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Topless Tuesday: Fiat 124 Spider is the Best $1800 Bad Decision You Can Make

1976 fiat 124 spider for saleOk, look: $1,800 isn’t pocket change, but it is the kind of money you might be able to make available for the right cause. This is the right cause. We’re talking about a gorgeous Italian roadster in functional shape with no major bodywork issues. This is a car you could buy now, enjoy before the weather gets too wintery, spend a few hours sprucing up over winter and sell on the first gorgeous day of spring next year for a tidy profit.

“Oh, it’s Italian! It’s rare! Fix It Again Tony!” Bah! The Fiat twin-cam motor ran from 1966 to 2000, putting it on-par with any of your favorite Detroit-sourced motors. It powered numerous Abarths over the years as well as the epic Lancia Delta Integrale. The Spider itself remained in production from ’66 to ’85 (From ’83-85 Pininfarina took over), meaning parts shouldn’t be all that hard to get. Plus, it’s gorgeous, in an understated ragazza della porta accanto kind of way.

Some argue that the Miata perfected the sporting roadster of years gone by, that any money you want to spend towards a cheap, fun sports car should go to the best Miata it buys. These people aren’t wrong…but they live too comfortably.

Auction ends Thursday morning!

1976 Fiat 124 Spider for sale – eBay Motors

The Best Guy on Craigslist: Packards, Hudsons, Lincolns and a Trio of Fieros

A couple weeks back I started what was supposed to be a trio of posts about The Best Guy on Craigslist with a quartet of Imperials and a pile of big-engine Caddies, but before the third post could run all of his ads disappeared. Now that they’re back, I figured I’ll highlight everything this guy has to offer, rather than rope you along. In totality, this guy’s collection/accumulation/hoard/junkyard is in pretty sorry shape (as many of you noted on the previous posts). However, if you look past the dirt and grime, there are a number of great powertrains to be donated or LeMons/low-budget builds to be made. Hit the jump for a collection of (what used to be) classy, heavy hitters

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Does it Get More Early 80s Than an EXP?

1983 ford exp for saleLate Malaise Era Ford earns points in my book for trying a bit of everything. They milked the ancient Falcon chassis all the way out to 1980 while simultaneously giving us the Fox and Panther platforms and threw the 2.3L turbo all over the place. With neither Henry the II or Iaccoca to lead, things got a bit wacky. The sporty-ish 2-seat EXP was apparently designed with stylish, childless singles or couples of early 80s in mind, though it’s hard to imagine the prototypical yuppies taking it seriously. That front end is giving me a some bad feels, man.

1983 ford exp for sale (1)1983 ford exp for sale (3)1983 ford exp for sale (4)

Today’s example deserves a serious look from anyone looking to pick up a relatively cheap sporty(ish) car that only car geeks can identify. Reserve’s already met at a little over a grand. There’s already one in LeMons, campaigned by the RUN EXP team, so at the least you’d need to come up with a new theme. They’re mechanically identical to all other first-generation Escorts, so parts are still available for cheap, possibly even an Escort Turbo swap is in order? Then again, this one’s got only 41,000 miles, and is said to be in near-pristine condition inside, with recent mechanical service. Tempting…

1983 Ford EXP (Escort) for sale – eBay Motors

The Best Guy on Craigslist, Part 2: Four Early-’80s Imperials for $2000

1981 chrysler imperial for sale

Unfortunately for me, I’m resigned to believe that a solid-axle, rear-wheel-drive Detroit V8 powered car can only be so bad. I’m just a notch too young to have experienced the contrast between a humble but reliable late-70s Honda and a corpulent, shoddily assembled contemporary Buick. With that in mind, The Best Guy on Craigslist’s fleet of 4 Imperials for $2,000 seems like a recipe for an incredibly successful and classy LeMons squad.

While the early and late cars spring to mind most quickly, we must remember the Imperial name graced the graced one of Chrysler’s last RWD cars until recent times. Sharing a platform with the Dodge Monaco and (non-Corinthian) Chrysler Cordoba, the early-80s Imperial came with a TBI’ed 318 V8, 904 transmission and a ton of cheesy early-80s luxury touches like fake crystal and over-padded velour seats.

While these seem to be run-of-the-mill Imperials, a good theme might be to construct one into each version of the special editions they were available in, most notably the Frank Sinatra SE, which came with a box set of 16 Sinatra tapes.

