Volvo has never been known as a performance brand, but they did dip their Swedish feet into the proverbial speed pool in the early aughts with a few shiny things wearing an “R” badge. It actually started earlier with the 850R in 1995, but that was still front-wheel-drive and only sporty compared to a 4-cylinder powered brick boat house like the 240, but in 2003 Volvo kicked up their speed game with the turbocharged 5-cylinder V70R that put out 300 horsepower into all four wheels. It wasn’t as fast as the German (BMW M, Audi S) or Japanese (STi/Evo) competition, but you could buy one for the family because your wife thought it wasn’t a toy. Find this 2004 Volvo V70R offered for $13,000 in San Bruno, CA via craigslist.
There was a time when $1500 got you a fairly drivable car that you could drive around town and restore in your spare time…but the nasty thing called inflation has driven the price of all but the rustiest boat anchors up a few digits and now a $1500 Saab that needs a transmission might be a good deal. Find this 1986 Saab 900 Turbo offered for $1500 in Bay Shore, NY via craigslist.
There was a request from the audience for “Dad” cars for Father’s Day, so here is a classic dad car for y’all. It might be a day late, but this car screams mid-western Dad like a pair for white New Balance sneakers and a healthy distaste for vegetables. Oh, that color…and the fact that it was the seller’s Mom’s car…maybe this should have been a Mother’s Day post. Find this 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser GT offered for $4,550 in Dover, PA via craigslist.
This next Pontiac Fiero had an optimistic build — the GM L44 2.8 liter V6 had been boosted with a turbocharger of undisclosed size…but if the diameter of the intake tubes were any indicator…it has a huge snail. The little pushrod V6 didn’t have a chance and it is blowing smoke and running rough…but that is an opportunity. An opportunity to rebuild with forged low compression pistons and an fire-ringed headgasket so that this Fiero can be fierce again. Find this 1986 Pontiac Fiero V6 Turbo offered for $2,500 in Naples, MN via craigslist
The Chrysler LeBaron was by 1987 a K-car pile of parts that was using the legendary Chrysler badge as an attempt to trick people into thinking it was a personal luxury car. But not even a VNT (variable nozzle turbine) equipped turbocharger attached to a Chrysler Turbo II 4-banger could make a K-car (okay, technically this is a J-body) anything other than…oh boy, I don’t want to upset the K-car-community again, so I’ll be nice. Find this 1990 Chrysler LeBaron Turbo GTC Convertible offered for $4,200 in Scottsdale, AZ via craigslist. Tip from Tyler.
The BMW 1-series first appeared in 2004 built on the E87 chassis (E88 in convertible), which was a scaled down version of the E90 3-series chassis. The 1-series could best be described as similar to the previous generation 3-series because it kept the signature rear-wheel-drive fun of the 3-series without the ever increasing weight and bloat that seems inevitable in the auto industry. This particular car has not only the coveted single turbo N55 (it kept the same power as the twin-turbo N54 but its reportedly less troublesome) but also a 6-speed manual gearbox to boot. If you are looking for a late model open air car with a small set of back seats, you could do a lot worse. Find this 2011 BMW 135i Convertible offered for $15,988 in San Francisco, CA via craigslist.
Normal people who own a convertible Saab and want to change the suspension would consider some lowering springs or maybe a set of Bilstein shocks. You can get more aggressive with things like anti-roll bars and wide tires (tyres if you live on the moon) but few owners would consider lifting a turbo Saab, but here we are. This next Saab Convertible has been given a 2.5 inch lift, big tires, and a groovy skid plate. Let’s go bombing off road with the top down! Find this 1994 Saab 900 Turbo offered for $5,500 in Andover, CT via craigslist. Tip from ME.
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!
This Mercury Capri spent the better 1/4 of a century sleeping in a garage…but you’d better not call it a barn find. The seller claims it was built by a NASA engineer (Why is it always a NASA engineer or a GM factory engineer, why not a part time clerk at Boot Barn or a family practice psychologist?) who added a draw-through turbocharger with an old school water/methanol injection system to the Cologne V6. Looks like fun. Find this 1976 Mercury Capri offered for $6,000 in Eagle, ID via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
The Saab 9000 was built on the Type Four platform, which Saab shared with Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Lancia on the 164, Croma, and Thema, respectively. It was not, however, shared with Subaru, so the addition of a rhino horn 2004 STI hood scoop is somewhat jarring at first glance, but maybe makes more sense when you consider that Subaru did later partner with Saab to make the 9-2X. The scoop can be removed, but those wheels need to stay. Find this 1994 Saab 9000 CDE Turbo offered for $6000 in Broomfield, CO via craigslist. Tip from Zach.