Home » Here Are Seven Rare And Weird Classic Cars You Can Actually Afford: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

Here Are Seven Rare And Weird Classic Cars You Can Actually Afford: 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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As I mentioned in the recent past, we’re currently trying out new ideas for this series. I’ve been writing about Facebook finds since 2020 and it’s been fun! Delivering you the histories of nine vehicles all in one post often takes all day. So, I’m playing around with the number of vehicle finds each week to optimize Triple-M. We’re also testing out new headlines rather than just listing out three random vehicles. I hope you enjoy our testing as much as I do.

This week, I’ve decided to do a mix of three vehicles you’ve probably never heard of before and four fine American classics. Nothing here is over $39,000!

1958 Chrysler Saratoga – $19,000

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Hemmings Seller

The Saratoga was one of those models lucky enough to enjoy decades of production. The first ones hit the road in 1939 and the Saratoga nameplate punched the clock in 1995. Throughout that time, Saratoga-named vehicles served different roles within Chrysler. At its launch, it was one of Chrysler’s more expensive luxury models above the New Yorker and Imperial but below the C-24 Custom Imperial Limousine. By 1941, Chrysler demoted the Saratoga to the lower end of its eight-cylinder lineup. Then, the nameplate disappeared after 1942, returning after World War II back to a higher position in the Chrysler lineup.

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The nameplate would disappear again after 1952, just to return again in 1957 wearing Virgil Exner’s famous “Forward Look” styling. This time, the Saratoga would sit right in the middle above the Windsor and below the New Yorker. Chrysler’s marketing for the year called its sedan “the Mighty Chrysler” and urged buyers to run their fingers along the vehicle’s lines. Chrysler also said its cars would make driving exciting and comfortable with their powerful engines and lounge-like interiors. Other marketing talked up the vehicles’ expansive windshields, push-button transmissions, and cruise control system.

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Hemmings Seller

The seller of this 1958 Chrysler Saratoga says the vehicle has been in the same family since 2001. Power comes from a 354-cubic inch polyspherical head V8 that made 310 HP gross when new. That’s backed by a three-speed automatic. Sadly, the mileage of this vehicle is unknown.

The seller believes the vehicle has been repainted at some point and notes new Coker tires. It’s believed the transmission was rebuilt in 2002 and other work included a new gas tank in 2015, a new ignition system in 2023, new battery wires in 2023, new brake pads in 2023, and more. Known issues include an unresolved brake leak (manual brakes still work), some rust around the rear window, a rust hole in the trunk, and more minor faults elsewhere. The rust hole in the trunk can be seen from below and it’s bad, but looks repairable.

The seller, located in Brooklyn, New York, is asking $19,000, or best offer for this one. The highest offer thus far is $12,500.

1940 Triumph 3S – $8,850

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Facebook Seller

Engineer Valentine “Val” Page left marks on a lot of classic British motorcycle history, including engines for JA Prestwich Mfg. Co., work for Edward Turner at Ariel, and would return to Ariel again later to design the quirky Ariel Leader. Later, Edward Turner would transform Triumph in 1937. Before that, Val Page also did a stint at Triumph starting in 1932, introducing his engineering talent to a bunch of machines starting in 1933.

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Throughout the mid-1930s, Page designed a lineup consisting of 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, and 550cc single cylinder engine-powered motorcycles. He also introduced a 650cc twin. The Triumph 3/1 was introduced as a low cost touring motorcycle with a separate hand-shift transmission, a separate oil tank, and a 343cc side-valve single-cylinder engine.

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Facebook Seller

The 3S was the successor to the 3/1 and 3/5 and featured such luxuries as a speedometer, chrome, and electric lighting. This motorcycle sold in January 2023’s Mecum Las Vegas auction and now it is for sale again. The seller notes that this is one of the Triumph motorcycles that were not built to 3SW spec and sent into World War II. The motorcycle is said to run and ride, but nobody has bothered to get it a title, so it hasn’t ridden on the road in who knows how long.

