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.
Some readers have complained that I have gone too far from my roots. Indeed, my car-finding series did start off with a hard limit of $10,000. Admittedly, I began to feel like I was missing out on some real gems, so I expanded the series to higher price limits and sometimes no limits at all.
In honor of what I used to do, this week has just one vehicle above $10,000! Let’s check these rides out.
2001 Audi TT Quattro Roadster – $4,200
My old Audi TT was a basket case, but I still miss it. If I could buy my dream TT, it would be another first-generation model but with a convertible top and the rare baseball glove-like interior. Oh yeah, check the interior of this bad boy out!
My ideal TT would also be yellow or blue, but I’d take silver to get that interior in good shape. Here’s what Audi has to say about the original TT:
1995: the Audi TT concept car
At the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main, Audi presented the first Audi TT as a concept sports car with high suitability for everyday use. Technical Development with a team of Audi designers had developed the concept for a sporty Coupé in the shortest conceivable time. In November 1995, the Roadster version made its premiere as a TTS concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show. The outer lines of the two show cars followed the German philosophy, and recalled the rounded shapes of the pre-War racing cars and post-War sedans of Auto Union. The interior rested on the principle of “as much as necessary and as little as possible.” The TT concept cars were very well received as forward-looking innovations and the embodiment of revolutionary automotive design. Audi kept a low profile for many years regarding possible production of the two model versions, however.
1998: the first generation of the Audi TT
Closely based on the show car, the production model with its formally coherent design idiom has remained a milestone of innovative automotive design to the present day. Its aspiration was clear in the tiniest of details: aluminum elements in the interior, progressive wheel design, a short, spherical gear knob and round, closely spaced tailpipes. For the first time, Audi employed the quick-as-lightning dual-clutch transmission in a production model – the so-called S tronic. Power output ranged from 110 kW (150 hp) to 184 kW (250 hp).
This TT presents in overall good shape with the baseball glove interior intact, clean wheels, and just 110,000 miles. The only damage to note is a cracked front bumper. Power comes from a 1.8-liter turbo four driving all four wheels (though, primarily the front ones) through a manual transmission. It’s unclear if that engine is the 180 HP tune or 225 HP tune. It’s $4,200 from the seller in Firestone, Colorado.
1969 GMC 1000 – $11,500
The first generation of General Motors’ C/K line of trucks launched in 1960, replacing the Task Force series trucks. In Chevrolet’s naming scheme, “C” denotes rear-wheel-drive while “K” means four-wheel-drive. Second-generation trucks were launched in 1967 and Chevrolet says that “Action Line” trucks added comfort and convenience features to make the C/K line to better fit the types of customers that were buying them. The body was given a new design, too. Chevrolet mentions some fun facts from when this line was introduced, like the fact that a gallon of gas was $0.33 ($3.08 today) or that a whole house was $24,600 ($229,569 today).
This GMC 1000 comes painted in a beautiful shade of green with white as a two-tone color. The truck presents in mostly good condition and even includes a clean bed, but rust is beginning to bubble on the cab’s drip rail. Power comes from a 350 cubic-inch V8 good for 250 HP and 350 lb-ft torque. That power reaches the rear end through a Tremec five-speed manual and a Positraction rear end. It’s $11,500 from the seller in Encino, California with 80,000 miles.
1996 Nissan Rasheen – $6,300
The vehicle originally in this spot was a Honda Life from the Import Guys, but it looks like that car was already featured in a Shitbox Showdown. So, here’s another interesting JDM car. This one’s larger than Kei-class, so you can even own it in some of the states that currently hate Kei vehicles. This is a vehicle our friends at the Lane Motor Museum have written about:
As the popularity of Sport Utility Vehicles (or SUVs) grew in the 1990s, Nissan realized it needed a small four-wheel drive SUV to augment sales of its larger Nissan Patrol. First shown as a prototype at the 1993 Tokyo Auto Show, the Rasheen was initially offered with a 1.5L, 104hp GA15DE-code engine, and shared its platform with the Nissan Sunny (known as the Sentra in North America). With its angular and quirky body styling, it was reminiscent of Nissan’s earlier “Pike” designed cars. The Rasheen was never marketed outside of the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM).
