5k: 3 for 5: 1968 AH Sprite, 1965 Spitfire, 1970 Olds Toronado 455
As promised, we continue Thrifty Thursday by bringing another truck load of cheap classics…but this time we figure a package deal is in order. Instead of throwing all of your money into one rusty pile, imagine picking up 3 classics for less than $5k. Find this SoCal trio in the form of a 1968 Austin-Healey Sprite for $1200 in Ventura, CA, a 1965 Triumph Spitfire for $1350 in Santa Clarita Valley, CA and a 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado 455 for $1600 in Burbank, CA via craigslist.
None of these cars look particularly drivable, in fact they will need some sort of towing vehicle to get them home, but for the cost of less than a good used trailer these cars bring considerable potential future cool.
The MkIV Sprite shared most of its body, components and parts with the MG Midget, but it was powered by the larger 1275cc A-series inline-4, good for 65 horsepower and 72 ft-lbs of torque. At this price there is really no reason to not spend $4k on a supercharger upgrade from Moss Motors to let you keep up with modern traffic. This Sprite, parked in 2008, will require considerable time and money to restore to driveable condition, but what else are you going to do on the weekend?
At a slightly shorter putt to the green is this green/primer Triumph Spitfire and while it has been parked since 1980, it does look a bit more complete and would probably fire right up after a good oil change and new plugs…but don’t quote us on that! The MkII Spitfire has a 1147 cc inline-4 putting out 67 horsepower but it is a lightweight at less than 1600 lbs curb weight.
The final entry in our SoCal trio is a 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado, an odd E-body front-wheel-drive monstrosity with a curb weight three times as much as the Spitfire. The monster 455 cubic inch Olds Rocket V8 mated to the front wheels puts out 375 horsepower and 510 ft-lbs of stump obliterating torque. That is seven times the torque of the Sprite, an F5 twister level of torque. This front-wheel-peel machine is covered in faded poo-brown paint with a matching poo-brown vinyl top and it has been sitting since 2008, so it will require time and money before it can eat through its front wheels and terrify drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike.
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re the toronado, what could "has steering column damage" mean exactly?
From 1970, the feds required a lockable immobilization device, and for almost everyone (Saab the notable exception) that meant a locking steering wheel combined with the ignition switch. Thieves quickly figured out that a few seconds with a slide hammer would punch out the lock cylinder, and the car could then be started with a screwdriver. Unfortunately, this has the side effect of seriously damaging the column. That, or someone had the brainstorm to try and get the column apart and work around the lock, losing parts and doing even worse damage in the process. Any way it goes, figure on a lot of dollars and aggravation before it's put right.