Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekend Quickies - Cool Winter Beaters

1989 Jeep (Cherokee) Wagoneer - Right up front I'll say that the amount of money the dealer is asking for this vehicle is way above top dollar.

Having said that, this is the nicest Cherokee based Wagoneer I have seen in a very, very long time.

Technically, the Wagoneer is a separate model from the Cherokee. It is titled as a Jeep Wagoneer, not a Cherokee. In reality they are Cherokees wrapped in vinyl wood grain. They have a different grill and headlight configuration along with solid red tail lights. The interior has power seats, window and locks and more fake wood.

I've owned 2 of these and liked both of them a lot. They have all the considerable virtues of the Cherokee, including a strong engine, go anywhere 4WD, reliability and easy to find parts. They also have all of the Cherokee's vices; poor gas mileage, indifferent dry weather handling and a tendency to rust (especially along the rocker panels).

As nice as this Wagoneer is, I don't know that there is anyway of justifying the $7000.00 asking price, especially if you intend to use it as your winter vehicle. I'm just pointing this out as an example of a very good type of winter beater.

Located in Raleigh, NC, click here to see the listing.

BMW 325ix - Here's a car on the other end of the price spectrum. The seller is asking $2000.00 for this car. That makes it either a real bargain or there's a bigger story to this car than the seller is telling in his ad.

The seller does not say what year 325ix this is. From the bumpers I can tell it's a 1989 or newer. It doesn't matter much, they were all pretty much the same.

There's not a whole lot not to like about these cars. It's an E30 3 Series with AWD. It's everything you'd expect from a 3 Series with more traction.

Oddly, BMW never pushed these cars, even though they received rave reviews and were superior in many ways to the Audi 90 Quattro.

The 325ix came with lower body moulding that made the car look more aggressive than the standard 325. It also trapped moisture, salt and dirt, and the 325ix tended to rust worse than the standard E30 cars. This car is showing some rust on the lower front fender, a very common place for rust on these cars.

Located in Franklin, MI, you can find the Craigslist listing here.

Click here to find the BMW 325ix Registry site. It's full of great information about these cars.

1979 Subaru BRAT - Remember these? This was Subaru's El Camino or Ranchero. However, in order to get around the 25% tariff on imported trucks, Subaru stuck some vinyl mats and a pair of seats in the cargo area and said it was a car. Unbelievably, the government bought into this and the BRAT was taxed as a car. The tariff on imported cars was only 2.5%.

Subaru made its name here in New England. In the 1970s there were no other modestly priced AWD or 4WD cars on the market. We bought them by the boatload. Old Subarus are uncomfortable, slow and noisy. They are not especially fun to drive, but they go through anything and are relatively reliable. Subaru has come a long way since the days of the BRAT.

All 1970s - 1980s Subarus were prone to rust and there are very few BRATs left. This is a California car and appears to be virtually rust free.

Located in Livermore, CA, click here to see the dealer's listing for this BRAT.

Canadian Driver wrote a nice article on the BRAT back in September. You can find it here.

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