Bing Bing Bonus! This 1987 LeSabre was half the price of the previous posts Acura Legend when new. 30 years later it is still half the price. While the legend is prettier, Is it half the car? Buick used the LeSabre name for over 50 years! This 6th gen example really exemplifies GM’s conservative vision for the American auto. Always looking backwards with rose colored glasses (to the malaise era?). The interior features a big split bench up front and an even bigger horizontal speedometer. Buicks V6 is legendary in its simplicity and reliability contrasted with Hondas rather advanced 24v V6. These too have been known to run forever. Expect a smooth ride, big trunk and old men who reek of cigarettes to offer to buy it off of you at gas stations. Twice as blue and at half the price ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
I recently had the opportunity to check out a fancy new “semi autonomous” vehicle from a big 3 manufacturer. While it did exactly what it said it would. I couldn’t help but be suspect of what felt like a stopgap design. To me (an idiot) it felt like a bunch of existing tech that was more connected than most vehicles bearing similar features (lane assist, blind spot monitors, cruise control etc) all working in strange harmony to give the sensation of autonomous driving. With regards to that I asked both the journalist and rep from the company about their feelings on the future serviceability of this tech. 10 years seems to be the magic number when it comes to automotive planned obsolescence, and while dealers will work on older cars (mechanically) I simply can’t imagine a world where a company will spend its resources fixing outdated tech in their vehicles (especially with the potential litigation involved in fixing a “self driving” system). Both the rep (obviously) and the Journalist both scoffed at my luddite pessimism. How many pieces of digital tech do you own that is 10+ years old? Where would you take it if it broke? How is your iphone 3G treating you?
There are alot of 10ish year old Luxury cars on craigslist. What may have been an 80k car 10 years ago is now a 3k car with “fully loaded” in bubble letters across the window sitting in a plastic flag dealerships open air lot. But in the end you end up paying for a navigation system that needs a cd to update and NO AUX JACK (the only thing you actually wanted). Along with expensive maintenance/parts.
Consider instead a 30 year old luxury car! This Acura Legend was Honda’s first foray into the luxury market. While its germanic rivals may dismiss its humble Accord underpinnings, these cars are known for reliability and comfort. These engines are known to run happily for 200k+ miles with routine maintenance and this one claims to only have 52k! The sound system has been upgraded and a pioneer infotainment system seem to be the only modifications to a pretty clean looking coupe. Want to be an absolute LEGEND? 3k seems like a good price to begin with, but the add does say open to negotiation, If the mileage claim is true then I would snatch it after some light haggling (offer 2500, pay 2750).
I love small cars. This blog might not show it, but the world would be a better place if microcars had taken off. And while there are lots of “drivers cars” being fawned over. Nobody talks about “parkers cars” . But if you have a life and street park in NYC, a small car is a godsend. The satisfaction of squeezing into a spot is second only to an empty subway car. This Toyota fits the bill well and will fit just about anywhere with just enough room thanks to its issigonisian proportions.
The Tercel EZ was an econo-hatch taken to an extreme. Rubber floor matts, AM radio and a 4 speed identify this as a proper “Stripper” (the passenger doesn’t even get a visor). This little bubble has barely lived! A car with under 100k for 1700? Mention the body work and drive it (and park it) forever for 1500.
It was Inevitable. We all knew that this day would come… The Volvo 240 is one of those cars that is and isn’t what everyone thinks it is. A well built tank that will run forever? Yes. An odd import that requires specialist knowledge, parts and regular maintenance? also yes! Reliability and maintenance go hand in hand. Many people think reliability = never ever maintaining the car until it REALLY brakes. Please stop doing this. (im looking at you subaru owners)
The 240 also earned a reputation as the “hipster car” but this is the 2005 wicker park, blazer and t-shirt post slacker hipster. PBR not IPA, ya dig? Most of those were hand-me-downs from suburban moms terrified that their kids were moving to the dangerous city. Because of this you do see idiots trying to hock these things for 5 grand and 300k mi (usually photographed in wburg or greenpoint with a long winded add about roadtrips)
This example in the Rockaways looks pretty nice though! A relatively low mile example with a slick (AND CLEAN) blue interior + a really straight looking body (no big rust spots or city dents). I think the price is right and the owner seems to have maintained it nicely. Buy it and drive it another 100k miles (then sell it to whatever they call hipsters in 5 years).
Keep tanking solider! (just please change the oil).
Want to make friends in New York City? Buy a small truck, you will discover you had allot more friends than you thought. Imagine all of the craigslist chairs you will haul! think of all of the “thank you” beers, meals and crumpled up 10$ bills you will have! This Nissan has lived a relatively easy life serving a community in the north shore of LI. Its a stripper model that doesn’t even have a tach! This stripper is ready for the big city. The work never ends and for 1000 dollars you could be “that friend with the truck”
It’s officially spring on the east coast. That means the craigslist dads are finally dragging out the heap that they did not fix over the winter for a quick wash and flip. Maybe combined with that tax return he can get that Harley Trike to fill that empty space in the garage (the wife will kill me!) To buyers it means that there are some great projects popping up with those promises…
“Just needs some paint”,
“Easy weekend project”
“Ready for summer”
My last project car has become somewhat redundant. The NA Miata scratches the same itch as the MG without the constant need for tinkering. The Miata isn’t half as cool as the MG, but spending a bunch of cash to bring back another roadster seems like madness. So with my tiny roadster backroads compact itch scratched… whats a girl to do?
