Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

We have a penchant for luxurious, meatily engined motor cars as much as the next man or woman, but every collector should have at least one mini marvel to occupy a half-space in their garage...

 


Trabant 601 with Hayabusa power

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

Getting on for 3 million Trabant 601s were made during its 27-year production run, but this one certainly stands head and shoulders above the rest – in performance terms at least. It’s equipped with a 1300cc Suzuki Hayabusa superbike engine in place of the usual 595cc two-cylinder, while the wider track should help to control its newfound performance a little better.

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Morris Mini Cooper S ‘to Works ST specification’

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

Beginning life as a Cooper S road car, this little number has since been upgraded to Special Tuning Works specification using New Old Stock parts. Automobiles BMC describes the car as ‘the best we’ve ever seen’; a big statement considering the dealer’s dedication to Minis, which can be read about elsewhere on Classic Driver.

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Renault 5 Turbo 2

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

The Renault 5 Turbo was a competent and characterful car, but many have since endured periods of insensitive ownership. New York-based dealer Autosport Designs Inc. says this example has come from a private collection that’s currently being pared down, and has less than 14,000 pampered miles on the clock.

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Innocenti Mini 120 De Tomaso

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

Many will remember the cutesy Innocenti: a Bertone-styled hatchback version of the Mini produced by Leyland’s Italian subsidiary. When De Tomaso took the reins of Innocenti in 1976, a new version was produced with a more sporting character – surviving examples are rare nowadays, especially those wearing fewer than 50,000 miles like the one found here.

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Abarth 1000 TC

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

The Abarth might have been based on the humble Fiat 600, but it was instantly distinguishable by the protruding radiator and always-aloft engine cover. This example retains its road-and-race-prepared set-up, and it’s awaiting the new season with FIA papers at the ready.

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MGB GT V8

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

Although it seemed an obvious move to put the 3.5-litre Rover V8 engine into the old MGB, it took a long time for British Leyland to engineer a transmission that could take all that extra torque. The job was done and the MGB V8, in GT form only, went into production in 1973. With a top speed of about 125mph, it was impressive. Nearly 2,600 were built and survivors are highly prized today.

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Sunbeam Tiger

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

So, we now see that micro-marvels aren’t always denied a meaty engine – the Sunbeam Tiger (the performance derivative of the Alpine) had a 4.3-litre Windsor V8 shoehorned into its engine bay, thanks in part to Carroll Shelby’s involvement. This recently restored, left-hand-drive Tiger has apparently had its identity confirmed by the Rootes Group.

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Fiat 131 Abarth Stradale

Biggie Smalls: The tiny wonders of the Classic Driver Marketplace

Not only is this wide-arched Fiat 131 one of the 500 homologated Abarth ‘Stradale’ versions, it’s also claimed to be in a ‘time-warp’ condition, with fewer than 6,500 miles on the odometer.

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Photos: Classic Driver Dealers