Wednesday, September 19, 2018

1991 Toyota Sera - A Very Cool Looking Toyota

I'm not a big JDM guy, but I know a cool looking car when I see one. This is a cool looking car.

The Sera is a cousin to the Toyota Paseo and shares a lot of its running gear and suspension. While the Paseo was a pleasant enough coupe, its styling was somewhat forgettable. The Sera has style in spades.

The first thing you'll notice, of course, are the doors. Besides being butterfly doors, they have glass that goes right into the roof. The have a window-in-window style similar to the Subaru SVX or the Delorean. They just look cool. The rest of the body is smooth and rounded with a full glass rear hatch. Nothing flashy, nothing outrageous. It's simple and still looks very, very good today.

The interior is the only real letdown on this car. It's well laid out, but it's cheap looking. That was typical of Japanese cars from this era.

The Sera has a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine. I can't find any 0-60 times, but it has a top speed of a little over 120 MPH. I'm guessing that, based on Paseo and Starlet numbers, 0-60 is somewhere in the 9 - 10 second range. (This car is an automatic, which may add a second or two to that time. But, since I'm only guessing at the numbers, I really have no idea. ;-))

The Sera was only sold in Japan. Around 16,000 were produced. It was built from 1990 to 1996. Early ones have now passed the magic 25 year mark and are perfectly legal to import and own in the U.S.

This Sera is already in the U.S. and is reasonably priced at $6900.00. If you're looking for a sub $10K car that is rare, unusual, exotic looking and is as reliable as a Toyota, the Sera might be for you.

Located in Hampton Bays, NY, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

$500.00 1984 Jaguar XJS - Are You A Gambler?

Are you a gambler? If so, this Jag might be for you. It's a gamble. It's a long shot.

According to the seller, "This Jag has not been started in about 3 years. It needed a tune up and was unable to find someone to work on it." Red flag here. Most cars I have owned didn't stop running when they needed a tune-up. They ran like hell. They lost power. They guzzled gas. They don't stop running. I'm not sure why this one would not run, if all it needs is a tuneup. But, he also states " The body is in really good shape, but not so much on the interior. The leather seats are cracked and need to be replaced". This appears true. Based on the photos, the body is in nice shape. The photo of the interior shows nothing too scary, maybe what looks like some seams coming apart.

So what, right? Another neglected XJS in need of repair. We see these all the time. But what makes this one interesting is the asking price. It's just $500.00.

According to the NADA Guide, the LOW retail on this car is $5600.00. If you can do the work yourself - or if you have a talented, sympathetic mechanic - you might be ale to get this car back on the road for another $3000.00, give or take. That would include changing all the fluids and a few miscellaneous things that need to be replaced on a car that has sat for 3 years. You'll also need a set of decent seat covers. On the other hand, this is a 34 year old Jaguar. There is a real possibility that you could spend the value of this car and still have something that doesn't run.

12 cylinder Jaguars from this era are incredibly smooth running, stately cars. They can be all sorts of fun to drive. They can also bankrupt you quicker than a crack habit.

When I was writing this blog on a regular basis I made sure everyone knew that I wasn't recommending any car I wrote about. I was just pointing them out. This is still true. Especially for this car.

Located in Southern Illinois, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

1988 Fiat Tipo - In The US - It's Back (Or Maybe It Never Left...)

I wrote about this very same car in 2014. You can find the post here.

4 years later it's back on Craigslist and still in Rhode Island. I have no idea if it sold and is now being re-sold, or if it never sold in the first place.

If you missed it the first time, here's your chance to purchase it now.

(Still) Located in Rhode Island, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

!988 Renault Medallion 5 Speed Manual, 7 Passenger Wagon - Buy It Now...

10 years from now you will be perusing Craigslist. You'll come across an ad for a 1988 Renault Medallion station wagon. The seller will mention something about the car once belonging to a long dead relative who parked it 20 years prior. (Of course, the ad will mention that it "ran when parked" and the engine "turns." They always do and always will.) The clear coat will be peeling off. The interior will be covered in mold and mildew. Rodents will have gotten to some of the wiring. The price will be $1500.00.

