Home » An Exotic Drop-Top, French Weirdness, a Seriously Cool Scooter, And Six More Fantastic Finds: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness

An Exotic Drop-Top, French Weirdness, a Seriously Cool Scooter, And Six More Fantastic Finds: 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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This week, I’m doing a theme and I’m calling it Import Fever. Most, but not all of the vehicles in this round were imported from another country. Even the three vehicles in the title represent three different countries. I didn’t set a price limit this time around and a couple of choices are just for fun! Join me in my madness for finding vehicles I want to buy and drive.

1965 Datsun 410 – $6,500

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Here’s a pretty wagon from Japan, one that the seller says is mostly original, save for a repaint at some point in the car’s past. Here’s what Nissan has to say about the 410:

The second-generation Bluebird, the 410 (1200/1000), was launched in September 1963; its lightweight yet highly rigid monocoque body and European styling are distinctive. In October 1964, the radiator grille was made finer, and the bumper overrider was changed to a thinner design. It became the 411 in May 1965 when the engine was upgraded to 1,300cc (Type J).

The Datsun 411 was produced from 1965 to 1967 and featured a body designed by Italy’s famed Pininfarina studio. It shared its 96-horsepower 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with the sporty Datsun 1600 Roadster and featured standard front disc brakes and 13-inch wheels and tires. Car and Driver magazine, in its May 1967 review said, “From what we were able to deduce, it handles creditably well, though its makers have a lot to learn about the subtleties of shock absorber calibration.”

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Power comes from a 1.3-liter four making 67 HP and drives the rear wheels through a manual transmission. As I noted before, this example is said to be original save for the paint and wear items including the alternator and muffler. It’s $6,500 from Edmonton, Alberta, with 65,000 miles.


1991 Chevrolet Caravan – $36,900

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Facebook Seller

Do not adjust your glasses and do not touch that reply button. This funky wagon really is called the Caravan and as you can guess, it wasn’t sold in America. Instead, this is a product of Brazil! It’s also one with long legs given a production run lasting from 1968 to 1992.

The Chevrolet Caravan is the wagon version of the Chevy Opala, which was one of Chevrolet do Brasil’s most popular models. Reportedly, the Opala was the choice of citizens as well as taxi drivers and the Brazilian Federal Police and it remains a very popular car even today. The Opala gets its bones from the German Opel Rekord Series C and the Opel Commodore, but engines from North America, including a 153 cubic inch four and a 230 cubic inch straight six.

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Power comes from a 4.1-liter carbureted straight-six good for 120 HP, which drives the rear wheels through a manual transmission. It’s $36,900 from the seller in Pompano Beach, Florida. The seller claims the vehicle is in original condition with just 32,376 miles.

1992 Mitsubishi Pajero XR-II – $13,300

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Andy Lilienthal

If you’re looking for a capable off-roader that’s a little different than what you could buy in the United States, the Mitsubishi Pajero is a terrific choice. Here’s what Mitsubishi says about the second generation of its venerable off-roader:

Pajero (Montero, Shogun) was launched in January 1991 after the full model change in nine years. The first-generation Pajero had enjoyed wide-reaching popularly both in Japan and other markets as a full-feature four-wheel drive vehicle delivering all-terrain capabilities while also integrating the more urban amenities of a passenger car. The Pajero was offered in four body types – metal top, mid-roof, kickup roof, J-top – to accommodate diversifying user needs and brought significant improvements in performance, comfort and safety. It was powered by uprated 3.0 L V6 and 2.5L intercooled dieselturbo engines mated to either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions.

In terms of functional components, the Pajero saw the introduction of the world-first Super Select 4WD that delivered the benefits of both full- and part-time four-wheel drive by allowing the driver to switch between 2WD and 4WD modes while on the move at speeds under 100 km/h. This system was joined by Multi-mode ABS which responded to all Super Select 4WD modes. In July 1993, new 3.5L V6 and 2.8L intercooled dieselturbo engines were added to the lineup. In May 1997, the Pajero Wide models were fitted with wheel arch and a new high-efficiency 3.5L V6 GDI engine joined the lineup. In September of that year, the company introduced the Pajero Evolution in response to changes in entry requirements for the Paris-Dakar Rally. Powered by the high-performance 3.5L V6 GDI MIVEC engine, with a more rigid and lightweight body, increased width with the use of over fenders and with all-round independent suspension, the Pajero Evolution combined all-terrain capability with on-road comfort.

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Andy Lilienthal

This Pajero XR-II is being sold by Andy Lilienthal of Crankshaft Culture. The SUV has a ton of mods, including an engine swap. The original Mitsubishi 4D56T turbodiesel cracked, so the Lilienthals replaced it with a Hyundai D4BF, a modernized version of the Mitsubishi engine built under license. It’s unclear how much power this setup is making, but blog posts about the off-roader seem to suggest that it goes down the road just fine.


