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.
This week, we have a healthy mix of previously forbidden fruit, classics, and a scooter with a sidecar on the wrong side. I also found the Ford Econoline that showed up in the movie Ford v Ferrari. Oh, and how about a Chrysler K-car limo?
Here’s what I’m looking at this week!
1970 Datsun 510 – $18,000
Nissan has a long history of producing sporty, yet attainable vehicles. A famous vehicle from its past is the 510, which Nissan says was its first four-door sports sedan. It was a fuel-efficient family that many racers took to the track. Nissan sold more than 300,000 of these!
This 1970 Datsun 510 wagon comes in a lovely shade of green. The seller says that this 510 comes with a J18 engine, which is a 1.8-liter unit that found a home in Mexican market models like the Datsun Sakura. I have not been able to find much about these engines outside of chatter on enthusiast forums about building them up.
That engine is paired to a four-speed manual transmission and the vehicle is said to be mostly complete, save for missing passenger seatbelts and a mission radio. It’s $18,000 from Facebook Marketplace in Mukilteo, Washington with 77,528 miles.
1997 Honda S-MX – $9,995
Here’s a Japanese Domestic Market import that you won’t see every day. This is the Honda S-MX, a compact people mover with a boxy, yet rounded design. It’s basically a baby van with towering taillights and this one is even cooler because it has a rare body kit, three-spoke wheels, and a fresh coat of paint. Honda has this to say about this sweet vehicle:
Based on the concept of Honda Creative Mover, this “S-MX” is a car that is fun to look at, drive, and use = “enjoyable performance”. With its unique square design and compact size, it maintains a spacious interior space, emphasizes driving performance in the city, and realizes an exhilarating ride as a passenger car. We have prepared three types of basic specifications that allow you to select your own “enjoyment performance” according to the purpose and taste of the rider, and each is set at an affordable price.
*Honda’s new-concept car that aims to be a “life-creating vehicle” that can make people’s lives more enjoyable and enriching.
The S-MX went on sale in November 1996, making these a fresh face among the vehicles now legal to import into America. This 1997 S-MX is a four-wheel-drive model with 86,000 miles on the odometer. It has features like a pop-up moonroof, seats that fold flat into a bed, a factory navigation system, and neat monsoon covers. This S-MX comes equipped with a 2.0-liter B20B four making 128 HP and paired to an automatic. The seller states that it runs and drives well; the air-conditioner is even operational.
It’s $9,995 from Adrián Frausto, an importer operating out of Athens, Tennessee.
1960 Lambretta LI 150 Series II – Auction
This little scooter and its sidecar aren’t perfect, but as of right now they are bidding at an affordable $4,000 on Bring a Trailer. Our friends at the Lane Motor Museum describe the history of Lambretta:
In 1931, the Italian Industrialist, Ferdinando Innocenti founded a successful engineering company most well-known for producing scaffolding and other steel pipes and joints. Just after the war he saw the potential for an economical means of transport and created the Lambretta, so called because its factory was in Lambrate, an eastern suburb of Milan.
Unlike the Vespa, which was built with a unibody chassis pressed from sheets of steel, Lambrettas featured a more rigid tubular frame to which the body panels were fixed. Early Lambrettas lacked bodywork and had scanty legsheilds compared to its rival, Vespa, but it had a larger 125cc engine—a good contrast to its 98cc competitor. Another important feature of the time was its second seat; it was marketed as more of a social scooter than a functional one. A more important distinction, the Lambretta engine was frame-mounted (Vespa was on a swing arm) resulting in superior handling over the Vespa.
This scooter is a Series II, which Lambretta says is similar to the Series I, save for a larger headlight that turns with the bars. Lambretta says that the Series I is notable for its first usage of a chain drive in a Lambretta and its headset is cast in alloy rather than using a more typical motorcycle-style bar.
This Lambretta was refurbished in Italy before it was imported in 2022. Commenters on the auction note that the refurbishment used non-OEM pieces like zip ties and some parts appear to have at least some rust. The engine was also rebuilt. That’s to say that this scooter isn’t a perfect museum piece, but perhaps great for someone who will actually ride it. Power comes from a 148cc two-stroke single making 6.67 HP. It’s bidding at $4,000 on Bring a Trailer in Orange Park, Florida with five days to go.