Well I contain multitudes (of itches) and I nearly break out in fucking hives when Brucie sings “roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair” . Scratching that itch wont be as easy on a budget. Brucie’s main audience (the boomer) is doing pretty well for themselves. That big tax break their floor epoxy business got this year means that they can buy up all of the freedom machines that their friends wrapped around telephone poles “back in the day”. So how can a young person get themselves into something with a V8 powerful enough to rip through the gaping maw of the garden state? We look again to Richard A. Teague and the American Motors Company!
Teague was the man who could do more with less (because he had to). His clean lines and bold shapes stood out from the competition. His use of interchangeable body panels and cost efficient design allowed AMC to stay competitive with the big 3 while spending far less. The guy is a legend.
1971 was the first year of the redesigned AMC Javelin. Its polarizing update was purposely made to give the sporty car "individuality," even at "the risk of scaring some people off.” It was lower, longer and wider although it still shared many components with its predecessor. While it was never the fastest (except when it won the trans-am series in 1971 & 1972) or the best looking muscle car (sorry Dick), its relative obscurity has kept prices down. There was a car listed in NJ for 3500 and after numerous calls and texts, the add disappeared so these guys are a bit more than a trip to queens.
This 73 is in VA. for 5700.
You ain’t a beauty, but hey your alright. And thats alright with me.
Next up is a bit of an odd duck. Also penned by Teague, the AMC Eagle was the worlds first crossover. A four wheel drive vehicle that is most often seen in its wagon form that was literally 30 years ahead of its time. This eagle is the compact and while its original six and 4wd system has vanished, an AMC V8 has appeared in its place. While this is not a traditional muscle car or hot rod, I think it will scratch that itch once you hit the highway. Listed at 3500 in Maine.
Has my mullet just gotten too long? Why is Richard Teague appearing in my dreams? Are American cars the best cars for cruising America? Should I drive to Maine?
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
There is no lack of big cheap American luxury vehicles on craigslist. Many are rusted hulks that smell like cigarettes and gas station hot dogs. Every once in a while a clean and well cared for example pops up. By 1990 the Cadillac line was aging quickly. With competition from Lexus and Acura bringing luxury sedans that looked forward to the future instead of backwards through the foggy lens of nostalgia. But its 2019, take a look through that silk stocking and see the last gasps of the American Luxury sedan. Two doors, acres of soft leather, vinyl roof, digital dash (with a wood veneer trim), a smooth V8 with under 100k miles on it? Bring some cash and see what happens, lotta car for 3k.
Sometimes you just don’t know what you got till you take a good look at it. This craigslist seller, and star of my first post is BACK. The seller no longer thinks this is a “perfect 2jz swap candidate” and now is attempting to hock it as a good daily that needs nothing (except paint, light rust, and did i mention the shocks?). The list price went UP since we last saw it but I guess seeing it sparkling in the light of the morning made him think he could get more? Bring 900 bucks and spend the last 100 on some rattle cans and drive drive drive.
“Aunt Nikki is coming to visit from the city this weekend”.
Aunt Nikki? You don’t think that you are actually related to Aunt Nikki, the title has never been explained. She brings better gifts than your real Aunt, so what is the issue? Either way, the aunt that dances with the cat is driving up this weekend. WHAT is she driving though?
Nicole became Aunt Nikki by acquiring and driving a 1980 Toyota Corona Liftback Luxury Edition. Carbureted 22R, 5 Speed. Brown with red velour interior. A pragmatic oddity for life in the right lane. Perfect for city life projects, craigslist chairs and trips to home depot. But the real job of an Aunt Nikki special is to LEAVE the city for long trips and summer Friday jaunts up the taconic.
So what car deserves the first entry into the Aunt Nikki car list? How about a pale yellow 1980 Ford Mustang with a pinto 2.3 and a stick! Although Aunt Nikki isn’t a fan of the color, it ticks quite a few of the other boxes. The dash is gnarly but I think this thing would be an awesome city driver. I don’t want to know what lurks beneath those seat covers but HELL this thing is cool! The man in the craigslist pictures can’t help but eye this lil beauty as he climbs into his Cherokee .
The Aunt Nikki Special
Built between 1975-1985
Economy engine option
*Liftback, Notchback, sportback etc
Bonus points for
Grandpa always loved oldsmobiles and when he finally retired he took his 66 Cutlas Supreme to the dealership and drove off in a car that even in 1989 dared to call itself a “Touring Sedan”. Billed as having everything that them fancy german sedans had all without dishonoring our great flag! Grandpa doesn’t drive anymore, his grandson doesn’t want the car so this last gasp of american techno luxury can be yours for 3k.
Look at this fun little AMC. Cute color, bench seats. What more could you ask for? (a manual transmission, a V8). You really don’t need either of those though. AMC called these the “sensible spectaculars” so get used to life in the right lane. Its not so bad here. Richard Teague penned the design, he designed the pacer and the AMX.
You can’t really argue with a 1000 dollar car that runs and drives. Drive it till it dies. Great city beater. The number of air fresheners in the car is a bit concerning but again, its 1000 bucks.