Saturday, March 7, 2020

1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ Sport 4x4, 113k Miles and "NO RUST"

Many years ago I lived in a house that was basically on top of a mountain. My winter beaters of choice were always Jeep Cherokees. No matter how cold it was they always started. They went through everything. What was most amazing is how long they lasted. I had four of them. 3 went for well over 200,000 miles. One was running strong at 180,000 miles when some jerk (or jerks, I don't know) stole it.

You can credit (or blame, I guess, depending on your view of SUVs) the Cherokee for starting the SUV craze. Prior to the Cherokee if you wanted an AWD truck (they weren't called SUVs back then) you had few choices. The choices you did have were large and drove like trucks. The Cherokee was the size of an American car, rode nicely, handled safely and could be optioned to the point of near luxury.

The Cherokee was manufactured from 1984 through 2001. Available engines included AMC's 2.5 liter 4 (Under powered, but durable), a GM 2.8L V6 (1984 through 1986. It had only 10 more horsepower than the 4 and was not very durable), a Renault sourced turbo diesel (Rare in North America) and the indestructible AMC 4.0 liter 6. You could get a manual transmission, although early (1987 - 1989) Peugeot sourced 5 speeds had a lot of problems in the Cherokee. Others were better. The automatic transmissions were made by either Chrysler or Aisin-Warner. They are durable and, in my opinion, were better suited to the vehicle than the manual transmission.

The Cherokee's biggest issue was rust. The bottoms of the doors, the floors and especially the rocker panels rusted horribly. Rust is what killed a large percentage of the Cherokees here in New England, including mine, but I have also seen Southwestern Cherokees with quite a bit of rust on them, too.

That's what makes this Cherokee so remarkable. According to the seller, it has "no rust." This is a "bone stock" Cherokee in excellent condition. You don't see many like this these days. It has 113,000 miles on it. With the 4.0 engine you can easily assume that you'll double that mileage without any problems. Spend a weekend pumping Waxoyl into the door bottoms and rocker panels and you may be able to keep it rust free for a very long time.

The asking price is $6995.00. That's a lot of money for a Cherokee, but it's not unrealistic. If it is what the seller says it is, it's worth that much in my opinion. There is nothing I can think of that will give you the reliability, drivability and basic simplicity of an XJ Cherokee. I haven't seen one in this condition in a very long time.

Located in Port Jefferson, Long Island, NY, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

1943 Volkswagen Kubelwagen

This is odd.

According to the seller this 1943 VW Kubelwagen is in the US, somewhere in Amish Country.

The seller writes: "Found this in an old barn we were tearing down. Owner says is more the 80% original and it started right up."

I have no idea what an old Kubelwagen is worth, but $58,000.00 seems like A LOT.

The (reproduction, I hope) SS license plates are just downright creepy.

Located in New Castle, DE. you can find it on the Facebook group called Obscure Cars For Sale.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

1958 Austin-Healey Sprite Canlas ''Special''

This is a really cool looking one-off.

There's virtually nothing written about it on the internet and I had never heard of it until today, so I am just going to copy some of the text the seller wrote:

"As a gentleman racer from San Francisco, Canlas built this car in the 60’s to go racing at historic tracks such as Sears Point and Cotati Raceway. Entering in many local race and club events, the bug-eyed Sprite ran tough against its competition for many years. Logbooks reflect the last race in 1968 before disappearing.

The car was discovered by a Bay Area car enthusiast who collected primarily prewar cars. He purchased the car from two brothers in Redwood City, California who had parked it in their enclosed trailer years before and “forgot” about it. When the current owner found the abandoned race car it was partially disassembled, but complete, in the enclosed trailer.

A comprehensive overhaul was actioned by the current owner, enlisting San Jose area professionals to perform the work. British car specialist On The Road Again in Morgan Hill and Alfa Romeo Specialist Tom Sahines in Milpitas took on the project.