Check out all the slant-nose glory right here: Four 1981-83 Chrysler Imperials for sale – SF Bay Craigslist

We’ve got one more post from this seller, but that’ll have to wait for Thursday…

The Best Guy on Craigslist, Part 1: 1472ci worth of Cadillacs for $1600

1976 cadillac eldorado for sale

Yours truly, fellow Hoon Eric Rood and Murilee Martin aka Judge Phil spent the weekend sweating our undersides off dispensing justice at the World Record Setting* Vodden The Hell are We Doing 24 Hours of LeMons at Thunderhill Raceway, which means I’ve got LeMons on the brain. Scheming some ideas for ridiculous LeMons cars, my mind circled in on using the Cadillac FWD architecture of a massive V8 mounted longitudinally over a mutant TH400 transmission with CV shafts exiting east-west. Uncovering a pair of Eldorados on craigslist was just the tip of the LeMony iceberg. Noticing the cars in the background, searching the seller’s phone number uncovered a septic tank treasure trove too awesome to be contained in one post.

To lead off, we’ve got a fleet of Fleetwoods Eldorados for a distressingly low price. The Seller has a pair of ’76 Eldos in one Craigslist ad, with a ’69 in another. the ’76s are 500ci-equipped convertibles, while the ’69 is a 472ci hardtop. Don’t let the displacement fool you, the smaller ’69 is definitely the most potent of the trio, but the low-compression ’76s could be freed of their emissions controls and still deliver torque by the ton at the low end. Those low compression lumps will run on our crappy California gas without begging for octane booster. Besides, the lower CR leaves open the possibility of running some mild turbocharging for an even more ridiculous setup.

Oh yeah, that ridiculous setup…I know the Scrubbing Bubbles VW is looking for a new home. If not “Scrubby”, a VW Van probably provides ample room to nestle that powerplant in the rear. Not to impugn the 70 year old Volkswagen design, but maybe something more recent like an Astro Van would work better. Or (duh) you could just run them in their FWD Boss Hoggian drop-drop glory!

Pair of 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertibles for sale – SF Bay Craigslist
1969 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible for sale – SF Bay Craigslist

Tune in later for 2 more posts of awesomeness from the same seller…

*pending Guinness certification, which might take nearly forever.

You Could Do a Lot Worse than this 1987 Fiero GT

1987 pontiac fiero gt for sale I’m curious what cars my kids will think are awesome classics. “Fearful” might be the more accurate adjective, given how uncool my dad finds the station wagons I love so much. If I hear a post-millennial kid talking about a “sweet classic Fiero”, I could probably wrap my head around it if it’s as cool as today’s example. This 1987 Fiero GT sports a 2.8L V6, manual transmission and aftermarket digital dash conversion. It’s nearly as 1987 as you can get (still a little short on neon accents).

1987 fiero gt for sale (1)1987 fiero gt for sale (3)

The car has 114k miles, but received a remanufactured motor from Jasper about 20k ago and 15 years ago. He drives it 600 miles from Pittsburgh once a week, which is nothing to sneeze at in a 27 year old orphan GM vehicle. I’ll admit to having never driven a Fiero, so I can’t comment on whether the Citation suspension this ’87 sports is as awful as contemporary reviewers stated or if it gets a free pass on account of its age. The $2,200 OBO price, black over not-vinyl with a V6 6MT combination has my interest piqued, but thankfully tragically it’s far away in Ohio. Any midwesterners wanna take a look?

1987 Pontiac Fiero for sale – eBay Motors

I’m Thinking of Flipping this Jeep (but not in the typical way…probably)

1966 jeep cj5 for saleIt’s long been my goal to have my car hobby pay for itself, but probably never become a day job. Over five years, Hooniverse has helped towards that goal, but I’m also looking to get into a little more of a hands-on approach. I recently took a friend’s car from non-starting, non-running basket case to decent cheap commuter and made about $1200 in the process. The Missus is encouraging me to roll that forward…

Which is how this ’66 CJ5 caught my eye. Yes, it’s a total basket case. However, the seller’s asking $800. With a negotiated discount, that’s about the part-out-and-scrap value of the collective parts. Meanwhile, a crappy running CJ5 is worth around $3k. This one’s ugly, but has potential to get some attention with the 350 swap and…well…the 350 swap. There’s next to no information about whether that motor’s seized or an afternoon of work away from running. Same with the rest of the drivetrain. Might be little more than a lawn ornament for all we know.

