In our last showdown, the wankeled 510 walked (or hmmmmm-ed) away with the win. Two words: chin spoiler.
But enough of that wannabe dorifto/auto-X nonsense. It’s winter, so lets try to find some vehicles that’d be nice in the snow, or will be great to take to the beach once the weather breaks in February (SoCal FTW). In today’s Showdown, we’re rounding up compact SUVs and pitting the Best of the Worst against the Worst of the Best…
To put it simply, no one likes the Bronco II. …which is funny, given that it’s the chassis-mate and two-door predecessor of the we-sold-so-many-we-forgot-how-to-make-cars O.G. Explorer. To most, it’s a symbol of crappy, underpowered and underbuilt 80s Ford products.
…but this one’s probably about as good as they come. It’s got a manual transmission, new clutch, rebuilt engine and what looks like a pretty good exterior. Between the stickshift, dinky engine and 18lb curb weight, it probably gets the great mileage. $1495 ain’t bad for a not-so-bad little SUVlet. Craigslist.
Maybe you’re looking for a little more room. Maybe you’re looking for a better chassis. Maybe you’re looking for the paragon of 80s SUV badicalness: the Toyota 4Runner. With notoriously good reliability and sweet boxy 80s styling, they’re the no-frills, simple SUV that blog commenters (but surprisingly few customers) clamor for.
…but we’re not gonna make it that easy for you. We’re willing to bet few of you knew that between ’85 and ’87, you could get a turbo
4Runner. That’s right, before they introduced the craptastic 3VZFE, Toyota used forced induction to attempt bridge the horsepower gap between the 116hp 22RE and engines like Chevy’s 4.3L V6. Alas, like many an 80s turbo motor, today’s specimen has a blown head gasket. Also, turbo 4Runners only came in automatic, so you’re left choosing between mockery and a tranny swap.
On the plus side, the paint and 80s-tastic decals look good. The $1000 asking price is probably pretty flexible, given the work needed. You could use this as an opportunity to get a great deal on a clean body/chassis to start a bitchin’ trail machine build.
So…which will it be: Best example of one of the worst 80s SUVs, or nutjob basket case from a well respected family?