Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, I love picking up dirt-cheap cars, motorcycles, and campers, and then telling you lovely readers about the dumb things that I do with them. I’m always looking for the next deal, but most of the time, I’m left empty-handed. At the same time, I love building a list of cars, trucks, and motorcycles that I would buy if I had the money.
Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness turns the long list of vehicles I’d love to buy into something for you all to enjoy. Some of them are cheap and some of them are not. Some of the vehicles I find are purely window shopping for everyone other than a collector like Beau or Myron.
I took a look at my calendar and noticed that because of some weird scheduling conflicts, it’s been a really long time since I delivered some sweet MMM to your screens. That will be rectified today and I have chosen to do so with some wild, probably nonsensical picks.
Here’s what I’m looking at this week!
2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Pickup – $15,999
Let’s start with something silly. Do you wish Jeep sold the Gladiator as a single-cab, short-bed truck? Well, a seller in Wisconsin has a shorty Gladiator at home. This Jeep started life as a Wrangler Unlimited four-door before getting turned into a truck. Here’s a short history from Jeep:
The 2007 Wrangler model’s signature round headlamps, iconic seven-slot grille, solid axles, removable doors, exposed hinges, fold-down windshield, innovative removable and convertible tops all honor Jeep® Brand heritage while signaling new levels of capability and versatility.
With an all-new frame, exterior and interior design, engine, safety and security and convenience features, the Jeep® Wrangler was built on the successful, original Jeep Brand formula.
This Wrangler retains its removable top, but the area behind said top has been turned into a pickup bed. Sadly, we don’t get to see what that bed looks like or how functional it is. The mod list is substantial and includes LED lighting a snorkel, a “front extension,” a new radiator, new brakes, a rebuilt engine, and a custom sound system. It’s unclear why the Jeep needed a rebuilt engine at just 57,000 miles, so I would get the VIN and do some digging before making an offer.
Power comes from a 3.8-liter V6 making 202 HP and 237 lb-ft torque, sent to all four wheels through an automatic transmission. It’s $15,999 from the seller in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.
1951 Nash Rambler On A Datsun 280ZX – $22,000
Now, let’s crank up the intensity! Nash Motors’ history is a short one, but in that time the automaker managed rather impressive work. Nash was its own company from 1916 to 1937, then it merged with kitchen appliance manufacturer Kelvinator. Under the Kelvinator umbrella, Nash vehicles had HVAC systems in 1938. The Nash Weather Eye scooped up fresh outside air and then heated or cooled it, pushing the air out of vents using a powered fan. Nash also introduced unibodies in 1941 with the Nash 600, and seatbelts in 1950. Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company would merge in 1954 to create American Motors Corporation.
The car we’re looking at here is a Nash Rambler, a car often credited as being one of the first compacts of post-World War II America. The Rambler was designed to be smaller than other cars of the day, but still large enough to be a family’s daily driver. Normally, here’s where I’d talk about the 172.6 cubic inch straight six making 82 HP under the hood, but this Rambler is very different. Under its body sits the chassis of a Datsun 280ZX.
In 1969, Datsun won enthusiast hearts after it put the 240Z into production. As MotorTrend notes, the 240Z was a response to Toyota’s 2000GT. The Z car’s design and goals have varied over the years, and for a moment in time, the Z was more of a grand tourer than a pure sports car. One of those GT-style cars was the second-generation, the 280ZX. The second-gen Z car was a bit larger, more luxurious, and heavier than its predecessor. Its MacPherson strut front and semi-trailing arm rear made it more comfortable, and a little less sharp.
This custom build is described as a highway cruiser. So, at least on paper, the Z-car underneath has retained its good road manners. Power comes from a 2.8-liter (168 cubic inch) inline six making 138 HP and bolted to a manual transmission. It should be faster, but not uncontrollable. The interior does leave some to be desired. Maybe that wheel should be wood or something.
It’s $22,000 from the seller in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with 24,334 miles.
1994 Honda Beat – $7,995
Ok, let’s turn down the crazy a bit. The little Honda Beat was the last car given the green light by Honda founder Soichiro Honda before his death. These Pininfarina-designed convertibles drive like a scaled-down version of the NSX with a rear midship three-cylinder engine, zebra pattern seats, and a direct, mechanical-feeling shifter. Calling a shifter “bolt action” would be cliche, but I think it applies here. Throw in a custom exhaust and that 656cc triple will sing like a Triumph motorcycle.
To this day my Honda Beat is easily one of the most fun cars that I’ve ever driven. Power comes from a 656cc triple making 64 HP, driving the rear wheels.
This Beat is one of the later models and is an example lucky enough to still sport zebra-patterned seats and its original steering wheel. So many of these have custom seats and steering wheels that the existence of originals is really that notable. Also notable is the original Gathers radio, convertible top, and air-conditioning. It’s $7,995 from the seller in Conyers, Georgia with 115,000 miles. Get it out of Georgia before the state revokes its title!
