Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, I love picking up dirt-cheap cars and motorcycles, and 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’m obsessed with lately.
This week, I’ve kicked my wife Sheryl out of bed and I’m back in control [Ed Note: You keep telling yourself that. -DT]. It’s been a very long time since I last featured a big rig, so there’s a beautiful old Kenworth. There’s also a Nissan Skyline here that won’t cost the price of your firstborn.
Here’s what I’m looking at this week!
1985 Mercedes-Benz 250 Lang – $19,995
The W123 is a classic Benz with fans all over the world. Production started in 1976 and by the end in 1986, Mercedes-Benz put 2,696,915 of them on the road. They’re famous for longevity, too. Back in 2021, I wrote about one of these with 782,000 miles on its diesel engine and the car still looked gorgeous. I owned a W123 240D once and took it on an off-road adventure, but it was nothing like this.
What you’re looking at here is a W123 Lang. Haynes explains that “Lang” means it’s a long-wheelbase model meant to be a 7 or 8-seat limo. However, they were also sold for utility use for ambulances and commercial vehicles. The limousine (V123) came later in the W123’s run and it’s reported that just 5,000 of them were built.
This limo came from when the numbers actually denoted engine side, it has a 2.5-liter M123 straight six gasoline engine making 140 HP. That reaches the rear wheels from an automatic and you get to do it from velour buckets. This car failed to sell at Bonhams, but today you can find it for sale for $19,995 by European Auto Wholesalers in Lodi, New Jersey with 24,730 miles.
2005 Cadillac XLR-V – $20,000
The XLR was introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show as Cadillac’s halo car. Cadillac’s roadster had such luxuries as Magnetic Ride Control, GPS navigation, voice controls, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and an interior designed by the Bulgari Italian fashion house. To give it sporting credentials, the XLR shared a platform with the Corvette, including the latter’s composite bodywork, hydroformed rails, and even Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly.
The XLR wasn’t an idea that Cadillac came up with overnight. As Auto Trends Magazine writes, General Motors had been looking at revamping Cadillac’s lineup during the late 1990s. In 1999, Cadillac rolled into the 1999 North American International Auto Show with the Evoq, a roadster with the underpinnings of a Corvette. The audience loved what they saw, and GM decided to make the idea a reality.
Despite the Corvette underpinnings, Cadillac went with a 4.6-liter Northstar V8 instead of an LS plant. Cadillac also ditched the option for a manual transmission. The XLR-V is the performance version of the Corvetillac (Cadillvette?). Normally, the Northstar made 320 HP. The V got a supercharged 4.4-liter Northstar V8 from the STS-V, making 443 HP in this application. As a result, this is a luxury roadster that hits 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and the quarter mile in 13 seconds. By the end of XLR-V production, these had a $97,485 base price.
This one? So long as you can stomach 112,000 miles and a check engine light, it’s just $20,000 in Sunnyside, Washington. A couple of the pictures are old, so I’d ask for updated ones.
1956 Cushman Eagle – $7,000
This little scoot is a piece of history that doesn’t break the bank. The Nebraska State Historical Society offers a brief history on the beginnings of Cushman as a company:
In 1901 cousins Everett and Clinton Cushman began constructing farm machinery and two-cycle boat engines in Lincoln, Nebraska. Businessman Everett Sawyer joined the company in 1909, and production shifted to farm engines. In 1913 the company incorporated as the Cushman Motor Works and built a foundry at Twenty-first and X streets, its present location.
By World War I, farmers were using Cushman two- and four-horsepower engines to operate water pumps, cream separators, washing machines, feed grinders, concrete mixers, wood saws, and generators. In 1918 Cushman opened a plant in Canada that proved to be unsuccessful, and by 1927 Cushman Motor Works was owned by a management company.
The Easy Manufacturing Company, owned by father and son John and Charles Ammon, merged with Cushman in 1934. The firm made farm implements in Lincoln and had previously purchased castings from Cushman.
In 1935 a youngster in search of spare parts brought a scooter to the Cushman plant. Powered by an old Cushman washing machine motor, the scooter intrigued owner Charles Ammon, who thought it might make an ideal product. The first Cushman motor scooter came out in 1936, and sales boomed.
