The other day I was reading an article about a little piece of machinery that is powered by a Cat C2.2 diesel engine and can traverse just about any terrain, from mud, to snow, to soup — it is the amphibious vehicle called the FAT Truck. This thing is an amazing piece of machinery but it cost $127,000 (not sure if that is CAD or USD, but it is expensive to say the least) so we need to find something cheaper that isn’t quite as capable and maybe needs some elbow grease. As luck would have it, we got this next thing as a tip yesterday: Find this 1970 Playcat 400 offered for $1250 in Anchorage, AK via craigslist.
This next vehicle is twice the typical cost of the most expensive DT featured ride, but when you consider it replaces two of your vehicles (your custom 30’s hot rod AND your vintage camper) it seems like a deal. And it still costs less than the average vehicle sold in the USA in 2020. Find this 1934 Chrysler Hot Rod Camper offered for $40,000 in Palmer, AK via craigslist. Tip from Zach.
The XJ (1983-2001) was all of AMC’s engineering might shoved into a lifted family wagon shape. Jeep sold 3 million of these things during their two decade production run, so you have plenty to choose from, but the one you want is going to be equipped with a 4.0 liter AMC inline-6 and isn’t rusting from the bottom. Today’s example is fortunate enough to be equipped with that sweet inline-6 and a manual gearbox, plus it has the Chief trim, which means you get to enjoy the plaid-pattern cloth interior upholstery and none of the silly chrome of the higher level trims. Find this 1987 Jeep Cherokee Chief XJ offered for $6,800 in Roseville, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next car comes as a tip from David S who writes: Geo in Suzuki Costume. Sure a Geo is a Suzuki…I honestly think the world’s a drearier and more uninteresting place since honest and cheap sporty cars like this vanished. Indeed, the world of new automobiles is turning into a dreary buffet of self-steering pod things, but you can drive something vintage and cool if you are willing to deal with the downsides like needing an extra one for parts. Find this 1987 Suzuki Forsa offered for $8000 in Kissimmee, FL via faucibook maskplace.
The first generation RX-7 (SA/FB built in Japan from 1978 to 1985) was a dainty ballerina in the sports car world. The RX-7’s lithe frame was propelled by an equally dainty engine – the Mazda rotary…which was known for dancing high on the tachometer, consuming fuel, and sounding like angry bees when uncorked. However, they are expensive to repair, lack torque, and many have (for better or worse) been swapped with another powertrain…and this next one is the most basic of swaps…Chevy V8 and some kinda automatic transmission — but at least it has a Holley Sniper EFI setup instead of the typical stone age carb setup. Find this 1979 Mazda RX-7 offered for $7500 in Yakima, WA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On
This next thing is straight out of a lawyer’s dream fantasy. It is what appears to be a device designed explicitly to shoot people into trees. It is the gas powered pogo stick (think of a combustion chamber were you are the connecting rod) and they were sold by an outfit called Change Manufacturing out of Wichita, KS in 1960 and 1961. Unfortunately, someone was injured during a publicity stunt at the Indy Motor Speedway and an evening TV personality was thrown off a Hop Rod and allegedly broke his shoulder. According to various internet sources, the Hop Rod was subsequently banned by the appropriate regulatory authorities and the Hop Rod was no more. Shame. The idiot of a gas powered Pogo Stick is nothing short of brilliant and I can’t believe I don’t own one. Find this 1960 Motorized Pogo Stick bidding for $355 in Forked River, NJ via ebay.
The Series III Jaguar XJ6 is one of the legendary sports luxury sedan of the ’80s/90s that every man (or woman) who considers himself a motorhead should own some day. The highway manners were particularly noteworthy, close your eyes and you could hardly tell you were moving — something that couldn’t be said for many of the domestic offerings of the day, The US version was available the the venerable 4.2 litre Jag inline-6 that put out something in the range of 205 horsepower and 231 ft-lbs of torque — and today’s example looks great for the asking price. Find this 1984 Jaguar XJ6 offered for $7250 in Fallbrook, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The 2nd generation Honda Accord was sold from 1982 through 1985 in the USA and these things were everywhere. Honda was selling so many of these things that they decided to build them in the USA. Starting in 1983, most Accords sold east of the Rockies were assembled in a plant in Marysville, Ohio. It appears this one was originally sold in CT, so it is probably one of those Marysville Accords, but it does look in great shape for the age. Find this 1985 Honda Accord offered for $6,450 in Voluntown, CT via craigslist. Tip from Carter.
Today’s third Syncro de Mayo entry is not a vintage Vanagon or a sweet Mk 2 Golf Country, but it does have VW’s syncro all-wheel drive system which was later known as 4Motion. Those earlier syncro Golfs and Vanagons have become expensive due to the uniqueness of their drive systems, so we’ll have to dig into the early 2000s to find something appropriately cheap and ready for your 4×4 adventures. This B5.5 Passat is the unicorn of Passats — it has all of the right pieces — 6-speed, 4Motion, and 1.8T 4-banger. You might wonder why anyone would want the smallest engine in the family (versus the 2.8V6, or 4.0W8) but it is the lightest of all engines and easily more powerful than the V6 with the addition of a simple ECU chip and with some intake/exhaust and a small turbo upgrade it’ll blow the doors off the W8 as well. Trust me, get the 1.8T and feed it premium fuel and synthetic oil, you won’t regret it. Find this 2004 Volkswagen Passat GLS 4Motion offered for $2800 in Sacramento, CA via craigslist. Tip from Michael.
Welcome to Daily Turismo’s Syncro de Mayo, our May 5th celebration of Volkswagen’s four wheel drive system known as Syncro. Today’s next entry into the cabal of synchronicity did not use the Syncro name in its advertising literature, but the R32 Golf MkV puts power from its 250 horsepower VR6 engine into a Haldex controlled center diff that’ll put power to the rear wheels when needed. It still maintains a certain degree front front-wheel-drive understeer, but you can get the back end to step out with trail braking or a heavy right foot. For whatever reason, VW decided to only build the MkV R32 with some kind of flappy paddle double clutch DSG thing, but all reports indicate that the DSG in the R32 is relatively fun to drive. Find this 2008 Volkswagen R32 offered for $12,500 in Sunnyvale, CA via craigslist.