Other mods include dual batteries, a Warn Jeep bumper, a Warn winch, LED lighting, adjustable shocks, Nitto Ridge Grappler tires, custom Wanderlust Overland rock sliders, and more. It’s a rad off-roader that appears to have been made even better. Lilienthal notes that the XR-II has been featured in a list of publications and has gotten dirty all over the West. The price for this is $13,300 from Andy Lilienthal in Portland, Oregon, with 103,114 miles.

2005 SsangYong Chairman CM600L – $8,668

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If this South Korean executive limo looks like a Mercedes-Benz to you, it’s not because it’s a clone of a Mercedes. This fabulous limo has Mercedes bones! Yes, its build date makes this limo a bit too new for most Americans to import, but I was so captivated by the sight of this SsangYong that I had to include it.

As the story goes, South Korean car manufacturer had a relationship with Daimler since 1991. Thus, SsangYong was able to benefit from platforms and engines from the German marque. This led to the development of the blocky Musso SUV. SsangYong also sold the Istana, a Mercedes-Benz MB100 with a new badge. Mercedes engines and transmissions also found their way into the Korando, Kyron, and Rexton SUVs.

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SsangYong launched the Chairman in 1997 as a high-end luxury sedan. At the top of the Chairman range was this, the CM600L limousine. As contributor Tycho de Feijter wrote for Car News China in 2014, the Chairman rode on the Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class platform that dated back to the 1980s, but has styling inspired by the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class.

Despite the dated platform, the Chairman CM600L was full of features that would be luxurious today. Features included heated and ventilated rear seats, heated and cooled rear cupholders, power rear seats, electric window shades, folding tables, folding footrests, leather, and heat for the front seats. Not bad! Power comes from a Mercedes 3.2-liter straight-six making 217 HP that’s mated to an automatic transmission.


It’s 13,990 NZD, which works out to $8,668. The hard part will be getting this 26,100-mile limo from Auckland, New Zealand to wherever you live. Listing courtesy of Obscure Cars For Sale.

1940 LaSalle Series 52 Touring Sedan – $33,000

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Classic Auto Mall

LaSalle was another one of those luxury marques that came and went before many Autopians were even born. Back in the 1920s, General Motors was a pioneer in pricing vehicles on a ladder. Alfred P. Sloan noticed that there were gaps in GM’s pricing strategy, leading to what is known as the “companion car” program. Oakland launched Pontiac in 1926. In 1927, it was time to fill the large gap between Buick and Cadillac. Sloan picked up then-freelancer Harley Earl to design what would be Cadillac’s lower marque, LaSalle. The Henry Ford notes that the 1927 LaSalle is considered to be the first mass-produced car to have been “styled” by a designer.

LaSalle was a short-lived make. How long did the brand last? Well, this 1940 LaSalle Series 52 comes from the brand’s last year in operation. It’s reported that while LaSalle sold more units than Cadillac, it still sold fewer units than the Packard One-Twenty.

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Classic Auto Mall

In 1940 LaSalle sold two model lines, the slab-sided Series 50 and the low and wide Series 52 with Harley Earl’s “torpedo” design. Check out how those sealed beam headlights are integrated into the fenders! Power comes from a 322 cubic inch V8 making 125 HP. The engine is bolted to a three-speed manual and drives the rear wheels. The selling dealership, Classic Auto Mall, doesn’t specify how original the car is, but it has a lot of original parts and 14,313 miles. It’s said the original owner was a professor at Harvard.

It’s $33,000 from Classic Auto Mall in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.


1995 Citroën ZX 2.0i Volcane – $3,800

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Here’s a funky French car that you can own right here in America. This vehicle sold on Cars & Bids last year for $3,500. Now it’s for sale again for slightly more. Here’s what Citroën says about the little car:

Compact and modern, the ZX becomes a motor industry benchmark for several reasons. It comes at just the right time in 1991 to fill the gap between the AX and BX models, providing a mid-range product to replace the Visa and GSA no longer in production. Proudly re-establishing its positioning on this segment, Citroën is praised by the press and by its customers.

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The ZX filled in a hatch void left behind by the aforementioned vehicles in 1987. It went up to bat against the Ford Escort, Vauxhall Astra, and Volkswagen Golf. Most ZX examples looked pretty boring, but the sporty ZX, the Volcane, stood out. One way it was different from other ZX models was with the interesting slopes around the window lines. The also Volcane offered a lower and stiffer suspension than other ZX trims. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four making 119 HP, which drives the front wheels through a manual transmission.

It’s $3,800 from the seller in Highland, Michigan, with 111,928 miles.

