Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1979 Peugeot 504 Diesel - Very Nice, Very Expensive

The 504, in my opinion, was the most significant Peugeot of all time. Introduced in 1968, Peugeot built over 3 million of these cars through 1983. There were gas and diesel versions. The body styles included sedans, station wagons, pick up trucks, crew cab pick up trucks, coupes, cabriolets, and probably a few more variations that I don't know about. It was built in in Africa, South America, the Middle East, Australia (where, oddly, it was built by Renault under license form Peugeot) and Asia (Where it was built in China as a pick up truck right up until 2009.)

It found its way on to the streets of New York as a taxi and drove through the deserts and jungles of Africa.

The Peugeot diesel engine was used by Ford of Europe in their Granada and Sierra cars, in the Mahindra Jeep like vehicles, in Leyland / DAF vans and other cars. They also found their way, along with the suspension, into the Paykan, the Iranian version of the Hillman Hunter. It was also used in the P4 military vehicle.

In short, it was a car that was respected and loved everywhere... Except in the US, where it was a sales / marketing and PR disaster.

Peugeot was positioning itself as a near-luxury car in the US. It was going head to head with BMW, Audi, Volvo, and Saab. Peugeot assumed that the 1970s oil crisis, along the new higher prices of gasoline, would send US consumers into showrooms looking for diesel cars, as it had done in Europe. It didn't. While BMW, Audi and Volvo introduced a few token diesels in the US, Peugeot basically bet the the farm on them. They lost the bet. Diesels never caught on in the US and Peugeot dealers were stuck with cars no one wanted. Near-luxury car buyers could afford the higher prices of gasoline and had no desire for slow, smoke belching diesels. The few buyers in this market segment who wanted a diesel usually went with a Mercedes Benz car as it was a better known name.

This 504 is in remarkable condition. It has 119,000 miles on it and the seller says everything works. Like most cars of the 1970s, Peugeots rusted badly. This one appears to be rust free.

The asking price for this car is a sky high $9,909.00. That's more than I'd pay for an old Peugeot, gas or diesel. But, if having a funky old diesel means something to you and having one of the nicest ones in North America means even more, this car might be worth the price.

Located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, click here to see the eBay listing.

Monday, November 29, 2010

1981 Toyota Celica Sunchaser

I remember seeing one of these in 1981. It was in a Toyota showroom in Albany, NY. That was the only time I ever saw one "in the flesh".

The convertible conversion was done by the Griffith Company. The Griffith Company was owned by Jack Griffith. That's the same Jack Griffith who dropped Ford V8s into TVR Granturas and created the pretty spectacular TVR Griffith in the 1960s.

The Sunchaser was created with the blessings of Toyota and sold through Toyota dealerships with a full factory warranty. Built for roughly 3 years, there were, depending on the source, somewhere between 2000 and 3000 built in total.

The conversion was similar to a number of convertibles of the day (i.e Baur BMW). The roof immediately behind the windshield to the edge of the B-Pillar was removed and a removable fiberglass targa top was installed in its place. The B-Pillar and a section of the roof was left in place and a fold-down vinyl top covered the rear portion of the interior. The undercarriage was also heavily modified. When introduced, the Sunchaser was praised by testers for its structural rigidity.

This Sunchaser is in remarkable condition. The body looks great. My only complaint is the graphics going down the side, but those could be original and are definitely period correct, so I guess they should be left on.

The interior is one of the nicest I've seen in any old Celica. It even appears to still have the factory AM/FM radio.

There are similar styled convertibles available; the Lancia Beta Zagato, the above mentioned grey market Baur BMWs, the Jaguar Cabriolet, etc. All, in their own way, are great cars with better "names" than Toyota. None, however, have the legendary dependability and easy, inexpensive parts availability like the Celica has. There's a lot to be said for that.

The bottom line is, this is a classy, very rare, handbuilt convertible that you could drive everyday if you wanted to.

Located in Cumming, GA, click here to see the eBay listing.

A big thanks to JaCG reader, Russ, for sending me the link to this car!

Need Parts For Your 1967 SIMCA 1000?