1976 Triumph Stag – $37,500
The lovely Triumph Stag was the British marque’s answer to Mercedes’ own roadster. As with many weird old cars, our Jason Torchinsky has a wild story to tell about these:
[I]t was actually conceived as a competitor to the Mercedes-Benz SL sports cars, and was a handsome, Michelotti-designed four-seat sporty convertible, with a 3-liter Triumph V8 that, interestingly, shared some tooling with the 2-liter slant-four engine Triumph licensed to Saab. Unfortunately, part of the deal with the modularity of these two engines was that the V8 used the same water pump location as the four.
Stay with me, here; because the Saab used this engine as a longitudinal FWD car, it was placed backwards under the hood, since it had to drive a transaxle in front of it, instead of a driveshaft behind it. As a result, the water pump was placed atop the engine instead of by the front of the engine, and on the V8 version, this caused the engine, when hot, to lose coolant from the expansion tank, and eventually it’d get low enough that the pump couldn’t circulate fluid, and everything would overheat. It was kind of a mess, and these attractive cars got a reputation for overheating as a result.
This 1976 Triumph Stag hopefully doesn’t have any overheating issues currently. The selling dealership states that the vehicle has been given a restoration and its service history is known. It’s painted in British Racing Green and the odd roof helmet configuration is intact. Power comes from the aforementioned 3.0-liter V8 making 145 HP.
It’s $37,500 or best offer from E&R Classics in Waalwijk, Netherlands with 61,087 miles.
1985 Chrysler Executive Limousine – $7,900
What you’re looking at here is a Chrysler K-car fit for a king, or at the very least, a C-suite executive. As the folks of Allpar explain, in 1983 Chrysler unveiled two luxury machines. The Chrysler Executive Sedan and Executive Limousine were stretched K-cars targeting affluent buyers looking for a limo, but perhaps wanted one that was more efficient and compact. It’s not known exactly why Chrysler did this, but the assumption is that this was an answer to rising oil prices.
According to Mac’s Motor City Garage, these were created by taking the front end of a LeBaron four-door and connecting it to the rear end of a LeBaron coupe, finishing with New Yorker styling. There’s your standard coach stretch in the middle and reinforcement for the extra-large K-car. The conversions were done by America’s seemingly favorite coachbuilder at the time, American Sunroof Company.
The Executive Sedan was the smaller of the pair and it came in at 203 inches. It featured a cavernous back seat area with a center console providing heating and cooling for the rear. The Executive Limousine was longer 220.5 inches and featured even more luxury. There’s now a partition with a power glass divider, a pair of jump seats, and a rear audio system. In theory, it can seat seven people! Depending on who you ask, just 1,500 to 1,700 of these were built.
This big K-car is an Executive Limousine and it’s said to be in good condition with minimal rust. It’s powered by a 2.6-liter Mitsubishi four making 93 HP. You can get it for $7,900 on Facebook Marketplace in East Liverpool, Ohio with 35,861 miles.
2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d – $9,900
This diesel SUV hails from the second-generation of BMW’s X5 mid-sizer. The BMW X5 was originally meant to cater to a market that BMW left wide open: off-roaders.
BMW’s idea, however, was not to build the greatest off-road SUV. Instead, they would design a large, luxurious vehicle that an owner could use to go to an opera and then tow a boat the next day. The automaker found that just five percent of American SUV owners go off-roading, so BMW’s entry would be better on the road than off the road. The second-generation, called the E70, is taller, wider, and longer than the original E53. BMW also added the iDrive system and enough seating for seven.
If you want your E70 X5 to have a good mix of pulling power and fuel economy, you were able to get it equipped with a 3.0-liter diesel inline-six like the one here. Through it, you get 265 HP and 425 lb-ft torque, plus up to 26 mpg on the highway. That’s more torque than the standard 3.0-liter inline-six gas engine (300 HP and 300 lb-ft torque), but with 1 mpg better on the highway. It also comes with a 6,000-pound tow rating.
This one appears to be in good shape with a white leather interior. It’s $9,900 from a dealership in Lakewood, Washington with 132,000 miles.
