Back in 2006 when the 24 Hours of LeMons first launched the world’s craziest racing series, you could actually buy a running car for $500. It wasn’t easy and you didn’t have your pick of the best stuff around, but for 500 smackeroos you could get something that just needed a roll cage and some new wheels to make it to the race track. But inflation marches ever forward…and Cash for Clunkers decimated the population of really cheap stuff on craigslist. Add the fact that anybody can get “cheap” loan money combined with the effect of un-ending random stimulus checks from multiple economic crises, the same amount of cash won’t buy you much. Today, the $500 on craigslist costs $2000, but every once in a full moon, you find something with frozen rear brakes, bald tires, dead battery, and various other problems for under that magical, mythical, and arbitrary $500 price. Time to go racing. Find this 1985 Renault Fuego offered for $500 in Binghamton, NY (or PA?) via craigslist. Tip from ME.
The Renault R10 was a small French family sedan that offered a surprisingly Beetle-like architecture (1100cc rear-engine riding on a swing-axle). But today’s example has been electrified…and apparently the electrification work was done way back in the 1960s when gas was cheap and nobody knew who Elon Musk was. It was a simple time. Find this 1968 Mars II offered for $5500 in Junction City, OR via craigslist. Tip from Evan.
St Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers, for couples, for people who have somebody else — but what if you are single? What does the world or the internet have to offer you? What if you don’t want a mate or kids or all the responsibility that comes with a relationship? Maybe you are the sorta guy/gal who prefers to spend your time in the garage than sitting on a love seat or you don’t want to worry about getting home from work on time…then this next car is for you. I can’t think of a better car for the single person, and it’ll certainly keep you single for a long time. It’s not just repulsive to the opposite sex, it will also keep you busy enough that you won’t find time for flirting or dating or any of those other things that people who don’t spend their time rebuilding spherical suspension components. Find this 1988 Citroën CX TRS22 offered for $12,500 in Alpharetta, GA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
I ask this question will all the innocence of a small child; can bad could it be try and restore a barn find DS21? Let’s assume you live in a country/state where MOT inspections and smog requirements are nil — how hard would it be to get this car to the point where you could drive it to work once a week? We’ve all heard the stories of rusting sheet metal, leaking suspension components and o-rings that need to be imported from Mars…but how bad can it really be? Does anyone have any experience with restoring a Citroen DS21 that needs “complete restoration” according to the seller? Is restoring a DS21 something that the strong willed shade-tree mechanic could conquer, or is this a recipe for tremors and a trip to Bellevue? Does anybody in the comments know, or do they not have internet access at mental health facilities? Find this Citroën DS21 offered for $9,850 in Simi Valley, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I was wandering through a middle American neighborhood the other day and I passed by a parked Saturn L-something sitting in a driveway. It was in decent shape and the owner probably bought it new and it got me wondering — what would the nicest Saturn L300 (for instance) be worth on the open market today? And would anyone want one at any price? This opened the bigger question as to the market for nice versions of terrible cars (see the Terdcel from the other day), and then this next time came through…and I couldn’t help but feature what is probably the nicest Fuego that isn’t en fuego. Find this 1985 Renault Fuego offered for $9000 in Killingworth, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The Renault Alliance was the result of an alliance between Renault and AMC, which was less of an alliance and more of a case of AMC borrowing a large sum of cash from Renault. In its day, the Alliance was the French version of the Honda Civic and lived on an Americanized Renault 9 chassis, but was assembled in Kenosha Wisconsin. The ragtop was ‘convertiblized’ by the American Sunroof Company, a custom builder regularly employed on oddball Detroit projects such as the ASC McLaren Grand Prix, Buick GNX, Chrysler Cordoba LS..etc. But, the most striking thing about today’s Alliance is how it managed to survive the last 35 years in such remarkable (and running!!) condition. Find this 1985 Renault Alliance Convertible offered for $4,500 or trade for Prius in Cedarburg, WI via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
This next car had me to a double take on the model year. 1987? Surely this must be a typo — it looks closer to 1957 or 1967…but the legendary Citroën Duex Chevaux was sold in a Beetlesque single generation from 1948 through 1990 with only some safety and regulatory changes to keep up with the times. To put this in perspective, imagine if you could buy a brand new 1978 Pontiac Sunbird at a dealer today — that is how old the 2CV was in the late 80s when this example rolled off the factory line. Find this 1987 Citroen 2CV offered for $12,500 in Henderson, TX via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Citroën Ami Berline (notchback sedan) is a salmigondis of peculiar design elements. Crazy single spoke steering wheel, dash mounted push-pull manual shifter, and crazy flying buttress c-pillar is just the beginning of the oddity that is a front-wheel-drive French machine with an opposed two cylinder engine. One could make the argument that a ’67 Mustang isn’t that far removed from a new Mustang you can buy in the showroom in 2020, but this thing is so different from a modern car that you can hardly compare anything other than it has wheels and an engine. Find this 1967 Citroën 6 Ami Berline offered for $13,900 in Ames, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
This next car comes as a tip from Johnny Bouncewell who writes: This state is full of strange old cars that don’t rust away but instead get fried by the sun. This one would take a serious Francophile to restore but hey, how many French five door wagons are still out there with the proper gearbox? Find this 1985 Peugeot 505S Wagon offered for $2,000 in Los Lunas, NM via craigslist.
The Citroën (Citroen if you prefer) Traction Avant was launched in 1934 with a crazy independent torsion bar front suspension, unibody construction, hydraulic engine mounts, and a revolutionary alloy transaxle to allow power from the longitudinal engine to be pushed through the front wheels…ergo traction avant!! But 1950 was a long time ago…and this Citreon is now traction derrière and powered by a Oldsmobile V8 pushing power to a stick beam rear end. Sacré bleu cheese!!! Find this 1950 Citroën 15C9 Custom offered for $18,000 or make-offer in Glendale, CA via eBay.