Here's something for all you Simca fans...

This is a 1967 Simca 100 GLS. It looks to be too far gone to restore, but it might yield some usable, hard to find parts.

The last line in the ad made me laugh... The odometer on this car reads 88 miles. In closing his ad, the seller writes, "It is safe to assume the odometer reading of 88 miles is incorrect."

Located in Waco, TX, click here to see the eBay listing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

1985 Lada Signet 1.3 - A JaCG Reader's Newest Acquisition

Remember Todd? He was the onetime owner of the Mitsubishi Debonair I wrote about back in September. In his e-mail to me about that car, he mentioned that he also had owned a 78 Austin Allegro Estate, 80 Austin Princess, 79 Ford Granada Coleman Milne Cardinal Hearse, 82 MG Metro, 83 Austin Maestro Vanden Plas and a "few Peugeots"; a 504 Diesel Wagon, 505 Gas Wagon and a 604 Turbo Diesel. Oh yeah, he also had "bunch" of Renault R-16s, including a Canadian built Euro spec R-16TS, couple of Le Cars, a Renault Medallion, an Opel Manta, an Audi 100LS, a Citroen GS Wagon, and a BMW 1600 with a 2002 engine and dual DCOE Webers. I published his e-mail and Todd instantly became a hero to the vast majority of JaCG readers.

Todd e-mailed me last week to share his latest acquisition, a 1985 Lada Signet 1.3 Automatic with 48,000KM. I asked him for some photos and a little history and he obliged.

From his e-mail:
"I gotta admit I'm not new to Ladas even though yes, I live in the States and no, Ladas were never imported here. My current Canadian spec Signet is actually my Fourth Lada. Seriously! I've had not one but THREE Samaras prior to owning my current car. I'm not one to be told "no you're not allowed to own one of those" and I'll do what I gotta do to make it happen.

My Current car is 100% legal! It's a 1985 Signet 1.3 Automatic! I found this car via Craigslist. I put a "Wanted Lada" ad on Craigslist in Vancouver BC and got an e-mail from a guy who said he knew of a car available on Vancouver Island. This is the car I have now. I paid $2,600 for it and it even comes with a 1986 running parts car, but I can't bring that in until January...the 25 year old rule again.

This car has 48,000 kilometers from new and is a very well preserved example. The guy I bought it from said it was bought new in Victoria BC and was garage kept and rarely driven. He said when he got the car it still had the plastic on the seats. His wife drove it occasionally and he was good at preventive maintenance and it came with a hand written paper of every little thing he ever did to the car.

I made the Long 16 hour trek to Vancouver Island and back to pick up the car with a car dolly on the back of my Dodge Ram Diesel pickup. I'm not near brave enough to drive an unfamiliar car that rare in one day! Customs was dead easy other than they couldn't find the brand Lada anywhere in their computer, but that only delayed things slightly and soon I had the important Customs clearance paperwork in my hand and was able to register the car.

My plans for the car are just to drive it on nice days and to take it to car shows where I know for sure I'll have the Only Lada there."
I'd bet he's right about that.

This is a great looking Lada and Todd deserves to be congratulated for hunting it down and bringing it to the US.

Don't get me wrong, I love traditional classic cars and I have nothing but respect for someone who restores or buys an old Ferrari, Healey, Alfa, Jaguar, Triumph, etc., etc. But I have a special kind of respect for someone who restores, owns and loves a car that is not considered a traditional classic. Todd gets that kind of respect from me.

A big thanks goes out to Todd for sharing his car and the story!

If you have a cool old classic you think would be of interest to JaCG readers, send me an e-mail with some history (how long you've owned the car, the condition it was in when you bought it, where you found it, etc.) and some pictures and you may see it posted here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend Quickies - Saturday, November 27, 2010

1973 BMW Bavaria - How about a Bavaria you could easily use as a daily driver?

This car has the engine and fuel injection system from a grey market 1986 535i. It has a 5 speed transmission and updated brakes.

White is not my favorite color on a Bavaria (although, oddly, I think it looks great on my E36), but still, if this car were on the east coast instead of the west, it's a car I'd consider buying.