1966 jeep cj5 350 motor

Assuming there’s a salvageable drivetrain in there, the nice part about a rough CJ5 is that expectations are low; more typical cars have failure points like A/C, stereo, doors, windows, glass or a roof, but not here. If I can get it running, turning and stopping, it’s already doubled or tripled in value. While I’m at it I might throw the wheels and tires (and maybe axles) from my Wagoneer under it as an excuse to get new ones. Oh, and I’d need to get a replacement title.

Would it be a well-sorted “buy it and drive it across the country” grade vehicle? No, but it’d be one cool 4×4 saved from the scrapyard and a good starting point for someone else’s fun project driver.

1966 Jeep CJ5 for sale – SF Bay Craigslist

Summer Holiday Souvenirs – 1977 Zastava 101 on the Nürburgring


Let’s say you go for a vacation on an island in the Adriatic sea. What would you bring back home from there? A suntan? Some handicraft? Two of my friends went for something with a local flavour, and went halves on a 1977 Zastava 101. You could do worse.

Beni, the guy who drove to my town a couple years ago with a blue Miata via Norway, is no stranger to wrenching on older, quirky cars, as he also owns an X1/9. This pretty much means he wasn’t afraid to set off to Germany, crossing the Alps, in the pea soup green 1100cc Fiat derivative. The thing even managed a comfortable cruise on the revered Autobahn. Joe Isuzu was nowhere in sight, though.

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Are We Missing Something? Surprisingly Cheap ’71 Unimog 404

1971 unimog 404 for saleHaving evolved from farm truck to its current heavy duty hardware, there’s no denying Unimog’s place as the ne plus ultra of 4x4s. Wrangler, CJ, Land Rover or FJ guys all quit slapping at each other with limp wrists to acknowledge its superiority. Unfortunately, most examples that come up for sale are later, massively heavy-duty examples from a German fire and rescue crew or the like. In fact, that’s exactly what our own Dearthair test drove so many years back.

It’s with great excitement, curiosity and a little skepticism that we present this 1971 Unimog 404 (there’s a “404 Not Found” joke in here somewhere but I’m too tired to make it…). There are no obvious condition or maintenance issues. The seller’s gone through a lot of recent maintenance, per this response to a question:

Yes original gearing. Never had it on highway I’m told they can go 60 but that would be winding it up. The only issue is all the gauge and switch info is in German or whatever. I don’t know what all the switches do. I have done all hard stuff (front axle seals mega bitch, etc) engine front oil seal has a very small leak, a few drips after running. I don’t think it is worth fixing. Everything else I have gone through. It also has a compressor for trailer breaks that works but I cut off the belt because unless you wanted to pull trailer with air breaks or to power air tools it’s just a drag on the motor because it pumps all the time.

That response really makes me want to buy it just to equip it with “MEGABCH” vanity plates.

Bidding’s at just $9,600 as of this writing, which is a damn good deal for a vehicle that could drag your house down the street in low range.

1971 Unimog 404 for sale – eBay Motors

1960 Ford F100 Panel Wagon, Because Vans are Too Mainstream

1960 ford panel wagon for sale

Oddly enough, Ford didn’t introduce the Falcon Econoline Van until 1961, so if you wanted a Ford box on wheels in 1960, this was your only option. This panel wagon, based on the third generation F-100 truck sports an early straight-six and three-on-the-tree. If the setting of the photo shoot weren’t a giveaway, this one’s a “ran when parked” special, having spent 12 years in the weeds. Prior to parking, the engine was rebuilt and a new clutch fitted. Alas, the rear main seal is shot (some rebuild…) and it’ll need a full going through to do more than sputter and set the tall grass on fire. The good news is it doesn’t get much simpler than a straight-six Ford pickup. The bad news is there are no pictures of the back of the interior. Spiderwebs, hornets’ nests, dead hobos or a ’70s sex grotto are all within the realm of possibilities.

Leaving out those possibilities, let’s think about what we could do with this thing. Think time’s over: Camping Rig is the proper answer. While I’m a big fan of period correctness, originality isn’t my cross to bear. Instead, I’d grab the 4×4 chassis of a number of Ford trucks being parted out on Craigslist and swing that sweet, sweet heavy duty drivetrain right into place. A good set of mud tires, a winch and a locker or two and you’d be good to wander to the ends of the earth in your rolling hobo mausoleum/sex grotto.

Two final details: the seller’s asking $2000 and also suggests that this would “make a great first truck for a teen”…which is both terrifying and awesome at the same time.

1960 Ford F100 Panel Wagon – Stockton Craigslist


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