Tuesday, February 2, 2016

FREE 1970 (?) Opel 1900

Just posting this because you don't often see free Opels...

This is most likely not a 1970, as I believe the first year for this model in the US was 1971. After 1972 Opel stopped importing the sedan, so my guess is this is a MY 1971 with a 1970 build date. The seller does not have a title.

There really isn't much else I can write about this. It's free. Free Opel parts. (Or a serious restoration project.) Free is good. ;-)

Located in Longview, OR, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Couple of Winter Cars For Car Geeks...

This post may not make sense to those of you in warmer climates. But, here in New England, and any area where snow and ice is common during the winter months, a winter car - something not too expensive and AWD - is a must. Long ago, you were forced to an SUV, or maybe a Subaru. But in the late 1990s, AWD started becoming common on luxury / sporting cars. (Audi, of course, lead the way in this, with their quattro cars.) Many of these older cars can now be purchased for very reasonable prices and can be as fun to drive as your everyday car. (And maybe even repalce it.) There are plenty of good choices out there, these are just a couple that caught my attention...

2000 Mercedes-Benz E320 4-Matic - I should start off here by saying that I bought my most recent Saab from this guy. It was an easy, fair transaction and he stood behind the car. That said, everyone's buying experience can be different, so there is no endorsement here. (But, I would - and might - buy another car from him.)

The W210 E Class was introduced in 1995. Development started in 1988. Like the W124 it replaced in MB's lineup, it was designed to last a long time. But, like the W124, if not properly maintained, it can become a very expensive car to own.

The most common problems with these cars are sensors, electrical gremlins and other minor annoyances. The rear suspension is hydraulic and parts can (will) fail over time. The automatic transmission - like many from back in the late 1990s / 2000s - is a "sealed for life" unit. Forget that. If it hasn't been done already. "unseal" the transmission and change the fluid. The life of your transmission will likely then last the life of the car.

By the time this car was built, MB had worked out most of the issues earlier 4-Matic cars had. Like the rest of the car, if properly maintained, the 4-Matic system is an effective, reliable AWD system.

The rest of the car is pure Mercedes Benz. Luxurious without being stuffy. Solidly built. Well laid out. Secure feeling. Basically, everything you would want in a winter car.

Located in Westfield, MA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

2005 Jaguar X-Type - The X-Type was never loved by Jaguar enthusiasts or the press. (Time magazine called the X-Type a "British Cadillac Cimarron" in its "50 Worst Cars of All Time" list.) Introduced in 2001 and based on a Ford Mondeo / Contour platform, it was meant to be big volume, introductory Jaguar. Big sales never materialized and Jaguar dumped the X-Type after the 2009 model year.

Maybe because of, or possibly in spite of, the Ford content, the X-Type, especially 2005 - 2009 models, seem to be fairly reliable cars. Like any car coming from a European luxury manufacturer, maintenance is a must.

Like the Mercedes above, the Jaguar automatic transmission is a sealed for life unit. Again, forget all the "sealed for life" stuff. Changing the fluid will keep your transmission healthy and happy. Also, there have been problems (mostly moisture related) with the X-Type's Transmission Control Modules. Often it is mistaken for a bad transmission. While a TCM isn't cheap, it's a whole lot cheaper than a transmission. (Which is not to say that all transmission related problems are the TCM. It really could be the transmission.)

The AWD system is effective, although you won't mistake this car for a 4X4. The engine´s power is split 40/60 to the front/rear, giving the car a proper Jaguar RWD feel.

The V6 is a Ford Duratec based motor, to which Jaguar added their own touches (most notably the intake system). They seem to be strong engines with no serious weak points.

In my opinion, had Ford decided to make this look more like a Jaguar and not a Mondeo / Contour in a Jaguar costume, it might have been a very successful car. But, many years later that works in our favor. Used X-Types sell for very little. It's a very good car that you wouldn't mind driving all year round.

This one is located at a dealer in New Jersey. Based on the pictures (green grass, tree with leaves. etc.), it's been there for awhile. He's accepting "best offers." Click here to see the eBay listing.

Friday, January 15, 2016

1991 Eagle Premier - Designed by AMC & Renault, Sold By Chrysler. (A Good Car That Never Had A Chance.)

This car has been kicking around Craigslist for a month or so. I remember a few years ago, when I was regularly writing this blog, the Premier had quite a few fans. I've taken the text for this post from one of my earlier posts, because, really, history hasn't changed. ;-)

The Eagle Premier was the last car born of the AMC / Renault hook-up. Contrary to popular belief, it was not a Renault 25 dressed in new clothing. The Premier, while using plenty of parts and engineering from the 25, was its own car. It was a damn good car, too.