Located in Culver City, CA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1970 DAF 55 - What a cool little car. What an unusual car to see in the US.

There are some neat, advanced and unusual engineering features in these cars. DAF was the first car company to use a CVT transmission. Final drive to the rear wheels was transmitted by rubber-composite drive belts. The engine was an 1108cc Renault engine, an engine most often seen in the rear of the R8.

In 1975 DAF was bought by Volvo and the brand was eventually discontinued. (The Volvo 300 series cars, introduced in 1976, were designed by DAF and had a CVT transmission)

This DAF is right-hand drive. The seller says it runs and drives great, but needs tires, some minor bodywork and some interior work.

Located in Lomita, CA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1968 Opel Kadett - As I've written before, my very first car was an Opel Kadett station wagon. It was not exactly the hippest car to have in high school, but it got great gas mileage and the fold down rear seat was handy on dates.

The seller of this one writes very little about it. Based on the pictures, it appears to be in nice shape.

Located in St.Joseph, MO, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 - The 280SE is a really interesting car. Sold in the US for just 1 year, it's a short wheelbase 280 stuffed full of the long wheelbase's (280SEL) 4.5 liter V8. Lighter and nimbler than the 280SEL, the 280SE 4.5 performed and handled like few other sedans of the early 1970s did.

This car belonged to the sellers grandfather. It's not perfect, but it's pretty decent. The body is missing a chrome strip and the interior has some mismatched front seats. BUT, the rebuilt engine has just 80K on it and there appears to be little rust.

There are quite a few Benz-heads who feel that the 280SE 4.5 is a future collectible.

This one is priced at just $1650.00.

Located in the Pittsburg / Antioch area of CA, click here to see the Craigslist ad (which has a lot of large pictures).

Friday, November 26, 2010

1990 Sterling 827SL Oxford Edition

Rover luxury and Honda reliability. Talk about a great idea. This car was known as the Rover 800 in most of the world. In North America, where Rover had a less than stellar reputation due to past problems with their cars, they decided it to call it something else. The very British name Sterling was chosen. It may have had a new name, but it turned out to have the same old Rover problems...

In an earlier post about a Sterling, a reader commented "British build quality and the soul of a Japanese appliance. The Worst of both Worlds."

While that's not too far from the truth, it's not 100% fair. The Honda V6 is not the most exciting engine ever built, but it was one of the best engines to come out of Japan in the 1980s. The British bits, while not put together all that well, gave the car a luxurious feel that Honda, or any Japanese manufacturer at the time, couldn't match.

The Sterling sold well at first, moving over 15,000 cars in 1988. By 1992, as word got out about the build quality problems, sales dropped to less than 2000. Rover pulled the plug on Sterling in 1992.

This Sterling is an Oxford Edition. Only 350 were made. They all came painted "Nordic Metallic Blue". Inside they had every luxury bell, whistle and gadget known to man in 1990. (And yes, being a Sterling, that means there are a lot of things with the potential to ooze smoke, shoot sparks, or just quit with no warning at all). The interior has more leather than the standard Sterling and a few other "luxury" touches. It also has the 2.7 liter version of the Honda / Acura engine. It has a bit more horsepower and torque than the 2.5 liter version that came in the earlier Sterlings. It made the car very competitive with (or better than) many of the sports sedans coming from Europe at the time.

The seller describes this car as being in very good condition. The body needs a good buffing and there's one small rust spot. The interior looks to be in very nice shape.

In almost every ad you see for a Sterling, the seller mentions how easy it is to get mechanical parts at your local Honda / Acura dealer. That's true, but since those aren't the parts that break, that's a moot point. (If you do go to a Honda or Acura dealer looking for parts, go in knowing the part number. Honda / Acura dealers don't know - and don't want to know - anything about Sterlings.) It's everything else that breaks and many parts are very tough to come by. Fortunately, on this car, everything seems to be there and is said to be in working order.

The Sterling is not a car for everyone. But if you like driving something unique and don't mind some extra work and time involved in hunting down parts, the Sterling is a car worth looking into.

