Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! I’ve long been addicted to collecting dirt-cheap cars and motorcycles, as well as writing fun stories for you lovely readers. And after all of this time, I’m still pumped to share the wonderful world of cars with you. 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!
As of this morning, I’m no longer afflicted by COVID-19! I haven’t been able to drive a car in two weeks and I’ve gotten some serious cabin fever. To pass the time I’ve been looking deep for fun cars and motorcycles. While not as crazy as last week, this time we have things perhaps a little closer to reality for folks!
I search the entire country for a good balance of price and vehicle condition. But sometimes, some really cool cars end up for sale at 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.
2012 Scion iQ – $4,200
The Scion iQ (known as the Toyota iQ in other markets) was Toyota’s answer to the Smart Fortwo, and Toyota figured out how to beat Smart at its own game in a number of ways. Toyota UK Magazine writes that the initial proposal for Toyota to build a less than three-meter-long city car happened in 2003. Developing the iQ required a revolutionary change in how Toyota would package the vehicle. The magazine says that this is called “kakushin,” or revolutionary change or radical innovation. Indeed, fitting the contents of a four-seat compact car into something just barely larger than a Smart Fortwo indeed requires interesting packaging.
You see it immediately in the Scion iQ’s interior. A glovebox would take up passenger legroom, so it doesn’t have one. And in order to fit four people, just about every inch of the available interior room goes to seating capacity. Thus, your rear passengers’ heads are literally an inch or two from the trunk glass. This necessitated the use of a rear curtain airbag, one that Toyota says was the first of its kind.
The iQ was launched at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, and it shouldn’t surprise you that Toyota had one target: The Smart Fortwo. As Toyota Magazine notes, the iQ was barely longer than a Fortwo, but seats the same number of people as a much longer Smart Forfour. A 2008 Smart Fortwo measures in at 106.1 inches while the Scion tacks on just 14 more inches of length.
The iQ made its American debut for the 2012 model year. At the 2012 Chicago Auto Show I found that you could actually fit four people in an iQ, provided that you are somewhat strategic with it. I also learned that Toyota really did as the Scion reps said and beat Smart at its own game. The iQ seated more people, accelerated faster, had a smoother transmission, a softer suspension, and was backed by Toyota’s massive dealer network. It seemed that the iQ did everything that a Smart couldn’t.
The iQ never matched the Fortwo’s sales in America and for most of its five-year sales run it didn’t come to half of Smart’s already terrible sales. It was a similar story worldwide, and Toyota pulled the plug after 2015.
Even though it wasn’t a sales winner, I think it’s still a cool car. Power comes from a 1.3-liter four making 94 HP driving the front wheels through a CVT. This one is the cheapest I’ve ever seen. It’s $4,200 on Facebook Marketplace in Rochester, New Hampshire with 127,000 miles.
[Editor’s Note: The iQ was one of my first press cars, when my baby was still a literal baby. – JT]
1919 Stanley Model 735 Touring – $75,000
I’m excited to say that this is the first time that I’ve ever featured a steam car on Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness. I haven’t even featured one on its predecessor, Dopest Cars! And for the first steam car to be featured here, we have what many have called a “Stanley Steamer.” Hyman Ltd. a dealership with a love of classic car history, gives a short story on the Stanley Motor Carriage Company:
Steam cars manufactured by the Stanley Motor Carriage Company of Newton, Massachusetts were among the first successful commercially produced automobiles. The ‘Stanley Steamer’ became part of popular American culture and an icon of the old car hobby. Steam was an easy sell in a century when steam was called “The Power That Moves the World”. The disadvantages of steam power were also well known: it could take as long as twenty minutes to bring the boiler up to operating temperature, invention of the electric starter brought ease of operation to gasoline-powered automobiles and fear of boiler explosions was widespread.
Twin brothers F.E. and F.O. Stanley sold their business in 1917. The new Stanley Model 735 entered production in 1918, designed to overcome the perceived early disadvantages. The Model 735 utilized a condensing boiler to provide greater range before having to stop to refill the boiler. Coils located in a traditional style radiator at the front of the car became part of a closed system where steam was returned to the boiler instead of being released into the atmosphere. The car featured a conventional steel chassis and a total of six body styles, and became the most successful automobile in Stanley history, with just over 1,700 sold.
