There is this existential question that runs through my head — if the human body replaces all of its cells within a span of 7 years, am I really the same person who did something 7 years ago? I ask this question not just from a statute of limitations perspective, but also from a philosophical question — what makes something a new thing versus just a modified version of the original? To wit, is this next car actually a Camaro, or a tube frame chassis race car with a Camaroish body on top? Find this 1971 Chevrolet Camaro offered for $18,950 in Temecula, CA via craigslist.
In all my years to automotive meandering, I’ve never owned a Beetle. But if I did, it would look something like this next thing. I don’t mind the drop spindle look, the roof rack is ready for a Christmas tree, and the 10-foot paint doesn’t scare me in the least. But I’d probably end up installing a 2500 cc stroker motor, hacking off the fenders, and turning it into a Baja Bug before crashing it in the desert…so it’s probably best that I’ve never owned a Beetle. Find this 1966 Volkswagen Beetle offered for $5800 in Sacramento, CA via craigslist.
The series 1 Jaguar XJ was built from 1968 through 1973 with a standard inline-6 engine and an optional V12 (introduced for the 1972 model year). The XJ12 was the “fastest” 4-door car in the world when it was introduced, but keeping one running will make you the “brokest” person on your block…so…swap in a Chevy V8 and cruise into the sunset…or until you IROC V8 siezes and then sell it for pocket change. Find this 1970 Jaguar XJ V8 Swap offered for $2000 in Albany, NY via craigslist.
If you see this next car and get a primordial tingling of deja vu…you might be right, because we’ve featured this car before…and not just another Falcon Caribbean kit car, but this exact Falcon Caribbean was featured in a “what am I?” post in 2014. It is, unfortunately, still in the same semi-finished state as before and the Ford Anglia chassis (probably not the Austin 7 as specified by the seller) is not entirely sorted under the fiberglass body. Get it for cheap, store it, don’t actually do anything to it, and then sell for the same price a few years later. Sounds like a recipe for success. Find this 1959 Falcon Caribbean offered for $7800 via facebag monsterbook.
The first generation Opel Manta (It is known as a Manta A to the Mantites around the globe) was a clean and simple two-door fastback that shared a chassis and oily bits with the Opel Ascona sedan platform. The Opel marque may have been controlled the giant General Motors monster, but the Manta was a decidedly European machine, with a small cam-in-head inline-4 cylinder engine pushing power to the rear wheels. The Opel brand ended up being a flop in North America, but it wasn’t the Manta’s fault, it was the fault of the bean counters at GM who decided to shove Opels in to the back of Buick dealerships, which sealed their fate before they first appeared on our shores. Find this 1975 Opel Manta offered for $13,500 in Suffolk, NY via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
It is Thursday, so that means time for something wacky. Wacky Thursdays, we call ’em. And there isn’t much more wacky than an early 70s vintage electric golf cart that some nut decided could be an enclosed car. This one doesn’t have a license plate, but this Kelsen appears to have lights and turn signals and all the things necessary to drive on the street if you one was daring. You’d probably be quicker walking, but the glass enclosure should keep you free from the COVID infected spittle of the other people on the sidewalk. Find this 1972 Kelsen Sports Rider offered for $3,500 in Monterey, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
If a 1965 isn’t the best year for automobiles of all time, then I don’t know what year is better. Take this next car, it is a Buick Skylark that still has a reasonable curb weight and clean styling (later A-Body Buicks were heavier and chunkier) but is modern enough that you don’t have to deal with wacky engineering like a late ’50s car or complex emissions equipment like ’70s junk. It should have seat belts and with the addition of dual-circuit master cylinder (and discs up front) it should be totally drivable in 2020 or 2050 or 2065. Try that with a car from any other year. Find this 1965 Buick Skylark offered for $10,900 in La Mesa, CA via craigslist.
I’ve never owned one, but have had the opportunity to go for a ride and drive a Lotus Caterham Seven (this was a late model kit car with a 300 horsepower turbo 4-cylinder modern engine) and it was exhilarating to say the least. No, it was terrifying, as a passenger or as a driver. But that was a kit car, and I prefer my cars to come with some history, some patina, some sweat equity needed, like this 1971 Lotus Seven S4 offered for $10,500 in Southeastern Arizona via craigslist.
The London Black cab is a dying thing. The strange looking hacks zipping through tight streets are as much a symbol of London as the Tower Bridge or Big Ben…and certainly more iconic than the big Ferris wheel of blimps that blights the view of the Thames these days. Regardless, the crunch of low cost alternatives like Uber/Lyft, autonomous driving, pollution, and the fact that black cabs are based on a chassis older than a ’57 Chevy means that there is an asteroid with their name on it headed toward London now. Find this 1967 Austin FX4 Taxi offered for $10,900 in Sacramento, CA via craigslist.
The Lotus Elite had the distinct honor of being the world’s most expensive 4-cylinder powered vehicle when it was launched in 1974. The fiberglass body mounted on a steel backbone chassis was an evolution of the Europa…but it took a turn in the other direction by being front-engine. The end result is a car that isn’t quite as mid-engine tight as the Europa, but with engine bay room that makes it way easier to convert into a V8 powered beast. Find this 1978 Lotus Elite offered for $6,500 in Lexington, SC via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!