Personally, I like the hatchback Sterling 827SLi, but of you prefer a trunk to a hatch, this 827SL might be a good choice.

Located in Ocean City, MD, click here to see the eBay listing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No Post Today...

(Photo by Mark Garfinkel and courtesy of BostonHerald.com.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Low Mileage 1983 Audi Ur-Quattro

Ask any person on the street to name a European luxury AWD car and chances are they'll say "Audi". BMW, Mercedes and Volvo all make fine AWD cars, but Audi is synonymous with AWD.

This is the car that started it all...

Audi introduced the Quattro to the European market in 1980 and to North America in 1983.

In it's day, this car was simply known as the Quattro. When Audi started using the the quattro name - with a lower case "q" - to refer to its AWD system, fans of the Quattro car - upper case "Q" - began to refer to this car as the Ur-Quattro. "Ur" roughly meaning "original" in German.

From 1980 through 1991, Audi built just over 11,000 Ur-Quattros in total. Just 61 came to the US in 1983, making this one a very rare car. It has just 14,000 miles on it. The seller has maintained it well, putting $5,000.00 worth of work into it over the past few years. This car also has a performance chip in it, which may bring the performance up to European levels. (The turbo I5 in put out 197 HP in Europe, but just 160 in North America.) The seats have a bit of wear (call it "patina") and there is a spec of rust on the a pillar, but overall this is a very, very, nice Ur-Quattro.

Prices for Ur-Quattros have been steadily climbing over the past decade or so. It will be interesting to see how much this one, in this condition and with low miles, goes for.

Located in San Francisco, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Vintage Saab Junkyard For Sale"

Here's something for all of you classic Saab fans.

This person is selling what he calls a "vintage Saab junkyard". He has "6 Saab 95's and 96's. V-4 engines, trannys, doors, fenders, tailgates, hoods, trunks, seats, interior parts."

The catch? You have to take it all.

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

1987 Maserati BiTurbo Spyder

Those of you who have been reading this blog since the early days know that I have an inexplicable "thing" for the Maserati Biturbo.

If you're looking for a car that is reliable, easy to work on, with plentiful and inexpensive parts, a Biturbo is not for you. But, if you don't mind doing a lot of maintenance, a Biturbo is a fast, fun, semi-exotic car that can be bought for the price of a used Hyundai.

Actually, the reliability of the later (1987 and up) cars isn't too bad. (By Biturbo standards.) By 1987 Maserati had corrected many of the car's original flaws. Also, as happens often with older cars, Biturbo owners have figured out how to correct many of the car's remaining problems.

The Biturbo has a lot going for it. The engine puts out around 190 HP. 60 MPH comes in a little over 6 seconds. It's a fairly tough engine and, as long as you do simple things like don't rev the hell out of it before it's warmed up, it should last a good long time.

The Biturbo interior is incredible. It's simple, well laid out and loaded with leather and wood. In my eyes, it's almost perfect.

This particular car will most likely sell for a lot more than the price of a used Hyundai. It's a Spyder (sometimes called a Zagato), which is much rarer than the coupe, and it's a 3000 mile car that is in excellent physical condition. It looks like new.

There is one thing that scares me about this car... For a car that has been "kept in a covered garage" since new, it's had a lot of work done to it. That's not too surprising, as Maseratis, like most Italian cars, need to be driven. The more you drive them, the better they seem to work. This car, having been driven so little, may need some more work in the future. But, if you'd rather turn a wrench than do bodywork or interior restoration, this would be a great car.

Located in Niagra Falls, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.

Grey Market 1992 325i

I'm not passing judgment or making any recommendations on this car. I'm just putting it out here.

This is a grey market E36. I don't know how or why this made it into the US.

The seller says it has "the California state approval badge under the hood for this being an import", which, I suppose, means it's legal in CA (and probably the rest of the country).

As I said, I'm just putting this out here for you to look at. Unfortunately, the Craigslist ad has just two pictures.

Located in Sherman Oaks, CA, click here to see the ad.

Monday, November 22, 2010

1978 Peugeot P4 - Half French, Half German, Now Living in Florida

This is the first time I've seen one of these for sale in the US.

