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.
This week, I’ve decided to continue the theme of vehicles on a budget. My target for this run was $10,000 and under. I managed to find attractive American iron, different imports, and even a Holy Grail entry all for under $10,000. Even better, all of the imports are already in America this time! Let’s take a peek.
2008 Volvo C70 T5 – $6,500
Here’s a stylish convertible with a beautiful interior and a manual transmission. Volvo has this to say about the C70:
Through the years, Volvo have offered exclusive coupé cars to discerning customers who want to combine exclusivity with comfort, safety, high performance and good road holding characteristics. The P1800, the 262C and the 780 deserve mention as predecessors to the C70 Coupé. The new C70 Coupé was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1996, and the convertible version followed the year after.
The second generation of the C70 Convertible, simply called C70, was launched at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2005. The aim was to create two cars in one – without compromising on either. A three-piece retractable hardtop transforms the Volvo C70 from coupe to convertible at the touch of a button.
The second-generation Volvo C70 was developed in close cooperation with Pininfarina of Italy. Volvo Cars was responsible for the design, while the development and manufacturing of the new open model took place in collaboration with Pininfarina. Volvo employees from design, construction and purchasing were on site throughout the entire development phase in Turin. Like its predecessor, the Volvo C70 was built at the plant in Uddevalla.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder making 227 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque. That reaches the front wheels through a manual transmission. This 2008 C70 looks to be in decent shape. It’s $6,500 from the seller in Worcester, Massachusetts with 103,000 miles.
Hat Tip to EssExTee!
1963 Ford Fairlane 500 – $8,500
As Hagerty writes, the Fairlane debuted in 1955 alongside the Thunderbird. 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.
In 1962, Ford moved the Fairlane to its then-new senior compact line. The new and downsized Fairlane found itself in a middle ground between longer mainline Fords and the smaller Falcon. As Hagerty notes, the Fairlane was Blue Oval’s answer to the Chevrolet Chevelle and by 1964 Ford injected a handful of Fairlanes with 427 cubic inch V8 power to lay down the ponies.
The seller does not state what engine powers this Fairlane 500, but the fenders say there should be a V8 in there. For a 1963 that could be a 221 cubic inch V8 making 145 HP. There was also a 289 cubic inch V8 with 271 HP on tap and a 260 V8 with 164 HP. This example presents in decent condition with the most obvious fault being paint damage on the hood. It’s $8,500 from the seller in Grand Saline, Texas with 39,500 miles.
1968 Commer Imp Van – $9,500
Here is a van version of the car that went up against BMC’s Mini. The little rear-engined Hillman Imp was innovative for its day and I’ll let the UK’s National Motor Museum explain why:
In the early 1960s the Rootes Group started Project Apex, aiming to design a small car to compete with the BMC Mini. The result was the rear-engined Hillman Imp. The overhead cam, alloy engine was developed by Coventry Climax and drove the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox. Early Imps had an innovative, but unreliable, pneumatically operated throttle. Although tail heavy, the independent front and rear suspension meant Imps handled well. This is believed to be the first production car, chassis number 6.
Hillman Imps, and derivatives like the Singer Chamois and Sunbeam Stileto, were assembled in a purpose-built, Government backed, factory at Linwood in Scotland. Problems with reliability and quality control had an impact on sales. The planned output of 150,000 cars per year was never reached, and only 440,000 Imps had been built by the time production ended in 1976.
Commer Cars Ltd, also a Rootes brand, took the Imp sedan and turned them into itty bitty commercial vehicles. One of these vans made it over to America, where you can buy it today. While 440,032 Imps were made between 1963 and 1976, just 18,194 Commer vans were made between 1965 and 1970. Power comes from an 875cc inline-four making 36 HP. That drives the rear wheels through a manual gearbox.
This one is said to be in good condition and everything works. It’s $9,500 from the seller in Prospect, Tennessee.
1994 Fiat Cinquecento Sporting – $4,999
Here’s a little European import city car that’s a successor to the Polish Fiat 126 and you can buy it right here in America. As Classics World writes, the development of the Fiat 126’s successor began in the 1980s. Poland’s Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych (FSM)-owned BOSMAL created the Beskid 106, from BOSMAL:
BOSMAL was created as a result of the merger of the branch of the Central Construction and Research Centre of the Automotive Industry and the prototype and research department separated from the Mechanical Equipment Factory. The Centre, although formally registered separately, was an addition to the organisational structure established in January 1972 of the Compact Car Factory (FSM). The main tasks of the Centre included development works, ongoing design support for the manufacturing operations as well as all research related to materials, parts and assemblies as well as complete cars. In the initial period, the Centre’s tasks concerned mainly the launch of the transferred manufactre of Syrena (especially the 105 L and BOSTO models), and later the implementation of a Polish FIAT 126p license car.
