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.
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 I learned anything from the entire PE coaching staff of my high school, it is that everything is a competition. There is no such thing as fun sport and everything ends in a collection of losers and one winner. Today we’ve got a simple face-off for you — pick the pile of parts that you’d rather restore from these two abandoned classics. Do you want a rat chewed 1977 Mazda Cosmo for $4200 or a moldy 1966 Chevrolet Impala Coupe for $3900? Tip from Evan and Dascpcu.
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!
It never fails. I open my big mouth and start gabbering about how “the days of sub $5k classics on craigslist is behind us, we are all going to be leasing electric google-cubes because all the interesting cars are being speculatively purchased/sold on the auction sites that keep popping up…and, lo and behold, the $5k modern classics start flying around the DT tips line like covid19 at a frat party. Leave your solo cups at the door and buy this goldenrod classic before it gets away. Find this 1984 Toyota Celica GT offered for $5500 in Land Park, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
It wasn’t long ago that you could find a stock 240SX on your local craigslist for a few hundred bucks and turn it into your canyon carving drift monster..but several decades, hundreds of LS swaps, and thousands of wrecked telephone poles later, the stock 240SX is as rare as rocking horse manure. This next example isn’t in perfect shape, but it doesn’t look like it’s even been on the Hakone Turnpike or the Usui touge. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be the first to push the tail end out. Find this 1993 Nissan 240SX offered for $6950 in Ontario, CA via craigslist. Tip from Art.
Ever wanted a really small truck but think a Tacoma or Ranger is too big? Then today is your lucky day. Some evil genius took the time to convert a Geo Metro into a pickup truck thus giving you the Truccar. Find this 1993 Geo Met-Truck on Facebook Marketplace selling for a mere $2500 in Riverton, WY.
If you are looking for a small off roader from Japan you probably know about the Toyota Rav4, Subaru Forester, or Honda CR-V…but you probably have never heard of the car-based Nissan 4X4 that beat them to market, looked like a 1/2 scale Hummer and was discontinued in the year 2000 because…I don’t know why, and I don’t know why they never exported them to small SUV crazy America. You can read about the Rasheen here..but only if you can read kanji and kana. Find this 1995 Nissan Rasheen offered for $5300 in Vancouver, BC. Tip from JB1025.
The days when sub $5k classics littered craigslist is just about gone. You can’t hardly find anything that is below $5k and has a manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive, fun, and isn’t a total basket case. One owner? HAH, for less than $5k you just hope the last owner didn’t turn the car into a crack den. Classic? Forget anything fun from the 60s, and even things from the 90s have started to appreciated…so you have to dig deep and head for the mid 80s and learn how to fix pop-up headlight mechanisms. Find this 1984 Toyota Celica GTS offered for $4350 in Burbank, CA via craigslist. Tip from MikeD.