Sometimes you find a car that must be a good deal because it is offered at a fraction of the cost of the parts to build it, nevermind the builder/seller’s time involved. This next truck is one of the millions of the third generation C/K trucks built by Chevy over a 19 year production lifespan (1972-1991)…but it has a diesel title and a built 402 ci big block under the hood — not a bad combo for California if I say so myself. Find this 1982 Chevrolet C20 Scottsdale offered for $8999 in West Hills of the SF Valley, CA via craigslist.
The basic designation “300” has been used by Mercedes-Benz over the years in a number of vehicles including some humble sedans (like the W115) all the way up to their W198 Gullwing equipped super sports car 300SL…so it might be confusing to people when they see a 300D compared to a 300SD, but make no mistake, this next car is part of the high-end W116 S-Class and should be given proper reverence and distance. Reverence because it is a sweet piece of machinery and distance because you might otherwise get a bad case of the black lung from the diesel exhaust. Find this 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300SD W116 offered for $6000 in Los Angeles Valley, CA via craigslist. Tip from Mike D.
A diesel powered GMC Caballero is a stupefyingly eccentric vehicle…but captivating in a way that is difficult to describe. However, the photos in this next advertisement — and I hate to be the guy that criticizes the artistic integrity of a random stranger’s cell-phone photos for a car advert, but I am today — are just as equally baffling. Ignore the fact that the photos were taken at a Jiffy Lube, we don’t need to talk about that, but there is not a single photo of the entire subject vehicle and the best shot is in portrait mode of 2/3s of the Caballero. I guess I know what a Caballero (GMC’s version of the El Camino) looks like, but the lengths the photographer goes to avoid a single aesthetically pleasing shot of this oddball is downright staggering. Find this 1983 GMC Caballero Diesel offered for $12,000 in Wichita, KS via craigslist. Tip from Jeff.
Living in southern California has its pluses and minuses as car lover. One of the positives is that cars do not rust away. The big negative is the smog rules making imported vehicles nearly impossible to legally drive. So this Japanese import with a clean California title is a unicorn. Find this 1986 Mazda Bongo Brawny offered for $14,500 in Santa Barbara, CA via Craigslist.
Do you know what car on the road is slower than a vintage Rabbit diesel? Nothing. These things make the Benz 240D feel like a cruise missile…and I should know because I owned one a few years back. The non-assisted steering setup is surprisingly easy to turn — probably because the tires are borrowed from something with a banana seat — and feedback is communicative. Don’t worry about the fact that the car doesn’t have traction control, because even the most vigorous clutch dump in damp conditions results in smooth traction…trust me…I should know…because I owned one. To call the Rabbit diesel glacially slow is an insult to glaciers because they actually move — call it Washington Monument slow, because this Rabbit is probably in the exact same spot these pictures were taken despite the best intentions of a team of drivers…trust me…I should know. Despite all that…I still have fond memories of that pile of German metal..and get that narcotizing waft of nostalgia when I see this 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel offered for $5900 with 2 days to go, located in Lynwood, WA via eBay.
All you get is one photo for this next car. But it has only be posted on craigslist for 22 minutes…so…you’ve got to act quickly and the only thing you know is that it has CA black plates (appear to be original because BKC would be proper for 1965 registration, but they look old and could be part of the CA YOM (year of manufacture) program from a few years ago (check the registration slip for a YOM fee)…or recent CA special interest black plate with custom numbers to look like an old plate…again check reg. But…but…if this is an OG CA black plate Mercedes-Benz it means it has never been out of the state or salvaged titled and it looks like screamin deal. Find this 1965 Mercedes-Benz 190D W110 offered for $2750 in Vallejo, CA via craigslist.
You probably know that Audi/Volkswagen diesels as the modern and fuel efficient machines that cheat on emissions tests, but there was a time when Audi was known for cars that accelerated without warning (warning that youtube link has the most awesome vintage commercials but you can also watch this awesome Audi PR film with an detailed rebuttal by Bobby Unser)…but these next two cars aren’t going anywhere fast. First they were equipped with an 84 horsepower 2.0 liter inline-5 turbocharged oil burner. It wasn’t as slow as the non-turbo cars from 1980-82, but after a few decades in a barn…these things are not going anywhere quickly. Find these 1983 Audi 5000 TD s (two of them) offered for $600 in Pittsfield, MA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
What color is this car? Blue? Baby blue? Robin egg blue? Mercedes-Benz called it paint code 922 pastellblau, but I call it simply amazing. Imagine a new E-Class being covered in a shade of Cherenkov radiation instead of the boring grey/black/white you see on 99% of the new luxury cars on the road. Find this 1976 Mercedes-Benz 240D offered for $8500 in Fresno, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
There is no hallowed ground in the world of automotive swaps, but there are some swaps that make you say “why?”. And this next one is a real head scratcher — not that putting an OM617 Mercedes diesel into a small pickup would make for a bad vehicle…it is just strange. It’s not like you are going to increase your towing capacity or beat the torque from a Magnum V8…but that flapper valve tipped exhaust stack certainly has some style. Find this 1989 Dodge Dakota diesel swap offered for $2000 in Cazenovia, NY via craigslist.
It is lazy to post two cars in one craigslist advertisement…or genius? You save on the craigslist fees ($5 is $5…right?) and you get twice the exposure to your cars per click. And if you are trying to thin down your fleet…it isn’t a bad idea, especially if the cars are both the same make/model and ready for the next owners. Find these 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD W123 Wagons offered for $11,000 and $7,000 in Santa Monica, CA via craigslist. Double tip from Rock On & MikeD!