This next car comes as a tip from Art C who writes: I totally forgot Mazda put a stick in a minivan!! Could be a fun DD for someone to haul around drums or kids or all sorts of bulky items. Yup, only Mazda would put a 5-speed in a car that seats 6 people (7 with the JDM center seat setup known as the Karakuri seating system, which apparently didn’t meet USA crash standards but was good enough for Japanese and ROW). Find this 2009 Mazda 5 Touring offered for $4,400 in East Windsor, CT via craigslist.
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1980’s were known as the Golden Age of Rally. Fire breathing Group B cars ran rampant throughout the forests in the early part of the decade, and then tragically it was all over. The meek inherited the woods in the form of production-based Group A cars, and a few of them made it to The Land of the Free. Plucky little Mazda took it’s cooking 323 hatchback and turbo-charged it along with outfitting it with AWD and a locking center diff. Shockingly, it wasn’t forbidden fruit in the U.S., and it was sold in showrooms across the U.S. next to it’s tamer siblings. Of course, you know the rest of the story; it didn’t sell, only moving around 1,200 units in the 2 years here. Find this 1989 Mazda 323GTX offered for $6,500 in Orange County, CA via craigslist.
he Suzuki Cappuccino was introduced for the 1987 model year as an attempt to add some sportiness to the Suzuki lineup in native Japan. In a photograph it looks like a Mazda Miata competitor, but with a total length of only 129 inches and a 1598 lb curb weight, the Cappuccino was closer to a go-kart and it conformed to Japan’s Kei (Keijidosha light car) regulations that gave buyers a tax break and easier license/insurance requirements. The pint sized cup of Japanese coffee was never sold in North America, but a few made it across the pond and into the wilds of the US car market. Find this 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino offered for $11,000 in Clifton, TX via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Somebody the other day was lamenting the death of cheap project cars, but I think the discussion may have been premature. This next car is about as cheap as you can get for a classic Honda CRX, and I am intrigued despite the multiple issues it faces. And yes, it will need to be towed. Find this 1988 Honda CRX Si offered for $1200 in Palmdale, CA via craigslist.
The Honda Beat might not be the first car styled by Pininfarina to be featured on Daily Turismo…in fact, it is the second Pinin car featured today, but it does have the dubious crown of being the smallest car to ever come from the legendary Turin based design house (at just under 11 feet long). Today’s Beat is covered with some crazy looking anime wrap, but it can be removed to expose decent looking red paint. Find this 1991 Honda Beat offered for $9,999 in Pittsburg, PA via craiglist. Tip from Rock On!
Don’t think of this next car as a big white Camry…because while it might share the same basic bland styling direction as a contemporary Toyota, it is superbly well refined example of the horseless carriage. And for all the people who ridicule the meh…zzz styling, the other side of the coin is the new Predator face grill LS500 or the similarly old Bangled butt on a 7-series…which is a great shopping comparison vehicle. Except the Lexus is quieter on the inside, more reliable, cheaper to maintain, and just as executive in execution. This next example is low in miles and high in class — it just needs a few JDM finishing points like a bumper pole and a Crown Athlete grill. Find this 2008 Lexus LS460 offered for $18995 buy-it-now or make-offer located in Stafford, TX via ebay.
I saw this next can and a little earworm immediately jumped into my head. And her name is G…L…O…R…IiiiiA…GLORIA…I wanna shout it ev’ry night (GLORIA!). Oh man. If I owned this car, I don’t think the cassette player would have anything other than Van Morrison’s single GLORIA stuck on repeat 24-7 at top volume. Makin’ me feel so good, huh, Make me feel all right, huh! I don’t think my wife or kids would want to ride in this car with me…mmmm…that’s just a bonus, I guess. Find this 1995 Nissan Gloria Gran Turismo bidding for $4000 on cars&bids with a few hours to go.
Happy Pi Day to all the true Pi-day adherents, I won’t get started on those wacky Pi-approximatists who celebrate on July 22 (heathens & heretics the lot of them!!), but I will explain what this next car has to do with 3.14. There is an expression about being American as apple pie, so I have to assume that there is an equivalent expression about something being as Japanese as a pie. Probably not apple pie, in fact the pie is probably fish flavored or one of those delicious okonomiyaki pancakes…so this next car is as Japanese as okonomiyaki. Which is essentially pie…a synonym for pi…wait I don’t have to justify myself to you non-pi day plebeians…I’m going to go eat some pi…or…err…pie now. Find this 1995 Mitsubishi FTO GPX offered for $8950 in Bend, OR via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Kawaii is not a Hawaiian Island — it is the Japanese word for what is known as the culture of cuteness. Rainbows, Hello Kitty accessories, and childlike aesthetics is the rule, and I won’t go into the details or controversy around kawaii, other than to say that is quite strange to descendants of uptight Westerners like myself…but if you were into that kinda thing, I can’t imagine a better car to go with your Pikachu fishnet stockings and miniature backpack than one of the retro Pike cars (Pao, S-Cargo, Figaro, Be-1, K10-Micra) from Nissan 90s catalog. This next one has some rust, but you could probably get someone to fix the rockers and keep this thing alive. Find this 1991 Nissan Figaro offered for $7,500 in Athens, GA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. The Yenko Stinger was a Corvair based custom built in the late 60s, but hold your pitchforks…Don Yenko also built a few hundred Yenko Stingers in the early 70s on the Vega chassis. This next car is offered as a “tribute” to the actual Stinger, but it has a 3.8 liter Buick V6 instead of the original turbo-4 2.3 liter that Yenko offered. Find this 1973 Chevrolet Vega GT Kammback bidding for $6,500 in Bakersfield, CA via ebay with 1 day to go.