Craigslist Crapshoot

The World’s Worst Car Is For Sale On Craigslist
Welcome to Craigslist Crapshoot, our weekly search for the most bizarre, awesome, and/or terrible vehicles that the online classifieds has to offer. 
Last week we sent you looking for high-mpg versions of what were generally low-mpg cars and trucks. We’ll see the chosen aspirants in just a minute, but first this week’s search parameters.
Life is full of bad decisions. You can frequently tell which ones they are by the prefacing statement “here, hold my beer.” I’ll be glad to hold your beer as you search the Internet classifieds for the best in automotive bad decisions you can find. Semi-cheap Ferrari that just needs its busted timing belt replaced – and the seller already has the belt?! Who’s in? Yes, they may be cheap, and at some level desirable, but for various reasons they should be avoided like the plague, those are what we want to see today.
As always, we want your finds to go down in infamy and not in the site’s spam filter. Since we’ve changed commenting systems, you may need to update your commenter account. Make sure you have a Disqus account – they’re free and easy to get – and then comment away.

Got that? Great, now let’s get high…mpg.

For the past four decades or so gas prices have gone up. That’s to be expected. However, their rise hasn’t been a linear path, it has instead been a yoyoing as consumer prices jump and ebb on their inexorable climb. Over the years that has caused auto makers to pull their hair out in the attempt to meet the market’s demands with right-sized fuel economy cars and trucks.
What has resulted is a battlefield strewn with vehicles intended to offer a quick fix to the gas mileage problem. These were cars and trucks that were too overweight or large for the puny ponies that were offered as “mileage leaders.” And boy, did you dig up the casualties. I’d like to call out the 1981 base model Ford Mustang found by PotbellyJoe. This brings back memories for me as I once had one similarly equipped and it was unequivocally the WORST CAR I HAVE EVER OWNED. And that’s saying a lot because I have had a ton of old British cars over the years.
The ’81 Mustang with its 88-horse, normally aspirated, 2.3-litre four was a terrible car in almost every way. Yeah, it got better gas milage than the 289-powered ’66 Mustang it replaced in my driveway, but it was also incapable of freeway speeds over 70 miles per hour lest the whole thing rattle itself to death. The engine wasn’t particularly pleasant at lower speeds either. I had that car for a year and a half before trading it in on a Triumph Spitfire.
Still, that’s not the most jaw-droppingly bad attempt by an auto maker to squeeze a few more miles out of a gallon of gas. That honor would go to the Cadillac 8-6-4 engine, which featured cylinder deactivation so effective that the engines would eventually deactivate ALL the cylinders rendering the car static and using no gas whatsoever. The engines were so fraught with failure that they were the object of a class action suit against GM.
So awful and problematic were they that it’s hard to believe that one still exists today. That’s why this ’81 8-6-4 Fleetwood, found by mdharrell is so perplexing, and hence our chosen mileage maker. Congrats to mdharrell, and thank you all for participating. Now here, let me hold that beer.
1981 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

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61 responses to “Craigslist Crapshoot”

  1. engineerd Avatar

    Window tracks, front wheel bearings, and a head gasket. All “cheap” to fix. Then, after all the “cheap” fixes and time (which you have to figure in), you’re left with…a 1999 Oldsmobile Alero.

  2. Guest Avatar

    The plan:
    -1. Search the terms: “RHD Twin Turbo”
    -2. Hit gold.

    1996 RHD twin turbo Subaru Legacy GTB$_27.JPG

    “The bad
    Power steering pump is noisey and bipolar as all hell (needs new fluid and system bled)
    And the reason I am selling for so cheap is it needs a new water pump, and I do not like working on subarus. At. All.
    Starts overheating after about 5 minutes of driving. Happens occasionally not all of the time.
    Price is obo NEED IT GONE THIS WEEK!”

    -You know it’s a bad when the PO has given various parts a mental diagnosis.

      1. Guest Avatar

        That popped up after I had posted for the Crapshoot, and I forgot to post it here!

        Also, it apparently got purchased while I was away with family. Dang it!

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      Uuuunhhhhh…torque for DAYS, son…

  3. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

    I’ve been wrestling with this one for weeks, now. Like _*seriously_* wrestling with it. Looking up diff ratios, trying to figure out if I can get it to mid-15s MPG.
    I mean, engine/drivetrain are rock solid…but how much Lucas replacement electrical smoke still exists?

