Home » Eight Is Enough: Lancia, VW, Chrysler, Porsche, Corvair, Siata, Ranger, Nissan

Eight Is Enough: Lancia, VW, Chrysler, Porsche, Corvair, Siata, Ranger, Nissan

Sbsd 2 16 2024
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Good morning, and happy Friday to all those who celebrate. Today we’re trying something a little different for our end-of-the-week showdown: complete and utter bedlam. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to vote on any car featured this week, so there can be no complaining that your favorite didn’t make the cut.

But even though I’m giving every car a participation trophy today, we still need to crown a winner from yesterday, and it looks like the Beige Ranger galloped off with an easy win. I’m a little surprised, actually; from the comments I was pretty sure it was going to go the other way.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

As many of you said, there really isn’t a bad choice here. Both of these are capable, pleasant little machines that will earn their keep for years to come. Typically I’d lean towards the Nissan; historically I’ve had really good luck with Nissan trucks. But that Ranger is so freaking clean, especially inside, that it makes for a tough choice. I think this one would require test drives for me to settle on a winner.

Screenshot From 2024 02 15 16 04 07

Right; let’s get into it, then. Eight cars enter; one car leaves. Who runs Bartertown? I guess we’ll see. I’ll limit myself to one photo and a quick one-paragraph recap to keep this from getting too unruly.

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1978 Lancia Beta Zagato – $3,000

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Ah, the siren’s call of a cheap Italian sports car. Many have heard it, few have succumbed to it, fewer still have lived to tell the tale. Rust, electrical gremlins, and catastrophic timing belt failures are just some of the potential pitfalls of Italian car ownership. This faded blue Lancia runs, according to the seller, but isn’t drivable for some mysterious reason. My money is on brakes or clutch. Still, if you are fated to have your heart and bank account broken by an Italian car, as I fear I am some day, there are worse places to start.

1983 Volkswagen Quantum hatchback – $2,000

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What is it about a rare failed version of a car more commonly seen in other styles that is so appealing? That shooting-brake version of the Geo Storm comes to mind, or the two-door Jetta, or this Quantum fastback. It stands to reason that if such cars had been appealing when they were new, they would have sold more, and wouldn’t seem so special. Whatever the reason, what we have here is a good-running example of a Volkswagen from back when they made good cars. And it is a handsome machine, with hints of Alfa GTV and Saab 900 in the rear styling.

1976 Chrysler Newport – $2,450

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Best smile when you say “malaise era,” son. Chrysler took their sweet time downsizing their gigantic highway cruisers, and while they may have been shadows of their former selves performance-wise, these big tanks still sold like hotcakes. This one has plenty of problems, mostly electrical, likely stemming either from it getting stolen or someone losing the keys. But you can’t keep a good big-block down, so it still runs and drives just fine. That interior, though – yikes. Let’s just hope the Love Shack doesn’t have valet parking.

1978 Porsche 928 – $4,500

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“Cheap” and “Porsche” don’t usually go together. Or if they do, their friend “running” is likely nowhere to be seen. This little red number, however, promises to be all three: a cheap running Porsche. And not just running, but a veteran of quite a few Mojave desert crossings. If the seller is to be believed, you could hop in this car and drive it just about anywhere. Of course, we all know that with a car like this, the purchase price is just the beginning. Luckily, it includes half a spare car in parts.

1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa Turbo – $4,950

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“Unsafe at any speed” wasn’t originally meant to include completely stopped, I don’t think. But in the case of this derelict-for-nineteen-years Corvair, better make sure your tetanus shot is up to date. The seller says it only has “a little rust,” but that argument, much like this car’s cowl and rear quarters, is full of holes. It’s all fixable, and it may even be worth it considering the car’s rare mechanical specification, but you’re probably better off finding a less rusty example and swapping some parts over to it. It won’t be original, of course, but original is overrated. A non-original driver is better than a numbers-matching wreck any day.

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1969 Siata Spring – $4,000

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Most of you turned up your noses at this little amusement-park-refugee of a car, but I kinda like it. Yes, it’s homely and awkward, but so is Steve Buscemi, and we like him. Besides, it’s a genuine handmade Italian exotic, one of only 3500 or so made. It has been sitting for ages, but it’s based on humble Fiat 850 mechanicals that aren’t hard to find. If it were me, I’d ditch the cheesy wire wheels, plop it on some Campagnolo-style alloys, and hot-rod the little 843 cc engine. See if I couldn’t move it away from the “badly-done MGTD kit car” look a bit.

1992 Ford Ranger XLT – $2,799

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Ford’s pint-sized pickup is still a favorite of gardeners and security patrols, even two decades after the last one rolled out of the Saint Paul assembly plant. These things just won’t die. The last time I was getting gravel for a landscaping project, I saw a Ranger just about like this being massively overloaded with pavers, to the point of sitting down on the bump stops. Yet somehow, it lumbered out of the parking lot and down the road. The little 2.3 liter four may not be a powerhouse, but it is capable of hundreds of thousands of miles. This one is just broken-in.

1995 Nissan D21 Hardbody – $3,250

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But mini-trucks aren’t just about heavy loads. There’s an element of style to consider as well, and Nissan’s trucks have never been short on style. This one screams 1990s, with its big teal swooshes down the side, and good honest steel wheels. It has such luxurious mini-truck options as power steering and a rear bumper. (Yes, rear bumpers used to be optional on trucks.) It even has air conditioning! And if my own Nissan 720 pickup and D21 Pathfinder experiences are anything to go by, this one has a lot of life left in it too.

