Tokyo Apocalypse: 1992 Mitsubishi Delica 2.5 Turbodiesel


Have you ever wanted a vehicle that does everything?

If so, you might want to check out this awesome 7-passenger Mitsu Delica.

The Delica nameplate has been used for Mitsubishi's micro van since 1968. This is a third generation example, which debuted in 1986 and, amazingly, is still in production to this day in Australia.


I think these things are great. They're cooler than minivans, provide just as much space, but are easier to drive and park. Then there is the styling. In the same way the Germans mastered the look of the stern, all-business sport sedan, the Japanese aced the feel of this hyper-utilitarian vehicle. Styling is subtle, simple, conservative, form-over-function. Note the large doors that open over the front wheels, and accompanying footsteps to aid entry. This one looks especially great in two-tone grey and pearl, accentuated by mudflaps, tastefully tinted windows, and front guard with yellow fog lamps.

These were sold briefly in the United States as tamed gasoline versions. Fortunately, this is the desirable 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine. Diesels last forever, and are usually torquey as-is, so the additional turbocharger is a welcome addition to make daily driving more fun.


It's also four-wheel drive, for superior traction in all sorts of inclement weather.

Taken all together, you can haul a bunch of friends or cargo, in any type of weather, and almost never have to worry about breaking down. Nice.

The seller of this example is a private owner who imported this rare vehicle to Canada. They say the mileage is 146k miles, but was "safetied" at 130k. Not sure what that means, but it may imply the odometer no longer works. They do say that at 110k the timing belt was changed, injection pump rebuilt and a new battery added. Mechanically, they say it is "excellent."


Cosmetically, they note some interior flaws and exterior scuffs. Typical wear and tear. It's supposed to be a rugged vehicle.

Available here on ebay in Winnipeg, Canada. The seller notes they are 45 minutes from the North Dakota border.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

Under $2k: 1986 Nissan 200SX XE


I'm sure these are everywhere in California, but I can't even remember the last time I saw one in New England.

Japanese cars from the 80s and 90s are among the hottest up and coming collector cars. Sure, they made a lot of them and they were inexpensive when new, but that just means they got trashed and thrashed more so finding survivors suddenly becomes difficult. And in New England, they succumbed to our foolishly over-salted roads and wet winters in general.

At first glance I was sure this was another FWD car, as the "200SX" from 1994-1998 was. But no, this is a Nissan code "S12", which retains a rear-wheel drive layout as most Japanese cars did from the 50s, 60s, and 70s before the Big Switch over to FWD in the early 80s. Rear-wheel drive being the preferred layout for enthusiasts (or really anyone who likes a balanced chassis and good handling) makes this Nissan a little treat.


The S12 was produced from 1984-1988 and was badged as a 200SX in North America. Engines ranged from 1.8 -2.0 liter four cylinders to a 3.0-liter 6 cylinder. This seems to have the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated 4 cyl. It is mated to an automatic transmission.

Cosmetically, the styling is what is now considered to be classic 1980s Japanese design. This includes an overall compact shape, large greenhouse, hidden headlights, gridded taillights, plenty of black plastic, and a large hatchback. There is something simple and undiluted about it. No other automaker, with perhaps the exception of Volkswagen, could produce something like this so well.

Inside, we have an interior swathed in blue plastics and cloths. Note the digital speedometer.


The seller of this example states the mileage as 147,100, low for a 1986. Mechanically, they mention it runs strong and drives well and has "no malfunction lights on the dash." Well, that's a relief.

On the outside I do see what appear to be a couple of rust spots, especially one on the driver's side door.

This baby could be a nice basis for a restoration to new, a custom hack job, or just a daily bomber to tool around in (and learn to drift?).

Someone, please open a museum that documents these lost Japanese compact cars.

Available here on ebay in Mahwah, New Jersey for just $1,495.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

Extinct Or Not? 1987 Renault Alliance GTA Convertible


As of last summer, Hagerty's Insurance rated the 1986-1987 Renault GTA extinct.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your memory of them) some do pop up. In this case, it's a relatively low mileage and clean survivor, making it an extra rare find.

It was actually made by American Motors Company and built in Wisconsin. Since 1979, Renault had an ownership stake in AMC, which resulted in dozens of cars until AMC's eventual sale to Chrysler in 1988.

