Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! I’m always on the look for a good car or motorcycle deal. I’m also always looking at vehicles that I wish that I could own, or at least drive. For the past four years I’ve been growing a massive list of a variety of vehicles that I’ve lusted for.
Previously, I did nothing with my huge list except occasionally buy a vehicle from it, and maybe share it with friends. But since late 2020 I’ve found a new use for them. I get to share them with you, our dear readers!
I’ll warn you right away, some of these may be downright stupid or crappy cars. Some of them are questionably modified. Some of them may be suspiciously cheap. And some, unfortunately, may be a bit too expensive for many enthusiasts. But it’s ok to window shop! So let’s take a peek under the covers of my long list of the cars and motorcycles that I’ve been pining for lately.
This week, we’re going for a theme of American muscle, with a couple of exceptions.
[Author’s note: The name is still a work-in-progress. I am taking suggestions!]
1970 Ford F-100 – $12,000
I’m a sucker for a classic truck, and this Ford F-100 seems to hit the spot just right. This F-100 sits in a sort of middle ground. It was built after Ford realized that people use their pickups for more than just work. However, it was built before the pickup truck became a luxury vehicles. Thus, it’s modern enough to be a practical classic. These trucks had decent power for the time, power brakes and options like sound-absorbing headliner, full carpeting, and air-conditioning.
The seller here doesn’t say what options this truck has, but there’s a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. If that’s the original Windsor, you’re looking at 205 gross horsepower. It looks pretty clean considering its location in Wisconsin. It’s $12,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Medford, Wisconsin.
2015 Ford Fiesta ST – $11,750
The Ford Fiesta has had a rough existence in America. We got the first-generation just for a short while between the 1977 and 1980 model years. Then it disappeared until its sixth-generation return to North America for the 2011 model year. Then, for 2014 Ford kept its heritage of making hot Fiestas alive by giving us the wonderful ST.
The Ford Fiesta is a favorite of enthusiasts and it’s not hard to see why. For just a tick over $10,000 used you can get a practical small hatch that produces 197 horses from a 1.6-liter turbo four. These are pocket-sized fun that still allow you to be an adult.
It’s hard to find a decent example for around the $10,000 mark, but this one comes close. For $11,750 on Facebook Marketplace, this Fiesta ST out in Louisville, Kentucky is mostly stock with a clean title and about 104,000 miles on the odometer. The seller even claims to have changed the oil every 4,000 miles.
1950 Oldsmobile Seventy-Six – $18,000
Here’s a beautiful classic that has headlights that make it look like it’s been awake for three days straight. As the ClassicCars.com Journal wrote, the Seventy-Six was an entry-level Oldsmobile with the marque’s post-war styling. 1950 was the last year for these, too.
This one is said to be in all-original condition. Nothing looks perfect, but it has that look of a car that’s been enjoyed over the years and cared-for enough to have survived 72 years on this planet in decent shape. Under the hood is a 4.2-liter six good for 105 horses. It comes with a bunch of new parts from brake shoes to a thermostat. Apparently the seller is prepping the car for a new home with a new starter and transmission valve body. It’s $18,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Fullerton, California.
1954 Caproni NSU Max – $4,900
According to the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum, NSU opened in 1873 as Mechanische Werkstätte zur Herstellung von Strickmaschinen. The company’s beginnings included knitting machines and then bicycles. Then the company grew larger, building its first motorcycle in 1901 and its first car in 1905.
Like many German companies, NSU would be roped into WWII, building such things as a half-track motorcycle.
After the war, NSU got back to making civilian vehicles, starting with bicycles and pre-war design motorcycles before developing new ones. The first new design was the NSU Fox in 1949 followed by the Max in 1953. This motorcycle is a hybrid of sorts. It has the engine of the Max, but the body was made by Italian aircraft manufacturer Caproni. The two bikes look similar, but the biggest difference that you’ll see is the larger Caproni tank.
It’s powered by a 247cc single making 15 horses. That engine is housed in a steel frame. It comes with wonderful documentation from its original 1954 Italian logbook to its original license plate. This motorcycle was listed on Bring A Trailer, bidding up to just $2,250.
NSU would later smash speed records at Bonneville, even managing to break the then mythical 200 mph barrier. The company would work with then novel designs like some of the first rotary-engine cars. And in 1969, it would be purchased by Volkswagen to become a part of Auto Union alongside Audi.
As for Caproni, it originally shut its doors in 1950. It is most remembered for building the wild nine-wing Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo flying boat in 1921. Subsidiary Caproni Vizzola marched on to 1983, when it was acquired by Italian helicopter company Agusta. This hybrid bike is $4,900 on Facebook Marketplace in Levittown, New York.
1972 AMC Javelin – $16,500
In 1964, Ford released the first-generation of the Mustang, a vehicle that would become a smashing success and would help popularize the pony car segment. American Motors Corporation first answered the call with the fastback Marlin personal luxury coupe. AMC positioned it at buyers wanting more comfort and room.
In 1967, the Marlin got larger more focused on personal luxury. In the same year, production began on another vehicle meant to compete with the ‘Stang: the Javelin.
Styled by famed designer Dick Teague, the Javelin looked straight out of the future. And it had the power and bones to back it up. The list of engines is far too long to list, but the Javelin had everything from a 3.8-liter 145 hp six to a 6.6-liter V8 that made 330 hp. Those ratings are gross horsepower, or how much power the engine makes on a bench without anything to slow it down. In 1971, California decided enough was enough, and mandated at all vehicles sold in the state be advertised with the power it actually made installed in the vehicle.
