Home » Jeep FJ-3A Fleetvan, Smart Roadster Coupe, Studebaker Wagonaire Daytona: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

Jeep FJ-3A Fleetvan, Smart Roadster Coupe, Studebaker Wagonaire Daytona: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

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Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, I love picking up dirt-cheap cars, motorcycles, and campers, and then telling you lovely readers about the dumb things that I do with them. I’m always looking for the next deal, but most of the time, I’m left empty-handed. At the same time, I love building a list of cars, trucks, and motorcycles that I would buy if I had the money.

Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness turns the long list of vehicles I’d love to buy into something for you all to enjoy. Some of them are cheap and some of them are not. Some of the vehicles I find are purely window shopping for everyone other than a collector like Beau or Myron.

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Due to the holidays and the fast-paced news cycle, I’ve missed a couple of entries. However, we should be back on track now! This week, I’ve limited my finds to $20,000, except for one sweet delivery truck.

Here we go, let’s see what I’ve been thinking about this week.

2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 Wagon – $14,000

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Facebook Seller

The Ferdinand Piëch era of Volkswagen is one of the wildest periods of the automaker’s entire existence. Most of Volkswagen’s famous modern vehicles came from this era, from the XL-1 to the Phaeton and the Touareg V10 TDI. Then there’s the fabled W engine, which has been housed in bedroom poster-worthy cars for over two decades.  The Passat W8 was subject to one of my earliest entries of Holy Grails!

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Here’s how Volkswagen tells the W engine’s story:

The W engine’s journey began in an unlikely place: The Shinkansen express train running between Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan. In 1997, after a conversation with Karl-Heinz Neumann, then head of powertrain development at Volkswagen, Piëch grabbed an envelope and sketched out an idea that had been rolling around in his head for some time. The six-cylinder VR6® engine was in wide use by Volkswagen by the mid-90s; its uniquely offset cylinder banks made it compact enough to fit transversely even in small cars like the Volkswagen Golf. By marrying two of the relatively narrow engines in a further “V,” a compact 12-cylinder could be made. The offset cylinders of the merged VR6 engines formed a “W,” and the nomenclature was born.

A Passat W8 featured Volkswagen’s Torsen-based permanent all-wheel-drive, leather seating, wood trim, and that 4.0-liter W8 ticking under the hood. This engine produces 270 HP and 273 lb-ft torque.

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Facebook Seller

Volkswagen sold 4,931 W8s in America, of which just 424 have manual transmissions. Of that bunch, just 95 are wagons. W8 manual wagons come up for sale from time to time, and all of them are pretty pricey.

This example is one of those super rare six-speed manuals and it sports 171,000 miles on its odometer. The car has spent most of its life outside of the salt belt, so it looks to be in pretty decent shape. Weirdly, the seller undersells how rare this car is. The seller states that the car runs and drives fine, plus there are no warning lights currently on.

It’s $14,000 from the seller in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

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1979 Škoda 120L – $11,000

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Hemmings Seller

Here’s a weird little rear-engined car that you can have right here in America. Reportedly, the Škoda 120, which was also sold as the Estelle, was supposed to be a new front-wheel-drive car. However, the company was cash-strapped in the 1970s, so it didn’t have the funds to develop an entirely new car. Instead, the Czechoslovakian firm built its new car on the rear-engined S100. What you’re looking at there is not a grille, but a panel that’s supposed to make the car look like it has an engine up front. The Škoda 105, Škoda 120 and Škoda 125 launched in 1976.

Apparently, the car was so slow and oversteered so much that the 105/120/Estelle range was mocked. Reportedly, some of Škoda’s current reputation can be traced back to this little car. Despite that, the Estelle and its variants proved to be cheap and durable. As the Moment Magazine writes, the Estelle won the British rally’s under-1300cc class for 17 years. In other words, these cars were a mockery on the street, but a winner on the rally stage. Those motorsport wins and rock-hard durability also helped to thrust Škoda into popularity.

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Hemmings Seller

Time heals a lot of wounds. Now, you can have a Škoda as an oddball collector car. Power comes from a 1174cc four rated for 49.2 HP. That reaches the rear wheels through a manual transmission. This example is said to come with original paint, chrome, and interior, as well as 25,000 miles on the odometer. The seller says the vehicle runs and drives, but beware because you don’t get power anything, not even power brakes. The seller also believes that the best way to cancel out that oversteer problem is by placing a 100-pound bag of sand in the frunk.

