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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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Showdown: Sporty, Small and Red Edition

Tim Odell January 28, 2014 For Sale, Showdown

1990 Honda Civic si for sale1988 pontiac fiero for sale

It’s been forever since our last Showdown, but today we’ve got two very different takes on sporty compact commuters: a 1990 Honda Civic Si versus a 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT. Before you dismiss the Fiero out of hand for being a Fiero, remember that by ’88 the Fiero finally got the suspension it deserved. Also, this one’s had the 200ish horsepower 3.4L V6 from a 1995 Camaro swapped in. That kind of power mounted mid-ships in a 2700lb car could make for some good times. Alas, it’s missing a third pedal and still carries a heavy mid-80s GM vibe to it. Also seems a good 2″ too tall. Still, there’s a distinctly awesome almost-kinda-Ferrari look to that engine bay, and it’d be awesome to silence a few folks expecting the typically pathetic Fiero performance. Is that shock and awe mild bemusement worth $4,500?

1988 pontiac fiero interior1988 pontiac fiero engine1988 pontiac fiero camaro v6 swap

1988 Pontiac Fiero – eBay Motors

On the other hand, the Honda brings the angry squirrels with 1.6L of revvy power breathing through a four-into-one header. In addition to that upgrade, there’s a raft of seemingly tasteful appearance upgrades from new paint, window tint and lighting. Sounds scary in text, but the overall appearance of the car isn’t too fast or furious. The seller’s also performed a pile of relevant maintenance which he seems particularly proud of, despite the fact that at 254,000 miles, we’d expect a timing belt, cap and rotor. Neither the fuel door nor horn work properly, but those sound like one-weekend fixes. All-in-all it looks like a great way to get 40mpg on the way to work without giving up on some fun behind the wheel. Seems like a good deal at $4,000

1990 Honda Civic si for sale rear1990 Honda Civic si interior1990 Honda Civic si motor

1990 Honda Civic Si – eBay Motors

Hit the jump to cast a vote. 

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Showdown: Unlikely Rival Wagons Edition

Tim Odell June 19, 2013 For Sale, Showdown

2007 Magnum SRT8 for sale (1)

BMW people are not Chrysler SRT people, and vice-versa. Neither would cross shop the other product with any seriousness, because, well, obviously. And yet, five and ssix years on, we find a Dodge Magnum SRT8 and BMW 535xi Touring with comparable prices and mileage.

In one corner we have an exquisitely engineered all-weather tourer with a turbocharged 3.0 straight six. The other contains an casually assembled, awkwardly styled bruiser riding on an outdated Mercedes chassis. The BMW might break your heart with maintenance bills, but the Magnum might just turn your stomach. One will kick you in the teeth with torque, the other will turn any mountain journey into a joyride.

Let’s see some details after the jump.

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Showdown: Awesome Oddball Wagons

1965 International Travelall for sale1971 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser for sale

Generally speaking, dog show people are pretty crazy. That said, I’m intrigued by their ability to to pick winners from disparate breeds. Does a really awesome Boxer beat out a really awesome Schnauzer? (yes). As far as I know there’s no pan-fruit competition where they have to pick between apples and kiwi. Anyway, today we’re doing just that: comparing two similar but different long roofs that are among the best of their breeds.

In one corner, we’ve got Pure ’70s: an olive green Vista Cruiser with a 455ci V8. In the other is the Travelall that helped establish International Harvester’s reputation as a builder of no-nonsense SUVs.

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Weekend Edition – Four Desirable Sports Cars to fit any budget. Which one is to die for?

It’s the weekend, and I thought I would do a poll this time. These are all low mileage Sports Cars, with varying degrees of desirability. There are two Ferrari Models, a Pantera, and a Fiberfab Jamaican Coupe. I know what you are thinking, that Jim has completely lost his mind again… only I haven’t. How many here can really afford a Ferrari F40? Or would you really want to drive a Ferrari featured in a Tom Selleck Television Show? So, let’s see what you really think about these four cars…

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Weekend Edition – Which Imperial by Chrysler would you rather own?

For the Sunday edition of the Hooniverse Weekend, I thought I would have a few showdown postings. After searching for “Fuselage Era” Chrysler products, I came across a dealer named Gesswein Motors, and used their inventory for a few showdown postings in the past. This time, let’s see if we can choose between their vast Imperial Selection…

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Weekend Edition – Which Full Size Chrysler 300 would you want to own?

For the Sunday edition of the Hooniverse Weekend, I thought I would have a few showdown postings. It has been a while since I last did this, and after searching for “Fuselage Era” Chrysler products, I came across a dealer that I remember, and used their inventory for a few showdown postings in the past. So let’s start out with some Full Sized Chrysler 300s…

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Showdown: Battlewagons

Tim Odell August 9, 2012 For Sale, Showdown

 

1972 Chevy Suburban exteriorMercury Colony Park for sale

In our last Showdown the clean green Coronet wagon walked away with it.

Today’s a bit apples-to-oranges…actually squash to eggs might be more apt, based on color alone. I’ll also admit it’s born of personal relevance – I miss my wagon and my Wagoneer is increasingly a pain in the ass (more on that later). In one corner we’ve go the pinnacle of Wagondom, the other the prototypical SUV. One’s perfectly suited to cruise to the local Pop Warner game, the other…well, pretty much anywhere it chooses. Let’s get down to it.

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Showdown: Different Flavors of Mopar

Tim Odell July 31, 2012 Showdown

1968 Dodge Coronet for sale1971 dodge dart demon for sale

Today’s Showdown has an interesting theme: similar, but very different. We’ve got two Mopars that are characteristically Moparian, yet so very different. One’s a Coronet 440, the other comes with a 440. One’s 90% done, but a bit limited; the other’s full of potential…provided you’re willing to put in some work. Then, just to screw things up, we came across a third option while writing this up that couldn’t be skipped.

Hit the jump for a Mopar house divided against itself.

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