Friday, October 19, 2018

1980 BMW 323i With Alpina Upgrades - The M Sport Package Of Its Day

The Alpina E21 to have is the B6 with its 2.8 M30 engine. However, just over 500 were built and when they go up for sale these days they aren't cheap. One recently sold on Bring A Trailer for $80,000.00.

This is a BMW E21 323, with a lot of the Alpina goodies added. While it doesn't have the killer 2.8 liter engine the B6 has, it has a lot going for it.

The E21 BMW 3 Series was introduced to the world in 1975. We didn't get it here until 1977. It was only available only with a 4 cylinder engine (initially a 2.0 and later a 1.8) in North America.

This is a top of the line, Euro-spec 323i. The 323 came with a fuel injected 2.3 liter 6. The U.S. 320i engine made 123 hp and 129 lb⋅ft of torque. The 323 made 141 hp and 140 lb⋅ft of torque.

You could look at the Alpina C1 upgrade kit - which is what this car has - as being the M Sport Package of its day. (The BMW M Sport Package doesn't give the engine performance upgrades you would get in an M car, but it gives a lot of the other fun pieces.) This car has Alpina Turbine wheels, Aplina / Recaro seats, Alpina gauges, an Alpina / Momo steering wheel, a wood Alpina shifter knob, an Alpina differential cover and Bilstein shocks. It has a really good look to it.

This car looks to be in great condition. The seller has owned it for 8 years and kept up on the maintenance. The seller says the previous owner had the car "restored," which included "a high quality paint job, professional wheel refinishing and a top-end engine rebuild."

For many years the E21 was given little respect. It was looked at as a bridge between the legendary 2002 and the later E30. That's slowly starting to change, but they are still under-priced. This car, despite it's excellent condition and having the 6 cylinder engine and the Alpina kit, is selling for a reasonable $11,000 (or best offer).

Located in New Hampshire, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

1973 Austin Marina

I've written about these in the past. I've taken some of the text from a 2009 post.

That's an actual ad for an Austin Marina. If you enlarge the graphic (click on it), you'll see that the first line says, "Because it is comprised of proven components like those in the best of British Leyland, the Marina is one of the most experienced new economy cars on the market today." In other words, this was a parts bin special.

Right up front I'll say that I'm well aware of the horrible reputations these cars have. That hasn't stopped me liking them and wanting one...

The Marina was called the Morris Marina in most of the world. BL, knowing the the Morris nameplate had no value in the US, badged it the Austin Marina in North America.

BL introduced the Marina to the U.S. in 1973. They pulled it from the market in 1975. They sold around 23,000. That's not a great number when you consider that this was during the fuel crisis and we were ditching our land yachts for anything we could find that got decent gas mileage.

There are some good points to the Marina. It was relatively comfortable and smooth riding for a small car. The engine is basically the same engine found in an MGB. While it's no rocket, it's a durable engine that takes well to a certain amount of modifications. A Weber carb and a mild cam will make a world of difference.The body design has aged well.

All 2 door Marinas sold in North America were given the GT badge. GT meant that it had a tach, some fake wood-grain and a body stripe.

This car looks to be in very nice condition. The body looks excellent and it has a set of American Racing Libra wheels, which look spectacular. Unfortunately, the seller didn't post a alot of pictures and none of the interior or the engine bay.

Like many of the cars I have written about, most of its initial problems have been solved by the owners. A Marina now is as reliable as any 45 year old car. Parts are fairly easy to come by and very cheap.

Go to any British car show and you will see dozens of MGs, Triumphs, Jags, etc. if you brought this, it would most likely be the only one. That alone makes it cool.

Located in Knoxville, TN, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

1986 Hyundai Pony "Magnifique Hyundai Pony"

There's a pretty good chance that you will never see one of these on the road. Certainly, you will never see one as nice as this one.

The Pony was the first car Hyundai sold in North America. In this case, North America meant Canada. Unable to pass the U.S. emissions standards, it was never sold here.

Hyundai starting building cars in 1967. They were building a Ford Cortina under license. In the early seventies they wanted something of their own. They hired George Turnbull, former managing director at British Leyland to create it. He in turn brought along some of British Leyland's top engineers. The chassis is loosely based on the Morris Marina. Some of the suspension parts came from the Cortina they were already building. The engine was from Mitsubishi. The body was designed by Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A. It was introduced to the Korean market in 1975.

In 1982 the Pony got a bit of a facelift, making it look slightly more modern. Hyundai started exporting the car to Canada in 1984. It was a huge success. Hyundai expected to sell 5,000 cars in Canada in 1984. They wound up selling over 25,000.

The Canadians weren't buying this car for its technology or performance, however. They bought it for its price. At $5,795 (Canadian), it was considerably less expensive than the Japanese imports and only slightly more than a Lada.

But, as in most cases, you get what you pay for. The Pony was slow, crude, not very well screwed together and rusted horribly.

That's what makes this car so interesting... It's in remarkable condition.

