Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! For the past few years, I’ve gotten into collecting dirt cheap and motorcycles, as well as writing fun stories for you lovely readers to read. It’s still sort of weird that the crap I do with cars is now a career, but I love it. I’m always searching for the next thing, even if I don’t need one. Since I’m shopping all of the time, I always have an evolving list of vehicles for sale. So it’s time to share it with you!
I was out last week, and thus wasn’t able to give Autopian readers their weekly dose of cars for sale. That will be rectified this week, and you’re going to be getting some crazy vehicles this time.
I search the entire country for a good balance of price and vehicle condition. But sometimes, some really cool cars end up for sale with really high prices. It’s disappointing, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with window shopping and dreaming. So join me in looking at some fun cars, motorcycles, and neat trucks from the past and present.
1950 Chrysler Imperial – $7,500
In 1926, not long after Chrysler’s founding, Walter P. Chrysler decided to go up to bat against Cadillac, Duesenberg, Packard, Pierce Arrow, Studebaker, and other luxury brands. The first Imperial, the Imperial 80, was advertised for its speed. Back then, Chrysler claimed that its model numbers meant miles per hour, in this case, 80 mph.
Chrysler’s Imperial cars got faster and more luxurious over the years. And in the mid-1950s, Chrysler spun Imperial off as its own brand. This 1950 model comes from before that era. It has modern design from the 1950s and has the Chrysler New Yorker as a close sibling. It even looked like a New Yorker, differentiating itself with a canvas coach ceiling, leather and broadcloth interior. Another selling point was that these features were installed by the Derham Body Company in Detroit.
This Imperial isn’t perfect, but it’s an affordable and stately classic. Power comes from a 324 cubic-inch straight eight making 135 HP transmitted through a manual transmission. It’s $7,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Algonquin, Illinois.
1978 Ford “Mustchero” – $10,000
I told you that this entry will be a little crazy, and this probably takes the cake for the weirdest custom vehicle that I’ve featured yet. As Ford Authority notes, this creation is based on the Ford Ranchero, a coupé utility that ran through seven generations between 1957 to 1979. One of those generations saw the Ranchero based on the LTD II. That’s what we’re looking at here, but Kentucky resident Frank Revlett apparently felt that this 1978 Ranchero GT needed a little more spice. That’s when he fitted New Edge Mustang parts to it, creating the monster that you see here.
There’s a 460 V8 under the hood. The seventh-generation Ranchero didn’t have a 460 as an option, and it’s unclear where this one came from. However, a stock 460 in a sixth-generation Ranchero made 202 HP. The seller isn’t using current pictures for this ad, and notes some fiberglass and windshield cracks. It’s $10,000 in Taylorsville, North Carolina.
1970 Chevrolet K10 Cheyenne – $25,900
The first-generation of General Motors’ C/K line of trucks launched in 1960, replacing the Task Force series of trucks. When it comes to naming, “C” denotes rear-wheel-drive while “K” means four-wheel-drive. The second-generation launched in 1967, and Chevrolet says that these trucks, dubbed the “Action Line,” added comfort and convenience features to make the C/K line to better fit the types of customers that were buying them. The body was given a new design, too. Chevrolet mentions some fun facts from when this line was introduced, like the fact that a gallon of gas was $0.33 ($3.18 today) or that a whole house was $24,600 ($237,252 today).
This K10 Cheyenne looks ready for an off-road adventure. The seller notes that it has power steering, power brakes, a lift kit, and a 350 cubic-inch V8. That should be good for 250 HP and 350 lb-ft torque. It’s $25,900 on Hemmings by Worldwide Vintage Autos in Denver, Colorado with 33,672 miles.
2020 Carver EV – $10,900
The Carver is probably one of those vehicles that you’ve heard about for years, but have never seen in the flesh. Indeed, these aren’t sold in America, but one has made it over here, anyway. I’ll let Carver itself explain its history:
WHY DO WE NEED 2 TONS OF STEEL TO TRANSPORT 1 PERSON?
That is the question Ton van den Brink asked himself in the 1990s in Paris. The Dutch entrepreneur was stuck in traffic jams and surrounded by rows of cars with only one driver,
From then on, Ton began to dream of a compact vehicle. Safe and comfortable like a car, fast and agile like a motorcycle. A mobility solution that had to unite all the advantages of traditional vehicles. Shortly thereafter, a team of Dutch engineers, led by Ton’s son – Chris van den Brink – began designing a new city vehicle: an ultra-small, roofed tricycle. Many times smaller, lighter and more maneuverable than the traditional car. The big challenge with narrow, closed vehicles is to avoid going under. With a two-wheeler, you use your feet. With a covered tricycle, you can’t. So the vehicle itself must be made smarter.