Beginning in 2014, On the Road Again handled all of the details on the British side pertaining to the body/chassis before going to Tom Sahines for the driveline, electrical work, and final assembly. Finish Line Interiors in Santa Clara added carpet for civilized road use. The original Solex carburetors were replaced with 40mm Webers, but otherwise, the car remains exactly how it was originally built with original bodywork, driveline and its mechanicals. Over the next year, over $38,000 was invested to make this car road worthy and how it is presented today.

Based on a 1958 Bugeye Sprite body with modified bodywork, all metal and no fiberglass used. Equipped with a gorgeous early iron block 2-liter motor from an 1959 Alfa Romeo 2000 Touring Spider, which produces 115 horsepower with dual Weber 40DCOE Carburetors. Also Fitted with an Alfa Romeo 2000 driveline, this car really pushes out some power while staying nimble on the turns and straightaways. The original builder also installed a modified MGA rear end to compensate the added power and is completely converted to 12-Volt System.

Ambrosio Canlas was the original builder of the car and affectionately put the “CANLAS” badges on the sides of the hood. His name, address, and picture can be found inside the front covers of the logbooks. Canlas moved to SF after WWII with his wife and the car was built there before he relocated to Hawaii and then San Diego.

Besides the picture, the dealer also posted a video.

Hats off top Mr. Canlas. This is a beautiful car that seems to be very well done.

Located in Montery, CA, click here to see the dealer's listing. The asking price is $39,500.00

Monday, February 24, 2020

An Old Man (Me) Who Drives Old Cars Spends 4 Days With A 2020 Audi Q7

I live in Massachusetts. My mother now lives near Richmond Virginia. She turned 90 this month. It was decided that a party was in order.

Getting from Massachusetts to Richmond Virginia is not as easy as it should be. A plane, besides being incredibly expensive for the amount of miles you're going, doesn't leave you in Richmond. You wind up in North Carolina and have to figure out how to get to Richmond from there. Amtrak isn't bad - I've done it before - but it takes 9 - 10 hours with stops, and the times are somewhat inconvenient. A bus was out of the question.

I currently drive an older BMW X3. Its a good car. I've maintained it and it runs well. But I wasn't sure I wanted to take it on a long drive. What would happen if, say, the alternator goes bad? Especially at night and on a weekend? I'm pretty certain the local Pep Boys or Firestone don't have one on the shelf. I would then be stuck wherever I am until at least Monday with the choice of bringing the car to a dealership and paying their insane prices or hoping to find an indie shop that A) knows BMWs and B) can get me in that day. Those were chances I wasn't willing to take. I decide to rent a car.

I went online about a week before my departure date and reserved a car through Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I wanted an AWD vehicle and they had a good deal on their "intermediate size" SUVs. (Usually a Toyota RAV4 the website said.) They called me a few times during the week to confirm that I still wanted to rent a car and that I would be there at my reservation time. I assured them that I was still planning on renting the car and that I would be there at the scheduled time.

I took an Uber to Enterprise and got there about 15 minutes early. The rental agent took all my info and payment and then went into the back to get the keys to my rental. He came back out a few minutes later and told me they didn't have any "intermediate size" SUVs available. He asked if I would accept a Dodge Journey. I said I would as long as it was AWD. He went into the back and then came out and told me it was 2WD.

I'm not an AWD snob, but I have spent my whole life in the Northeast. The weather, especially in the winter, can be unpredictable. There have been plenty of times that I have gone to bed at night after the TV weatherman has said the next day would be partly sunny, only to wake up in the morning to 8" inches of "partly sunny" covering the ground. I wanted AWD, just in case.

The rental agent went into an office where I saw him talking to someone. He came back out and said that they did have an AWD SUV they could give to me, a 2020 Audi Q7. For the price of the RAV4, I asked. For the price of the RAV4, he replied. Enterprise Rent-A-Car immediately became my new favorite company.

Someone brought the Q7 around to the front of the building. It had 325 miles on it. It looked and smelled new. We did a walk around and I agreed there was no damage on the car and it had a full tank of gas. He showed me how to start it and I was on my way. I drove it 90 miles to my girlfriend's house, as we were leaving from there Friday morning.