Cushman 50 Series production began after WWII in 1946. At first, the scooters had a sleek, almost aerodynamic style. Then in 1949, the 50 Series became the Eagle, which looked like a scaled-down Indian or Harley-Davidson. That’s what you’re looking at here. As the National Motorcycle Museum notes, the Eagle was Cushman’s best-seller ever. Power comes from a 349cc Cushman Husky single making 8 HP. Top speed is as high as 55 mph.
This one is notable for having a low 408 miles on its odometer. It’s $7,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Mt. Carmel, Tennessee.
1995 Nissan Skyline GTS25T – $23,900
If you’ve played Gran Turismo in the early 2000s and enjoyed the early entries of The Fast And The Furious, you might have the hankering to buy a Nissan Skyline GT-R. The Nissan Skyline GT-R is beloved by JDM fans and unsurprisingly, prices for them have gone through the stratosphere. Even if you import one from Japan yourself, you’re still plopping down some serious cash.
One way to get most of the Skyline experience without eating ramen for the rest of your life is to get one of the lower models like this GTS25T. Nissan has this to say about the Skyline:
The Skyline had been through many phases, but it was in 1989 that the real precursor to the GT-R of today was introduced. The R32 Skyline GT-R had all-wheel drive and the famed Nissan RB26DETT inline six engine that pumped out 280 horsepower. It still wasn’t sold in America, but the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) model was and still is a legend in the American tuner community. A stripped-down version of the R32 entered the Japanese Touring Car Championship in 1989 and won every race it started—29 in a row—over the next four seasons. It was then that the legend of the GT-R was truly born.
After first appearing to the motoring world as a prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1993, the R33 Skyline GT-R was finally launched to the public in January 1995 again with the famed RB26DETT. In its evolution from the R32, the R33 Skyline GT-R became a faster, more stable car, thanks to highly improved body stiffness, better weight distribution and optimized traction control provided by the new all-wheel drive system called “ATTESA E-TS PRO”.
This Skyline GTS25T does not have the all-wheel-drive system of the GT-R or its 276 HP rating, but it’s still plenty good. Power comes from an RB25DET 2.5-liter turbo straight six making 247 HP, transmitted to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual.
It’s $23,900 by our friends at The Import Guys in Ferndale, Washington with 98,000 miles.
2008 BMW 135i – $12,800
The 1 Series launched in 2004 (2007 in America) as BMW’s entry-level model. BMW advertised the 1 as having the automaker’s characteristic driving dynamics, but also one of the longest wheelbases in the compact class. The base 1 Series in America was the 128i, which came with a 3.0 liter six making 230 HP. This 135i has a bit more than that thanks to its 3.0-liter turbo six making a healthy 300 HP. While the 1M is the top of the line for the 1 Series, enthusiasts still love how the standard cars drive.
This 135i isn’t perfect, it has 147,000 miles and it looks like the driver seat has been repaired with material that’s a couple of shades too bright. However, it does look very clean and comes with a manual transmission. It’s $12,800 on Facebook Marketplace in Parlin, New Jersey.
1952 Kaiser Manhattan – $13,500
Formed in July 1945, Kaiser-Frazer combined the strengths of shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser and auto executive Joseph W. Frazer. As Hemmings notes, Kaiser-Frazer saw early success in providing vehicles across a range of price points, but by 1949 the Big Three’s competition started hurting Kaiser-Frazer sales.
A loan kept the automaker alive and allowed it to churn out more cars. While Howard “Dutch” Darrin was off building what would become the Kaiser Darrin, he also worked on the automaker’s other offerings. As Hagerty explains, in 1951, Frazer got a new longer, lower design. The premium Frazer Manhattan was a four-door sedan and convertible with its own unique look. Just a year later, the Frazer was discontinued and the Manhattan name moved over to Kaiser. The new Kaiser Manhattan looked similar to other Kaiser cars.
This Manhattan looks to be in good shape and features an older repaint and an original interior. It’s powered by a 226.2 L-head straight-six making 115 HP. It’s $13,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Cheshire, Connecticut with 62,000 miles.