1940 Indian Sport Scout – $16,000
I’ve been giving classic British motorcycles a lot of attention on recent MMMs. Truth be told, I love all motorcycles, including classic American iron horses. I could stare at this vintage Indian all day.
Here’s some history on the Sport Scout from the recently departed National Motorcycle Museum:
The Indian Scout was one of Indian’s best designs on the street and track. Its design was the work of Charles Franklin. Franklin became most famous for his work on Indian’s 42 degree V-Twins including the Chief. The first Scouts appeared in 1920 as 37 cubic inch motorcycles, later became 45’s and where most motorcycles of the era used chains, Scouts are unique for their gear primary drives.
The Indian Sport Scout armed with the 42-degree V-Twin side valve, 45 cubic inches (745 cc) motor was in production for nine years 1934 to 1942. Indian’s chief engineer and designer, Charles B. Franklin, responsible for the creation of the Scout (1919), Chief (1922) and Scout Pony (1932), roughed-out in sketch form the Sport Scout before his passing at 52 years old on October 19, 1932. Diverging from Scout’s long running cradled-framed and leaf-spring fork motorcycle (1920 through 1933) the first Sport Scout, similar to the Scout Pony, used a keystone rigid frame through 1940, 1941-42, a rear plunger suspension and girder fork for the range. The two-piece frame consisted of a front down tube and rear fork bolted to the engine/transmission unit by front and rear mounting plates. Lack of a frame under the motor/transmission maximized ground clearance during banking and the girder fork offer more front-end travel, making the Sport Scout a good motorcycle for dirt track racing.
This Sport Scout doesn’t currently run, but the seller says the engine makes good compression and the transmission shifts through its gears. The motorcycle is numbers-matching, but a few bits are missing. Power comes from a 745cc V-twin that will make about 18 HP when it runs again. It’s $16,000 from the seller in Batavia, Illinois.
1924 Flint E-55 Touring Sedan – $19,300
Here’s a car from a brand you’ve perhaps never heard of before. This classic drew me in with its white body, matching wheels, and red accents.
As Hemmings writes, the Durant Motors Corporation was created in 1921 in New York City after William “Billy” Durant had been fired from General Motors not once, but twice. Durant picked up the Locomobile Company of America that year, slotting it into Durant’s luxury line. In 1922, Durant also had the Star, which was supposed to compete with the Ford Model T, and the Durant, which competed with Oakland. A year later, Durant launched Flint to compete against Buick.
As Hemmings explains, the birth of Flint was almost by accident. As Durant was building his brands, Willys Corporation auctioned off some assets, including a factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Durant scooped up the factory for $5 million and inside the facility, he found a Willys six-cylinder car prototype designed by engineers Carl Breer, Owen Skelton, and Fred Zeder. Durant redesigned the body to resemble a Locomobile and put the vehicle into production in 1923 as the Flint E-55. Production later moved to Flint, Michigan.
The E-55 rode on a 120-inch wheelbase and offered eight body styles. Power comes from a 268.4 cubic inch L-head straight-six advertised to make 70 HP, but really makes 65 HP. That’s backed by a three-speed manual transmission.
This example is said to have been sold new to a Nevada rancher and as of today, it has had only three owners. The vehicle was restored to its current state in 1964 and the E-55 is said to be a reliable driver. It’s $19,300 from the seller in Winnemucca, Nevada.
1991 Volkswagen Golf Country – $19,945
Some manufacturers created their own Battle Cars long before it was a trend. One of them is the rare Volkswagen Golf Country. From Volkswagen:
Built-in 1990, the Golf Country was an early foray into the crossover SUV category for Volkswagen and even predated the Toyota RAV4—one of the first mass-market CUVs—by four years. With just 7,735 vehicles produced in two years from 1990 to 1991, the rugged, off-road worthy Golf Mark 2 variant – with lifted suspension and all-wheel drive – is now a collectible modern classic.
Volkswagen introduced the “Montana” concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 1989. At the time, the off-road Golf Mark 2 variant was exclusive to Europe. The crossover was never meant for production, but the surprising demand seen at dealerships drove Volkswagen to manufacture it.
Pre-assembled, all-wheel-drive Golf Syncro vehicles were shipped from Germany to Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Graz, Austria—the same specialty manufacturer that built the Steyr Puch Haflinger and the original Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Using a largely tubular lower subframe, Steyr effectively lifted the four-wheel-drive Golf Syncro 4.72 inches, resulting in more than seven inches of ground clearance.
Volkswagen says it added 438 unique parts to the Golf Syncro to make the Golf Country. Changes include suspension revisions, bumper bars, a tire carrier, off-road lights and a skid plate. Volkswagen also notes lower gearing and that the Golf Country’s 1.8-liter 97 HP engine should still be adequate for getting around.
This Golf Country appears to present in decent condition and sports a manual transmission. It’s $19,945 from Top Gear Motors in Addison, Illinois, with 168,173 miles.