It’s $11,000 from the seller in Grand Island, Florida.

1960 Ford Fairlane – $14,000

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Hemmings Seller

As Hagerty writes, the Fairlane debuted in 1955 and the “Fairlane” name reportedly came from Henry Ford’s estate in Dearborn. These sat at the top of Ford’s line and thanks to the Fairlane and other rockstar models, Ford had its best sales year in decades. There were six body styles of the Fairlane and in 1955, the top model was the Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner with its Plexiglas roof.

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In 1960, the Fairlane was redesigned into a longer, leaner, and larger car with a space-age design. The new car rode on a 119-inch wheelbase and Ford positioned the Fairlane toward the bottom of its full-size range. Power comes from a 223 cubic inch straight six making 145 HP. That reaches the rear wheels through a three-speed column shift manual.

The seller of this example says the vehicle has been undercoated for rust prevention. The paint is also said to be original. What is new is the interior, including carpet, headliner, and upholstery. It’s $14,000 from the seller in Watertown, New York with 100,450 miles.

1965 Studebaker Wagonaire Daytona – $19,500

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Facebook Seller

As Mac’s Motor City Garage writes, Studebaker was quickly losing ground in the 1960s, but that didn’t stop it from trying to stay relevant. The Wagonaire was introduced in 1963 and featured a roof like the GMC Envoy XUV would have decades later. The roof was created by famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens for the Scimitar prototype cars of the Olin Corporation. One of those experimental vehicles was a wagon with a sliding roof to allow the vehicle to carry large cargo.

Studebaker, looking for inexpensive ways to set itself apart, had Stevens put the sliding roof on the 1963 Lark Station Wagon, creating the Wagonaire. Like a modern Volkswagen, water leaks were a big deal, and the sliding roof system utilized drains to direct water away from the cabin. As you can imagine, a clogged drain meant a wet interior.

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Facebook Seller

The Daytona trim level was the high-end performance model. Power comes from a 283 cubic inch V8. That’s good for 195 HP and 285 lb-ft of twist. This example has an air-conditioner that was installed by a dealership. It has been in storage for 10 years, but now it’s time for the Wagonaire Daytona to find a new home. It’s $19,500 from the seller in Tallmadge, Ohio. Listing from Obscure Cars for Sale on Facebook.

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1972 BMW R 75/5 – $4,500

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Milpas Motors

I’ve been somewhat obsessed with BMW airheads ever since my purchase of a very teal R60/7. I’m running out of space to store things, so I have to stop myself from running a fleet of these things. So, you should save me from buying this beautiful 1972 BMW R75/5 motorcycle sent in by Hugh Crawford.

The National Motorcycle Museum, which is closed but still has its website, gives us some history:

In late 1969 BMW modernized its boxer twins with the launch of the new “/5” (slash five) series with an all new frame, 12 volt electrical systems, electric starting, telescopic forks and better drum brakes.

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Milpas Motors

The 1970s began a period of quicker model changes for BMW as they were shifting away from their staid traditional appearance, the plunger rear suspension and Earles-style leading link forks then used on most models. BMW even experimented with lighter plastic fenders that helped get the weight of the new /5 down to about 460 pounds. But handling and high speed stability of the new /5 was less than perfect so BMW extended the swingarm in late 1973, then released the completely new /6 in 1974. The /6 was also the basis of the sportier, now highly sought after R90S.

Power comes from a 745 cc air-cooled boxer twin good for 50 HP and 44 lb-ft of torque. This example appears to be pretty clean and features a bikini-style fairing and a cafe racer-style seat. The selling dealership says the motorcycle has 22,222 miles on its odometer. You can get it for $4,500 from Milpas Motors in Santa Barbara, California.

2003 Smart Roadster Coupe – $13,574

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Facebook Seller

Smart Roadsters have been appearing in Mexico and Canada lately. For Smart’s biggest fan, me, it’s so hard to see these cars so close, yet so far. With that said the brilliant minds at the Lane Motor Museum have given me a solid game plan to import the cars I want. You might read about that in the future if it works.

