I recently had the good fortune to make friends with a fellow named Phil. He's not the typical NYC exotic car owner, who cruises around in a chrome Aventador. No, Phil is a man of discerning taste and disarming friendliness who was kind enough to chauffeur me around in his various toys one recent morning. I took a lot of photos, so I thought I'd post them car by car.Phil's boyish enthusiasm for his cars is contagious, so by the time we arrived at his garage, a nondescript building on the West Bank of the Hudson River, we were giddily debating which car to drive first. It had to be the A110. I have watched a lot of footage of these cars in action, and seen one a long time ago when i was in High School. But to behold the diminutive French rally car in person once again was like finally meeting an old pen pal. I knew everything about it, but had no idea what to say...We carefully pulled out of the garage. Sadly the streets of Jersey City are not terribly interesting nor welcoming to midcentury fiberglass sports cars, so we had to zip from stoplight to stoplight, making a terrific amount of noise but not getting anywhere too fast. The car has a magnificent and raucous exhaust note that I found intoxicating, and considering the engine's small displacement, the car was quite eager to get up and go. The chrome-ringed Veglia Borletti instruments and diamond quilted upholstery are pretty much the epitome of 1960s sporting feel. And above your head you can reach up and touch the thin fiberglass shell, with its delicate foam headliner. I don't think there is a cooler interior out there, honestly. We drew plenty of looks as we motored through the barrio, with plenty of smiles and thumbs up. Yet no one could be quite sure of what they were seeing!Sadly, we didn't have enough time to really see what the car can do in terms of handling, but even based on my limited time in the car, there is no doubt that on a twisty forest road upstate, the A110 would be pure magic.
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Stay tuned for the next installment: the Lancia Stratos