I’ve been a big fan of the new Mini by BMW product that has been sold since around Y2K, because those cars depreciate quickly and offer a fun modern take on the classic front-drive light car paradigm. The only thing BMW did wrong is to make the car about 10% larger than it should have been, which if you then back calculate to volume, you’ve got a car that is 27% heavier than it should be…and that’s not very “mini”, is it? Forget the modern version of the Mini and get a classic Mini, they built them through the year 2000 and you can back-date the looks to the ’60s like the seller did with this next one. Find this 1992 Mini Cooper offered for $11,500 in Phoenix, AZ via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This might seem odd to people accustomed to blistering performance from every car on the street in 2020…but a car with 150 horsepower and a zero-to-60mph time of 7.5 seconds was a quick in 1984. That was faster than a Mustang GT (or SVO), faster than a Porsche 944, faster than an Mazda RX7, faster than a Z28 Camaro, faster than a V12 powered Jaguar XJS, faster than anything from Mercedes-Benz. Now you might ask, what front-wheel-drive car could hit 60mph in 7.5 seconds — and you might be tempted to look for some Honda CRX or something from Shelby’s Dodge years…but this car came straight from the lunatics at Buick, yes the Buick Skyhawk T-Type. The mostly unlikely and forgotten heroes of the sport compact car era. Find this 1984 Buick Skyhawk T-Type offered for $3,500 in Daly City, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The 7th and final generation Pontiac Grand Prix (2004-2008) was a far cry from the original Grand Prix released in 1962. But the boys at Pontiac (soon to be looking for jobs when their entire GM brand was shuttered in 2008) decided that they could still build a classic American muscle car. So here is what they did, they started with the mid-sized front-wheel-drive Grand Prix Sedan and then they GXP’d it by adding an LS4 V8 mated to a crisp-shifting 4-speed automatic, Bilstein shocks, big PBR brake calipers, cross drilled and slotted brake discs, Magnasteer II sport steering control, and the craziest part — staggered wheels/tires, wider in the front. They pulled every trick from the front-drive sport compact hot rodder’s handbook to build what is probably the best front-wheel-drive American sport sedan ever built…about 10 years after it should have been built. With the GXP, Pontiac was literally competing in 2005 with the 1996 Ford Taurus SHO. Despite that…I can’t help but want to drive one of the 17990 examples of the Grand Prix GXP built from 2005-2008, just for the fun. Find this 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP offered for $4,500 in Oregon, WI via craigslist.
The Nissan Sentra SE-R isn’t a car for an extrovert. If you want people to know that you’ve made it — this won’t do at all. Most people will not even look twice at what appears to be a 30 year old Nissan econobox…but a few kooks will go out of their way to engage you in conversation; “Is that a real SE-R?” “I raced one of those in SCCA back in the day” “Would you like to see my collection of antenna balls?” The answer, in case you were wondering, to those conversations is an emphatic YES, because you are the guy driving the rarest of all 3rd generation B13 Nissan Sentras and you know a thing or two about being eccentric. The SE-R won’t feel fast compared to modern front-drive sport compact machines, but with only 2500 lbs to toss around and 140 horsepower from a SR20DE inline-4 mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox plus a limited slip differential…it isn’t slow or lame at all. Find this 1992 Nissan Sentra SE-R offered for $6,000 in SF Bay Area, CA via craigslist.
Color me geezerfied, but I’m starting to think that I need a 12th (twelfth!) generation E-Body Cadillac Eldorado in my life. I’m even going to say that anyone looking for a late model Audi A5, BMW 6-series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe or Lexus Whatevertheycallthemnow Coupe should consider a used Eldorado for a few reasons. First, this car was designed in the pre-Nurburgring lap time times when comfort was more important than braking performance on a track. People who buy Corvettes don’t even take them to the track, so you think your SLS AMG is gonna see anything other than bumper-to-bumper traffic on Rodeo Drive…I don’t think so. Second, the Eldorado was the pinnacle of GM/Cadillac’s expertise in front-wheel-drive engineering and is equipped with legendary Northstar V8. And lastly, because this thing is devoid of the gimmicky infotainment systems that’ll be immediately out-dated by whatever neural-link cell-brain-computer Elon-Zucker-Gates mandates we wear 24-7 in a few years (it is for your own safety kids!!) gets put in the latest cars. This comes from a time when cars could be fixed (and still can) by any local mechanic or a good set of tools. Find this 1998 Cadillac Eldorado bidding for $3401 reserve-not-met located in Pompano Beach, FL with 3 days to go.
The Cadillac Allante (Allanté) was another attempt by one of the big three cash in on the allure of the European import; think Chrysler TC by Maserati or AMC Eagle Premier — but with an accent in the name causing grief for search features and web indexing in the future. I also can’t help but […]
The Lotus Elan M100 was a wedge shaped convertible penned by Peter Stevens (Jaguar XJR-15, McLaren F1, Lotus Esprit, MG ZR, ZS, ZT & TF) and built in the UK from 1989 through 1995. The Elan was later produced by Kia in South Korea under the name Kia Elan (and Kia Vigato). The Elan was […]
The Alfa Romeo Spider built from 1995-2006 was a replacement for the aging Alfa Spider Giulia (1966-1993). The Pininfarina designed exterior was a radical step forward in looks, but regrettably the car moved onto a transverse longitudinal front drive set up shaped with the contemporary GTV. The tipo 916 Spider was never sold new in […]
Random fact of the day: The 1990 Subaru Justy was the last car sold in the US to have a carburetor…but this is a 1991 Justy so it should have some kinda fancified fuel injection setup feeding the 3-cylinder lump under the hood (which conflicts with the seller’s statement that the car needs a CA […]
The B13 generation Nissan Sentra isn’t a particularly memorable car in basic spec, but the factory hod rod SE-R offers an oddly fun package. The combination of a robust and torquey inline-4, good brakes, light curb weight, and limited slip differential puts the SE-R into the ugly-but-good category of used cars….but you’ll never find a […]