A few years ago a friend asked for recommendations for a late model 4 seat convertible and as I did the requisite research, I discovered that there aren’t that many convertibles with back seats. They do exist and, oddly enough, Mercedes-Benz built quite a few in the past few years with its S-Class, E-Class, C-Class […]
This next car isn’t the most desirable Alfa Romeo or those still alive, but it is a proper Alfra Romero and not some crummy rebadged Fiat. The Series 3 version of the Spider Veloce was launched in 1983 and survived with minor changes through the 1989 model year when it was replaced with an uglier version known as the series 4. Anyway, today’s example seems like a decent way to get into pretty Italian classic for cheap. Find this 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce offered for $6,500 in Los Angeles, CA via craigslist.
Let’s play a game. Somebody said you can’t get a decent $500 car anymore, but I think that is not entirely correct. Sure, you won’t find the plethora of running/driving cars that you could find 15 years ago, but you can still find an occasional gem in the guano. Find the best $500 car on your local craigslist/autotrader/facebashmorket/etc. I’ll kick this off with a 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider offered for $500 in Yucaipa, CA via craigslist.
Hey Luigi, you gotta stop driving that crummy old Ferrari — its gonna cost you an arm and a leg with each overpriced Ferrari oil change and don’t get me started on the cost of a basic valve service that is probably required every 4000 kilometers…whatever a kilometer is. A kilometer is probably just a really expensive mile. Anyway, this next Ferrari has had the crummy Italian motor replaced with a proper Chevy V8, but the Leonardo Fioravanti (from Pininfarina) body is still looking like a proper 80s exotic. Find this 1977 Ferrari 400 offered for $19,500 in San Rafael, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Volvo 780 was a limited production (~8,500 examples built from ’86-’91) 2-door coupe version of the popular 700-series sedan (’82-’92), of which 1.4 million were produced. The unique body was designed and built by Carrozzeria Bertone in Turin, Italy and was thankfully free from the silly vinyl top that covered the top of the earlier 262C Bertone Coupe. Find this 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe offered for $3500 in Southern Maine via facecoupe marrakesh.
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.
We’ve all had a car that just made us feel happy. It might not have been the fastest car, or the nicest, or the most reliable, or prettiest. But it made you feel happy. Happy to get in it. Happy to wave at people on the road driving their bologna and American cheese on Wonderbread sandwich cars, while you drive in something that warms the cockles. Wait. Cockles? And why would cockles be warm? Did they get left in the back seat of a rear engine Fiat? And what are cockles anyway? Some kind of vestigial organ that your mother never told you about? No, that’s not right. I know what muscles are and I know that Molly Malone sells them with cockles that are alive (well…she is a fishmonger) so they must be some sorta shellfish or crustacean. Anyway, where was I? Ah, find this 1966 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe offered for $6,500 in Westfield, NJ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
Turbocharged cars are a dime a dozen these days. But way back in the early 80s there were only a few cars with the snail shaped glowing/spinning things under the hood and they were mostly American cars like the Monte Carlo, Trans Am, and Buick Grand National…but if you did some research you could find a little company on the East Coast called Legend Industries that would turbocharge your Fiat Spider for a few bones. The Fiat Spider Turbo was as close as a factory installation as you could get and it even came new from a Fiat dealer with a factory warranty and today’s example needs nothing, except a new owner. Find this 1981 Fiat Spider Turbo offered for $14,990 in Edgewater, FL via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
From 1957 through 1970 Autobianchi used the Fiat 500 platform to build a cool looking minicar called the Bianchina, which I’ve been told is Italian for “makes the driver look huge.” And the truth is, you don’t need to be Kareem Abdul Jabar to look huge next to a car with a 72 inch wheel base and a 117 inch total length…in fact, Paula Abdul would look like a giant next to this thing. Which is, apparently, the appeal of the microcar, drive something tiny so you feel like a giant, I wonder if I could buy this with my HFSA money and claim it is a form of therapy? Find this 1965 Autobianchi Bianchina offered for $19,500 in Georgetown, TX via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
I love back-breaking labor as much as the next guy…but building a LaForza from an abandoned chassis without a set of instructions is going to be difficult at best. But, the seller of this LaForza has 3 or 5 additional LaForza vehicles (and some extra parts) strewn about in his/her yard, so you might get some good tips from the guy/gal who abandoned this project for hopeless, which sounds like taking parenting advice for your newly adopted son from the parents who abandoned him in the first place, but free advice is free. Find this 1989ish LaForza offered for $1000 in Whitmore Lake, MI via craigslist. Tip from Zach.