1986 Fiat Panda Six-Wheeler – $69,787
I love weird FIAT Pandas and I think a six-wheeled truck definitely qualifies. Our friends at the Lane Motor Museum offer up a quick bit of history:
The Fiat Panda was introduced in 1980, and was meant to be a city car for the masses; simpler but in the spirit of Citroën’s 2CV. It was a no-frills utility vehicle designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign. Giugiaro compared the Panda to a pair of jeans – simple, practical, and without frills. For practicality, it featured cheap, flat panes of glass, removeable and washable seat and door panel covers, and a multi-configurable, removable rear seat. The base model had a modest 2 cylinder 652cc engine that drove the front wheels.
As the story goes, this vehicle was built by Horst Koch from Koch Klassik in Heilbronn, Germany. Back in the 1980s, Koch was a Fiat dealer and felt that the Panda would make for a great utility vehicle. Koch decided to turn a series of Pandsa into six-wheelers to be sold to businesses. The idea was that the business would have a billboard that could carry a load. Unfortunately, just one was built before Koch’s partner in the operation passed. Apparently, the pickup made a debut at IAA in Frankfurt and at the Geneva Motor Show. His daughter, Linda, calls the machine a “Mercedes-Benz G model in small format.”
Apparently, Koch also made about 250 Panda convertibles, including some 4×4 models.
This sole six-wheeled Panda sports bespoke in-house designed wheels, a removable plexiglass roof, a TÜV-certified tow hitch, a stainless steel exhaust system, and more. Koch Klassik restored the vehicle and says that it’s totally TÜV-approved and legal. Sadly, it is not a 6×6, just front-wheel-drive. That said, at least you get a four-cylinder engine making 70 HP.
It’s $69,787 from Koch Klassik Automobil GmbH in Germany with 21,211 miles.
1947 Hudson Super Six Club Coupe – $32,000
First launched in 1916, the Hudson Super Six was known for its performance. An innovation from Hudson in this era was reportedly the first balanced crankshaft which revolutionized engine design by allowing higher engine speeds. Its 288.5 cubic inch straight six made 76 HP. An early Super Six chassis set a transcontinental speed run from San Francisco to New York in 5 days, 3 hours, and 31 minutes. Another Super Six set a stock chassis 24-hour record at Pikes Peak at an average speed of 74.9 mph.
In 1947, when this car was made, the Hudson Super Six was re-introduced as a six-cylinder version of the Hudson Eight. As Hemmings notes, while this was a post-World War II car, it came before Hudson’s truly new designs, thus, the Super Six design was largely warmed over from 1940 and into the war years. Apparently, the biggest change in 1947 was the addition of an exterior lock on the driver’s door. Standard features include bouclé upholstery, one sun visor, a wind-up clock, woodgrain, rubber floors, and vent windows.
This Super Six Club Coupe was restored and features a 1955 Hudson Hornet 308 Twin H engine bolted to a 1950 Borg Warner overdrive transmission. That engine should be making 160 HP, a sizable improvement over the original 212 cubic inch six that made 102 HP.
It’s $32,000 from the seller in New Oxford, Pennsylvania.
2017 BMW R NineT Urban G/S Watsonian Sidecar – $15,999
Retro-style motorcycles have been popular for a while, and BMW is just one of many companies to capitalize on it. The R nineT was launched in 2013 as a BMW modern classic. The Urban G/S is a flavor of the nineT that’s supposed to be a nod to the first BMW R 80 G/S, but with present-day technology. From BMW:
The BMW R nineT, which has been created to mark “90 years of BMW Motorrad”, radiates purism and power in undisguised form. It skilfully blends the boxer engine’s rugged character and the design traits of various motorcycle eras with cutting-edge technology and a modular concept that offers the rider maximum scope for personalisation. Strictly reduced to the essentials, the BMW R nineT – or just nineT for short – is made all the more alluring by its hand-built feel and strong emotional appeal.
The new R nineT Urban G/S is quite different in style but equally classic in character. For more than 35 years, the abbreviation GS in conjunction with BMW Motorrad is been virtually synonymous with a sense of freedom and the passion for adventure on two wheels, both on-road and off-road. The R nineT Urban G/S draws on the genes of the very first and legendary BMW R 80 G/S of the year 1980, transporting them into the modern era with contemporary technology in the form of a classic enduro-style BMW motorcycle with boxer engine.
This R nineT Urban G/S is joined to a sidecar from Watsonian, a British producer of sidecar rigs. Watsonian has been around for over a century. It seems fitting that an old-school style sidecar gets fitted to a motorcycle designed to be a nod to a decades-old bike.
Aside from the sidecar, the motorcycle has a few customizations in the form of bark busters, a trailer hitch, a rear pan and tail box, a comfort seat, and a windscreen. It’s $15,999 from the seller in Grand Rapids, Michigan with 10,450 miles.
That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!
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