By on September 4, 2015


This week on the TTAC forum, we’ve had a few interesting rides on the Classic and Collector subsection. Not just the stuff I’ve posted, either, as our own Ronnie Schreiber posted a very cool vintage truck he had photographed.

This weekly feature isn’t just for TTAC writers, either. I’d love nothing more than to wake up on Friday and not write about a single car that I’d posted. Please, post links to cars you’ve found as you search the web, and I’ll give a shoutout to the best.

This week, we have Ronnie’s Corvair, a Jeep, a K-Car, an Eighties-vintage Alfa, a cheap Ferrari, and a Lotus.


That Corvair Rampside truck is just stunning. The work equipment staged in the back is a bit cheesy, but the patina looks perfect. And those Torq-Thrust wheels? I’m in love.


Monday I posted an Alfa Romeo Milano Verde, the big-engined limited edition. I’m a sucker for a Busso V6. That said, I’ve never liked the black rub strip that rides atop the fender and doors. It always looked to me like a Pep Boys’ add-on, especially with the misalignment so common from the factory. Being a Texas car, it should be pretty clean underneath.


Tuesday brings a K-Car, a Chrysler Town and Country much like Jennifer Grey (and her nose) drove at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It looks rather clean for what it is; an economy car with leather and faux-wood. Cars like this make me thankful that I was an only child, else I’d have been shuttled to school in one of these or an OG minivan rather than mom’s Sentra.


Next I happened across a Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler. It’s a project, to be certain, but one that shouldn’t take much to get right. With the possibility of a new Jeep (or Ram) midsize truck coming from Toledo, there may be renewed collector interest in these older versions.


Yesterday I found one of the least-loved Ferraris ever, the Mondial 8. Sharing the V8 from the 308 and the earlier Dino GT4, the performance wasn’t that bad for the era, though any modern family sedan can spank it easily. I just can’t imagine how someone can buy any car and let it sit — it only has 31,000 miles.


Today brings an early, clean Lotus Europa. The graphics are a bit odd. Can anyone tell me if they are period correct? I love the Minilites, however. I frequently see basketcase Europas sold for pennies and wonder how a Gurney bump would look on one of these?

B&B, please come join us in the forum. I’d love to feature the cars you find.

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36 Comments on “TTAC Forum ReCrap: Corvairs, Jeeps, and Italians – Oh My!...”

  • avatar

    The graphics on the Lotus have nothing to do with the factory, but are period correct. Although I was way more used to seeing the airbrush and lace pattern done on chopper fuel tanks and custom vans than on sports cars.

    As to the Mondail 8, the difference between 31k miles and something resembling normal mileage is dealing with only ruinous maintenance costs as opposed to sell-your-wife-and-children-plus-the-house maintenance costs.

    Oh, to own that Corvair!

    • 0 avatar

      A good friend has a similar vintage 308. Maintenance costs are not *that* bad, and the car is relatively DIY friendly. These are not “remove engine for service” cars. You can do the timing belt through the inner fender with the wheel off. Parts are expensive though. Probably no worse than a modernish 911 or Boxster overall. And you get to say the best three words in the English language “That’s MY Ferrari”.

      I find the comments trotted out about modern sedans outrunning this sort of thing stupid. Sure, the rare as hen’s teeth V6 Accord and Camry are really fast cars by any rational standard. But that doesn’t make an ’80s Ferrari slow. And I can tell you that even if the numbers aren’t that impressive anymore, the thing will FEEL like an absolute rocket ship. The Mondial is actually my favorite modern Ferrari – the unlovedness makes them cheaper, the back seat is useful storage space, and they drive exactly the same as a 308.

      • 0 avatar

        Honda is on pace to sell 48,000 “rare as hen’s teeth” V6 Accords this year. There isn’t any shortage of V6 Camrys either. It doesn’t much matter though, as a 6-speed, 4-cylinder Accord would also run rings around a 30 years old Ferrari.

  • avatar

    My Today’s Rare Ebay Find – 1994 929!

    A very pristine example (best I’ve ever seen) of the last RWD Mazda sedan the US will ever see (most likely). Cream two-tone, RWD, lots of rando tech like solar-powered ventilation and four-wheel steering! (Oh, and it would seem a real lack of enough vents inside.)

    The last bastion of luxury from Mazda before their financial collapse and subsequent abandonment of the Eunos (Amati for the USA) brand, which would leave us with the underwhelming “ES300 competitor” (lawl) Millennia.

    • 0 avatar

      Me likey.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s unfortunate they didn’t hold up better, it’s hard to find a good example. I feel they quickly got sort of outdated once the model was dropped, and went to BHPH Mitsubishi status at that time.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      Very nice Amati there.

      Though I don’t know if I’d want to shop at a place called “North Jersey Auto Mall”.

      • 0 avatar

        They get enough rare/interesting stuff in nice condition that I know it’s one of theirs just from the showroom picture, in the corner with the tile floor. I don’t think I’d hesitate to buy from them with that quantity of positive feedback.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s in truly remarkable shape for a car that had one of the less durable interiors of the plastic fantastic ’90s. I really liked them when they were new — they seemed so futuristic.

