Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, working with cars is a blessing and a curse for me. I have what, 21 vehicles now? Crap. But hey, almost all of them run, so I have that going for me. And since I’m shopping for cars all of the time, I always have an evolving list of vehicles for sale to share with you.
This week I’m bringing you a shiny bus, an amphibious car, something from a video game, and more!
I search the entire country for a good balance of price and vehicle condition. But sometimes, some really cool cars end up for sale with really high prices. It’s disappointing, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with window shopping and dreaming.
So join me in looking at some fun cars, motorcycles, and fantasy military hardware from the future.
1963 Trojan 200 – $22,750
Our lovely co-founder Beau Boeckmann has a legendary car collection. And between the various one-offs, concept cars, and fleet of Aston Martin Lagondas sits one of these. While I didn’t drive Beau’s Trojan, I did play around with it, and the thing is a delightful bubble car.
Our friends at the Lane Motor Museum has a history on these cute cars:
Trojan was founded by British engineer Leslie Hounsfield, who sought to make a simple, economical car that was easy to operate. Design began in 1910 and by 1913 a prototype was ready. The advent of World War I caused a delay in production, but in 1922, 100 of Trojan’s “Utility Cars” were ordered by Leyland Motors. Over the next seven years, 16,800 Trojan passenger cars and vans were produced. When the Leyland partnership ended, Trojan introduced the RE (Rear Engine) model at the 1929 London Motor Show. The wood construction, chain drive, rear-only brakes, and no electric starter adhered to Trojan’s core principles of durable yet inexpensive transportation. The low purchase price and high fuel economy, around 40 mpg, made the Trojan RE van very popular with firms requiring small delivery vehicles.
[Editor’s Note: I’d also like to mention that Trojan made some deeply weird engines for their cars, too. – JT]
Post World War II, Trojan made vans. That changed in 1959 when Lambretta scooter importer Peter Agg bought Trojan. In 1961 A deal was struck between German aircraft and microcar designer Ernst Heinkel and Trojan to rebadge Heinkel Kabines as the Trojan 200. Trojan built the cute cars for just a few years, with production ending in 1965 after 7,000 units were produced.
Power comes from a 198cc single making 10 horses. That power reaches the rear wheel through a manual transmission and top speed is about 55 mph. It’s unclear if this one runs. The seller, Beverly Hills Car Club, calls it a project. But it looks good to my eyes. It’s $22,750 in Beverly Hills, California.
1992 Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo – $14,900
Decades ago, Chrysler and Mitsubishi partnered together on some fun vehicles beloved and desired by enthusiasts even today. One of these cars was the Dodge Stealth, a Mitsubishi 3000GT in some new clothes. Stellantis’s Dodge Garage describes the partnership like this:
Just like the ’80s and the unlikely collaboration with Dodge and Shelby, the ’90s sparked another interesting partnership. This one also ended up only producing a single model, but it was a very special car well before its time.
In 1970, Chrysler took a 15% buy-in into Mitsubishi Motors and began importing and rebranding the cars to sell in the U.S. These cars were far from impressive or glamorous, but did pave the way for some impressive vehicles to make their way to the streets bearing the Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth names. By the mid-’80s, Mitsubishi wanted to bring their vehicles to America as Mitsubishi cars with their own dealerships and network, so production began in 1988 under the Diamond Star Motors partnership in the U.S.
A plant was built in Normal, Illinois (now the home of Rivian) to build these DSM cars. Chrysler sold its share of DSM back to Mitsubishi, and eventually, DSM became Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing America. The Stealth and its 3000GT mate were not built in Normal, but at the plant in Nagoya, Japan.
These cars are fairly advanced, featuring available all-wheel-drive, independent and electronically-controlled suspension, four wheel steering, and an aerodynamic body. In its top trim in 1992, the Stealth got Mitsubishi’s 3.0-liter 6G72 twin-turbo V6 making 300 horses and 307 lb-ft torque. That power is sent to all four wheels through a manual transmission. That’s the car that you’re looking at here.
This one is said to be in good shape with 70,495 miles. It’s $14,900 at Niewiek Auto Sales in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
1967 Amphicar 770 – $65,900
A full decade ago, our resident amphibian expert Jason Torchinsky wrote this humorous excerpt on the Amphicar:
Very likely the classiest of all amphibious vehicles, the pretty little Amphicar was German, but felt very British, down to its Triumph engine mounted at the rear. It wasn’t a particularly good car or boat, but it wasn’t exactly awful at either, so it generally did its job, and of the 4000 or so produced, 700 or so are still around, and I suspect every one of those is quite well-loved.
President Johnson owned one of these, and, like Allied soldiers in the Schwimmwagen, used to like to scare the crap out of guests by driving full-tilt into lakes.
