Welcome back! Today we’re going back to cars that look like cars, with a couple of cheap and fairly easy projects. I won’t apologize for yesterday’s madness; you know what they say about a little nonsense now and then. It’s probably a foregone conclusion, but let’s see what you picked:
I’m not shocked: it’s the Monkey. That Ranger is good for parts, or continuing on with the experiments begun by the seller, but it will never be a truck again. The Honey-I-Shrunk-The-Honda is ready to go, even if it is a little bit overpriced.
Today’s choices can’t be called overpriced; the asking price for each of them is only a grand. There’s more to spend, however, as both have been sitting for a while, and will need a little money and time poured into them before they’re ready to rock. But they’re not far off, really. Let’s check them out.
1966 Dodge Coronet – $1,000
Engine/drivetrain: 318 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Odometer reading: unknown
Runs/drives? “Ran a few years ago”
Yes, it’s another big slab-sided Mopar. I make no apologies; I love these things, and therefore you must at least tolerate them from time to time. This time it’s Dodge’s version, the Coronet (meaning small crown, not to be confused with “cornet,” meaning small trumpet), in basic four-door sedan form. It’s powered by Chrysler’s “poly” 318 V8 and the ubiquitous Torqueflite automatic transmission.
This car doesn’t currently run, but the seller says it was running fairly recently, and the underhood photo is encouraging. The intake, carb, distributor, alternator, and radiator all look new, and maybe the water pump as well. My guess is that they put some money into getting the car running, then life got in the way and it got parked again. It happens. But with all those shiny parts already nestled in their new homes, it shouldn’t be too hard to follow David’s new number-one project car rule: Get it running, get it on the road, and then work on the rest of it.
And the rest of it, honestly, is pretty encouraging. The body is straight, and impressively rust-free for Minnesota. The side trim is off, but I bet it’s all in the “boxes of parts” that are included. Obviously the interior needs some work, but carpet is easy, and junkyard seats aren’t hard to come by. Save the original bench to reupholster later if you want.
This looks like one of those cars that you could revive, then tinker with a little at a time, showing off your latest handiwork to the folks at cruise nights and Cars & Coffee each time you get a little more done. And in the meantime, you get a comfy old V8 sedan to rumble around in.
1992 Saab 9000CD Turbo – $1,000
Engine/drivetrain: Turbocharged 2.3 liter dual overhead cam inline 4, four-speed automatic, FWD
Location: Brooklet, GA
Odometer reading: 162,000 miles
Runs/drives? Nope; parked 4 years ago
But maybe V8 rumble isn’t your thing, and if not, what the hell is wrong with you? Just kidding; I’ve got you covered. Here we have one of Saab’s lesser-known hits, the 9000CD sedan. The 9000 was an exercise in platform-sharing with Fiat, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo, which each produced their own versions of this car. In the grand Swedish tradition of safety, the 9000 features a stronger structure for better crash protection and is therefore heavier than its wispier Italian cousins.
This 9000 has a way of dealing with the extra heft: a turbocharger. This added fifty horsepower to the Saab’s four-cylinder engine. This one sends that power to the front wheels through a ZF four-speed automatic instead of a manual, but hey, you can’t have everything.
This Saab has been sitting for four years, due to the owner’s illness. Apparently things aren’t going to improve, so they’re selling the car instead of letting it sit any longer. It ran and drove well when parked, and from the photos it looks like they got it started again, but four years is a long time. The fuel has gone bad, the brakes are likely rusty (and possibly even frozen), and it almost certainly needs a new battery. The seller notes that the tires were new when it was parked, but look dry-rotted now, so they should probably be replaced as well.
This Saab also has a pretty serious aftermarket stereo in it. Whether it actually sounds good is a matter of personal taste, I suppose; I can’t stand really heavy bass in a car, so that giant subwoofer box doesn’t look like my cup of tea at all. But it’s a cheap enough price of entry that you could justify spending a little to make it your own.
Cars don’t like sitting; I can tell you that from first-hand experience. My MGB sat for decades before being rudely awakened by the person I bought it from, and I ended up replacing a lot of parts to make it run reliably again. But these two haven’t been idle for that long, and both look like they were cared for before being put away, so reviving either one shouldn’t be too much of a chore. But the time to do it is now, before the forces of entropy take hold. So which will it be – the American tank, or the turbo Swede?
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)
Turbo Saab for me. Ditch the stupid oversized wheels with stock ones and then fix whatever is wrong and you’ll have a car that is decently good to live with and use regularly.
The Dodge is a far better long term investment.
Tough choice in my opinion. The Dodge will almost certainly be easier to make right mechanically, but the interior, sorry, but both Ng about making the insides of that Dodge livable would be easy, ok maybe the carpet, but everything else is going to be hunting down presumably unobtanium parts like the dash and door cards. The Saabs were interesting car, they were fast for their day, roomy, kind of a thinking man’s car. They were also pretty ugly and easily mistaken for GM car of similar era once the all started sliding down the slippery slope of entropy. Still, I would take my chances with the Swede.
The Saab, if for no other reason than the 9000s don’t get enough love compared to their more common 900 siblings or the more recent 9-3/9-5 sedans.
Yes on the Dodge Coronet!! I have a ‘66 Coronet 500 Hdtp coupe I got from grandma when I was in college back in ‘85. Slant 6 is an engine u can’t kill. Still have it. Getting chrome, etc. is tough but doable since we have so many FB groups.
I know these were built, but I always find it jarring to see a Saab without a hatch. Add to that those stupid wheels and I fear I will have nightmares just from seeing this.
Just because the Dodge is in prime-rust belt terriroty and the Saab is in Georgia… I’ll take the SAAB.
These Saabs are quirky, and can have plenty of small issues, but saabs of this era can just keep going even after they are beat up. Wish it was a manual, but the automatics were either ZF or Aisin on these Saabs so they hold up decently well. Just gotta budget for probably a new replacment turbo, ignition cassette, fuel filter, etc….
Saabs make very good winter beaters, and 9000’s were used by police in wintery areas.
Read my mind, the car being from Georgia will not have rust issues like a car from St. Louis. Also, you could probably sell the rims and tires to get the correct factory rims.
true, or some 9000 aero style rims… some of those looked really cool in 3 spoke dark gray.
The 3 spoke are my favorite, looked good sitting still or rolling…
Maybe someone can correct me, but it sure looks like the Saab has a NY registration sticker on the windshield. I see it has GA plates, but looks like it was in NY at some point.
ah… ok… that’s a red flag
Perhaps but the thickness and strength of 1966 steel was far better than that of the Swedish coke cans used in the Saab.
Today I’ll hang with the Dodge boys.
My past ownership of full-size MoPars includes two (2) Furies and a Chrysler Newport Custom: 318, 360, 383.
They were all good machines and very forgiving of a ham-handed teenager/twenty-something.
Old Home Day.
Am I crazy or are there no links to the actual vehicles for sale? Or am I crazy to expect to find them?
the headers are the links
The Saab is fine, but the Coronet – yes, please. The Coronet brings back very fond memories of my best friends’ winter beater ’65 Coronet with a 383, 4-bbl carb, and a manual transmission. His Spitfire was for summer use, and come colder weather time he would put the spitty away and we would hammer all over the place in “The Beast”. Four wheel drifts in the snow, one or two excursions into a cornfield, rust holes in the rear fenders… but that 383 – low end torque for days. Good times.
One of these is much easier to wrench on than the other