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.

If you were born in the U.S. you are automatically American. Every time you go to the bathroom however, Yur-a-peein.’ Oh man I love that joke, but not half as much as I love all the ’70s and ’80s American cars playing European that you all found last week. We’ll see those in a sec, but first, this week’s quest.
My middle name is Danger. Actually it’s Bruce, but Danger sounds… I don’t know, more dangerous? Since I’m not actually all that dangerous, why don’t we find this week some cars that are? Let’s see what dangers lurk in the current classifieds. VW 181s? Sure! Mexican Nissans? Why not? If they’ve got a reputation for being dangerous, we want to see ’em!
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 go continental!

You know, a funny thing: up until about the early ’80s, if you wanted an American Car that had better than average handling you didn’t buy the “sport” suspension, you checked the box for the “heavy duty” suspension. That made everything a little bit harder and a little less roli poli, but was still a far cry from the taut composure exhibited by their European counterparts.
The thing of it was, that more capable handling was something for which American car buyers acquired a taste, and hence we got all kinds of stop-gap products that talked the European talk, but rarely walked the walk. Last week, you all found some excellent examples of this breed.
Let’s start with a car that really felt about as American as could be, but which was in fact predominantly engineered in Europe. That was the Dodge Omni found by Fuhrman16. The Omni and its Horizon twin were heavily influenced by Chrysler’s European operations, back when that was Simca and not Fiat. This one was a GLH, an edition modified by Carroll Shelby’s outfit, and thus adding yet another aspect of across-the-pond-ness.
Working our way up the food chain a bit comes the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme “International” (so many flags!) located by ptschett. That shared its vote count with a somewhat lust-worthy Celebrity wagon brought to us by Papa Van Twee. If it was in LA, I’d go and give that one a look-see. Speaking of seeing, Lokki spotted a Buick Reatta which at one time was that company’s attempt at a European boutique coupe. Nowadays Buick’s much more interested in what the Chinese want.
Some extreme mental gymnastics were undertaken by mdharrell to justify a Lincoln Continental MKV “Cartier Edition” being Euro-centric, but I think he sold it. Kiefmo went the same route with a Chrysler Cordoba, as it had fine “Corinthian” leather. It did look pretty inviting, I’ll have to admit.
Getting a little more back on the theme, smalleyxb122 came up with another Eurosport, this one a sedan, while our winner, GTXcellent went one better and gave us a Lumina Euro Sedan—and no, its being from the ’90s doesn’t disqualify the entry. That’s not just one of the last of the Euro-Americans, it’s also, at least in my humble opinion, one of the best looking sedans of the era.
Congrats to GTXcellent, and thank you all for your continental tastes. Now, let’s get dangerous.


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51 responses to “Craigslist Crapshoot”

  1. tonyola Avatar

    How about a 1990 Suzuki Samurai for $7,000? Consumer Reports thought it was dangerous enough…

    1. Professor Bananahot Avatar
      Professor Bananahot

      I’d love to have one of these, but $7000?!?!?!?
      I could buy seven Geo Trackers for that much and weld them all into some kind of horrible limo!

  2. crank_case Avatar

    SW20 MR2s are still affordable, they’ve got a reputation as a widowmaker, but that’s sort of what happens when a car that requires a small amount of knowledge of mid engine weight transfer becomes very cheap. This one have been deposited in a hedge already.

  3. ptschett Avatar

    Samurais seem to be quite expensive for what they are. Here’s an ’87 listed at $5000 with a Craiglist-tastic photo.

  4. Please Stand By Avatar
    Please Stand By

    It appears that Ford Pinto prices are exploding. I’d rock this nevertheless…

    1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

      I’ve always carried a torch for them.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        not sure if comment is unintentional pun, or genuine pinto appreciation..

        1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

          They have had quite an impact on me.

      2. Lokki Avatar

        Expect to get flamed Tiberiuswise….

        1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

          I’ll defend it all day long. Or until I get a little hoarse.

          1. Lokki Avatar

            I meant by the car…

      3. tonyola Avatar

        Pintos always had a bit of flare about them.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      Ah yes, I remember that. Saw it in the theatre. An old friend (RIP) was a big Zucker brothers fan.

  5. GTXcellent Avatar

    Considered so dangerous they were legislated out of existence.
    Too bad it’s only a Tri-Moto 125, and not a Tri-Moto Z, but still, it’s in niiiiice shape and only $1000.

  6. Tomsk Avatar

    What’s more intimidating than a first-gen (i.e. swing axle) Corvair? A first-gen Corvair with a primitive, on-off-switch-esque factory turbo setup, of course! This (non running) one’s available for just $2,500.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      It has a dual master cylinder conversion, so it’s a little less dangerous.

    2. 0A5599 Avatar

      At least it isn’t nose heavy.

