Sure, car manufacturers have their own test car drivers but they tend to be professionals who are into professional driving their whole life. However, there is a whole other type of factory test drivers. If you have a college degree in automotive or automotive engineering or have been in the automotive industry for years, you can actually land a job as a factory test driver. In short, you could drive prototypes of upcoming vehicles, affect the tune of the finished product and enjoy it all while simply driving in different conditions.
Studebaker only built the Avanti for two years and sales totaled less than 6,000 units, but the car is amazing. The lines are unique and the interior is head-and-shoulders above any other car of the period. Studebaker had to build the body from fiberglass because trying to build such a unique car from steel would have been a daunting task. Power comes from 289 cu.in. V8 borrowed from the Studebaker Hawk lineup. Output topped out at just 240 hp; but, like the ’53 Vette, power is not the Avanti’s main reason for being on our list of hot cars.
The only problem with these crazy cheap cars is that they are getting more expensive as time marches on. With plenty of examples reaching upwards of $80,000 at auction, you may be intimidated at first. Rest assured there are plenty of examples resting comfortably around the $25k-$30k range, and we even saw one with more than 600,000 miles that was still going strong!
Of course, even a 1.2-liter rotary makes upward of 130 horsepower, so that’s the tradeoff. Tuned examples can make over 250. 250 horsepower sounds a lot better when the entire car weighs under 2000 pounds; such is the case with this 13B-powered 1966 Volkswagen Beetle. It runs a 10.5-second quarter mile and packs eight times its original horsepower.