Internet Car Experts® love to gripe about how it’s impossible to find a remotely competent car for LeMons-legal pricing. To this we reply: Competence is significantly overrated and you just need to look harder. We’re not saying it’s easy; heck, even Hitler had a hard time searching (here’s some context on that)), but every once and a while a proper “just want it gone” special shows up. It’s even better when said “just want it gone” special checks all the boxes limiting the buyer population (and thus, value): green, Pinto, Wagon, manual, no motor, no title, last registered in 1982.
Most of those work in our favor: Pintos are light and can be made to handle. Even if that tranny’s toast, you’ve got a 3 pedals and some linkages to work with. Having no motor is hardly an issue, as you could pick one up here, here or here. While you’re at it, pick up a whole nearly-identical spare car. Scrap prices are lousy, so there’s no imminent threat of it going to The Great Refrigerator Factory in The Sky (aka Guangzhou) in a hurry, so why not show up with a trailer, tow vehicle and $100 and see what happens? Hell, I get the feeling they wouldn’t even be all that sad if you stole it in the middle of the night.