Home » Auto Union 1000, BMW 760Li, Suzuki RE-5: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

Auto Union 1000, BMW 760Li, Suzuki RE-5: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness


Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you all know, I have an affliction that involves drooling over and buying too many vehicles of all kinds. And unlike my friend and editor David, my collection just keeps building. But hey, you get a peek into what kind of cars I like because I keep a list of ads on my computer.

This week, I’m featuring a number of vehicles that may make you scratch your head. One of them in particular doesn’t seem to make sense, but at least it’s dirt cheap!

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.

1972 Ford Country Squire – $15,000

Facebook Marketplace

This old Ford has the distinction of being one of the coolest cars that I’ve seen to have so few details in its ad.

Before crossovers, SUVs, or even minivans ruled the land as the family hauler, the wagon reigned. Back in the 1970s you could buy a land barge long enough to fit the whole family and their gear, complete with tens of feet of fake woodgrain. For Ford, the Country Squire sat at the top of the wagon range and it lasted through eight generations and 41 model years.

This Country Squire is a bit different than usual. It’s riding on a 1966 Ford F-250 chassis and sports dually rears and a 390 V8 up front. That V8 is fed by a Edelbrock carburetor and power is sent to the Dana 60 rear through an automatic. The exterior is complete with airbrushed woodgrain graphics.

[Editor’s Note: That airbrushed woodgrain is incredible. Somehow an imitation of imitation wood = better than actual wood. – JT]

This build won its Rust Belt American Junk class in the Concours d’LeMons California 2016, too. Today, the wagon resides in Indiana with a different owner. It’s $15,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Highland, Indiana.

1950 Ford F1 – $21,500


The radical Ford pickups of today owe their existence to trucks like this blue F1. These trucks were an immediate success, and Ford says it helped the company pull itself out of its financial struggles of the period. FoMoCo even says that the F1 brought people into showrooms to buy things that weren’t trucks.

This particular truck lives in California, free from the rust of the Midwest. There is a 226 cu in Flathead straight six under the hood, which should be making 95 HP. It’s unclear if this truck is restored or not, but it’s definitely very clean. It’s $21,500 on Hemmings in Westlake Village, California with 46,000.

1950 Mercury Eight Coupe – $38,500

Facebook Marketplace

In 1939, the Mercury division of Ford launched with its first car, the Mercury Eight. It came in a bunch of different body styles and was marketed as a big car that was also economical. The vehicle was a success, and eventually Mercury became a popular brand.

As Hagerty writes, after World War II, Mercury was tasked with reopening its lines and updating its cars. The first to get a new design was the Eight. The new car had flowing lines and a low, sleek roof. It wasn’t long before the new Eight became a star. Sam and George Barris created an incredible custom Eight for Masato Hirohata. The Hirohata Merc [Editor’s Note: A certain Autopian partner may just own that very car now, just saying. – JT] , as it’s called, featured a cut roof, deleted excess chrome, filled in the headlights and even created a custom grille. The Eight also showed up in the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause. Today, these cars are perhaps best known for the lead sleds that modders turned them into.

This Mercury Eight is not a lead sled. Instead, it’s described as being original, but “redone.” It’s unclear what that means, but it’s a gorgeous vehicle. I love how the interior is a cherry red to match the paint. Power comes from a 255 Flathead V8 making 110 HP. You can get it for $38,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Manassas, Virginia.

Corvair-Powered Trike – $1,150

Facebook Marketplace

Have you ever wanted a Can-Am Spyder but wished it looked like something out of Mad Max? Well, a seller in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin has just the vehicle.

[Editor’s Note: This looks like it could be an exciting euthanasia option, if your moral code includes such things. – JT]

I’ve been looking at (and considering buying) this contraption for the past few days and honestly, I can’t quite make out what’s going on here. Up front is a flat six from a Chevrolet Corvair. Which one isn’t stated, but you’re looking at an output of at least 80 HP. That’s a reasonable amount of power even for a regular motorcycle.

That is bolted to a Frankenstein monster of a frame that features two car wheels up front and a motorcycle wheel bringing up the rear. Steering is accomplished through a yoke, which drives a chain that leads somewhere. Your floorboards are corrugated metal that wrap around the trike’s exhaust. There isn’t a seat, so maybe you’re supposed to stand on this thing? Maybe it’s unfinished?

I reached out to the seller for questions and I have not received a response back at the time of writing. Either way, if this appeals to you it’s just $1,150 on Facebook Marketplace.

