Among the eye-catching European sports cars in a new display opening at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich, this week is this two-liter example of Italian design and craftsmanship. A racing workhorse of the famed Maserati stable, it is a tough adversary on the world's circuits. It excels on the rougher road courses, in mountain racing and hill climbs where its excellent suspension and brakes win honors in spite of a relatively small engine. Its six-cylinder engine develops 165 hp at 7,000 rpm, speed of 135 mph. Approximate cost: $8,500.
A much-admired example of English taste is this 2.6-liter general-purpose sports car. Aston-Martin has built its reputation on a touring-racing ambivalence with the use of one essential chassis. The type on the right is intended to be primarily a luxurious touring vehicle and only secondarily a competition car. It boasts exceptional comfort and excellent road-holding ability, two usually incompatible features. Price: $8,000. After a brilliant Le Mans performance in 1951 this then-novel Anglicized version of Italian body design won world attention.
Porsche's 550 is one of the most successful racing sports cars ever built. Though a "small" car (1,500 cc) among headliners, its speed and staying power are famous in long-distance races. It has proved virtually unbeatable in its class at Le Mans, in the Mexican Road Race and in Italy's Mille Miglia—and has worried, not to say embarrassed, drivers of potentially faster, more powerful cars. At the 1955 Le Mans it finished fourth. Developed by Ferry Porsche, it descends in lineage directly from the humble, Porsche-designed Volkswagen.
One of the novelties of the Dearborn exhibition is a one-of-a-kind car by the French designer J. A. Gregoire, who has himself come over from France to discuss his theories with U.S. cognoscenti. This car, which features an opposed four-cylinder engine with supercharger, may be a radical "exercise" or a sleeper. Its designer, always partial to front-wheel drive, has been knocking on manufacturers' doors for a generation. Though a few have let him in (Panhard in recent years) he has had more impact on discussion than on production.