You probably know that Audi/Volkswagen diesels as the modern and fuel efficient machines that cheat on emissions tests, but there was a time when Audi was known for cars that accelerated without warning (warning that youtube link has the most awesome vintage commercials but you can also watch this awesome Audi PR film with an detailed rebuttal by Bobby Unser)…but these next two cars aren’t going anywhere fast. First they were equipped with an 84 horsepower 2.0 liter inline-5 turbocharged oil burner. It wasn’t as slow as the non-turbo cars from 1980-82, but after a few decades in a barn…these things are not going anywhere quickly. Find these 1983 Audi 5000 TD s (two of them) offered for $600 in Pittsfield, MA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Amazon (called the 120-series outside of Sweden) is a 50’s styled classic Volvo that makes a compelling case for a starter classic due to its simple ruggedness and basic reliability. Today’s example has ditched the simple B-series 4-cylinder for a small block Chevy V8 mated to a TH350 slushbox…which is the basic formula for every hot rod ever built, but gets the job done. Find this 1968 Volvo 122 Amazon bidding for $3050 in Bradenton, FL via eBay.
Turbochargers seem to be installed on half the cars in the showrooms these days, but there was a time when a turbo was a rare thing to find in a car. In fact, in 1981 there were only a few cars with the snail shaped glowing/spinning things under the hood and they were mostly American cars like the Monte Carlo, Trans Am, and Buick Grand National…but if you did some research you could find a little company on the East Coast called Legend Industries that would turbocharge your Fiat Spider for a few bones. Years later those kits are hard to maintain and parts are scarce, so many have been de-turbo’d but could be restored to their original boosted glory. Find this 1982 Fiat 124 Spider Turbo Not Turbo’d offered for $7500 in Medway, MA via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The Austin Healey Sprite was this cute little bug-eye (or frog eye depending on who was asking) 2-seater that was upgraded in mid 1961 to something less cute but equally cool. The new “square body” Mark II Sprite was also badge engineered to make the MG Midget, but today we’ve got something unique. It has a custom front end with big Mazda lookin smile and custom hardtop that is not show in the pictures. But at the current asking price, if it runs and drive nicely it is a winner. Find this 1962 Austin Healey Sprite offered for $7500 in Hayward, CA via craigslist.
The Sentra name first appeared on a Nissan badged car in 1982 as a replacement for the aging Datsun 210. Nissan decided to ditch their “Datsun” brand for the USA…and while I do appreciate the vintage appeal of a “Datsun” badge on a car, it really didn’t make much sense as a brand management tool in 1982…so the car you see today is a Nissan and a sweet yellow wagon with a manual gearbox. Find this 1982 Nissan Sentra Wagon offered for $3500 in Alameda, CA via craigslist.
This next car isn’t going to win any beauty contests, or any drag races…but it could get you a trophy for fuel economy. The first generation Insight is one of the only hybrid vehicles to get a manual gearbox and today’s example is offered for dirt cheap (and no, it is not the same red Insight we featured a few weeks ago) Grab this 2001 Honda Insight offered for $2000 in San Jose, CA via craigslist.
If you try and compare the driving experience of the all-wheel-drive, manual gearbox, 300 horsepower Volvo V70R to a similar era Subaru STI or Mitsubishi Evo, you will probably find the Volvo lacking in exhilaration. But that’s okay, because Volvo wasn’t aiming to convert buyers of the boy-racer rally machines — and instead of was trying to compete with Audi’s S4 and Mercedes-Benz C32/C55 AMG..and maybe take a stab at BMW’s M3. Perhaps it wasn’t as fast as its competition, but the V70R was the only one available as a 7 passenger wagon with a shift-it-yourself gearbox. Find this 2006 Volvo V70R offered for $8999 buy-it-now or make-offer in Orchard Park, NY vi eBay.
The internet doesn’t pile much love on early 2000s era Jaguars…and for good reason. This was a time when Ford owned a big chunk of Jaguar Cars as part of what it called the PAG (Premier Auto Group) and Ford tried to push Jaguar, Aston Martin, Land Rover & Volvo to share parts with each other and use of-the-shelf Ford parts to cut costs and attempt to squeeze some profit from the $17B in acquisitions it had spent to put together this odd circus of brands. It might have been fine to have a Ford Mondeo shifter in a cheap X-Type, but if you were going to pay more than $60k for an XJ8, you needed to be surrounded by pure Jaaaaaaag luxury…which was for the most case true to the Coventry assembled XJ8. Plus, you got a 4.2 liter AJ V8 and classic styling — so the X350 was the last true Jag if you believe some folks, and prices are cheap these days. Find this 2007 Jaguar XJ8 offered for $4900 in North Jersey via craigslist.
The Pinto was released for the 1971 model year from an optimistic front office at Ford. It was intended to be a light and compact import fighter…but due to a design flaw in the fuel tank it ended up as a punch line in every joke involving fiery death for the next 3 decades. The Pinto is now almost 50 years old and they are all but gone from the streets…so what is a really nice example worth to you? Find this 1972 Ford Pinto offered for $9750 in Simi Valley, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Not everything beautiful is symmetric in that beauty. Take the Morgan Aero 9 for instance — it has a swoopy gorgeous curves from the rear and a fugly cross-eyed front, and even Ferrari is not immune to an ugly front — take the wicked winged rear of the Ferrari F50 and then look at its Pontiac Aztec inspired (inspiring?) front end. With that in mind I want you to marvel at the incredible airplane tail of this next vehicle and try not to gasp in horror when you see the Geo Tracker front end plastered onto this rolling work of art. Find this 1999 Chevrolet Tracker Airplane Car bidding for $7800 reserve-not-met in Englewood, FL via eBay.