Saturday, August 31, 2013
Imagine, if you will, that you are a well-to-do 60-something with kids out of the house and plenty of money to spend on cars. You aren't interested in sporty cars, just need something to drive to the bowling alley once a week and pickup a few friends at the senior center. You may find yourself tempted to head to the nearest Benz dealer and pickup a new E-Class for $70,000...but it would be a mistake. Save your hard earned cash and pickup a inexpensive used classic, and you'll be happy as long as you budget for plenty of maintenance costs. Your ungrateful, worthless children will inherit a few more dollars when you head to the big junkyard in the sky. A good cheap example is this 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SE for sale in Vista, CA for $2,750 via craigslist.
The Volvo 140 series is a classic we like at DT because they are inexpensive to buy, inexpensive to run and generally a good deal for a European classic car. The ancient suspension, steering and pushrod engines aren't for everyone and it won't be remotely fast in stock configuration. Things change when you swap in a domestic V8 and add some wider wheels...maybe for the better. Find this 1969 Volvo 142 with Ford V8 for $3000 located near Houston, TX via craigslist.
Friday, August 30, 2013
The BMW E82/E88 1 Series arrived in North America in 2008, essentially a pint sized 3 Series and offered in the spirit of the venerable 1600/2002. It was still much too heavy and expensive to really be earth-shattering, but it rolled back the size/weight creep of the 3 Series and reminds us of a modern styled E36, high praise indeed from E36 fan
boys such as this author. Stats-focused bench racers will tell you to get the twin turbocharged 135i version in hardtop form, but if simple commuting and a few fun back road blasts are your heart's desires...you may want to consider the 128i version with a soft top (E88 in Bimmerspeak). Find this 2008 BMW 128i convertible 6-spd for sale in Royal Oak, MI currently bidding on ebay for $15,950 with less than 1 day to go.
In 1998 Saleen started to modify a few Ford Explorers in the same way it had created scores of modified Ford Mustangs. The basic Saleen recipe was to take a Ford product and add a supercharger, body kit, a few badges and significant digits to the price tag. Saleen was one of the few aftermarket companies to be certified as an OEM, so Saleen actually issued its own vehicle identification numbers (VIN). Internet rumor lists the total production volume of the XP8 at around 125. Find this 1998 Saleen Explorer XP8 for sale in Fremont, CA for $13,900 via craigslist.
The Volvo 1800S (typically called the P1800 by those NOT in the know) is one of our favorite classics currently riding a wave of sentiment and price appreciation. This means that anyone who has been living in a cave for the past few years may emerge with an 1800 and sell it for cheap. Conversely, hairy palmed used car salesmen may tell you it's the next 21 window VW Bus and some idiot will pay you $50k for it in 5 years, but we ignore them too. Regardless, the worst case is that an 1800 could start is a feud between two guys named Glenn and Rick. Find this 1965 Volvo 1800S for sale in Burbank, CA for $14,900 via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Alfa Romeo GTV needs little introduction other than to remind people that it is an affordable and rare piece of Italian motor-driven art. The quad-headlight GTV 2000 model (tipo 105.21) is by far the most recognizable and will get you front/center parking at any valet lot for less than the price of a new Honda Civic. Find this 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV for sale in Bedford, NH currently bidding for $12,949 with 1 day to go or $15,995 buy-it-now on ebay.
There is an old piece of advice when selling a used car that says "never show a picture of someone driving the car." The idea is that potential buyers will have a hard time disassociating the previous owner with the car, however, it's okay if you wear a paper bag with a "mad face" on it over your head. Find this 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300D W124 for sale in Eugene, OR for $4,000 via stanceworks.com forums. Tip from Ignatius Reilly.
The 3rd generation Mazda Familia AP was released around the world as the 323, but in North America as the GLC...short for Great Little Car. It was a subcompact living on a rear-wheel-drive platform and unfortunately short lived as the deluge of front-drive ecrapoboxes took the place of proper right-wheel-drive vehicles. By 1980 the Familia had a front-drive chassis, but a few of the 1977-1980 rear-drive classics are still available for your drifting pleasure. Find this 1977 Mazda GLC for sale in Omaha, NE for $1,350 via craigslist. Tip from Andy L.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The E34 M5 was the last of the hand-built BMW ///M machines from their motorsports division, before BMW moved production of its M-cars into the regular factories. It was probably for the best (better quality control, more automation, less car-to-car and part-to-part variability) but somehow it seems like something is lost when you go from a factory technician hand assembling a limited production vehicle to basic cookie cutter production. Regardless, the E34 is the least expensive of M5 cars today, with prices well below the older E28 or newer E39; strange because the E34 M5 is a fantastic car. Find this 1991 BMW M5 offered for sale in Toronto, ON, Canada for $16,900 CDN via kijiji.ca Seller Submission from Peter.