This particular Stanley Model 735 was restored and displayed at the Concours D’ Elegance. The seller says that the restoration was carried out by C. Frank Hix Jr., a Stanley historian that had decades of restoration experience on top of that. It comes with over 30 years of collected parts, including two engines, two burners, a condensing radiator, special tools, and all kinds of small parts. This Stanley is said to be in the hands of Frank’s son. The car last ran in 2016, was moved in 2018, and has been in storage ever since.
Because these are pretty weird today, watch Jay Leno walk through and start a Stanley Steamer:
This one is said to make 20 HP and it can cruise at around 35 mph but can go faster. It’s $75,000 on Hemmings in New Bern, North Carolina.
1966 Ford Cortina GT – $15,000
Just over 60 years ago, the Ford Cortina first hit the road. As the UK’s Autocar writes, Ford UK executives aimed the Cortina at Morris Oxford and Vauxhall Victor buyers, offering Britain an inexpensive vehicle to operate. The car was developed under the name “Archbishop” under chief designer Roy Brown Jr, then known for his work on the Edsel. Autocar notes that at one point the Cortina was supposed to be called the Consul, it was briefly called the Consul Cortina. The Cortina part of the name came from the Italian ski resort “Cortina d’Ampezzo.” Later, Consul would be dropped entirely.
There were a number of versions of the Cortina, from the Cortina Super to the Lotus Cortina. What we’re looking at here is the Cortina GT. Originally, this car came with a 1498cc Kent four that made 78 HP, more than the Cortina Super’s 60 HP and more than the original Cortina’s 48.5 HP. However, this Cortina GT has been swapped, and now it houses a 2.0-liter four from a Pinto. Power isn’t stated, but this engine was known to make 97 HP in the Pinto.
This one comes with a four-speed manual and the body is said to be in good shape. It’s $15,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Nevada City, California.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve covered the Cortina’s fantastic taillights before. – JT]
1977 Hercules W-2000 – $19,500
Here’s one where I’ll say right from the jump is quite expensive. I’ve seen running examples of the Hercules W-2000 sell for as little as $2,000 and cherry examples selling for $10,000. However, this W-2000 is special as it has never been started and has never been ridden. It’s not only one of the last built but probably one of the only “brand new” ones left.
The Hercules W-2000 is just one of many attempts by various companies to make a Wankel-powered motorcycle. Amazingly, this motorcycle is something that our own Jeep man David Tracy has written a detailed story about. I’ll quote parts of it here:
Started as a bicycle company by a man named Carl Marschütz in Nuernberg, Germany, in 1886, the goal of Hercules was to provide Germany with bicycles for everyone at a time when a decent bike cost about 170 marks (or about 10 weeks salary for your average German worker).
The company started cranking out “velocipeds” in the 1880s, building 100 in the first year, 186 in 1887, and 400 by 1888. By the time the company had been in business for a decade, production numbers had risen to 6,500 bicycles.
Shortly thereafter, Hercules (then called “Velocipedfabrik Marschütz & Co”) dabbled a bit with electric cars, building a four-wheeler that could reach 25 mph and travel 25 miles per charge. But cars weren’t what Hercules’ would eventually build its brand upon—no, after building its first prototype in 1904, Hercules became all about motorcycles.
The first bike, which went into production in 1905, came with an engine made by Belgian ammunition company-turned-motorcycle manufacturer “FN.” That motor worked with a magneto ignition system and carburetor to produce 4.5 horsepower, which it sent to the rear wheel via a belt drive.
After Felix Wankel at German automaker NSU designed the first viable rotary engine in the 1950s, Sachs was among the first companies licensed to use the technology in its products. The company decided around 1970 to integrate a rotary into its Hercules motorcycle line, showing the W-2000 at the 1970 West Cologne Fall Motorcycle Show.