In the early 1970s, the French government realized that their fleet of military Hotchkiss M-201s was becoming outdated. (An understatement, as the Hotchkiss M-201 was a licensed version of a pre-WWII Jeep.) They needed a fleet of new, unarmored military 4x4s.

Peugeot wanted in on the chance to build 15,000 vehicles for the French army, but had no suitable chassis and body of their own. A call was made to Geländefahrzeuggesellschaft mbH (a company jointly owned by Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch) and the P4 was born.

The P4 is essentially a Mercedes Geländewagen (G-Wagon) with Peugeot running gear and a few minor visual differences. Daimler-Benz supplied the chassis, body, transfer case, axles and suspension. Peugeot supplied the engine, transmission and wiring. The assembly was done in Peugeot's Sochaux factory.

The engines, both gas and diesel, came from the Peugeot 504. The transmission is straight from the Peugeot 604 (This same transmission was used by AMC in early Jeep Cherokees.)

This P4 most likely has a newer engine in it, as I'm fairly certain the 504 never came with a 2.2 liter version of the XN8 engine. A 2.2 liter Peugeot engine would likely be from a later 505. (504 / P4 experts, feel free to correct me here.)

A few P4s were built for civilian consumption, but this isn't one of them. I suspect that on the road the ride and handling aren't great, but it probably goes through and over anything off road.

This P4 is in great condition, with no rust or defects that I can see. (These came with a big Peugeot lion on the grill, which is missing from this one.) It has new Michelin XL's, a new clutch, shocks, and brake pads. It comes with a lot of spare parts and "30lbs of technical manuals". The seller provides a link to a Photobucket album where you can find 40 pictures of this vehicle. (Click here to go directly to the photo album.- Check out the picture of the steering wheel. Military vehicles have no frills and it looks like something from a 1930s car!)

Located in Holly Hill, FL, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

A huge thanks to JaCG reader, Blair, for sending me this link!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Quickies - Sunday, November 21, 2010

1973 Mercedes-Benz 350SE - This is a very cool Euro spec car. These were short wheelbase cars (The SELs had a longer wheelbase) with a 3.5 liter V8 in them. They were never officially sent to North America.

This one was privately imported into Canada 15 years ago and restored. The seller calls is a "very nice & clean example".

I'm not crazy about the color, but gold was a very popular color for German cars back in the late 1970s and early 1980s and I wouldn't change it. The Euro bumpers and headlights look great.

Located in Toronto, Canada, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1993 Volkswagen Fox - The Fox is not a car you often see in this condition. In performance and style it was overshadowed by the Jetta. It was an inexpensive, disposable car.

This adult owned Fox has been tastefully modified and appears to be in great shape. On the track or in a quick street race, you'd surprise the hell out of the owners of some better known German and Japanese cars with this car.

Located in Elizabeth, NJ, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1985 Citroen CX Turbo Diesel Wagon - In his listing the seller writes, "Air horns give the sound that is typically French - A loud 'parp' which gets everyone's attention!" I suspect that the sight of a 16' long Citroen station wagon gets everyone's attention long before they hear the horns.

These cars are completely insane. Very cool and very insane. The automotive world lost a lot when Citroen stopped building cars like this.

Located in New Orleans, LA, click here to see the eBay listing.

1976 Fiat 128 - I'm not very spiritual person and I have no idea if there is an afterlife. However, if there is a heaven, there are a few earthly deeds should automatically entitle you to admittance... 1) Saving a human being's life. 2) Adopting a dog or cat from a shelter, or taking in a stray. 3) Saving an old car from being crushed.

This guy is going to heaven. (Or, if there's no heaven, but reincarnation exists, he's coming back as an Aston Martin, not as a Kia.) He saved this Fiat from the crusher.

The seller says that it's not running or driveable, but is very solid.

This car has already been saved from the crusher and I don't know if restoring and driving it will automatically get you on to God's guest list. It will, however, make your life here on earth a little more interesting and fun.

