Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, working with cars is a dream for me, and it’s helped me amass a collection of weird, sort of crappy cars. I’m still not really sure how that’s working without bankrupting me. And since I’m shopping for cars all of the time, I always have an evolving list of vehicles for sale to share with you.
I’m officially a married woman, which means that my finances can begin flowing back to cars and earning my pilot license. This is bad, and this list reflects the bad ideas that I have if I had enough money.
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.
1965 ZAZ-965 – $8,950
The ZAZ-965 “Zaporozhets” was a people’s car built in what was then Soviet Ukraine. According to Ukrainian classic car restorer Avtoclassika, the ZAZ-965’s story starts with the Moskvich-402. This compact was an inexpensive car for the average citizen. However, the government found that the car was not cheap enough for Soviet workers to afford. This led to a search for even cheaper vehicles. The search also led to the development of adorable microcar prototypes, but none of them made the cut. As Avtoclassika notes, the government didn’t want to wait a few years for new cars to be developed. And it didn’t want to pay for such developments, either. Thus, the government looked for an import to adapt to the needs of its people.
The popular Fiat 600 was selected, and a plant in Moscow produced a prototype. This was called the Moskvich-444 and power came from a Ural motorcycle engine. It was decided to build the car in Zaporizhzhia in Soviet Ukraine.
Despite the visual similarities, the Fiat and ZAZ have a lot of differences. The biggest difference is the engine. In the ZAZ, power came from a 746cc V4 designed by NAMI (National Automobile Institute). The rear end of the car had to be redesigned to fit the engine, and a stronger suspension to support it. Avtoclassika says that the design change gave these cars the nickname “humpback.” In 1962, displacement went up to 887cc and power from 23 HP to 27 HP.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve always really liked these. One day. – JT]
Other changes from the original Fiat include front-opening doors (to assist disabled people with entry) the interior even has some small cost-saving changes from the Fiat. This ZAZ-965 was imported last year and is said to be in good condition. It’s $8,950 on Facebook Marketplace in Naperville, Illinois. Listing courtesy of Obscure Cars for Sale.
1948 Plymouth P15 Special Deluxe – $13,000
America’s automakers helped in the World War II effort, and as the war began coming to an end, those automakers were allowed to start building cars again. As Allpar writes, Americans were ready to buy cars. There were 29.6 million cars on the road at the start of World War II and 22 million remained on the road at the end of the war. Half of those cars were more than ten years old.
However, because of commitments to the U.S. government, Chrysler was late to getting back into car production. First rolling off of the line in October 1945, the P15 was Plymouth’s first post-WWII car. Allpar notes that the bodies were largely unchanged from 1942, with Plymouth boasting 50 improvements from the pre-war version. The site goes on to say that these cars didn’t see much change until 1949.
This 1948 P15 Special Deluxe Club Coupe is said to be the fruits of a project. It was purchased in 2020 by the seller after the car sat for 20 years. It wasn’t running, and the engine required a rebuild. Everything now functions with the car, and it even retains a 6-volt electrical system. Power comes from a 217.8 cubic inch six making 95 horses and comes with a column-shift three-speed. It’s $13,000 on Hemmings in Wakefield, Rhode Island.
2022 Sondors Metacycle – $6,500
The Sondors Metacycle is an inexpensive electric city motorcycle with some solid stats. Sondors claims that it has a real-world range of 60 miles with a range of 80 miles in ideal conditions. It’s powered by an 11 HP electric motor that can provide 20 HP in bursts. Torque is 80 lb-ft nominal with a 130 lb-ft peak. This adds up to a regular top speed of 60 mph and a top speed of 80 mph for a short amount of time. That range is thanks to a 4kWh battery and it’s all wrapped up in a frame that looks ripped from the pages of science fiction.
It’s noted that Sondors made some claims that didn’t translate well to production. As Ryan F9 of Fortnine noted in his video review, Sondors advertised a removable battery. However, removing it requires tools and a couple of minutes. The weight was originally 200 pounds, but the production model weighs around 300 pounds. The unit tested by Ryan weighed in at 332 pounds. Perhaps the weirdest is that Sondors allegedly told buyers that it could hit 60 mph in six seconds, even with the weight gain. The reality is that it takes twice the time to hit that speed. And that $5,000 price is now $6,500.