Power comes from a 349cc single good for 12 HP. It’s $8,850 from the seller in Canoga Park, California.

1964 Panhard BT17 – $20,000

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Craigslist Seller

Somewhere in Wisconsin, a family is beginning to sell off the weird car collection of a father who passed in 2019. Now’s your chance to get something like a barn find but without the work of restoring one. Among the handful of vehicles up for grabs is this 1964 Panhard BT17. Originally Panhard et Levassor, the firm was founded by engineers René Panhard and Émile Levassor in 1887. The pair built their first car a few years later based on a license acquired from Daimler. I’ll let our friends at the Lane Motor Museum explain some Panhard history:

In 1891, Panhard built a batch of four identical cars, followed by series after series of increasing numbers. While Benz and Daimler had built cars earlier, they were individual examples. Chronologically, this makes Panhard et Levassor the world’s first marque of car in continuous, series production. Panhard et Levassor was also the first manufacturer to fit a steering wheel to a car, instead of a tiller. Primarily a producer of large luxury cars, Panhard realized after World War II that they needed to concentrate on lower-priced offerings to stay competitive. The Baroque-styled Dyna X series was a big success, but by 1953, it was due for a replacement.

The Dyna Z model debuted in 1954. Panhard had been using wind tunnel testing for years, and utilized the latest methods to develop the car’s slippery shape. Its drag coefficient is an amazing 0.26, compared with 0.51 for Citroën’s 2CV, and 0.48 for the Volkswagen Type 1. Like its predecessor, the Dyna Z seen here was all-aluminum. It only weighed 1,500 pounds, which helped its horizontally opposed, four-stroke 42 hp two-cylinder engine achieve a top speed of 80 mph, all while getting 40 mpg! The front-engine, front-wheel drive setup allowed for a flat floor; it was considered quite roomy for its class.

Unfortunately, while aluminum was cheap when the Dyna Z was designed, the cost of the material began to rise during the vehicle’s production. Eventually, aluminum became so expensive that it was reportedly almost three times as expensive to build the car out of aluminum than steel. In 1955, Citroën took a stake in Panhard et Levassor and the Dyna Z was reworked to use a steel body.

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Craigslist Seller

The PL 17 was designed as a successor to the Dyna Z and launched in late 1959. This time, Citroën would have a lot of input in the design. Lightweight alloys were out, but streamlining from Louis Bionier was still in. Reportedly, the PL 17 has a coefficient of drag of 0.26, which was super slippery for the day. Remember, a 2CV had a coefficient of drag of something like 0.51. The car was also advertised as being able to get 40 mpg and being able to hit 80 mph with a load of six people and their luggage. Presumably, those six people weren’t of “American” size.

The PL 17 name also had a meaning. The letters were an abbreviation for Panhard et Levassor while “17” was the sum of 5 + 6 + 6. That’s 5CV (fiscal horses) + 6 seats + 6 liters of fuel consumption over 100 km. This PL 17 is the hotter Tigre model, which was sold as the BT 17 later in the PL 17’s production run. Power comes from an 851cc flat-twin making 50 HP. Those ponies reach the front wheels and this example is said to run and drive. You also get extra parts.

It’s $20,000 from the seller in Middleton, Wisconsin.

1994 Autozam AZ-1 M2 1015 – $29,985

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Import Auto Center

This is a car that Jason has called “The Smallest Supercar” and I think he’s right on the money. It has gullwing doors and looks like a Lamborghini that shrunk in the wash. I’ll let Jason take it from here:

Autozam is a sub-brand of Mazda, one they use for their Kei-class cars and small cars, often re-branded Suzukis. The Suzuki connection is significant here, because the AZ-1’s inspiration came from a 1985 Suzuki concept car called the R/S1, or maybe R/S-1, or some other combination. I’ve seen a lot of variants online.