1956 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner – $52,250
As Hagerty writes, the Fairlane debuted in 1955 alongside the Thunderbird. The name “Fairlane” reportedly came from Henry Ford’s estate in Dearborn. These sat at the top of Ford’s line and helped push the automaker to its best sales year in decades. There were six body styles of the Fairlane, and what we’re looking at here is the Crown Victoria Skyliner, a trim that came with a tiara-like roof band and a transparent acrylic roof panel above the windshield.
Just 1,999 of them were built in 1955 with a further 603 in 1956. After that, the neat transparent roof panel was gone. To give you an idea of how hot these are, one sold at RM Sotheby’s for $123,200 in March 2022.
This Skyliner is just under half of that price, but it isn’t entirely original, either. It came from the factory with a 202-HP 292 cubic inch V8 but now has a 312 V8 after a previous restoration. At least the engine is period-correct, as a 225-HP 312 was an option. It was also blue and white before its restoration. Now it’s red and white. If you can live with the changes, it’s $52,250 or best offer on Hemmings in Rocky View County, Alberta, Canada.
1954 Sunbeam Alpine – $66,000
This Alpine is a hand-built British roadster. Those of you in the midwest and in the east probably aren’t thinking about top-down driving right now, but when it warms up, this car would be a stunner.
According to Hyman LTD, a seller of historic cars, the first Sunbeam roadsters were derived from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 saloon. Sunbeam-Talbot then raced them in rallies to prove their durability. These cars proved to be successful in events like the Tulip Rally and Monte Carlo Rally, and Sunbeam-Talbot decided to put a sports car to market. Still based on the Sunbeam-Talbot 90, the Sunbeam Alpine would get a makeover thanks to Raymond Loewy Studios and the stately roadster became a publicity machine. The first Alpines like the one here were produced between 1953 and 1955, with just 1,582 built. Of that number, apparently, just 445 are right-hand-drive.
This one has been restored and refreshed. Power comes from a 2,267cc four making 80 horses connected to a four-speed transmission. It’s $66,000 on Hemmings in Westerville, Ohio with 90,000 miles.
1983 Kenworth K100 – $35,000
This isn’t a vehicle that I’d expect any reader to buy, but just look at this beauty!
There was once a time when cabover semi-tractors ruled American highways, just like they do in Europe today. Truck manufacturer Autocar claims to have built America’s first truck in 1899 when it constructed the “engine-under-the-seat” Autocar delivery wagon. The company says that this was the predecessor to the cabovers of later decades. Cabovers continued to rise in popularity and really hit their stride for a period of about 20 years. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 limited semi and trailer length to a total of 65 feet. For truckers, this meant that a cabover maximized their load since length wasn’t lost to a hood as you’d find with a conventional. In 1976, length restrictions eased and the conventional semi began replacing the cabover as the dominant truck.
As trucking site Smart Trucking notes, cabovers also had some downsides. They were easier to maneuver and visibility was great without a hood in their way, but they were often louder, more uncomfortable, and more inconvenient to service. Tilting the cab gives you great access to the engine, but then anything not bolted down in the cab will find itself ejected from where it sat.
Still, there’s nostalgia for these old rigs and you’ll sometimes see them on the road today, often modded out like this Kenworth is. Launched in 1961, the K100 is a famous model for Kenworth. These trucks were known for their aluminum bodies and for beating the competition on power and transmission options. The American Truck Historical Society goes as far as to call the K100 “one of the most popular designs in trucking history,” while some think that had it not been for the change in length regulations, the K100 might have ended up as Kenworth’s most famous model of all time.
Under the cab of this one is a 14.0-liter Cummins Big Cam that made 350 horses from the factory. It’s backed up by a nine-speed manual and the rear-end components (or “cutoff”) from a 2003 Peterbilt 379 with 3:55 rear-end gearing. The seller says that the glorious paint is just a year old ant it’ll cruise 70 mph down the highway.
It’s on Facebook Marketplace in Garden City, Kansas for $35,000. That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.
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