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.
The Nissan Xterra (1999-2015) might not have the off road chops of Chrysler’s Jeep or the turn-key reliability of the Toyota 4Runner but it was truck based body-on-frame (built on the Nissan Frontier) and available with a manual gearbox. What it lacks in off-roading capability and easy maintenance it makes up for being cheap to buy. Really cheap. Find this 2003 Nissan Xterra offered for $3900 in Decatur, GA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
I have strong memories of an 81/82 vintage Toyota Corolla and let me tell ya…they ain’t good memories. The car was owned/driven by a friend of mine and it was slow, an ugly shade of jaundice, handled like crap, and saddled with a recalcitrant slushbox. Did I mention it was slow? But here’s the thing…with the all other cars from that era, I remember having to find a payphone to call someone for a ride, or needing a quick fix on the side of the road, but that stupid Corolla just kept running and running. It is no surprise that Toyota sold 44 million Corollas from 1966 through 2016 because they figured out how to make a car that, although soulless, was reliable. Perhaps an injection of horsepower could make this thing fun, but then would you need to remove the custom clutch pedal extender? Find this 1982 Toyota Corolla offered for $6,350 in Philadelphia, PA via craigslist. Tips from ME and Cory.
There are a few things I don’t like about this next car. First, it is white…which is a great color for a commercial delivery van or a lawn company truck, but not so good on a sports-coupe. Next, this thing has an aftermarket set of aero-ish parts that might look okay when new, but a few curb dings and they look like crap…so I’m wary of that. And, lastly, I don’t like the wheels. But other than those few complaints, I love the interior, the manual gearbox, and even the de-badged look. Find this 1998 Lexus SC300 offered for $4,950 in New York City via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
I don’t like posting cars that are “expensive” and this next car is no cheap and depreciated luxury barge…but…BUT…it features the second most beautiful shape from Jaguar (first is the E-Type…hands down) and it is equipped with the rarely-seen-on-this-side-of-the-ocean manual gearbox. This is a combo that is hard to beat. Find this 1993 Jaguar XJS offered for $25,000 near Houston, TX via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.