One of my siblings (who shall remain nameless) sent me a video the other day of a guy named The Weeknd (s.i.c.) who was singing a song for the Grammys or some awards show. The music video is conspicuously repulsive — the Weeknd looks like a burn victim and sings like a castrato, and the music is a bunch of over-produced autotuned pop garbage with a catchy ear-worm chorus — but the cars. And the car choreography for a “live” show was impressive. The singer is flanked by a fleet of de-badged red and white Mercedes-Benz SL coupes (most are USDM R107 convertibles with hardtops, but I spy at least one W113 and somebody sporting Euro seal beam units) and the singer is riding in a sweet 1968 or 1969 Mercury Monterey convertible. The best part is that all of these cars are affordable (aside from the W113 SL) and you even get to see one of the SLs leave a trail of thick black smoke in the face of the happy troubadour. You can watch the video here, but I recommend putting it on mute if you enjoy your sanity, and you can enjoy a cool 1968 Mercury Monterey offered for $14,350 in Staunton, IL via Hemmings.
The Mercury Cougar started out way back in 1967 as an up-market version of the Ford Mustang. For its first two generations the Cougar was based on the Mustang, but then in 1974 it changed to a big Torino intermediate platform where it was a counterpart to the similarly plus sized Thunderbird. In 1980 the Cougar was switched to the compact Fox platform where it was a counterpart to the Thunderbird and Granada, but in 1989 it was switched to the MN12 platform where it got things the Fox didn’t have, like an independent rear suspension and available supercharged powertrains. A few years later the Cougar name was put on a front-wheel-drive thing that was based on the European Ford Mondeo, but we don’t want to talk about that. Find this 1989 Mercury Cougar XR7 offered for $12,000 in Merrimac, MA via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
In the early 1970s the automotive world was reeling from the twin crises of new smog laws, safety laws, and increasing fuel prices…whoops, that’s three crises. Anyway, this meant that the performance of the late 1960s was gone and so Chrysler did what any reasonable domestic OEM would do…and that was the replace performance with slap-on gaudy cosmetic pieces of trim and pray that people didn’t realize that European and Japanese auto makers were building better product. What you see next is a resurrection of the Road Runner name on a Plymouth Volare, which was a rebadged Dodge Aspen. Find this 1977 Plymouth Volare Road Runner offered for $11,500 in Rockville Centre, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
Street/strip cars were a big thing back in the 1980s/1990s. You’d take a cheap 60s muscle car (hah, remember when they were cheap) and shove a big engine under the hood, wide tires out back, skinnys in the front, replace some of the sheet metal with fiberglass and cage it. Modified, but street legal. You’d take it to the drags a few times to get that 10.99 ET and then it would become your Friday night car show car. Car customization is different today and most of those 1/4 mile drag strips have been turned into strip malls or condos (at least in the area of SoCal that was the hot rod capital back in the day), but you can relive the glory days when you had hair on the top of your head and could tuck a shirt into those 32 inch waist Levis without needing a mirror. Find this 1965 Mercury Comet offered for $10,500 in Hillsdale, NY via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
This next car comes as a tip from Rock On who writes: Nobody will question your ability to grow chest hair when they see you driving this! Yes, this next car is like a Rogaine infused wife beater for the guy who needs something to haul around old dirt or gypsum or whatever. You just gotta fix it first to prove your man cred and then you can drive it. Find this 1969 Dodge Power Wagon W100 offered for $5,000 in Hollister, CA via craigslist.
Honda has sold the Civic since 1972, but in that time Chevrolet changed the name of their compact car from the Nova to Citation to Cavalier to Cobalt to Cruze and now Bolt. Changing the model name was (is?) a feeble attempt to wash the taste from the last pile of junk out of your mouth, but this next car is different. This Citation is one of the few that survives and has only 19,000 miles on the odometer. But….best of the breed, is still a dog. Find this 1980 Chevrolet Citation offered for $6,500 in Parker, SD via ebay.
The first generation Buick Regal was just a version of the full-sized Century with some extra options, but in 1978 Buick introduced a new Regal on a downsized A-body (later renamed to G-Body in 1982) that was hit. GM sold plenty when new and today they have a strong cult following — with many owners modifying them to look cleaner and boosting the horsepower of the original V6 or V8 engines. This next one has a late model LS based 5.3 small block (probably an LM7) and is certainly a hoot to drive. Find this 1983 Buick Regal bidding on eBay for $6,700 with 5 days to go located in Natchez, MN.
The 6th generation (code name S550) of the Ford Mustang was released for the 2015 model year with a new aggressive body style (it looks so much wider than the previous gen, but it was only 1.5 inches wider and 1.4 inches lower) and an independent rear end for the first time for the original pony car. Ford also re-introduced a turbo 4-cylinder version known as the EcoBoost, which was a little 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine in the Mustang was rated at 310 horsepower. Todays example might have a salvage title, but it also has less than 50k miles on the odometer and a 6-speed manual. Find this 2015 Ford Mustang offered for $12,500 in Phoenix, AZ via craigslist.
A late 80s Pontiac Gran Prix is a demonstrably terrible car to drive every day. It won’t be very reliable, or cheap to maintain or self parking or make you a cappuccino or any of the things we’ve become accustomed to with modern economy cars. But that shouldn’t stop you from owning one as a classic, particularly a 5-speed manual gearbox version with a combination lock for the glove box. TAKE THAT GLOVE BOX BANDITS, TRY AND GUESS THIS COMBO. YOU CAN TAKE MY CATALYTIC CONVERTER BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE MY INSURANCE INFORMATION OR MY GLOVES. Find this 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix offered for $7000 in Fremont, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
What did Queen Gertrude say in Shakespeare’s (if that’s his real name) famous play about the Prince of Demark? “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Ah yes, that’s the rub. The seller of this next thing spends a bit too much of his prose in saying this is NOT a kit car. What it is, however, is a front-engine rear-drive thing built on a Trans Am chassis that looks a good deal like a Magnum PI Ferrari. Find this 1986 Machiavelli Max bidding for $22400 in Jupiter, FL via eBay. Tip from Rock On!