The body was designed by Giorgietto Giugiaro. Like most of Giugiaro's designs, it's simple, tasteful and modern. It had a drag coefficient of 0.31, which was slightly lower than the Ford Taurus, a car touted for its aerodynamic shape.

Initially, there were two engine choices; the AMC designed 2.5 liter four and the 3.0 liter Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) V6. Most customers went for the V6 and by 1990 the 4 was dropped. With the V6, 60 MPH came in 10 seconds.

The interior was designed by AMC's Richard Teague. It was, at the time, unique and futuristic. Pods on the sides of the steering column housed the climate control switches, lights and wipers. The turn signal wasn't a traditional stalk, but a switch. It returned to its centered position immediately after a driver signaled a turn and a chime indicated its cancellation after completing the turn. The cabin was very roomy and, as typical with a car from Renault, the seats were extremely comfortable and supportive.

The Premiere premiered to rave reviews, but big sales never materialized. Some say that was due to the American prejudice against French cars. Other reports say that Chrysler, having bought AMC mainly for the Jeep brand, resented having to sell the Premier and did little to promote it. Chrysler had a contract to purchase 260,000 PRV engines from Renault. Rather than continue to build the car, Chrysler dropped it after 1992 and paid a penalty for the 100,000+ engines they did not purchase.

It's rare to see a Premier on the road today. Early cars had some teething problems (mostly electrical), but by 1990 it was a reliable car. 4 cylinder cars are rare, but unless you find an extraordinary one for next to nothing, there's no real reason to want one. The V6 is a much better engine. (Yes, this is the same PRV that Volvo had so many problems with in the 264. The problems were sorted out by the time it made its way into the Premier.) It is generally agreed that the 1990 through 1992 cars are the best of the breed.

I'll take some heat for saying this, but the Premier is a viable low cost alternative to a similar era Audi, Volvo or Acura. The seller says this car "runs and drives excellent." Based on the photos, the body and interior look to be in nice shape, too.

Located in Scranton, PA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

1973 VW Squareback - A Nicely Restored Type III - Nostalgia

I can't say that I have a lot of love for air cooled VWs. It's probably my age.

When I first got my license air cooled VWs were everywhere. They were cheap. $100.00 got you a Beetle with rusted out running boards and blown out heater boxes. $200.00 got you a Type III or a Karmann Ghia. They had no running boards, but they rusted everywhere else. The heat was no better than that on a Beetle. All stock air cooled VWs were slow. Painfully slow.

To be fair, they had their plusses. Besides being cheap, they tended to be fairly reliable. Parts were plentiful and very inexpensive. Repairs were easy. Still, most of my friends only kept their VWs until they could afford something better. Personally, I had a Karmann Ghia. I traded "up" to an Opel GT as soon as I had a little extra cash.

Something about this car however, caused a wave of nostalgia to come over me.

VW launched the Type 3 cars in 1961. The first was a 2 door coupe. It was a more "upmarket" car than the Beetle, but retained the rear-engine layout VW was known for. In 1962, VW introduced a station wagon version (known as the Squareback) and in 1963, the Fastback. The Type 3 was the first VW passenger car to feature the "pancake" engine.

This car looks to have been very nicely restored. It has some modifications (i.e the wheels and the Webers), but it still looks basically stock. (Not that it matters. Even when new, people modified - or personalized - their VWs. Exhaust mods were common. You could even buy an Alfa Romeo style grill to slap on the front of a Karmann Ghia. J.C. Whitney sold them, I think.) Everything looks to have been done to a nice standard.

As much as I have few fond memories of air cooled VWs, if I had the extra cash and space, I'd be tempted by this one. Nostalgia, I guess.

Located in Belchertown, MA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Junkyard Sell Off

Looking for a parts car?

This is kind of interesting. A junkyard in Vermont is selling off their junk cars. They say they have "over 400 cars" from the 1930s to the 1980s. " VW Beetles, vans, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Chargers, Challengers, Corvairs, Desoto, Nash, Rambler, Cadillac, Camaro, Impala, C10, C20, Comets, Cougars, Edsels, Firebirds, Mustangs, Meteor etc." I spotted a Triumph Spitfire in one of the pictures along with a few VW Rabbits.

"The prices are $500.00 for any car" and "$500-1000.00 for all trucks in the vintage pickup/truck line." The downside here is that Vermont is not exactly known for it's warm, dry, climate. Who knows what shape these cars are in.

Take a look at the pictures. If you're in New England and need a parts car, it may be worth the trip.

If nothing else, you'll get some exercise, beacause as the seller states in his ad, "These cars are scattered everywhere so the location of your dream vehicle is unknown. Get ready to do some walking."

Located in Hardwick, VT, click here to see the Craigslist ad.