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

A big thanks to JaCG reader, Michael, for sending me the link to this car

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Quickies - Saturday, November 20, 2010

1960 Tempo Hanseat - Call it TEMPOrary insanity. Back on November 10, I featured a Tempo Matador. On November 15, Bring A Trailer featured a Mercedes 206D Camper. That was a Mercedes badged Tempo. (Daimler-Benz owned Tempo at that point.) Now this pops up on eBay.

The Hanseat was a 3 wheeled truck. They were available with a variety of bodies ranging from delivery vans to pick ups like this one. They also used a variety of engines, usually of the 2 stroke variety and usually putting out somewhere between 12 and 15 HP. They were very popular in Europe for awhile.

This one is located in Madison, GA. Click here to see the eBay listing.

1993 Mitsuoka Viewt - The Japanese love these retro looking cars.

This is a Nissan March, a car not sold here in the US, modified by Mitsuoka to look something like a Jaguar MkII. The March is a micro car, so this essentially looks like a Jaguar MkII that was left in the dryer for too long.

The Viewt was available with 1.1 and 1.3 liter engines. The seller doesn't say what's in this. He does mention that it has a CVT transmission and gets around 38 MPG.

Being 17 years old, it's perfectly legal in Canada, but not here in the US.

You can find the Mitsuoka website here. This is probably a very cool site if you read Japanese. I don't, but I still found the pictures cool to look at.

Located in Burnaby, Canada, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

A big thanks goes out JaCG reader, Todd, for sending me the link to this car. (There's some more coming from Todd very soon.)

1961 Humber Super Snipe - This was Rootes Group's luxury car. Like most British luxury cars, the interior was loaded with leather and wood and there were little picnic tables in the back. It was comfortable and luxurious.

Even before Chrysler had an ownership stake in it, Rootes took a lot of styling cues from American car companies. The Super Snipe would have looked right at home in an American car showroom.

This Humber has been restored. At first glance the asking price seems to be on the high side. But, if you think about what it would cost to find a Super Snipe, source the parts and then complete the restoration, the price starts to look very reasonable.

Located in North Highlands, CA, click here to see the eBay listing.

1974.5 MGB GT - Not many rubber bumper MGB GTs came to the US. (Which is odd, because we're the reason the MGB got the rubber bumpers in the first place.) Only the last few 1974 models had them. (The MGB GT was discontinued in the US after 1974.)

If you want an MGB GT you could commute to work in, take to the mall, etc., one with rubber bumpers is not a bad choice.

This car needs a little body work, but nothing too serious. The picture above is the only one the seller includes in his ad.

Located in Glen Burnie, MD, click here to see the Criagslist ad.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1989 Volvo 780 (Bertone) Coupe

The Volvo 262C was the first coupe collaboration between Volvo and Bertone. Designed by Volvo and built by Bertone, its styling could politely be called controversial.

For its next attempt at a coupe, Volvo again called Bertone. This time they let Bertone do both the styling and construction. The result was this car, the 780. There is nothing controversial about it. Bertone designed a classy, well proportioned car.

For the first 2 years the 780 came with the 150 HP PRV V6 and a solid live rear axle. In 1988, Volvo switched to an independent rear suspension and offered the 175 HP turbo 4 cylinder. With the turbo engine and revised suspension, the 780 became an all around fun car; a car that was as fun to drive on twisty mountain roads as it was comfortable on the highway.

Being an old Volvo, the mechanical bits are bulletproof and easy to acquire. However, most of the body panels and trim pieces are unique to the 780 and are tougher find.

This is an honest 780. It's being sold by a person who has owned "15 RWD Volvos". It's not a show car, but a good solid driver. It's a classy classic you could drive everyday.

The seller is refreshingly honest about the price of this car. There are a number of 780s on eBay right now with Buy It Now prices of around $7000.00. They're nice cars, but those are fantasy prices in my opinion. In response to an e-mail asking about a Buy It Now price, the seller of this one writes "I am going to stick with the auction format this time around. Going by recent 780 sales on eBay $1500 will likely win the auction." Italian style and Swedish durability for $1500.00? Sounds like a bargain to me.

Located in Saint Paul, MN, click here to see the eBay listing.