Amphicars also seemed to inspire some pretty good quotes. A writer for Time, Dan Neil, called it “A vehicle that promised to revolutionize drowning.” An owner described its performance as “the fastest car on water and the fastest boat on the road.”
The Lane says that the 43 HP 1147cc Triumph four in the back gives the Amphicar a top speed of about 68 mph on land and about 7 mph in water thanks to two props. It’s unclear how many of the 3,878-built are still around today, but they do occasionally come up for sale.
This one appears to be in good condition and just 3,470 miles shows on its odometer. It’s $65,900 by Tri Star Classics on Hemmings in Blairsville, Pennsylvania.
1966 Vespa 150 Super – $5,200
Originally launched in 1965, the 150 Super was the successor to the Vespa 125 and 150 VNA/VBB. Smaller than the company’s large frame fare, the 150 Super features 8-inch wheels rather than 10-inch wheels. And power comes from a 150cc single making 5.7 horses. Oh, and these have a neat manual transmission that works by twisting the left grip to select gear.
Scooter resource site Scooter Lounge notes that the 150 Super has a design that’s like Vespa’s larger scooters of the day, but scaled down. It’s a little more angular than its predecessor, reflecting the day’s modern scooter design. The site goes on to note that after production ended in 1976, 553,807 Vespa 150 Supers were made. So this isn’t really rare.
What makes this one stand out is its sidecar. So you and a pal can enjoy scooter shenanigans together. They’re $5,200 on Facebook Marketplace for $5,200 in Woodland Hills, California with 28,000 miles.
2007 Cadillac STS-V – $12,000
In the aughts, Cadillac launched an attractive set of cars aimed at the luxury sedans coming in from Germany. And like the Germans, Cadillac also began to offer souped up versions of its own luxury cars. The CTS-V might come to mind, or perhaps the angular XLR. Today the brand even makes a V version of the Escalade. But in 2005, Cadillac offered a hot version of its STS midsizer.
Launched in 2004 for the 2005 model year, the STS (Seville Touring Sedan) was the successor to the Seville and the car saw a lot of changes over its predecessor. While the Seville was a G platform front-wheel-drive car like a Pontiac Bonneville, the STS rode on the rear-wheel-drive Sigma platform shared by the CTS and first-generation SRX crossover.
In a regular STS, the best engine was the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 making 320 HP. However, in the V model, you got a 4.4-liter Northstar V8 churning out 469 HP thanks to a supercharger. Car and Driver notes that the supercharger runs at 2.1 times crankshaft speed and moves two liters of air with each revolution. It produces 12 PSI of boost. The car got other changes, too, like Brembo brakes, run-flat tires, stiffer suspension, and sharper steering. This translates to a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.6 seconds. Those are stats that still hold up today.
This STS-V presents well, but the seller notes that it’s in need of tires and an alignment. It’s $12,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Independence, Missouri with 149,000 miles.
1977 Honda Gold Wing – $2,500
The Gold Wing wasn’t always known as the closest thing you can get to a car while still on a motorcycle. Old Gold Wings, like this GL1000, were available as stripped-down cruisers devoid of the creature comforts that these motorcycles are known for.
In 1972, Honda was riding high on the success of the CB750, but it was already looking for the next best thing. The company established an R&D department to develop the marque’s next flagship motorcycle. Its team was led by Shoichiro Irimajiri, a designer with racing experience in cars and on motorcycles. Also involved was designer Toshio Nozue and the team would create a motorcycle reportedly dubbed “the ultimate motorcycle.”
Introduced at the 1974 Cologne Motorcycle Show before hitting the road in 1975, the Gold Wing GL1000 was a different take on the touring motorcycle formula. The GL1000 was designed to be reliable, fast, and still able to take riders across the country in comfort. The 999cc flat four delivered 78 HP to the rear wheel via a shaft drive and unlike typical touring bikes, where the fuel tank would normally be was a storage space. Instead, the tank was more or less under the rider’s seat.
The Gold Wing was a hit, and eventually became the full dressers that remain in production today. But the Gold Wing’s past is still a fantastic ride. I owned a GL1100 in a cruiser configuration and it was one of my favorite motorcycles. This GL1000 apparently sat abandoned in a closed dealership for 30 years. Then it was found, had its aftermarket fairings removed, and restored to what it was like when it was new. The seller notes that the paint is original, and that the motorcycle runs great. It’s $2,500 on Facebook Marketplace in Keota, Iowa with 24,000 miles.
