Archive for May, 2010

Rally-Style Project – 1973 Fiat 124 coupe

May 28, 2010

I’ve written about Fiat 124 coupes before, so no doubt I’ve already gone off about how these cars are a great lesser-known alternative to an Alfa Romeo GTV or BMW 2002. Think about it – 4 seats, spacious trunk, 5-speed transmission, and a twincam alloy head four-cylinder. So why are there so few around? Well, nearly every car sold in the 1970s was prone to rust, but some more than others… and the 124 coupe was one of those. As a closed car, they were subject to hard daily use, unlike their spider brothers.

Like the once-popular Ford Capri, these are now pretty hard to find. But they do pop up every so often in west coast classifieds. In fact, an AC coupe needing restoration has been listed for several months by a classic car dealer in the Pacific Northwest for a rather high price. Most cars on the market are much more reasonable, though, and today’s car is one of those, listed for $1850 in Burlingame, CA.

1973 Fiat 124 coupe left



Costco Twin-Pack – Pair of Running 1972 BMW 2002s

May 26, 2010

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go to Costco and get a multi-pack of your favorite classic car? Well, this seller has got a jump on the concept and is selling a bundled pair of 2002s. I’ve probably rambled on in the past about how I was brought home from the hospital as a baby in one of these (1970, Colorado orange, probably with plenty of rust by the time I was born since it was a Montreal car, and because my father pretended to be Roger Clark on the backroads of Vermont), and how I think they’re fun, simple cars to own and drive. Anyway, I’ve been trying on and off to realize my dream of having one since looking for a car in high school, and Alfas always got in the way. If you’re like me and you’re up near the seller, and this doesn’t make you fulfill your need to have an ’02, I don’t know what will. I found these on a mailing list I’m part of for the Melee, but they’re also listed for $3000 in Quincy, CA (near Chico).

1972 BMW 2002 pair

The listing is very brief, so this post will only be a quick hit, but the seller does say both cars run. The caveat is they both need restoration, according to him. While the picture is not super-clear, the cars are cream-colored, and no major rust is visible. At this price, you could probably even part them out and make money. Let me know if you’re up near there and able to check them out – they do look to have a lot of potential, even without a full restoration.

Finally, one bit of administrivia – I’ve taken on a new job that doesn’t allow me to write as frequently as I’d like to. That said, I seem to spend more of my time looking for candidates than actually writing about them, so if you spot a car while looking around, let me know and I’d be happy to feature it. My guidelines when looking are simple – under or around $3000, running, and unusual. Let me know what you find!

E12 Junior – 1988 BMW 535iS

May 22, 2010

I spend a lot of effort writing about all kinds of Italian sedans, and some of the earlier BMW 2002s and Bavarias, but have never been excited enough about the accessible price range of 1980s BMW sedans. They still qualify as pure sports sedans, since they are from the time before BMW decided it was also a luxury car maker. So while there are some nice touches like high quality leather seats, a full set of gauges, and a high-performance chassis and drivetrain, there’s still a certain simplicity to them that appeals to me. Since the E28 5-series from the 1980s is really more of an evolution of its 1970s older brother, the appeal is even greater.

Sure enough, there are plenty of affordable E28s on the market. But seriously, even BMW suffered a bit under the new smog rules of that time – when did anybody get excited about pinnacles of automotive excitement like an automatic 528e or the 524td? The 533i was a step in the right direction, but the car to have was the 535iS – its engine was formerly seen in the E12 M535i (BMW nerds will correct me if I’m wrong, no doubt!). Most 535iS are priced out of our range, but if you’re willing to go a bit higher on the mileage, you might find a well maintained example at a reasonable cost, like this car in Milwaukie, OR (who knew? it’s near Portland), with 240K miles at a very reasonable $3200. I’ve seen these cars listed with much higher mileage, so with some care this car should have a lot of life left in it.

1988 BMW 535iS rear