The Alliance was produced from 1983-1987. It's a rudimentary front-wheel drive compact car to compete with the likes of Chrysler's K-cars. It even looks like a K-car, although that's not necessarily an insult. The shape is simple, clean, well-proportioned and generally inoffensive.


Although hopes were high and the car initially impressed, the complexities of AMC's relationship with Renault seemed to eventually defeat the Alliance. Not a wide enough variety of body styles were offered. The cars were underpowered. And reliability grew poor. It was eventually determined that despite the U.S.-based construction, the cars were really no better than notoriously poorly built French cars. The final slap on the face was in 2009 when Car & Driver retracted their 1983 naming of the Alliance as car of the year. Ouch.

This Alliance is the final-year-only GTA trim. It was a "high performance" edition that came with a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 95 horsepower, body skirts, and various other mechanical and cosmetic upgrades.


The seller is a dealer and does their best used-car-salesman writeup, complete with italics and exclamation points. They note the 94k-miles are original and it was owned by a Renault enthusiast.

Cosmetically, it looks immaculate. The color combo is flatters the simple, boxy, compact shape (dare I say reminiscent of the BMW E30).

Mechanically, the seller says the vehicle is "sound".

If Haggerty said there were no more left over a year ago, you can bet there are even fewer now. How many can be left? And in this good shape?

Available here on ebay in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with bidding starting at $3,000 and a buy-it-now of $4,688.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

COTC Exlusive: Franco Sbarro Mercedes Gullwing 6.9



In the history of coachbuilding, Franco Sbarro has earned a special place. Inventor of the hubless wheel. Sculptor of wild body designs. Engineer of uninhibited speed and performance. If coachbuilding is an art form, then Sbarro is a great artist, expressing himself through automobiles that capture our imagination but also transform our notions of how they should look and work.

Italian-born and Swiss-bred Sbarro founded his company in 1971 to do just that. Over the years they crafted dozens of bodies, borrowing chassis and tweaking engines to create a unique vision. Coachbuilding allows for a manufacturer to build the cars of their customer’s dreams, without the cost associated with mass production. As such, all of their creations are produced in low quantities, making them even more rare and desirable.


Sometimes, though, coachbuilding isn’t just about innovation but inspiration and homage. That’s why Sbarro also builds high-quality replicas of classic cars like the BMW 328, Bugatti Royale, and Ford GT40. Although Sbarro’s designs are ultra-modern, he appreciates the classics too.

In the 1980s, something of a conundrum occurred in automotive manufacturing: Mercedes-Benz were building high-quality cars that were both modern and instant classic at the same time. For the ever-watchful eye of Franco Sbarro, these cars were ripe for the ultimate expression of gratitude towards Mercedes-Benz for their products.

Which brings us to his custom Gullwing 6.9. The first people of notoriety to customize the Mercedes C126 380-500SEC were Styling Garage out of Hamburg, Germany. Then, Sbarro debuted his legendary take at the 1983 Geneva Auto Show. These guys were the original “pimp my ride”. They were Europeans who loved European cars and wanted to add their own special touch. This usually called for extensive revisions of the interiors, exteriors, and engines.


For Sbarro’s 500SEC, he uses elements from not just one Mercedes-Benz, but two: the C124 coupe and W116 sedan. At first glance it appears to borrow more from the C124. The body is imposing to say the least. Sbarro has crafted entirely new sheetmetal in ways that Styling Garage did not.

The most striking aspect are the gullwing doors, a tribute to the classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing of the 1950s. These were popularized by the 300SL and have since become a trademark Mercedes feature, despite being used mainly on concept cars until their 2010 SLS. Sbarro's gullwings are made of plastic for easy lifting and less overall weight added to the vehicle.


The car has a unique roof that is lower than the C124. The trunk is higher, and the wheel wells are flared. Mercedes designs of the time featured an emphasis on horizontal lines, so Sbarro takes it new a new level. The whole front is covered in thin slats that hide the headlights and grille that are reminiscent of the rear of a Ferarri Testarossa. The lower panels feature horizontal groove lines too that mimic the iconic ribbed taillights.

Inside, Sbarro has completely reworked the interior, while retaining a Mercedes-Benz vibe throughout. The dashboard is from a W116 sedan. The steering wheel is unique. The center console houses climate controls and an aftermarket radio. The seats appear to be Recaro and are power adjustable from buttons on the seats themselves. Despite the ambition of the overall project, the interior is relatively modest and tasteful.


