Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, I love picking up dirt-cheap cars, motorcycles, and campers, then telling you lovely readers about the dumb things that I do with them. I’m always looking for the next deal, but most of the time, I’m left empty-handed. At the same time, I love building a list of cars, trucks, and motorcycles that I would buy if I had the money.
Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness turns the long lists of vehicles I’d love to buy into something for you all to enjoy. Some of them are cheap and some of them are not. Some of the vehicles I find are purely window shopping for everyone other than a collector like Beau or Myron.
This week’s theme is what I’m calling “Import Fever.” A number of today’s vehicles came from other countries and would make sweet end-of-summer rides. Some of them are sadly a bit expensive, but still fun to look at. One of these vehicles might be something you’d buy only if you’re running a fever, but we’ll see.
Here’s what I’m looking at this week!
1950 Fiat 500 Topolino – $17,500
The seller of this vintage Fiat says they bought it while in Italy then imported into America when they came home from their tour. What you’re looking at here is what Italy considered its people’s car, and it has some history. Read about it here from our friends at the Lane Motor Museum:
Fiat began in 1899 when the Societa Aninima Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili – Torino was formed and has been building cars for over 100 years. Many consider the most famous Fiat to be the 500 “Topolino” (topolino translates to “little mouse”, a term of endearment the Italian people gave the small 500A). Launched in 1936, the new “baby” Fiat was the smallest mass-produced car of its time. With two seats, a 13bhp 569cc engine and a 6½ foot wheelbase, it was designed to bring motoring to the masses. It was a great success, and the initial version remained in production until 1948, with over 122,000 being produced. Although the Fiat 500 body style has changed over the years, Fiat produced a “Fiat 500″ well into the 1990s.
The Fiat 500 Topolino Model C launched in 1949 and featured the same engine, but a restyled body. This little mouse is said to run and drive fine, but the starter could use a rebuild and the car needs a new battery. It’s $17,500 from the seller in Silverdale, WA with 33,283 miles.
1962 Hillman Husky – $8,400
Here’s a handsome little utility vehicle for what seems to be a reasonable price. The Hillman Husky is a wagon based on the Hillman Minx. Notable features include a rear door that swings open rather than opens up like a hatch. It also has sliding side windows.
In 1857 Josiah Turner and James Starley formed the Coventry Sewing Machine Company. They would join forces with William Hillman, changed its name to the Coventry Machinists Company, and began making bicycles. The pair made wire-spoke wheels and used them to make the lightweight Ariel bicycle. The Ariel was a penny-farthing design. The company continued to build bicycles for years (and merged with a number of companies) until 1898, when the company began experimenting with motorized vehicles. In 1907 William Hillman and Breton Louis Coatalen founded Hillman-Coatalen to build cars. Coatalen left the company for Sunbeam in 1909 and a year later, the company was renamed to Hillman Motor Car Company. The company would later fall under the control of Rootes Group, then later Chrysler and Peugeot. The name was last used in 1976.
This Hillman Husky Series II was reupholstered and repainted at some point in its past. This appears to be holding up well, save for the beginnings of rust in places. Power comes from a 1,390cc straight-four making 51 HP. The engine, which is noted to have an oil leak, gets power to the rear wheels through a manual transmission. It’s $8,400 from the seller in Clarence, New York with 50,000 miles.
1960 Buick Invicta Estate Wagon – $25,300
The Buick Invicta was a new model for 1959, replacing the Century as Buick’s fullsize performance car. The Invicta is known for its ostentatious fins which run from the grille up front to most of the way to the rear, where another set of fins take over. If you haven’t heard of the Invicta before, it’s because the model was short-lived, lasting until 1963 before being replaced.
The Invicta was available as a two-door convertible, two-door hardtop, four-door hardtop, and a station wagon. Today’s example is one of those wagons. It’s believed to have an older repaint and will need touching up as surface rust is beginning to peek through.
Under the hood is a 401 cubic inch V8, rated at 325 HP and 445 lb-ft torque. That reaches the rear wheels through a two-speed automatic. The engine seems to need something done to it as starting the vehicle requires several pumps of the gas pedal and the engine has some slight smoke on startup. New parts include fuel pump, aluminum radiator, and electric fan.