The beginning of the eighties was, however, a difficult period for the Polish economy, which also influenced the condition of the Centre. Despite developing a comprehensive design of a completely new compact car called Beskid, which could replace The Polish Fiat 126p in the future, employment dropped to 550 people. The hard economic situation of the country and FSM meant that the Beskid project was shut down at the prototype series stage, and FSM in September 1987 signed a license agreement with FIAT for the manufacture of a new compact car – Cinquecento.
The city car launched in 1991 as a product of FSM with a name nodding to the original ’50s Cinquecento. In 1994, the Fiat Cinquecento Sporting launched. The smallest engine available to the Cinquecento was a 704cc two-cylinder that made 31 HP. The Sporting? It got the 1,108cc four from the Punto. That powerplant bumped output up to 54 HP.
Sporting models also came with a close-ratio transmission, lowered ride height, a front anti-roll bar, a tachometer, alloy wheels, and color-coded bumpers. So, your city car was a touch more luxurious and sporty. This 1994 Cinquecento Sporting is said to have 54,053 miles and it looks to be in decent shape. It’s $4,999 from the seller in Prospect Heights, Illinois.
1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer – $6,800
The car buyers of today can find themselves behind the wheel of so many luxury SUVs from the Cadillac Escalade to Jeep’s newest Grand Wagoneers. We live in a reality where you can buy a Porsche SUV that can tow your car to the track and then become your track vehicle when the racecar breaks down. Jeep says it created the lux SUV that started it all with the Wagoneer:
In 1962, the Jeep Brand introduced the Wagoneer—the father of all luxury 4×4 SUVs. Replacing the Willys utility wagon lines, the Wagoneer was designed to provide passenger-car styling, comfort, and convenience with the advantages of four-wheel drive (4WD).
The revolutionary Wagoneer was filled with innovation and industry firsts: the first automatic transmission in a 4×4 vehicle; the first overhead-cam six-cylinder truck engine, the first 4×4 vehicle with an independent front suspension; the first automatic full-time 4×4 system. The revolutionary Quadra-Trac 4×4 system, introduced in 1973, was available in full-size Jeep Brand trucks and wagons, and later in the CJ-7.
Styled by the famed industrial designer Brooks Steven, the Wagoneer captured the public imagination with its modern styling and good looks. The entire line of “Senior” (SJ) vehicles included the Gladiator and J-Series Trucks, Wagoneer Station Wagons, Panel Deliveries, and early Cherokee models. The SJ line was in production for more than 28 years with only minor technical changes and when production ended–was the longest continuous automotive production run, on the same platform, in U.S. automotive history.
Wagoneers in pristine condition will cost you well above $10,000, but I think I found a cheaper one that’s in decent enough shape. This white Grand Wagoneer is said to have no rust, a three-inch lift kit, and a rebuilt steering box. However, the vehicle’s paint appears to be well past its prime. The same can be said for the interior.
Power comes from a 360 cubic inch AMC V8. This was rated for 175 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque when new. It’s $6,800 from the seller in Apple Valley, California.
2004 Jaguar S-Type R – $7,000
When Jaguar released the S-Type in 1998, the car was the brand’s first midsizer in three decades. As Autoweek wrote in 1999, the car was destined to be the brand’s volume seller, but the publication also found that the leather and wood-filled sedan could also be an enthusiast car.
While the exterior of the S-Type was distinctively Jaguar, its underpinnings were more of an international effort. From my piece on the Lincoln LS:
Developed by Ford and Jaguar engineers, the DEW98 platform would find itself underpinning the Jaguar S-Type, Ford Thunderbird, and Jaguar XF. It was supposed to be the underpinnings of the 2005 Ford Mustang as well, though that didn’t happen. Publication the Morning Call notes that the Jaguar S-Type and Lincoln LS share about 40 percent of their parts, yet both development teams worked hard to give both cars entirely different characters.
Jaguar’s engineers gave the S-Type its own suspension bushings, shock absorbers, and springs. The S-Type was also the only one on the platform getting the Jaguar AJ-V8. At launch, it was good for 281 HP and 287 lb-ft of torque. You could also equip an S-Type with a 3.0-liter Ford Duratec V6, which offered up 240 HP and 212 lb-ft of torque.
