There is a lot to love in a 1990s Toyota wagon. It has plenty of space for your fishing rod, kids, etc…and will probably last a million miles if you keep changing the oil and doing basic maintenance. Not sure how the paint looks so go — but this car might come before the era of low quality clearcoat or it has been garaged and waxed for its entire life. The only two things wrong with this car is a penalty box auto and neck chopper seat belt action. Find this 1991 Toyota Camry Wagon offered for $3,000 in Canaan, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
It wasn’t that long ago that 80s Porsche 911s were selling for something in the $10k-15k range in okay condition. It wasn’t that they were under priced…it was simply that there were a bunch of them sold…343,134 aircooled 911s from the first 4 generations (1963-1997) to be exact, and they were expensive to maintain/keep. But about a decade ago something clicked in the mind of buyers and prices have skyrocketed from affordable to silly. What is strange is that the watercooled front-engine 924/944/968 lineup (that put money in Porsche’s wallet so the business could continue to make 911s) didn’t get as much love from this Porsche appreciation frenzy…but that’s okay, because I still want to own one and I don’t want (or need) to raid the kids’ college fund to do so. Find this 1983 Porsche 944 offered for $9500 in Long Beach, CA via craigslist.
BMW’s 1994 launch of the E36/5 generation 318ti was the first hatchback on a BMW since the classic 2002 Touring was sent to the glue factory in 1974. Styling response was hit & miss the normal folks, but BMW fanboys love the classic 318ti truncated trunk and the fact that it rode on E30 semi-trailing arm suspension borrowed from leftover bits of the previous generation 3-series parts (also used on the Z3). But that didn’t phase BMW planners, because they were aiming to sell cars to a younger demographic and didn’t care of well todo executives didn’t want their little 4-cylinder powered import fighter. Find this 1998 BMW 318ti E36/5 offered for $7000 in Grantham, NH via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
Do you know what car on the road is slower than a vintage Rabbit diesel? Nothing. These things make the Benz 240D feel like a cruise missile…and I should know because I owned one a few years back. The non-assisted steering setup is surprisingly easy to turn — probably because the tires are borrowed from something with a banana seat — and feedback is communicative. Don’t worry about the fact that the car doesn’t have traction control, because even the most vigorous clutch dump in damp conditions results in smooth traction…trust me…I should know…because I owned one. To call the Rabbit diesel glacially slow is an insult to glaciers because they actually move — call it Washington Monument slow, because this Rabbit is probably in the exact same spot these pictures were taken despite the best intentions of a team of drivers…trust me…I should know. Despite all that…I still have fond memories of that pile of German metal..and get that narcotizing waft of nostalgia when I see this 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel offered for $5900 with 2 days to go, located in Lynwood, WA via eBay.
I burnt through a few brain cells trying to figure out what to call this next car. I know it was the product of a collaboration between Hurst Performance (company that invented the Jaws of Life) and Oldsmobile…but everybody on the internet just calls it the Hurst/Olds, which is not a proper name because this is technically the Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Coupe (not Cutlass Ciera, that was a front drive pile o junk) with the Hurst/Olds option…so why the Olds name twice in the name? I don’t know and stop interupting me, I was just getting to the part why you should be interested in this car. The Lightning Rod shifters? Yes. We’ve all come to the conclusion that manual gearboxes are superior to autos, but sometimes an auto comes along that is to bizarrely complex that it becomes interesting. Keep reading. Find this 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Hurst/Olds offered for $10,500 in Kunkletown, PA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I’ll be the first to admit that there is an abundance of sketchy stuff and dodgy sellers on eBay. If they aren’t straight up scammers, then you’ve got people like the guys who show pictures of bikini clad ladies or regular classic car dealers who know how to polish a turd better than the assistant curator of the museum of scatology…but this next car is sold by a seller with the user name…wait for it…fiero-phil. Yup. This guy is the real-deal…and he is so confident in his real-deal-ness that he doesn’t even include a single word in the body of the ebay ad…and I still like it. Impressive. Find this 1990 Buick Reatta bidding for $1600 in Coventry, RI with 2 days to go via eBay.
I made a list of the ten things I need in a car in 2020 the other day and this next car is extremely close to hitting every single one of those points…but I should have added something about no moving seat belt anchors. Who ever thought it was a good idea for the shoulder portion of the seat belt to slide on a track was added safety should have been banned from designing car parts for life. This was as stupid an idea as the vinyl roof or a fake hood scoop…except it could get you killed or worse. However…I do like a good Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion/Dodge Conquest…so I guess I’ll give this one a pass…but mostly because it is a proper color instead of some shade of white/grey/silver/black. Find this Chrysler Conquest TSI bidding for $6,100 in Palm Harbor, FL.
This next car had me confused for a few minutes. The seller lists it as a Pontiac 2+2…and there was a model of Poncho called the 2+2 that was a full sized Catalina based big brother to the GTO…but this mid eighties thing has some interesting NASCAR aero looks…which reminded me of a car that we had called the Aerocoupe in the past…but Pontiac didn’t use the Aerocoupe name (that was used on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS version) on their version of the custom aero nose, bubble glass back, and fiberglass trucklid with spoiler…they inexplicably called it the Grand Prix 2+2. Find this 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 offered for $14,000 in Dayton, OH via craigslist. Tip from Jeff.
This next car comes from tipper SecondMouse who writes: I confess I am not a Jeep person myself, but I know people who won’t drive anything else, and I can understand their appeal if you spend any time off road. Here is a pristine example complete with recent new engine and hardtop. I find it ironic that some many Jeeps are driven by poseurs (broseurs?) because the Jeep is such a non-poseur from an engineering/design/tech perspective — it is a big middle finger to progress. It’s body on frame with suspension derived from an ox-cart, has a pushrod engine that could be at home on a boat, the aerodynamics of a Windsor Castle, and seats taken from a stagecoach…and that goes for any Jeep made by Willys in 1940 to a Jeep made by Stellantis today. Haha Stellantis. I can’t stop laughing. Find this 1987 Jeep Wrangler Laredo 4.0 offered for $5500 in Richmond TX, a suburb of Houston via craigslist.
This next car comes as tip from SecondMouse who writes: I have always liked the looks of the mid to late 80’s C4s, especially in black. This 1986 model ticks all the boxes – low miles, manual, cheap price, and well-cared for. But it looks to need a degree of reassembly that is not entirely clear from the ad. If you can overlook that, you might be the new owner of a sweet little cruiser. Find this one in Buffalo TX, about halfway between Houston and Dallas, on jackstands (!) with no plates (!!), asking $5500. Yes SecondMouse, I completely agree that the C4 is one of the most under appreciated cars from the 80s…and I loved the boxy shape before I got one as MicroMachine in the mid 80s…and someday I’ll own the real thing, hopefully before they get expensive. Find this 1986 Chevrolet Corvette C4 offered for $5,500 in Buffalo, TX via craigslist.