This next car is a Fiat 850 Sport Spider that would have had a 843cc inline-4 that would have pushed a dismal 49 horsepower into the rear mounted transaxle. Today’s example, however, has been given an injection of speed and power in the form of the legendary tweetle-tweetle-Beetle engine. That’s right, a 1600cc dual port motor with a single carb and (to quote the seller) “twice the displacement, 10x the simplicity, and 100x the reliability!” I’ve never considered a VW engine to be an upgrade…but I guess this is the exception that proves the rule in cases not excepted. Find this 1969 Fiat 850 Sport Spider offered for $7,500 in Torrance, CA via craigslist.
The Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback was sold from 1961 through 1973 in three distinct configurations, the notchback (looks coupish), the squareback (a wagon thing), and the fastback…which is what we have here today. Power comes from Volkswagen’s 1600 cc version of the aircooled flat-4 that was fuel injected starting in 1968, but today’s car has a freshly built 1835cc motor fed with some Weber carbs. Find this 1971 Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback offered for $7900 in Buckeye, AZ via craigslist.
There is something supremely right with the first generation Audi A8 (1994-2002). It wasn’t the first executive car built by Audi to compete with the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series and Lexus LS, but it was the first to sit on an all aluminum monocoque frame. Today’s example is fitted with the 4.2 liter V8 (instead of the basic V6) which means it has Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system and looks as stately and perfect as when it left the factory. Find this 1998 Audi A8 4.2 Quattro offered for $7,800 in San Diego, CA via craigslist.
The Porsche 914 was the entry level offering from the aircooled engine guys from Stuttgart in the early 1970s, and it is well known for fun handling and subtle styling. Today’s example has a crazy modified body that looks like it could win a race against a fighter jet, but the basic stock 2.0 liter flat-4. Expect a lot of confused cops looking to recalibrate their radar guns after you cruise by 5 mph under the speed limit. Find this 1976 Porsche 914 Bravossa Custom bidding for $9,500 on eBay with 6 days to go and with a $16k asking price on craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The T4 generation of Volkswagen’s infamous Transporter was sold in the USA from 1990 through 2003 as the “Eurovan”. For whatever reason, the same barbaric price increases that have plagued the market for the OG rear-engine Transporter has also hit the late model Eurovan market and the perky little cheap vans have now become stupidly expensive little cheap vans. Today’s next example is priced like it is 1999, and it probably has something to do with the mountain of bondo used to fix the driver’s side as it appears otherwise ready to give you the urban hipster street cred you’ve been looking for to go with your ironic moustache and sandal tan. Find this 1993 Volkswagen Eurovan offered for $4000 in Aptos, CA via craigslist.
There is a common misconception amongst regular folks that when a car gets to be over 10 years old, it just becomes an unreliable piece of junk. This just isn’t true. Or at least, it isn’t true anymore, because there was a time when daily driving a 10 year old car was unthinkable or at least uncommon, but that era ended in the 1950s when auto makers finally figured out how to put together good stuff. However, if you put aside your uninformed prejudices about old cars and get past the “its unsafe” nonsense (if you are older than 40, you probably spent most of your childhood riding around in the back of a car or pickup without a seat belt) then you will realize there is no reason to drive the over-digitized and hyper-plasticized garbage that comes from factories today. Your family might not agree with your lifestyle, but you’ll be happy that you don’t have a car payment. Find this 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 offered for $4,500 in Fountain Valley, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
Back in the 1980s when Mercedes-Benz was shoving their super reliable 4-and 5-cylinder diesel engines into everything with the tri-star logo, the guys over at BMW decided they wanted to get into the fun. But instead of starting with a simple and rugged engine like the OM61X-Benz diesel, they converted the M20 gasoline engine into something they called the M21 and added a turbocharger and gave it a high redline of 5350 rpm and 114 horsepower. The result was an engine that wasn’t as pokey as similar era oil burning Benz, but it didn’t last the decades without problems, and the 3-series, 5-series, and Lincoln Continentals (yes, Lincolns) that got the engine have all but vanished from the road. But today’s example is low in miles, but high in quality and price. Find this 1985 BMW 524TD offered for $13,500 in Burlingame, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I’ve often wondered why the VW Scirocco doesn’t get much love from the collector car market. Could the fact that the name is un-spellable and un-pronounceable factor in to the low bidding prices on your favorite auction sites — could scores of people be searching for Skirocos and Scriroccos and just miss out on the Giorgetto Giugiaro designed classic? This next verision looks a lot like the 1st generation Scirocco, but is an early 2nd generation. Find this 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco offered for $10,900 in Orwigsburg, PA via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The E36 generation 318ti was an odd little hatchback from BMW that combined the E30 generation rear semi-trailing arm suspension with a 1.8 liter non-turbo 4-banger. It was fun to drive and economical — like a sport compact car should be, but it wasn’t very fast. Today’s example has been given an injection of Ford V8 and sits on pretty big wheels. Find this 1995 BMW 318ti offered for $8000 in Calabasas, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
I’ve bought some rough cars over the years — many of them that needed help getting home, but I’ve always been keen on getting a good title and a set of matching keys. This next car comes with neither of those things…or if it does have keys, you need a new ignition switch. It is not likely that this car is stolen, but I don’t believe that “out of the DMV system” is really a thing in California (although it might be a thing in the wild state of Nevada)…but the sketchiness factor to asking price is…ummm…not bad. Just watch your back when heading to a remote desert meet-up spot with $1400 in cash. Find this 1976 Mercedes-Benz 300D offered for $1400 in Pahrump, NV via craigslist.