Home » Here Are Eight Fantastic Summer Boulevard Cruisers You Can Buy For Less Than $6,000: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

Here Are Eight Fantastic Summer Boulevard Cruisers You Can Buy For Less Than $6,000: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

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Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! One of my favorite pastimes is searching for rare and weird vehicles for sale online. I’m always looking for something cool to look at and maybe buy, so I have a hilariously long list of vehicles just gathering virtual dust on my computer. I don’t always know what I’m looking for. Sometimes I find a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI and buy it, and sometimes I find a lightly-used Boeing 757, but that’s the beauty of the internet.

Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness cracks open a morsel of my search history to show you the vehicles I’ve been looking at, lately. Some of the vehicles are affordable, after all, I do try to buy some of them, while others are better fits for a collector like our Beau Boeckmann.

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This week, I’ve decided to find eight summer cars for $6,000 or less. Everything seems too expensive right now, but if you look hard enough, there are still cool cars out there that don’t break the bank. Let’s go!

1970 Datsun 510 Wagon – $6,000

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You can even find a classic Japanese wagon if you look hard enough! 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! These cars have some nice equipment, too, from an overhead cam engine and a four-wheel independent suspension featuring MacPherson struts up front and semi-trailing arms in the rear.

Sadly, Datsun 510s in pristine condition fetch a lot more money than this one, but I see potential here. This 1970 510 has rust here and there, but the car appears in overall okay shape. Power comes from a 1.6-liter four making 96 HP. That’s shooting to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual.

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It’s $6,000 from the seller in Hillsboro, Oregon. The vehicle has 100,999 miles.

1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500 – $6,000

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Here’s a car with graceful curves and a name that ignites some passion in the heart.

This story brings us to the period after World War II in Britain. Automakers in the UK figured they could make a buck by selling sportscars in America. They were right as we gobbled up their attractive offerings. One important moment happened in 1958 with the launch of the Austin-Healey Sprite. This scaled-down sportscar was affordable and could be parked just about anywhere, even in the shed where you parked your motorcycle.

As people scooped up Sprites, Triumph wanted in on the action. Development began on “Project Bomb” in 1960. To save money on bringing the car to market, Triumph would not go with unitized construction, but borrow the chassis and other components from the body-on-frame Herald sedan. The Herald’s designer, Giovanni Michelotti, would then be tasked with giving the new vehicle a svelte body.

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Triumph ran into troubles and found itself under ownership of Leyland Motors, but production of the Spitfire began in 1962. The Spitfire would get a handful of facelifts and updates, but would otherwise enjoy an impressive production run of nearly two decades. As Hagerty notes, that means multiple generations of the same family could have purchased Spitfires new.

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Power comes from a 1.5-liter four making 53 HP and the only transmission choice is a manual. U.S.-bound Spitfires were saddled with a lower compression ratio, a catalytic converter, and an exhaust gas recirculating system. Despite being choked out, the Spitfire was still able to hit speeds close to 100 mph. You aren’t going to win a race, but you will look stunning blasting one of these down a country road.

The seller of this 1979 Spitfire says the engine and body are in excellent shape, but the interior is merely fair. It’s $6,000 in Aurora, Colorado with 59,500 miles.

1971 Norton Commando – $5,850

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It’s no secret I love a good vintage motorcycle. I’ve been interested in a Norton Commando since I first saw one in person in 2019. The great thing is that these motorcycles remain affordable!

The modern incarnation of Norton gives us some history:

James Lansdowne Norton, affectionately known as ‘Pa’, founded Norton in 1898 as a manufacturer of fittings and parts for the two-wheel trade. Little did he know what that simple business would go on to become. In 1902, the very first Norton Motorcycle, the Energette, was produced – powered by a 143cc, single-cylinder Clement engine.

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It wasn’t until 1967 at the Earls Court Motor Show that the public had its first glimpse of the world’s first production superbike – The Norton Commando. Perhaps the most famous bike to bear the Norton name. In the next decade over 55,000 were sold, with Commando named Motor Cycle News’ Machine of the Year for five successive years. As Japanese bikes became increasingly more popular, many great British marques were driven to the brink of extinction. The last Commando was produced in 1977.

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To be clear, the title of “world’s first production superbike” is disputed, with some believing the world didn’t see the true first superbike until the 1969 Honda CB750. Some say the first superbike occurred earlier than that with the 1937 Brough Superior SS100.

