1995 Acura Integra GS-R: Sleeper Sedan

This is one of my favorite sleeper sedans of the last 20 years: a 1995 Acura Integra GS-R, listed here on craigslist in Pennsylvania for $2,900. Wearing the same bodywork as the standard Integra sedan, the GS-R featured one very distinctive difference: the B18C1 DOHC VTEC motor driving the front wheels through one of the best manual gearboxes ever made. Unfortunately, a lot of these cars end up either as victims of theft or tasteless customization. This example is for sale after the owner moved to a crowded urban location, so the car is up for grabs with an upgraded intake and wires the only deviations from stock. A sleeper that gets 30 m.p.g.’s – that’s tough to beat!

1983 Honda Civic Wagon: Giant Killer

If you buy this car, the seller makes a bold claim: the guy in the Porsche will have no chance with the ladies. Is that possible with a 1983 Honda Civic wagon, listed here on Maine’s craigslist for $3,700? There’s only one way to find out, I suppose. While the seller hypes the car’s effect on the fairer sex, I’m more intrigued by the 4-speed manual transmission and surprisingly clean body for a car with northern roots. The seller says it is rust-free but aside from re-painting the wheels, doesn’t talk much about any sort of maintenance work he has completed. Now, I know that it’s a Honda and they don’t need much, but we’d all feel better knowing a brake job or coolant flush has been performed. Still, this is a great buy for a starter classic.

1991 Lotus Elan: Cheap Exotic

What’s amazing to me is how a car with a badge like Lotus can fall down the slippery slope of deferred maintenance and accident damage to become a rather dirt-cheap project. It joins the ranks of Porsche 928s and Mercedes SL-series convertibles, vehicles that cost a fair amount new but now are hard sells in rough condition. This 1991 Lotus Elan here on eBay is every inch of a project car, but that hasn’t stopped bidders from chucking up some low numbers to see what the reserve might be (or you can hit the BIN for $3,750). The Elan featured an engine sourced from one of my favorite turbocharged hot hatches, the Isuzu Impulse, but handling was entirely engineered by the geniuses at Lotus. Despite being front-wheel drive, the Elan was still considered one of the best handlers of its day; the question now is, have they gotten cheap enough that examples like this deserve rescuing. I’m on the fence with this one – what about you?

1984 Toyota Land Cruiser: Weekend Ready

Now here’s a smoking deal if it turns out to be rust-free: a 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser with a stick and mild lift kit for $3,995 here on craigslist! I’m confused by the low asking price as almost every generation of the Land Cruiser pulls $5,000 or more unless it’s a rusty basketcase. This one is said to be a barn-find but it looks pretty clean to me – even the cloth interior appears livable and free from rodent nests. There’s some visible rust on the chrome bumpers and possibly some rot-through on the nose, but considering the reputation these trucks have for being completely used up by adventure-seeking owners, this J60 Land Cruiser looks like it has plenty of life left. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one ends up being exported to a 3rd-world country given its reputation for can’t-kill-it dependability and go-anywhere traction. Or could it be your next hunting vehicle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

1986 Isuzu Impulse Turbo: Dream Project

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted an Isuzu Impulse Turbo. As a fan of MK2 Volkswagens, I saw it as the Scirocco VW should have built, with rear-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine. Factor in the other touches of 80’s period goodness, like the flip-up headlights, clamshell hood and ample Turbo graphics, and you have one of my favorite potential project cars. This 1986 model here on craigslist is available for $2,500 and looks like a great starting point – the automatic is unfortunate, but these cars are hard enough to find in any form that I’d gladly buy it as-is. The interior is in astonishingly good condition for the age, as are the polished OEM wheels. A car I wish I could buy, right now. If any of our readers have experience with these turbocharged hatchbacks, let us know in the comments below.

1988 Nissan 300ZX Shiro Special: Rare Edition

I have a special connection to this extremely limited edition 1988 Nissan 300ZX Shiro Special here on craigslist. A few months back, I visited a local salvage yard I hadn’t been to in years. There, I spotted this entirely-white Nissan 300ZX, with color-keyed accents throughout and some very tempting (if not mildew stained) Recaro front seats. That was when I got an education in the 300ZX SS, of which only 1,002 were made. In addition to the cosmetic tweaks, Shiros came with a viscous limited-slip differential, t-tops and a unique front chin spoiler.  These Z31 chassis 300ZX SS cars are tough to find in any condition, and $5,000 is one of the better prices I’ve seen for a clean example without too many modifications. Oh, and those gross, junkyard Recaros? A shop  vac and some switchgear later, and I was enjoying a decent amount of eBay profit!

1989 Honda CRX Si: The Icon and Original

Very few cars have set a standard in the hot-hatch category that still exists today like the original CRX Si. This example on eBay is definitely driver-quality, but it’s also cheap – a $3,800 Buy-It-Now is a bargain in today’s market for unmolested Si’s. Lightweight, lithe handling, and can’t-kill-it reliability all made the CRX into the cult classic it is today. And were it not for the tin worm, it might even still be easy to find a project-grade example given their original popularity. Unfortunately, weak sheet metal is a common failure point for Hondas of this era, as is the tendency to find cars that have been modified and beat upon mercilessly by teenage owners. With only 142,000 miles and the timing belt job already done, this ’89 CRX Si is either a future classic or autocross champion in waiting, so I’d consider buying now while it’s still cheap.

1980 Mazda RX-7: Rotary Classic

Although I rarely go autocrossing these days, one of my favorite memories is of a track-only example of the first generation Mazda RX-7. Driven by one the fastest drivers in the Fairfield County Sports Car Club, the car blatted out the distinctive (if not ear-shattering) noise of a rotary-powered mill as it hustled around the course. Copper in color with wide racing slicks, it routinely dominated the day despite its power output being modest in comparison to almost everything else on the course. That’s where my mind wandered while looking at this first-series RX-7 available for $3,950 here on Knoxville’s craigslist. Read more »

1987 Chrysler Conquest TSI: Identity Crisis

Over the years, I have been largely disappointed with the efforts put forth by manufacturers to share platforms or re-badge niche models. The latest insult was the Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS, which was not a bad car on its own but neither manufacturer seemed interested in supporting its continued development once sales figures didn’t materialize. But there are a few bright spots of resource-sharing or badge engineering, and the Chrysler Conquest and Mitsubishi Starion twins are one such example. This 1987 Conquest here on eBay has a buy-it-now of $4,500 and despite its salvage title, looks largely original. Read more »

1989 Subaru RX Turbo: Snow Patrol

When you say the words, “turbocharged all-wheel coupe,” I guarantee you most folks will assume you’re talking about an Audi. For the privilege of owning such a foul-weather beast, you’ll likely have to concede that the car features complexities and maintenance requirements befitting of its exotic drivetrain, not to mention the regular service commitments that come with 4WD systems. But what if I told you there was another way? A cheaper way, in only the purest Credit Card Classics tradition? Enter the 1989 Subaru RX Turbo, available here on craigslist in Oregon for $3,295. Read more »