I have done a beater roundup before, but we’re caught up in some special circumstances now. A bunch of us are now 1200 dollars richer, right? Assuming you still have some manner of income, this check is an automotive opportunity. Don’t worry, though. You won’t have to spend the rest of your time on craigslist looking for the perfect beater. That’s our job.
Let’s get into it
I’m setting the max price to $1200, transmission to manual (I’ll look at autos if I get desperate), and the range to 99999 miles away from 19144 (Philadelphia). All of these cars have to run and drive. I’m not going to be listing any parts cars. I’m also going to set a minimum price at $300 to ward off all of those pea-brained dealerships who post leases on craigslist. That gets me irrationally angry but I’m not going to think about it for the sake of preventing a rant. I may lose a few of those sweet sub-$300 beaters, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
What is a Kia Sephia?
Forgive me for my ignorance of the early 2000’s Kias, but what is this? I mean it looks like it’s in rough shape, but I don’t know anything about these cars. Is 190k a lot for a Kia Sephia? Do they live alone or in packs? I’m just not sure.
This one seems like it’s had a lot of work done to it lately. That can sometimes be a good thing, but other times just means the car is unreliable and eats through parts.
A plus to buying this particular Kia Sephia–besides the patina–is these free boxes you get in the trunk. They look like nice boxes. Double-walled, square… brown. I don’t know. I would use them.
Ford Focus SVT
How do you say that town name? Voorheesville. VORE-HE’S-VILLE?
This thing looks pretty solid from most of the pictures, but the owner describes it as being “Best used for a beater car”. Seems like it doesn’t run or shift really well, and it also has 200k miles on it.
The driver’s seat looks like it has some manner of fecal material worn into it. I think I would have to wear a few pairs of pants to drive this thing around. Just so I could at least be confident mentally that I wasn’t touching anything I didn’t want to.
Besides that, and the mechanical issues, the car looks pretty square. It comes with an extra set of wheels, too. Yes, it has some rust, but nothing absolutely crazy. For eight hundred bucks, this is a good deal. You would have 400 to spare–you could probably fix some of the issues it had just with some new parts.
Stick Saturn Vue!
I actually saw a stick Saturn Vue on black steelies and snow tires a few months ago, let me find the picture.
That thing just looks sweet. Somebody needs to cut the fenders out of one of these and make a really bad off-roading rig. I’m also not sure how good a Saturn Vue is to try and flex on people for driving stick (note the ‘save the manuals sticker’), but I guess you have to work with what you got.
There’s only one picture of this particular Vue, but if you’re willing to trust the owner, (I mean, I would probably trust a guy with a stick Saturn Vue) then it has working heat and A/C. At $1150, you could pick this thing up and then have a really expensive take-out lunch. Or buy a lot of really poor quality beer. I think with a little bit of black Plastidip and some big sidewall snow tires, you would be in business with this thing as a solid winter beater. Mileage is high at 200k, but Saturns are known for their bulletproof reliability, right?
I’m getting desperate.
There’s really not a lot for sale in this price range as far as stick cars go, even nationwide. It’s a lot less than I remember. Maybe this whole pandemic deal is affecting it. There are more cars for sale, but none of them are very interesting. Lots of old BMWs that definitely have bad head gaskets. As a result, we are going to look at some automatic options
Wow, check it out guys! That Mclaren is only a thousand bucks!
Forget these shitty cars! Look at all of these brand new cars we can pick up for under a grand! WOW! THAT’S AMAZING! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! ONLY $459 HUH?
Alright, I’m calming down.
Check this guy out. ’94 Celica for only a thousand bucks. According to the owner–who we trust of course–the car will be worth five thousand dollars next year. I would say definitely buy this car. Count 365 days and then you’ll be able to just print out four grand.
Best In Show
A lot of the other cars for sale seem like a real pain in the ass. Old A4s, automatic Saab 9-5s, just some stuff that’s eventually gonna leave you stranded. This Neon will not leave you stranded. It is the best buy.
Allow wheels, it’s a facelift model, and I even like the color. I’ve driven, and have been driven around in a few Neons before. They’re just solid economy cars. They may not be the coolest thing out there, but as far as a sub $1200 beater goes, they’re probably the best. This one is only 800 bucks, so you would have $400 leftover after you bought it.
Thing has a little oil leak, sway-bar needs some bushings, but the A/C works and it doesn’t look like there’s any rust at all. This is the one I would go for.
Post anything else you guys have found!
I’m sure you’ve been looking at cars, too. Especially if you got a check. I only looked at craigslist, but I’m sure there’s a lot of good stuff on Facebook marketplace and even sites like Autotrader. Post some stuff in the comments if anything has caught your eye.