Whew! Did you get all that? Eight vehicles, wildly different in size, form factor, purpose, and condition, but not too far off in price. How will you choose? By color, I suppose, or coolest-sounding name, or price per pound. Or just throw them all in a randomizer and let fate decide. You’ve got all weekend to figure it out. See you Monday!

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago

I have evil thoughts of a Corsa Turbo drivetrain in the clean ’62 Corvair 700 4 door I’m working on.

Last edited 3 months ago by Tbird
Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago

May I suggest ranked voting? Several here I would spend my money on.

EastbayLoc
EastbayLoc
3 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Yeah, or how about, which 2 would you pair up? Or you have $8K, what do you buy?

Tbird
Tbird
3 months ago
Reply to  EastbayLoc

I like it! I easily could pick 2, maybe 3.

Cyko9
Cyko9
3 months ago

I still think the Ranger is a solid buy, but the Nissan just takes it for me. I wanted to believe in the Porsche, but “too good to be true” usually is.

Drew
Drew
3 months ago

When I first saw the graphic, I thought this was a Shitbox Showdown Showdown, allowing us to vote for the best matchup of the week.

Gubbin
Gubbin
3 months ago

Hardbody, but I’ve got my eye on another one in the same area, so BUY THAT ONE, not the other nice Nissan Hardbody truck you might see in the Portland metro area.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
3 months ago

Love how the other truck listed by make in the title, but the Ranger is “Ranger”. Like it’s just strutting in like Madonna or something.

Last edited 3 months ago by Fuzzyweis
Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
3 months ago
Reply to  Fuzzyweis

When I was a kid, Air Canada’s fleet listing in the seatback magazine would list all of their planes by manufacturer: Boeing 747, Lockheed L1011, Douglas DC-8, etc – except for one: the last plane, on the bottom of the list was “Viscount”.

I always wondered why AC was ashamed of their Vickers Viscounts. I flew on a few and thought they were cool.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

There were 445 Viscounts built with 144 airframes being lost to accidents or incidents. Generally speaking the Viscount, the first turboprop airliner was very successful and its accident/incident record was spread over a 60 year service life. Capitol Airlines lost five Viscounts ( four inflight) to accidents between 1958-60. These highly publicized tragedies soured the reputation of the plane with the flying public, though most continued to in reliable service for decades. That, and the advent regional jet airliners, contributed to the waning popularity of early turboprop airliners. Reputation wise, the Viscount story is roughly analogous to the Corvair or Pinto.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago

Going for the Dockers Edition Ranger with the Dad Pants paint job.

Last edited 3 months ago by Canopysaurus
Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
3 months ago

The ranger is the practical choice. The pride of 76 land yacht won my heart.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago

Hardbody still takes it for me, based on pure nostalgia.

Crisis
Crisis
3 months ago

A running 928 with a 5 speed is a no-brainer as the winner, as tempting as that pristine Ranger may be.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
3 months ago

I love a good parsh, but LOOK at that Siata. That is pure dominationtonium if I’ve ever seen it.

Signed,
Yes, I have a Lemons Rally coming up

Mike F.
Mike F.
3 months ago

Newport. The Corvair is just too rusty, the Porsche is a 928 (don’t like the styling on these), the Siata is a little too funky, and God knows what all would constantly be going wrong with the Lancia. The electrical issues with the Newport are something I could at least conceivably fix myself. Freshen up the interior, put a little work into engine and suspension, and have a big ol’ comfy land barge to cruise in.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
3 months ago

It was close for me between the 928 and the Ranger, but I went with the 928. However, that’s a bit aspirational, as I would actually pick up the Ranger if I were actually spending my money.

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
3 months ago

The Beige Ranger might seem like the tax accountant for the Power Rangers, but it turns out he’s a skilled carpentry hobbyist and makes a fantastic homebrew hard cider, and is always willing to help you move.

So I voted for the Ranger, a reliable and cool workhorse who will still be useful through one or two apocalypses.

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

It’s Portland! Not fitting in is how you fit in!

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
3 months ago

The Porsche, because a 928 that runs and has had the big stuff done for 5 grand and has a manual is too much to resist.
Close 2nd to the Quantum, just because it’s so damn weird.

10001010
10001010
3 months ago

Ooh, this is good fun, we should do an 8way deathmatch more often. I still voted for the land barge.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
3 months ago

Newport, I always wanted a couch on wheels.

Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman
3 months ago
Reply to  Mrbrown89

Same. Though the couch part could use some reupholstering.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
3 months ago

Had to show the Newport some love. Couldn’t bring myself to vote against the Porsche the first time, so given a second chance I had to satisfy the PLC lover in me.

Frank Wrench
Frank Wrench
3 months ago

Ouch! Too many choices hurts my brain. I love the look of that Zagato and also like mysteries (runs but needs a tow?) But the 928 is too good of a deal to pass up. I can’t believe it’s still for sale.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
3 months ago

Corvair, because it DID run Bartertown!!!

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
3 months ago

Gotta be the 928. You only live once, so why be practical?

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
3 months ago

I’ll take the hardbody, though honestly the Ranger is nearly as appealing. At these prices, I could get some use out of one of these small trucks.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
3 months ago

Man, for two grand, that Quantum is hard to beat, especially since it actually comes with a second VW.

But I voted Ranger. I would love to have a little truck that could pull double duty on my commute. So long as it has AC, of course.

Aaron Nichols
Aaron Nichols
3 months ago

First thing that ran through my mind: MORTAL KOMBAT!!! Lets have a Friday Free For All

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 months ago

Parsh. Duh.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
3 months ago

That is probably the deal of the year, provided it checks out.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Even if it doesn’t it still is, especially with the rare manual gearbox and all the extra parts the seller is throwing in.

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