Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! I’ve long been addicted to collecting dirt cheap and motorcycles, as well as writing fun stories for you lovely readers. And after all of this time I’m still pumped to share the wonderful world of cars with you. I’m always searching for the next thing, even if I don’t need one. Since I’m shopping all of the time, I always have an evolving list of vehicles for sale. So it’s time to share it with you!
Between the Los Angeles Auto Show, the holidays, and now having contracted COVID-19, I missed another week of Triple M car finds. So this week, we’re making up for lost time by cranking things up to 11. Did you want to buy a Peugeot camper? Maybe a BMW Z1? Well, I have that and more for you!
I 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 neat trucks from the past and present.
2006 Audi S6 Quattro – $7,500
Have you ever wanted a Lamborghini Gallardo or an Audi R8 V10, but don’t have that kind of cash laying around? Well, you can get close enough for a fraction of the price with the Audi S6 Quattro. As Audi notes, this 5.2-liter V10 engine is a predecessor to the 5.2-liter V10 that powers the R8.
The origins of Audi’s V10 date back to 2003. Back in those days, the V10’s displacement was 5.0-liters and housed in the Lamborghini Gallardo. Things would only evolve from there as the engine grew to 5.2-liters with an increased cylinder bore spacing, an uneven firing interval, and the Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) system.
But unlike what some sellers want you to believe, this isn’t exactly the engine from an R8, from Audi:
Unlike its sedan counterparts, however, the V10 in the R8 had a different engine crank, designed for a lighter-weight, freer-revving engine and adopted dry-sump oil lubrication, which eliminated the need for a traditional oil pan. In its place, the R8 had and continues to have a baffle plate below the engine that collects outgoing oil and serves as a reservoir for cycling oil through the engine. The oil pump module consists of a suction and feed pump for filling the oil reservoir and a suction and pressure pump for supplying oil to the engine.
This is a sedan that boogies to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds thanks to 435 HP getting delivered to all wheels. You’ll rocket on to 155 mph in luxurious comfort, too. This one is said to have no check engine light and shifts smoothly. However, it has an oil leak and some of the interior plastics could use refreshing. It’s $7,500 on Facebook Marketplace in St George, Utah with 126,000 miles.
1970 Fiat 850 Spider – $24,900
Here’s a lovely drop-top with more quirks going on underneath the body than you’d think. Our friends at the Lane Motor Museum have written a story about these cars:
Following the introduction of the 850 Sedan in 1964, Fiat debuted the 850 Spider two-seater convertible in 1965 to compete with the MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite. While the Sedan and Coupe were styled and built in-house by Fiat, the Spider was designed and built by Fiat’s frequent stylist and carrozzeria (coachbuilder) Bertone. Famed stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro led the project during his time there.
The 850 Spider was powered by a rear-mounted 843cc four-cylinder engine that unusually rotated counter-clockwise (like a Chevrolet Corvair). With only 47hp on tap in earlier models, the 850 Spider wasn’t exactly a drag racer. However, with a base price of $2,100 and up to 40 mpg, it was frugal fun wrapped in beautiful Italian styling, perfect for sunny Sunday drives in the country. Note the clever metal tonneau cover, which provides a clean look while the top is down.
Interestingly, the lighting assemblies of the 850 Spider were shared by Lamborghini for the first few model years of the Muira supercar. In 1969, the headlamps were changed to a “frog-eye” style to meet US regulations, and the engine was enlarged to a 903cc unit with 52 hp. The 850 Spider was not perfect though. In addition to reliability issues, many 850s were subject to recalls before they hit the sales floor due to rust. This, along with its economy car- disposability, means there are not many 850 Spiders left, even though 125,000 were sold (most to the US market).
This 1970 Fiat Spider is one of the aforementioned “frog-eye” models. It looks fantastic after a two-year rotisserie restoration that brought it back to showroom condition. Power comes from a 903cc four making 52 HP, delivered to the rear wheels through a manual. It’s $24,900 by the Classic Car Gallery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
1949 Ford F-3 – $25,500
Ford’s F-Series was born in late 1947 for the 1948 model year. FoMoCo says it watched as post-war Americans moved to cities and suburbia, taking their pickups with them. This gave Ford the idea to expand their pickup’s scope to cover a variety of purposes. The new trucks would be easier to drive with bigger cabs, better visibility, some creature comforts and style.