1965 Airstream Globe Trotter – $25,000

Facebook Marketplace

Airstream’s Globe Trotter trailers were inspired by an adventure taken by the company’s founder. In 1948, Airstream founder Wally Byam and a friend painted ‘Globe Trotters’ on an Airstream then toured Europe. When he got back, the company launched the Globe Trotter line, which were said to “go anywhere an automobile can go and still have the facilities of comfortable living.”

This 1965 Globe Trotter slots into Airstream’s Land Yacht trim, which denotes the most amount of luxury. Getting a land yacht meant you got all of the luxuries of home like heat and a bathroom, but on the road.

Facebook Marketplace

This trailer was given an update in 2009. It now has modern equipment like a roll-away air-conditioner, a new bathroom, updated cooktop, and a newer fridge. What’s neat is that this remodeling didn’t turn the trailer into something else entirely. Inside, it still very much looks like it’s very old.

It’s $25,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Butte, Montana.

2009 Chevrolet HHR SS – $10,500

Facebook Marketplace

The Chevrolet HHR was the General’s answer to the then popular Chrysler PT Cruiser. GM even managed to get the PT’s designer, Bryan Nesbitt, to pen its car. I think the HHR is the better looking of the two and more practical, too. I’ve used an HHR as a mini camper during one Gambler 500 season and to date it was the most comfortable car camping I’ve ever had.

General Motors even made a hot hatch version of the HHR, and SS packs some respectable firepower under the hood. That engine is the 2.0-liter Ecotec LNF. This engine is notable as being one of GM’s first forays into direct injection. It also produces 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft torque. I have this engine in my Saturn Sky Red Line and it’s an absolute delight. I can only imagine how silly it is packaged into something like the HHR.

I tried to find an SS Panel for this entry, and after scouring the entire country I came up empty. But seeing as just 216 of those exist, it’s no surprise that I couldn’t find one. This 2009 SS model appears to be a decent example. It has high mileage at 142,500 miles, but it looks clean and appears to be stock. It’s $10,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Enterprise, Alabama.

Auto Union 1000 – $22,470

Duncan Imports

Our friends at the Lane Motor Museum have a great piece on the history of this car, so I’ll let them take the mic for a moment:

The name DKW comes from “Dampf-Kraft-Wagen” which translates to “steam powered vehicle.”

It carries this name because the first vehicle its Danish designer, J.S. Rasmussen built was a light steam car. Like many other manufacturers, DKW was also famous for motorcycles –in the 1930s they were the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. In 1931, DKW diversified into automobile manufacturing. In 1932, they became part of Auto Union, joining Audi, Horch, and Wanderer. In 1949, DKW was re-established in the Federal Republic of Germany before being taken over by Mercedes-Benz. Sold to Volkswagen in 1965, DKW became part of Audi, and ceased production in 1966.

DKW was known for being a reliable, well-built car. The two stroke engine is small, being under 1000cc, but provided adequate power to move this medium size car along very well. The engine has only 7 moving parts – 3 pistons, 3 connecting rods and a crankshaft. There are 3 coils and 3 sets of points. The distributor is on the end of the crankshaft. The cooling system is a convection type with the radiator mounted higher than the engine so that hot water rises to the radiator while cooled water returns to the engine from the lower radiator outlet.

Apparently, its radiator is so good that it drops water temps to 40° F. That little engine is making just 32 HP and dispatching it to the front wheels through a column-shifted manual. This example is $22,470 at Duncan Imports.

2003 BMW 760Li – $7,995

Pacific Luxury Motors, Inc.

One of my recent discoveries about cars for sale is that even with today’s market you can still find a cheap V12. I’ve recently been offered a BMW 750iL for almost too cheap, and that set me on a path for seeing what other cheap V12s are out there.

I landed on this 2003 BMW 760Li. It’s a fourth-generation BMW 7 Series, also known as the E65. These cars remain somewhat controversial to this day for their radical styling departure from BMW’s norms. While older 7 Series generations featured subdued styling, the fourth-generation cars were designed under direction from then BMW Design Chief Chris Bangle. These cars brought on a rounder design language and the infamous “Bangle Butt” rear end. I’m probably in the minority when I say that I actually dig what these cars look like in real life.

This car is a long-wheelbase 760Li (E66) and its real selling point is what’s under the hood. Pop it open and you’ll bask in the glory of BMW’s N73 V12. This 6.0-liter monster makes 438 HP, which pushes the executive sedan to an estimated 60 mph sprint in 5.4 seconds.

