Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, I love picking up dirt-cheap cars and motorcycles and then telling you lovely readers about the dumb things that I do with them. Since I’m shopping all of the time, I always have an evolving list of vehicles for sale. Here’s what I’ve been obsessed with lately.
Welcome to May! For many of you, warm weather is finally getting here. That means you’ll soon start seeing awesome cars and motorcycles hitting the road, if you haven’t already started seeing them. This week, I’m featuring vehicles I’d love to take down Route 66 this summer.
Here’s what I’m looking at this week!
1987 Renault Alliance GTA – $8,900
This car comes out of that weird marriage between AMC and Renault. Despite this car’s name, it was assembled in Kenosha, Wisconsin using parts largely sourced right here in America. This marriage, or alliance, if you will, came out of AMC struggling due to an aging product lineup in the 1970s. Buyers were picking up economical imports in droves and AMC needed a solution. Partnering up with Renault seemed like a winning strategy. AMC would get efficient cars while Renault would get access to an expansive dealer network.
The Renault Alliance hit the road in 1982 for the 1983 model year. As I said before, this car was built in Kenosha and 72 percent of its parts came from American sources. The engine, transmission, and other drivetrain parts came from France. The Alliance won Motor Trend’s 1983 Car of the Year award, even if our favorite writer over there hates it. A total of 623,573 of these were built by the end of its run in 1987, when was the last time you’ve even seen one?
In the car’s final year, a sporty version was marketed called the GTA. A base Alliance made 64 HP from a 1.4-liter four. A 1.7-liter four would come later boasting 77.5 HP. [Editor’s Note: We need to do a roundup of all cars rated with fractional horsepower numbers – JT] For that final year, the Alliance GTA sent the model out with a bang with a 2.0-liter four making 95 horses. Opting for the GTA netted you 15-inch wheels, a body kit, sport seats, and a sport suspension. Acceleration to 60 mph is around 10 seconds.
This Alliance GTA has a few tasteful mods and has gone through a recent service. It’s $8,900 from the dealership in Phoenix, Arizona with 63,000 miles.
1971 Saab 95 – $27,800
Here’s a funky wagon from the sorta but not really alive Saab. As Hagerty writes, the Saab 95 station wagon launched in 1959 and was originally based on the 93, though development followed the 96. Despite its looks, this wagon actually had seating for seven! It featured three doors, weighed 1,995 pounds, and was powered by a 841cc two-stroke three-cylinder. From 1967 and on, you could get your 95 with a 1.5-liter Ford Taunus V4 engine.
This 95 sports a 1.7-liter V4 making 73 HP. That’s connected to a manual transmission. The selling dealership says that this car is a transplant from the Pacific Northwest and it doesn’t have any rust. The car has also gotten upgrades over the years like a rear shock conversion, an electronic ignition, and reworked heads to work with unleaded fuel. It’s $27,800 from Swedish Motors in Marietta, Pennsylvania with 97,000 miles.
1955 Vincent Black Knight – Auction
The Vincent Motorcycles story started in World War I when English Royal Flying Corps pilot Howard Raymond Davis is shot down and taken prisoner by the Germans. While he was a prisoner, Davis apparently designed a motorcycle. It would take until 1924 to turn the motorcycle into a reality after he joined forces with EJ Massey. Those motorcycles were successful racers, but a sales failure.
In 1928, Ernest Humphries of OK-Supreme Motors bought the HRD Motors factory while motorcycle nut Philip Vincent came around and purchased the HRD name, rights, tooling, and other materials. Vincent already designed a motorcycle with a patented cantilever rear suspension but decided to wait to turn it into a business until he had a known name. Buying out HRD opened that door. The HRD name would stick around until 1949 when the motorcycles became known as just Vincents.
Vincent’s golden era was arguably between 1946 and 1955, when the company built the fastest motorcycles in the world. The company built just 11,000 motorcycles in that sliver of time and they are coveted by vintage motorcycling fans today. This Black Knight isn’t the fastest bike in the world, but still fantastic. I’ll let the seller explain:
Vincent Motorcycles is perhaps best known by two-wheel aficionados for the Black Shadow, which was the superbike of the postwar era. This was essentially a more powerful version of the standard Rapide model. The 45-horsepower Rapide and 54-horsepower Black Shadow had claimed top speeds approaching or even eclipsing 120 mph. With their very high prices, Vincents were rare. That pattern continued to the end in 1955, which wrapped up with the Series D 1955 Black Knight (based on the Rapide) and Black Prince (based on the Black Shadow) models. Each wore identical fiberglass bodywork almost fully enclosing the bikes, with a large front fairing and windshield, and a “dashboard” housing the instruments. The design was a bid to shield the rider from grease and dirt, theoretically attracting more customers. The Series D Vincents debuted numerous other improvements, among them revised single-shock rear suspension, sprung seat, Amal Monobloc carburetors, coil ignition, a separate oil tank and a single rear drum brake (in place of the previous dual).
