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.
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.
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)