These vehicles set you back up to about $133,000 when new, but here’s one for just $7,995. It’s had to drive 169,356 miles to get there, but it looks to be in solid condition. You can find it by Pacific Luxury Motors on CarGurus in Santa Monica, California.

1976 Suzuki RE-5 – $13,500

Facebook Marketplace

I have a bucket list of motorcycles that I need to own at least once in my life, and the Suzuki RE-5 is on it.

The motorcycle world is chock-full of ideas and attempts to revolutionize how we ride on two wheels. Some motorcycles have been electric, some diesel, and some turbines have even bolted to motorcycle frames. One idea that has been tried a number of times is powering a motorcycle with a rotary engine. In theory, a Wankel makes perfect sense for a motorcycle. These engines are compact, lightweight, and feature fewer moving parts than your typical piston engine.

As our friends at RideApart note, the rotary engine is the invention of German engineer Felix Wankel. He originally patented it in 1929, but kept working on it until the 1950s. In 1959, Wankel was working with NSU when he got a working prototype built. The next year, NSU began licensing the design to anyone willing to take on the challenge.

Suzuki was one of those brands, and the company licensed a 497cc rotary from NSU. Suzuki would then put its own engineering dollars in to resolve problems with heat, backfiring, and smoke. In the end, Suzuku got some patents and the powerplant was placed into a motorcycle designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.

Cycle World put it on the magazine’s list of the Ten Worst Motorcycles, citing its cost, complexity, and lack of power. In a modern take, Classic Bike Guide believed that without the economic strain of the era’s oil crisis, Suzuki could have had an entire family of rotary-powered motorcycles.

It’s $13,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Hyndman, Pennsylvania with 11,564 miles.

That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!

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35 Responses

  1. I owned a RE5 back in the 70’s.

    I was a college student in upstate New York back in 1977, looking to buy another motorcycle. A dealer in Newburgh has a leftover 1975 RE5, in metallic blue. Back then even when new they were not well loved, though the magazine reviews were glowing. The dealer sold it to me for $1000 and made it crystal clear he never wanted to see me again with that bike. It was the only RE5 he took new and couldn’t move it for two years (until I came along). He explicitly said if I had any problems, needed any work on it, to not bring it to him. He had no manuals, no replacement parts, and refused to work on it. Even though new, it was ‘as is’, no warranty expressed or implied. That was OK by me. I thought I was getting a cool new bike for a bargain price.

    I owned it for about a year. It was a blast to drive. After having had a few conventional bikes beforehand (three Hondas), what struck me most was how incredibly smooooth the RE5 was. The Wankel engine lived up to its reputation. No vibration whatsoever. It attracted attention wherever I went and other bikers saw it. The attention was neither complimentary nor derogatory, just ‘what the heck is that’?

    The sound was distinctive, like a jet turbine spooling up for takeoff. It was quick, but like any Wankel, little torque down low. Also like any Wankel, gas mileage was abysmal. It got 25 mpg, all the time. Regardless of whether riding it hard, around town, highway, always 25 mpg (plus about a quart per 500 miles of oil consumption from the oil injection system). Handling was fabulous (for a mid 1970’s bike), though it was heavier than it looked.

    My time with it came to an end about a year and about 2,500 miles later. One day, riding in the rain on the Taconic Parkway in upstate New York, rounding a curve at about 65(ish) mph, I hit some oil in the road, and down I went. I plasma-planed for about 300 feet, until an exit sign conveniently stopped my slide.

    The pseudo-crash bars (there more to protect the radiator) prevented any real damage to the bike, though the left side directional lights were ground off. The biggest damage was to my ego. I also ground a lot of gravel into my left side.

    The bike was still running, so I picked it up, rode to a gas station, used their hose to wash off as much of the blood and dirt (and gravel) as I could, and drove myself to the Vassar Hospital emergency room in Poughkeepsie NY. There they removed about 75 pieces of gravel from my left side.

    They missed two. To this day I still have two pieces of gravel in me, just under the skin, one in my left shin, the other my left shoulder. I can see and feel them. I kept them as reminders of my joyous biking experiences. Plus whenever anyone has asked me, ‘Do you have a chip on your shoulder?’, I honestly replied, ‘Why yes, as a matter of fact I do, would you like to see it’?