For the Javelin, that meant that the little 3.8-liter six made 100 hp. And the big 6.6-liter eight now made 255 hp. Still, the Javelin was hot, and it even went on to have a successful racing career.
This Javelin is said to be quite original. It’s had one repaint in its life and one engine rebuild. It needs a few little things here and there, but it appears to be a solid classic. There’s a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood, which makes 150 net horsepower. It’s $16,500 from the Obscure Cars for Sale Facebook group. It’s in Joplin, Missouri with 81,000 miles.
1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 – $48,500
The original Viper traces its roots to Chrysler’s Advanced Design Studios, where Bob Lutz expressed interest in reviving the famed AC Cobra. Designer Tom Gale got straight to work on drawing this idea up.
The Viper is the kind of vehicle that we would likely never see get made in today’s world. Some cars lack creature comforts, but the original Viper is on another level. Forget about a lack of safety features like airbags or ABS, these don’t even have roll-up windows.
When you buy a Viper, you’re really just dropping cash on a vehicle that actively wants to end your life. And it’ll try to do it with help from an 8.0-liter V10 pumping out 400 HP and 465 lb-ft torque. That power is delivered to the rear wheels through a five-speed Tremec T56.
This Viper appears to be in great shape, aside from a few paint bubbles and seat wear from being driven all of 29,600 miles. It’s $48,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Montvale, New Jersey.
1969 GM New Look – $8,000
General Motors has a rich and dominating bus history dating back about 80 years. The company has made a lot of greats through that time, including the RTS that sits in a parking spot near my home. But one bus stands out to many as GM’s prime, and that’s the transit icon GM New Look. The series began production in 1959 with Washington D.C. getting the first deliveries. GM’s New Look design ushered transit buses into a new era, one with lots of visibility and attractive style.
While over 44,000 of these were produced, it’s rare to find one of these on the road today. Like most vehicles meant to serve the public, these buses were rode hard until they weren’t useful anymore. It seems few have made it into private hands.
I’ve found just two New Looks for sale in the country, and the other one looks way worse than this one does.
The seller doesn’t say much about this one other than the fact that it runs and drives and is equipped with a Detroit Diesel. I can tell you that it’s a third-generation model. Given the storage bins and length it would appear to be a 35-foot Suburban New Look. Suburban models were designed for faster, longer distance driving. They also have raised floors and storage for baggage. There’s a Good Sam plaque near the door, so this one may already be an RV.
It’s $8,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Warren, Massachusetts.
2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe – $6,000
Here’s an off-road Smart Fortwo build that is done right.
People often send me off-road Smart builds and they often have me shaking my head. Builders rarely seem to consider that there’s just a little 999cc 70 hp three powering these things. Fitting them with tall tires kills top speed and even limits its off-road abilities. Once I’ve seen one of these with 35-inch mudders. The owner told me that it didn’t go faster than 45 mph. Ev+en 30s are too large as they’ll drop your top speed to about 65 mph. I suppose that’s fine if you just want to use the car like a side-by-side, but I like my off-roaders street legal.
This builder did it right. The tires are only 27 inches, which means that the car can still cruise at highway speed. Lift is achieved with a 2-inch Daystar lift kit and springs from an electric Smart. There’s also a winch and any bodywork that would get in the way has been removed. The exhaust–which appears to have come from a motorcycle–is also thoughtfully moved out of the way. If I had $6,000 burning a hole in my pocket I’d buy it today. It’s up for grabs on Facebook Marketplace in Canton, Ohio.
H/T to the reader who sent this in!
1999 Shelby Series 1 – $169,998
As Hagerty notes, in the mid 1990s, automotive legend Carroll Shelby was thinking about how his career would end. And he concluded that he wanted to go out by doing something that he hadn’t before and build a clean-sheet sports car. Shelby wanted to build a new car that would be as much as a game changer as the Shelby Cobra was so many decades ago.
Shelby found an unlikely partner in none other than Oldsmobile. The Olds of the mid-1990s was going through an overhaul. It was trying to shake off its cars for old people brand image for something sporty and innovative. And Oldsmobile had some firepower on its hands in the form of the Aurora V8, too.
Unfortunately, Shelby learned that building vehicles to meet regulations was difficult. As a result, Shelby could meet his advertised price of under $100,000 and the cars sometimes came late, sometimes years after they were supposed to. Car And Driver’s Shelby Series 1 had a sticker of $181,824 and wasn’t even fully-optioned.
Eventually, Shelby was able to get the price down, but it was too late, and interest had seemingly dried up. Shelby American produced just 249 Series 1 cars. And it’s a shame because according to period tests, the car was fantastic. The Aurora V8 made 250 HP in its namesake car, but 320 HP here. Throw in $20,000 and power gets as high as 450 HP.
This 1999 Series 1 for sale at the Volo Auto Museum has just 600 miles on its odometer. It doesn’t have the supercharger, but I got to see this one in person and it looks like it just rolled off of the factory floor. This is probably the most expensive vehicle I’ve found yet at $169,998.
Thanks for browsing this week, folks! If you have a car that you want me to feature, or if you just want to chat about anything, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.