The light off-roader came standard with Nissan’s ATTESA viscous coupling system, sending torque to the wheels that needed it based on traction conditions. A larger 1.8L engine with 125hp came in 1997, followed in July 1998 by an optional 2.0L, 143hp engine in the Rasheen Forza edition. Nissan ended production of the Rasheen in 2000, replacing it with the X-Trail. Previously only a JDM product, the current generation of X-Trail (2013-present day) is sold in the US as the Rogue.
Power comes from a 1.5-liter GA15DE four making 104 HP. That’s driving all four wheels through an automatic transmission. It’s $6,300 from our friends at the Import Guys in Ferndale, Washington with 71,000 miles and change.
1961 Bianchi Motociclo Tattico MT 61 – $6,534
Bianchi is a name known for its performance bicycles, but for 70 years of its existence, it also built motorcycles. Edoardo Bianchi was an Italian inventor and pioneer who built his first bicycle in 1885. In 1897, Bianchi would create his first motorcycle and three years later, his first car. Bianchi would then build cars until 1939 and motorcycles until 1967. Over the years, Bianchi would build race-winning motorcycles as well as become captive imports sold in America by Montgomery Ward as Riverside motorcycles.
This Bianchi Motociclo Tattico MT 61, or Tactical Motorcycle, was a military motorcycle made by Bianchi in the 1960s. It was designed to get through some of the toughest terrain as well as ford deep water. MT 61s feature high fenders, a high-mounted air intake, a water-resistant electrical system, and a high-mount exhaust, as well. Power comes from a 318cc engine making 10.5 HP. It’s good for a top speed of 55 mph.
This example is for sale by Ruote Da Sogno s.r.l. in Italy for about $6,534. True mileage is unknown.
1955 Austin A30 – $7,325
The Austin A30 was launched at the October 1951 Earls Court Motor Show as a competitor to the Morris Minor. At the time, Austin marketed the vehicle as “New Austin Seven” with a price of £507, or £13,168 today. The car went on sale in May 1952. Reportedly, the car’s clay model was designed by Bob Koto, a designer from Raymond Loewy styling studio, but Austin’s Dick Burzi ended up penning the final design.
One highlight of the Austin A30 was its chassis-free unitized construction. It wasn’t the first car with unitized construction, but, reportedly, the Austin went with no chassis at all while some other cars were creating unibodies by welding chassis to bodies.
This 1955 Austin A30 comes with an 803cc four-cylinder making 38 HP and is attached to a manual transmission. It’s said to be original and has just 26,091 miles on its odometer. The car is about $7,325 from Carrosso Classic & Sportscars in the Netherlands.
1991 Alfa Romeo 164 S – $9,999
As Hemmings writes, Alfa Romeo began developing a new executive car in the 1970s when it was still an independent company. At the time, Fiat, Lancia, and Saab were also looking to create their own large sedans as well. Those three brands would end up working together on what would become the Tipo Quattro platform. Cars riding on this platform would be the Fiat Croma, the Lancia Thema, and the Saab 9000. The Alfa Romeo 164 would join its platform mates and ultimately, Alfa would join the Fiat umbrella.
The 164, sometimes called the last true Alfa, stood out from its platform siblings with styling inside and out from Pininfarina. These front-wheel-drive sport sedans also made it over to America between 1991 to 1995 of its 1987 to 1997 production run. This 1991 model is a 164 S, which is a sport version donning sport seating, a sport suspension, a body kit, and sport wheels. Power comes from a 3.0-liter V6 making 200 HP and 189 lb-ft torque. That firepower reaches the front wheels through a manual transmission. Car and Driver reported that these sedans can hit 60 mph in under 7 seconds and it seems like these are regarded as driver’s cars.
This one is described as being in daily driver condition. The seller says the air-conditioner doesn’t work, the airbag light is on, and the header panel for the sunroof is damaged. It’s $9,999 from the seller in Denver, Colorado with 124,500 miles.
1962 Mercury Meteor – $7,000
The Meteor was a model that came and went in a blink of an eye. The story of the Meteor starts with Canada, and I’ll let Ford of Canada explain:
A June 25, 1948 press release stated, “The Mercury and Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited announced today that it would shortly introduce a brand new automobile in the low-priced field, to be known as the ‘Meteor.’ It will be exclusive to the Canadian market and will be distributed by the Mercury and Lincoln dealers across the Dominion.”