Sadly, Hercules only sold about 1,800 of the bikes between 1974 and 1977 (though this model is labeled a 1979, for reasons I haven’t surmised). The weird rotary bike, which sold as a DKW in some markets, didn’t do well in sales in part because of the lofty $1,900 price tag, the mystique surrounding rotary technology, and because of a rather strange riding experience hampered by low ground clearance and strange power delivery.
That single rotor 294cc engine produces 27 HP and a distinctive feature of it is its front-mounted axial fan. Riders had to add oil to gasoline to lubricate it, though a later version included an oil injection system.
This 1977 W-2000 has the oil injection system, so you don’t have to mix oil in every tank. The selling dealership says that it’s never been ridden and never been started, either. There are 5 kilometers on the odometer, and all of them have been from the motorcycle getting around a private collection and two museums. So, it’s a literal museum piece. It’s $19,500 by Throttlestop in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
2001 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning – $21,000
While I joke that Matt is wrong about the jellybean F-150 being the best F-150, I must admit that I have a soft spot for that generation’s SVT Lightning. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team took a standard cab F-150 with a short bed and turned it into a hot rod. Now, don’t think that this is supposed to be a truck to do everything. It has a small stepside bed and just 800 pounds of payload and a 5,000-lb towing capacity. So it can do truck stuff, but not as well as other F-150s of the day. But what you use in utility, you gain in muscle. Power comes from a supercharged 5.4 liter Triton V8 making 380 horsepower 450 lb-ft torque. That’s paired with an automatic transmission, a lowered suspension, and 18-inch wheels. This is a truck capable of dispatching 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. You can tow your camper while doing burnouts!
I’ve noticed some pretty astronomical prices for these lately, but here’s one that’s a little more affordable. It has some cosmetic mods, but nothing that couldn’t be easily undone. And the interior looks so clean! It even comes with its factory wheels and tires in case the ones that are on there aren’t your speed. It’s $21,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Altoona, Iowa with 111,014 miles.
1971 Citroën DS Safari – $15,000
What’s cooler than the iconic Citroën DS? The Citroën DS as a wagon! Our friends at the Lane Motor Museum have a snippet of history about this wonderful thing:
When the Citroën D Series or DS (pronounced DAY-ess and sounding quite appropriately like the French word for goddess) was introduced at the 1955 Paris Auto Salon, it turned quite a few heads and booked 12,000 orders on the show’s first day. It had an unconventional construction of both aluminum and fiberglass materials which reduced weight. It’s most innovative feature was its extensive and sophisticated hydropneumatic suspension, designed by Paul Mages. It included an automatic self-leveling system with variable ground clearance. With independent suspension on all four corners, the DS achieved sharp handling but also an extremely comfortable ride. In the DS, the hydraulic system also provided assistance for the power steering, inboard mounted front disc brakes, and a semi-automatic transmission called the “Citromatic” that did not require a clutch pedal.
Essentially, Citroën built a car that wasn’t just so pretty to look at, but used innovative technology to be a fantastic drive, too.
How iconic is the Citroën DS? In 1996, the Car of the Century award was created. The idea was to pick the world’s most influential cars of the 20th century. 700 cars were picked, then whittled down to 200. A jury of 133 auto journalists narrowed it down to 100. From there, 25 cars were chosen by journalists, and one was added by the public. In the end, the Ford Model T took the win with the Mini taking second and the Citroën DS taking third. That’s how cool the DS is.
It’s not said which engine is powering this DS Safari, but it looks gorgeous and is apparently some electrical work from being a daily driver. It’s $15,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Eugene, Oregon with 50,000 miles.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s some fun trivia you should really know about these amazing cars. – JT]
1961 Maserati 3500GT – Inquire
The seller for this gorgeous Maserati 3500GT says that not only has it been restored, but it’s also numbers-matching. Apparently, that restoration took six years and involved cooling system upgrades including the water pump, a larger radiator, and a concealed electric cooling fan to help the Maserati work in heavy traffic. Thus, this is an old touring car that shouldn’t leave you on the side of the road. These are heart pumping rides!
