Steve McQueen is somewhat better known as a movie actor ("The Great Escape," "Nevada Smith") than as a driver of fast cars. But as he demonstrates at right, cornering smartly in the new Jaguar 2+2, and as he says in the story beginning on page 39, he "ain't a bad driver, either." Formerly a sports car racer of promise, McQueen was ordered off the tracks by his studio, on the theory his beautifully battered face needs no further corrugations. He has not lost his enthusiasm for swift motoring, however, and when Sports Illustrated asked him to drive eight of the world's most distinguished Grand Touring cars on the race course at Riverside, Calif., he was, as they say, flat out. Turn the pages for pictures of Steve in a real-life role, and for his analysis of the state of the Grand Touring art in this midsummer 1966.
Sizing up a new Jaguar 2+2, Driver McQueen found it "very smooth down the back straight at 110 mph," yet still suitable for trips with the family. Mrs. McQueen, he reported, was "kind of keen on it."
Corvette Sting Ray (above) impressed McQueen—and surprised him a little—with its power, fine handling and accurate steering. Top model ($5,538) has big 427-inch V-8 engine, heavy-duty suspension.
Ferrari 275 GTS with 3.3-liter V-12 engine, rear-mounted five-speed gearbox and Pininfarina coachwork drew a worshipful "Wow!" from Steve, who regards Ferrari as a supreme engineer. Price: $14,500.
Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider, latest model from small, distinguished Milan works, cornered brilliantly, had superior brakes. McQueen also admired its looks but would have liked more power in a $4,000 car.
Porsche 911 delighted McQueen with predictable handling in furious cornering, proving that Porsche has solved oversteer problem Steve remembered from racing days. This rear-engined 6 costs $6,490.
Aston Martin DB6, the most expensive model tested ($15,400), struck McQueen as a "gentleman's car" in its clean design, luxurious appointments, virile performance, but fifth gear was disappointing.
Cobra 427 was "a real stoplight bandit" on acceleration, attesting to the strength of its 7-liter Ford pushrod V-8. McQueen was less pleased with its handling, felt seat position should be improved. Price: $7,495.