Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, working with cars is a blessing and a curse for me. I definitely have a problem with buying too many vehicles. But hey, almost all of them run, so I have that going for me. One advantage of this is that I always have an evolving list of vehicles for sale to share with you.
This week I’m bringing you an import from Greece, a sweet K5 Blazer-based camper, and maybe a Volkswagen that you’ve never seen before.
I often search the entire country for a good balance of price and vehicle condition. But sometimes, some really cool cars end up for sale with really high prices. It’s disappointing, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with window shopping and dreaming.
So join me in looking at some fun cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles.
2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 – $25,000
What’s better than a pickup truck that can slay sports cars? That pickup truck comes with the soundtrack of an 8.3-liter Viper V10’s engine. The Ram SRT-10 is an evolution of what was then Dodge’s Performance Vehicle Operations taking regular Dodge vehicles and making them seriously quick. Motor Trend compared stomping the accelerator in this beast to the feeling of firing a 12-gauge shotgun. 60 mph is dispatched in the low 5-second range and the 500-HP V10 keeps your heart racing.
Not much is said about the one for sale here, but the seller says that it functions well. It’s $25,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Fresno, California with 66,286 miles.
1997 Toyota Corolla Spacio – $9,195
Back in the 1990s through the mid-2000s, Toyota buyers in select parts of the world could get a Corolla made into a people carrier. Toyota explains:
Launched in January 1997, the Corolla-based minivan Spacio was designed as a fun-filled multi-purpose personal space on wheels. The Spacio name derives from the Italian word “spazio,” meaning room or space.
The Spacio mounted a wagon body on the Corolla sedan platform, becoming 235 mm taller than the sedan. Initially available either as a 2-row 4-seater or a 3-row 6-seater, the Spacio added a 2-row, 5-seat version six months later. Diverse seating arrangements were possible due to the versatile seats, including those that could be instantly turned into junior seats. It was also possible to create more legroom for rear passengers than was customary in larger vehicle classes, and to stow the rear seats to provide plenty of luggage space.
A regular Spacio got a 1.6-liter four making 108 horses and driving the front wheels. But there was an option for a bigger 1.8-liter four making 120 horses. That’s what you’re looking at here, and it’s driving all four wheels through an automatic transmission. This JDM minivan has features like power-folding mirrors and even a center locking differential.
It’s $9,195 on Facebook Marketplace in Athens, Tennessee with 49,008 miles.
1985 Namco Pony Super – $7,900
NAMCO (National Motor Company of Greece) is a low-volume manufacturer that has humble origins in building utility vehicles. The manufacturer states that the Kondogouris family collaborated with BMW and other companies to build a utility vehicle:
In 1956, the ancestor of NAMCO, INTHELCO Munich, in cooperation with FAHR AG, MASCHINENFABRIK Gottmandingen, completed the Research & Development (R&D) of the motor vehicle FARMOBIL BMW, a very advanced and complete vehicle, when in 1956 BMW produced a simple vehicle, the ISETTA and an 8-cylinder limousine, almost hand-made and with wooden moulds!
The Farmobil was a simple, low-cost vehicle. It used a BMW Isetta Engine 697cc (0,7 liters ), and a patented, four-speed manual gearbox from Porsche.
The operation was acquired by Chrysler in 1963. Unfortunately, the Farmobil wasn’t a hot seller, and NAMCO blamed import duties and the vehicle’s high price for its failure.
But that didn’t stop the Kondogouris family, and in 1972, NAMCO was established to build low volumes of specialty utility vehicles. A year later, the company released the Pony, a utility vehicle aimed at being a people’s car. The first-generation Pony was developed with Citroën and riding on a Citroën 2CV platform. As Greek news Ekathimerini writes, almost 30,000 of them were sold between 1974 to 1983, with Citroën exporting them to different countries.