Meteor followed the Mercury 114 format, which was to use the Ford body with a Mercury grille. Instead of Ford’s “propeller” grille, Meteor used a Mercury style grille. In addition, a wide chrome border surrounded the upper part of the grille cavity. At each end of the grille was a small arrow-shaped point which contained Ford-like parking lights.
Meteor spelled in chrome block letters above the grille identified this new car. The name also appeared across Mercury shaped hubcaps. On the deck lid, a round Meteor medallion appeared above the trunk handle. Otherwise, Meteor’s exterior was about identical to Ford’s. Inside, the Ford style instrument panel added a chrome star with a tail on the right end. Under the hood was Ford’s 239 cid V-8, now rated at 100 hp.
1961 marked the end of the Ford-based Meteor. The United States also got its own full-size Meteor in 1961. The Meteor we’re looking at today was the very briefly-lived Intermediate Meteor, which sold from 1962 to 1963. It was a counterpart to the Ford Fairlane and given futuristic pod taillights. Mercury marketed the car as being a small car with a lot of room and a dash of luxury.
Power comes from a 221 cubic inch Windsor V8 making 145 HP and bolted to a Merc-O-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission. The seller says the whole car is in original shape and is a survivor that runs and drives.
It’s $7,000 from the seller in Iron Mountain, Michigan with 91,349 miles.
1965 Honda CB160 Diesel Swap – $2,000
If you haven’t noticed, I love writing about diesel motorcycles. Sadly, every one I find is usually prohibitively expensive. Maybe if I can’t find a cheap Royal Enfield Diesel, perhaps I could buy a diesel-swapped bike? That’s what this 1965 Honda CB160 is offering.
As the American Motorcyclist Association writes, the 1965 Honda Sport CB160 is a development of the 1959 Honda CB92 Benly. That motorcycle had a tiny 125cc twin, a pressed steel frame, a pressed steel swingarm, and leading-link forks. The CB160 was a step forward with a steel tube frame, traditional swingarm, and telescopic forks. This technology was trickled down from Honda’s larger models such as the 305cc CB77 Super Hawk from 1961. For the price of $530 in 1965, a young motorcyclist could ride home on a motorcycle with modern style and a 161cc twin making 16.5 HP. This was good for a top speed of up 75 mph.
This CB160 has seen its twin removed for a 406cc Yanmar clone diesel engine. Power reaches the rear wheel through a Comet 400 CSC Series centrifugal clutch. The builder calls the motorcycle the Honda DX400 experiment. Apparently, the engine is good for 10 HP and a top speed of about 60 mph.
It’s $2,000 from the builder in Perris, California.
1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata – $7,000
I’ve been looking for a fun drop-top to replace a car currently for sale in my fleet. I keep wanting to buy a Miata, but the vast majority of them here in the Midwest appear to be modified beyond belief or total rust buckets. If you, like me, have forgotten what a stock Miata looks like, take a look at this!
Here’s what Mazda has to say about the second generation of the Miata, known as the NB:
The MX-5 Miata is a symbol of Mazda’s car-making philosophy, “Jinba Ittai,” which means horse and rider as one and expresses the type of fun-to-drive roadster engineers have intended to build since day one of the vehicle’s inception. Since its debut in 1989, the model has consistently offered driving fun that can only be experienced in a lightweight sports car and because of this, it has won the admiration of people from various countries, cultures and age groups.
The second generation MX-5 (NB) debuted at Tokyo Motor Show in 1997 and went on sale as a 1999 model year. The NB saw a number of limited editions, including a high-performance turbocharged model and a coupe version in Japan. In 2000, the MX-5 was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s best-selling convertible two-seater sports car.
Improvements found in the NB include slightly more power and a glass window for the convertible top. Sadly, the rad pop-up headlights were also lost. This 1999 NB is an example of a mostly stock Miata with minor modifications including a chrome rollbar and a cold air intake. Power comes from a 1.8-liter four making 140 HP. That reaches the rear wheels through a manual transmission. It’s $7,000 from the seller in Indio, California with 116,000 miles.
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.
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