Welcome back! Today we’ve got a pair of cars that I’m betting some of you forgot even existed. But first, let’s finish up with yesterday’s pair that you only wish you could forget:
Clear win for the Suburban. I agree. It’s cheaper to buy, cheaper to fix, and more useful when it’s done. And yes, I messed up, and it does have a third row of seats. It happens.
Today, we’re going to look at a couple of cars that weren’t massively popular to begin with, and most of those that were sold have long since been recycled into toasters or washing machines or soup cans. And yet here they are, not only surviving but thriving, it seems. And both for sale, and reasonably priced! What more could you ask for? Okay, well, they are both automatics. Sorry; I do what I can.
Engine/drivetrain: 1.5 liter SOHC inline 4, 3 speed automatic, FWD
Location: Lemon Grove, CA
Odometer reading: 65,000 miles
Chrysler Corporation made no secret about the Colt’s origins: one of the advertising slogans was “All the Japanese you need to know,” some of the advertisements actually included kanji characters, and a small badge on the back said “Imported For Dodge” (or Plymouth, as the case may be). Colts were good sellers, but the wagon version never was as common, especially after the introduction of the taller Colt Vista wagon.
I like the looks of it, with the little kick-up in the roofline and the nice clean lines. The wagon also got fuel injection in place of the nasty little feedback carburetor that the sedan and hatchback were stuck with. I doubt it added any power, but I bet it helped drivability a whole bunch.
And I had to include this photo, for Torch, but I think anyone can appreciate these taillights. I had forgotten about these until I saw this photo. Forty-five degree angles! They’re just so good. [Editor’s Note: Hell yeah, these have been a longtime favorite of mine. – JT]
This Colt is the very definition of a survivor, with only 65,000 miles on the clock. It has only a few little imperfections, and the hubcaps have gone AWOL. The inside looks remarkably clean as well, and wonderfully ’80s.
The seller says it runs well, has newer tires, and is current on registration. Yeah, with only 75 horsepower and a non-overdrive automatic, it’s not going to be a thrill ride, but what are you in such a hurry for anyway?
Engine/drivetrain: 2.0 liter SOHC inline 4, 4 speed automatic, FWD
Location: Portland, OR
Odometer reading: 229,000 miles
Runs/drives? Sure does!
A little bigger than the Colt, and also overshadowed by a tall wagon variant, the Nissan Stanza is a rare sight these days, especially in five-door hatchback form like this. It’s sort of a gawky-looking car, really, with those giant bumpers and whatever that vent grille behind the rear wheels is. It wasn’t until Nissan replaced the Stanza with the Altima that they really cracked the code on mid-sized sedans, but I have heard good words about the Stanza, what few words I’ve heard of it at all.
The Stanza is powered by a two liter engine with two spark plugs per cylinder, similar to Nissan’s trucks at the time. In the Stanza, it’s fuel-injected, and in this case, backed by a four-speed automatic. The seller says it runs and drives well, and also has a newer battery and tires.
Condition-wise, this Stanza looks pretty good, especially for nearly 230,000 miles. The paint still looks good, the interior looks fantastic (and very very blue), and it just seems like a really well-kept old car.
If you remember the Stanza nameplate at all, it’s probably for the tall vannish wagon version, which had sliding rear doors on both sides and no B-pillars. The sedan and hatchback were sort of forgettable cars, but with the addition of time, the unremarkable becomes remarkable just by virtue of having survived.
Yes, I know; neither of these cars will “keep up” with modern traffic [Editor’s Note: Yes, they will. – JT] , and they’re both “deathtraps” with nary an airbag or electronic driver aid in sight. And yeah, you have to remember the boxy ’80s styling fondly to appreciate the shapes of them. And yes, they both should have manuals. But they’re what you’ve got to work with today. Which one will it be?
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)