I get it. You’ve got to find room for the big Ford V6 that you’ve found to power your small British roadster…and that means a bigger hood. Never mind that Carroll Shelby was able to shove a 260-V8 (and later a 289) under the hood of a Sunbeam without resorting to proboscis monkey styled hood, but you’ve got the fiberglass skills and the time to kill. Find this 1967 Sunbeam Alpine offered for $13,500 in Stockton, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next car comes as a tip from John who also included some commentary — all words are his: I realize the market for old VW busses is higher than a Deadhead on a double dose of Owsley’s finest, but please tell me that the price of this one is completely off in fantasy land. Find part of the rotten, dismembered corpse of a 1955 Volkswagen Microbus De Luxe Samba, Factory 23 window, Type 241 in Richmond, Virginia listed for $34,500 on Hemmings. I get that a well-earned patina can be cool and lend a certain cred to an old survivor, but after several decades mouldering in the Virginia woods this one seems to be at least as much oxide as iron.
As European 2-door classics like Porsche 911, BMW 3.0CS and Mercedes SL have inflated into trust fund money required status, there is a little car that continues to be affordable, despite its mid-engine layout, and sub 10k production figures. It is called the Lotus Europa and Colin Chapman designed the suspension, and Ron Hickman designed the exterior. Hickman is better known for his invention of the “Workmate” — the foldable bench/vise/sawhorse design that was manufactured by Black & Decker after Hickman sold it at trade shows for a few years. Anyway, Hickman left Lotus to pursue his Workmate side hustle in 1968, but not before he penned the gorgeous lines of the Europa…but now that I look at it…I can’t help but think that rear end is just an early version of his form-follows-function industrial design work. Find this 1971 Lotus Europa S2 offered for $18,500 in Old Saybrook, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
We’ve all had a car that just made us feel happy. It might not have been the fastest car, or the nicest, or the most reliable, or prettiest. But it made you feel happy. Happy to get in it. Happy to wave at people on the road driving their bologna and American cheese on Wonderbread sandwich cars, while you drive in something that warms the cockles. Wait. Cockles? And why would cockles be warm? Did they get left in the back seat of a rear engine Fiat? And what are cockles anyway? Some kind of vestigial organ that your mother never told you about? No, that’s not right. I know what muscles are and I know that Molly Malone sells them with cockles that are alive (well…she is a fishmonger) so they must be some sorta shellfish or crustacean. Anyway, where was I? Ah, find this 1966 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe offered for $6,500 in Westfield, NJ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The third generation Ford Ranger was first built in 1998 and lasted all the way until 2012. It wasn’t an earth shattering car when new, but it offered a decent tradeoff of usability versus price. Today’s example is both more useable and more expensive, but in a good way- it has a Cummins 4BT, which is a 3.9 liter inline-4 turbo diesel. Find this 2000 Ford Ranger offer for $17,000 near Huntsville, AL via craigslist.
Turbocharged cars are a dime a dozen these days. But way back in the early 80s 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. The Fiat Spider Turbo was as close as a factory installation as you could get and it even came new from a Fiat dealer with a factory warranty and today’s example needs nothing, except a new owner. Find this 1981 Fiat Spider Turbo offered for $14,990 in Edgewater, FL via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next car comes as a tip from SecondMouse who writes; I recently moved to northwest Arkansas, and have marveled at how some of the folks here look after their cars. Some think nothing of driving 40-60 year old cars they and/or an ancestor of theirs have doted on since new to work, or the store. Pristine WWII-era pickup trucks, sitting under carports, waiting to make a run for cattle feed. Here is a case in point. A 1950 Ford Businessman’s Coupe, in the necessary black, obviously carefully maintained with seller’s estimate of 50,000-some total miles, with the original flathead V8 and a three speed on the column. It has some needs, but at the $12,000 asking, there is plenty of room to put the few details it needs to rights. I am only sharing this because I am all tapped out right now. Seriously. All original 2 door Ford flathead. Find this awesome 1950 Ford Business Coupe automobile in Russellville, AR, on FacePlant Mumblety-peg.
I’ve got a few cars in my stable right now that need a few things adjusted (let’s face it, when you’ve got a bunch of old cars, you always have a todo list)…but this next car is a bit more disassembled than any car I’ve ever sold. Which is probably because I prefer to buy my cars low and sell them high (who doesn’t!?!). But if you are on the buying side of the equation and have the time/energy/desire to assemble a cool vintage kit car, I think this next deal is about as good as it gets from a value perspective. Find this 1978 Sebring Kit Car offered for $8,300 in Mounds, OK via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
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 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!