If you’re one of our Canadian readers or have the resources to leapfrog the “25 Year Rule,” then I have a treat for you. This 2003 Smart Roadster Coupe needs a new home. After Smart launched in 1998, the marque decided to show how the concept of super tiny trendy cars could be applied to different types of cars. My retrospective continues:

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In 1999 and 2000, Smart rolled out a design study and then a concept car for a sports car at European auto shows. This sports car would harken back to the British roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s. Where the Fortwo focused on making city driving easy and trendy, the Roadster would hone in on the driving experience.

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Facebook Seller

On the outside, the Roadster looks like nothing else built before or since. Angular plastic panels are contrasted by Smart’s signature safety cell. And at the top of that safety cell is a roof that pops its top for an open-air experience. In more expensive trims, this is a folding arrangement that electrically folds itself back behind the seats. I’d say this car looks even more fashionable than the City Coupe/Fortwo that came before it.

Inside, the interior is similarly distinctively Smart, with gauges sprouting out of a fabric-covered dashboard. Swiveling HVAC pods flank the dash’s sides and the instrument cluster looks like it would be at home on a motorcycle. But the neat part is that underneath, the Roadster has the running gear of a Fortwo.

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Facebook Seller

Power comes from a rear-mounted 700cc Mercedes-Benz M160 Suprex turbocharged three. This is good for 80 HP and power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automated-manual transmission. The seller of this unit says it runs and drives great. Apparently, the car has never been driven in winter, so it doesn’t have rust, either. This example does have 97,555 miles. In terms of Smart longevity, this is fine! Roadster engines are known to start wearing out around 180,000 miles, so you have a while before you have to worry about that.

This Roadster is also the Coupe model, which comes with a glass hatch for a little more cargo volume than the standard car. It’s $18,200 CAD ($13,574 USD) from the seller in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

1963 Jeep FJ-3A Fleetvan – $34,900

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Fuel Required

Now for the one vehicle I’ll allow to exceed the $20,000 limit today. I’ve been in love with the Jeep FJ-3 ever since David Tracy first showed me a forward-control Jeep. Since then, I’ve been looking for one, but they appear to be pretty rare. The ones I usually do find for sale are so far gone they’re best as scrap. Rarely, a running example shows up, but even though are astonishingly rough.

Here’s the nicest Jeep FJ-3A Fleetvan I’ve ever seen for sale. Of course, David has talked about one of these before:

When you hear “FJ,” you naturally think about the old Toyota FJ40s from the 60s. But hold on there pal, because Jeep sold their own FJ from 1961 to 1975.

Not quite an offroader like the Toyota, the FJ “Fleetvan” was the Ford Transit Connect of its day: a stubby little cargo delivery van. It was based on the DJ-3A dispatcher, and was sold by Willys-Overland and Kaiser-Jeep primarily to the U.S. Postal Service. The early models were called FJ-3s and FJ-3As, with the 3A being the longer version of the two.

The FJ-3 stuck around for a few years until a new CJ-6-based FJ-6 replaced it in the mid ‘60s. The FJ-6 was then replaced by the FJ-9 near the end of the FJ’s production run around 1975. All FJ Fleetvans came with the F-Head Hurricane engine and either a 3-speed manual or 3-speed automatic.

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Fuel Required

This example has been given a restoration and it looks fantastic. Honestly, this Jeep might be the only delivery truck I’d want even more than a Grumman LLV. The selling dealership says the restoration is holding up with bright teal paint and not a bit of rust. Power comes from a 2.2-liter F4-134 Hurricane making 75 HP.

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[Ed Note: Fleetvans have always been weirdly expensive, largely due to their commercial value as a work van that can act as cute business-advertising. -DT]. 

It’s $34,900 from Fuel Required in Mcdonald, Pennsylvania with 52,190 miles.

1985 Aston Martin Lagonda – $19,996

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McGinty Motorcars

Yes, the Aston Martin Lagonda on your screen is pretty rusty and also pretty damaged. However, one of these in good nick will command $100,000 or higher. Why is this Lagonda so cheap? Well, in addition to the heavy rust and bad paint, the dashboard is missing some pieces, the carpet is torn and horribly stained, the fuel tank leaks, the windshield is cracked, the tires are dry-rotted, parts are missing, and oh, it hasn’t been on the road since 1997. But hey, it does run and drive! Why should you care? Aston Martin, tell them!