In 1985, NAMCO released the little truck you see today. The Pony Super was the next generation of the Pony. It ditched the Citroën bones for Ford running gear. And it was developed with German company Inthelco to be more sophisticated than its predecessor. Sadly, it is noted to be such a failure that just a few hundred were built.
This one is said to be the very first Pony Super. Sure enough, the VIN does suggest that it is the first in its series. No details are given about the engine, but power figures are said to have ranged from 45 hp to 69 hp. These trucks weigh about 2,000 pounds, so that’s not horrible power ratings. One thing is for sure, it’s a rare beast. It can be yours for $7,900 on Facebook Marketplace in Akron, Ohio. Ad courtesy of Grey Market Cars For Sale – North America.
[Editor’s Note: A Greek truck for sale in Akron? Our pal and car collector Myron Vernis has to be involved here. This thing is fantastic. – JT]
2004 Honda Valkyrie Rune – $20,000
In 1996, Honda released the Valkyrie, a cruiser with the heart of a Gold Wing. It was a muscle bike sporting 1520cc of Gold Wing flat six power coupled to enough brightwork to make a Harley-Davidson blush. These originals made 100 horses at the rear wheel and sped on to a top speed of 131 mph.
While the original Valkyrie died in 2003, Honda kept the concept going in 2004 by releasing the Valkyrie Rune. This wasn’t so much a muscle bike like the original, but a custom cruiser from the factory. It was targeted at riders who want a custom bike with loads of power but without having to make their own chopper. Housed in the frame is a Gold Wing’s 1832cc flat six that’s pumping out 118 HP. As Hagerty notes, unlike the original, speed is not a priority. The Rune is seven feet-long and weighs 878 pounds. That makes it over 80 pounds heavier than the Gold Wing that gave its engine to the Rune.
They were about $26,000 new, but reportedly cost Honda $100,000 each to make. Depending on the source, anywhere between 800 and 3,000 of these were made, making them pretty rare. These seem to hold their value, too. This one is $20,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Park Ridge, Illinois with 16,000 miles.
1978 Volkswagen Hormiga – $15,000
As with many weird vintage Volkswagens, our Jason Torchinsky has written a delightful bit of history for the Hormiga:
[T]he VW EA489 Basistransporter, also known in Mexico as the Hormiga, and in Finland as the Teijo (well, that one’s a close variant), and in Indonesia as the Mitra. That’s a lot of names for something that VW never sold in the developed world (well, and Finland), and that they made only a bit over 6,000 copies of from 1975-1979, which is minuscule in normal VW numbers.
The Basistransporter was a VW experiment in making the most basic utility vehicle possible. And boy did they succeed. The chassis was a simple ladder-frame that mounted a normal 1600cc Type I VW flat-four up front, in a new location and orientation for that engine, with torsion bars up front and a solid, medieval era-cutting-edge beam axle at the rear.
The Mexican Hormiga variant accounts for 3,600 copies of that over 6,000. This one is dolled up like a vehicle from the U.S. Army, with what appears to be black and gray camo decals. But look past all of that and it appears to be really clean. The seller doesn’t say, but it looks like it was restored at some point in its life. It’s $15,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Winchester, California.
[Editor’s Note: Holy crap! – JT]
1977 Chevrolet Blazer Chalet – $59,900
As enthusiast site Silodrome writes, the Blazer Chalet was the result of a collaboration between General Motors and Chinook Mobilodge Inc., the maker of those fabulous fiberglass Class C campers. At the time, America was going through a period where people wanted to do things outdoors and sleep in an RV. GM and Chinook wanted to seize the opportunity.
A Blazer Chalet starts off life as a regular Blazer before being sent off to Chinook. There, the Blazer loses the rest of the passenger compartment and in its place, a fiberglass camper shell with a steel frame is lowered into place. It was built to be an RV, so the camper shell is not meant to be removed. However, Silodrome notes that it is possible.
Inside, you get amenities like seating and bedding, but facilities are largely limited to a cooking unit with a sink and an ice box. Thankfully, the original owner of this Chalet got the optional refrigerator and propane heater. Unfortunately, it does not have a bathroom of any kind, so you’d have to install an outdoor shower and a cassette toilet somewhere to truly go off-grid with it.
