2018 Hagerty Collector Car Madness: Cruising through Round 2

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1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL Mecum

As we close out the second round of the 2018 Hagerty Collector Car Madness, we’re thrilled to reveal a fantastic lineup of cars headed into Round 3. We even witnessed some staggering upsets this round, which are sure to stir some controversy.

These Round 2 results reflect matchups in the East and West regions, so be sure to catch up on the previous Round 1 shootout as well if you’re just jumping in.

Sweet 16 winners in the East and Midwest
Hagerty

East

1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette (1) vs. 1969-1973 Porsche 911 (9)

1963 Chevrolet Corvette (Mecum)
1970 Porsche 911S
1970 Porsche 911S

Many consider the C2 Corvette to be the ultimate Vette generation, which makes it a tough #1 seed with its fuel-injected 327 V-8 and devastating good looks. Nevertheless, this face of American vs. German performance was neck-and-neck thanks to the undeniable appeal and red-hot market for the venerable ’69-’73 Porsche 911. And although Porsche made big strides by stretching the wheelbase, offering a three-pronged range of performance with the T, E, and S models, and really upping the ante with Bosch fuel injection for the mid-year ’73 update, the C2 Corvette set the tone for American sports car appetite in a way we can’t ignore. On the bright side, Porsche fans, many other of Stuttgart’s finest are still in the running.

Winner: 1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette (1)

1966-1969 Porsche 912 (12) vs. 1961-1967 Jaguar E-type (13)

Porsche 912
Porsche 912 Lothar Spurzem
1961 Jaguar E-type
1961 Jaguar E-type Mecum

Given the close matchup in seeding, I wish I could say this was nailbiter. But the Series I Jag blew the Porsche out of the water here, riding the tide of its timelessly influential design and impressive contemporary performance. No one is denying the importance of the entry-level 912 to the 911’s survival and longevity, but the four-pot Porsche never had a chance against one of Britain’s all-time greatest sports cars. For now, the only Union Jack-bearing cars remaining in competition are the Series I E-type and the ’56-’62 MG MGA.

Winner: 1961-1967 Jaguar E-type (13)

1948-1956 Porsche 356 (6) vs 1992-2002 Mazda RX-7 (14)

Porsche 356
Porsche 356 Porsche
2000 Mazda RX-7
2000 Mazda RX-7 Mazda

These are two cars on extreme opposite sides of the spectrum within the scope of our tournament, so this made for a lively debate among Hagerty editors and valuation experts. The case for each car was strong, starting with the twin-turbo RX-7, which is arguably the best-looking, most interesting performance car in Mazda’s history—and popularity is rising as more people recognize this. Then there’s the 356, which, despite its rust-prone body, is a testament to the engineering prowess and dedication to quality that remains core to Porsche today. At the end, even the FD fans had to give the nod to the Porsche, which is a deserved fixture of classic sports car royalty.

Winner: 1948-1956 Porsche 356 (6)

1970-1976 Porsche 914 (10) vs 1991-1996 Acura NSX (15)

1970 Porsche 914
1970 Porsche 914 Mecum
1995 Acura NSX
1995 Acura NSX Mecum

In this duel of mid-engine machines, there was little debate. The mid-engine Porsche 914 might finally be having its moment of “one of us” recognition in Porsche circles which previously dismissed it as a cheap Volkswagen, but nobody ever doubted the greatness and majesty of Japan’s most important supercar. With its fantastic balance, perfect proportions, and daily usability, there’s a reason why Ayrton Senna was on board with the NSX. And as it advances into Round 3, the NSX survives as the lowest-seeded vehicle left in competition.

Winner: 1991-1996 Acura NSX (15)

Midwest

1997-2004 Chevrolet Corvette (1) vs 1992-2002 Dodge Viper (9)

2001 Chevrolet Corvette
2001 Chevrolet Corvette GM
1996 Dodge Viper

Now here’s a matchup that even played out in real life. The C5 Corvette was a massive improvement over the previous C4, adding a light-years-sophisticated chassis as well as introducing the world to the delights of an all-aluminum LS V-8. It sold extremely well, and nowadays it’s not at all hard to find a good driver on the cheap, whether you’re looking for base-model kicks or Z06 troublemaking. Then again, there’s the Viper, with its two extra cylinders, no-nanny handling, and complete lack of refinement or apologies. There’s no doubt which we’d rather see in our garage every day, and that’s the Viper. A worthier, more bonkers supercar couldn’t more deserve to be the first to knock out a #1 seed.

Winner: 1992-2002 Dodge Viper (9)

1968-1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (12) vs 1994-1998 Porsche 911 (4)

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL
1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL
1995 Porsche 911 Carrera
1995 Porsche 911 Carrera Mecum

Known in Porsche circles as the 993 generation, this last of the air-cooled 911s offers a tantalizing taste of classic Porsche personality combined with modern technology and electronics. It is absolutely recognizable as a 911, yet it has a look all its own compared to the more traditional-looking 964 generation it replaced. In the opposite corner is a contender from cross-town rival Mercedes-Benz, who showed up with the last of the “pagoda” SLs. It is highly refined but also rewarding to drive, and its impeccable reliability makes it a joy to have in the garage. When people think of what makes Mercedes great, they think of the 280 SL, but even a car this good was doomed against one of the mighty 993. As 911 generations go, it was one of the best.

Winner: 1994-1998 Porsche 911

1980-1985 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL (6) vs 1993-1998 Toyota Supra (14)

1983 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL
1983 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL Mecum
1994 Toyota Supra
1994 Toyota Supra Toyota

People have been going crazy for the Mark IV Supra ever since the boom in appeal for ‘90s Japanese sports cars. Not only was it a seminal moment for Toyota performance, its role in The Fast and the Furious made it a household celebrity for a whole generation of young car enthusiasts. Toyota’s absurdly robust twin-turbo 2JZ engine is the holy grail for tuners, as well. All that proved a little much for the 380 SL to handle, given that the earlier 450 SL and later 560 SL are more desirable expressions of the long-running Mercedes roadster. A big upset indeed, but well-deserved for Toyota’s sensational ‘90s sports car.

Winner: 1993-1998 Toyota Supra (14)

2009-2017 Nissan GT-R (10) vs 2005-2013 Chevrolet Corvette (2)

2010 Nissan GTR
2010 Nissan GTR Nissan
2008 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
2008 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 GM

Even with all its faults (extremely expensive brakes, early dual-clutch transmission issues, and rattling engine bearings), there’s no denying that the R35-generation put the entire high-end performance world on notice. It was big, heavy, and complicated, but the way it absolutely crushed the Nurburgring and launched passengers into their seats made it earn its famous Godzilla moniker. On other side of the coin is the C6-generation Corvette, which is a hell of a lot cheaper now (as it was when it overlapped with the GT-R), monumentally more reliable, and cheaper to own and plentiful when it comes to available parts. Its interior is nothing special (neither is Godzilla’s), but the breadth of performance from the base LS2 V-8 all the way to the batshit-crazy supercharged LS9 in the ZR1 made the C6 an attainable milestone for sports car fans across many budgets. No disrespect to the GT-R, but the Corvette makes a lot more sense for most collectors—even those with an appetite for face-melting performance will be taken with a ZR1 or even a Z06.

Winner: 2005-2013 Chevrolet Corvette (2)

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