After years of experimentation, Chris and his team discovered the magic solution: Dynamic Vehicle Control (DVC). An innovative tilt system where the tilt angle of the vehicle is directly linked to the driver’s driving behavior. In 2003, after many prototypes, the Carver One came on the market. The first vehicle in the world in which the properties of a car and motorcycle were successfully united. With a 660 cc turbo engine and a top speed of 185 km/h. In the end, 250 examples were produced.
Carver Europe went bankrupt in 2009, but managed to keep one of its subsidiaries out of the bankruptcy. And slowly, the company got back on its feet. Carver began working on prototypes for new trikes and in 2018, that work culminated in the Carver, the next generation of the original concept. This Carver is believed to be a 2020, and was imported from Germany for some unspecified engineering evaluation. Note: This seller also has a Renault Twizy on deck that was imported for the same reason.
Power comes from two 2.6 HP electric motors that propel the Carver to a top speed of 28 mph. It’s fed from a 5.4 kWh battery and has a 62-mile range. It’s said to have the equivalent of 52 miles on its odometer. It’s $10,900 on Facebook Marketplace in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
2008 Saab 9-7X Aero – $9,999
The General Motors GMT360 was one that found itself underpinning a bunch of SUVs. Launched for the 2002 model year, GMT360 platform mates include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender, Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy, and perhaps surprisingly, the Saab 9-7X.
The first car that I’ve ever driven was a 2003 GMC Envoy XL, which rode on the derivative GMT370. Over the years, I’ve gotten to drive the GMC’s other platform mates and have come out liking the Envoy the most. It’s not nearly as plastic-y as the Trailblazer and doesn’t feel like a parts-bin special like the Ascender. I fondly remember the Envoy XL for having some decent grunt, cushy seats, and a stereo with more bass than my teenage ears were able to handle. But there is one version that I haven’t driven, and it’s simultaneously the best and weirdest of the GMT360s.
General Motors’ ownership of Saab led to some interesting decisions. One that you certainly probably know of is the “Saabaru,” the Subaru Impreza badge-engineered into the Saab 9-2X. But the General didn’t stop there, as the GMT360 platform was used to create Saab’s first-ever SUV. Yes, the 9-7X was a parts-bin special, and it shared tons of parts with its siblings, but the Saab did get a few of its own visual treatments inside and out. We’re not here for that, though, because there’s a version of this SUV that cranks the ridiculous up to 11.
In 2008, the Saab 9-7X Aero released as the fastest version. Under the hood was a 6.0-liter LS2 V8, the same engine found in the Corvette and the Chevrolet Trailblazer SS. In this application, that engine is punching 390 HP out to all four wheels through an automatic. It could hit 60 mph in the mid-five second range, putting it into muscle car territory in acceleration. And sure, while you could get the same experience with the Trailblazer SS, the Saab was the more luxurious one. Besides, you get to say that you own a Saab SUV with a Corvette V8.
Perhaps the weirdest part about this is that the Saab 9-7X was built in America, for Americans, yet some of them actually made it over to Europe. This “Trollblazer” is in Totowa, New Jersey. It can be yours for $9,999 on Facebook Marketplace with 150,000 miles.
2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder – $7,000
Here’s Toyota’s take on the affordable convertible sports car formula. The MR2 keeps its engine behind the driver and has a 43/57 percent front/rear weight distribution for that almost perfect driving feel. That engine is a 1.8-liter four making a modest 138 hp to the rear wheels.
Toyota UK Magazine details the development of the very first MR2:
The history of the Toyota MR2 can be traced all the way back to 1976 when the company officially commenced its landmark ‘middie’ project, but the worldwide oil crisis delayed the project’s development.
In 1980, the project was revived and given a new sense of direction: Toyota would produce another affordable sports car akin to its Sports 800 of the 1960s, spurred on by a hastened desire to launch exciting new models into the rapidly-expanding market in North America. The enthusiasm within Toyota was so great that many engineers famously gave up their summer holidays to contribute to the project.
In case you ever wondered, the name is a contraction of “Midship Runabout 2-seater,” and you can see that printed on the cover for the frunk in this MR2. As Toyota UK Magazine notes, the MR2 had grown to become more of a tourer in its second-generation, and the goal for the third-generation was to bring it back. Toyota wanted everything with the third-gen to be smaller from the dimensions to the engine and dry weight. And sure enough, the brand pulled it off. The third-gen weighs less than a first-gen, with a smaller engine than a second-gen. It even managed to be two inches shorter than the first-gen, too.