It’s believed that there are just hundreds of these out there. Power comes from a 998-cc air-cooled V-twin making 45 HP. This one is up for auction on Hemmings from We Sell Classic Bikes Limited in Cheltenham, England with 16,000 miles. The dealership says to expect to pay $1,400 to $2,000 extra to bring it to America.
2014 Chevrolet Caprice PPV – $8,975
There was a time in the 1980s and 1990s when Caprice police cars were as ubiquitous as the Ford Crown Victoria used to be. After the Caprice’s fourth-generation fizzled out in 1996, General Motors offered emergency services pickups, SUVs, or those front-wheel-drive Impalas. That changed in 2011 when the General brought back the Caprice. This time, it wasn’t sold alongside a civilian version. So the only way to get your hands on one is after a city or police department retires them.
The Chevy Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle is a Holden Statesman from Australia. It shares a platform with the Holden Commodore, which was featured on a recent installment of Holy Grails as the Chevrolet SS. While the Chevrolet SS still trades for $40,000 on the used market, these old police cars are comparatively dirt cheap. Plus, you still get most of the performance: It’s a rear-wheel drive full-size sedan with a 6.0-liter V8 making 355 horses.
I chose this PPV for its combination of a cleaner body and cleaner interior. A lot of these have interiors torn apart from their prior service lives, but this one doesn’t! It’s $8,975 from the seller in Hickory, North Carolina with 129,000 miles.
2007 Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 – $2,700
This Moto Guzzi has a high 71,500 miles on its odometer, but it comes with an alluring low price, touring gear, and is said to run flawlessly.
In the early to mid-2000s, Moto Guzzi went through a bunch of shakeups. Aprilia acquired Moto Guzzi in 2000 then Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio in 2004. Through these changes, Moto Guzzi began a quest to modernize its lineup. As Motorcycle Cruiser wrote, the company’s iconic 90-degree V-twin was outdated. One of the first motorcycles to come out of this mission was the Breva. Engineers spent 122,000 man-hours developing the motorcycle and the machine experience 124,274 miles of road testing. Motorcycle Cruiser likened the new engine’s importance to the Harley-Davidson Evolution engine. The new Guzzi engine was smoother, lighter, and didn’t sound like a can of bolts getting rattled.
The Breva 1100 also had Moto Guzzi’s Compact Reactive Shaft Drive swingarm system, which separates the shaft final drive’s torque reaction from the suspension. It does this using floating torque arms. In practice, it’s supposed to smooth out the harshness found with other shaft-drive systems.
In short, what you’re getting here is a cheap Italian motorcycle that should take you wherever you want to go. Recent maintenance includes valve adjustment, valve cover gaskets, a new starter, and a full service. It’s $2,700 from the seller in Leipsic, Ohio.
1990 Toyota HiAce Quick Delivery – $24,500
Here’s a vehicle I didn’t know existed until I found it online just yesterday. Since the United States Postal Service is still hoarding those Grumman LLVs, maybe I should import something like this Toyota QuickDelivery. The step van released in 1982 with Toyota stating:
In recent years there has been a tremendous boom in the home delivery business, and with the more and more companies entering the field there has been a steady climb in demand for light, easy-to-handle and quick vehicles able to handle rapid and efficient collection and delivery of various goods in the city.
Furthermore, in addition to this type of delivery vehicle, there is also a significant demand for vans which offer highly efficient entry/exit and easy interior working conditions, such as for drycleaning pickup/delivery and television coverage, as well as the best in convenience plus a high sense of fashion, such as for boutiques and other businesses interested in a modern image.
Toyota designed the new Hi-Ace Quick Delivery with these specific needs in mind. Enough headroom has been secured to allow the driver to walk from the front seat into the cargo area standing up, while a big sliding door on the left side of the cab makes it easy to both load and unload cargo. The ample dimensions and flat floor of the cargo compartment, make the Quick Delivery suitable for a wide variety of uses. It is equally suitable as a “store on wheels,” mobile work vehicle or camper, in addition to its primary function as a delivery vehicle. The major features of the Hi-Ace Quick Delivery are as follows.
This step van comes from the Quick Delivery’s second generation. Power comes from a 2.4-liter diesel four making 95 HP and 141 lb-ft torque. The seller notes that the van has a five-speed manual and it’s a 4×4 with locking front hubs.
It’s $24,500 from the seller in Portland, Oregon with 55,000 miles. Apparently, this van has been put up for sale before in 2020 at the same price.