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With that said, the Commando was still a force to be reckoned with. Commandos like the one for sale here came with a 745cc parallel twin making 58 HP and more than enough oomph to exceed the ton (100 mph). So, you’re getting a classic bike that should be a ton of fun to swing a leg over.

This 1971 Norton Commando roadster is said to be in original condition and it certainly looks fantastic. It’s $5,850 from the seller in Phoenix, Arizona. The motorcycle currently has 17,022 miles.

1991 Daihatsu Mira J Turbo – $6,000

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If you click across sites like Bring a Trailer or Duncan Imports it’s easy to become saddened at the price of Japanese imports. But you can find some once-forbidden fruit for affordable prices!

The Daihatsu Mira Cuore launched in 1980 to replace the Daihatsu Max Cuore. Daihatsu says the name Mira comes from the Italian word for “Envy.” The vehicle was sold as the Mira Cuore for its first two years before the Cuore was dropped.

This car comes from 1991, a year after the Mira entered its third generation. This Mira was especially weird for its large number of body styles, from three-door and five-door hatchbacks to commercial versions of the same. The wildest Mira of the third generation is the Mira walk-through van, which looks like a Grumman LLV that spent too much time in a wash.

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This 1991 Daihatsu Mira J Turbo is a sporty five-door hatch featuring a fuel-injected 659cc intercooled turbo three. Officially, it’s tearing up the streets with 64 HP delivered to the front wheels through a manual transmission. Inside, you’ll find colorful original seat covers and a pretty clean cabin. The seller says it’ll do 86 mph at 5,000 RPM, but it will also cruise at 70 mph at 4,500 RPM. Remember, it’s a Kei car, so I wouldn’t expect to race it across the country.

It’s $6,000 from the seller in Corona, California. The car has the equivalent of 48,000 miles.

1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III – $6,000

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I feel like the big boats of the late 1960s and the early 1970s, right before the Malaise Era, don’t get enough credit for how cool they are. Sure, this isn’t a muscle car, but it oozes style and I bet it’s comfortable.

As Mac’s Motor City Garage explains, Lee Iaccoca was VP of Cars and Trucks at Ford in the mid-1960s when he faced a couple of dilemmas. Sales of the Ford Thunderbird were falling and at the same time, Lincoln wasn’t doing so hot, either. Reportedly, Lincoln hadn’t even turned a profit since Ford acquired it in 1922. Given the fact that Lincoln was Ford’s flagship brand, something had to change.

Iaccoca’s path forward was a small Lincoln and this would be facilitated by the then-new Ford Thunderbird, which was moving from unitized construction to body-on-frame. Reportedly, initial designs didn’t really please Iaccoca, so he had designers adorn the car with a large vintage-style grille and a continental tire hump. The designers hated it, but Henry Ford II was all-in.

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When the Continental Mark III launched in 1968, the press reportedly panned it, but the public scooped up the $6,741 luxury barge. Power comes from a 460 cubic inch V8 making 365 HP and lb-ft of torque. Those were gross numbers so don’t get too excited just yet.

This nice 1969 Lincoln Continental appears to have a decent body, but the seller warns that the vinyl is gone on the roof, the power windows don’t work, and neither does the air-conditioner. So, I would fix either the A/C or the windows unless you feel like baking in the summer sun. The good news is that the car is said to run and drive well. It’s $6,000 from the seller in Bullhead City, Arizona. The vehicle is said to have 94,500 miles.

2007 Saturn Sky Red Line – $5,000

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One of my favorite cars that I do not talk about enough is the Saturn Sky Red Line. This car, along with its platform mates, were GM’s short-lived answers to the Mazda Miata. While many will still say the Miata is better, it’s hard not to appreciate what GM achieved.

The Saturn Sky is one of those awesome cars to come from the brain of legendary auto exec Bob Lutz. One of Lutz’s dreams was to create an affordable, rear-wheel-drive American roadster. When Lutz took the helm at GM, he finally took his chance to realize the dream. The General’s engineers created the Kappa platform, and riding on it is a handful of low-slung roadsters. It launched with the Pontiac Solstice, a curvaceous drop-top sports car that was America’s answer to the Miata. Saturn got its own version, as did Daewoo with the G2X, Opel with the GT, and Tauro with a burly V8 swap.