However you add slashes or dashes to the name, the R/S1 was a very sporty mid-engined car, light and nimble. The concept of a small, fun sports car appealed to Mazda, heady on the fumes of Japan’s Bubble Era, and by 1989 they had three concepts of their own to show, the AZ-550 cars, Types A, B, and C. Of the three concepts, Type A was the closest to the production AZ-1, with its gullwing doors and supercar-after-a-cold-shower proportions. Type B was a little hardtop convertible, sort of like a Honda Beat, and C was supposed to be a little Group C rally car.

Toshiko Hirai, the same person behind the development of the NA Miata, was put in charge of the project, which should be a good reminder that the AZ-1 was never intended to be some kind of joke, a Kei car dressed up in a racing suit. Sure, it had to meet the Kei class restrictions of the era – a 660cc engine making a maximum of 64hp and a very specific and restrictive size envelope – but within those parameters, Mazda intended to build an actual supercar.

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Import Auto Center

The Autozam AZ-1 is a member of a trifecta of hot kei car imports, joined by the Suzuki Cappuccino and the Honda Beat. The Suzuki is known for its cramped cabin, but if you can fit, you’ll get one fun ride. As Jason notes, power comes from a mid-rear mounted 657cc turbocharged three from Suzuki making 64 HP.

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This AZ-1 is of the rare M2 1015 specification, modified and distributed by M2 Incorporated. A genuine M2 1015 sets itself apart with cosmetic enhancements including hood-based fog lights, new front bumper, and rear spoiler. It’s reported that while 50 were intended to be built, just 25 reached customer hands. The selling dealership states that this is a real M2 1015 and it has some mods including suspension parts, exhaust, blow-off valve, boost controller, and more. The vehicle has also been repainted at some point in the past.

This 1994 Autozam AZ-1 M2 1015 is $29,985 by Import Auto Center in Greenville, South Carolina. The car is noted to have the equivalent of 68,000 miles.

2000 Chevrolet Corvette – $12,500

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Facebook Seller

Dear reader, I have a confession to make. I love Corvettes. I’ve been a fan of them since before a teenage version of me even got a driving permit and I’m probably in the minority of people who really love the C4. My dream C4 would be in a bold red, tan interior, manual transmission, and convertible top. If I were to go for a Corvette that’s a little more modern, I’d get a C5 with a convertible top and a manual transmission. I’m never going to take it racing, so I’d want to feel the wind in my face and hear that engine sing.

This 2000 Corvette was not my original pick. That C5 was just $10,000 and was painted in a shiny yellow. However, that car sold within a day or two. This one isn’t that cheap, but the asking price is lower than most C5 convertibles with a manual transmission.

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Facebook Seller

The Corvette C5 brought General Motors’ sports car design into the modern day. Gone was the rad 1980s wedge, in was the gentle swoops and curves that defined the ‘Vette for much of the 2000s. As Motor Trend reports, GM made some big changes in the development of the C5. It decided to do market research to see what buyers wanted. GM found out that Corvette customers wanted something that didn’t look like an exotic, but still had good quality, safety, and speed. The Corvette’s designer set out to create an all-new Corvette that beat anything that came before it.

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In the end, the C5 used 1,500 fewer parts than the departed C4, while employing new techniques like a perimeter frame made of single-piece, hydroformed steel tubes for an improved structure. Engineers also packed the car with balsawood-based insulation for lower road noise. It was longer, wider, and sleeker than its predecessor with wheels pushed further to the vehicle’s corners. The C5 also brought along a handling change by way of a rear-mounted transaxle. Doing this allowed the C5 to attain a 50/50 weight distribution. The Corvette C5, along with the Lotus Esprit V8, is often cited as one of the last cars to get pop-up headlights.

The seller of this 2000 Corvette says the car has paint that’s three years old and a new radiator. However, the vehicle has 143,000 miles. Power comes from a 5.7-liter V8 good for 345 HP. That reaches the rear wheels through a manual transaxle. It’s $12,500 from the seller in Glendale, Rhode Island.