What we’re looking at today was Jaguar’s ambitious answer to the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG. Introduced in 2003, the Jaguar S-Type R took the car’s biggest engine, the 4.2-liter V8, tossed an Eaton supercharger on top, and used it to punch out 390 HP and 399 lb-ft of torque. The sedan reached 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and raced on to a limited top speed of 155 mph. While the Jag couldn’t beat its German rivals, it did give buyers a sporty experience with British flair.
Sadly, you’re limited to a six-speed automatic, though some owners have gone through the work to swap in a manual transmission. It’s $7,000 from the seller in Barrington, Illinois with 105,000 miles.
1995 Mazda 323F – $9,000
Here’s a chance to own a car featured on our Holy Grails series! Here’s a blurb from my retrospective:
The Lantis, or Astina, has a design reportedly credited to Ginger Ostle, a former Porsche designer known for her work on the Porsche 944. The Lantis was sold as a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Curiously, Mazda marketed the hatch as a “4-door coupé.” In fact, today, Mazda calls it a “five-door hatchback Lantis Coupe” in its own retrospective. So, now you know that Mazda was playing the coupe sedan trick long ago. Still, this is a Mazda from 1994 with a curvaceous body, frameless windows, and an interior with power everything.
Keeping with Mazda’s record of making great handling cars, the Lantis was reportedly taken to the Nürburgring where its handling was refined. On top of that, the vehicle was known for its solid safety for the day.
The 323F was called a 323 even though it didn’t really share the same platform. When this car replaced the Astina after the 1994 model year, the Familia/323 moved to the BH platform. Meanwhile, the 323F rode on the CB platform. This seller is sitting on two Mazda 323Fs. The green one featured here has a 1.8-liter four making 140 HP and a manual transmission. The seller also has a Type R variant with a 2.0-liter V6 making 170 HP, but that one has an automatic transmission and rear end crash damage. Of the two, I’d probably take the green one.
It’s $9,000 from the seller in University City, Missouri with 70,000 miles. If you want to watch a review, Zack Pradel of Shooting Cars reviewed this exact car last year:
2014 Triumph Scrambler – $4,300
The riding season is ending for many of us out east and in the Midwest, but you don’t have to let the fun stop.
In 2006, Triumph rode on the success of its classically styled Bonneville and released another hit. The Scrambler took the bones of the Bonneville and adapted them to styling nodding back to the TR6C of the 1960s. Penned by famed designer John Mockett (responsible for the Triumph Rocket III, Speed Triple, Tiger, T595 Daytona, Bonneville, and Bonneville America), the Scrambler was draped in classic off-road style from its flat seat and high pipes to chrome shocks and rubber fork gaiters. The Scrambler was also Mockett’s mic drop. He worked with Triumph since 1989 and the Scrambler would be his last design.
The resulting motorcycle was a visual stunner. Though, it should be noted that the Scrambler is happier on paved roads than it is in the dirt. Power comes from an 865cc twin making 58 and drinking from fuel injection. This example comes with mods such as off-road tires, aftermarket exhaust, aftermarket grips, a clutch kit, and more. It’s $4,500 from the seller in Monticello, Florida with 40,488 miles.
1950 DeSoto Custom – $6,500
DeSoto was a brand that fell from grace quickly and never got the chance to see the modern day. As Hagerty writes, the brand went from doing well to being discontinued in just three years.
In 1928, Walter P. Chrysler started DeSoto and the brand took its name from Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto. Notably, Chrysler’s DeSoto wasn’t the first car brand to carry the name, as the de Soto Motor Car Company was created in Iowa in 1912. A subsidiary of the Zimmerman Manufacturing Company, it was eventually bought by the Auburn Automobile Company. Anyway, DeSoto existed as a marque to compete with Oldsmobile, Studebaker, and Hudson. Sales of the Chrysler-owned DeSoto were great out of the gate, and Chrysler positioned DeSoto to be an upscale marque.
In 1949, the DeSoto Custom represented the higher end of the line, and opting for one got you a nicer interior than the Deluxe. One of the features advertised by DeSoto during this era was a rust-proofed body. Another notable feature is the folding rear seats.
This 1950 DeSoto Custom is said to be in original condition, including an original 236.7 cubic inch Chrysler straight six. That’s rated at 112 HP and pushes power to the rear wheels through a Fluid Drive semi-automatic transmission. It’s $6,500 from the seller in East Orange, New Jersey with 95,000 miles.
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.
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