Maserati tells the 3500GT’s history like this:
The 3500GT was a significant model for Maserati, as it was the first road car to be built in relatively large volume. In 1957, Maserati had officially withdrawn from motorsport, and full attention was now on the production of Gran Turismo automobiles. The elegant design of the 3500GT was the creation of Milanese coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring, whose Superleggera (Superlight) patent used aluminum panels wrapped over a thin, tubular steel frame that described the body shape. The inline-6 engine, characterized by excellent torque output at low engine speed, came from the 350S racing car of 1956. In 1961, triple Weber carburetors were replaced by a Lucas mechanical fuel-injection system, boosting the power to 235 hp in the 3500GTI. ZF supplied the four-speed gearbox (five-speed from 1960 and three-speed automatic on request), with other components sourced from the best suppliers of the day. Front disc brakes became available as an option from 1959. The 3500 GT and GTI achieved great commercial success, establishing Maserati as one of the world’s most exclusive high-performance automotive marques.
Currently, this 3500GT resides in London, and the selling dealership sold the car to its most recent owners, and has documentation from the owner before that. Other upgrades include handmade wire wheels, a custom exhaust, and a modern power steering system. Power comes from a 3.5-liter Tipo 101 six making 220 HP. That drives the rear wheels through a manual transmission.
Inquire about the car from DD Classics Ltd. in Richmond, United Kingdom.
1957 GM PD-4104 – $8,000
General Motors has a rich bus history, producing greats like the New Look and RTS transit buses as well as the PD-4501 Scenicruiser, and PD-3751 Silversides. But GM bus history is not complete without the PD-4104. As Curbside Classic writes, General Motors cemented itself as a powerhouse bus builder with the revolutionary PD-3751 and PD-4151 coaches. These buses featured an alloy semi-monocoque construction and two-stroke diesel engines. Curbside Classic went all of the way to call those buses the first modern diesel buses. And the site isn’t wrong; the semi-monocoque design with good power was novel back then but commonplace today.
In 1953, GM followed it up with an even better bus. The PD-4104 was a technological marvel that took the coach market. For this bus, GM used a full monocoque structure with aluminum panels attached to it. This led to a strong, yet light bus when compared to a bus that rode on a separate chassis and body. In back, General Motors fitted the 4104 with a 7.0-liter Detroit Diesel 6-71. These diesel sixes reportedly made 210 HP and earned about 8 to 10 mpg, making them an economical intercity coach.
Another big deal was that 4104s had an air ride suspension. Back then, air ride was in its infancy in buses, and GM was one manufacturer that led the way. Today’s buses use a similar airbag suspension to the 4104. Combine that smooth ride with GM’s historically killer bus styling, ample storage, and durability, and the 4104 was a hit. Production lasted until 1960 with dozens of bus operators picking them up in Canada and the United States. And today, you’ll still find them on the road despite all of them being at least 62 years-old now. That’s how good they were.
This PD-4104 is said to run and drive. It has a four-speed manual and the pony motor that powers the air-conditioning system is present. The seller says that 90 percent of everything works. It’s $8,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
1996 Honda Acty Street – $8,200
Launched in 1977, the Honda Acty replaced the TN360 and other kei class trucks in Honda’s lineup. The Acty was designed to be a work vehicle and most of the ones that you’ll find in the first and second generations will be pretty bare bones. Most of them that you’ll find will be carbureted, too.
What you’re looking at here is the Street, the van version of the Acty. Once again, a lot of these are very basic vans, featuring solid paint colors, and very minimalist interiors. Lower-end models won’t even have a tachometer. That’s not what you’re getting with this Street. This Acty Street comes painted in a nice two-tone color with a brown interior and air-conditioning. But the highlight features to me are the twin sunroofs and fuel injection. I can tell you from firsthand experience that those double roofs will make this van feel so roomy. And with the fuel injection system, you aren’t going to be fiddling with a vacuum-operated carburetor.
Power comes from a 656cc triple making 43 HP, sent to all wheels through a manual transmission. This one appears to be in excellent condition for $8,200 on Facebook Marketplace in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with 65,000 miles.
That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!