Designed by William Towns, October 1976 saw Aston Martin reveal a striking new model, a new 4 door Lagonda with innovative solid state digital instrumentation, a futuristic concept at the time. Lagonda created a wave of publicity for the company and the order book filled rapidly, particularly from the Middle East market.

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McGinty Motorcars

With initial production levels at one a week it wasn’t until 1979 that the first car was delivered. In 1982 Lagonda was finally cleared for sale in the USA. In 1984, a Long Wheelbase Tickford Limousine version was announced with a TV in the front and rear. A total of 645 chassis were built before the end of production in 1989. Each car required 2,200 man-hours to build and only about 25 were built per year for the U.S. market.

Power comes from a 5.4-liter V8 rated at 280 HP and 360 lb-ft of torque. Obviously, this example isn’t going to be your daily driver, but I’d love to see this Lagonda rescued and brought back to health. If you want to take on the challenge, the Lagonda is $19,996 from McGinty Motorcars in Reading, Pennsylvania with 58,458 miles.

2005 Dodge Ram SRT10 – $18,000

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Kent’s Custom Cars And Trucks

Good news! I found the cheapest running and driving Dodge Ram SRT-10 that has a clean title and no accidents. Bad news, it has an automatic transmission. Some of you may also not be a fan of its four doors. However, it’s a truck with a Viper engine, that’s still really cool! The Ram SRT-10 is an evolution of what was then Dodge’s Performance Vehicle Operations taking regular vehicles and making them seriously quick. In November 2003, Dodge published a high-octane press release:

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There are no doubts, no second guesses and no recounts needed, the ultimate performance pickup is here; and it’s a Dodge. The most powerful and fastest production pickup ever, the new 2004 Dodge Ram SRT10 packs a big Viper punch with a class-demolishing 500 horsepower and 525 lb.-ft. of torque. Topping 150 mph in maximum speed and reaching 60 mph in just over five seconds, Dodge has recalibrated expectations for truck performance.

“With the Ram SRT10, the PVO team set out to create the fastest, most powerful production pickup ever – the ultimate Dodge Ram,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, Chief Operating Officer, Chrysler Group. “The goal at PVO is to out muscle everything in our class through superior engineering and by drawing on our engineers’ vast motorsports experience. That is why this truck can accelerate like a dragster, yet it is not a coarse hot rod.” “Once the idea of putting the 500 horsepower Viper-10 into the Ram was presented, we knew we had to make this truck,” said Dan Knott, Director, Performance Vehicle Operations. “We felt we had an obligation to build this truck, to build something truly great. We knew that no other manufacturer could make this happen, only Dodge and PVO.”

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Kent’s Custom Cars And Trucks

Power comes from an 8.3-liter aluminum V10 borrowed from the Viper and as Dodge so enthusiastically said, it’s churning out 500 horses to the rear wheels. This is a truck that can hit 60 mph in the five-second range and do it while carrying your kids and a couple of dirt bikes.

This example is a Quad Cab and the selling dealership does not comment on its condition. It’s $18,000 from Kent’s Custom Cars And Trucks in Collinsville, Oklahoma with 125,317 miles.

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

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Myk El
Myk El
5 months ago

I love those Smart roadsters. Alas, not Canadian, so I have to wait longer.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
5 months ago

You should not do things like that to me with the Lagonda. I’m a California resident but I happen to be in the Reading area right now. I’ll be good, but I sure don’t want to be.

Torque
Torque
5 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Would be lovely for you to go check it out and report back here. You know assuming you can control yourself, you could take your wife (if she’d be disapproving) or a sensible friend to help your fortitude 🙂

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
5 months ago

The BMW, for $4500, would make a fun vintage club racer. Especially if your local vintage race group would allow a front-end swap with something using disks.

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
5 months ago

A good friend bought a new 1972 R75/5 and sold it to me less than a year later at a pretty good discount. He much more enjoyed riding his older R69S. It looked great with a silver tank and Vetter Windjammer, but just didn’t bring many smiles while riding it.

Is Travis
Is Travis
5 months ago

That SRT10 is right in the range of “Give it a college try” money. The curious might give it a shot, wow what a find.

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