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Hooniverse Wagon Sunday – A 1978 AMC Matador Wagon from Quebec…

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I have to confess, this is one of my favorite wagons that I will be posting for the weekend. This is a 1978 Matador Wagon (which ticks off all the right boxes for me, and I bet for many of our fans as well), equipped with the standard 360 CID AMC V-8 (in its last year of production for cars), and is fully equipped, at least according to the seller. So, is this wagon truly as lustworthy as it seems to be?

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Get Your Vintage 4×4 Fix for Cheap with this Scout 800A

1968 scout 800 for saleVintage 4x4s are getting more expensive by the day. This guy just got $31 grand for a ’69 Wagoneer (which puts the scheming portion of my brain into overdrive). Land Rovers, Cruisers, Classic Broncos and K5s are rapidly graduating to collectible status, with the accompanied price jumps. Bare-bones utilitarian vehicles meant for park rangers, selling as luxury items, huh. Luckily, Scout 800s are still widely acknowledged as being the crappy little 4x4s they always were. As such, they’re still available with prices like “will trade for 5hp chipper shredder”.

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This one’s a nice exception to the general crappiness of the 800, as it’s equipped with a 266ci V8 and a 4-speed manual. That said, plan near total dis- and re-assembly to get drain every fluid and replace every seal and hose. There’s more rust than we’d expect from an Arizona car, but it’s still on the low end for an ancient Scout. The nice part is you’re really under no obligation to restore it beyond grinding down the worst of it and getting the thing running. I’d keep it basically stock, save a grumbly exhaust and skinny mud terrain tires.

Opening bid is a mere $1500: 1968 IH Scout 800A for sale – eBay Motors


Pinto Cruising Wagon Twofer – Buy them before I end up living in them!

I’ve got a sick attraction to the Pinto Cruising Wagon. It’s so very of its time. Plus, a Pinto is a remarkably buildable platform, being light and easily accommodating a Ford smallblock or any of the descendants of The Pinto Four Cylinder, be they later Ranger motors or 2.3L turbos. I’m told there’s some crossover there to Mazda and Volvo motors as well.

But I get ahead of myself; let’s focus on the cars at hand. Yes, plural: two Pinto Wagons. One’s a run-of-the-mill two door wagon, the other a proper Cruising Wagon. The price? $1000 for the pair. I’m hyperventilating at the idea of being able to run a two car, ten person LeMons squad. I’m thinking a split theme: the Cruising Wagon is a crew of late-70s Quaalude-popping, polyester jumpsuit wearing scumbags, obviously. The brown wagon will be their contemporary Bible-thumping, sweater-wearing Moral Majority folks on a quest to save their souls. Chick tracts will be mandatory.

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Tiny Car Tuesday: Metropolitan Deserves a Fate Better than The Crusher’s Appetizer

1958 Nash Metropolitan for sale

While Suburbans, Travelalls, Wagoneers and malaise-era wagons doom themselves with high scrap values from their size, this Metropolitan ought to do the opposite with its diminutiveness. Still, today’s craigslist find has the feeling of a last-chance sale, so don’t think it won’t go to the yard. We’ve got the craigslist staples: “Ran when parked”, “selling for a friend” and two lousy pictures (one with foreground finger) that don’t really capture the condition.

So, what to do with it, then? As always, there’s the idea of taking a cheap, dry car from the southwest and selling it in the land of salty winters, where people look past desiccated paint to drool over intact rocker panels. For the more ambitious, its size suggests maybe electric conversion or a bike-motor swap.  May it could just be a quick project to get it road-worthy and sold, not that you’d make any money on that.

The $750 price puts it within shooting distance of LeMons pricing (not that the judges would give a Met’ more than a quick once-over in BS inspection). Assorted googling suggests no one’s ever done so. It’s tough to break new ground in LeMons, but here’s your chance!

1958 Nash Rambler for sale – Inland Empire Craigslist

Hat tip to Nate from the SoCal TT mailing list.

This Falcon Begs to dive into LeMons

1965 ford falcon for saleShould I get back into LeMons again (aside from judging), I’ll be on the lookout for a pre-smog, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car with a manual transmission. Preferably with a solid rear axle: Victory through Simplicity. Doesn’t get much simpler than an early Falcon, as I can attest. Aside from being a year newer, today’s example is a near-clone of my own, at least as it left the factory 50 years ago.

It’s got a straight six with a three on the tree and…not much else. Actually, that’s a lie, as there’s no shortage of original parts to be extracted to liberate a pounds and dollars for upgrades. While while the stock Falcon chassis is a floppy mess, the mandatory cage (and some home-brew subframe connectors) will stiffen things up significantly. Additionally, a certain Texan made hay with the front suspension just by re-drilling a pair of mounting holes. Brake and fuel system upgrades don’t count in your budget and there’s no shortage of upgrades to be had there.