AMG M12 Light Reconnaissance Vehicle “Warthog” – $75,000
Every once in a while, the fictional cars from video games get replicated in real life. The Warthog from the Halo franchise is one of those vehicles that fans have recreated more than once. If you have no idea what a Warthog is, I’ll let the developer of the original Halo trilogy, Bungie, explain:
The M12 is primarily used in a scouting capacity, or as an integral part of a mechanized infantry unit. In the case of the LRV and LAAV variants it can hold three soldiers including the gunner. The mounted weapon includes a battery for short term operation separated from the vehicle, but normally operates on the vehicle’s power supply. The vehicle is powered by a 12 liter hydrogen-injected ICE and can reach speeds up to 125 kph (78 mph).
A number of variants of the Warthog are in service with UNSC forces, including the M831 TT (which eliminates the support weapon in favor of four side-facing passenger seats), the M864 A (with an enclosed passenger compartment and treads in place of wheels), and the M914 RV (equipped with a towing winch and a heavy duty motor and gear system).
The Hog is a huge, unwieldy, difficult to steer death trap – until you learn how to drive it properly. With proper application of the hand, or “e-brake” the Hog can actually turn on a dime. Massive disc brakes allow the thing to come to a near immediate halt from its top speed of 78mph, and more importantly, swing around rapidly to allow a gunner a better angle on a prospective target.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what powers a Warthog in the games, Bungie describes it as a “12.0 L liquid-cooled hydrogen-injected ICE.”
Like many fan-made Warthogs, this one isn’t exactly to scale and proportions are off, but it still looks great. The seller says that the custom creation is riding on a “1988 Dooley” frame, which I take to mean that it started off life as some sort of old dually truck. A 454 V8 of unknown specification powers the build. The seller goes on to say that the prop light anti-aircraft gun spins at 400 RPM and an onboard speaker makes gun sounds. There are four seats in the back and the seller says that it has a clean Florida title. That means it could be made road legal in some states!
1973 Honda Vamos – $31,000
Here is a tiny car that you’ll have to import from Japan, but is definitely one of the more distinctive beach cruisers that you can own.
Somehow, I’ve chosen a number of cars that can be found at the Lane, because once again, there’s a history piece on it!
During the 1970s light, rugged utility cars were very popular with the public in Europe. Vehicles in this category included the Volkswagen Thing, the Citroën Méhari, the Mini Moke, and this model, the Honda Vamos. Manufacturers seemed to have similar ideas for these cars: take an existing model, strip it down to its most basic components, and market it as “rugged” and “fun”. Many of these Jeep-like vehicles were sold as convertibles, and most had light off-road capabilities.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve driven the one at the Lane! It’s wonderful:
The Vamos is powered by the same 354cc 30 HP twin that powered Honda’s TN360 kei truck of the day. That’s mounted in the middle and provides power to the rear through a manual transmission. The cabin is also waterproofed and top speed is a leisurely 35 mph.
This one has roughly 16,155 miles on the odometer and is said to come with maintenance records. These little things are rare with just 2,500 ever produced. As such, the estimated total price to get this to the United States would set you back about $31,000 from the seller on GooNet Exchange in Japan.
1956 Flxible VistaLiner – Best Offer
As Curbside Classic notes, starting in 1954, Flxible (pronounced “Flexible”) began producing the VistaLiner VL-100 intercity highway coach. Flxible spent much of its history competing with General Motors’ bus efforts, and the VistaLiner was the company’s answer to the GM PD-4501 Scenicruiser. And while the two looked similar, they differed in how they operated.
As Curbside Classic explains, at first, GM didn’t have a powerful enough engine to power the 40-foot Scenicruiser. Its solution was to pair two 4.7-liter, 160 HP 4-71 straight four diesel engines together using a fluid coupling. These gave the buses the power that they needed, but also caused some reliability issues.
Flxible reportedly realized that there wasn’t a strong enough engine and thus, made its bus a shorter 35-feet-long. This gave the bus a lower seating capacity of 39, versus up to 49 in some configurations of the GM bus. However, this also meant that Flxible could get away with powering the VistaLiner with a single 175 HP Cummins JT-600 rather than GM’s twin-engine setup.
Thankfully, in this bus you don’t have to worry about such power figures because it’s powered by a Detroit Diesel 6V92. It’s a 9.0-liter V6 diesel making 270 HP and 737 lb-ft torque. That’s backed up with an Allison automatic. The VistaLiner has been converted into an RV and it looks pretty nice inside. I like how the builder used RV equipment so it actually looks like it came that way from the factory. It’s said to run and drive, but the 12.5 kW generator will need a new fuel pump and the tires are pretty old.
The seller is looking for offers. Normally, I’d skip ads where the seller doesn’t name a price, but I do love a pretty bus. It can be found on Facebook Marketplace in Cincinnati, Ohio.
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.