This next car came into our tips email box with a note from tipper Rock On who called it a “Japanese Buick”. A what? Oh. Yes, the Toyota Avalon was the ultimate example of the guys from Toyota building a car that the older guy in middle American wanted to drive…which was a reliable Buick Regal — complete with column mounted shifter, boring looks, gushy suspension, and gobs of torque from a big V6. This might not have the vaunted Tri-Shield crest of David Dunbar Buick on the fender, but it will be much more reliable. Find this 1996 Toyota Avalon XL offered for $2400 in Henderson, NV via craigslist.
If you thought Chris Bangle’s deconstructivist flame surfacing styling was tacky on early millennial BMWs, just remember that he was destroying the design language of Fiat in the early 1990s. Actually, the Fiat Coupe (or Coupé, if you prefer) had styling that was a welcome departure from the boxy and boring Fiats of the 1980s and it is quite striking in person or in print, particularly compared to some of the monstrosities that roam the streets today. The Coupe was never imported into the USA as a new car, so you’ll have to find a grey market import like this next one. Find this 1994 Fiat Coupé offered for $14000 in Dallas, TX via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
As much as I am a fan of over exaggeration and making blanket statements, I can’t get over the statement in the title of this next advertisement. The seller lists it as “best deal on craigslist”. Seriously? Let’s take a look at the local competition. Is it a better deal than this ’78 RX7 barn find for $3500? Is it a better deal than a manual gearbox equipped 03 Legacy Outback for $2000? What about this ’89 240SX that needs some work for $3800? That’s about it for the Sacramento area craigslist…so maybe this is the best deal. Find this 1992 Infiniti M30 Convertible offered for $3900 in Folsom, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I’m not afraid of high mile vehicles, particularly if they are from a known breed that survives into the triple digits without costing the owner his lunch each year in maintenance. The BMW 850 fits in that category of expensive to own, but not Ferrari ridiculous, andthe idea of scoring a deal on a low mile V12 powered BMW is compelling..but you have to wonder if a low mile V12 that hasn’t been driven is scarier than a high mile 850ci…I dunno, but the car collecting hobby has turned into stamp collecting these days and this will probably be worth more than the current ask if you just kept it in your garage for a decade and drove it once a week. Find this 1996 BMW 850Ci offered for $17,000 in San Rafael, CA via craigslist.
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!
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 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.
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.
The VW pan based Bradley GT kit car is no stranger to the pages of DT…but you’ll find none stranger on these pages than this next Bradley GT…because the fiberglass body has been grafted to 1989 Toyota Truck chassis, complete with external cooling hoses and external bumpers — it is a sight to behold. The seller even made an awesome video of the car going 4X4ing in the snow. Find this 1989 Bradley GT on a Toyota Truck bidding for $4000 reserve-not-met on ebay with $14,500 buy-it-now located in Aurora, NY. Tip from Kester.
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!