Maybe it’s too many viewings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation talking, but when I saw this ad I instantly thought of Cousin Eddie rolling up for an extended stay in the driveway. You too can be the inbred yokels of your extended family, for the low, low price of $3465 (and your remaining dignity). It reportedly has a “toilet/shower,” which I hope aren’t the same things at the same time, and with only 48k on the odometer you have many more miles left to enjoy the lovely odors that can only accumulate in a 40-year-old RV. Merry Christmas indeed to whoever drives this home for the holidays.
It’s clear that I’m a sucker for any crusty old Pontiac, so it should be no surprise that this particular ad caught my eye. It had me at “Pontiac” and “convertible,” but the “4 speed” note is what really pushed this over the edge. Never mind that the rear end is particularly hideous, the carpet is an unholy shade of greenish brown while the rest of the interior is blue (and in remarkably good shape for a convertible), and that the top is surely both inoperable and in multiple pieces – I could look past those flaws easily, thanks to the aforementioned stick shift. What is particularly frightening is the side angle shot, which might as well be captioned “Here be Dragons;” there lurks more rust and Bondo in those lumpy rockers and misaligned door than you could shake a $2000 body shop bill at. All that said, for $3500, if it runs and drives, it would make a heck of a summer cruiser once you ironed out some of the more obvious flaws over the winter.
After a few weeks off, I’m back with a car I really have to stop myself from calling about. For any number of reasons, I’m kind of jonesing for an early Mustang right now, and this looks like a pretty good example – assuming it’s solid underneath. The paint looks original, and the fade actually adds to the appeal for me. I never said I was normal. The wheel and tire combo is almost perfect (just a shade too small), and the V8-4-speed setup is ideal. Of course, I’m sure everything aft of the rear axle is red dust and bondo at this point, at least that’s what I’m telling myself to keep from picking up the phone.
Look, I get that not everyone is obsessed with speed, and not everyone gets the same euphoria when you exit a corner and put your foot to the floor. There’s certainly something to be said for trying to maximize your fuel economy and lower the actual costs of owning a car, and I suppose there is some merit in the genuinely European feel that some older German cars have. But for the love of God, don’t buy this car for $6000 for any of those reasons. First, because the 0-60 time of this car is best measured with an sundial, and navigating any kind of onramp, roundabout, or passing lane would be a death-defying stunt. Second, because at that price, even if it got 100mpg, you would still be better off with an engine more powerful than a sneeze. And third, while there are some Golfs/Rabbits that have a decidedly German flair, this is not one of them. It is brown, and it probably handles pretty well, and you could do the whole drive-a-slow-car-fast thing, but if you’re anything like me, you’d have so much spare time during any acceleration that you’d start wondering about what to have for lunch tomorrow or for how many years did GM actively disrespect their customer base and you’d (very slowly, of course) smash into the stopped semi-trailer in front of you and die a horrible, flaming death. But hey, it’s got Brembo brakes (that you’ll never need)!
This isn’t the first first-gen Charger I’ve posted, but it’s definitely the nicest one, even with the work it needs and the dent on the quarter. If this is as legit as the ad suggests, this is a heck of a deal – low mileage Chargers don’t exactly grow on trees (especially in the Midwest) and this one is optioned nicely, with the exception of the automatic. I’d be inclined to follow the seller’s recommendation and fix the brakes, change all the fluids, and drive it pretty much as-is. That 383 isn’t a Hemi, but it would take a bigger cam and better intake just as well. It’s also kind of a strange color, but something tells me that won’t hurt the resale value of this one.
I’m not much of a tri-five Chevy guy, but my love for wagons knows no bounds. My car geek senses are also tingling, because I never knew until today that Chevrolet used the “Beauville” name on anything but full-size vans. To top it off, this car is slathered in a lovely shade of
baby poop brown Navajo Tan with a white top, which is pretty styling. All in all, it’s a nice little ride for the money (about 1/3 what you’d pay for a similar two-door car) and you can fit the whole family. Who needs a V8 when you have this much style?
While the Caprice I posted a few weeks back was a boat that represented of some of the worst tendencies of the domestic auto industry, this Buick is something that is sorely lacking from every automaker’s lineup today: the full-size convertible. Headband-bro aside, it would be a lot of fun to float down the highway in this powder blue creampuff, soaking up every expansion joint and pot hole with ease and stopping every two hours for gas. For this kind of money, drive it a few summers, keep it clean, and flip it for the same price down the road. You might have to add a few feet on to your garage though.