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Showdown: Raygun Gothic Edition

Tim Odell April 12, 2016 Showdown

1961 Dodge dart pioneer for sale1961 ford tbird for sale

Automotive styling went through a bit of a “phase” in the ’59-62ish timeframe. Gone were the iconic shapes of 55-57, but the solid lines of the mid-60s had yet to materialize. Instead, we got a mix of wannabe-rockets (See: Ford tail lights of the era) and Googie architecture inspired swoops and gauge-pods. We’ve got examples from each camp in this edition.

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Three Way Three-Pedal Showdown: Pony(ish) Cars Representing the Beginning, Middle and End of the Malaise Era

Tim Odell April 12, 2016 Showdown

1974 Chevrolet camaro for sale1985 mustang lx t-tops for sale

Let’s take three distinctly different looks at a common formula: two doors, eight cylinders and three pedals. Most interestingly, they capture three specific moments in time: a Camaro ushering the descent into the Malaise Era, the very mascot of the Malaise Era: a Ford Granada and the car that best embodied the end of the Malaise Era: a Foxbody 5.0 Mustang.

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Showdown: Piles of Nostalgia-Shaped Rust

Tim Odell March 31, 2016 Showdown

While almost any car in this condition would’ve been reduced to Chinese refrigerators by now, the ultra-rusty shells of cars like today’s contenders theoretically hold some value.

Assuming you wanted to “bring them back”, the ’65 Mustang Fastback, a “real A-code car” creeps into the low $30k range in good, restored shape. A ’67 911s comes in a little over double that, per Hagerty. The Mustang looks in a notch better shape and would obviously be easier to rebuild from less costly donor or reproduction parts. Still, it’s not hard to imagine the sum of $80/hr bodywork needed approaching either of those figures or, say, the USS Ronald Reagan.

So…what then? Aside from a few desiccated interior bits and a rear axle on the Ford, there’s nothing of value they could donate. Maybe there’s some hope for a beater-grade rebuild incorporating My First Sheetmetal® grade body work and whatever parts could be scrounged and swapped? Rusty Slammington comes to mind. The Porsche’s got a low enough opening price for that to make sense, but we can assume the reserve’s in the same prohibitively expensive territory as the Mustang’s $4k Buy It Now. Need we point out the cornucopia of better-than-beater grade classic cruisers available for less than that very starting point?

So…aside from running away laughing and/or screaming, what would you do with either of these? Which would you start with?

1965 Ford Mustang Fastback for sale – eBay Motors

1967 Porsche 911s for sale – eBay Motors

Oh, by the way: not title for either. Mustang seller refuses to give out full VIN, but that’s probably not because the car’s stolen.

Showdown, Grey-Market 4x4s Edition

Tim Odell January 14, 2016 For Sale, Showdown

1987 toyota land cruiser 70 series for sale1987 nissan patrol for sale

Around the developing world, Land Cruiser Vs Patrol is a bit like Mustang Vs Camaro. Today we’ve got a pair from the mid-80s for you to choose from, from the same seller, no less. In the US, we assume Land Cruisers to be larger family dirt wagons and Patrols to be more Wrangler or Defender-like. This pair reverses that, with a Patrol wagon and two door Land Cruiser.

The Patrol’s an ’87 “MK” model, sporting an SD33 Turbodiesel engine and five-speed manual transmission. Fun fact: that SD33 actually made an appearance in the engine bays of IH Scouts in the final years of production. That motor’s good for right around 100hp and 175lb-ft of torque. The interior looks to be in decent shape (particularly for 390k km), complete with a third row seat. The seller’s English isn’t particularly strong, but we can glean that it’s been sitting for months and will need some love to bring back into true driveable condition.

At $8,999, you’ve gotta really value that “What is that?!” factor.

1986 Nissan Patrol for sale – eBay Motors

Sadly, Toyota never offered the 70-series Land Cruiser in the US. Though, weirdly, this one has a US-VIN and a speedometer/odometer delineated in miles, somehow. Our eBayer bought it from a guy in Washington State 3.5 years ago and has been bombing around on back roads with it ever since. This model also sports a 100-ish hp diesel backed by a five-speed. Beyond the installation of new cheesy aftermarket seats (he’s got the originals), the seller offers us basically zero information on condition.

So, uh…also $8,999 for this guy.

1987 Land Cruiser 70 series for sale – eBay Motors

What’ll it be? Datsun or Toyoda?

A Westy Syncro isn’t Ten Times Better than this 4×4 E350

e350 4x4 for sale Westy syncro for sale

We try to keep it positive here at Hooniverse; we do this not because we feel a need to pull punches, but because we do cars for fun, so why traffic in outrage or misery? Maybe when we run out of awesome stuff to talk about we’ll go negative. All that said, WTF is it with the pricing on Vanagon Westfalia campers?

One one hand we have a pretty redneck-y, but undeniably badass 4×4 Econoline for $5500, while the contrasting Westy Syncro is $54,500. I can appreciate the compact packaging, efficiency and overall Indie Kid cred afforded by the Westy. This particular example is in unbelievably perfect condition, possibly the nicest one anywhere. For its part, the Ford sports a 460ci big block backed by one-ton running gear, with an LSD up front and locker in the rear. It manages to wear 36″ mud tires without looking like a Jenga tower. Don’t even start about the 460’s thirst, because you’d have to drive to the moon to recoup the gas savings(1).

Can someone explain to me why that Syncro’s worth somewhere between double and triple what I would’ve guessed?




Cheap Alpine Starter Project or Rotary-Swapped?

