondering, why did we make the title of the article like that? This was intentional because it was to show how scarce the following cars were. So it is very rare for people to see it passing on the streets at this time.
The rarest 2007 Blastolene B-702, this unique shaped car inspired by the 1930s French car, designed by Michael Leeds and Randy Grubb. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2tANCvJ)
Like the unique shaped car above named 2007 Blastolene B-702 or known as the best art-deco costumized car ever, it was designed by Michael Leeds and Randy Grubb. The following cars were rare, unloved, forgotten but somehow extremely cool and interesting models that deserve to be dragged into the light and shown to the public once more.

So, here they are – 6 classic sports cars you probably didn’t know ever existed.

1. Melkus RS 1000
The first sports car came from the eastern bloc communist countries which were known to be very closed during the cold war era. So it is very rare to hear the production of sports cars made by these countries. Until one day in the East Germany, there's an automotive engineer named Heinz Melkus designed a very capable and attractive sports coupe car and convinced the Wartburg factory to produce a limited number of these sports cars.
1969 Melkus RS1000. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2GMiCRP)
By using the Wartburg 353 as a basis, Melkus designed and fabricated independent front and rear suspension, roll-bars and close ratio 5-speed gearbox. And then the 992 ccm engine was tuned to produce 68 hp and mounted behind the driver sending its power to rear wheels, instead to front like in its basis car Wartburg 353.

Melkus also designed and manufactured lightweight fiberglass body which featured modern design and low profile. The car was called Melkus RS 1000 and it was introduced for the first time in 1969. To be honest, for 1969s standards this was an extremely advanced sports car, however underpowered with just 68 hp of power.
Left side view of 1969 Melkus RS1000. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2GMiCRP)
The production ended in 1979 after 101 cars were made. The Melkus RS 1000 was extremely expensive for East European standards which also explains why the car made in limited production. Most the sports cars were bought by the auto sports teams and raced in local championships.

And it's rumoured, the car company has been revived by making the Melkus RS2000 and shown it for the first time at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

2. Kellison J6
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, fiberglass body construction stopped being high tech process exclusive to established manufacturers and became something you could do in your garage. This influenced numerous small companies to start offering their plastic bodies to be mounted on regular car chassis creating a unique and interesting design.

1965 Kellison J6. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2Srhoga)
There's an auto company named Kellison established in the early 1950s, the company produced several successful kits for installation on popular models, but in early 1960s the company introduced the J6. The J6 could be bought as a kit or a fully built car, making Kellison a boutique car manufacturer.

The J6 was based on Corvette frame but Kellison didn’t just re-body the ‘Vette. They moved the engine further back in the chassis, changed the suspension, installed larger brakes and different interior making J6 better handling and even faster since J6 body was somewhat lighter than stock Corvette.
Rear side view of 1965 Kellison J6. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2TmI7z0)
This conversion was pretty popular and over 500 bodies or cars were built. The J6 was very successful in hands of private racing teams since it offered Corvette power in better handling package.

3. ASA 1000 GT
This little Italian sports car was once considered the next big thing in the car industry when it was introduced in 1962. Then it known as “Ferrarina” (little Ferrari), the ASA 1000 GT was exactly that since it was built on tubular chassis with lightweight body and engine designed by then Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarinni.
1964 ASA 1000 GT 'Ferrarina' by Carrozzeria Bertone. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2TejVPv)
It had four-wheel disc brakes, sports suspension, and nicely trimmed interior. Under the hood was the 1.03-liter four cylinder engine capable to spew 93 hp of power. However, despite the big initial interest by the world's automotive customers, the car production stopped in 1967 after only 95 examples were built. Today, this Ferrarina is highly praised by collectors and car historians.

4. Matra Djet
Virtually unknown outside of France, Matra was a very innovative and influential car manufacturer in the country. Originally, the company was dedicated to airplane and military production but then it built cars and developed concepts for another French automotive manufacturers such as Renault, for example.
1965 Matra Djet. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2GLs8F1)
In 1965, Matra took over the Djet project from racer Rene Bonnet and introduced it to the public as the first mid-engined production car in the world. In those days, the concept of mid-engined cars was reduced to racing prototypes and Matra decided to introduce similar cars for the road.
Rear side view of 1965 Matra Djet. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2GLs8F1)
The car custom built chassis with diminutive Renault 8 engine may look slow today, but since the car only weighed 660 kg it was pretty fast in those day. Matra Djet was a very influential car since it showed the world a new engineering concept which was later accepted by all leading world's sports car manufacturers.

5. Cheetah
The global success of Shelby Cobra inspired many American race car builders to build a similar car which could compete on international level. From this perspective, nobody came close to beating the Cobra.
Bill Thomas Cheetah GT. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2ICRR4h)
But Bill Thomas, a famous Chevrolet tuner and race car builder was a serious candidate. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, the Cheetah was never given a proper chance. As you know, Chevrolet and GM pulled out of racing in 1963 but several independent race shops worked for GM`s back door programs in which the company supported the private racing teams with racing know-how or special racing parts.
Right side view of Bill Thomas Cheetah GT. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2ICRcQl)
Bill Thomas’ shop was one of those outfits and he decided to build a Cobra competitor with Chevrolet power. That is how the Cheetah was born. Built on special lightweight chassis with a small block V8 moved as far back as possible and covered in a light fiberglass body, the Cheetah looked and performed as a race car.

Despite some overheating problems, the Cheetah was a remarkable performer and won some lower rank races and even the 1968 SCCA championship. Unfortunately, lack of support, mechanical problems and even a fire at the shop in California stopped the production after around 20 cars were built.

6. Marcos GT
The car produced from 1964 to 1971 and again from 1981 to 1990. Marcos GT was the most popular and interesting model from the British auto company named Marcos Engineering Ltd. Basically, a kit car built on custom chassis but with choice of engines, Marcos GT was relatively cheap but capable sports car with aggressive styling, low weight, and decent performance.
1967 Marcos GT. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2TieY8a)
The GT could be had with numerous engines, mostly by Ford and lineup started with small 1.5 or 1.6-liter four-cylinders. However, if you want to experience full potential, the buyers needed to opt for 3.0-liter V6 from Ford or Volvo. For a brief period of time, Marcos GT was offered on the American market with Volvo`s straight six but not many cars were sold. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | MOTOR-JUNKIE]
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