Craigslist Crapshoot

Welcome to Craigslist Crapshoot, our weekly search for the most bizarre, awesome, and/or terrible vehicles that the online classifieds has to offer.
Wranglers aren’t just jeans, they’re also Jeeps, and that’s what we wen’t looking for last week, Wranglers and CJs, all for under five-grand. We’ll what’s off the road and on the table in a sec, but first this week’s quest.

I was heading to a bar with some friends last Saturday, in an eclectic little community called Highland Park. It hugs the Arroyo Seco Parkway between LA and Pasadena and has some of the best bars and restaurants LA’s East Side has to offer. There’s also a bunch of cool cars running around town there, and one that caught my eye was a ’78 Chevy Caprice coupe as it slinked around a corner. This was one of the ones with the folded glass back window, a cool feature in anybody’s book, if you ask me.
That car got me thinking that along with the Station Wagon, another of the SUV and Crossover’s casualties is the big coupe. That’s too bad, and so this week, in their honor, let’s see if we can find the best big coupes that—again—$5,000 can buy. What defines big? Well, I’ll leave that up to you. Surprise me. 

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? Good, now let’s talk about a heap ‘o Jeeps!
Who knew there were so many cheap Jeeps out there? Let’s start up North as Spin found us a crazy rock-hopper in Canada with a guy driving it that looks like an angry Putin. Heading south a bit we got a creepy-cool M170, found by mdharrell. If you refuse to let rain nor snow nor dark of night get in your way, then maybe you’d like the very stylish DJ5 that was offered up by Fuhrman16. That one was even left-hand drive, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before as I’ve only ever seen these as mail carriers.
Our big winner came from Jofes2, and engendered all kinds of jokes about “going commando.” By the way, was “going commando” even a thing before everyone’s favorite episode of Friends? Whatever the original source, the 1984 Jeep Commando offered a funky top, a 2800-cc Perkins Diesel engine, too-far apart headlights and a 4,000-euro price. It gained the most up-votes and wins our little Jeepscapade.
Congrats to Jofes2, and thank you all for your excellent contributions. Now, let’s go and plot a Coupe.


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32 responses to “Craigslist Crapshoot”

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Body in good condition, sure, but brain hurts.

  1. GTXcellent Avatar

    Arguably the biggest of the big coupes – ’78 New Yorker that’s just about the size of New York. Oh how I want this. All this metal and still only $4500!

  2. Kiefmo Avatar

    This ’78 Thunderbird ticks all the right boxes, poor photography aside.
    That lovely blue interior — so clean!

    1. Inliner Avatar

      It’s definitely big – too big to fit in the pictures.

  3. Kiefmo Avatar

    This ’78 Caprice fits your description, and at just $2k, you can probably get it running and looking less like something bound for the crusher and still be within your $5k budget.

  4. mdharrell Avatar

    “What defines big? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.”
    Okay, then. Here’s a Topolino for $4000:
    At least you didn’t explicitly open the even worse can of worms labeled “definition of coupé.”

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Glad to see these land yachts are still affordable.
      *gets tape measure out to measure the gap round the side of my Irish end of terrace house*

  5. nanoop Avatar

    Travel with style! White on baby vomit must be some style, I guess.
    A US-spec Porsche 928 in Norway, with a sorry interior, “starts and runs fine”:
    Adjusting for import taxes, 65kNOK are exactly 5kUSD, I’m sure.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      There is no such thing as a cheap 928, they all cost you at least 20k one way or another. 😉

      1. nanoop Avatar

        The regular questions on a forum would be “How to turbo it” , “will 19×12″ fit” and “do Miata seats fit”. After two weeks, you’ll find it on CL again…

        1. crank_case Avatar

          I agree on the “back on sale” in two weeks bit, but up til recently, the average question might have been “why won’t it start” and “HOW MUCH FOR AN ENGINE REBUILD???!!!!” ..I know someone who bought one, unprepared for what’s involved in running a 70s GT car, and my only experience of it was helping it out by meeting a recovery truck in the hotel car park he had to abandon it in. Values are on the way back up, so at least now they’re getting the sort of work they need. I had a hot wheels (I think, maybe matchbox) one as a kid and it was my favorite toy car, it looked so fast and futuristic. I knew so much about the car as a kid that I ended up completely boring my primary school teacher (I think I was seven or eight at the time) on the specifics of its construction. My cousin in the UK is restoring one, but he knows what he’s doing..

          1. nanoop Avatar

            Right, my version is more for somebody who bought a runner…
            After they learned about the rebuild costs, a flash of “Is there an LS swap howto?” often lights up the thread, too..
            I have a 944, and I would love a 928, but I am a coward, both wrt. to the wrenching and to the defense of the expenses at Nanoop family board…

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      And heck, if you’re gonna leg it all the way to Leggett with $5K, why not come back with…
      2 (two) 1940 Ford Customs for $2500 and 1 (one) 1957 Jaguar Mark Eight for $2500? Sure, they’re 4-door sedans and not coupes like this weeks Crapshoot is looking for, but you get to visit Leggett!

  6. Alff Avatar

    I vastly prefer the sedan but this thing has been on the local CL for a very long time. I’m betting he’d take less.

  7. ptschett Avatar

    ’88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe! $5000 and it’s listed as a 5-speed.

    1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

      With the rare period-correct* hubcaps, I see.

  8. Inliner Avatar

    Mercedes-Benz certainly made some attractive big coupes over the years, so there ought to be one example in the Crapshoot. This is a 1989 420SEC that has apparently sat for a few years, so it probably needs a replacement of most rubber parts, but $4,000 CAD (~$3,000 USD) seems fine for one that is otherwise very clean.$_27.JPG

  9. Inliner Avatar

    I consider the 1989 Buick Riviera one of the most successful mid-cycle updates ever – it turned a car that looked too much like the cheap compact N-body into something that looked luxurious enough to fit the Riviera name. All this was done with by lengthening it 11 inches (total) in the C-pillar and trunk.
    Here’s a very clean 1989 Riviera in a lovely blue colour for $4,000 CAD (~$3,000 USD).$_27.JPG

  10. Inliner Avatar

    Much like the Riviera, the Oldsmobile Toronado was saddled with compact N-body looks when the new generation debuted for 1986. Also like the Riviera, the mid-cycle update, which added almost 13 inches to the rear in 1990, did wonders for the styling. Unfortunately, sales overall were in a decline and the Toronado was discontinued in 1992, a year before the Riviera of the same generation.
    Here is an incredibly clean 1990 Toronado Trofeo, the sportier version, for $6,300 CAD (~$4,750 USD).$_27.JPG
    This somewhat bends the rules, as the car itself is located in southwestern Quebec, but it’s listed in the Ontario Kijiji, so here it is.

  11. I_Borgward Avatar

    Cool for cats. And, $4,600 in change:

  12. Inliner Avatar

    Because I can, here’s a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado that I featured here more than 6 months ago ( ), which is somehow still for sale, and now reduced to $3,000 CAD (~$2,250 USD). That’s certainly a lot of cubic inches and mass for the price!$_27.JPG

  13. Luxury Lexus Land-yacht Avatar
    Luxury Lexus Land-yacht

    I really wanted to use a ’77 New Yorker Bro in L.A., which has every option, I think,but I was beat to triple-white malaise New Yorkers.
    However…I’d rock this.

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