1988 Ford Escort EXP: Child of the 80s

Despite not being a great era for performance, the ’80s saw an uptick in manufacturers pumping out coupes with sporting intentions in mass quantities. Chrysler was turbocharging everything that moved, Pontiac started making the Fiero a competent performer right before they killed it, and Ford was slapping 5.0 badges on Mustangs like their house was burning down. But they also began their dalliance with cheap, economy-minded performance in the Ford EXP, starting with the super-weird (and rare) early ’80s version before morphing the yawn-inducing Escort into a great looking coupe with OK performance. This 1988 example here on eBay benefits from a recent repaint and an owner who believes in using OEM parts for replacement purposes – Motorcraft all the way. Plus, the factory body kit and sport seats look to be in great shape; now, it just needs the correct Marchal fog lights to be perfect.

1988 Ford Bronco II 4X4: Mountain Goat

Seeing this survivor-grade ’88 Bronco II on eBay immediately brought back memories of some of my favorite Buddy L toys: I had a Bronco II and Ranger pick-up as part of a matching set, complete with the 4×4 graphics on the side and white-letter tires. Mine are wrapped up in the attic somewhere in my parents’ house, much like this super-clean and well-optioned Bronco II that has been garage-kept for many years. The body flares are a desirable look and the factory 5-speed manual is an added bonus, and with the locking hubs, I’m sure this short-wheelbase 4×4 is a hoot on mountain trails. You’ll certainly have to enjoy the color red if you plan on spending any time in that interior, as it’s covered from headliner to carpet in a shade that’s nothing short of loud; but then again, most things from the ’80s are. It’s too bad this class of vehicle didn’t take off – like the Dodge Raider of the same era, I’d love a two-door, 4-wheel drive rig like this to use for weekend projects and off-road escapes.

1994 Ford F150 Lightning: Bring The Thunder

Of all the automotive trends that have emerged over the last 25 years, the fast pickup truck is among my favorites. Utterly pointless and completely counter to the point of a truck with a bed, these hot rod haulers thumb their noses at sensibility, and isn’t that the calling card of some of our favorite niche vehicles? No one ever said the Countach made sense, and the Ford F150 Lightning isn’t much further away on the silly scale. But then again, an F150 can make dump runs, which is more than be said for the Lambo. Check out this ’94 Lightning here on craigslist in Tennessee for $3,800. Read more »

1993 Ford Thunderbird SC: Fast Boat

The Ford Thunderbird isn’t exactly high on the list of rides enthusiasts pine for. It’s not hard to see why, with the exception of the combination of rear-wheel drive with an available V8, these modern day interpretations of the classic Thunderbird offered underwhelming performance with overwhelming proportions. Thankfully, someone in the engineering department saw an opportunity to breathe new life into Ford’s big coupe by creating the Thunderbird Super Coupe, or SC, complete with a supercharged and intercooled 3.8L V6. They’re hard to come by these days, and even more so with a third pedal like this example here on craigslist in Virginia for $2,000. Read more »

1987 Ford Mustang GT: Droptop Fun

Not too many cars come along that are instantly recognized for what they are and cherished for those same feelings nearly 30 years after their introduction. The Fox Body Mustangs offered the masses cheap speed and good times in an attractive package that traded away high quality for high output, a swap that many buyers were happy to live with. Vanilla Ice may have made the Mustang a Hollywood star, but it endeared itself to hobbyists without the high-profile role in a music video. You can still buy them cheap, too, like this 1987 Mustang GT Convertible here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $4,850. Read more »

1989 Ford Probe GT Turbo: Swiftly, Cheaply

When you think about the cars that top an enthusiast’s wish list for cheap projects, the usual suspects are there: GTIs, Miatas, 944s, and the like. I don’t often hear the words “Probe GT” thrown in to the mix despite a fair amount of reporting that seemed to indicate it was a half-decent way to get from Point A to Point B. Even harder to find is a clean first-generation Probe that came from the factory with a turbocharged and intercooled 2.2L 4-cylinder, unless you happen to live near Wichita where one in excellent condition is listed here on craigslist for $2,200. Read more »