Underneath the hood lies an enormous 6.9-liter 8-cylinder engine, previously only available in the rare high performance W116 450SEL sedan from 1975-1980. Sbarro is a speed hound and wanted to put as much power in his creation as possible. The 6.9 put out around 286 horsepower, big for the time and still respectable today. It will easily move this thing along.

Most customers of Sbarro were royalty from the Middle East. This particular example was built for an Arabian princess before being owned by Celtics basketball player Dennis Johnson.

Cosmetically, the vehicle is in very good shape. It underwent a 5 year restoration and has been driven around 9,000 miles since. The paint is in good shape, with only some minor scratches and wear from typical usage. The interior is also in good shape.

Mechanically, the car starts, runs and drives fine, with no apparent issues. The owner has maintained it very well. The hydraulic gullwing doors open and shut easily. The car also has height-adjustable suspension.


Only 6 were supposedly built with this configuration, from a total of 28 including the later Biturbo. It could very well be the only one in the U.S. This is a rare piece of European coachbuilding history. The car is in good shape and should be ready to go. At the very least, it will be a big hit at the local car show and the cause of many scratched heads as people try to figure out what exactly it is.

The vehicle is being donated. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Arthritis Foundation. The vehicle is currently located in Monroe, North Carolina. Click here to send an inquiry if interested.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

Last Of The Wedge: 54k-Mile 1997 Alfa Romeo 155


Alfa Romeo's front-wheel drive sedans from the 80s and 90s are really most notable for their unconventional styling more than any particular performance statistics, although this comes closer to the latter.

The 155 debuted in 1992 and is one of the great Ercole Spada's last designs for a major auto manufacturer. Spada was the genius who, while working under Claus Luthe, created the BMW E32 and E34, totems in the sport sedan segment. He knows his way around a handsome four doors and trunk deck. For the most part, the 155 builds off the chiseled lines of the 75/Milano and 164, but simplified. It's an utter success. Within this ultra-mod design language, Spada helped set Alfa apart from BMW and Mercedes.


Unfortunately, the car never quite lived up to its predecessor, the rear-wheel drive 75/Milano. The 155 sure looked good, even arguably better than the 75, but it was built after Fiat acquired Alfa Romeo, and as a no longer "pure" Alfa coupled with a new front-wheel drive layout more akin to a Toyota Camry, the 155 just wasn't what people wanted.

Fortunately, this delicious Rosso-red example is the later widebody edition, featuring a wider track for improved stance and handling. It's also coupled with the rare 2.5-liter V6 engine that produced 164 horsepower. That's not bad for a mid-size sedan. If the layout was Camry-like, the acceleration and handling would not be, mercifully.


Inside, the interior is immaculate. The owner claims the odometer reads only 87k kilometers, which is about 54k miles. These were family economy cars in Europe, so they don't often appear for sale as clean and infrequently driven as this one. Note the oversized white Alfa logo decal and matching white alloys are fresh and not overdone.

Mechanically, the seller states the vehicle is "sound", with the timing belt and water pump done around 30k miles ago.

Available here on ebay for $11,900 Canadian dollars, which is about the same in USD.

                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross


For a while, BMW's 3-series was the undisputed king of the sport sedan segment. In fact, it pretty much invented the segment. There really wasn't much competition until the dawn of the new millennium, when cars like the IS300 were launched to directly take a bite out of 3-series sales. Just as the full-size luxury sedan segment was extremely competitive at the start of the 90s, the race to develop the best entry-level sports sedan was really heating up by the end of the decade.

The first generation IS was actually a re-badged Toyota Altezza AS200/300, which went on sale in Japan in 1998. Power was directed from 6-cylinders to the rear wheels. For markets outside of Japan, it was known as the Lexus IS200/300. It was available here from 2001-2005.


Styling is pretty basic but hits the right notes and doesn't offend. The Japanese designers are better known for their interpretations then outright creativity, and the IS300 follows suit, mimicking the long-hood and short rear deck of the 3-series. The body is smooth and simple. The sharp and slanted front headlights give the car a feisty look coupled with the huge five-spoke wheels. The exhaust-like round taillights covered by clear perspex were trend-setting however in that tons of aftermarket taillights have copied the look directly, which could be seen as a good or bad thing.

