I love some good retro-futurism as much as the next guy…but the 1980s version of the future was pretty terrible…particularly if you compare it to the 1930s or 1950s future visions. Back in the real old times, people dreamed of space travel and blimp cities (forget the flying car, I want a BLIMP CITY ASAP!) but by the 1980s most techno-futurists were jaded enough that they saw the Mad Max Thunderdome as a best-case-scenario. This next thing might look like part of a jet fighter, but its got a motorcycle engine and is probably terrifying to pilot at any significant speed. Find this 1986 Pulse Litestar offered for $20,000 in Shrewsbury, MA via craigslist. Tip from ME.
I know what you are thinking…because I had the same gut response when Ford introduced the RS version of the Focus in 2015.. Great, another example of an American car company joining the part about 10-15 years late. Because that is par for the course. Mitsubishi had been selling their Lancer Evolution since 2003 and Subaru had been selling their rally-ready all-wheel-drive STI since 2004…but Ford…they waited until 2015 to release a 4-cylinder turbocharged 300-to-350 horsepower all-wheel-drive rally thing. They were so late to the party that it had been already broken up by the cops….Mitsubishi exited the fun-car market that same year with the obsolescence of the Evolution at the end of the 2015 model year. It’s one thing to be fashionably late, its another to miss the entire raging party and then end up canceling the car 3 years later…because that is exactly what happened. Find this 2017 Ford Focus RS offered for $21,500 in Inkster, MI via ebay.
The 2nd generation Chevelle was a big car…IS a big car, but back in the day it was considered a mid-sized…and if you wanted a BIG wagon you got the full-sized Kingswood Estate. And while those old full-sized beasts have all but disappeared from the road, the mid-sized cars have lingered longer and you can find survivors floating around dry states. Find this 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle Wagon offered for $17,900 in Hesperia, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Chrysler Sebring was the ultimate downer at the car rental parking lots through the 2010 model year when it was replaced by the equally bad but more stylish Chrysler 200. Still a miserably penalty box, but not quite as visibly repugnant. Anyway, between 1995 and 2010, when you were on the way to the rental counter you had high hopes of getting a V6 Mustang or a Crown Vic or some new car you’d never driven before. And you wished you wouldn’t get a Nissan, but you were frozen with fear if you saw a Chrysler key fob being passed over the counter. Uggg, those were horrible cars. Anyway, today’s Sebring has been covered in an early Corvair body shape that looks like it was rejected from the Gas Monkey Garage for being too shabby…but I sorta like it. Expect people to give you lots of space in the parking lot and this COVID thing lets you wear a mask so people won’t recognize you. Find this 2004 Chrysler Sebring with Corvair looks offered for $6000 CAD ($4805 USD) in Edmonton, AB, Canada via Kijiji.ca. Tip from Erik202.
This next car came as a tip from Jim who writes; This car is like a mullet with a tuxedo. Yes, like Pabst Blue Ribbon in a champagne flute. Like roadkill served on fine bone china. Like a Raider’s linebacker in full uniform heading to Centre Court at Wimbledon. Like an expensive car featured on Daily Turismo. Find this 1997 Cadillac Seville flower car offered for $6998 in Norwalk, CT via craigslist.
If you ever find yourself selling a Mustang Coupe that has been converted to a Fastback shape with a custom rear glass hatchback/liftback setup, what is the one angle you should take a photo from? Yes…you got it right, from the rear 3/4 view. Yes, a nice isometric photo showing what this thing looks like from the back — you don’t need to go to the lengths that these guys in this CNET article recommend, but at a bare minimum, you need to take a photo of the back end with your dirty thumb cover the license plate. But…here we are — an inline-6 powered Mustang with spare Type F fluid in the trunk because the transmission leaks and $15k in paint/body, dozens of un-installed parts (including an SVO Turbo and a 30 shot of nitrous) a custom roof/tail/lift/sunroof like we’ve never seen before and not one full picture of the rear end. It could have an airbrushed Aztec-inspired landscape on the back for all we know…and WE WANT TO KNOW! Find this 1966 Ford Mustang offered for $15,900 in Silverlake, CA via craigslist.
This next car comes from the era when American auto designers were more concerned that their cars looked good driving down the road than anything else. Safety, fuel economy, and digital connectivity didn’t even make the list of design requirements, but you can bet that Lincoln had a 78 page design guide on the application of brown paint. At least the new Lincoln Navigator has a massive Kenworth sized chrome grill and wheels that would look large on a tractor…but it still doesn’t have have the class of a Mk III. Find this 1971 Lincoln Mk III offered for $8900 in Franklin Lakes, NJ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
The Buick LeSabre had the honor of being the best selling “full sized” car in North America when it was discontinued in 2004. Why Buick discontinued a best seller or why a Buick would have been a best seller in 2004 is lost to me, but the fact remains that boat loads of old folks bought new full sized Buicks for decades (at least before Lexus/Acura appeared on the scene with more reliable and better product to sell.) The result is a regular supply of lightly used Buicks of semi-recent vintage when the owners kick the bucket. Find this 1997 Buick LeSabre offered in Lenoir City, TN for $3499 via classiccars.com. Tip from BarbP.
Ford starting phasing out the aging push-rod equipped 5.0 Ford V8 in the early 1990s, starting with the Lincoln TownCar in 1991, but in 1995 they still had a 5-point-oh V8 in the SVT Cobra Mustang. But that changed in 1996 when Ford put a hand-built 305 horsepower 4-cam version of their alloy 4.6 liter Modular-V8 in the front of the SVT Mustang. Mustang burnouts have only gotten better since that time. Find this 1996 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra offered for $16,000 in Augusta, GA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Ford Ranchero was Ford’s version of the El Camino — and it offered a decent combination of car driving capability with the utility of a pickup in the same Monday morning up front, Friday night out back as a mullet. Some scoff at the awkward proportions of the sixth generation Torino based Ranchero, but I think it is rad. Find this 1972 Ford Ranchero offered for $3900 in Scottsdale, AZ via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.