1969 Jeepster Commando – $20,000

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Gateway Classic Cars

The Jeepster name dates back to the post-World War II automotive boom. Willys-Overland was quick to cater to those wanting to explore America and the outdoors, selling the Willys CJ, Pickup, and Wagon in impressive numbers. Hemmings notes that in 1948, Willys built 135,528 vehicles, made a killing, and saw even more room to grow. The original Jeepster owes its design to famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens and was and more like a car compared to the utilitarian machines the company was known for. And it was just rear-wheel-drive. The Jeepster didn’t last long, with production from 1948 to 1950. Today’s Jeep tells us about the Jeepster’s revival:

During the late 1960s, Kaiser detected a growing interest in leisure time use of 4×4 vehicles and capitalized on it with the introduction of a new series called Jeepster Commando. Kaiser Jeep borrowed the names of the Willys Jeepster and the Willys Commando Fire Truck for this sporty vehicle, designed to compete with the Bronco and Land Cruiser.

Launched with a youthful ad campaign promising seaside fun, the Commando was the first compact 4WD vehicle with automatic transmission and sported an interior “designed to handle the elements and impress the ladies on the beach.” The C-101 (101-inch wheelbase) was built on a CJ-6 chassis with four body options–roadster, pickup, power-top convertible and station wagon (8705F).

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Gateway Classic Cars

Long a favorite among the Jeep Brand faithful, early versions of the Commando came with many desirable components, including the “Dauntless” V6, optional TH400 transmission, and full floating Dana 27 front and 44 rear axles.

Under the hood of this Jeepster Commando is a 225.3 cubic inch Dauntless six making 160 HP. That sends power through a three-speed manual to all four wheels. It’s $20,000 from Gateway Classic Cars in Phoenix, Arizona.

1973 International Harvester Loadstar 1700 – $39,000

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Bring a Trailer Seller

The International Harvester Loadstar series of trucks were introduced in 1962. The marque hailed the trucks as the specially designed medium-duty option between IH’s C-Line light-duty pickups and the heavy-hauling R-series. In later years, the Loadstar was the Class 6 and Class 7 option below the International Harvester Fleetstar and Transtar conventional trucks. International Harvester boasted 12 engine options at launch, a 40-degree turning angle, and upgraded cab conveniences.

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This particular 1973 Loadstar 1700 is far from stock. Its stock engine was tossed out for a 383 cubic inch stroker V8, which is paired with a four-speed 700R4 automatic. Those drive a custom-built truck with 22.5″ polished Alcoa wheels shod in Toyo M154 tires up front and Michelin X tires on the duals.

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Bring a Trailer Seller

The truck is slammed thanks to a custom air suspension with Firestone airbags and filled by a Viair compressor. Other bits include a Holley carburetor, an Edelbrock air cleaner, headers, an MSD electronic ignition, and more. I do wonder if the bed is functional. It would be a bummer if it isn’t.

In this truck’s previous life, it was a Northwestern Pacific railroad service truck and an olive field fleet truck. It sold on Bring a Trailer in 2021 for $33,000. Now it’s back up for sale for $39,000 from a seller in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

That’s it for this week, thank you for reading.

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Logan King
Logan King
17 days ago

I’ll note that the weight distribution difference between the C5 and the C4 is barely there, especially considering how much smaller the C4 is and that its various engines are all heavier.. To wit, if you relocate the battery in a C4 from immediately in front of the firewall to one of the rear storage cubbies you’re basically already there. All of the engine is already behind the front axle line (on a car with a much shorter wheelbase) and the entire transmission is basically under your right arm.
The main benefit of the transaxle, and probably why GM was willing to pay for it, was that it shifted all of the dimensions of the transmission out of the footwell of the car and back to space under the cargo floor that would have been taken up by the differential anyway.

Anyway I love the Autozam but 30K is butting up against imported S1 Elise money.

Last edited 17 days ago by Logan King
Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
17 days ago

Nice mix of vehicles I’m not familiar with, but would have any of them if disposable income was available. This is why I come here, thanks Mercedes.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
17 days ago

That Panhard BT17 est très magnifique, vraiment.