    The accident took place on the same day, exactly one year later, as an earlier, much more serious motorcycle accident that nearly killed me and landed me in the hospital for a couple of weeks and required some non-trivial surgery. I took it as a sign from the motorcycle gods than maybe I wasn’t meant for mechanized two-wheel transport. So I repaired the bike and sold it.

    I’d love to own it again (even though I’m now a decrepit 60-something with arthritis and not a limber college teenager). If it’s not running I suspect most parts would be impossible to come by. It was rumored Suzuki was so frustrated by the bike’s commercial failure that they dumped all the unsold machines and spare parts into the ocean off Japan. Parts were unobtanium in the 1970’s, I don’t imagine it’s any easier now. But then…

    Who says you can’t go home again?

      1. So I went back and actually clicked through to look at the wagon. It’s 2wd. WtH?? I can’t fathom the mindset of someone who would go to the trouble of putting that body on a truck frame without using a 4wd. I mean, they probably had a wrecked/rusted truck, and….

        The ‘brass knuckles’ column-shifter tells me I probably don’t want anything to do with the person who did this. I am curious about how this came about, but certainly not enough to create a fb account even if I could get past those knuckles.

        On the other hand, I believe in vehicular free expression: fly your freak flag high & proudly!
        I guess it could make an interesting tow vehicle, but I’m gonna just smh and back slowly away. Just because you can doesn’t mean….
        And, $12k?? Good luck with that, buddy

  2. Torch is right about that “wood”, it looks like old planks pulled from a hardware store floor. Would look great on a Squire that was still on it’s own chassis.

  3. I only hope that Suzuki has the original seat somewhere, that cruiser seat just looks out of place.
    I’m not really attracted to it, just think it should look right.

  4. It isn’t too hard to find W220 S600s and E65 760Lis for under $5K. Condition may vary.

    I’ve never been quite bold/self hating enough to take the plunge but I do look for V12 deals regularly.

  5. ” In theory, a Wankel makes perfect sense for a motorcycle. These engines are compact, lightweight, and feature fewer moving parts than your typical piston engine.

    Suzuki would then put its own engineering dollars in to resolve problems with heat, backfiring, and smoke.

    Cycle World put it on the magazine’s list of the Ten Worst Motorcycles, citing its cost, complexity, and lack of power.”

    A Wankel Rotary engine is much like communism. Great in theory; habitually awful in practice.

    1. Except when it in a Norton RCW588, then in wins the British Superbike Championship and the Isle of Man TT. Mere mortals could buy one too, as the Norton F1.

      1. Wankels have always traded on weird displacement calculations vs piston engines. The displacement is usually calculated on the swept displacement of one side of each rotor, whereas they really should have the displacement calculated on three faces of each rotor, since one rotation of the rotor gives 3 combustion events. So, a Mazda 13B should be rated as a 3.9l piston engine.

        But it gets weirder, because the rotor only turns at 1/3 crankshaft speed. This leads to the manufacturer claiming that there is only one rotor’s worth of displacement per crankshaft revolution. So Mazda says the 13B is a 1.3l engine.

        Finally, each revolution of the rotor gives a complete combustion cycle, so they achieve twice as much in a crank rotation as a piston engine. This leads to most people agreeing that the 13B is equivalent to a 2.6l piston engine.

        Since most racing categories accept the manufacturer’s displacement, this gives rotaries a huge advantage as a racing engine, since depending on which calculation you use, they have a two or three times displacement advantage over competing piston engines. This is why the Norton was successful.

        My take is that the 13B Wankel burns the fuel of a 3.9l piston engine to produce the power of a 2.6l piston engine with the durability of a 1.3l piston engine.

      2. It’s worth noting that Norton’s rotary was most successful in target drones which have lifespans measured in days.
        Related aside, when I visited the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham in 1990 the entrance had a Norton Commando Interpol on one side and a Norton Commander Police model on the other side. The Commando had a puddle of oil in its drip pan, the Commander had no leaks so that’s an achievement

  6. That Auto Union 1000 is just beautiful—fizzy-inducing, even. The lines are stylish without pretension, and the interior is great: that pebbled dash! I’ve always liked pontoon fenders, and the faired-in front ones here are SO well done.

    I won’t actually swoon, but maybe slip into Old Codgerhood….

    I tells ya, fellers & fellettes, that car, that car right there…Now, THAT’S a goin’ ta town car!

    1. Every time I see one, I’m reminded of the words of the immortal Tom “Uncle Tom” McCahill; “…Walter Reuther had nothing to do with Auto Union….”

