I know that the RX-7 rotary purists (Wankers as they call themselves) will cringe at the average pushrod V8 swapped RX-7, but they’ll be decidedly appalled that the builder used a GSL-SE to turn into a piston pumping pavement pounder. However, despite the vintage Cali sunset plate, the car itself is pretty ragged — rust appears in bubbles all over the paint and the seller reported having a blown engine…so this wasn’t some cherry collectors item, this was an RX-7 that needed some love…which it got in the form of a Ford V8 swap. Find this 1985 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE offered for $3100 in Palo Alto, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next car epitomizes the expression “punching above one’s weight class.” It has no business being being fast as it is…but don’t let the shabby paint fool you. This wagon is running a 1UZFE V8 from a Lexus LS400, Mercedes-Benz bumpers and a funky multi-link rear suspension that looks tight. If you’ve got the time and know-how to swap in the included W58 5-speed, this thing will be perfect. Find this 1985 Toyota Cressida Wagon offered for $9000 in Simi Valley, CA via craigslist. Tip from MikeD.
The Fox body Mustang was a huge breath of fresh air when it was released in 1979 and it returned the Mustang to a proper long-hood short-rear pony car shape. I think that the design has aged well and if you are looking for an inexpensive convertible that’ll seat 4 people and be fun to drive…it doesn’t get much better than a well preserved Fox. Find this 1988 Ford Mustang Convertible offered for $4500 in New York via classiccars.com. Tip from Barbpaddles.
What color is this car? Blue? Baby blue? Robin egg blue? Mercedes-Benz called it paint code 922 pastellblau, but I call it simply amazing. Imagine a new E-Class being covered in a shade of Cherenkov radiation instead of the boring grey/black/white you see on 99% of the new luxury cars on the road. Find this 1976 Mercedes-Benz 240D offered for $8500 in Fresno, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I am not a connoisseur of barn finds — any vehicle that has had chickens roosting in the engine bay or rats chewing on the wiring harness for 20 years is not the car for me. But, I don’t want to discount the thrill of finding something covered in a tarp that is maybe more than meets the eye…or in this case, it is one of the rarest models to come out of Morris Garage — specifically the MGC GT of which this is one of 4457 built. It appears to be missing its 150 horsepower 2.9 liter C-series inline-6, but I bet a 2JZ would fit (I’m KIDDING! Please don’t do that…use an SR20DET instead..sheesh). Anyway, if an MGC GT is good enough for Prince Charles (who later gave it to Prince William according to the internet lore) then it should be good enough for you. And this one comes with a spare MGC parts car…or maybe it is vice-versa. Find this 1969 MGC GT & 1968 MGC offered for $7000 in West Monroe, LA via craigslist. Tip from Ramjet.
This next car isn’t something that’ll break records at the Nürburgring…in fact, it probably wouldn’t make a complete lap without stopping for a repair or two, but that shouldn’t stop you from owning one of the coolest cars to ever come out of the Rootes Group factory in England. The seller of this car doesn’t include many pictures or specs, but the Husky is powered by a 1.4 liter inline-4 that will propel this little wagon from zero to 60mph in just under 27 seconds on the way to a blistering top speed of 73.4 mph. Eat your heart out McLaren. Find this 1962 Hillman Husky Series II offered for $5000 in Rochester, NY via eBay.
Long before there was pinterest, there was Pintera. Okay…I gotta admit..I have a DailyTurismo pinterest account, but I don’t know what pinterest is. Haven’t a clue. There is something about pins and boards and supposedly it is a good place to share recipes or floral arrangements…but there’s also pictures of cars…anyway…pinterest I don’t understand, but the Pintera…THE PINTERA, I understand. Take one Pinto, on V8 Ford engine, and 60 cubic bushels of fiberglass resin from a company called Stiletto, and you get…PINTERA. Whisper it now. Pintera. Little bit louder now…Pintera…little bit louder now…Pinnnnn…ter…aaahhhh. You understand now too. Find this 1977 Pintera GT offered for $5500 in Pasco, FL via craigslist.
They called it a factory sport truck, but the first generation SVT Lightning was a bit more than a few stickers and some interior bling. It was built to compete with Chevy’s 454SS and had a special 240 horsepower version of the 351 Windsor under the hood, but it had some tricks up it’s sleeve when it came to the twisty parts, thanks in part to legendary F1 driver Jackie Stewart. It wasn’t just a spring/shock setting, the Lightning also used thicker F250 4X4 sourced frame rails and additional welded gusseting to increase chassis rigidity and make it stick to the pavement. Color matched bumpers, lower ride height, and blacked-out trim completed the look and with production limited to 11,563 units over 3 model years means the Lightning will be a future collectible. Find this 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning offered for $8200 in Seekonk, MA via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
A Pontiac dealer in 1977 must have been a very confusing place to visit. On the fancy side of the dealership you could get a full sized Bonneville, Safari, Grand Prix, and the recently downsized Catalina..which was now on par in size with a LeMans. One your way past the performance oriented Firebird you would find smaller cars like the Phoenix and the Ventura…but eventually you’d stumble upon a few unloved things in the corner including a subcompact Sunbird and the Astre. Where did all of these cars fit in the realm of GM’s Chevy, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, GMC, Buick, Cadillac brands?…I think you’d need a pivot table to properly understand it. But here is what you need to understand — this is a Vega powered by Pontiac’s iron duke 4-cylinder…which is the only reason it is still on the road because those alloy block engines in the Vega were dreadful. Find this 1977 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon offered for $6,500 in Lucerne Valley, CA via eBay.
In the world of used military vehicles, many are cheap (at least per pound) but few are actually usable in a typical urban environment. That M35 deuce and a half certainly looks mean, but it’ll burn through fuel like the space shuttle and forget trying to park it on the street in front of your neighbor’s house. This next little jewel is a Laplander from the Swedish army collection and is small enough to park in your garage, but rugged enough to park in your neighbor’s back yard…after driving through some bushes, a creek, and maybe their fence. Find this 1962 Volvo Laplander L3314A offered for $9,850 in Apopka, FL via eBay.