Sunday, October 18, 2009

MORE Weekend Quickies

1992 Lada Samara - When I was a kid there were people who talked about the threat of a Russian invasion. It turns out they were not as crazy as I thought. We are being invaded by the Russians. But, it's not by the military... We're being invaded by Russian cars. It seems like every week 3 or 4 Russian built cars turn up on eBay. Now that's the kind of invasion I like...

This is a 1992 Lada Samara. Unlike previous Ladas, this was not based on an older Fiat, it was completely modern car. Porsche lent some technical expertise to the engine design.

The Riva model, the car the Samara was to replace, had a reputation for being a tough, relatively well built car. The Samara suffered from some initial build quality issues (mostly electrical problems) and felt cheaper than the Riva. The car, although far more modern, never really gained the following outside of Russia that the Riva had.

The Samara was sold in Canada until the late 1990s. I assume that's where this car came from. The car is now in Seattle, WA, and has no current title.

Click here
to see the eBay listing.

1964 Rambler Typhoon - This car won the "Dare To Be Different" award in 2008 at the Good Guys East Coast Nationals in Rhinebeck, NY.

"Different", indeed.

The Typhoon version of the Rambler was basically an appearance package. It was however, the first car to use AMC's 232ci inline 6, an engine that would power AMC cars and Jeeps for another 25 years or so.

Depending on the source, only 2520 or 2700 of these were built. It wasn't a muscle car, and the Rambler was never thought of as a collectible, so how many can still be around?

I love cars like this one. There is no really good reason for it to have survived the past 45 years in the condition it's in, yet here it is, looking almost as good as it did when it left the dealership. It may not be the fastest, best looking, most prestigious old American car you could buy, but it's a survivor. There's a lot to be said for that.

Click here to see the eBay listing.

1983 BMW 533i - This car is interesting for 2 reasons. First of all, it a 1983 533i. The 533i was unique to North America. It was only sold for 2 years, 1983 and 1984. In 1983 it was the fastest sedan sold in America. This 533i has 212,000 miles on it and appears to be in good condition.

It's also a Cars 4 Causes car. Cars 4 Causes describes itself as the "charity that gives to charities". What that means is that they are a registered non-profit group - a "503(c)(3)Corporation" - that raises money for other charities by selling donated cars. Half the proceeds from the sale goes to charity and half goes to Cars 4 Causes.

The donation of cars to charity is something that has taken off in the past 10 years. Cars 4 Causes is not the only group doing this. There are plenty of organizations out there that will accept your car. In many cases you can donate your car directly to an organization you support (i.e. Habitat for Humanity, American Kidney Foundation, etc.). is a great website for finding out what organizations are in your area and what percentage of the proceeds from the sale of cars actually goes to charity.

In many cases you can use the donation of your car as a tax deduction. (Don't take my word for that... Consult your accountant.)

But, I'm digressing here... This is a car blog, right?

This seems to be a very nice 533i. White over red is a great color combination and it appears to have less wear than you'd expect to find on a 26 year old, 200,000+ mile car. This is a car I'd seriously consider buying if it was on the east coast. Click here to see the eBay listing.

1970 Fiat Dino - This is pretty interesting. I'm not sure what to make of this car. This is a Bertone Coupe that has been converted to a Spider. I have no idea why someone would do this. The Dino Spider and Coupe were, for all intents and purposes, completely different cars. The Spider was a Pinninfarina design. By doing this conversion the person created a unique car, but with a factory Spider version available, why do it? The big selling point of these cars was the Ferrari engine, and that's the same in the Coupe and Spider.

If there's an upside to this conversion, it's that it's killed the resale value of the car. Just under $12,000.00 (US) is cheap for a good Dino. The downside, and a potentially huge one, is that if the conversion was not done properly, i.e chassis and windshield frame bracing, etc, you'll have a car that is just plain awful to drive and possibly unsafe (although the seller says it was reinforced). This is a car that should be checked out THOROUGHLY before buying.

I'd love to know what the thought process was in doing this conversion. (The seller bought it this way, so e-mailing him would be probably not be useful.)

Located in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, click here to see the Craigslist listing.


Richard said...

My XJS left to go to cars 4 causes. It is the most painless experience of getting rid of your car, you call them up, tell them what you have and a man arrives a few days later to pick your car up. There were a few repairs needed to the Jag which I told them about before I donated, the biggest one was the transmission. When the car was being sold nothing was mentioned on the eBay advert, so they may have fixed it. The buyer did leave some positive feedback.

As for the BMW, I am very tempted to place a bid. At the moment I am looking at a nice 84 318i with 112k on the clock, mint condition for 2k, but this thing would have twice the power at maybe half the price. Millage would be the only thing I am concerned about, hmmmmm

Just A Car Geek said...

Hey Richard,

That's good to know about Cars 4 Causes.

As for the BMW, that's a tough one. The 533, even as old as it is, is still a very impressive car. If it was cared for the 212K miles isn't too much of a concern.

A 318 is nice too, and 112K is break-in mileage. 30MPG is not unusual doing highway driving (Stick to 65 MPH and it may be a bit higher, but less fun!)

Tough choice.


Richard said...

Oh, forgot to mention the Lada! A bad car, very bad car. Mechanically would last a million years but the tin worm arrived almost instantly when it was on the UK roads....

What do you call a Lada driver who says he has a speeding ticket?
A liar.

Just A Car Geek said...

Yeah, I read about the rust problems with the Samara. Odd, as it wasn't an old Fiat design like the earlier Ladas.

I just point out cars like that because they're so unusual in this country.

Good or bad, you have to respect someone who goes through the effort of buying, driving and maintaining a car that has zero parts support in this country.