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      Are the Girl Scout cookies included in sale?

      1. Jeepster Avatar

        DAG – thin mints ?

    2. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      As long as it’s not rusty a 404 is a pretty sound decision. They are African tough and as long as you speak French you can get parts.

  4. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I refuse to play this week, due to the risk of actually finding a series II Discovery close enough and cheap enough to temp me.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      I want to drive a sub-1500 dollar disco to Six Flags Great Adventure (about 50 miles) and do the safari thing then drive it home. Preferably on the hottest day of the year. I think I should open up betting on whether or not I survive.

    2. Jeepster Avatar

      wow – you HAVE suffered a head injury lately – let me looks around here in the south – if I see a carp one I’ll post it for yuns …

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        Well, this one says it only needs a battery and to address the flat tire. That’s gotta be it, right? I mean, he’s asking $1500 for it, so I’m sure it’s otherwise in great shape.

        1. Jeepster Avatar

          what was the showroom price on this ?

  5. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar
    Honda Civic – $800 (Matawan)
    260,000 miles
    98 civic for sale needs front end clipFriend backed into it…
    Needs rad support rad and rad fan to run
    Maybe a little more estimated $300 in parts needed
    Not sure how much the mechanic work would be
    First come first serve
    Honda Acura Civic Integra Accord Nissan 240sx

    So $300 in parts, but you’re not sure about the mechanic? Also, your friend backed into it and caused radiator support damage? In a unibody that’s considered frame damage… from your friend backing into it….
    This kid should have to pay someone to take this car off of his hands. $800 for a 260,000 mile Honda Civic that needs $300 in parts and probably 50 hours worth of labor…

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      All that needs is the engine and transmission from one of the Discos above.
      There’d better be some of these left in the ‘States in a few years when I do my buying trip. I need two. And another NADA 2000TC

  6. Jeepster Avatar

    BMW 840, $11,000 recently spent on the engine, buy the car for $8900 !

    1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

      There was a guy in NJ selling one a few months back. It was the V12, but the right bank had conked out, so it was “only running on 6 cylinders, mechanic confident it can be fixed easily.”
      Yeah, just needs one tool. And his checkbook.

      1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

        “just needs one tool”
        HA HA HA
        That one made me laugh and have those at work around me wonder!

        1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

          I can’t take credit for it, but I also can’t remember where I’ve heard it. Too many years around shop monkeys and Land Rover lovers. You pick up lines like that after awhile.

    2. engineerd Avatar

      The 840 isn’t too horrible as it has the M60 or M62 V8. The 850, with the M70 V12 and its two engine ECUs (one for each bank!) is generally regarded as a very fun, but also high maintenance, mistress.

      1. Jeepster Avatar

        I couldn’t find an 850 ! I really have wanted one of these since I rode an airhead BMW over to the dealership just to see a new one … have heard many horror stories. Fine looking car though.

      2. Jeepster Avatar

        oh crap … BMW 850i for $4200, wow, if this one aint a crapshoot ringer !!
        thanks engineerd ! if we win we can share the accolades

        1. Jeepster Avatar

          this car was 75 thousand dollars new in 1992

        2. Jeepster Avatar

          lemme repeat that – this car was $75,000 in 1992 money

  7. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar
    2005 excursion limo – $8500 (Sayerville)
    A Ford Excursion Limo. Enough said. Except that the write up is written EXACTLY how you would expect it to be written considering this guy at one point BOUGHT AN EXCURSION LIMO.
    2005 excursion the truck runs great every thing works it needs a new vinel roof and sum paint work that is it has less the 120k it is 140 stretch limo with all the bells and wisely a steel at 8500 or B/O call Jeff for details or text no emails and no PayPal cash only it won’t last at that price my number is
    It has all the bells and wisely, including an ultra rare Vinel roof. “His price that number is” is actually pretty fair, think of the scrap value.

    1. jim Avatar

      If i had to guess, i’d say that even a standard Excursion has a turning radius the size of Texas, so who the hell drove that for 120k miles ?

      1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

        1. Jeepster Avatar

          that’s great …. good find last week pbjoe.