Overall, the vehicle looks to be in decent shape. It’s $25,300 from the seller on Hemmings with 98,898 miles.
1987 Honda Accord Aerodeck 2.0 Si – Make Offer
Debuting in 1985 as part of the third-generation Accord, Honda proclaimed that the Accord Aerodeck was “the vehicle which transcends the hatchback.”
This car was another experiment of Honda, specifically of designers Masato Nakano and Yusuke Saito, who would later join Akio Koike in drawing up the ASIMO robot. The experiment was to create a shooting brake that was more upscale than a regular Accord and was sort of a wagon and a hatchback at the same time. The idea was to attract the kind of young professional who might buy an E30 BMW.
Functionally, this is a car similar to one you could buy here, from the lovely Victoria Scott:
It was a Europe/Asia/Australia only version (so basically, everyone but the US, of course) of the third generation Accord, and is functionally very similar to the ones sold in the US. It has a four speed automatic mated to a B20A motor (non-VTEC, completely unrelated to the B series VTEC motors in the later Integra). It does 0-60 in Yes, and the quarter mile at Good God Merging With A Short Ramp Just Became So Much Harder.
The Aerodeck for sale today is up for grabs on the Goonet Exchange in Chiba, Japan. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four making 143 HP and 128 lb-ft torque, reaching the front wheels through a five-speed manual. There are 126,765 miles on the odometer and the seller is asking for offers rather than stating a price.
2014 Ducati Monster 696 – $4,650
To call the Ducati Monster an influential motorcycle would be an understatement. The naked style and exposed trellis frame have inspired many other motorcycles over the years. To me, the original is still pretty captivating and one day I’d love to own one. Here’s what Ducati says about the Monster’s development:
Since its first appearance at the “International Motorcycle Fair” in Cologne in 1992, the Monster has stood out for its character, originality and innovation. Strange, essential, rebellious and outside the box: it didn’t take long for this concept to become a true icon, capable of setting trends and generating a new market segment.
To become a masterpiece of visual minimalism, all superfluous aspects were abandoned: “All you need is: a seat, tank, engine, two wheels and handlebar,” explains Miguel Galluzzi, designer of the Monster. Elements previously considered purely functional (engine block, frame, etc.) have been elevated to the state of “functional form”, simply because they are displayed.
One of the most imitated bikes of all time, the Monster has generated entire legions of imitators, even though imitation always remains the highest form of admiration after all.
The Monster 696 went on sale in 2008 and became the first Monster to sell over 10,000 units in one year. Its 696cc engine also had the highest power output per cc of any Ducati air-cooled engine at the time.
That engine is a 90-degree V-twin making 80 HP and 50 lb-ft torque. This one is said to be in good shape with a low 7,207 miles on the odometer. It’s $4,650 from the seller in Sacramento, California and the seller is willing to throw in a helmet, jacket, and gloves if you want them.
1939 Lincoln Zephyr – $38,074 (Starting Bid)
The 1930s were a wonderful time for vehicle aesthetics. Streamlined design was hitting everything from cars to locomotives. Art Deco design, gorgeous metalwork, and graceful curves were in. One of the greats to come out of this era was the Lincoln Zephyr. As the MotorCities National Heritage Area writes, the Zephyr was inspired by the Briggs Manufacturing 1934 Scarab Tjaarda prototype. Ford President Edsel Ford joined forces with Briggs’ John Tjaarda and Ford designers Eugene Turenne Gregorie and Bob Koto to create the Zephyr.
The car was a leap forward in design from its curved side windows to the headlights, which were molded into the fenders. It also sported a low-raked windscreen and integrated fenders while boasting options like an electric clock and Louis Vuitton luggage. The Zephyr launched in 1935 for the 1936 model year and competed with the Cadillac LaSalle line as well as the Packard one-twenty. Its other competitor was the also revolutionary Chrysler Airflow, but found success where the Airflow did not.
This 1939 Zephyr made its way to Antwerp, Belgium, where it sat in running condition in the private collection of a museum for years. The car was restored at some point in its life and since it has been stored for years, that restoration is still holding up. The auction house believes some reconditioning will be required if this vehicle will be driven.