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The best part is what’s under the hood. You get a 2.0-liter Ecotec LNF turbo in there. That gives you 260 hp and 260 lb-ft torque to the rear wheels through a manual transmission.

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Alright, the seller doesn’t give us much information about this car. There’s some body damage, but the vehicle has the correct Red Line parts present and accounted for. However, rusty brake rotors and a license plate that expired in 2023 would suggest that the vehicle has sat for a while. Be sure to look it over top to bottom!

Otherwise, the Saturn’s $5,000 price tag makes it the cheapest Red Line in America. It’s located in Victorville, California with 150,000 miles.

1962 Buick Skylark – $4,000

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Here’s a classic General Motors product that could use some new wheels and some interior work, but looks ready for a downtown cruise today.

The first Buick Roadmaster Skylark was introduced in 1953 in celebration of 50 years of Buick. At the time, the Roadmaster Skylark was a top-of-the-line convertible joined by its stablemates in the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and the Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado. Penske Automotive Group notes that out of the trio, the Skylark was the most successful, selling 1,690 units at a price of a little over $5,000 each.

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The name made a return in the 1961 model year as the Buick Special Skylark. This was based on the Buick Special and rode on the Y-body platform alongside the Pontiac Tempest and Oldsmobile F-85. In 1962, the Skylark finally became its own model. These rode on the GM A-body platform and were available in two- and four-door hardtops, coupes, sedans, and convertibles. The Skylark was $2,621 in 1961, or $27,470 today.

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This 1962 Skylark is just $4,000 today. Sadly, the seller doesn’t say much about its condition other than the fact that it runs and drives. My eyes also spot some paint peel and torn seats, but nothing that shouldn’t be too hard for a new owner to fix or ignore. Power comes from a 215 cubic inch V8 making 190 HP. That reaches the rear wheels through a two-speed automatic transmission.

The 78,000-mile Skylark awaits its next owner from the seller in San Antonio, Texas.

1959 Edsel Ranger – $5,500

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The story of Edsel is still a fascinating one. Ford believed there was enough room between it, Lincoln, and Mercury for another brand. At the time, Lincoln competed with the likes of Buick, DeSoto, and Oldsmobile. Ford thought Lincoln could move upmarket and that the Continental could be Ford’s luxury halo car. As Lincoln climbed into high-end luxury, Ford thought it was left with a hole in its intermediate space.

Edsel would go up to battle Buick, DeSoto, and Oldsmobile. The automaker would also stand out with bold styling. Reportedly, 18,000 names were considered and none of them were Edsel. The Ranger was intended to be Edsel’s price leader and was based on the 118-inch Ford Fairlane chassis. Neat features included a Teletouch pushbutton gear shifter in the steering wheel as well as a speedometer that scrolled like a compass.

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This 1959 Edsel Ranger looks to be in overall decent shape with what appears to be some interior pieces that could use some refurbishment. The engine is a 292 cubic inch Y-block V8 outputting 200 HP to the rear wheels. It’s $5,500 from the seller in Blaine, Washington.

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That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.

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Defenestrator
Defenestrator
20 days ago

I guess they’re getting fairly old, but I didn’t realize Sky Redlines were so cheap now. That’s a fair bit of car for the money. I’m guessing the parts are a weird mix of unobtanium for some Saturn trim and dirt cheap for the bulk of the drivetrain.

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch
27 days ago

Owned a 74 Spitfire. Loved it. But mixed emotions on whether I would own another one. Having owned 4 Miatas, kinda upped my game a bit. But the Spitfire list, if all there, and NO RUST, has potential. Parts ate available. And the body shape is still timeless.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
27 days ago

When I think ‘cruising’ or ‘cruiser’ when talking about a car I think about something big and comfortable. I guess also, ‘slow’ or ‘maybe slow’. I don’t know that I want to loaf about in a Triumph, Mira, or on a Norton. Point me to a twisty road and I am leaving the boulevard ASAP.

Honus
Honus
27 days ago

I actually owned the first three vehicles on the list. In high school 69-73 I drove a 510 wagon and in college a Spitfire (OK, actually a GT6 but I owned a few old spitfires too) and later I had a Norton Commando (an 850, but with the proper right foot shift/left side brake and no electric start). Loved all three.

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