u won’t have automatic lane departure warning buzzards (I’m not sure why you’d want a buzzard to peck at your neck when you change lanes without a blinker, but I hear they are friendly birds if treated properly and only molt twice a year) and self aspirating seats (“You can’t never take wound care too seriously” — said the spokeswoman from Toyota at the last year’s Detroit Auto Show) but imagine driving a 30 year old car in 1970. That would have been a 1940 car. Or even driving a 30 year old car in the year 2000 — a 1970 Torino would have been nuts to daily drive in 1999…but you could easily drive this next car every day and not have people calling the cops on you. Find this 1990 BMW 535i offered for $6,000 in Los Angeles, CA via craigslist.
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.
These next two cars make for an interesting comparison because they are both front-wheel-drive and equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, but the similarities end there. In fact, the thing that makes these car even remotely interesting to compare is that they are sold by the same seller in one craigslist advert. Would you prefer this 2009 Volkswagen Golf offered for $4000 or 1994 Mercury Tracer offered for $1200 in Hartford, CT via craigslist. Tip from ME
You might think that the Honda Element would be an unlikely car to show up on the pages of Daily Turismo, but you might not know as much about the Element as you should. First, the boxy people and gear hauler was available with a manual gearbox and they are simple to maintain. Think of it like an overstuffed Volvo wagon and it makes more sense. Find this 2006 Honda Element offered for $9,700 in Sunnyvale, CA via craigslist. Tip from Matt V.
This next car comes as a tip from Art who writes: Brown, manual v6, 2door wagon, unfortunately of the suv variety but hey…. pretty good looking rig! And the price seems very reasonable if it shows as good as the ad looks. Find this 1999 Chevrolet Blazer offered for $3800 in Old Lyme, CT via craigslist.
The Paul Bracq designed E23 generation BMW 7-series was released in 1977, right in the middle of the malaise era, but it was far from a floating slow boat that induced thoughts of suicide, particularly with a manual gearbox. Domestic cars might have offered luxury in the form of a vinyl top or total isolation from the road, but the German version of luxury involved a properly fast ride with a manual gearbox, taught suspension, and rear-wheel-drive. The only thing you couldn’t get in a late 70s/early 80s BMW was a beverage holder for your giant American big-gulp. Life is full of compromises, I guess. Find this 1985 BMW 735i E23 offered for $4500 in San Rafael, CA via craigslist.
This next car comes as a tip from Cory who writes: This is the modern equivalent of the W123 and these W202 cars are all over Europe still to this day. Yup, the basic package of the W202 was rugged and durable, particularly when compared to the overly electronicated throw-away Daimler-Chrysler era cars. When the W202 becomes old enough to be collectable, expect oddball Euro imports like this one to demand a premium. Find this 1995 Mercedes-Benz 250C Diesel offered for $6999 buy-it-now in Columbus, OH via eBay.
The Ford LTD (pronouced el-tee-dee) was first built in 1965 on the Galaxie platform as a top of the line for Ford’s full sized offerings. In 1979 the LTD was downsized to Ford’s Panther platform and in 1983 it was turned into a midsized thing on Ford’s Fox platform…which was a good thing for people who enjoyed a fun driving experience. The new rack-and-pinion steering, unibody construction, and drivetrain/suspension parts shared with the Mustang meant the LTD finally went from making its drivers sick to making its passengers sick. Find this 1985 Ford LTD LX 5.0 offered for $6000 in Berkeley, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Volvo Cars as founded in 1927 on a platform of safety and the ability to survived the rugged Swedish climate and terrain, but it has really been three different organizations over the years. The first was the classic Volvo that produced a bunch of interesting rear-wheel-drive cars from 1927 through 1999, and then there was the Ford era when Volvo built cars on shared platforms with from 2000-2010, and finally there is the Geely era. But the functional realities of product development lead times mean that changes to design/platforms don’t happen until at least 5-7 years after a change in ownership, so although this car was sold in the era of Ford product design, it is probably the last of the actual Volvo designed things. So what do you make of a top-of-the-line C70 (the C70 never got an R version like the S70 and V70) coupe with a high pressure 2.3 turbo 5-banger and a manual gearbox. You’ll probably be the only one driving one in your zip code, but is that a bad thing? Or a good thing? Find this 2000 Volvo C70 T5 offered for $3000 in Richmond, CA via craigslist. Tip from Matt V.
The ST185 generation Toyota Celica All-Trac was known as the “Super Round shape” version of the high performance version of Toyota’s liftback Celica (1989-1993). It combined a turbocharged 4-cylinder 3S-GTE engine with all-wheel-drive and a 5-speed manual gearbox. With 200 horsepower in the USA version, it won’t be the fastest car you’ve ever driven, but it is a part of Toyota’s rally history and will be a desirable classic someday…if it isn’t already. Find this 1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac offered for $7000 in Katy, TX via craigslist. Tip from Graham.