And of course, they’d still be able to do work. The result was the first-generation of the Ford F-Series, and Ford built enough classes to cover a half-ton capacity (F-1) to cabover heavy-duty commercial trucks (F-8).
What you’re looking at here is a Ford F-3 three-quarter ton truck. It was built as a stake bed truck and presents that way today. It was given a frame-up restoration in 2013, and it’s in such good condition that the stake bed is the truck’s original. What isn’t said is if the engine is original. This truck should have a 239 cubic-inch L-head V8 under the hood making 100 HP. One noted upgrade is the rear end from a 1966 Ford F-250, allowing for more comfortable highway driving.
It’s $25,500 on Hemmings in Haverhill, Massachusetts with 27,678 miles.
1958 AJS Model 20 – $8,500
AJS, or A.J. Stevens & Co. is a motorcycle company best known for early racing successes and motorcycles with fantastic classic style. Like some storied British motorcycle brands, it’s known for falling back down and getting back up again through history. You can buy a new AJS today, but the motorcycles of today have no connection to the AJS motorcycles of the past. The current AJS tells the history like this:
It was the dream of the Stevens brothers Harry George Jack and Joe to manufacture motorcycles of excellence and to race and win at the famous Isle of Man TT races. They pursued their dreams and fulfilled their goals. The initials A.J.S were chosen after “Jack”, the only brother to have two first names, Albert John (Jack) Stevenson.
A.J.S was acquired by Matchless Motorcycles in 1931 and produced famous models such as 16MS, 18MS, Model 20,30,31, CSRs and the “Boy Racer” 7R.
In 1966 A.J.S was absorbed into the Norton Villiers group. In 1968 Malcolm Davis won the British 250 Championship on an A.J.S Y4 250.
In September 1974 A.J.S Competition Manager Fluff Brown, bought out all the A.J.S Stormer spares from Norton Villiers and started production of A.J.S Stormer based machines in Andover, Hampshire.
The AJS of today imports its motorcycles to the UK from China, but they still have a familiar style and logo. The bike before you today, the Model 20, debuted in 1948. And this 1958 is one of the last Model 20s before the series was replaced with the Model 31 in 1959. Power comes from a 498cc twin making 30 HP.
This one is mostly original and has been ridden just 15,161 miles. Apparently, it sat in storage for 25 years and was revived. It’s $8,500 by the Classic Car Gallery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
1963 AMC Rambler American 440 – $9,800
Before Thanksgiving, I found myself in California for the Los Angeles Auto Show. While driving around California, Jason pulled us up to the abode of his friend, Tom. Inside of his wonderful compound sat some beautiful cars, including a Rambler American turned into a hot rod. The car looked like it had come from a filming of a Mad Max movie, and even if you stared at it for 30 minutes you still found new things. As Jason once wrote, that car is everything right about hot rods.
Since getting home, I’ve found myself searching for a nice Rambler American, and this one seems just right.
According to Hemmings, the Rambler American’s story dates back to 1950, with what was then Nash Motors. Back then, the Nash Rambler hit the road, paving the way for the American compact segment. This car remained in production until 1955, after Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson, creating American Motors Corporation the year before. 1956 and 1957 went without the Rambler, but it came back in 1958 as America headed into an economic slump. The Rambler American was born.
This Rambler American has survived about 60 years in decent condition. The seller notes a fresh interior and receipts for work done. Power comes from a 195.6 cubic-inch inline six making 125 HP. It’s $9,800 on Facebook Marketplace in West Fairlee, Vermont with 61,565 miles.
1996 Volkswagen Polo Harlekin – $25,000
It’s been just a little over 25 years since Volkswagen made the last Polo Harlekin (spelled with a “k” in Germany, and not “qu”). The drought has been equally as long for us in America, as we got the Golf Harlequin for just a single year in 1996. But why did Volkswagen create such striking cars?
The Polo Harlekin was designed to showcase Volkswagen’s Baukastensystem — a modular system that cut the Polo into four categories. Customers configured their Polos through a color-coded system to select the desired drivetrain, equipment, options and paint color. The Polo was a visual representation of that system, and the cars came painted in Ginster Yellow, Pistachio Green, Chagall Blue, and Flash Red.
Just 264 Golf Harlequins were put on the road, making them a rare sight in America. Originally, just 1,000 of the Polos were supposed to be made. Volkswagen says that it made 3,100 Polo Harlekins, but enthusiasts estimate the real total number reaching just above 3,800 units. McDonald’s even raffled off 500 Polo Harlekins.