  7. 0A5599 Avatar

    Parked vehicles can be dangerous​ places. The ad states it was purchased from a police department, but neglected to clarify whether it was from the maintenance fleet or the evidence room.

  8. ptschett Avatar

    An Explorer from the Firestone tire debacle era… with whiskey plates.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        For those of us who are dim, what’s a Whiskey plate? DWI?

  9. P161911 Avatar

    So did the Pinto Sedan Delivery have the same gas tank issue as the regular one?

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      From what I remember, the issue was with the hatchbacks, and wagons had a different tank design.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      No, sedan deliveries were based on the Pinto station wagon, which was excluded from the recall because of the extra body length behind the fuel tank, and because the fuel tank filler was located differently.
      Besides, the “gas tank issue” you speak of was largely a fabrication of overzealous lawyers and irresponsible journalists.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        I knew that the Pinto issue was largely a fabrication, but the question was “reputation for being dangerous”, no mention of if the reputation was deserved. We can still make fun of exploding Pintos though, right?

      2. Alff Avatar

        My Mom drove my sister and I around in a Datsun 1200 in the early 70s. It’s a miracle we survived.

      3. Rudy™ Avatar

        I don’t know about fabrication, but a local news station staged the same accident with a conversion van rear-ending a Pinto, and it immediately erupted in flames on impact. So yeah, it was quite a bit dangerous.

    3. dukeisduke Avatar

      Now this is stuck in my head:

  10. P161911 Avatar

    The safety of a fiberglass car built in a shed combined with the fire prone Fiero.

  11. P161911 Avatar

    No front brakes and a distinct possibility of breaking your arm if started improperly.

    1. Lokki Avatar

      My grandfather broke his brother’s nose two or three times in one go while learning to drive in a Model T on a country road. He was new at the whole driving thing which explains (he always insisted) why he ran into the bridge abutment head on. He was only going a few miles an hour so those big spring-steel bumpers did their job and the car simply bounced off and sprang backwards a few feet while smacking my great-uncle’s nose off the windshield. Then the car caught traction and moved forward -into the bridge again – smacking my great uncle’s nose into the windshield again! How many times this happened before he got the car stopped seems to depend on who was telling the story, my great uncle or my grandfather. This probably happened somewhere around 1913 or 1914 (my grandfather was born in 1901), but my great uncle was still giving my grandfather Hell about it as late as 1975…..
      So here’s a vote for the Model T by my great-uncle!

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        I think they misremembered that episode. It was a football.

      2. Mr Campbell Avatar
        Mr Campbell

        Thanks for that. made me laugh.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      My dad got a 5000s cheap in the early 1990s (used) due to the whole 60 Minutes thing. The only thing it was dangerous to was the wallet. Parts were priced like Porsche parts.

      1. JayP Avatar

        I had an ’83 5000S in 1987… right after 60Min.
        My car had a 1″ spacer on the brake to raise the contact plane above the throttle. If course being a kid, I took it off. One afternoon I was moving the car up the driveway and it lurched away from me. Honestly I thought my foot was on the brake.
        My next car was an ’88 5000S quattro which was a manual. But the car cost $34k in 1988 money. I bought it for $8k 4 yrs later with 20k miles and a new long block.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Last week when you poached my Cimarron answer, I discounted it as coincidence. Now that it happened two weeks in a row, I feel like I’m being stalked.
      If I see any Alfas within a hundred yards, I’m calling the cops.

      1. Alff Avatar

        If you do, I can assure you it’s not me. My Alfa is in an induced coma awaiting another heart transplant.
        I do apologize about poaching – Disqus hasn’t been good about displaying images in the comments for the last several weeks. I didn’t realize yours was a creepy van post.

        1. 0A5599 Avatar

          No worries. Great minds think alike and imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism, and all that. Just seemed a little odd two weeks in a row+creepy van.

  12. Manic_King Avatar

    Maybe not so dangerous, or who knows. Mix of Beetle and old Porsche andstrange looking, design by Swiss crazyman Luigi Colani. Car is 1 of approx. 360. Price seems high, not the first ebay run.

  13. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    It has all the inherent design flaws as it’s sedan counterparts, but without the crumple zones.

  14. CraigSu Avatar

    Robert Bruce Emslie? If your ancestry isn’t Scottish it certainly should be with a name like that.
    Oh, and just for good measure, G’day, Bruce!

    1. theskitter Avatar

      I worked there for two years.
      Bruce runs the press brake.
      This is Bruce’s welding station.
      And Bruce over there runs the roller.
      Bruce, have you seen Bruce?
      Louisiana was weird.

    2. Rob Emslie Avatar
      Rob Emslie

      100% Scottish. I broke the chain however by marrying a girl whose ancestry is Welsh.