1994 TVR Chimaera – $36,000

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TVR is famous for building wild cars that are just a bit daft and in a good way. It’s always exciting to find one on American soil, and this Chimaera looks like a fun ride. The Chimaera filled the grand tourer spot in the TVR lineup and rumor has it, one of the vehicle’s designers was a dog. Here’s how TVR tells the story:

With direct lineage to the Griffith, the Chimaera has proven to be the most prolific of all TVR models to date. Production commenced in 1991 and continued through to 2003 with five main iterations of the model, namely the Chimaera 400, 400HC, 430, 450 and 500. Approximately 6,000 Chimaeras were built in total.

Infamously, Peter Wheeler’s beloved German Pointer, Ned, is often credited for assisting with the design of the Chimaera. As Peter Wheeler was quoted at the time “Yeah, he was charging about as usual and took a bite out of the polystyrene model of the Chimaera we had on the table.” Allegedly, instead of being sent to the dog house this creative input was subsequently incorporated into the design of the indicator recesses!

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Power comes from a 4.0-liter V8 good for 240 HP. This is good for a sprint to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and as far as driving aids go, that’s all on you because there isn’t traction control or ABS. The seller says this example was a show car, so its paint is in immaculate condition. The underbody also looks pretty clean. It’s $36,000 from the seller in Yorkville, Illinois, with 78,012 miles.


2003 Mercedes-Benz CL600 – $11,499

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There is not a month that goes by that I do not dream of owning a German V12 luxobarge of some kind. Usually, I focus on the BMW 750iL and the BMW 850i, but Mercedes also built some worth drooling over. This CL600 looks like a great ride.

The CL-Class was introduced in 1992 as the coupe version of the S-Class, replacing the SEC of the past. The first-generation CL-Class was based on the W140 platform and ran until 1998, then came the C215. In a retrospective, Mercedes-Benz is particularly proud of the C215’s technology:

A driving feeling as if you are floating: that’s how the new Mercedes-Benz CL of the C 215 model series inspired 20 years ago. For in the luxury class coupé, the Active Body Control (ABC) chassis system developed by Mercedes-Benz celebrated its world premiere. It is amongst the most important innovations for active safety by the Stuttgart brand. ABC minimises pitching and rolling of the body, increases safety reserves and bolsters the freedom from fatigue of the driver. The system was developed in the 1990s in the company’s research department and, thanks to its high level of effectiveness, was directly implemented into a series vehicle. Back then, engineer Frank Knothe was responsible for this and later became the model series head of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, SL and SLK. Knothe remembers: “With the Active Body Control (ABC) system, we began a new chapter of comfort in conjunction with active handling when driving a car. Series development was a great challenge due to the short time frame. But, given the result, it was more than worth it.”

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Facebook Seller

The CL-Class launched in 1999 with a 306 HP, followed by a new V12 the year after. Mercedes-Benz said the V12 was able to get better fuel economy than a V8 thanks to its cylinder deactivation technology. That was just the tip of the iceberg of a car that had luxuries including optional stone trim and an early version of radar cruise control.

The seller doesn’t say what features this 2003 CL600 has, but I adore the color and it’s one of perhaps a few of these I’ve found in the country that hasn’t been modded to death. The interior looks just as good as the exterior does. This example has 127,433 miles on its odometer and it looks like the plastic belly tray has come loose a little bit. It’s $11,500 from the seller in Springfield, Missouri.

1958 Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon – $3,500

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Facebook Seller

In the years after World War II, Japanese citizens were in a need to get around. While the government spurred growth in the automotive industry, others were already getting around on two wheels. The Honda Super Cub is perhaps the most famous post-war Japanese vehicle, but scooters were out there as well. The very first Silver Pigeon scooter was a Japanese version of a small scooter used by the U.S. military in the war. From Mitsubishi:


Kojiro Maruyama, an engineer at General Motors, had bought a scooter back with him from America. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was so impressed, we invited him to join us and start work on a Japanese-made version.

The first prototype was completed in 1946. It was powered by a 112cc 4-stroke side-valve air-cooled single-cylinder engine developing 1.5 PS. The scooter was named the Silver Pigeon and went into mass production at the beginning of 1947. Production continued for 18 years and this modest little scooter became a major contributor not only the company’s success, but also to Japan’s post-war reconstruction.

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Facebook Seller

This 1958 Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon was sold by the Montgomery Ward department store as the Riverside Commuter. It sports a 210cc single making around 4 HP. This example is said to run and ride with everything functional. It’s $3,500 from the seller in Bakersfield, California.

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.

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The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

> There is not a month that goes by that I do not dream of owning a German V12 luxobarge of some kind

Do it.

But with your name it can only be a Mercedes, obviously. And as it happens, Mercedes is always the answer.

1 month ago

Where is Stephen Walter Gossin on this one? There is a reason this thing is so cheap. I had a 2003 S55 AMG and it was TERRIBLE. Broke constantly.

No thank you. I’ll have the Datsun.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dingus
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