Inside the driver was treated to a pretty cool red-lit chronograph-style instrument cluster, with miniature gauges for temperature, battery life and fuel economy tucked neatly inside the speedometer. The rest of the interior is hard and cold grey, silvery and black plastics. There is no wood, emphasizing sport and frugality over luxury. The shifter features a chrome-ball knob a la Ferrari. Lexus, long known for their dull interiors, aced this one.


All IS300 were offered with automatic transmissions until 2002, when a 5-speed manual was offered. In 2002, a wagon version was also added. It basically took the sedan styling and added an extended roof and rear hatchback, with new taillights. Aesthetically, it worked. I don't have sales figures but you never see these on the road. Given how Americans don't take to wagons, I'm sure not many were sold. But since the IS300 is a pretty neat car already, the wagon version is especially noteworthy.

This example is being offered up by a dealer who state the mileage as 157,400 and say it runs, drives, and looks "fantastic". Since these were actually Toyota, parts and repairs should be relatively inexpensive. I haven't heard of any major problems with them. This thing could be good for another 100k-200k miles of rear-wheel drive hauling.


Available here on carsforsale.com in Lebanon, Indiana for $7,500
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

1953 BMW 327 Cabriolet


The ad for this classic car is a little confusing but worth investigating. They list the car as a 1937 - the year BMW started building the 327 - but then go on to say it's actually from the early 50s. Production of the 327 ended in 1955, so that's plausible too. Either way, this is one rare and super cool car.

The 327 was a two-door coupe and cabriolet. Only 1,901 were built in total, with a majority before WWII. When the Allied forces occupied Germany after the war, the factory that produced the 327 actually fell into Soviet occupation zone. They continued building the 327 outside the control of BMW, which forced BMW to take legal action, stripping all association with them from any subsequent 327 models built. These 327 were eventually given the name EMW (Eisenacher Motoren Werke) and badged with red and white roundel emblems.


If this is indeed a 1953, it would probably be a EMW by that point, right?

The 327 featured an straight 6-cylinder engine powered the rear wheels. The brakes, gearbox, clutch and suspension were all hydraulic. Top speed was around 78 mph.

The seller of this example states a 2.0-liter carbureter inline 6-cylinder engine and manual transmission from the 70s or 80s was added, so the original engine is not present, sadly. Fortunately, the new power plant will hopefully give the car a nice boost for the relatively low curb weight of 2,400 lbs. The seller also states a modern relay board and instrumentation was added.


The seller also mentions the car hasn't been driven lately and "needs everything". Cosmetically, the say the top frame is present under the cover. They say the floors are rusty but the rest of the body is pretty good. Still, they concede "the car looks much better in the pictures than it is". How's that for honesty?

These are extremely rare vehicles. Not many were made, some were probably destroyed during the war, and more have probably bitten the dust in more than half a century since then. And how many have made it here? At first I thought this was a well-executed kit car, but it could be the genuine article that just needs a lot of expensive sorting.


Available here on ebay in Purcellville, Virginia with bidding at $10,300.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

63k-Mile 1991 Honda Accord LX


A lot of people think the short-lived 1990-1993 fourth generation Accord was the best. It improved on the ground-breaking third generation and featured the frugal and simplistic sheet metal the fifth generation lacked. It drove well and lasted forever, and on a penny budget too.

There is no doubting the appeal of this car. Cars just aren't made to look like this anymore, but there aren't any really good reasons why. Our windows are getting smaller, hoods larger, and trunks higher. But in the early 1990s, automakers finally came to terms with U.S. government regulations, fuel efficiency, and cost-effective manufacturing solutions to create cars that kind of did it all. They were safe, affordable, reliable and decent looking. Today's cars, at least today's Accord, may be safe, but it is no longer affordable, reliable, or good looking.


Since they were such decent cars when new, Honda sold a lot of them, and a lot of them were used. What was left was usually spliced and diced following the street-racer craze of the late 90s and early 2000s. So finding any clean, original, low mileage and well-kept example is getting increasingly difficult.

This car is one of those, however. The seller states it's a one-owner vehicle with the mileage as being only 63,699. They say the body and paint are in above average shape, and they just detailed the car (bonus points to sellers who do this before a sale - believe it or not, many don't even bother).


Mechanically, they state it is the 4-cylinder variant and has been maintained regularly. They say it runs great, shifts smoothly and is ready to go.

Inside, the cozy burgundy interior looks tidy and seems to corroborate the low miles.

I do note that the plastic wheel covers are from the fifth generation Accord, a small gripe. Maybe the original pieces broke.

Available here on ebay in Pennsauken, New Jersey with no-reserve bidding at $1,785.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

1984 Audi Ur Quattro


These are cult cars because they were raced in several rally championships, and were the first cars to do so using all-wheel drive. Audi hasn't really made anything like it since.

Although they were produced for over a decade, only 664 were sold here from 1983-1986. Fortunately, this example wears wider wheels and nicer headlights than earlier examples do. It also looks sharp in black (and mercifully not the often seen red or white) and seems to still be wearing the original decals.


Styling is not everyone's tastes and is more harsh boxy Volkswagen-ish than the soft curves Audi is better known for. Still, it's a great example of form over function, in that it looks exactly what it was intended to be: a high performance all-season hatchback sports car.

The seller is a classic car dealer who acquired this from a private party. Cosmetically, they state the paint is original and there is no rust. However, they do say there are some nicks in the paint and some light scratches and fading on the hood. Inside, the say the upholstery still smells strong but the driver's seat has some wear.

Mechanically, they note the engine is an original WX code turbocharged 10-valve 5-cylinder engine. The original displacement was 2.1 liters, but they upgraded it to 2.2.

They state the mileage as 150,000.


Fortunately, the seller says the vehicle is now running and shifting fine.

It seems ready to go.

There can't be many left, and the rally heritage boosts its value in the eyes of automotive aficionados.

Available here on ebay in Vergennes, Vermont with 29 bids at $7,700, reserve not met and 5 days left.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

No Reserve 74k-Mile 1984 Ford Bronco


It's just not often you come across a Bronco in this good conditon.

Of all the sport utility vehicles pumped out by American manufacturers in the 80s and 90s, perhaps the Bronco stands the best chance at becoming a collectible classic. They were two-doors, big engines and featured quaint styling. They are iconic.


It's also noteworthy that Ford has stopped making the Bronco entirely, after 30 years and five generations. Why do they always end good cars just as they keep getting better? Surely rising fuel prices and changing tastes and lifestyles have something to do with it, but an iconic vehicle is never worth ditching. And there will always be a customer base for the Bronco in the U.S.

Still, if you missed out on one when they were new, there are still some examples left in good condition.


This one is for sale by a private party who says they are thinning out a vehicle collection. They say it has no rust, wears the original paint, original engine and transmission and was never in any accidents. The two-tone earth colors perfectly befit the rugged charm of these.

Mechanically, they say it has the power option package which will ease modern drivers. They say the 351 cubic inch Ford V8 engine starts and runs "perfectly", and that the 4x4 works.

There really is nothing quite like the Bronco on the market today. This one seems to be in good shape, and will provide many more miles of strong transportation to come.

Check it out here on ebay in Phoenix, Arizona with no-reserve bidding already over $10k.

                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

Julia's 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6


After her Toyota Camry started falling apart, my friend Julia knew she wanted either a Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz to replace it. “Jaguars are the most beautiful,” she says, noting that she'd see a lot of them for sale on the side of the road. But they have a reputation for poor quality and reliability. So when it came time to find a replacement car, she set her sights on an older Mercedes-Benz. For Julia, an artist and bartender, they look just as good as a Jaguar but were built much better.

Sure enough, she spotted a 1993 Mercedes 190E 2.6 for sale at a nearby gas station. The odometer reads over 137k miles, so while not low, it's actually below average for a 19 year-old car, given that Americans drive around 13,000 miles per year. She test drove the car and had a trusted mechanic look at it. He gave the car the OK, but his only words of caution were about the possible future costs of fixing it: “He told me I would not be happy when I see the first repair bill,” Julia recalls. But she was undeterred. “All cars require maintenance,” she reasoned. Since she had been without a car for about a year, and the Mercedes checked out in every other way, she bought the car.


Part of why this particular Mercedes stuck out to Julia is the color, a newer coat of paint in what Julia describes as “ultramarine blue”. It has this high sparkle gradient that, while we agreed was not something the Germans would have originally painted it in, happily reminded us of the flamboyant colors of Hot Wheels cars when we played with as children and befitted the car’s charming aura. Mercedes-Benz look good in blue anyways, and Julia loves the color, so much so that she wore a pair of blue floral-patterned pants the day I saw her and also grew a blue crystal specifically to hang from the rear-view mirror as a good luck charm. 

Examining the doors we noticed the jams were black, likely the original color.

The 190E (internal code W201) was nicknamed the “Baby Benz” and was Mercedes-Benz’s entry-level model. Over 1.8 million were produced between 1982 until 1993, making Julia’s model a final-year example. The "E" stands for Einspritzung, or Fuel Injection. Most had four-cylinder engines under the hood, but in 1987 an inline 6-cylinder was introduced. While “190” denoted the original 1.9-liter engine size that wasn’t even offered in the U.S, the numerical designation was kept and different displacement sizes added after for clarification. Therefore, Julia’s 190E “2.6” denotes a 2.6-litre inline 6 engine under the hood. Since the 190 were small and relatively light cars they moved fine with just four cylinders, but the 2.6 producing a healthy 160 horsepower made them even faster and highway travel and passing cars even more enjoyable.


Design is courtesy of Bruno Sacco, Mercedes Benz’s brilliant chief stylist from 1975-1999. It is claimed to be his favorite work ever, likening the chiseled lines and tapered rear-end to the precise cuts of a fine diamond. To think that it came out in 1982 is unbelievable, especially considering other cars being produced around that time. It must have looked amazing then and it still looks amazing today. “Another thing about this is the size,” Julia says, noting the dimensions that make the exterior feel tight and compact, yet extremely spacious inside. Parking, especially in an urban area where Julia resides, is easy.

On the inside, Julia’s 190E features rare black seats, as most you see are tan. The material doesn’t seem to be leather but rather Mercedes’ indestructible "MB-Tex", essentially a durable yet comfortable vinyl surface. There are basically no rips, tears or stains. It’s incredible. The dashboard is also black and is small, clean, and simple. Everything is within easy reach of the driver. The gauges are in white and yellow and are clear and easy to read. The instrument cluster also has a tiny analog clock nestled underneath the tachometer that is a nice touch. The center console is covered in a wood surface. Only the climate controls are confusing. “What do all these symbols mean?” Julia wonders aloud, pointing to a row of small square buttons. Indeed, they don’t seem to follow universal air conditioning signage and instead veer into the mechano-wunder world of German engineering, where only the designers really know what their symbols mean.


Then there’s the tape deck, or decks I should say. Julia tells me to look down at this nondescript stack of rectangular buttons and suddenly it pops out, waiting to accept a cassette tape. But not just one. There are six of these holders. Julia is only disappointed that the aftermarket CD-player installed below it doesn’t allow her to actually play cassettes, but the idea of being able to hold them neatly in your dashboard is enough to impress both of us.

In back, Julia discovered a first-aid kit behind the rear seats. We opened it up and there was a perfectly organized array of bandages, medical tape, sterile pads, and antiseptic gel, all courtesy of "Mercedes-Benz of North America." Why thank you! Of course, it would be irrelevant in the worst of car crashes, but it's the thought that counts. I'd rather have it in my car than not.


On the road, the car drives great. Because it's rear-wheel drive, the housing that powers the rear wheels is situated between them and balances the car immensely, improving overall ride quality and handling that front-wheel drive cars just can't duplicate. It's also got that amazing heavy steering that has now become a trademark feel. Julia thinks it's just common sense, which it is if you think about it. "You're turning the weight of the car", remarks Julia, "so it should feel heavy." This is precisely in line with the reigning form-over-function design philosophy of the late 20th century, perhaps no better embodied than by Mercedes-Benz. Objects were made to look like the function they perform, and by extension, should perform like the function they perform. So many manufacturers miss this simple but crucial concept. Turn the wheel of the 190E, and you feel the bank-vault body navigate with you. 

The car is not without some flaws. The windshield is cracked, and there is some surface rust on the body. But those are small cosmetic issues on an otherwise solid car that's running fine and should be good for many more miles. You can't expect perfection when buying a used car. But the beauty in owning a second-hand Mercedes-Benz is that it comes about as close as possible.


Julia and I think the car has mega potential classic status Whereas the Baby Boomers are nostalgic for cars of the 50s, 60s and 70s, my generation will appreciate the ultra-utilitarian German and Japanese cars of the 80s and 90s. And for good reason: they've given us solid, reliable and attractive transportation. Even Mercedes-Benz seems to think so too, despite the many changes the manufacturer has gone through since the 190E. They've launched a "Young Classics" store in Stuttgart that finally officially recognizes their masterpieces from the 70s and 80s.

What's next for Julia's 1993 190E 2.6? A good waxing and buffing before the New England winter sets in. "I imagine it will be very satisfying," she says excitedly. Just one of the joys of maintenance. And it will feel extra good knowing she's beautifying such a nifty little car.


                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

No Reserve 1974 Lamborgini Urraco P300 Project


Well here's a frustrating listing. The seller has neglected to include ONE photo that captures the entire vehicle, and no photos that completely show the front or rear. Which in turn makes my life difficult (just kidding).

Lamborghini had all sorts of cars in the 1960s and 70s I forget about, until someone posts a broken down one on ebay for the world to see.

Just 791 Urraco were made from 1973-1979. It wears styling by exoticar maestro Marcello Gandini of Bertone, and looks pretty cool. Italian supercars wore the most cutting edge bodies out there (and they still do, to an extent). At the height of the wedge shape's popularity, Gandini cuts another classic profile, with a relatively short and sloped front, hidden headlights, and heavily louvered rear that hides a rear mid-mounted engine powering the rear-wheels.


This example is the coveted P300, featuring the largest and most powerful V8 engine producing a respectable 247 horsepower.

The seller of this example seems pretty honest about the car's current state. They say they purchased it at an auction, have no history on the car and were ready to fix it up before becoming involved in another project (or scared to death of this one). They say it's a non-running car that needs work from end to end. They say it's missing some parts "here and there". Frankly, when dealing with a rare and old Italian car, any missing part is a big deal. From the photos alone I can see the bumpers were removed. The seller does say some boxes of parts come with the car.


To make matters worse, the car has no title. The seller explains that Connecticut doesn't issue titles for cars older than a certain year.

Honestly, when I see project cars like these, I think they're really only best for classic car dealers to pick up at a fair price, restore, and then flip. Who in this day and age has time and money for all of this? Bless you if you do, though.

Find it here on ebay in Suffield, Connecticut with no reserve bidding at $11,100.
                
        
  
    
   

   
    
     

23k-Mile 1988 Toyota Corolla


Ah, just look at this Corolla. Industrial steel gray. Unpainted bumpers (which, by the way, are mighty great at deflecting dirt and scratches). No frills interior.

By the end of the 1980s, Toyota had demonstrated complete mastery of the compact economy car. Not just that, they made it into an art form, and in the process blew away competition far and wide. Nobody else came close - not the Americans, Germans, or Italians. They just couldn't come close.

Initial Corolla's were rear-wheel drive (remember when it was the dominant layout?) and it was offered on select models until it was dropped entirely with the debut of the sixth generation "E90" Corolla in 1987. Underneath the yuppie sheen of the era was a layer of pragmatic frugality that made cars like this almost as fashionable as a BMW. They were built-well, ok-looking, inexpensive initially, cheap to fix, and reliable.


Over 4.5 million (!) were pumped out of a factory in Canada for consumption on North America. This generation wears much smoother bodywork than the outgoing E80 generation. Vents on the c-pillar allow cabin air to exit. It also features these goofy protruding license plate nights that were in vogue on small Japanese cars at the time.

The seller seems to be a dealer but has only 1 feedback rating. They state the mileage as an absolutely remarkable 23,300 miles. Although MANY were sold, most were used as intended: everyday commuters to and from, back and forth on American highways. As such, they rarely surface with low miles. This one bunks that.


The spotless interior seems to corroborate the low mileage claim.

The seller says it has a clear title and is ready to drive home. They say it shifts fine, runs good, and everything works. They also mention it has new carbs, new exhaust, and a new gas tank. My guess it needed a new tank because it was probably a little old lady's car and sitting for a while so it needed some work, and then was wholesale auctioned off. No difference. It's great for the world to see it now.

But really. Who buys a car good for about 250k-300k miles but only drives it 23k over 24 years?

Questions like that may never be answered, but this car will certainly make its new owner very happy, for a very long time.

Available here on ebay in Rochdale, Massaschusettes with energetic bidding at $2,250