The 7th and final generation Pontiac Grand Prix (2004-2008) was a far cry from the original Grand Prix released in 1962. But the boys at Pontiac (soon to be looking for jobs when their entire GM brand was shuttered in 2008) decided that they could still build a classic American muscle car. So here is what they did, they started with the mid-sized front-wheel-drive Grand Prix Sedan and then they GXP’d it by adding an LS4 V8 mated to a crisp-shifting 4-speed automatic, Bilstein shocks, big PBR brake calipers, cross drilled and slotted brake discs, Magnasteer II sport steering control, and the craziest part — staggered wheels/tires, wider in the front. They pulled every trick from the front-drive sport compact hot rodder’s handbook to build what is probably the best front-wheel-drive American sport sedan ever built…about 10 years after it should have been built. With the GXP, Pontiac was literally competing in 2005 with the 1996 Ford Taurus SHO. Despite that…I can’t help but want to drive one of the 17990 examples of the Grand Prix GXP built from 2005-2008, just for the fun. Find this 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP offered for $4,500 in Oregon, WI via craigslist.
Tipper Tian647 sent in a ’94 Explorer 2-door with the comment; Haven’t seen one of this generation in a long time…which got me thinking. The first generation Ford Explorer (1991-1994) were very popular when new and used to litter grocery store parking lots across the country — what happened to them? These 1st generation models were part of the infamous Firestone/Ford fiasco of the late 1990s and it is true that Ford recommended a 26 psi tire pressure in the stock Firestone tires equipped because at 35 psi the Explorer could roll over during a moose test style maneuver. So maybe they rolled over, or people abandoned them on the side of the highway and walked home because they were afraid of the eminent rollover event — anyway, you hardly ever see them on the road anymore. Where’d they go? Find this 1994 Ford Explorer Sport 4X4 offered for $2,300 in Tracy, CA via craigslist.
The Honda Beat might not be the prettiest car to be styled by Pininfarina, or even the coolest mid-engine Pinin, or the most affordable with styling by the Young One (and his successors), but it is the smallest car to come from legendary design house. Regardless, they were never sold new in the USA and driving one will get you smiles and front row valet parking wherever you go. Find this 1991 Honda Beat offered for $6,500 in Seminary, MS via craigslist. Tip from Rramjet.
I’ve never had much more than a passing desire to own a Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle that wasn’t transmogrified into some kind of dune buggy or monster truck. I guess I’d prefer an earlier version because they have a more classic look, but the newer ones have more amenities and performance (today’s Beetle even has functioning factory stock A/C). This next one looks like a 1970s Super Beetle, but it is actually a Mexican import built in a factory in 1993. Amazing when you consider the type 1 design was first released in 1938. Find this 1994 Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle offered for $7,900 in Delary Beach, FL via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
What’s not to love in this next car? It is a rare 2-door SUV from the 80s with a turbo diesel engine, rust, crust, and a toilet paper holder mounted on the side. Or is that a towel rack? Or a wet-suit drying rack for a surfer, perhaps? I’m gonna stick with the TP holder as my final answer, Regis. Find this 1986 Isuzu Trooper DXL 4WD Turbo Diesel 2-Door offered for $6,500 in San Diego, CA via craigslist.
I spent some time bashing front-wheel-drive automotive based crossover SUVs in the Suzuki Vitara post the other day…but if given the choice, would you take the Vitara over a Rav4? And what if that Rav4 was covered in the ultimate tribute to the 90s paintjob? Oh man. And it’s 4X4 instead of just rear-wheel-drive. This is a difficult decision. You tell me in the comments which compact sportish ugly vehicle you’d pick. Find this 1996 Toyota Rav4 4X4 offered for $4,500 in San Mateo, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Whenever I’m in a public place and somebody says, “hey, nice hardbody” instantly crane my neck looking for that sweet boxy Nissan pickup…but most of the time it is just some dudes on steroids or ladies who spend too much time at a CrossFit gym (sidebar; why do Crossfit gyms always have names that sound like something you wouldn’t want to get as a prognosis from your doctor: I’m sorry Bill, you’ve got change your eating habits, you’ve got a bad case of beach box. Ohh…is it fatal? No, but if it gets worse, it could become squats and shots). Anyway, back to the Hardbody– it is the name given to the D21 generation Nissan truck sold from 1985 through 1997 and what this next one lacks in bed space is sure makes up in original clean condition. Whooo oooh. Find this 1986 Nissan Hardbody offered for $4,500 in Ft Lauderdale, FL via craigslist.
The 2nd generation Toyota Celica released in 1985 on an all new transverse front-wheel-drive platform (previous generations dating back to 1970 were rear-wheel-drive). The new Celica was more refined than the previous version and a new 2.0 liter engine promised more performance, but it wasn’t until the release of the GT-S version (ST162) with 135 horsepower from its 3S-GE DOHC inline-4 that performance was improved over the previous Celica. With the GTS you also got disc brakes at all four corners and 5-lug wheels…but not a turbo or all-wheel-drive (for that you had to pony up to the Turbo All-Trac GT-Four version). Find this 1989 Toyota Celica GTS offered for $5900 in Watsonville, CA via craigslist.
I’m not featuring this next car for any of the right reasons. You really shouldn’t buy it–there are about a million cars that offer a better value for $6k that aren’t slow and boring Fords from the early 90s with an automatic transmission made from dry straw and pelican guano. Many of you are old enough to remember that this was the car that drove buyers to Japanese OEMs — while you suffered through headgasket failures, oil leaks, rough idle, and tie-rod-end issues your neighbor had a Honda Accord that lasted for 200k miles with mostly oil changes. Now this is a special example of the 2nd generation Taurus, because it has only 10k miles on the odo, which means its only on its third transmission. Find this 1993 Ford Taurus offered for $6000 in Naugatuck, CT via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
There are two types of V8 swapped Jaguars out there roaming around the streets. The first is the carburetor fed Chebby 350 powered versions — these are built by sellers who are sick of paying crazy Jag V12 maintenance costs and can be fun. The second type of swap is the paradigm presented by KWE Cars, which is where you upgrade and make the entire package better with technology and a steady stream of cash. The sell claims $40k to convert it and if that is true, then paying less than $15k is a smokin deal. Find this 1989 Jaguar XJS V8 Swap offered for $14,500 in Wickenburg, AZ via craigslist.