1966 Ford Econoline SuperVan – $44,910
Here’s a van that has some star power. According to the Volo Auto Museum, this van is a replica of a real van used by Shelby American. It saw screen time in gearhead movie Ford v Ferrari. I wrote about this van going up for auction back in April 2021 and if you’re curious about where it went, well, here it is! The van is now in private hands and is now for sale again. The Volo Auto Museum describes what you’re looking at here:
This 1966 Econoline Super Van (extended length) was born with the optional 240 [cubic inch straight six] – 129 HP engine. It was sold new in California and remained there until 2021 when we purchased it. The undercarriage is dry with no rust or rot, there are no signs of rust or collision repairs on the body panels. It was originally white but repainted blue for Ford v Ferrari. The paint job has a very nice high gloss quality finish that would be considered “show quality” to a novice but was not totally dismantled nut and bolt.
The first-generation Ford Econoline launched in 1961, going up to bat against the van version of the Chevy Corvair and later the Dodge A100. These first Econolines, which rode on a chassis based on the Falcon, were available as cargo and passenger fans as well as a neat forward control pickup truck.
The seller for this van says that it’s in the same condition it was received from the Volo Auto Museum. They also tried selling it back to Volo without any luck. So, it can be yours for $44,910 or best offer from the seller in Hampshire, Illinois.
1991 Nissan 300ZX Turbo – $12,000
Launched in 1989, the fourth-generation (Z32) of Nissan’s famed Z car brought the sports car back to its roots after the previous generation 300ZX was heavier, slower, and more luxurious like a grand tourer. The new 300ZX made the Z a sports car again and did so in style that has aged remarkably well. Here’s a sports car so fun that as friend of the show Duncan Imports notes, Car and Driver put the Z32 on its top ten best imports list for seven consecutive years. Meanwhile, the folks at Motor Trend were so impressed that the magazine awarded it the 1990 Import Car of the Year.
This car comes from the top of the 300ZX line. The Turbo sports a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 punching out 300 horsepower through a manual transmission to the rear wheels. This example appears to be in overall good shape, with what appears to be some cosmetic wear. The seller says that the turbos will need new vacuum lines. It’s $12,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Palos Hills, Illinois with 93,000 miles.
2004 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra – $71,998
This asking price is indeed crazy huge, but take a look at that odometer! This Cobra has driven just 5,335 miles, making it almost a new old car.
Ford’s dynamic Mystichrome paint is perhaps one of the coolest color schemes in recent history. Mystichrome is beloved so much by car enthusiasts that you’ll see the paint replicated on other cars, including Smart Fortwos. Just 1,010 of the “Terminator” Cobras got the color in 2003 and 2004, with 515 coupes and 495 convertibles getting it, respectively.
The story of the Terminator Cobra begins with the 1999 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra. Blue Oval marketed its 4.6-liter V8 as producing 320 HP, but it wasn’t long before owners figured out that its actual output was more like 285 HP. It wasn’t a good look for Ford and it even led to lawsuits. The Cobra was the work of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team, famous for its work on hot rod Fords like the F-150 Lightning. According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, SVT had an explanation for the missing power:
SVT spokesman Alan Hall said that the problem came from excess aluminum in the intake manifold left over from the casting process as well as restrictive mufflers from an outside supplier that created too much back pressure.
Ford recalled those Cobras then made sure that it wouldn’t make the same mistake when the new Cobra rolled out in 2003. Its 4.6-liter V8 was advertised as making 390 HP thanks to its Eaton M112 supercharger. And this time Ford under-promised and over-delivered as enthusiasts found that it made closer to 430 HP.
This Terminator presents in more or less as-new condition. It’s $71,998 from the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois.
That’s it for this week, have a great weekend!
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What you really want to find is a Datsun 810 2 door hard top. It has the Z motor and goes like stink. They are very hard to find.
The Datsun 510 was one of the cars of choice among my poorer gearhead HS friends. Why? Because it was simple and light enough one could pull the engine, remove the cam, head, valves, crank and pistons and have it back in and running in a few hours. One guy did that THREE times in a weekend. He even tried to grind his own camshaft with a penknife and sandpaper before he figured out his oil supply problem was a weak oil pump.