      • 0 avatar

        Since I had no idea, I just checked the price for the base version in 94. $32,200. That’s exactly $1,000 more than the starting price of the ES300.

        • 0 avatar

          Ah but did anyone pay that price? People paid sticker for the Lex.

          • 0 avatar

            Hmm I dunno. Were Mazda showrooms desperate in 1994?

            They had the 323 (last year before Protege), 626 (looked just like 929), 929, Miata (NEW!), B3000, and MPV.

            I had to look up these iterations of the 323 and 626. The 323 was quite old compared to the brand new and high-quality vault Corolla and new Civics. And the 626 was kinda ugly compared to the Camry or a purple Accord.

            So deep discounts, probably.

            But nobody had a match for the MPV!

    • 0 avatar

      I feel the Millenia was a lot more than just an ES300 alternative. Its far more sporty and I feel a better looking car. The Miller Cycle 2.3L V-6 was much more interesting than the ES’s Camry-sourced engine. But, then, I also like the Acura Vigor, so what do I know? Lol

      Amanti wouldve been great, a true sporty Japanese luxury brand before Lexus and Infiniti decided they might try to make something that wont compete for the car of choice in the parking lots of retirement centers everywhere. If the Millenia was to be their entry level offering, imagine what their LS400 compeditor wouldve been like.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think it would have been very good, RE: LS400 competitor. The 929 was the -top- of the line, and was sold as a Eunos in some markets, I believe. They hadn’t planned on a larger car than that. And at BEST, it could compete with a base model GS300 on size and content (though unlikely). The old 929 (from the late 80’s) had died years earlier, and only it had the size necessary to compete – and no V8!

        The Sentia (JDM) was actually sold as the Kia Enterprise, and was pretty popular in South Korea. It was an inch shorter than the 929 we got here though, and really not too exciting. That lasted til 99 as a Mazda, and 02 as a Kia.

        Nobody in hell is choosing that over an LS though.

        • 0 avatar

          Well, Id just imagine a new RWD flagship wouldve been developed for the brand, if Mazda had the funds to do so. The level of detail in the Millenia, the interior materials, its striking design and innovation led me to believe great things were possible beyond it.

          I actually love the “mini-Millenia” (a compact that looked like a scaled down Millenia, forget the name) that they sold elsewhere. It was no 3-Series killer but it was a very tight looking car. I bet it drove with precision.

          • 0 avatar

            I think they would have tried to ship over a JDM vehicle and save $$$ – keep in mind they were always so much smaller than Nissan and Toyota!

            I am partial to the Autozam from the time. So cool.

            I can’t find the shrunk Millennia thing you’re talking about. Steve Lang says the Millennia is a POS with lotsa issues though.

          • 0 avatar

            Mazda Xedos 6.


            JDM = Eunos 500

            Edit: Looks a bit like our first Mazda6 in some of the picture on Google Images.

      • 0 avatar

        You can compare 3 rotary Eunos Cosmo against Lexus SC 400 to have an idea.

  • avatar

    L.A. County Dept. of Weights & Measures used to have Corvair Rampside pickups with special bodies to hold the three but metal measuring jugs….

    When they got salvaged out they were pretty much dent free and low mileage .


  • avatar

    I’ll take the T&C. No, seriously.

  • avatar

    Just a note, but I can’t create a new topic in the forums using Firefox. I have 38 here at work and 40 at home. Works with Rekonq and IE. It just opens a blank page. Am I the only one?

  • avatar

    Man, that rampside must have had *stellar* torsional rigidity.

  • avatar

    I love the Alfa Romeo. The Corvair truck is pretty damn sweet, too.

  • avatar

    Land Rover Defender 110 up now.

  • avatar

    I love the rampside Corvair, and the Lotus Europa.
    Lace graphics like that are period correct but very incongruous since that is a look more associated with lowriders and choppers.

  • avatar

    I have a 5 acre hobby farm and I could really get a lot of use out of the rampside or the scrambler. Of course that’s not what people look for on blogs like this but simple trucks really pull at me. I liked the rampside when it was new but it really didn’t fit the bill for a young sailor. The van version would have. I know there are similar trucks all over Europe from a variety of companies. I would think importing one that had been worked hard for 25 years would be less than smart.

    Oh well. Have one now that I still like so just spending monopoly money here.

  • avatar

    I haven’t seen an Alfa Milano in person, but someone I go to college with drives a 164 Quadrifoglio!

    (dunno if that link will work for people who aren’t part of the group…here’s a picture link just in case)

  • avatar

    It’s a real shame the early, practical Corvair variants (Rampside, Greenbrier, Lakewood) didn’t catch on. Or maybe if the Monza hadn’t sold so much better that GM quickly discontinued all the other, slower selling models.

    Either way, imagine how the automotive landscape might look today if the Corvair’s more unique early versions had sold better and stayed in production.

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