You will start thinking... "Hmmm... I always liked the Medallion back in the day. The body is solid. With some time and money, I could bring this one back to life." You'll buy it. You will then spend countless hours on the internet looking for the hard-to-find parts. (Which, I have to admit, I find fun.) You will spend a good chunk of your weekends cleaning the interior, redoing the wiring, changing all the fluids, and replacing the brakes, shocks and anything made of rubber. You will spend $1000.00 (probably more) on a decent paint job.

When you're done you have have a really cool, uncommon car to bring to car shows. You will be the only one at the show with a Renault Medallion. People will come up to you to tell you how nice it looks. You'll hear from everyone who ever owned one or knew someone who owned one. They will tell you how they loved it and wished they still had it. Or, they will tell you what a piece of crap it was and how they couldn't wait to get rid of it. All-in-all, you'll be pretty happy with your restored Renault Medallion. You will wish you had done this sooner.

Well... Here's your chance. This car will not only get the same reaction at a car show, it will get it right away. This is a running, driving, well kept 1988 Medallion.

The Medallion was a Renault 21, built for the American market. It was to replace the slow selling Renault 18i / Sportwagon and the very old AMC Concord in the AMC / Renault lineup. Introduced in 1987, it was met with basically positive reviews. It was modern, but conservative looking. The interior was very well done, rivaling cars costing more. The engine was Renault's 2.2 liter longitudinally mounted I4. It wasn't a rocket, but it moved the car well enough and got decent gas mileage (around 25 MPG combined).

The Medallion never sold well in North America. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was our (foolish) ingrained prejudices towards French cars. Maybe it was Chrysler's lack of commitment to it. (Chrysler inherited the car when they took over AMC and folded it into their new Jeep / Eagle line.) Who knows? Whatever the reason, the Medallion was gone after 1989.

This is a 1988 Medallion 7 passenger wagon. I was under the impression that from 1988 on the car was called the Eagle Medallion, but this one still wears a Renault badge. It has 192K miles on it. (Proving that with regular care and maintenance, Renaults are dependable cars.) The seller bought it with 100K miles on it 12 years ago. It has a 5 speed manual transmission.

This car appears to be in very good condition. The clear coat is peeling on the hood and roof, but I see no signs of body damage or rust. The interior looks great. The engine bay looks clean. This appears to be a very well taken care of car.

The asking price is $1500.00. You could buy it now and drive it home. You could bring it to shows. You could use it while you save a little money for a decent paint job. Or you could wait 10 years and hope to find a restorable one on Craigslist. The choice is yours...

Located in Lake Forest Park, WA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

1956 Austin A90 Six In North America

I've been to a gazillion cars shows. I've wandered through tons of junkyards. I've stopped at every interesting car lot I have seen. I have never seen an Austin A90 Six (AKA Austin A90 Westminster) in person. This is a rare bird in North America.

From what I can tell, Austin did try to sell these in North America. They just didn't sell very many. In the 1950s America basically bought imports only if they were sporty or economical. The A90 Six was neither. Despite having an inline six cyliner engine, it wasn't sporty. It took 18.9 seconds to hit 60 MPH. It had a top speed of under 90 MPH. It wasn't especially economical. It got around 18 MPG.

It was, however, a nice handling (for the time), smooth four door sedan. The BMC C Series engine was used through 1968 and powered (in various forms) the Austin Healey 100-6 and 3000. It's proven to be a durable engine.

I don't know how many of these cars sold in North America. I do know that there are not many left. This one, while certainly needing restoration, looks to be in overall decent condition. It looks like most of the trim is still on the car. The seller shows no pictures of the interior, which I assume is toast. But, its a simple interior which should be relatively easy to restore. There is no mention of the engine or if it runs. Parts for the engine are still available on the internet and through various British car clubs.

The asking price is $1800.00. You'll never make money on this car. Who cares? In my opinion, restoration should not be about future profits, but about preservation. This car deserves to be preserved.

Located in Pine River, ND, click here to see the Craigslist ad.