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1997 Alfa-Romeo 156 2.0 Twin Spark Type 932 vs. 156 2.5 V6 Q-System and 156 GTA

Alfa Romeo truly rediscovered its mojo with the 156. Handsome, crisp-handling and desirable, the 1998 Car of the Year became an instant best-seller. We celebrate the 156’s 25th birthday with a cross-section of models that highlight its broad appeal.

Supercharged 300bhp 2.8-litre VR6 AAA-engined 1997 Volkswagen Jetta Mk3 Typ 1H

Despite putting in seven years and 150,000 miles of inter-state touring, retirement from daily driver duty hasn’t slowed the pace for Mike Myers’s Jetta.

1997 Ferrari 456GT

Chronic car-swapper Kev Ponsford is always looking for the next best thing. Will a day driving his dream Ferrari 456GT convince him it’s time to settle down?

1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 996.1

Founder member of the water-cooled 911 family, the 996 has been derided for mechanical issues and less-than-sharp build quality. Yet, it exudes more charisma than its successors and, today, represents the best-value 911 available. We track a long-term high-miler…

1997 Alpina B10 V8 E39 vs. 1999 BMW M5 E39

BMW has bought out Alpina – so how might Alpina’s future products differ from BMW’s own M-cars? Comparing the fastest versions of the E39 5-series will give us some clues.

1997 Callaway C12

Reeves Callaway is inextricably linked with the Chevrolet Corvette, the sometime single-seater driver turned tuner having made ‘America’s Only Sports Car’ go faster than ever seemed feasible. When you produce a hotted-up Corvette with, say, the name ‘Sledgehammer,’ you know it isn’t going to be shy or retiring. The C12, however, had a title that was positively tame by comparison, but then it was so much more than a reworked Corvette. It was a road car with racing car credentials, and one that was part-German.

1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution 996

It is hard to spot under the giant rear wing — but it is there. Off-center and low down in the shrouded, sculpted aero rump you see the license plate: P1 POW. Small detail, big impact: this thing’s road legal. You recognize the Porsche 911 rear lights. They are the 996 shape — the one from the late 1990s. Between them, and above that street-legal plate, it says GT1. Small number — but, once again, big impact.

1997 Lotus Elise S1

It should have been so different for Lotus. Given the clear pent-up demand for small convertible sports cars in 1989, its ahead-of-the-curve Elan M100 should have cleaned up and finally provided the company with the kind of volume-seller that it could only have dreamed of during Colin Chapman’s luxury-GT era

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