Tim Odell July 21, 2015 For Sale, Showdown

1960 Sunbeam Alpine for sale1964 Sunbeam alpine for sale

While the American V8 in a European body formula typically produces awesome results (Examples 1, 2, and 3), the Sunbeam Tiger nearly stretches that logic to its breaking point. The Ford 260ci V8 practically needs an external oiling to fit in the engine bay, and cooling problems abound. Instead, why not start with the lesser sibling and drop something interesting in an Alpine?

Today we’ve got two paths to go down: one that’s “already done” (a phrase I’m never allowed to speak at home, due to its 100% falseness) and another that’s a blank canvas with a hint of Pinto 2.3L…

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Showdown: ’80s Turbo Edition

Tim Odell July 7, 2015 For Sale, Showdown

1988 Ford thunderbird turbo coupe1984 nissan 300zx

After the Malaise Era came the Turbo Mullet Era. The name should be descriptive enough, but the time refers to the mid-80s to early 90s when automakers were sure turbocharged four and six cylinder cars would obsolete V8s. Something about head gaskets, octane ratings and auto mechanic competence ensured that dream was never fully realized, but the departure from 130hp 2bbl big blocks was still a breath of force-fed fresh air.

The question of which car best represents the Turbo Mullet Era remains without definitive answer (Mustang SVO?, Turbo K Car?, Chevy Sprint Turbo?, Buick GNX?, Various Mazdas? weigh in below), today we’re deciding between a T-Bird Turbo Coupe and a 300ZX…

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Showdown: Non-Wretched Jeep FC Vs Detroit-Diesel Swapped International

Tim Odell May 7, 2015 For Sale, Showdown

1957 jeep fc150 for sale1960 international travelall for sale

It’s been forever since our last showdown, but when I had these two tabs open adjacent to each other (and a primordial version of my Falcon next to them), it was clearly time to dust off the category.

In one corner, a ’57 Jeep FC in rare mid-grade condition. Typically we find these in end-stage terminal corrosion or as $20k restoration queens. This one’s generally intact, running and driving, with a $6300 asking price. The flathead four cylinder and insanely low gearing aren’t going to win any races on paved ground but with some vintage mud tires and a locker or two, it’ll out-climb anything this side of a mountain goat. And it’ll do so with that bed full of cut firewood.

Representing the “Ugh, it’s not a Jeep, it’s an International” faction, we’ve got this 1960 International Travelall. As if an early Travelall wasn’t unique enough, it’s had a Detroit 4-53 swapped in. Fun fact: those Detroit Diesel engine names are the number of cylinders and the displacement for each. Thus 4-53 = 212ci (3.5l) four cylinder. These are good for somewhere just north of 100hp, meaning this leviathan will also be an exercise in patience. Mechanically, “everything’s in order”, but it’s evident that some paint and body work top the To-Do list. The $5000 asking price feels about $1500 too high, but maybe that’s just me.

international travelall for sale (1)international travelall for sale (2)international travelall for sale (4)

On this truckiest of Truck Thursdays, what would you pick?

Pokey FC or Pokier Travelall?

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Malaise Showdown: Cosworth Vega Vs 4-Speed LeMans

1975 cosworth vega for sale1975 cosworth vega for sale

With six divisions and 50% market market share, GM of Old could afford to offer a variety of flavors of “sporty” cars. The “Colonnade” styling of the A-body midsizers, introduced in 1973, embodies so much of the Malaise Era: overwrought and overweight, housing large but disappointing powerplants, a desperate hollow ploy to hang onto what made the 60s great. Meanwhile, on the communist side of town, the Vega represented the new reality of Diminished Expectations: America was going to have to make due with less. Smaller, lighter and more advanced was the future, and the Vega was here to show us the way.

But if you’re reading Hooniverse you already know all that. The Vega was about 3/4 done when launched and the Colonnades are almost lovable if properly overhauled to be more beefy than porcine. Such is the case today. Our Pontiac’s been blessed with a warmed-over 389 from a ’66 GTO, backed by a four-speed Muncie M22. The interior’s decent (as ’74 Pontiacs go) and the paint’s good. I’d do the details differently: wheels and tires that fill the wells, no hood scoop and probably one four-barrel instead of two. However, overall the package looks like a fun machine for parking lot donuts and some decent drag passes. The reserve’s unmet at $3,150, but I’d guess this is a $7-10k car.

“One Vega for the price of two”, the Cosworth Vega is arguably the more Hooniverse car here, in that it’s a crappy platform that might just have some potential courtesy of some choice upgrades. Wait…I just said that about the Colonnade. Ok, anyway, the Cosworth Vega came equipped with a 2.0L motor checking all the right boxes: all-aluminum, DOHC, EFI, stainless header, and a decent-for-the-time 6500RPM redline. Alas, in production trim it only managed to deliver 110 net horsepower.

Our example’s in damn good shape—from 20 feet away. The paint’s original, faded and rusted in only one spot according to the seller. Otherwise the listing’s pictures show the interior and engine bay to be in great original shape. With a $2499 opener and $3600 buy-it-now, this actually looks like a damn good deal for the Best of the Worst.

Malaise Light or Original Flavor?

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Showdown, Trar Thursday Edition: 4×4 Nova or 4×4 Pinto?

Tim Odell June 12, 2014 For Sale, Showdown

Yes, Trar. It means truck-car, aka a car on a truck chassis. In this case the stars have aligned on the middle of the Lone Star State to bring us two malaisey cars atop stonking truck chassis’. It’s Ford Vs Chevy, a Pinto and a Nova, both from 1973. Beneath the Ford is a ’72 Bronco chassis with a  302. Beneath the Chevy, a shortbed Chevy truck chassis with a mildly built 454.

Here’s where I begin comparing the relative merits of each car, but by what criteria do we judge a trar? Is the purpose offroad performance? To get you laid after a night of cruising the local main drag? Sheer WTF factor? I really don’t know. I’ll summarize and you can analyze…

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