1970 Dodge Coronet R/T – $66,000
Here’s a muscle car known for tire-shredding, heart-racing power. As Street Muscle Magazine writes, Coronet translates to “Little Crown” and it launched in 1949. Those first Coronets were available in a variety of body styles and were sold alongside lower Meadowbrook and Wayfarer models. Dodge models at the time were powered by a 230 cubic inch flathead straight-six making 103 HP.
Dodge sold the Coronet through four generations from 1949 to 1959. Through those generations, the Coronet remained a full-sizer in Dodge’s lineup. As Hemmings explained, in the early 1960s, Dodge messed up. Rumor was that General Motors was going to downsize its full-size cars for 1962, so Dodge followed suit. Only, GM didn’t do that and neither did Ford. Dodge was left with full-sizers that more fit into the intermediate market. Making the best of the screw up, Dodge used is small senior cars as intermediates. In 1964, the Coronet came back too, this time as an intermediate.
This Coronet R/T comes from the tail end of the fifth generation. By now, the Coronet was a hot-seller for Dodge and the generation had also gone through a couple of revisions. The car you’re looking at here is packed with a 440 cubic inch V8 making 375 HP Gross. I couldn’t find net output numbers, but even with losses, the Coronet R/T should have healthy power. At any rate, this R/T has a four-speed manual with a pistol grip shifter.
This 1970 example is said to be in original, unrestored condition. Thus, there are parts that aren’t perfect here and there. $66,000 from Gateway Classic Cars in Englewood, Colorado with 16,000 miles.
2006 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI – $5,000
The seller of this Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI says that his vehicle is probably the cheapest running and driving V10 TDI in the nation. A quick search seems to suggest that’s correct, but the seller really buried the lede here. Not only is this Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI dirt cheap, but it has the rare rear differential lock option.
The Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI was one of the absurd vehicles to trickle out of the mad Ferdinand Piech era of Volkswagen. A standard Touareg is already a beastly SUV. They look like crossovers, as David and I have shown you, they will happily wheel with Jeeps and other rugged 4x4s.
The Touareg was born from the same development program that created the Porsche Cayenne. Porsche faced unsteady future in the 1990s and to shore itself up, the marque decided to build an SUV. The original plan was to partner up with Mercedes-Benz to produce a high-performance M-Class. That didn’t happen and Porsche turned toward old friend Volkswagen, led by madman exec Ferdinand Piëch.
Out of the other end came two vehicles that are deserving to be called super SUVs. These are mid-sizers with an incredible amount of off-road kit. You’re getting limited-slip differentials, permanent four-wheel-drive, short overhangs, loads of ground clearance, an adjustable suspension, a low-range gearbox, and a 7,700-pound tow rating. As for technology, you get hill descent control, off-road traction control, off-road ABS, parking sensors, and more. Optional was an off-road package that came with underbody protection and you could also get a locking rear differential, too. This one should have all of that.
It also has a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V10 diesel making 310-HP and 553 lb-ft torque. A Ford 6.0-liter Power Stroke made similar numbers but the German diesel hits different. A V10 Touareg hits like a sledgehammer and doesn’t let up until you hit 140 mph or run out of road, whichever happens first.
My V10 TDI is one of my favorite cars, yet I fear it the most. Just about any engine repair requires dropping the entire drivetrain. Thus, a Touareg like this isn’t for the faint of heart or light of wallet. It’s $5,000 from the seller in Vista, California with 150,248 miles.
1946 Chevrolet DP-Series 3100 – $35,000
As the Volo Auto Museum writes, after the end of World War II, General Motors rushed to get its trucks back into production. Launched in 1946, these DP-series post-war trucks looked like their pre-war predecessors but carried over some advancements that GM learned during the war. As a result, the DP trucks were stronger and more durable than the pre-war trucks. The new trucks also gained chrome and trim accents.
This 1946 3100 is said to be an older full restoration, but it is believed to have its original engine. Power comes from a 216 cubic inch straight six making 90 HP that delivers the goods to the rear wheels from a manual transmission. It appears to be in good shape from top to bottom, though an oil leak is noted. It’s $35,000 from the seller in Cartersville, Georgia with 10,437 miles.
That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!
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That Renault Aliance GTA… that’s just an Americanized Renault 9 and by 1987 they were on the way out in Northern America and Europe.
As having the dubious honor to being involved in wrecking a R9 ( I wrecked my Citroën AX at the same time ), I’m not sure it’s a good car to have.
Edit : now I dig the Hi-Ace, it’s trhe perfect stealth van for summer trips in the Alps. Small and Nimble ( and honestly, since I drove stuff like Estafettes, speed is not my kink… as long as the 4wheels & steel box gets me where I want to go, I don’t care if it take one more day )
I love thos Caprices, and I’d bet with a bit of creative interior work, it would be a great family cruiser. Lots of power, plenty of room for perps….I mean kids….and a good sized trunk.
