Welcome back, Autopians! I hope everyone had a good three-day weekend. It’s time to get back to the grind, but I’ve got some cool pieces of junk to show you to ease you back into things. First, let’s see how Friday’s tow rigs finished up:
Yep. And I’m inclinded to agree. Despite the difficulty finding parts that some commenters pointed out, the Ambassador is just a nicer and more stylish way to travel.
Oh well. Let’s get back to stuff I could actually afford, if I were so inclined. Today we have a selection from the Underappreciated Survivors group on Facebook, and another suggestion from our buddy S.W. Gossin. One is a relatively unknown Japanese classic with an American twist, and the other is a shrunken version of a classic 4×4. Here they are.
Engine/drivetrain: 3.0 liter V6, 4 speed automatic, RWD
Location: Franklin, TN
Odometer reading: 198,000 miles
Runs/drives? Great, according to the seller
If’ you’ve never seen one of these, or haven’t thought about them in a couple decades, I won’t be surprised. The M30 was imported to the US to fill space alongside the flagship Q45 sedan at Infiniti dealerships when Nissan’s upscale brand was just starting out. This car was known as the Nissan Leopard in Japan, but the home market never got the convertible version. Like so many other cars, M30 convertibles started out as coupes, and had their roofs removed by the American Sunroof Company in Long Beach, California.
The M30 is powered by Nissan’s VG30E V6 engine, here in a longitudinal arrangement driving the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic, the only transmission available. In the early years, the only way to get a manual gearbox with an Infiniti badge was in the Nissan Primera-based G20 sedan. This is no sports car; it’s too heavy and sluggish to carve corners, but it makes quite a nice top-down cruiser.
And you’ll want to keep the top down, because the top is in terrible shape, from the looks of it. The interior isn’t a whole lot better; judging by the condition of the upholstery, I can only conclude that the previous owner of this car ran a wolverine rescue and transported the beasties in the back seat. The front seats may be just as bad, but they’re hidden under seat covers, so we have no way of knowing. At least the outside looks all right, give or take a paint blemish or two.
Despite its cosmetic shortcomings, the seller says this car runs and drives well, and has new tires and a new battery, so you should have no trouble driving it to the upholstery shop.
Engine/drivetrain: 2.9 liter V6, 5 speed manual, part-time 4WD
Location: Marshallberg Township, NC
Odometer reading: ad says 99999, which means they couldn’t be bothered to tell us
Runs/drives? Nope, sorry
If there is a class of vehicle that defines the changes in the American automotive landscape throughout the 1980s, it’s the compact SUV. They were everywhere: S10 Blazers, Monteros, 4Runners, Samurais, Cherokees, and of course Bronco IIs. Ford’s entry into this red-hot market was a stubby Ranger-based two door with handsome styling and stout mechanicals, troubled by reports of easy roll-overs (and I can confirm that; an ex-girlfriend of mine had one that she rolled), but fun to drive nonetheless.
The Bronco II was available only with Ford’s “Cologne” V6 (and briefly a Mitsubishi turbodiesel that nobody bought) in either 2.8 or 2.9 liter displacements depending on the year. As a last-year Bronco II, just before it was replaced by the Explorer, this one has a 2.9 liter fuel-injected engine, coupled to a Mazda-made 5 speed manual and a dual-range transfer case, powering a solid rear axle and, when needed, Ford’s “Twin Traction Beam” swing-arm front axle.
Unfortunately, the seller says that this Bronco doesn’t run, but no further details are given. Cologne V6s are fairly simple and durable engines, and plentiful in junkyards still, so getting it going again shouldn’t be too hard. $2,500 sounds steep for a non-running Bronco II, but the rising popularity of ’80s and ’90s SUVs has also affected the original “Baby Bronco,” and this would probably be a $5,000 truck if it were running.
I do wish we had some interior photos. This little truck looks pretty good from the outside, apart from the bumpers (what’s up with that?), but we have no idea how it looks inside, or under the hood. Call for details, I guess.
Well, there they are. You can choose to fix up an obscure Japanese cruiser, or revive a rough-and-tumble mini 4×4. Either way, you’ve got some work to do. Which will it be?
(Image credits: Infiniti – Facebook seller, Bronco – Craigslist seller)