We automotive scavengers tend to spend a lot of time complaining about how product planners at the big auto companies miss our desired combination of big-engine and manual gearbox, in a wagon shape (hello BWM, hello Toyota, etc). However, there was a time when Volkswagen, of all people, got it right! They put the crazy W8 engine into the wagon version of the B5.5 generation Passat and let us have a 6-speed manual gearbox mated to all the wheels via VW’s 4Motion system. It was glorious and expensive and not many were sold, but used ones are cheap. Find this 2004 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion offered for $6,500 in Narragansett, RI via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
This next car comes from tipper Cory who writes: impossible to find IS300 wagon. I had high hopes it might be a manual gearbox equipped IS300 Sportcross, but alas, the wagon version of the IS300 was only available with a fun-sapping 5-speed slushomatic transmission. I’m sure there are a few versions that have been swapped, because the regular 2JZ-GE equipped IS300 sedan was available with a W55 manual gearbox for the entire production run, in fact, we featured a swapped 5-speed last year. Find this 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross Wagon offered for $5,500 in Boston, MA via craigslist.
My advice for selecting a mid-engine kit car to buy is the same advice I give for people considering a mohawk for their hairstyle. Always go bigger, flashier, spikier, and bluer. And never go half way in, with some kind of stupid fauxhawk, you need to commit to the full experience and rock that Chevy V8 powered Manta symbol of your inner 6 year old and make it loud and proud. Find this 1983 Manta Montage offered for $14,500 in Seattle, WA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
There is a chance that any car featured on this website will end up as a wallet draining pile of junk…that is indeed the risk we take as buyers/sellers/drivers of used and depreciated classics. But there is no car as CERTAIN to raid your wallet as this next car, because there is no way you could even get this thing home to your garage before something goes wrong. But that is okay…because it’d be worth it. Because even somebody daily driving a 70s Saab is lightweight compared to someone who has the willingness and the audacity/cojones/guts to drive something like an 80 Maser. Find this 1980 Maserati Quattroporte offered for $9,800 in Philadelphia, PA via eBay. Tip from Rock On!
The Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman was sold from 1975-1976 as the ultimate expression of domestic opulence. It combined the long wheelbase girth of the Seventy-Five limousine with the package of the Fleetwood sedan all for an astonishing MSRP that could hit $17k in 1975 (when a Corvette cost $6,800). You don’t seem many around today, but if you’ve got the space for a 19.5 ft car (that is more than a foot longer than a second gen Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van), it does seem like something worth a second glance. Find this 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman offered for $18,500 in Tulsa, OK via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The seller of this next vehicle describes it as “museum condition” which might be a bit of a stretch, because I doubt any museum would want an 80s Toyota Wagon…but now that I think about it, there was a Toyota museum next to the North American Torrance, CA headquarters that was filled with all manner of original Toyotas before they moved it to Texas and the Toyota Museum in Japan is filled with all sorts of strange stuff, so perhaps this does belong in a museum, but I’d like to use it to haul my kids around for a few hundred thousand miles first. Find this 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon offered for $8,500 in Long Beach, CA via craigslist.
If you take the one major thing that makes the Cosworth Vega an interesting and unique car (namely, that Cosworth Twin-Cam alloy inline-4) and replace it with an engine that is in every conceivable way an upgrade, (except for originality) is that a good idea? Wait a moment. I feel like I’ve asked this question before…no not about the sundry V8 Vega customs we’ve featured, but I’m getting a sense of déjà vega here…yes…we’ve featured this exact car in July of 2018. Today’s asking price is less, but the car looks more sorted — it has a factory style airbox now instead of the drone-tube from before and a set of pink floormats. Find this 1976 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega EcoTech offered for $9,999 outside of Raleigh, NC via craigslist. Tip from Rock On (again!)!
The BMW 2002 (1968-1976) was one of those hidden classics that wasn’t expensive to buy, maintain, or drive on a regular basis. Prices shot up a few years ago and now the Tii version is stupidly expensive, but you can still find the occasional basic 2002 for a reasonable chunk of cash. Today’s next example has a Gulf Racing paint scheme and some rust, but has some potential. Find this 1974 BMW 2002 offered for $8,500 in Long Beach, CA via craigslist.
This next car comes as a tip form Kevin who writes: If I am off on an endless road trip this just might be my ride. Sure it has the turn radius of the Queen Mary, but it has the comfort of a stateroom on wheels. Sit in that front seat and tell me it isn’t so! I have to agree with Kevin — this car just gobbles up the miles, and I drove one as a company car on many occasions. It was the EcoBoost twin-turbo version and was effortless in acceleration and a spitting chips for fuel. As an alternative to the unwieldy SUVs and uncool minivans that dot the modern automotive landscape, I find the Flex to be closer to the giant 3-row wagons of yesteryear. Find this 2015 Ford Flex offered for $15,000 in Shoreview, MN via craigslist.
This next car comes as a tip from Jeff who writes: I love depreciation… especially with Euro vehicles. Another great example with good miles and in awesome shape. Not bad for 500+ hp but the age old question looms… you can afford to buy it, but can you afford to maintain it? (that is the […]