1965 ford falcon straight 61965 ford falcon interior1965 ford falcon rear

Leave the sixer and three on the tree in place for your first race, because the judges love such crappy equipment, and just run mid-to-back of the pack laps for two days straight. Save the four/five speed and inevitable v8 (…or turbo?) swap for races two through infinity. Oh, and because it’s an ancient Falcon, there’s no smog and minimal DMV requirements to get it registered for road use. Lastly, the price? $500.

Someone please buy it, so I don’t have to: 1965 Ford Falcon for sale – eBay Motors

1975 Dodge Dart is the car We Wish All of You Could Have

1975 Dodge dart for salePicking up the right project car can be an art: not too hopeless, not too expensive, with just enough things wrong to keep it cheap but not so many that you can’t enjoy it. Today’s 1975 Dodge Dart seems to be just such a car: a solid platform to start with and upgrade while you drive it.

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Faded paint and the unfortunate later pointy frontend work against it, but otherwise the seller’s claiming it’s mechanically great. The 318 breathing through a two-barrel carburetor and 2.45:1 rearend will hurt your quarter-mile times, but make for an economical highway cruiser. Inside, the too-new seats and stereo detract from the aesthetics, but everything else looks to be in great shape.

The kicker? The Buy-it-Now is only $3750. Auction ends in just a couple days, so go have That Talk with the people who approve bringing new cars home.

1975 Dodge Dart For Sale – eBay Motors

Weekend Edition – A Blue Mercedes W126 280 SE with a Manual, Courtesy of the Blue Car Appreciation Society…

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Facebook can be a wonderful thing. It has the ability to transport you to far off places, connect with people you have absolutely nothing in common with, exchange information and stories about mutual interests, and is one hell of a time killer. While killing time at the Blue Car Appreciation Society, I came across this rather interesting W126 that was really never officially sold in the States. Does that make it more desirable?

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1969 Fiat 850 Spider: Imagine a Smaller, Slower, Prettier Toyota MR Spyder

1969 Fiat 850 Spider for saleUs kooky enthusiasts commonly clamor for a major automaker to pull the trigger on a mid-rear sports car that uses a FWD powertrain behind the seats. Decades ago, Fiat took a shortcut on that formula and made everything rear-engined. The 850 descended from the 600, which descended from the 500, Fiat’s OG rear-engine-d commuter. In the 850 Spider, the 843cc motor produced a whopping 49hp to haul roughly 1500lbs around. Imagine a (new) Dodge Charger with roughly 150hp for a comparable power-to-weight reference.

1969 Fiat 850 Spider side

Regardless of its relative gutlessness, today’s Fiat 850 for sale has a certain charm to it. At first glance I mistook it for a larger 124 Sport Spider, given the family resemblance. It’s on offer from an Italian car specialist in Southern California with 100% eBay feedback. Going with the good vibes is the right mix for a fun project driver: excellent mechanicals and just good enough exterior to get a few “molto bene“s driving around.

1969 Fiat 850 Spider – $3700 Buy-it-Now or Best Offer with the auction ending Thursday afternoon.

White LeMon: Datsun 280ZX by Nissan

1983 Datsun 280zx for sale

Few cars epitomize the late-70s and early-80s like the Datsun 280ZX “by Nissan”. We’ve got Japanese cars coming into their own as high-end machines, but still incapable of a cohesive branding scheme. (See also: Toyota’s Tercel Corolla.) This unit’s L28 has Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection with turbocharging right around the corner.

I’ll confess that most of my 280ZX knowledge comes from the last 15 minutes of reading the wikipedia page, but what I do know is we’re looking at an EFI’ed straight six in a decent RWD, IRS chassis with eBay Motors with bidding at $381. It’s a donated non-starter (fuel pump, at least) vehicle with back-registration due and a crappy paint job. If ever there was a vehicle screaming to be LeMons’ed to death, this is it.

1983 Datsun 280zx interior1983 Datsun 280zx rear1983 Datsun 280zx engine

According to our own Eric Rood, the 280ZX sits at about 41st place for LeMons car domination, whereas the 300ZX occupies 10th. For years, Z-cars had a reputation for seeming like they’d do well in LeMons, then blowing up disappointingly. Since that curse was broken way back in 2010, there’s certainly no way this obviously neglected machine could fail you. Also: T-Tops.

1983 Datsun 280ZX for sale – eBay Motors

Taking transport geekery too far.


This is the post which will cause you to lose any lingering hints of respect you may have still held for me.

The other day a small parcel arrived at my desk at work; a long-forgotten eBay purchase. I love it when this happens; I find stuff on eBay, buy it on a whim (if it’s, like, seriously cheap), and then forget about it. Then, several days later, a mysterious envelope arrives and I open it with glee. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by what it turns out that I’d bought. 

And that’s exactly what’s happened here.
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