First of all, the Q7 is huge. Coming from an X3 it was like getting into a Ford F350. (It's not that big, it just seemed that way to me.) It took me awhile to get used to that. It has plenty of power, but it's not always delivered smoothly. (More on that in a bit.) The interior is really nice, but I was never able to find a perfect setting for the seat despite it having what seemed like infinite adjustments. The seat heaters, however, were the best I have ever encountered. My phone paired right up with the car and the music sounded great no matter what volume it was set at.

My biggest complaint was the navigation system. It's insane. I set our destination when we left my girlfriend's house. At first all was fine. It guided us to the New York State Thruway, then to the Garden State Parkway and then to the New Jersey Turnpike. After we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge, it told us to get off at an exit. I had never done this before. I have made this trip a number of times, but its been a few years since I last made it, so I thought that there may be some new highway that would save us some time. After awhile I started to think that the route it was sending us didn't make sense. We pulled over and looked at the route the navigation was sending us. It was sending us to Richmond via Virginia Beach! This made no sense at all. We backtracked to I95. The whole time we were were doing this the Nav system kept telling me to go back to the route it had plotted. Once we got on I95 it seemed to get its bearings and sent us the way I thought we should be going.

I95 ties into a road around Washington DC called the Beltway. We hit the Beltway at rush hour. It reminded me of when I lived in New York and had to take the Long Island Expressway at rush hour every day, except in DC they commute in much nicer cars. We saw an i8. We saw countless Jaguars. Maseratis were as common as Toyotas. It was an impressive, impromptu, car show.

With the Beltway moving at about 5 MPH tops, we decided to get off in Tysons Corner, VA, to do some shopping and grab some food. We found a Home Goods store (my girlfriend's favorite place in the whole world) and pulled into the parking lot. This is when the Nav system went berserk. In the parking lot it kept saying "turn left, then turn left, then turn right, then turn left," over and over. Had I followed it I would have taken out several rows of parked cars and the front of the Home Goods store. On the way back home it sent us a completely different route that had us driving on the local streets of several New Jersey cities in order to connect with the Garden State Parkway. The free Waze app on my phone is much more impressive than Audi's system.

My only other big complaint with the car was a slight hesitation when I stepped on the gas pedal. It was only a millisecond, but when you're trying to pull into traffic that millisecond feels like a minute. In 2020 I can't believe it's turbo lag, I have no idea what it was.

That's my basic impression of 4 days with a new Audi Q7. This isn't a review, just the impression of someone who hasn't bought a brand new car since the 1980s. In my mind it makes more financial sense to buy a good used car.

Would I buy a used Q7 in a few years? No. I like the size and feel of my X3. When I dropped off the Q7 at Enterprise I was happy to be back in my own car, but thankful that they gave me the chance to drive it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

1975 AMC Hornet -No Frills, Excellent Condition

I love seeing cars like this.

The AMC Hornet, along with the Ford maverick and Chevy Nova, was a step above basic transportation. Not a big step, but better than a Pinto or Vega.

The Hornet was introduced in 1970. It replaced the Rambler in AMC's lineup. The wagon, known as the Sportabout showed up in 1971. It immediately became the best selling Hornet body style.

Like most cars in the AMC lineup, the Hornet wasn't technologically advanced. But, its simple, old school, engineering meant that the Hornet - if given regular maintenance - would provide its owners with reliable, unexciting motoring for a very long time.

Rust was the Hornet's big enemy. Many Hornets - and plenty of cars from other manufacturers - hit the junkyard not because of mechanical problems, but because of rust.

That's one of the reasons this car is so remarkable. It appears to be in excellent condition. No rust holes, no major dents, no mechanical issues and an interior that looks close to new. How did this happen? Unfortunately, the seller doesn't give us the backstory.

The asking price is $4795.00. At 45 years old, this car is probably not something you'd want to use as a daily driver. But, it sure would be a cool car to take to shows and cruise around in. Chances are you won't see another one like it. Almost certainly you won't see one like it in this condition.

Located in Waupun, WI, click here to see the Craigslist ad.