          1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

            Hey thanks. I just had to laugh at the listing because the guy went o ad on about how well it was preserved ad yet said throughout the ad that it would be perfect for an engine swap.

          2. Jeepster Avatar

            no kidding, mamma had a used one at that time for her real estate “look”, she mostly drove the Caprice. You know you really want it for an LS swap. ( damn things did ride nice and cushy )

          3. Jeepster Avatar

            you know, potbellyJoe – your find last week also applies !! that Caddy also works here, you shouldn’t BUT its a fine machine after several thousand dollars or two

    2. William Robinson Avatar
      William Robinson

      Scrap value right now says it is not even worth taking it in for scrap… the specialized tow would be right around what the thing weighs. On a much more useful note. You can buy it and use it as a camper or heck even turn it into a camper.

  8. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar
    Ok So it’s not a car, but a guy is selling a scramjet boat that needs essentially everything, for $600. With the regular motors they hit up to 50 mph, add something stupid from today’s PWCs and you’ve got very, very bad decisions.

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      Ad says 2 of ’em. $600 for both. Is that better or worse?

      1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

        You’ll have someone to race “To the Death” with.

  9. Jeepster Avatar

    Lotus Esprit for $15k ” some body damage ” ( not shown ) do the floor rollers come with it cause you will need them ?

      1. CruisinTime Avatar

        Millers Crossing reference, pretty cool.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      A neat catch indeed! Drove them a lot as a kid, cough.

  10. Jeepster Avatar

    1989 Lotus Esprit ” some cosmetic needs ” for $19k, ohh my it gets better crapshooters ! 400cid Chevy conversion bonus…. and I am done this week.

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      bonus Mopar big block ?

    2. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Did that thing eat an entire C10? One last swallow and the grille’s gone

    3. Guest Avatar

      Well, it’s a huge Dodge with bolt on fender flares…

      Buy it, paint it black, and sell it in Alberta to an oilfield worker.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        You forgot the lift kit and 33″ wheels!

  11. Kiefmo Avatar

    It sports an Iowa plate, so there’s hope that it’s already jumped through all of its federalization hurdles, but I have a feeling that owning this little zipper would only be a hoot until the first thing breaks or needs replacing, and you’re stuck trying to hunt down replacement parts on a 25+ year old car that was never available in the states and might not even have good parts sources where it WAS available, and even if they are available, the odds of the websites in question being in English are slim-to-none (and Slim just left town), so you’re left relying on in-browser translation, which is hilarious at best and HULK-SMASH-KEYBOARD at worst.
    I reckon I still want it.

    1. Frank T. Cat Avatar
      Frank T. Cat

      There is no reckoning here. I want that.

  12. Kiefmo Avatar

    These pop up semi-regularly on the local CL, but none looking this good for this cheap in (claimed) running/driving condition. My guess is that due to sitting for 17 years (implied by “stored”), it will need practically every engine seal and rubber chassis part replaced in short order, so its bargain price doesn’t look so bargain with that in mind.
    Still. I want it.

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      do not forget the fire extinguisher after all them refurbishing plans, a must for fieros !!

  13. Tomsk Avatar

    An E32 7 Series with the V12 for just $1,100? With zero mention of mileage or maintenance records? Score! I mean, this couldn’t possibly be one seemingly minor component failure away from drowning the next owner in a monsoon of red ink, right?

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      wow – that is cheeeep $$ – the question is … do yuns really want it ?
      here is a way for the BMW execs to make a fortune – a retro 8-9 wire kit to make a v12 operate on a 12 volt charge and one usb programmable black box.

  14. Tomsk Avatar

    Oh look, a 2002 Audi Allroad for $3,600. Pity you’ll spend that much again in the first hour or so of ownership…

  15. AnamDuine Avatar

    This XJS V12 is a looker with low miles, but hasn’t been regularly driven since Tony Blair was Prime Minister.

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      Wow. That is a terrible wonderful idea. It’s a shame these only came with the automatic, but I suppose it keeps you from having to learn to left hand shift. This one has another year before those of us in the US can even think of importing it, but I have to imagine that the first round of legally US imported Eunoses (Euni?) will go for substantially more than this one’s $10k asking price (just look at R32 Skyline prices).

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