1989 Volvo 780: Bertone Built

These days, you might be forgiven if you’ve forgotten Volvo used to be a funky car company owned by a bunch of Swedes who practiced moose-avoidance techniques. Now it’s just another Chinese-owned enterprise, which is why you should cherish the cars of its past, like this 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone coupe here on craigslist. Designed and built by Bertone of Italy, these limited production coupes have a much lower roofline than stock Volvo vehicles and were available only as two-doors. This being a later car, it has the turbocharged engine, which was essential for lugging around such a heavy vehicle. Our featured car runs but the turbo needs to be rebuilt. With just over 8,000 780 coupes made, this one is worth saving – but only at a price lower than the seller’s $2,500 asking. What would you pay?

1989 Alfa Romeo Milano: BMW Alternative?

When I think about what I could have purchased in 1987 as a competitor to my 325is, the first car that comes to mind is the Mercedes-Benz 190E. In fact, I owned one of these many years ago and it remains one of my favorite highway cars. Next I might think of the Audi 90, though I don’t believe it was ever positioned as a true rival to the 3-Series; the point is, I don’t think Alfa Romeo. But the Milano sedan was designed to be a cheaper alternative to the E30 3-Series, complete with impressive driving dynamics, a standard manual transmission, and six-cylinder power. Credit finicky maintenance as a reason why it doesn’t have the legacy of the BMW, but that doesn’t mean cheap projects don’t exist: check out this 1989 example here on eBay listed for $4,800 in Michigan. Read more »

1982 Lancia Beta Zagato: Cheap Flair

I realize that my threshold for dealing with maintenance annoyances that occur when daily-driving an older car is higher than others. But one of the best parts about the experience is when said vehicle doesn’t cost me anything in a given month, a small victory over having a car payment for some Japanese runabout that loses value every day. It’s this train of thought that makes cars like this 1982 Lancia Beta Zagato here on craigslist for $4,900 so appealing: sure, it’s likely to have a few quirks and unexpected repairs, but I’d drive this any day of the week over a $15K Corolla. Read more »

1994 Alfa Romeo 164Q: Soul Stirring

There are some cars I yearn for under very superficial terms. I’ll admit it – I don’t always pay attention to the engineering or reliability and rarely does the badge on the hood sway my judgment. But this car – an Alfa Romeo 164Q – well, I’m suddenly distracted by intake runners, Recaro-style seating, wrap-around taillights and an engine note that could bring you to your knees. Yes, this isn’t a practical choice, other than the fact that’s it’s a sedan. This is far more about the senses and the allure of driving an Alfa every single day. Let’s explore this 1994 example listed here on craigslist for $5,000. Read more »