Most of the modified/custom cars out on the street are poorly built piles of Pep Boys junk, but this next car is an example of when a car enthusiast takes the original OEM design and improves it with a few subtle alterations taken from other models from the same OEM. I call this OEM+. A manual gearbox wasn’t available in the USDM E38 7-series, the last 7 with a stick was the E32 735i. The central element of this custom is the 6-speed manual from an M5 mated to a limited slip diff, but the builder focused on the interior with a slick M5 gauge cluster install and an OEM style radio nav system. It is shockingly well done. Find this 2001 BMW 740iL 6-Speed offered for $7,995 in Wareham, MA via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
If somebody would have told me in the year 2004 that in 15 years a Cadillac CTS-V would be worth the same or more than a C5 Z06 from the same year, I would have told them they were insane. But here we are 15 years later, and an ’05 CTS-V sells for about the same as or more than an ’04 Z06…maybe those extra doors are worth the extra money? Personally, I’d need one for a few year test drive to find out. Find this 2005 Cadillac CTS-V offered for $14,500 in Pleasant Hill, CA via craigslist.
At first glance this next car might seem out of place on these pages dedicated to automotive ebullience. But believe me, when I assure you it does belong between a Fiberfab Aztec and a Double-Double-Ranchero-Ranchero. A vast plurality of the eighth generation E110 (1995-2000) Toyota Corollas were sold with a penalty box autotragic transmission and subsequently ridden hard and put away bloody by their owners…but not this one. This one has a 5 speed shift-it-yourself manual gearbox, decent cloth seats, a not-too-shabby exterior, and roll-it-yourself manual windows. It shockingly meets 8 of the 10 things i need in a car in 2020, and a Canadian spec speedo/odometer in kilometers. I love it. Find this 2000 Toyota Corolla offered for $2800 in Campbell, CA via craigslist.
There is an art to squeezing the maximum amount of money out of your customers. It is actually an art and a science and there are people called marketers who spend their entire career trying to get the consumer to pay more for less…which is the unfortunate reality of a really well prepared used car advertisement. The more time a person spends trying to lure you into buying their car with glossy photos and catchy prose, the more money you are going to have to shell out. On the other hand, a poorly created ad with bad photos is, more often than not, the best way to buy a used car. Always remember, the condition of the car is more important than the condition of the advertising photos — that is something you can take to the bank. Find this 2005 Subaru 9-2X Aero offered for $6,000 near Boise, ID via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
There is a heat wave blasting across the amber waves of grain and who’d think that fall is only 16 days away. It isn’t autumn yet, but it IS Labor Day, which means only one thing; DT’s celebration of all the cars that live in the lunatic fringe, also known as Loony Labor Day. This first feature is a yellow C6 Corvette that is festooned with airbrushed photos of legends from the glory days of the Green Bay Packers…but I see Vikings playing traitor Bret Favre on the hood, so I don’t know what’s going on here. It’s crazy. Loony. Find this 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible custom bidding for $9,100 reserve-not-met with 2 days to go, located in Tucson, AZ via eBay.
The Pontiac G8 GXP isn’t the fastest car you can buy for the same amount of money, or even the fastest sedan you can buy with 400+ horsepower that’ll hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds (similar to a 2005 BMW M5 for reference). There are all kinds of European super sedans that are just as fast, if not faster…but they’ll all drain your bank account faster than a 22 year old trophy wife with a Louis Vuitton habit. The G8 GXP however, is powered by an American 6.0 liter LS3 V8 that’ll make donuts till the cows come home AND it doesn’t have a fancy self leveling air bag suspension (cough cough AMG E63) or turbos that are harder to replace than Batman’s parents (ahem, RS6). What it does have is some ridiculous Pontiac styling and an interior sourced from the leftover plastic at the McDonalds beverage lid factory and power..sweet..raw…American…power, assembled by Aussies. Find this 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP offered for $19,500 in Hattiesburg, MS via craigslist. Tip from Ramjet.
The C5 generation (2002-2004) Audi RS6 is a car that should need no introduction to the modern car enthusiast. But in case you need a refresher, allow me to give you the details. The RS6 was based on Audi’s A6 sedan platform, but added a 4.2 liter twin turbo V8 that pushed 450 horsepower and 428 ft-lbs of torque into a 5-speed auto and all four wheels via Audi’s torsen-base Quattro system. It was also, lower, stiffer, brakier, and wider than the standard A6. In its day it was a monster and today the RS6 offers one of the best $/hp you can find on the street. Find this 2003 Audi RS6 offered for $13000 in Sioux Falls, SD via craigslist. Seller submission from Ben.
This next car is a 2001 Porsche Boxster offered for $2000…so something has to be grenaded in the expensive Porsche 2.5 liter flat-6 engine. That is not good…so you’ll need to fix that…but those Porsche parts are “oh so expensive”…perhaps a Fiero Iron Duke 4-banger or a Buick 3800 supercharged V6 would fit out back? What do you guys think — what should repower this porked Porsche? Find this 2001 Porsche Boxster offered for $2000 in Phoenix, AZ via craigslist.
This next car is a Mazda Protegé5 . Not a Mazda Protegé..space..5 or a Protege 5. It is actually the Protegé5 and this predates Mazda’s current obsession with everything having a numeric name..but this pedantic nomenclature hides a very capable eighth generation BJ Familia/323 wagon. This next car isn’t the Mazdaspeed version, it does look to be in remarkable condition and is offered by a dealer who (despite an exhaustive application of ArmorAll) claims it is a 1-owner vehicle and it does have a manual gearbox. Find this 2002 Mazda Protegé5 offered for $5000 in Shingle Springs (yes, that is a real place, and no it isn’t a good name for a retirement home) CA via craigslist.
I am convinced that the first generation Audi TT is going to be a sleeper classic for future appreciation. It won’t be in the next few years, but sometime in the self driving neural networked googlepod future people will start paying decent amount of money for Audi TT Quattros with the upgraded 225 horsepower 1.8T engine and 6-speed manual gearbox. But today’s example is going to be even more desirable because it has the super cool amber leather baseball stitch interior. Find this 2004 Audi TT Quattro 225 HP Baseball Interior Edition bidding for $6950 reserve-not-met with $7995 buy-it-now located in Painesville, OH via eBay.