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
17 days ago

Love the Jeepster!! The Willys-Overland version (specifically, ’48 – ’49) is my favorite as far as looks, but it’s not a very practical vehicle. I do like what Kaiser did with it, and the classy little grille badge is a nice touch.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
17 days ago

The seller of the awesome Panhard also has a Victoria Spatz microcar, the last car the great Hans Ledwinka worked on. Both of them would make a perfect two car garage.

FrontWillDrive
FrontWillDrive
17 days ago

I also, love the C4. I have a dealership poster of a red one and a black one next to the door of my house. I love the C5 too, and they do definitely feel like different cars than each other, but either one brings joy in my opinion. C6s and C7s are fun, but the older ones are more my era of interest. Working at GM dealers in the past left me with a lot of Corvette experience, which I’m glad to have.

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
17 days ago
Reply to  FrontWillDrive

Me too – the ’85 with TPI and the 4+3 (and no 3rd brake light) is probably my favorite. They had an amazing sound at idle – just low and sinister. Admittedly, that was probably due to factory resonators which impeded flow at higher RPMs, but…

FrontWillDrive
FrontWillDrive
17 days ago
Reply to  Pneumatic Tool

I drove a couple L98 auto cars (we got a Doug Nash in once for service but I couldn’t drive that one) and compared to the 84 CFI we got in on trade (that was immediately relegated to sit in an unmowed field since it ran like crap and nobody could be bothered. I loved the couple of LT4 6 speed cars I got to drive though.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
17 days ago

Thought a lot about trying for a C4 ZR1 or C5 Z06 but ultimately wound up with my first gen BRZ cause I don’t need the extra power but did need a toddler seat.

Delta 88
Delta 88
17 days ago

I’m probably in the minority of people who really love the C4.

There are dozens of us!

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
17 days ago
Reply to  Delta 88

I’ll always love the C4. I’ll never forget when it was released. It looked like a spaceship. And the spinny pop-up headlights were the most rad thing ever.

Delta 88
Delta 88
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

I maintain the C4 is an excellent sleeper car because no one expects them to be fast

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
17 days ago
Reply to  Delta 88

I don’t understand you, but I am glad you exist!

James Mason
James Mason
17 days ago

I am seriously questioning the finishing choices on that Loadstar. Boogery welds and lumpy sheetmetal. It’s not a rat rod. But it’s not nice either. I am guessing it was fabricated by somebody with mechanical talent and vision, but is a total amateur at body work and paint. And, despite the unmolested version boasting a 40º steering angle, this looks like it will maybe go 1-2º with the bags aired down.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
18 days ago

The Panhard with the Commando would make a great 2-car garage.
With maybe the Loadstar around back to pull your retro trailer.

Mike F.
Mike F.
18 days ago

I kinda like that Saratoga. For the price (and with the brakes fixed), it might be a fun pick-up-and-road-trip back sorta thing. Always wanted a car with a push-button transmission.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
18 days ago

I cannot explain why but I want to see that Loadstar drift.

R53forfun
R53forfun
18 days ago

Thank you for helping David out by not including any BMW i3s examples on this list.

Last edited 18 days ago by R53forfun
Toecutter
Toecutter
18 days ago

That Panhard is among the most efficient possible EV conversion donors you could have at a reasonable price. Probably 10-15% less energy consumption than a Honda Insight.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
18 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

An EV conversion would necessarily be called Panhard II: Pan Harder.

Toecutter
Toecutter
18 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

With extra torque from the electric motor for more THRUST.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
18 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Not sure why that made me lol as hard as it did

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
18 days ago

That Jeep is the best way to go commando. And why did Jeep ever stop using that name, it’s perfect?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
18 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

In high school one of my friends had a Commando. He was always asking girls to go commando with him in his Commando. For some reason it never worked out for him though..

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
18 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Guess they weren’t into a commando performance.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
18 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

But once he got a Camaro it was “go time.”

Library of Context
Library of Context
17 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Did his folks drive it up from the Bahamas?

Bite Me
Bite Me
17 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Bring back the Jeepster Commando as a bouncy little hybrid, smaller than the current gen, only 2 door soft top

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