The 510 is also forgiving. On one expedition (for which thankfully I had not been asked to join) my foolish friends thought it would be manly to climb Mt Shasta in winter. That did NOT go well. When they got back to the car they discovered the hydraulic clutch fluid had leaked out. They were stuck, freezing out in the middle of a deserted area with no way to call for help. This was the mid 1980s so no cellphones. Desperate times call for desperate measures. They didn’t have hydraulic fluid but they had something almost as good: Pancake corn syrup! Not only did the syrup not leak out it got them home in one piece. It did eventually congeal into a solid mess so the entire hydraulic system had to be replaced. Junkyard 510 parts were so cheap and available this was not a problem.
Another reason was the L18SSS engine. Whereas the stock L16 had just under 100 HP the twin carb and hotter cam (supposedly from Japanese police cars) L18SSS had 150HP. I don’t know how much it cost but knowing my friends it would have been cheap. That 150HP was good for WAAAYY more speed than was remotely safe on the bald, bias ply tires they used. Looking back I have no idea how those guys lived to adulthood.
And finally 510s were CHEAP! Cars were sometimes obtained for under a hundred bucks. Sure they may have been used as a dumpster but thanks to their simplicity it was not much of a job to turn that smelly tetanus special back into a running car.
James Bond (Connery) drove a Stag in Diamonds are Forever.
He also wore a hairpiece.
I have a soft spot for the 1st and 2nd gen Econolines. While this one is pricey, it has a one-of-a-kind story behind it. It would definitely be nice to have.
That K-Car Limo deserves a parking spot right next to John Voight’s LeBaron convertible.
Mystichrome and low mileage absolutely does not make this Cobra worth $72,000. They’d do well to get $50,000 and even at that price it’s a bad buy. At the end of the day it’s still a new edge Mustang. Looks are subjective, but I agree with the general consensus that these have not aged well. They’re also absolute dumps on the inside and more or less one trick ponies in the traditional muscle car mold…straight line speed and not much else.
For $72,000 you could buy a Mustang Cobra R from the same generation, which is exponentially cooler, and have some money to spare…or you could find a pretty nice S550 GT350, which IMHO is one of the greatest Mustangs ever made. Or you could order the new Dark Horse and kit it out to the moon with the carbon fiber wheels and such.
Blah. Cool car for sure, but they’re delusional asking this much for it.
I agree it’s pricey. The Cobra R and this are on different spectrums. This is targeted to the person in their late 30s/early 40s (ie Me) that watched these things roll off the car lot, and people would slap a smaller pulley and some slicks on it and run the streets. They were pretty legendary when new. Plus the color is absolutely amazing. Plus it will turn heads more than a GT350. I cannot remember the last time I saw a terminator let alone a really clean one. I see GT350s every week.
Also you can enjoy this thing for a few years and probably make money selling it. And the terminator won’t eat/burn oil 😉
I will gladly deal with excessive oil consumption for an NA V8 with 526 horsepower that redlines at 8250 and is paired to a Tremec manual….
Glady deal then.
Not a 6060 tremec though. I would take a T56 over it any day.
I kinda want that BMW but that price is sus.
*Honda’s new-concept car aims to be a “life-creating vehicle”.
Has seats that fold down into a bed.
I want me that Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale!
When I was a teenager there was a similar K-limo for sale in my local K-Mart parking lot for a few months. White with burgundy interior for $6000.
I wanted it sooo bad.
I don’t want one anymore.
Driving that thing around today would probably feel like punishment for some low level crime.
But, it was the dream at 18, when I spent most of my free time with friends driving around and sitting in parking lots in whatever vehicle we could get our hands on.
I used to daydream about cruising around in that little limo with my friends. It would have been much more conducive to fooling around in and way more comfortable for seven teenagers than my buddies 85’ 300ZX was.
Maybe safer too.
Yup seven people in a Z speeding around twisty roads, good times.
That slow boat might just have been the ultimate high school car (not as seen through a parents eyes of course).