This Pony is being offered by a dealer in Brossard, Quebec, Canada. They don't give us a lot of information about it. It has just 22,028 Km (13,687 miles) on it. It looks like what I assume a new Pony looked like. (The seller calls it a "Magnifique Hyundai Pony," which sounds so much better than any way we could describe it in English.)

Ah, but the price... The dealer is asking $14,995 (Canadian). That's about $11,500.00 US. No matter what currency you're using, that's a lot of money for this car.

So why would anyone buy this car? History, that's all. Hyundai followed up the Pony with the marginally better FWD Excel, which was the first Hyundai sold in the U.S.. Now, of course, they are a huge player in the North American market. They offer everything from cheap entry level cars to expensive luxury sedans. Whether any of this would have happened had the Pony been a flop is questionable.

This is not something I desire to own. But, if you are a Hyundai collector / aficionado - with a lot of cash - this may be for you.

Click here to see the dealer's ad.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

1977 Jaguar XJ6 C - Just A Beautiful Car

Sometimes I just post a car because it's beautiful. This is one of those times.

I've written about the XJ6 C in the past. You can find one of those posts here.

This car has an interesting "Quarterbreed transmission conversion." I had no idea what that was, so I did some research. Essentially, it's a kit that allows you to replace the antiquated Borg Warner transmission that came in this car with a more reliable, better shifting, GM Turbo-Hydra-Matic transmission. I know there will be some arguments about this. Some people will say you should swap over a manual transmission. That's a valid argument. But, I would argue that A) This car came with an automatic, and B) This isn't a sports car. It's a beautiful cruiser. It doesn't need a manual.

Other folks might say that you should rip out the engine and transmission and drop in a Chevy drivetrain. To that, my argument would be... No. Don't. Never. Ever. If you want something with a Chevy engine in it, buy a Chevy. The Jaguar engine is a gem. Yes, it needs more maintenance than a U.S. V8, but it's worth it.

This car has also had its engine rebuilt. There really appears to be nothing wrong with it. The seller says it is a Jaguar Club of North America National Champion.

The price, $16,000.00, is very reasonable for it's condition.

I don't know what else to write about this car. There is nothing to pick on. I'm just going to shut up and look at the pictures. Damn. This is gorgeous.

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

1988 Pontiac Trans Am GTA Notchback

If you look back on this site, you will notice that I haven't written about many American muscle cars. I have nothing against them; some are really cool. But, there are plenty of really good websites out there dedicated to muscle cars. The people who write them have a passion for - and knowledge of - these cars that I don't have. I leave it up to those folks to write about them. This car, however, is too cool and too obscure for me not to mention.

The Notchback was an option only available on the Trans AM GTA in 1988 and early 1989. The idea was to have a body style that was unique to the Firebird and not shared with the Camaro. Instead of the normal hatch that was found on the Firebird, the Notchback package replaced the hatch glass with a fiberglass decklid created by Auto-Fab. The small rear window reportedly came from the Corvette.

Pontiac believed they could sell an average of 10,000 Notcbacks per year. (Auto-Fab only had the capacity to build around 2000 decklids per years, so I assume Pontiac had some sort of plan for the additional decklids they thought they would need.)

Problems occurred right away. Hotrod.com wrote this about the car: "According to Pontiac’s Sporty Car Marketing Manager Lou Wassel, shortly after the announcement, problems surfaced at the Van Nuys F-body assembly plant in Southern California. It appeared that the notchback didn’t fit and all orders were put on hold until Auto-Fab could identify the cause of the problem. Lou recalled that Auto-Fab rebuilt its molds using a new design. Fresh notchbacks were sent out to Van Nuys where they faced the same obstacles. The assembly was yet again closely inspected. Lou claims that the notchback wasn’t actually the cause of the fitment issue; rather it was variances in the production tolerances of the car bodies. Lou says that modifications were made to the design one more time before they reached an acceptable fit. By this time, it was late in the ’88 model year. Some dealers had lost interest and were hesitant to promote an option that had been delayed twice, certainly affecting their sales. Adding to this, there wasn’t any mention of the option in dealer literature that year and many of the salespeople weren’t educated on the notchback, either."

When all was said and done, just 718 Notchbacks were built and the option disappeared at the end of 1988.

Along with the decklid, the Notchback came with different rear seats that included built in headrests.

The styling of the Nocthback is a matter of personal taste. Personally, I like the original hatch. To me, the Nocthback decklid makes the back end look a little to Fiero-ish.

This car looks like it needs restoration. At the very least it needs paint. The seller says it is just 1 of 50 to have a 350 V8 in it.

The seller does not list an asking price and at one point in his ad says "Great investment ...If you can find one!" That could mean he's looking for offers. Or, it could mean he's asking top dollar or more. With so few built and no real data on how many remain, this car's value can only be based on how badly a person wants one. Haggertys shows the value of a "Good" regular Trans Am at around $5000.00.

Located in somewhere in New Hampshire, click here to see the Craigslist ad.