The coupe market was once an important sector, offering sensible engineering and durability of a family car with the added bonus of an impression of sporting desirability. In many cases, the mechanics would be standard, with perhaps some bolt-on concession to improve the car, such as an upgraded carburettor, extra equipment or trim. The market was particularly strong in the mid-’70s and I’ve handpicked 10 budget coupes with different attributes. The budget is set at around £1500.
First off is the Datsun 160J SSS coupe, slotting in between the Sunny and Bluebird. Its reliability and equipment was its main appeal.
The Renault 15 charms lay in its unique styling and comfort, Renault had also a huge dealer network which helped after-sales needs too.
Ford mastered the sector with the Capri, now in its MK2 model, the third door increased its talents for DIY and parts attributes.
The Sunbeam Alpine was the lower-spec version of the Rapier. There’s no doubt it was decidedly old fashioned but proven parts and low costs were positive.
The Triumph Spitfire GT6 offered a genuine sporting car experience, with the benefit of nationwide dealer coverage.
The Opel Kadett was a typically Germanic product – an all-round ability with a surprising verve for performance.
Fiat cars have always been popular in the UK, and almost every model of the era offering a pleasing driving experience even with the smallest of engines. The 128 had a talent for handling and road holding too.
The Vauxhall Magnum actually undercut the £1500 budget, not only that it was sold with the 2.3-litre engine as standard, offering a superb £ per CC ratio.
Finally is the Lancia Fulvia. Simply put, even if it didn’t drive nicely (which it does) is one of the prettiest coupes of the time. It fulfils its a task to turn heads and create a smile.