Folks outside a few select locations don't have the luxury of driving a vintage convertible 12 months out of the year and sometimes even people who live near a tropical beach have to drive 42 miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic. What this means is that the normal requirement for fun driving gets thrown out the window, and now you simply need a car that runs and fits as much crap on the inside while being as economical as possible. What about this 4-cylinder powered, slushbox equipped wagon for less than three large? Find this 1991 Volvo 740 GLE Wagon offered here on craigslist for $2,500 in Scripps Ranch, CA.
This 740 series wagon might have a 4-cylinder mated to a slushbox, but at least it keeps a proper rear-wheel-drive setup...for what that is worth on your commuter/beater. You'll probably have more fun in a 5-speed equipped front-drive Volvo 850, but the classic longitudinal 4-banger powered Volvos are much easier to work on.
Oddly enough, this might be the first stock Volvo 740 wagon we've ever featured, most are V8 swapped monsters. Under the hood of this GLE is a B234F -- a 2.3 liter 16-valve, dual-over-head-cam inline-4, good for a naturally aspirated 153 hp and only produced for a few years in the US market. It is the highest power non-turbo 4-banger in the history of the B-series and was only 2 horsepower shy of the B230FT turbo 740 from the same year.
See another blue beater for less? Send it here: firstname.lastname@example.org