Despite that, the Metacycle still seems to pack a good punch for its price. If you want to buy one, Sondors says that your wait could be anywhere between the end of this year to sometime in the first quarter of next year. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can buy one right now in Costa Mesa, California. The seller says that they’re letting it go because they don’t fit. It’s $6,500 on Facebook Marketplace with 100 miles.
2012 Chevrolet Caprice PPV – $8,100
The big, rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet Caprice once instilled fear in drivers around America. If you were a driver in the 1980s and 1990s and saw a Caprice, perhaps you checked your speedometer to make sure you weren’t speeding. After the Caprice’s fourth-generation ended in 1996, General Motors was left offering police forces SUVs, pickups, or front-wheel-drive Impalas. That changed in 2011 when the General brought back the Caprice. But this time, it wasn’t sold alongside a civilian version. So the only way to get your hands on one is after a police department is done with it.
The Chevy Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle is a Holden Statesman from Australia. It shares a platform with the Holden Commodore, known as the Chevrolet SS here in the States. Many of these are now coming out of public service and into private hands. It’s a rear-wheel drive full-size sedan with a 6-liter V8 making 355 horses.
This Caprice PPV has some minor damage like a hazed headlight, but presents in overall decent condition. It’s $8,100 on Facebook Marketplace in Sarasota, Florida with 134,300 miles.
1992 Land Rover Range Rover Classic – $21,500
In 1970, British Leyland launched the Range Rover with the marketing like “a car for all reasons.” While arguably not the first luxury SUV (the original Jeep Wagoneer launched in 1963), it helped create a new market of SUVs that had some style and creature comforts.
As British motor history site AROnline writes, the Range Rover story begins in 1948 with the launch of the Land Rover Series I. The Rover Company had expanded its factory for its World War II effort, a factory that its cars weren’t using up. Spencer Wilks, president of Rover Company, and his brother, chief engineer Maurice, came up with an idea. The pair thought up a four wheel drive utility vehicle for use in agriculture and military. The Land Rover, with its incredible off-road capability and ease of repair, became a hit.
However, the Wilks brothers figured that the demand of the Land Rover was eventually going to wane, and the two felt that the best path forward was to make the Land Rover more comfortable. A station wagon version of the Land Rover was produced, but the high price meant that just 641 were produced. But the brothers didn’t give up, and with engineer Gordon Bashford they continued to refine the concept into the 1951 Road Rover.
The Road Rover and its successor never went into production, and Land Rover sales stayed healthy. But Rover never forgot about the project, and in the mid-1960s, the idea was back on the table. Rover was eyeing the North American market, where the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer showed promise in a more refined SUV.
The first Range Rover prototype hit the road in 1967 with the finished product rolling out in 1970. These first Range Rovers had a Buick-derived 3.5-liter Rover V8 under the hood making 130 HP. But that wouldn’t be the only engine. Some Range Rovers, like this one, got a 2.5-liter turbodiesel making 121 HP. Power is transmitted to all four wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. It appears to be in good shape for $21,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Raleigh, North Carolina with 91,500 miles.
1982 Honda CX500 Turbo – $7,000
Back in the 1980s, manufacturers in Japan tried to find the next big thing in motorcycle technology. Honda was among those marques looking for new motorcycle innovations. One of its experiments was with forced induction. The CX500 Turbo is an engineering triumph with Honda producing some 230 patents just to make the thing a reality.
With the help of fuel injection and a turbo that really kicked in at 4,000 RPM the CX500 made 82 HP. If you’ve ever ridden vintage Japanese motorcycles, then you probably know that at this time, a lot of Japanese bikes were still breathing through carburetors. So the EFI was a huge step by itself.
This example is said to have been refreshed and maintained. It’s $7,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Santa Cruz, California.
1970 Dodge Challenger – $55,000
This Dodge Challenger caught my eye for its purple paint and lack of a roof. I’ll drive anything if it’s a purple convertible. Stellantis tells the Challenger’s history like this:
Although the Dodge Challenger was the last entrant in the pony car ranks of Detroit’s Big Three, it arrived with something its competitors didn’t have: the greatest range of powertrain choices in the industry, from the small but durable 225-cubic-inch “Slant Six” to the fearsome “Elephant Motor” — the 426 HEMI.