Plus, cop tires , cop shocks, cop motor…and it goes good on regular gas.
We had a 1970 Coronet 440 station wagon when I was growing up (440 was the standard model, the 500 was the “fancy” model.)
It was the same color green as the R/T shown here but a bit less power, though it did have the optional 383 rather than the usual 318 so my 16-year-old self could go pretty fast in it!
I always loved the look of the loop-bumper 1970 Coronets, but they are out of my price range now.
Lots of stuff I want, nothing I’m gonna buy. The Saab is cool but $$ although probably worth it. The HiAce step van is also cool but feels overpriced when a dealer in Portland has a HiAce pop top camper for $14,500. The Moto Guzzi could be fun but my BMW Airhead has been doing the Cafe Racer with saddle bags,thing for over 30 years now. The Coronet is not as crazily priced as a Hemi but I can fill a garage for $66,000.
I’ve been to Swedish Motors and have seen that 95. They have a wonderful museum/showroom of old Saabs and Volvos and will give you a tour if you ask. They also have a prototype Saab 99 Turbo. A historically very important car. They also have a few Citroens. Their pricing tends to be on the “we don’t actually want to sell this” side of things, though.
Someone who works in my building gave his Caprice PPV the Holden badge treatment. I appreciated the commitment to the bit.
> his vehicle is probably the cheapest running and driving V10 TDI in the nation
He spelled “only” wrong
Wow, seriously surprised Mercedes hasn’t bought that Touareg yet! (Or had David Tracy go get it)
This is what DT should have bought as a daily instead of the i3. Although can’t imagine diesel is cheap in CA.
That Coronet pushes all the right buttons. Pricing is a little steep, though.
Yeah it is pretty awesome, but $66k? But take it Barret Jackson and it’ll probably do that.
Plus 16k miles, unrestored, it is probably teetering on “should I drive it or not” status. Wish it was used a bit more and was a real no-brainer driver.
Richard Thompson wrote a great song about a ’52 Vincent Black Lightning. Thompson was slated to perform at the 2001 Celtic Festival here in Grass Valley just four days after the 9/11 tragedy. Few performers could get here due to flight cancellations, so only local acts could be here. They had announced that there would be a ’52 Vincent on stage during the performance. That didn’t happen but a number years later it all came together with a local collector having their ’52 Vincent Black Lightning on stage with Thompson. Glorious show!
I love Del McCoury’s version. I’ve seen him at least a dozen times, and in spite of all his great songs, the one the crowd always screams for is Vincent Black Lighting.
McCoury’s version is great – it helps a hell of a lot when the source material is damn near perfect – but Sean Rowe is my pick for favorite cover version.
That SAAB is so gloriously ugly that I want it very badly.
If i am not mistaken that while the USPS did buy many Grunman llvs and does not resell them tge same vans were available as p30s and a gmc diesel 1500. I used to own one. First diesel i owned. Learned how to hit a dear and blow up a diesel motor. Parts were hard to find if you didnt have the commercial and USPS NUMBERS and impossible if you were using a vin.
Love me that Chevy truck!
Also, my Uncle had a Renault Alliance, but it wasn’t a GTA. It was a POS.
They were everywhere back in the ’80s. Then nowhere at all by the ’90s!
(I have a sneaking affection for the convertible version as I love the silliness inherent in making convertible economy cars)
In this version of Grand Theft Auto, you get ripped off when they don’t steal your car.
Fun Fact about the Renault Alliance. Well NOT so fun really. AMC had to hunt down every damn one ever sold and replace the heater cores, and when I say every damn one, legend says that if they found one in a junkyard, they left a new heater core on the passenger seat of the car.
Below is the content of the recall, explaining why they were so serious about it.
COOLING SYSTEM PRESSURES DURING OVERHEATED ENGINE OPERATION MAY EXCEED THE STRENGTH CAPABILITY OF CERTAIN COMPONENTS DUE TO INADEQUATE VENTING CAPACITY OF THE SYSTEM PRESSURE CAP.
ConsequencesTHE BUILDUP OF PRESSURE MAY CAUSE HEATER CORE TO RUPTURE AND DISCHARGE HOT COOLANT AND STEAM IN THE PROXIMITY OF THE DRIVERS LEGS.
Corrective actionREPLACE ALL COOLANT SYSTEM PRESSURE CAPS WITH ONE HAVING ADEQUATE VENTING CAPACITY.
NotesSYSTEM: COOLING SYSTEM/HEATER CORE.VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER CARS.
Here’s a link to the recalls for all Alliances from 83 to 87: