Welcome back to Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness! As you know, I love picking up dirt-cheap cars, motorcycles, and campers, 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 lists 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.
This week, I’ve lifted the shackles of price restraints to give you some sweet rides from all over the world. One of my teenage dream cars will be making an appearance in this run, plus vehicles in colors I wish you could get in modern cars.
Here’s what I’m looking at this week!
1956 Mercury Monterey Station Wagon – $26,000
The Mercury Monterey launched in 1952, borrowing its name from Monterey Bay in California. At the time, the Monterey was positioned as a mid-priced Mercury flagship luxury car slotted above Ford but below Lincoln. The name was first used in 1950 as a luxury two-door hardtop variant of the Mercury Eight.
The Monterey was available in a variety of body styles from a four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop, a two-door convertible, and a four-door wagon. That wagon, as we see here, was available with faux wood trim. In 1956, Mercury advertised features like a four-way power seat, power windows, power steering, and a power lubrication system.
So, get this, the idea behind the power lubrication system was that you could be driving down the highway, and with the touch of a button, your car could dispense grease onto your suspension components. Of course, such a system today isn’t as necessary with sealed components, but what a neat idea.
Anyway, this Mercury Monterey Station Wagon is said to be in original condition, save for a refreshed interior, and it presents well. Images show a clean vehicle inside and outside. Power comes from a 312 cubic inch Y-block V8 making 210 HP and that pumps power to the rear wheels through a column-shift three-speed manual.
It’s $26,000 from the seller in Riverside, California.
1980 SMZ S-3D – $24,500
German, American, and Japanese microcars get a lot of love, but did you know the Soviets had their own microcars, too? Here’s a Soviet Serpukhov Motor Works microcar with some weird history. It was meant to be driven by disabled World War II veterans and the vehicle was more or less considered to be a driving wheelchair. From our friends at the Lane Motor Museum:
In 1952, disabled Russian veterans of World War II (or the “Great Patriotic War” as it was called in the USSR) received their long overdue motorized transportation in the form of an open three-wheeler, the SL1. Built by a motorbike company in Serpukhov, the light vehicle (eventually powered by a 346cc engine) proved that 3 wheels was an impractical choice in the Russian snow, sleet, and mud. Therefore, in 1958, the 4-wheeled, open-topped SZA appeared. It could do 25 mph instead of the previous model’s 12.4 mph, and featured front torsion bar suspension attached to a tubular frame. Two different models were manufactured: the SZA for driving with two hands and the SZB for driving with one hand and one leg. In the Soviet Union, they were commonly called “motor-wheelchairs” (or invalidka in Russian) and were freely available through the social care system, leased for up to 5 years.
The SZA was manufactured until 1970, when it was replaced with the SZD seen here. This was a modernized version, with an enclosed, squared-off body, lots of glass, and powered by an IZH-3 air-cooled two-stroke engine, producing 17.5 hp. In 1990, the company was renamed SeAZ and began modifying the VAZ 1111 Oka hatchback for the needs of the disabled citizenry, who preferred a more conventional car. The SZD ceased production in 1997.
Reportedly, these cars were just for disabled people and were not sold to the general public. Apparently, at the end of the five-year lease, the driver would return their SMZ microcar and get a new one. A lot of these cars have been scrapped over the years. In true microcar fashion, you’re getting a rear-mounted IZH-P3 346cc single-cylinder engine making just 18 red horses. Top speed is apparently in the range of 30 to 43 mph.
This one is said to be in original condition and it has 22,206 miles on its odometer, impressive given how slow it is. The seller, Seattle, Washington-based Soviet Cars In USA, wants $24,500 for it.
2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR – $8,000
If you like your naked motorcycles to also look like a piece of art, consider this MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR. Agusta was started in 1907 by Count Giovanni Agust as an aircraft service company before building its own planes. After WWI, the company diversified into motorcycles, but aircraft production continued. Aircraft production ended after WWII when airplane production became forbidden in Italy. Thus, Agusta leaned in entirely on motorcycles, becoming MV “Meccaniche Verghera” in 1945.
Claudio Castiglioni’s Cagiva acquired the MV Agusta name in 1992, setting the brand on the path that leads it to today. In 2000, MV Agusta unveiled the Brutale, a motorcycle stripped bare without fairings or anything it didn’t need. The resulting motorcycle looked, well, brutal. It was designed by famed designer Massimo Tamburini, one of the founders of Bimota. MV Agusta says that Tamburini envisioned the Brutale to be a naked machine from the start, and didn’t just pull fairings off of a fully-faired motorcycle.
This Brutale 1090 RR comes from the motorcycle’s second generation, developed during Harley-Davidson’s short ownership of the brand. At the time, MV Agusta boasted a smaller, stronger frame, a longer swingarm, and 85 percent new parts. The flagship Brutale was the 1090 RR, which features a 1078cc four-cylinder engine. That’s punching out 158 HP and 73.7 lb-ft torque to the rear wheel through a transmission with a slipper clutch.
This one has just 2,600 miles, making it practically new for about half of its original price. The seller wants $8,000 for it in Northbrook, Illinois.
Willys FC-170 – $22,595
I have hidden this find from our David Tracy. Though, now that I think about it, this mighty FC might not have enough rust for our fearless leader. Admittedly, I’m not much of a Jeep person, but I find myself allured by a few of its past vehicles. Every once in a while, I consider a Liberty CRD or a Grand Cherokee CRD then come to my senses. One Jeep that I can’t shake from my mind is the FC.
Jeep says that when Willys introduced the Forward-Control series in 1957, it was a bold departure from previous designs. The FC’s cabover design gave the trucks a unique appearance that enthusiasts still crave to this day while at the same time making for a more maneuverable truck. I sat in David’s old FCs and the cab made me feel like I was commanding a transit bus. Despite the dramatic looks, Jeep says the FC rode on the familiar CJ-5 chassis. Willys marketed the FC as the truck that fit more cargo on a smaller wheelbase while being able to conquer whatever got in your way. This truck has an 18-foot turn radius! Jeep says the FC-150 and the FC-170 were popular trucks with workers and farmers, especially overseas.
The FC-150 came in 81-inch wheelbase flavor and was powered by a four-cylinder F-head engine while the FC-170, like the one seen here, rides on a 103.5 inch wheelbase and comes powered by a six-cylinder L-head engine. That engine is a 226 cubic inch Super Hurricane straigh- six making 105 HP and 190 lb-ft torque. That goes through a three-speed manual and you get a Dana 53 rear, Dana 44 front, and 4.88 gears. It’s $22,595 from the seller in Cody, Wyoming with 40,000 miles.
1958 BSA A7 Shooting Star – $7,667
BSA, once the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, has recently been brought back from the dead by Mahindra. As old names are brought back from the dead and put on the market to fight against the likes of Royal Enfield, you can pick up minty examples of motorcycles from the time when BSA dominated the world in sales.
Here’s the relaunched BSA’s retelling of its own history:
Standing for Birmingham Small Arms Company Ltd, BSA was founded in 1861, for the production of firearms. They chose 25 acres of ground at Small Heath and by 1863 the factory was complete. The brand’s motorcycle division was set up in 1903, and the first motorcycle followed in 1910.
[In 1914,] BSA produced 1.5 million rifles, 145 Lewis machine guns, along with motorcycles, the world’s first folding bicycle, machine tools, jigs, gauges, aero components, gun locks, shells and fuses to support ‘The Great War’. In addition, there were the staff cars, ambulances and commercial vehicles produced by Daimler, which had been bought by BSA in 1910.
In 1924, four BSAs made motorcycling history by successfully climbing Snowdon.
In addition to selling tons of motorcycles, BSA was also known for winning on race day. In 1954, BSA sent a team of riders to Daytona Beach on BSA Gold Stars and Shooting Stars. At the end of the 200-mile race, BSA smashed the podium taking first, second, third, fourth, fifth, eighth, and sixteenth.
As Rider Magazine notes, the BSA A7 Shooting Star launched in 1954 and wasn’t a remarkable machine. Instead, it was just reliable enough to survive 200 miles of an abusive race. Of the 107 entrants, only 44 finished the race. The A7 launched in 1946 as a response to Triumph’s vertical twin design of 1938. BSA got to work making its own interpretation but wasn’t able to put the machine on the market until after WWII in 1946. The original A7 had a 495cc twin making 26 HP and a rigid frame. The Shooting Star sported a new swingarm, an increased compression ratio, and a hotter camshaft. It was good for 32 horses and could almost hit 100 mph.
This 1958 model was restored and shows 2,814 miles on its odometer. It’s $7,667 from We Sell Classic Bikes in the UK.
1960 Lancia Flaminia Coupé – $51,657
Here’s a luxurious car that Lancia says is the coupe version of a vehicle that helped pave the way for Lancia design. From Lancia:
The first prototype of the Lancia Flaminia, which retained the rear “suicide doors”, was exhibited at the Turin Motor Show in 1956, while the definitive version was launched in Geneva in 1957. The innovative solutions of the Florida were adapted to meet the needs of the serial production but its style remained the same. The new sedan was characterised by the large grille in which the new Lancia badge appeared. This was no longer enamelled but made directly of chromed metal, with a simplified shape. Unlike the Florida prototype, the front head lamps stick out from the grille and close the front part of the fender whereas, lower down, there are another two smaller round head lamps, which act as indicators and fog lamps. The break with the past is also highlighted by the name: with Flaminia, the sequence of vehicles that begin with an A – such as Aurelia and Appia – came to a halt but the name chosen still followed the theme of the consular roads of Ancient Rome. In fact the Flaminia would spark another series: Lancia vehicles with names that begin with F. Indeed, it would be followed by the Flavia and the Fulvia in the 1960s.
The year 1959 witnessed the debut of the Lancia Flaminia Coupé at the Turin Motor Show, featuring the splendid sleek lines of the Florida II. And in fact it was again Pinin Farina who, based on the chassis of the sedan, shortened by 12 cm, eliminated the rear suicide door of the Florida II and presented one of the most elegant and well-balanced coupés ever drawn by his ingenious studio.
Lancia continues that the Flaminia sedan and Coupé saw few changes over their production run thanks to the Highway Code, which apparently required a lot of lighting changes. Instead, Lancia focused on powertrains. The Flaminia was so significant that President of the Republic Gronchi ordered Lancia and Pinin Farina to create the Flaminia sedan-based Presidenziale convertible, which made its debut in 1961 during a visit of Queen Elizabeth II. The Presidenziale convertibles are still in use today for ceremonies!
This Flaminia is a coupe sporting a 2.5-liter Lancia V6 making 119 HP and is bolted to a manual transmission. The current owner bought it in 2016 then spent four years restoring the car. 34,796 miles are shown on the odometer but the car hasn’t driven far since its restoration. The vehicle is being sold by C.L. di Cristiano Luzzago in Italy for $51,657.
2015 Volkswagen XL1 – $102,061
Here’s one of my all-time dream cars. Sadly, with a price that high, the closest I’ll probably ever come to even touching one is by visiting the Lane Motor Museum, which I absolutely need to do. Of course, like all nutty Volkswagen things, we must rewind our calendars to that wild Ferdinand Piëch era.
Perhaps less famous than my previous examples is the XL1, the vehicle with a laser-focused mission to be the most fuel-efficient car on the planet, from Volkswagen:
The story of the XL1 dates to 2002, when then Volkswagen AG Chairman Ferdinand Piëch arrived at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in a prototype known only as “the 1-liter car.” Having been kept secret until that drive, the 1-liter car was a two-seat spaceship, powered by a single-cylinder, naturally aspirated, direct-injection diesel engine that was centrally positioned in front of the rear axle and paired with a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. The 300cc engine produced just 8.5 horsepower, but combined with its 640-pound weight and unheard-of 0.159 drag coefficient, the car managed to run for 100 kilometers on one liter of fuel (.99 liters to be exact). Between its technological achievements, aerodynamic shape, tandem seating, and gullwing doors, the 1-liter car was like looking into the future.
[A]t the 2011 Qatar Motor Show, Volkswagen debuted the XL1 model, the most advanced 1-liter car yet. The XL1’s two-cylinder 800-cc TDI engine developed 48 hp, while the electric motor jumped from 14 to 27 hp, powered by a 5.5-kWh lithium battery. This new powertrain helped the XL1 achieve 313 mpg on the European combined test cycle, despite an increase in weight to 1,752 pounds, and could travel 31 miles on electricity alone. The most obvious change was on the outside, though: The XL1 was wider and a tad more conventional than its predecessors – although it still couldn’t be mistaken for anything else on the road.
The seats were now staggered and sat offset to each other within a central carbonfiber monocoque, made through a more cost-efficient resin transfer molding process that brought the XL1 closer to mass production. The entire monocoque weighed just 197 pounds, and weight was saved everywhere else possible. With its magnesium wheels and exceedingly low 0.19 drag coefficient, the XL1 could cruise at 60 mph using just over 8 horsepower.
In a world that’s increasingly converting to electric power, the idea of a hyper-efficient diesel-electric car is fading into the past. Still, that doesn’t make me want one of the 250 XL1s any less than I do. Don’t ask what I’d do to own one! If you have a ton of cash in your pockets, you have the rare opportunity to own one today. Scott Hardy Automotive in the UK has one of these with just 1,800 miles on its odometer. Your cost? $102,061 plus whatever it will cost you to convince the feds to let it in, perhaps under the “Show or Display” rule.
1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop – $26,000
Classic cars in fun colors always catch my attention. Why get black or white when you can have metallic green and white walls? The Chevrolet Bel Air, which has a name that references the lavish Los Angeles neighborhood, is a classic sought after by many fans of vintage Americana. This car predates the Bel Air’s most famous years, but that’s ok because it’s stunning.
The Volo Auto Museum tells the Bel Air story like this:
The first produced Bel Airs in 1950 were only available in the DeLuxe trim level, which was premium. The two-door hardtop models from 1950 to 1952 hit the market under the Bel Air name to differentiate them from the Styleline and Fleetline models produced by Chevrolet. The first produced classics cost about $1,700 with an independent front suspension that was referred to as “knee action.”
With overwhelming success, the rise of the Chevy Bel Airs within the first few years was surprising, considering previous models with similar details and characteristics failed to intrigue consumers.
This 1953 example has been restored and maintains its 6-volt electrical system. It’s powered by a 235 cubic inch straight six making 108 HP and is connected to a three-speed manual transmission. It’s $26,000 from the seller in Burbank, California.
1945 GMC DUKW – $38,000 to $85,000
This seller has not one but three GMC DUKWs on hand, all of them have been modified to be more useful in the modern day. As Hagerty writes, after World War I there was a gap between the need for the military to deploy on beaches and the equipment on hand to make that happen. Normally, a ship would sail up to the shore and begin the lengthy process of unloading. In the early 1940s led to the development of a vehicle that could drive on land and motor through water.
In just 38 days, engineers from the Office of Scientific Research and Development and GMC presented their creation, the DUKW. The “D” stood for 1942 production, the “U” stood for utility (in this case, an amphibian), “K” was for all-wheel-drive, and “W” was for dual rear axles. Of course, it would get the nickname Duck.
At first, the military wasn’t really sold on the idea. Then in a stroke of luck, a Coast Guard ship ran aground while a DUKW was testing. A storm meant normal rescue means couldn’t reach the ship but the DUKW? It drove into the water from the beach and saved the ship’s crew. GMC would build 21,147 DUKWs between 1942 and 1945. From 1946 to today, you’ll find many DUKW survivors running Duck tours around America.
The first DUKW for sale is a 1945 that has been modified into a pleasure craft. Power comes from a 350 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 with Vortec heads. That’s connected to a TH400 transmission and Edelbrock fuel injection. The seller doesn’t say what power output it’s making. Features include a 15,000-pound winch, a fire suppression system, five 750 GPH bilge pumps, new wiring, new dashboard, new lights, and a custom interior with sofas, phone charging, and a stereo system. That one is $85,000.
The second DUKW up for grabs is another 1945 model with the same powertrain, but no mention about the fire suppression system or the pumps. AWD is also non-functional on this one due to the lack of rear driveshafts, so it’s just FWD right now. The interior is that of a Duck tour machine with seats that look like they came out of a school bus. This one is $44,000.
The last one is a 1944 and the seller did not provide a description for it other than the fact that it has a 6.2-liter diesel V8 engine, likely of GM origin. Pictures show it to have an interior that reminds me of a pontoon boat. It’s $38,000. All of them can be had from the seller in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!
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