This particular example is said to have an exterior in original shape, owing to having been in the same family for 34 years. It comes with all kinds of documentation, including the original window sticker. Inside, the camper has been restored to what it should have looked like back in 1977. Up front, a 400-cubic inch V8 drives all four wheels.
It’s $59,000 from Garage Kept Motors in Grand Rapids, Michigan with 49,000 miles.
2004 TVR Tuscan S Targa – $69,999
Here’s a car that should be forbidden fruit, but the selling dealership claims was legally imported through a loophole before the loophole was closed. It’s unclear what that loophole is, but the result is that apparently, there’s a TVR Tuscan S for sale in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The TVR Tuscan Speed Six launched in 1999, joining a lineup of unique and fast TVRs built in the 1990s and 2000s. The TVR Car Club in the UK gives us a nice and short history on the Tuscan name:
TVR got rather fond of the Tuscan name, first used in the 1960’s for a V8 and V6 car. It was later used for the Challenge Race Series cars with both Rover and AJP V8 power. Various road Tuscans were announced but the near final form was shown at the 1998 Motor Show. There were ultimately five versions of the Speed Six engine made available over the years; the initial 3.6 litre and four versions of the 4.0 litre.
Evo Magazine goes on to call the Tuscan not just a great car, but one iconic of the British marque. A regular Tuscan already has healthy stats like a 4.0-liter straight six making 360 HP pushing a car that weighs just 2,425 pounds. In the S version, that power gets bumped up to 400 horses. And TVRs aren’t just about power, but about style, too. These look unique inside and out.
This one is noted to be a Targa version, which means that you can pop the top for open-air enjoyment. It’s $69,999 by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas with 9,000 miles.
1996 Honda Integra Type R – $24,995
Japanese enthusiast cars from the 1990s have seen a surge in popularity. They sell for almost unfathomable amounts of money on auction sites and even folks on Facebook demand a pretty penny for them. Here’s one that’s still expensive, but cheaper than many.
Honda has this to say about the Integra Type R:
Integra Type R brought Type R performance to a wider audience. The second vehicle to wear the Type R badge and spanning two vehicle generations, Integra Type R also was the first Type R model sold in the U.S.
Extensive modifications in the Integra Type R included a hand-built engine with hand-polished intake and exhaust ports, high-compression pistons, revised intake system, a retuned exhaust and a helical limited-slip differential.
Chassis modifications included suspension, tire, wheel and brake upgrades, and the body received additional bracing and seam welds for added strength and rigidity. Weight reduction measures included the removal of sound insulation, a thinner windshield, lightweight wheels, and the removal of the air conditioning and audio systems.
What you’re looking at here is not a U.S. model Type R, but one imported from Japan. Power comes from a 1.8-liter four making 197 HP. That punches the power through a manual and the front wheels. This one appears to be in exceptional shape and can be had for $24,995 on Facebook Marketplace in Englewood, New Jersey with 112,000 miles.
1993 Autozam AZ-1 – $19,800
The Autozam AZ-1 was the Mazda subsidiary’s delightfully weird gullwing mid-engine kei car. Designed under the direction of Toshihiko Hirai (who is often credited as the father of the Miata), the car took three years to develop. The car originally had a tube frame skeleton before Autozam reportedly redesigned it for more rigidity. By the time that it was released, Japan was in a recession, and in the end, only 4,392 were built.
These things don’t really fit tall people, but the 657cc F6A turbocharged triple redlines at about 10,000 RPM. It’s making all of 64 horses, too. Kei cars aren’t really fast, but they’re so small that 100 kph certainly feels like 100 mph. This one is a fresh import and looks to be in good shape. It’s $19,800 by Japan Car FL in Oldsmar, Florida with 82,000 miles.
That’s it for this week. Thank you for reading!