The Jeep Commando (aka Jeepster Commando) was a line of vehicles in the Kaiser Jeep portfolio to compete with Ford Bronco and Toyota Landcruiser. The low end edition was the basic Commando that was advertised as a convertible, but should have been called open top because it came without any top and could not be converted into anything. The Commando is one of those strange open recreational vehicles that can be seen shuffling surfer kids around beach cities and generally acting as cheap transportation. Find this 1970 Jeep Commando for sale in Vista, CA for $2,700 via craigslist.
The Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 was the pinnacle of Japanese sportscar madness back in the mid 1990s. It had room for four, a twin turbocharged V6 up front, power going to all four wheels, active rear-wheel steering, active aerodynamics and a profile wider than Kim Kardashian in Hammer pants. When new, the 3000GT VR4 came with a price tag that would make even the biggest trust fund baby think twice, or at least wait 20 years for the prices to settle down. Find this 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 for sale in Mount Joy, PA currently bidding for $7,850 reserve-not-met with a few hours to go on ebay.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The number of vehicles that left a factory with giant animal-shaped hood emblems is very limited. Most famous is the Pontiac Firebird (Thunder-chicken) with the 2nd place award going to the Mustang II Cobra (Psynake-a-delic), however there are a few more rare-birds out there, such as the El Camino Royal Knight edition. Find this 1978 Chevrolet El Camino Royal Knight for sale in Northwest Iowa for $12,500 via craigslist. Tip from Andy L.
The E24 6-series was a luxury grand tourer from BMW with a gorgeous body designed by Paul Bracq and featured engineering supervision from Maximum Bob Lutz. The M6 version added a modified inline six engine from the M1 and barring some sort of apocalypse or DOT ban on I6 engines, the original M6 will be a future collectible. Find this 1988 BMW M6 for sale in San Carlos, CA for $16,688 via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.
The Jeep Wagoneer was arguably the world's first luxury 4x4 sport utility vehicle, combining rugged off-road capability with a few touches of luxury (wood panels, comfy interior, etc). Unfortunately, the combination of rugged off-road chassis and luxury features/performance add up to one heavyweight gas guzzler and consumables cruncher; tires, brakes, etc. will need to be replaced more often than a standard car-based wagon. The result is a car that isn't quite collectible like a sports car, and may not be practical as a daily driver like many other cheap classics. For a vintage SUV, the cost of a good example is often equal to the cost of gas for a year. This is good news for someone who just needs an extra car for hauling duty or offroading fun and doesn't need a trailer queen. Find this 1973 Jeep Wagoneer for sale in Portland, OR for $2,900. Seller submission from Ian.
Monday, August 26, 2013
The Volkswagen GTI is a well known classic front drive econo-sports-car that needs no introduction...therefore we will skip the usual background banter (other than to mention that this one is based on the
2nd 1st generation Golf). Find this 1984 Volkswagen GTI for sale in Los Lunas, NM for $500. Tip from Rod S.
We've recently featured a few Opel Manta As on the pages of DT, so it should come as no surprise that we are fans of the often forgotten Manta. However, you should ask yourself: why is it that I don't see many Manta's on the road today? Perhaps it is the lackluster performance? Sloppy assembly that makes you yearn for Eastern European quality control? Or a chassis that attracts rust like an exposed thong attracts cousins at a Kentucky family reunion. Anyway you cut it, there are many reasons to not own a Manta...but...dropping a Ford V8 into the front changes the equation considerably, sort of like finding out the lady with the pink whale tale is your cousin...once removed. Find this 1974 Opel Manta A with Ford V8 for sale in Mount Wolf, PA for $3,000 via craigslist. Tip from Tinman
The NSU Prinz 1000 was a small rear-engined West German built city car powered by an inline-twin cylinder air cooled engine, something that was better fit to power a motorcycle. Production started in 1957 and ended in 1973 when Volkswagen Auto Group acquired NSU and merged it into one ring of the Audi group. The Prinz was a unique car, but it conflicted with VW's type 2 as well as Audi's 50 series, so it went extinct. Find this 1967 NSU Prinz 1000 for sale in Orlando, FL for $2,500 via craigslist. Tip from J Bourne.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Ford Focus was a big success when it replaced the aging Escort and was lauded as the arrival of European handing/flair to the American econo-hatch. This was marketing nonsense and hyperbole dreamed up by press pundits, as the basic Focus was a plasticy piece of crap, but with the arrival of the SVT model, some of that much anticipated fun was finally delivered. Find this 2004 Ford Focus SVT for sale in Milpitas, CA for $8,200 via craigslist. Tip from...you guessed it...Kaibeezy.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
The 2nd generation Honda Civic was only available for 4 years, from 1980-1983, a short lifespan for the typical car. Its front drive lightweight chassis was available as a 3-door hatch, 4-door sedan, 5-door hatch and 5-door wagon. Find this 1981 Honda Civic Wagon for sale in SF Bay Area, CA for $950 via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.