  7. Had an HHR SS. Can confirm, it was quite silly. Honestly, it’s one I miss. It was my great compromise coming into adulthood. 30mpg highway, right at 300hp with a mild tune, and with the front passenger’s seat folded forward I could fit 8″ 2x4s in it with the back gate shut.

  8. Jesus, that Corvair trike. If the thing we’re $5-10k you would think other person’s project, crazy money etc. At a grand it seems like cheap way to have fun, or kill yourself, or both.

  9. The most amazing thing I learned today, a Suzuki RE5 can live past 10,000 miles. Something I already knew–the internet has been great in that it exposes the oddballs like many featured here to the world, but also has made what once would probably be sold to a very limited local market, and hence cheap, not so cheap anymore. Easier to find weird stuff harder (or at least more expensive, because nobody in New Hampshire, or wherever, wants an Auto Union, but somebody somewhere does).

  10. That squire is about 15 flavors of WTF. As a sucker for old trucks that F1 looks tasty. I love these articles and enjoy the wild variety you throw at us.

  11. “The Hirohata Merc [Editor’s Note: A certain Autopian partner may just own that very car now, just saying. – JT]”

    Whoa!! This may be the most buried lede I’ve ever read. An Autopian partner owns THAT Mercury, the one and only mythical Hirohata?! I’ve been somewhat obsessed with that car from my youth when I first read about in Rod and Custom. As a lifelong lover of leadsleds, it’s still the all-time best imho. I made a painting of it which, even though I graduated in Art and Design, remains the only painting of anything I’ve actually completed. I can’t wait to read more about it here – an Autopian Hirohata Merc Review would be epic!

    Btw, great list! Obviously the Merc would be my first choice, but that Auto Union 1000 isn’t far behind. I had a chance to buy a DKW for just $300 quite a few years ago. It was parked out at a nearby farm and I stopped just to inquire what it was. It turned out I kind of knew the owner and he offered it to me super cheap, but it was just too much of a DT-special to do anything with outside of some great yard art. Speaking of ones that got away, I spotted one of those Chevy HHR SSs on the local Craigslist a number of year ago. Same miles and condition as this one, but they only wanted $4K. Thought about checking it out, but never got around to it. Had I known at the time just how rare and interesting they really are, it would likely still be in my collection.

  12. Dang that 760Li is in pretty nice condition. However, I would have to answer one of the thousands of car warranty spam calls if I bought it.

  13. I love that Auto Union 1000. German auto detailing in the 60’s is perfect; soft but pleasing colors, quality surfaces and fabrics, great feel on the controls, and thoughtful user interfaces. It knows it is a machine but it wants to be touched by humans. Just excellent human-machine interfaces.

  14. That Corva-trike is breaking my brain. The transaxle is still in front of the engine, but I don’t see any drive shaft to the front wheels. It does look like the rear wheel has a chain/belt on the right side (that is never shown). That would be one long-ass chain/belt!

    Also, looks like that is the gas tank sitting right between the driver’s feet.

    And you thought Nader hated the Corvair!

  15. Concerning the Airstream. How can something I could only use 4-5 times a year (15-20-ish days) be so drool worthy. Maybe that limited time is the answer?

    1. They aren’t really a purchase that you can justify financially, unless you look at it as something that will hold it’s value pretty well and last a long time. We’ve had a 2007 Airstream for about a year now and we’ve used it about 15 days and I have another week planned this month, so the cost per night is still insane, but we plan on using it for many more years. It does save us money when we travel (campgrounds are cheaper than hotels, we can cook our own food instead of eating out, we can take more with us and generally be more comfortable). I’ve even used it without the whole family for things like traveling to school competitions or moving my son into and out of college where there aren’t enough hotel rooms in town on those weekends and a hotel costs $300 a night for a Motel 6.
      A 1965 Airstream is only going to go up in value from here if you take care of it. If you camp, a vintage camper, Airstream, or molded fiberglass camper is least a “better” investment than some other box that will have no value after 8-10 years. But just like a classic car, you have to do a lot of research, inspections, and know what you are getting. Airstreams still have steel frames under that aluminum body, so they still can rust out. Vintage trailers are still wood frames that often have water damage from the past. RV systems can age and leak. There’s a lot of “flippers” out there. Having an RV is like a small house that goes through an earthquake every time you tow it. So you need to be handy with automotive and household skills or you are going to go broke at the RV repair shops.

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