Truck Hunt 2016: Time for a New(er) Tow Rig

1991 ford f350 crew cab2001 gmc suburban

2001 ford excursion1991 suburban


The Wagoneer’s gone, which means my backup commuting vehicle is either my bike or my wife’s patience. Secondarily, we’re down to the miniscule towing capacity of the Mazda5. It’s time to start shopping for a new truck or SUV to do Truck Stuff. The plan was never to reduce the number of cars in the fleet, but fill the Wagoneer’s slot with a vehicle better suited to our real needs. Ok, wants. But like, really well rationalized wants.

The Wants:

  1. Ability to tow a LeMons car (or two?) in an enclosed trailer with tools and spare parts on board
  2. Ability to take the family camping at the end of a rutted dirt road 1000 miles away in summer or winter (thus: 4×4 and AC-equipped)
  3. Ability to work and haul dirty stuff around without causing too much stress about “ruining it”
  4. Ability to do all of the above with reasonable durability and ease of maintenance
  5. Cost less than $8k, but preferably more like $5k

With those in mind, here’s what’s on the shopping list…

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I’ll take obscure Italo-American hybrids for $2,087, Alex: The OSI 20M TS

Tim Odell May 24, 2016 For Sale

OSI 20M TS for saleHybrids that combined Detroit motors with European chassis and coachwork were arguably the best cars of the 60s and 70s: Cobra, GT40, Pantera, ISO, Tiger, Intermeccanica, IKA Torino, etc. If only for its unintelligible alphanumeric name, the most obscure might be the OSI 20M TS: a rebodied Ford Taunus made by Italian sheet metal design firm Officine Stampaggi Industriali, Sergio Sartorelli in particular (Link for history on the brand). Given the roots of the Taunus and Cologne V6 powering the car, Italo-American might be a bit of a stretch; more like Italo-German.

Anyway, let’s see what this example (1 of 5 in the US according to the seller) has to offer… … Continue Reading

Adios Wagoneer!

Tim Odell May 19, 2016 All Things Hoon

I sold my 1969 Wagoneer last weekend. In contrast to my ’67 Country Sedan or ’00 Wrangler, the heavy sigh I let out as it drove away wasn’t one of regret or resignation but relief. Maybe even celebration or victory. I’d been out of love with it since about 2013, but like a failed marriage stuck with it through a kitchen remodel in 2014 and rather than clean it up and unload it, chose to build and race the Ranchero in 2015. After our incident on Valentine’s weekend, I vowed to finish the last few odds-and-ends on it and unload it before rebooting LeMons activities.

I don’t mind crappy, broken, semi-functional vehicles. My frustration with the Wagoneer came from the mismatch between what I thought I was buying (and thus, what I paid) and what it actually was. I fell for the “this one has everything already done” trap. Most shamefully, for the second time. Had I paid $3k for it, the oil and water leaks wouldn’t have bugged me as much. The prospect of buying it for $8k (really closer to $10k by the time it was delivered), pouring a few grand into it over the years and selling for like $6500 had me stressing like crazy. I was afraid buyers would be in full Bring a Trailer commenter mode and nitpick the bodywork, paint flaws and numerous leaks to declare it “needing” $10k worth or work to “be right”. Luckily, that didn’t happen and my first would-be buyer said it was in way better shape than any others he’d looked at.

Out the door? $9,200 total.

Now it’s time to go Suburban and Excursion shopping…




LeMons Starter Kit, Rotary Edition

Tim Odell May 17, 2016 All Things Hoon

1980 mazda rx-7 24 hours of lemons race car for sale

Following on from the Volvo 122 from a couple weeks ago, today we’re highlighting this ’80 RX7. It’s prepped, but in no way ready to race. For one, the engine and transmission are out. For two, presumably they’re out for a reason. Following the lack of motivation (the cited reason for the sale, as well), we’ll always caution against trusting someone else’s cage and/or fuel cell install if it hasn’t raced very recently. And even then, print out the rule and go over it in the most literal of mindset.

Passing those hurdles, there’s a lot to be loved: 20 gallon fuel cell, hella cheaty Ground Control suspension, plus three sets of wheels and tires (one race, two for rolling). Assuming the cage or cell install isn’t a complete re-do, this would be a killer starting vehicle for those really interested in being competitive in Class A. Of course, the combination of “first time LeMons racer” and “wants to be competitive in Class A” usually translates to “numerous black flags”, so perhaps the best bet would be to drop in the powertrain from a diesel Chevette until you can run 3-4 races without holding your line right into the door of a Crown Vic.

1980 Mazda RX-7 LeMons racer for sale – SFBay Craigslist

“Affordable” Espada Project Hell? Don’t Mind if I Do!

Tim Odell May 17, 2016 For Sale

1971 lamborghini espada for saleFew vehicles of the 1970s managed to both embrace the ethos of the ’70s and carry legitimate, unironic coolness like the Espada. It took a while for the world to catch up to that realization, so more than almost any other Lambo they suffered heinous neglect or were robbed of their V12s so that “better” Lambos could live.

