Which One of These Would You Take on the SoCal TT Rally?

Which One of These Would You Take on the SoCal TT Rally?


The SoCal TT is put on by a group of friends as an invite-only rally populated by people you would want to hang out with driving cars you would want to drive. Any one of the cars. On last month’s three-day loop around California’s Central Coast there were Porsche 911s, a 912, a ’71 Alfa Giulia 1300 Super, two ’59 Austin Healy Bugeye Sprites, a couple modern Mercedes and BMWs, and one guy who bravely set out on a 1995 BMW R100R motorcycle despite the raging heat wave that promised to cook anyone without a roof and air conditioning. Such are the souls of the SoCal TT. These are your people and they are driving your cars. Meet them and pick which one of these machines you would chose to rally through some of the best roads in Central California. Post your choice in the comments.

Sadly for me, I had to work and so I only saw them at the very start of the run in Silver Lake, near downtown Los Angeles. Godspeed SoCal TT!

Virtually any 911 is going to be fun to drive. This ’72-’73 looks like more fun than usual. Next to it is a 1982 Mercedes 240 with the 2.4-liter diesel. “It’s the taxi Mercedes,” said owner/driver Nate Hall, who was taking on the TT with his grandson. Behind that is an ’02 SLK and a modified Rambler. The rally had something for everyone.

A perfect-looking Datsun 510 prepares to do battle on the SoCal TT. The 510 was a pet project of Datsun’s Yutaka Katayama, or Mr. K, better known for his work with the Datsun 240Z, but the idea was the same with the 510—make a fun car that was also practical and reliable. Mr. K was influenced by the Ford Cortina and BMW 1600, which would soon become the 2002. The 510 is held in high regard by a small handful of racers and loyalists who appreciate its handling… and practicality.

This immaculate 1966 912 looked just as good on the inside as on the outside. “In terms of looks and technology, the 912 was virtually identical to the 911,” says Porsche. “Unlike the 911, however, it was powered by the 1.6-liter flat-four engine from the 356 SC at the rear. Its power output was reduced from 95 to 90 hp at 5800 rpm for use in the 912 in order to give the engine more low-end torque and stability. Power transmission was provided by a four-speed manual transmission.”

The word Targa traces its roots back to “shield.” It shields you from the sun. Like on the Targa Florio.

Prices for BMW 650i on Bring a Trailer range from $11,000 for a 2008 coupe to 31 large for a 2008 convertible. And that’s just on the first page. Might this be the sweet spot between roadholding and comfort on the whole rally?

Fine-tuning the 528 before departure.

Hugh is a mechanical engineer who bought this 2002 SLK with almost 200,000 miles on it. Runs perfectly, he said.

The original 1958 Austin Healey Sprite had a 948-cc inline four making 43 hp. This 1966 Sprite has a Mazda RX-7 rotary and disc brakes. The driver, Tad, says that hat stays on even at speed.

According to Wikipedia, “The Datsun 510 released to the US market had a Hitachi downdraft-carbureted 1.6L L-series I4 engine, with an advertised gross power of 96 hp (72 kW), a claimed top speed of 100 mph, front disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension (MacPherson struts front and semi trailing arm rear; wagons had a solid rear live axle and leaf springs in back), rear-wheel drive, and either a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission.”

Richard Lundquist departs on his 1995 BMW R100R for three days of riding on some great roads.

“1995 was the last year of production for what many BMW enthusiasts, and now numerous collectors, consider the best-looking and performing standard Airhead ever designed and built by BMW,” said Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Maryland. “(The term “Airheads” refers to all air-cooled models made from 1923 to 1995.) “These striking machines get extra high marks from the Airhead community as well, and a scant few become available each year.”

Datsun 510 with some BRE stickers. Didn’t get a chance to talk to these guys to see what BRE parts they had. BRE, of course, is Brock Racing Enterprises, helmed by the great designer Pete Brock.

“In 1971, with the import market heating up in the US, the SCCA and its professional Trans Am series relented to pressure from a number of teams who wanted to race imports,” explained the BRE page of its transition from Datsun 2000 roadsters to 510s on track. “A separate series for smaller displacement-engined vehicles resulted in what became known as the 2.5 Trans Am series. BRE then took on the professionals, using Datsun’s ubiquitous little, tin-top, two-door sedan called the 510.”

They spanked the field for two years straight.

The MGB GT came on the market in 1965, and stayed there all the way through to 1980. In 2019, our sister publication Road & Track named the GT one of “16 of Pininfarina’s Most Beautiful Designs That Aren’t Ferraris.”

The extended roofline on the MGB GT meant top speed increased five mph—up to 105 mph over the coupe due to improved aerodynamics. Woot!

If you want to buy one yourself, our other sister-site Bring a Trailer has sold 10 of them so far this year, with hammer prices ranging from $7,100 to $25,750.

Here’s a 1961 Rambler with the original straight-six but with a few tweaks here and there. That roof, for instance, pivots forward at the windshield header for easier ingress and egress. I was most impressed by the oil coolers added, and the Accusump oil pressurization system to keep lube in the right spots under hard cornering. We heard that a turn had tightened up on the Rambler and it was out in the first few miles. Driver and co-pilot made it back to LA, swapped it for a new car and continued the rally.

In 1971 the Alfa Giulia 1300 Super was powered by either a 1.3-liter or 1.6-liter inline-four paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. The smaller engine made 86 hp, while the 1.6 could clear 100 and hit as high as 110 cavallino.

Father-son team of Cliff and Sam in their ’59 Austin Healey Sprite.

In case you’d like one of your own, 14 of them have sold so far this year on our sister site Bring a Trailer, with prices ranging from $11,000 to $30,000.

Mitsubishi built the Lancer Evolution for almost 25 years, from 1992 to 2016. Almost everyone who has ever owned one wants Mitsubishi to make another one. This EVO should be a blast on these great roads.

BMW 528i has air conditioning and from the looks of the shark fin on the roof, satellite radio. Should be lotsa fun and very comfortable.

Drivers’ meeting

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