I had a 510 wagon back in the late 90s, was quite a rare thing here in Australia. The only 2 other 510 wagons I ever came across for sale I foolishly passed on, since at the time I already owned one. Except I unfortunately wrecked it (while towing a trailer loaded with a Datsun 610 Coupe fitted with a Leyland P76 alloy V8 and Celica 5 speed) soon after, and immediately regretted not buying the others.
They would normally have an L Series OHC engine, the J series engine normally appeared in 2 litre form in the Nissan Cedric, or 1.6 litre form in mostly small commercial vehicles like the Nissan Homer, Cabstar or Urvan, and in the Nissan 720 ute.
The passenger version of that generation of Econoline was sold as a Ford Falcon Club Wagon. There’s one in a junkyard near me that seems to be in decent shape. It’s probably been there since the 70s. I think about making an offer for it sometimes but having sat in the driver’s seat I’d be scared to death of driving it on the highway. Really anywhere. Even a low speed frontal impact could be fatal.
I remember seeing those stretched K-cars occasionally. It was nearly impossible not to snicker at them. First, they were obviously K-cars pretending to be baby limos, which was suspiciously silly. But then the driver would hit the gas and the four-banger would putt-putt-putt away, removing all doubt that yes, indeed, it was a fancy clown car.
Note — I have no animosity towards K-cars; I’ve driven them when they were new and liked them. A lot, actually. But tarting-up a K-car into a limo is just silly.
They’re like using cloth napkins at a Taco Bell.
I don’t even want to know how many mouse nests are in that sagging headliner.
Annnnd the Ford van has been sold already. That was fast.
Amazing! I thought it was way overpriced for what it is.
Never under-estimate the power of celebrity.
What’s a “a mission radio”? Is that like an early Nav system or something?
I think it provides you with GTA-like missions, like roughing up pimps, restocking street dealers, stealing evidence from police lockers. Typical Friday night kinda stuff.
Of course, I’ve heard of wives hacking these things so the missions are changed to picking up milk, dropping off dry cleaning, picking up the kids from soccer practice.
The 510 really speaks to me. This was Datsun’s BMW, only in long roof guise. Can’t resist a baby wagon.
I think the wagon did not have the independent rear suspension that the coupe and sedan shared. Live axle with leaf springs I think.
The 210 wagons definitely had a live axle. Unfortunately, it also had a driveshaft in which the U-joints were not user-serviceable: what should have been a $12 fix (mid-90s) was an estimated $150 rehab at a shop. Uneconomical for a $110 car: RIP Brownie. Damned if I don’t regret that now with my rose-colored nostalgia
Pretty sure the 510 wagon was the same: the low load-floor of wagons meant IRS wouldn’t fit
I had a long day today. Maybe that is why most of these do nothing for me. I would love that Stag though.
I want that Lambretta sidecar rig because I’m a romantic fool. I want that Chrysler limo because shut up and take my money.
“It’s powered by a 2.6-liter Mitsubishi four making 93 HP.”
The 1980s, ladies and gentlemen
True. Anything approaching a hundred horses was considered a hot rod in the ’80s.
Gossin’s trying to reduce his fleet and instead he’s going to end up with a K-car Limo.
That X5… Actually seems to be a pretty decent price? Especially compared to the SUVs listed here earlier today, I might stick with the Bravada, but I’d be really tempted to spring for the diesel BMW.
That S-MX looks an awful lot like the long-forgotten Honda EV Plus, at least from the front end.
I had that same powertrain in a 335d. The 425lbft of torque was really fun in a 3-series sedan body. Probably not quite as thrilling in an E70 but I’m sure it’s still a good time. It wasn’t one of those quiet diesels either – it made this amazing diesel clatter that wasn’t exactly appealing, but it had some kind of resonance to it that I found very endearing.
That 399ZX seems downright cheap.
I’m all for a k car limo, but that mitsu unit is garbage. I’d rather have the asthmatic base chrysler 2.2.
holy shit that new yorker RULES
The Ford Van is similar to the Maisto version sold at Walmart. It’s the exact same color, but with Ford Racing Team livery on the sides. It’s in their Adventure Force 9-pack.
And I remember the Chrysler K-Car limo. A local attorney owned one in 1984. It’s what he arrived in for court sessions.