Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekend Quickies - Feb 7, 2010

1974 Volkswagen Beetle - Alright, I'm ready for the e-mail heat...

I never liked the VW Beetle. I'm old enough to remember when they were everywhere. I had many, many friends who owned them. They were slow, uncomfortable, handled poorly and their heaters were lethal. You bought one because they were dirt cheap and incredibly easy to work on.

Now they're semi-collectibles. Nice ones sell for 4 or 5 times their original price. Rational, sane people - people with enough money to buy other classic cars - want to own a Beetle. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or something like that, I guess.

Anyway, as I've written over and over, I respect anyone with a passion for any car, even if I don't understand it. I'm pretty certain the are people - probably a lot of people - who read this blog and can't understand why I like some of the cars I do.

This is a nice, honest Beetle. It's been in the same family since new. The seller is calling it an "heirloom". It's a driver quality car that has been cared for since new. Best of all, the asking price is a reasonable $2000.00

Located in "Napa County", California, click here to see the Craigslist listing.

1972 Fiat 850 Spider - I've always liked the 850 Spider. (What did I just write, something about people "can't understand why I like some of the cars I do"? Case in point, I suppose.) Yes, they are cramped and not especially fast (Hmmmm, kind of sounds like the Beetle. I'm digging myself a huge hole here, aren't I?), but still, there's something about the Bertone body and the screaming sub-1000cc engine that makes this car desirable.

This car has been restored. The seller states it has a rebuilt engine - "903 ‘big bore’ kit with under 200 miles, detailed engine bay, high flow headers, MSD electronic ignition and coil and a 2 barrel Weber." The top is new and it has fresh paint with Italian racing stripes.

You can't write about a Fiat and not talk about rust, especially when writing about an 850. These cars were virtually water soluble. Any surviving car has most likely had some rust repair done. Check that the repairs were done right, as the rust was often structural.

The asking price for this car is just $3700.00, which, in my opinion, is a bargain if it's everything the seller says it is.

Located in Glen Park, CA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1987 Porsche 924S - For many years the 924 was shunned by the Porsche community. It was supposed to be a Volkswagen. VW commissioned Porsche to create a new sports car. In 1973 VW decided to abandon the project. Porsche bought the rights to produce the car. It was a hell of a deal for Porsche. They paid VW less for the rights than VW had paid them to develop the car.

What caused the problem for Porsche-o-philes was the drivetrain. It initially had an Audi engine and transmission.

By the time this car was built, Porsche had replaced the Audi engine and transmission with proper Porsche units.

If you're expecting 911, 928 or even 944 performance, you'll be disappointed with a 924. If you're looking for an alternative to a Scirocco or a Celica, it's a great choice. It's as good or better than both, not much more expensive and, best of all, has a Porsche pedigree.

This 924 appears to be in very nice condition. Located in San Francisco, CA, click here to see the Craigslist listing.

You had to know someone was going to do this...

The original Toyota slogan...

The "new" version...

(This came to me in one of those e-mails that had been forwarded about 18 times before it finally reached me. I don't know the original source.)


Chris Keen said...

Seriously, 3 cool cars in the SF area? Are you trying to accelerate my financial demise? :)

Kinda feel the same way about the Bug you do, but there's something to be said for automotive simplicity you could find in old Fiats, VWs, etc.

Richard said...

The 924 had some bug suspension parts I believe, although unlike the bug, it handles very well. The 924S is the way to go, I nearly purchased one a year or so back, thinking its the economical route to Porsche ownership, however you soon realize, economical and Porsche should never be in the same sentence.

As for the Fiat 850, always loved them, Bertone really knew what he was doing when he designed this little car. The petrol head in me likes the fact that the car is cramped and slow, after all, how fast would you really want to go in a 850?

alfaguy said...

Regarding the 924, isn't this car the 're-issue'?

The drivetrain in the original 924 was essentially warmed over VW Rabbit bits.

Then some years after the car was out of production, Porsche put the car back into production, called it the 924s, which was essentially a 944 wrapped in a slightly revised 924 body.

A much better car IMHO.


Just A Car Geek said...

I got a few e-mails abouth the 924, too.

The 924S was the "reissue". That
what I was trying to say when I wrote "By the time this car was built, Porsche had replaced the Audi engine and transmission with proper Porsche units."

I probably should have posted that car on a weekday where I could have written more details.

Sorry about any confusion.