This Polo Harlekin has a 1.4-liter four making 60 HP, delivered to the front wheels through a manual. This Polo recently sold on Cars & Bids for $14,000 with flaws like minor rust and a broken fuel gauge. It’s unclear if those issues have been fixed, but it’s for sale now for $25,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Miami, Florida. Mileage in the Cars & Bids auction was noted to be 167,800 miles, but now it’s quoted as 164,000 miles. Probably a typo, but definitely get it inspected!
1974 Peugeot J7 Camper – $44,000
I’ve been falling in love with vintage European workhorses converted into living spaces. Today, I have another one for you.
Launched in 1965 and produced until 1980, the Peugeot J7 replaced the firm’s D4 vans. These vans are compact, measuring in at 15.5 feet-long. And under the doghouse in the cab is a 1.8-liter four making 65 HP. That’s driving the front wheels through a manual. J7s came in a variety of versions from a panel van to a pickup. And some companies converted them into campers. These were not officially imported into the United States.
This J7 was restored by an enthusiast who is said to have invested 3,000 hours into it. During the restoration, the van was done up in a Tour de France service bus livery and converted into a camper. Equipment includes a chemical toilet, sink with running water, stove, heater, refrigerator, and bed.
It’s being sold by E&R Classics in Waalwijk, Netherlands for $44,000 with 99,435 miles. The seller says that shipping to the United States would cost $1,800 plus 3 percent import duties.
1989 BMW Z1 – Inquire
The first of BMW’s famed Z cars, the BMW Z1 is not just one of the wildest cars BMW has ever put on the road, but one of the wildest cars out there, period. BMW tells the model’s history like this:
It had all begun with a very bold idea. The BMW Board of Management came up with the notion of setting up a kind of think tank in a cutting-edge company branch that would be completely isolated from all other development departments. The idea was to give highly skilled BMW engineers, technicians and designers free rein to work on turning their best creative concepts into reality themselves.
At the start of 1985, the idea came to fruition. Not five minutes’ drive from the Group’s headquarters, a highly dedicated high-tech company came into being that has long since become a role model the world over: BMW Technik GmbH, known internally simply by the letters ZT. Just six months later, the 60-strong team delivered exactly what had been hoped for: concrete concepts designed to inject car manufacture with new impetus, all under the umbrella of a pilot project for employing new materials, using different types of vehicle structure and shortening development times. It didn’t take long to coin a name for it: the Z1.
Out the other end came something incredible. The Z1 sported an aerodynamic composite undertray, plastic panels that could be swapped out for different colors, and a self-supporting monocoque construction. The Z1 also had flexible paintwork and perhaps most notably, doors that dropped into the sills. BMW sold just 8,000 of these, and none of them were sold in America.
This one is being sold by Ruote DA Sogno SRL in Reggio Emilia, Italy with 59,723 miles. At the moment the seller hasn’t added a description, and says that you have to inquire to get the price. It’s probably too expensive for most of us, but it doesn’t hurt to stare!
2004 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 – $8,900
In the midst of the SUV domination of the early aughts, GM put out some interesting concepts, and one of them was an SUV that was also a truck, the Avalanche.
Debuting in 2001 for the 2002 model year, the Avalanche was different. It had a spacious interior like an SUV, but a bed like a pickup. But that bed wasn’t separate, and the Avalanche featured the novel Convert-a-Cab concept, which featured the midgate. Fold the rear seats down and open the midgate to take what was normally about a five-foot bed to extend it past eight feet. The Convert-a-Cab concept allowed the bed to extend into the cab when needed. With the midgate down, you could haul a 4×8 sheet of plywood. Add the tonneau cover, and that cargo is enclosed, too. Additionally, Avalanches had locking storage containers flanking the bed that could be used to store gear, or maybe some drinks.
The Avalanche launched with a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 making 285 HP. But if you wanted more grunt, Chevrolet also offered a 2500 model. This beefy thing comes with an 8.1-liter big-block V8 making 340 HP and 455 lb-ft torque. That’s what you’re looking at here. The regular Avalanche 1500? That tows 8,300 pounds. This beast can tow 11,900 pounds.
Finding one of these in good condition was a challenge. I found a lot of them over $10,000 with absolutely trashed interiors or tons of rust. But here’s one that looks pretty good inside and out. It’s $8,900 in Hanover Park, Illinois with 190,000 miles.
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading.
(Top photo credit: Facebook Marketplace seller and Anthony Rodriguez #picsbyant)