Power comes from a 267 cubic inch V12 making 110 HP and is sent through a four-speed manual transmission. It’s up for grabs for a starting bid of $38,074 at the Bernaerts Auctioneers: Classic Cars A Belgian Hidden Collection in Belgium. Bidding begins September 5.
1964 BMW 3200 CS – $96,716
Here’s a classic BMW famous for its Bertone styling. Built as the successor to the 503, the 3200 CS would also be one of the first applications of what would become known as the Hofmeister kink. From BMW:
Although the BMW 3200 CS was based on the engineering of the outgoing 503, it turned its back comprehensively on its predecessor’s bulky dimensions, which evoked memories of sports cars from the pre-war era. The first BMW to bear the initials CS had a far lighter and airier feel to it, its roof sitting high atop large windows that projected a self-assured aura. There were no B-pillars to disrupt the car’s profile, and at the rear the C-pillars sported the famous “Hofmeister kink” that was to become a signature feature of all BMWs. It was also the first model to come with circular rear lights, a detail that lived on until 1973 in the 02 Series launched in 1966.
In September 1961, the new BMW 3200 CS was exhibited at the Frankfurt Motor Show, although it was somewhat overshadowed by the eagerly anticipated BMW 1500 “New Class” model. As with any car that dared to be different at the time, some observers deemed it too plain, yet it was this very paring-down that made the newcomer so elegant.
Its price tag of 30,000 marks meant that it cost the same as a small house and placed it firmly in the luxury segment, where it locked horns with the world’s best. Not only was it one of motoring’s most exclusive gems, it was one of the rarest too, with no more than around 600 examples built up to 1965.
As BMW notes up there, these are quite rare. The handcrafted bodies made their way from Italy to Munich by train, where they would be finished out. Power comes from a 3,168cc V8 making 158 HP and it’s backed by a manual transmission.
This example is an older restoration wearing 20,748 miles on its odometer. Features include leather, power windows, and a power sunroof. It’s the equivalent of $96,716 at Movendi in Germany.
2019 Ford EcoSport 4×6 – $16,500
This is the first and perhaps maybe the only time you’ll ever see the Ford EcoSport on a Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness. First, I will confirm that this car is pronounced like “EchoSport.” I asked a Ford representative about that and they confirmed it’s true.
It was originally developed by the Ford Brazil Development Center, going on sale in 2003. The first EcoSport shares its bones with the European Ford Fiesta and the European Ford Fusion. In Brazil, the compact crossover was a hot-selling vehicle.
We got the second-generation EcoSport, which started production in 2012 before reaching American shores in the 2018 model year. Sadly, the crossover didn’t wow reviewers thanks to complaints of slow acceleration, middling fuel economy, and unimpressive cabin. Normally, a car like this one wouldn’t be Madness fodder.
However, take a look at this EcoSport. That’s right, it has six wheels! Before you ask, it’s not six-wheel-drive, but it does net a bigger trunk thanks to the extra length. This EcoSport is also a high trim level Platinum with all-wheel-drive, so it has that going for it. Sadly, the seller doesn’t say who did the stretch or why, but it’s certainly something different.
It’s $16,500 from the seller in Ubly, Michigan with 42,575 miles.
1966 Citroën HY – $34,308
This van is expensive, but at the same time it looks like no other van on the road. The seller suggests using it for your business, but honestly, I’d so rock this van as a vintage motorcycle hauler. Here’s some information from the Lane Motor Museum:
The H-Van was simple to maintain, cheap to run, and durable, enabling the French to have their goods to market after WWII. Its distinctive corrugated sheet metal bodywork was sturdy and light, and the 2-liter engine was virtually indestructible. The van was roomy and offered ample access – one sliding door on the side and a back door which opened in three parts. The back entrance was designed with two doors on the bottom that opened to the sides and one door on the top that opened upward. This allowed for transporting cargo that was longer than the van. The front seat is positioned high to allow excellent outward vision. It has a load capacity of 3,500 pounds.
Read that? 3,500 pounds! Ok, there is a catch. Power comes from a 1.9-liter four making just 50 HP and backed by a three-speed manual. That, in turn, is good for a top speed of 50 mph. So the front-wheel-drive van can carry a good payload nowhere near a highway. It’s $34,308 from the seller in Bavaria.
That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!
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