Wednesday, April 17, 2019

30 Renault Alliances and Encores. "Take One $400, Take 5 $300 Each, Take 10 $200 Each"

I have no real way of linking to this page, as it's a private Facebook group, so I just took a scan of the ad.

This guy has 30 Renault Alliances and Encores that he is looking to get rid of. It looks like the more you buy, the more you save. ;-)

I will take this post down in a few days (or edit it) as I'm sure this guy doesn't want his phone number on the internet forever.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

2003 Lexus IS300 Sportcross - A Rare, Cool Lexus

When was the last time you saw one of these? Have you ever seen one of these? This is not a common car.

The Sportcross was a station wagon version of Lexus' IS300 sedan. If you loved the driving experience of a BMW 3 Series, but wanted the reliability of a Lexus, the IS300 was your answer.

The Sportcross has a 3 liter inline six. It's the same engine found in the Toyota Supra. It moved the car to 60MPH in 7.5 seconds. That's about the same time as a 2003 325iT with an automatic. (Lexus did not offer a manual transmission on the IS300 in North America.)

I've always thought that Lexus' from this era were somewhat bland looking. That's not the case with the Sportcross. It's practical but sporty looking.

The interior is where the IS300 really shined. Other cars from Lexus had interiors that looked more Buick than European. The IS300's interior has has a sporty look that is all its own.

About that interior... Lexus has a well earned reputation for making incredibly well built, reliable cars. The IS300 is no different, but it has one, somewhat odd, issue. The dashboards melted. This was also a problem on other Toyota models built from 2003 through 2010. describes it like this:

"Dashboards in Toyota vehicles dating back to 2003 are melting under the heat of the sun. The melted plastic cracks, warps, and oozes a strange, gooey substance that is oddly shiny and sticky; like something you’d find in a toddler’s coat pocket. The problem is at its worst in areas of high heat and humidity, but reports of melting dashboards have come from all over. The issue isn’t just cosmetic. The sticky surface reflects a strong glare that can temporarily blind drivers and create dangerous driving situations, and owners have voiced concern that melted areas, particularly around the airbags, can prevent a deployment in a crash."
Toyota eventually issued a recall, but took their sweet time doing it. The pre-recall common fix was to replace the dashboard with one from an earlier model (which looked similar, but didn't melt). That's what the owner of this car did.

This car looks to be in very nice condition. The seller says the timing belt has been done and the tires are new. The body has a few minor blemishes, but nothing serious.

The main competition for the IS300 were the the BMW 325iT, Audi A4 Avant and the Saab 9-5 SportCombi. All are good to great cars in their own right. But, if you're looking for something unique with Japanese reliability, the IS300 Sportcross is the way to go.

This car is located in "North San Diego County." Click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

1968 Peugeot 204 Cabriolet

The 204 was a small FWD Peugeot. Introduced in 1965, it came with an 1100cc aluminum 4 cylinder engine that put out around 53 HP. It was the first Peugeot to feature disc brakes. The Pininfarina styled body is very attractive, especially in coupe and convertible form.

Peugeot introduced the 204 in 1965. By 1972 it was the best selling car in France. Besides the coupe and convertible (cabriolet) it was available as in as a sedan and a station wagon. Despite its success in France, Peugeot never officially exported the 204 to the United States. They did sell it in Canada, though.

I assume this car was originally sold in Canada. It has U.S. style sealed beam headlights. It's odd that Peugeot would have gone through the trouble of that conversion and not offer it at all in the United States, especially the cabriolet. Granted, the 1.1 liter engine was tiny, but I'm sure it could have taken a few sales from VW's Karmann Ghia and some of the smaller British sports cars. If nothing else, its styling would have brought a few more people into the Peugeot showrooms.

Peugeot called this car a cabriolet. The seller is calling this car a roadster. Technically, I guess, he's not wrong. The car is just a 2 seater.

The body of this 204 looks to be in nice shape. I would assume that it has been repainted. Peugeots of this era rusted badly, so checking for poorly done rust repair is a must. The interior has some wear, but nothing too serious.

The asking price for this car is $10,900.00. I'm not sure if that price is too high, too low, or just right. They just don't come up for sale often in the U.S. It's one of those cars that if you want one, the right price is whatever you feel it's worth.

Located in Chicago, IL, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

1984 Puma GTC

Puma was a Brazilian sports car company that made a number of cars based on DKW and VW platforms and later using Chevy parts. While some were sold as kits, most Pumas were sold as fully assembled automobiles.

This one is based on air-cooled VW running gear.

The body is what makes the Puma special. There were many VW based sports cars and kits produced in the sixties and seventies. Most were gimmicky looking cars and some were just downright ugly. This is not that case with the Puma. The Puma is a beautifully styled car that could have come from any of the famous Italian design houses.

According to the website Sur Volky Club, "Pumas were sporadically imported to the U.S. during the 1970's and 1980's. Although the Puma was not designed as a kit car, the cars were imported in kit form. The "kit" was actually a complete car less the front suspension, transaxle, engine, wheels, and tires. The missing components were available from the distributor, or the buyer could supply the needed parts. Less restrictive regulations permitted the importation and marketing of complete cars in Canada."

The seller of this Puma doesn't offer many details in his ad, but based on the pictures, it looks to be in very nice shape.

If you're looking for a rare, good looking car with readily available mechanical parts, this Puma would be worth checking out.

Located in the "northwest suburbs" of Chicago, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

1998 Volvo S90 - The Last RWD Volvo

Volvo now builds a FWD S90 in China. Other than the name, it has nothing in common with this car. This is the original S90. Basically it is nothing more than a rebadged 960. There's nothing wrong with that. The Volvo 960 / S90 line of cars were really good cars that are under appreciated today.

The S90 is a rear wheel drive car. It was Volvo's last RWD car. It's big, comfortable and reliable. The 2.9 liter I6 (not to be confused with Volvo's earlier PRV V6) puts out about 180 HP and moves the car to 60 MPH in the high 8 second range. It wasn't built for speed. This was Volvo's luxury boulevard cruiser. With most of the typical features found in 1990s European sedans, it was a nice car to drive, even if the acceleration was a bit leisurely.

While not as legendarily reliable as Vovlo's 200 series cars, these cars, if maintained, will last for a very long time. One of the common problems is suspension bushings that wear out quickly, but there are stronger aftermarket ones available. All US 960s came with an automatic transmission. Another common problem is the PNP (Park / Neutral) switch. It seems like eventually they need to be replaced on all 960 / S90 cars. These are readily available on the internet, and range in price from around $70.00 for an aftermarket part to $170 for a genuine Volvo part. Other than those parts, all the S90 needs is the typical wear and tear parts and some regular maintenance to remain reliable.

The original design goes back to the 700 series cars that Volvo introduced in 1982. Function over form was how Volvo designed cars back then. You bought a Volvo back then because it was safe and reliable, not because it was beautiful. The design looks dated now, but - in my eyes - it looks cool in a "they don't make 'em like that anymore" way.

This S90 looks to be in very nice shape. The only red flag I see is the mileage. The seller stated that the mileage is "140,500 miles (appox.)." Does "approximately" mean it has a little over or under and he's just rounding it out, or does it mean the odometer is broken and he's guessing? Broken odometers were common on Volvos of this vintage.

The asking price is $2450.00. Assuming the mileage is correct and the car is in the condition the seller says it is, this car would be a nice, unusual, reliable and safe everyday driver / commuter car.

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