This MR2 isn’t perfect. The seller notes that the body isn’t pristine, it has 111,650 miles and there’s a crack in the driver seat. But for the price of $7,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Keosauqua, Iowa, it might be a deal.
1996 Nissan Stagea RS Four GT-R Swap – $60,000
The Stagea was Nissan’s answer to the Subaru Legacy. This car is famous in part for sharing lots of components with the legendary Nissan Skyline, and you can even find converted models wearing GT-R bodywork.
That’s the case here, but there’s so much more. This car started life as a Stagea RS Four with a 2.5-liter RB25DE straight six making 190 HP. It looks like the fabled R34 GT-R, and under the hood is a party. Someone went through the work to transplant a 2.6-liter twin-turbo RB26DETT straight six from an R33 GT-R into this car. The R33 Skyline’s transmission came with the transplant, and it’s driving all four wheels. This car is now making at least 276 HP and is the closest thing that you will find to a real Nissan GT-R wagon. It’s $60,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Huntsville, Alabama with 110,000 miles on the body.
1956 Oldsmobile Super 88 – $26,000
First launched in 1949, the Oldsmobile 88 lived through 10 generations and went on to be Olds’ most profitable model. And some would go as far as to call the 88–a small car with a big V8–an early muscle car. You could get one like the Super 88 above or in its final days like the LSS that my wife used to have. It’s sort of amazing to see how the design evolved over the decades. Production lasted about 50 years, finally ending in 1999 all spelled out as the Eighty Eight.
For this older model, “Super 88″ denotes it as an upscale trim. You get power steering and power brakes as well as more power than a lower level model. Power would normally come from a 324 cubic-inch V8 making 240 HP, but it was swapped out for a 454 big block making unspecified power. Thankfully, the original engine appears to come with the sale if it’s not your jam. This one looks pretty clean for $26,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Polk City, Florida.
2016 Zenos E10 S – $59,995
If you’ve never heard of Zenos before, you’re not alone. This is a company that sprouted up and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Zenos is the work of Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards, a pair that first met at Lotus Cars back in 1999. Later, they would work for Caterham together. At some point, the two felt that there was a place in the market for a high-performance sports car that was inexpensive to purchase and inexpensive to run. They founded Zenos in 2012, and its first car, the E10, hit the road in 2015.
The Zenos (which the company says is a combination of “Zen” for purity and “os”, which loosely means vertebra) E10 has two hallmark traits. One is its central aluminum spine. This runs the length of the car front to back and is said to add rigidity. Next is a composite tub which consists of a plastic core between sheets of previously discarded carbon fiber.
The other trick to the E10 is its GRP body panels. Zenos says that the car is built so that these panels are sacrificial, and that a parking lot bump wouldn’t result in expensive damage.
Power in this 2016 E10 S comes from a 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost making 250 HP and 295 lb-ft torque. This is good for a claimed 0-60 time of 4 seconds. Weirdly, this E10 S has fewer than 100 miles, and the selling dealership claims that you will get a factory warranty. But it’s unclear how this warranty would be honored since Zenos itself burned through so much cash went bust in January 2017. These cars appear to be seriously rare, with around 100 units built before the company went under. This one is $59,995 on Facebook Marketplace in Buffalo, New York.
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.
You can get a legit RB26 Stagea for AU$52k, being the Autech 260RS.
No brainer to me!
That Stagea looks awesome! I’ve always loved these nose swaps and the drivetrain sounds great! I’d def wrap in a metallic burnt orange… but I’d never actually buy this because as great as it looks on the outside WOW is that a big letdown when you open the door. What a horrible tupperware-like interior in this poor thing.
Mustchero. What else could you call it? Ranchtang? I think not.
As badass as that Stagea is I don’t see it going for that price. Might as well buy a real GTR or the next closest thing and convert it.
The Creamsicle paint scheme on the Chevy K10 Cheyenne truck is spectacular.
Sweet Jesus, to think that beautiful Imperial is exactly the same price as the rusted, non-running hulk of an Impala in today’s Shitbox Showdown. Yikes.
The El Camino with a Mustang front clip is an abomination!
While the power train parts for the SAAB are plentiful, trim and body parts are near unattainable. Ask me how I know.
But I believe the LS2 Saab motor is the last generation to be put out without the AFM and DOD activated, so that is a plus. LH8 and LH9 aluminum 5.3 motors being even more special for many swappers I imagine.