Today we’re checking both of those boxes: lousy condition and no drivetrain. However, in contrast to the ever-rising prices of Espadas in good shape, this one’s still dangerously affordable. At the current $8,150 price, it could work as the foundation for an interesting project. Personally, I’d say Step One has to be giving up on it ever being properly restored. This one’s rough enough that attempting to source or refurbish every lest Lamborghini-specific trim, wiring, or drivetrain part would be a never ending quest.

Let’s cut a few corners, but still get creative… … Continue Reading

Brown 1973 AMC Hornet Sportabout Wagon Resurfaces

Tim Odell May 12, 2016 For Sale

Hooniverse is the automotive equivalent of the friends chanting “do it! do it!” when you’re considering jumping into the pool from the second story roof. We’re elated when people actually buy some of the rides we dredge up. (Side note: if you actually buy something we link to on ebay, we make a few bucks).

Back in 2014, Jim Brennan featured this brown AMC Hornet Sportabout Wagon out of Phoenix. Kevin reached out to us this week to let us know he bought it from that listing. He’s done a few upgrades on it since then, and it’s back up for sale again on LA Craigslist. Hit the jump to check out his walk-through videos.

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Showdown: Completely Unrelated Cars Just Because I feel like it Edition

Tim Odell May 10, 2016 All Things Hoon

1986 ford crown vic for sale (3)1989 Colt turbo 4g63 swap for sale (1)

Most accurately, it’s because I spent my whole evening sprucing up my Wagoneer for a buyer, so I’m just grabbing the first two interesting cars I found from SF Bay Craigslist. They share one thing in common: both have had engine swaps. Searching for “swapped” yields some entertaining results.

In one corner we have an ’86 Crown Vic that may or may not have been a police car a former life. Under the hood, a swapped-in, mildly upgraded ’89 302/5.0 H.O. motor motivates. Unfortunately, the A/C system has been sacrificed to free several horsepower. The Generic Municipal Grey means it’ll blend into the background of the urban environment without notice. There’s plenty to gripe about, but that $999 asking price ameliorates some concerns.

Heading to our state’s capital, we find this Mitsubishi-cum-Dodge-cum-Mitsubishi with a 4G63 swapped in. To this day, my college roommate’s boosted-to-hell Eclipse (or was it a Talon?) is one of the most incredible and terrifying vehicles I’ve ever driven. Subtracting weight and wheelbase could only make for vehicle both more terrifying and incredible. Its got the typical collection of mods you’d expect (thankfully the boost gauge is on the column, not the A-pillar) and a $2700 asking price.

Where would you spend your money?

Find a Wagoneer, Fix a Wagoneer, Drive a Wagoneer – Dirt Every Day Gets it Right

If you haven’t caught the latest episode of Dirt Every Day (DED:Roadkill as 4Wheel and Offroad:Hot Rod), well, you should. Despite the cold temps, it warms our Wagoneer-loving hearts.

This Rampage is Trying Way Too Hard, But We Love it Anyway

1984 Dodge Rampage for saleThe Rampage joins the Plymouth Scamp and Ford Durango at the bottom of the Car-Truck notoriety scale. Based on the Mopar L-Body platform, it’s by the Iacocca-era 2.2 four cylinder engine. Fortunately this particular example comes with three pedals and five gears as well. However, unfortunate are a number of stylistic choices the owner has made.

The 19″ wheels stick out most of all (literally and figuratively). While the stock 14×6″ styled steelies never got anyone laid, maybe there’s a more reasonable middle ground at 15 or 17″ that’ll actually allow more than a 12 degree turn of the front wheels. The brown-over-black (primer?) paint isn’t so bad, but that faux carbon fiber wrap on the tailgate…why? Most terrible (but most easily fixed) are the PepBoyZ special pedal covers, steering wheel and shifter. I actually like the “angry eyes” headlight things. Don’t judge me.

Un-dumbed, this could be a decent little runabout as a shop vehicle or something. Based on the number of swaps I see and literally two minutes of skimming forums, it appears raiding the 80s-90s Chrysler and Mitsubishi parts bin enables reasonably straightforward swapping of later triple-digit horsepower DOHC or even SRT Neon motors. Torque steer for days.

Anyway, the auction ends later today and as I type this no one’s taken the seller up on his $4200 opening bid.

1984 Dodge Rampage for sale – eBay Motors

Twin-Rotor Tuesday: Brit Madman Builds “Hoverbike”

English plumber-turned-Youtube sensation Colin Furze built a hoverbike. The contraption you see above kinda-sorta works, which is amazing given how difficult getting the thrust and center-of-mass balance on a thing like that can be. Hopefully he continues to play with it to put it to good use…whatever that might be.

Click through below for a three-part building series on how he did it. His contraptions are great, but the literal “guy in a shed” building/fab tips he has are great.

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