Remember when Mercedes-Benz built big sophisticated pieces of rolling art that cost a bucket of cash because they provided quality and experience that was unmatched. They had interiors that would survive serious abuse without showing wear (just look at those 30 year old MBTex seats!!) and instead of stupid touchscreens they had pop-up (lockable with a key!) cell phone dial pad in the dash. Luxury! Performance! Sophistication! Depreciation? Find this 1993 Mercedes-Benz 400SEL offered for $5900 in Beverly Hills, CA via craigslist.
A few years ago I owned and drove a used 3rd generation F-body and I’m not going to say it was a bad car, but let’s just say that it is not an experience I am anxious to repeat. It was slow and unsophisticated, but mine was an 84 Z28 and I didn’t have a rare last year of the generation 25th Anniversary edition. The 25th Anniversary Heritage Edition was supposed to be equipped with Corvette alloy cylinder heads, a 6-speed manual, and tubular exhaust, but the bean counters at GM decided that a graphics package is what buyers wanted for their extra cash. However, today’s example is offered for a decent deal and looks to be ready to go. Find this 1992 Chevrolet Camaro RS offered for $6,800 in Stamford, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
I had a good friend who always said: If you are going to do something crazy — don’t go half way. Commit. Full send. No regrets. I don’t talk to that guy anymore because he was insane, but I think I might have found his next car, or at least a conversation with a kindred spirit. Because if you are going to have a car that is dedicated to the Joker, it better be purple…and the only thing I’d change is it needs some green rims. Find this 1999 Mercedes-Benz E320 offered for $7650 in Maspeth, NY via facecut marketbook. Tip from Cory.
Are you trying to decide if you next car should have 2 cylinders or 4 cylinders? Perhaps you want the frugal fuel economy that only 2 cylinders can provide, but the smooth and refined sounds of a 4-cylinder. Or maybe you want some of the 4-cylinder horsepower, but mixed with the 2-cylinder maintenance costs (2 spark plugs, 2 intake valves…everything costs 1/2 as much)…but you can’t decide. Then you get a 3-cylinder engine, because now you get all of the thrashy noises associated with a un-even number of cylinders combined with a hamster-pulling-a-boulder-up-a-hill acceleration. Find this 1992 Daihatsu Charade offered for $3,500 in Groveland, FL via headcrash wreckingbook. Tip from David.
This next car comes as a tip from Matt C who writes: Facebook Marketplace find that popped up: A rather unusual mud toy even by Cartersville, Georgia standards. Indeed, this isn’t your grandfather’s Daihatsu. This thing has been lifted three inches and rides on Mattracks — which means it will go as far as you are willing to deal with the inevitable failures associated with replacing the wheel with about 47 different mechanisms. I’m not saying it won’t be fun…but just watch the Grand Tour when they went to Madagascar. Find this 1996 Daihatsu Hijet offered for $12,500 in Cartersville, GA via facetrack marketank.
About 15 years ago I purchased an 85 SVO that looked like a dilapidated version of this next car for exactly 1/10th of the asking price. Was it a good deal? Sure. But I sold it a few years later for a bit more than I put into it…however, that car hasn’t appreciated to anywhere near the asking price of this thing and I have to assume that is because my car wasn’t a one of 60 examples of the Hertz Rent-A-Racer and I expect that this next car will always be worth more than the basic version. Find this 1985 Ford Mustang SVO offered for $12000 in San Leandro, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
In 1986 and 1987, Shelby Automobiles modified about 500 Dodge Omnis in their California based factory for shipment and sales directly through Dodge dealers around the country. These econobox legends were outfitted with a modified engine, upgraded wheels, brakes and suspension and given a factory Shelby VIN…so don’t call it a tuner car or a kit car. Find this 1986 Shelby Omni GLHS offered for a starting bid of $8000 in Fredericksburg, VA via craigslist.
I don’t mean any disrespect to minivan collectors, but I cannot believe that someone kept a 90s Nissan minivan in this good of shape. I love minivans, I own one as the wife’s daily driver, and these things live a horrible life of soccer ball dents, door dings, baby vomit, dog hair, hot sun, and the weekly Costco parking lot shopping cart derby — because a minivan are the sweat pants of the automotive world. You can find Elvis’s sequin covered suit at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas, but you couldn’t give his sweatpants away to your local Goodwill. I just can’t understand how this car survived the years of abuse that EVERY minivan gets, and therefore I conclude the only logical answer; time travel. Occam’s razor, meet Elvis’s sweatpants. Find this time traveling 1998 Nissan Quest offered for $3000 in Hercules, CA via craigslist.
There is an old saying; if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s sort of the way I feel about the Baja-everything movement. Sure, it started with Beetles back in the day, but then they started putting big wheels and lift kits on Firebirds, BMW Z3s, Miatas, Crown Victorias…where does it end? Let the apocalypse commence, I’ll be ready. Maybe with a W126 S-class? Find this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W126 offered for $4000 in Highland, CA via craigslist.
I know I might be in the minority when I admit to this next thing…but I have to come clean with you guys. I dig a gaudy interior on a crummy 80s classic. Yeah, you might sit there in your new Audi and enjoy the subtle grey textures on with flat black plasticized paint, but I’m gonna go bananas for a car with a white shifter boot and red seat inserts. You can have your dark mahogany carbon trim panels and I’ll take a Muppet bordello red carpet with a white steering wheel with a black horn section — because if you can’t wash your hands before each time your drive your Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500 Pontiac, then you don’t deserve to have one. But if you are true believer of the cult of Pontiac, then you’ve been double sanitizing and wearing a mask since 1984 because boogers don’t belong in a Fiero with this kind of an interior. Social distancing? HAH!! Nobody who has owned a mint Fiero has been on a date since about 1985, so take that! Find this 1984 Pontiac Fiero offered for $7,950 in Ozone Park, NY via ebay. Tip from Hugh.