The Dodge Challenger made its debut in the fall of 1969 as a 1970 model. While it shared Chrysler’s “E-body” short-deck, long-hood platform with the third-generation Plymouth Barracuda, Dodge Challenger’s wheelbase was two-inches longer, creating more interior space. The Dodge Challenger was originally offered as a two-door hardtop or convertible, in base, SE (Special Edition), R/T (Road/Track) and T/A (Trans-Am) trim.
Driveline choices for various engines included Chrysler’s TorqueFlite automatic transmission and a three- or four-speed manual which could be equipped with a Hurst “pistol-grip” shifter. Big-block Challengers could be ordered with a heavy-duty Dana 60 differential equipped with limited-slip differential.
Stellantis goes on to note a huge range of nine engine choices from a 225 cubic inch straight six making 145 horses to a 440 cubic inch V8 making 390 HP. The automaker goes on to note that the Challenger went on to be a bit of a Hollywood star, getting featured in movies from Vanishing Point to Used Cars. Challengers even found themselves on TV and on the racetrack.
This beautiful convertible comes with a 318 cubic inch V8 pumping out 230 horsepower. It comes with a power top, woodgrain interior, and bucket seats. It’s $55,000 on Hemmings in San Diego, California with 168,056 miles.
1949 DeSoto Custom Club Coupe – $13,500
DeSoto is one of many American brands that didn’t make it to the modern day, and as Hagerty writes, it even went from doing well to being discontinued in just three years.
In 1928, Walter P. Chrysler started DeSoto. The name comes from Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and the idea was to have the brand compete with the likes of Oldsmobile, Studebaker, and Hudson. This actually wasn’t the first car brand to carry the name, as the de Soto Motor Car Company was created in Iowa in 1912. A subsidiary of the Zimmerman Manufacturing Company, it was eventually bought by the Auburn Automobile Company. As a side note, it’s sad to think that all of these brands are gone today.
Sales of the Chrysler-owned DeSoto were great out of the gate, and at first DeSoto was made to be an upscale marque. In 1949, the DeSoto Custom represented the higher end of the line, and opting for one got you a nicer interior than the Deluxe. One of the features advertised by DeSoto during this era was a rust-proofed body. Another notable feature is folding rear seats.
This Custom Club Coupe is noted to be in great shape and it sports a 236.7 cubic inch Chrysler straight six making 112 HP. It’s $13,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Sacramento, California with 60,347 miles.
2011 Audi R8 5.2 V10 – $93,290
When I was a teenager, I had a short list of dream cars. One of those was the Smart Fortwo and another was the first-generation Audi TT. On my bedroom walls were cars like a yellow McLaren F1 and even a red Dodge Ram. In 2009, I fell in love with another car, the Audi R8. Within a short order, I was obsessed, watching reviews, driving one in Forza Motorsport 3 and hanging up a poster. Then I discovered the V10 version, and it joined my list of unattainable dream cars.
First gracing the world in 2006 for the 2007 model year, the German supercar is a mix of futuristic touches while also managing to stay pretty conservative. It’s a car that looks like it could have been built in 2002 or 2022, especially the first-generation. The R8 launched with a 4.2-liter V8 making 414 horsepower, but in 2008, the automaker announced that the R8 would fire on ten cylinders. The Audi R8 V10 was born, and its 5.2-liter V10 sings a 525 HP symphony.
The R8 V10 had a starting price of $149,000 in 2011, and it seems that many sellers want above $100,000 for one of these. This is disappointing for weirdos who only buy dirt cheap cars like me. But there are still a few decent deals out there if you have this kind of money. I found a 2011 R8 for a little under $100,000. It’s not the cheapest R8 V10 in the nation, but cheaper ones have been in crashes, have been poorly modified, or may not actually be V10s. This one has a clean CarFax and it cost the original owner about $158,100. Today, it’s for sale for $93,290 at D&C Motor Company in Portland, Oregon with 33,993 miles.
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.