Is it because everybody knows body parts of an old foreign low production car are hard to find?
If that MR2 was painted any other color, I’d be off to the airport by now. It’s a bargain.
Ok, I’ll be that guy.
How do you know, eggsalad?
Dammit! Edit button please!
I really expected to see this one
You wasted my time.
That Imperial seems like a steal at 7,500: the chrome alone has to be worth more than that. Not my style, but it sure has presence.
I remember when the 9-7X came out-and how I coveted the Aero one like this: it’s a slightly funky sleeper no one would look at twice. LS in a SAAB; how can you go wrong? Thanks for reminding me about them! Now, off to CL…
That K10 is seriously speaking to me. Love the creamsicle color! I’d like one in the same color without the redone interior or bed and about 50% rougher so I wouldn’t feel bad about using it like a truck.
The “Mustchero” came from my town in KY. Saw it sitting in a guy’s yard a few times, but never saw it move. Figured the project got started and never finished.
I like the SAAB and the K10. I would not turn my nose up at either.
Old SAAB undependable hard to fund parts. OLD RARE SAAB? Yeah ill take an old BMW.
Did you miss the part where it’s basically a Trailblazer SS???
I would put that last year, no DOD LS up against any BMW for long term reliability and low cost repairs when they do break or wear down.
The majority of it should be cheap and/or reliable, but there’s still the chance there’s a part that’s basically unobtainium and ludicrously expensive. Like the XLR taillights.
I would love to hear that dealership explain how a boutique car from a company that went bust in 2017 has a factory warranty, and what exact that warranty entails. You can promise infinity coverage for everything if you know that you will never be held to it.
As soon as I saw the 9-7 I was like “hey didn’t they cram a V8 in one of these?”. Sure enough they did, and naturally it’s the version you’re showing us. No need to LS swap the Saab when GM already did it for us! What a ludicrous car. There was some properly weird stuff that came out of the unholy GM era for Saab.
Usually I’d stay far away from high mileage Saabs for what a headache they can be to maintain, but if you’re going to look at one this is almost certainly one of the safer choices. You can probably squeeze another 50k+ out of that LS2 with oil changes and some toothpicks and bubblegum.
I really wish I could like this generation of MR2 more. Eventually a cheap weekend roadster is going to be on the table for the wife and I and every now and then I see a nice enough example of one of these pop up nearby for around 8-12k that makes me think. But I’ve never loved the styling because it’s a shameless Boxster rip off, there’s absolutely no cargo space at all, and why do this when there are infinite Miatas out there?
On its own it’s a cool-ish car, but in the context of what else you can get for similar money it doesn’t hold up for me personally. That being said there are plenty of Toyota fanboys out there who’ll happily buy them, and although I get the mid engine angle for why it’s appealing it’s not enough to pull me away from the answer. The always answer. The Miata answer.
I’d just encourage you to drive both before writing the MR2 off. I liked it a lot more than the NB Miata; it’s lighter, the mid engine thing really is noticeable and unique while driving, and I trust the Corolla-derived powertrain to be cheaper to own over the long run.
As a #MiataGuy, I still agree with this take. An MR2 will feel sprightlier than a Miata in equivalent shape.
The Miata powertrain is plenty stout though. Both the engine and transmission are understressed, they have no endemic design issues (*selectively ignores the mandatory annual clutch slave cylinder job required on every Miata*), and unlike the MR2 you can probably access anything that needs to be fixed in the engine bay with minimal contortion.
Agreed the Miata is a 2 seater touring car, ie slow car fun a MR2 is a true sports car wicked fun. That being said ill take a Miata.
If you buy an MR2, you can do a 2GR-FE swap. 298 horsepower in a 1,900 lb car would be pretty damned nuts! You’d still get 30+ mpg overall with spirited driving, too.
Weird to call an MR2 a Boxtster ripoff when today’s Boxster looks more like the MR2 than one that was made during the MR2’s era.
That and the Celica from that period remind me of a fan-heater and a George Foreman grill, respectively. The previous models of both were such pretty cars; it pisses me off every time I see their replacements.
That Zenos E10 is delightful. I read a magazine article of it 6 years ago. That price is close to what it went for new. This car is under 1500 lbs! Wish I could afford it and wish I had a place to keep it.
So it really wasnt affordable then either?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ compared to other cars that were that quick, maybe…
Both the K10 and the MR2 are good values at those prices. I wouldn’t expect to find examples in that condition for that price a few years from now.
That SAAB is a winner in my book. Thanks Mercedes!