By on June 13, 2018

We’re strolling through the various sections of our Crapwagon Garage, and are just over halfway finished with this series (unless I can add extra vehicle segments without any hair-splitting). Each week we’ve scaled somewhat upward in either size or utility — hatchbacks came first, then sedans, trucks, and wagons. But in this fifth entry we pare things back down to cover the Crapwagon coupes of your dreams.

Browsing through your wagon selections from last week, this one wins the You Should Remember This ribbon:

It’s the ’92-’96 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon. Luxurious in intent and styling, it was the upper class alternative to the plebeian Camry and Accord alternatives. They’re so rare that it’s difficult to find a good picture of one these days. Props go to Tonyola for this suggestion. The Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart was a close runner-up, by the way. Let’s get to the coupes.

The now-familiar list of rules for the Crapwagon Garage game:

  1. A crapwagon must be a vehicle which is relatively easy to find and purchase using an internet.
  2. All vehicles in the crapwagon garage must have been sold as new, in the North American market.
  3. Said vehicles must be obtainable to the casual crapwagon collector (CCC). This means in clean, running condition each one asks $7,000 or less on a normal day.
  4. Your suggestions must fit into the vehicle category of the week. If you don’t like the category, that’s tough. We’ll get to a category you like eventually.
  5. There are five rules to this garage game, and that’s the maximum number of vehicles you may submit for each section. Just five.

All coupes this week will feature a fixed roof and an actual trunk (not a liftback/hatchback). If one of your choices was sold as both coupe and cabriolet, the former is a valid choice. But if a vehicle had a removable hardtop as standard or factory option and a soft top underneath, that’s invalid. No Chrysler TC or final-gen Thunderbirds here today. My first pick:

Image Acura

The Acura Legend coupe, first generation. The first generation’s purity was somewhat diminished by the more bloated and luxury-heavy styling and equipment of the second generation. Two-tone and fan alloys are right up my alley, as well as the frameless windows. Not many are out there, but there are some.

And here’s another coupe which comes to mind — a Volvo 780 as styled by Bertone. These were very expensive and not that popular (still aren’t), as nobody turned to Volvo for their luxury coupe needs. They can be found in good or serviceable condition for cheap, and have interiors of serious Swedish luxury.

Let’s hear your coupe picks, and make sure they’re not liftbacks.

[Images: Lexus, Acura, Volvo, Mitsubishi]

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100 Comments on “QOTD: Can You Build an Ideal Crapwagon Garage? (Part V: Coupes)...”

  • avatar

    I always loved the look – especially the NSX inspired taillights – of the 6th generation Honda Accord coupe. Too bad the looks didn’t match the lackluster performance of the V6 version with it’s wonky autio transmission. For my crapwagon garage I would take the 4cyl version with a manual.

    • 0 avatar

      And g-body galore after that. Malibu, Monte Carlo LS (with the euro headlights), Olds 442 / Cutlass, and the Buick Regal.

      Of course finding a rust-free g-body in the salt belt is tough. I would have to drive down south to find a clean one.

  • avatar

    2. 1992 Lincoln Mark VII
    3. 1989 Buick LeSabre T-Type
    4. 1979 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
    5. 1987 Pontiac Grand Prix 4.3L

  • avatar

    Fun fact: The Volvo 780 Bertone Coupe was available with a Volkswagen-sourced 2.4 Turbodiesel engine with 129-horsepower. Most of them were sold in Spain and Italy.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I never knew the 780 Coupe was offered with the VW sourced 2.4 Turbodiesel. Most here in the states came with the turbo 4 or the PRV V6. The 760 was offered with it. I had a neighbor with a 240 with the naturally aspirated VW Diesel.
      It was fairly reliable and got over 40 MPG.

      • 0 avatar

        Until recently I was also not aware of this myself. I found out about this from an in-depth and comprehensive Volvo 780 review in a German classic car magazine. I believe it was Motor Klassik or Auto Classic.

        Unsurprisingly, however, not many 780 diesel coupes were sold according to the information provided. They were obscure when new and today must be incredibly seldom.

  • avatar

    1) 1987-93 Chrysler Lebaron Coupe
    2) Toyota Celica Coupe, any year
    3) 1991-94 Nissan Sentra SE-R,

  • avatar

    In no particular order:

    Ford EXP
    Late 80’s Buick LeSabre Coupe
    1986-1992 Oldsmobile Toronado
    1995-1999 Buick Riviera
    E46 BMW Coupe

  • avatar

    LX 5.0L fox body coupe.

    Sold my 91 deep jewel green 20 years ago for $7K with 60K miles on it.

    I want it back.

    • 0 avatar

      My best friend had one of those. He wrecked it. In spectacular fashion. We still have the photos. We pull them out and laugh that he walked away without a scratch

  • avatar

    I’m sitting here calmly thinking “karmann ghia” and “honda prelude” but a part of my psyche is loudly SCREAMING “third gen camaro”.

    I’m not sure what that says about me but I’m okay with the consequences.

  • avatar

    2003 Acura CL Type-S in Laguna Blue, 6-speed manual
    Plymouth Duster/Dodge Shadow turbo <–weird…I know
    Suzuki XC90 Is it a coupe? Sure, why not…

  • avatar

    1. 1987-1991 Honda Prelude…that greenhouse, those seats
    2. 1991-1994 Nissan SE-R. Though I sold mine (a 1991) in 1993 to buy a 1976 BMW 2002, that SE-R was a true hoot to drive
    3. 1981-1987 “G-Body” Buick Regal. I don’t know why these appeal to me as much as they do, but all that “Brougham-ey” goodness…
    4. 1978-1983 BMW 320i. Assuming able to find a clean one for $7k…though my heart will always belong to the 2002, the 320i is the “forgotten” BMW coupe, wedged between two legends
    5. And speaking of Legends, will concur with the first gen Legend coupe. Still love those squared-off lines.

  • avatar

    I feel like you guys read $7000 as $700 lol.

    A $7K cap makes things incredibly easy and makes me wonder if these can even be called crapwagons.

    1. G35/350Z coupes
    2. 7th gen Accord V6-6 coupe
    3. C215 CL500
    4. 986 Boxster (Base)

    Honestly there are too many… so many obvious choices; Bimmer 3/Z, Rustang/Camaro, Acura CL, Toyota Solara etc it’s kind of never ending, even within the $7K price cap.

    Only one that kind of surprised me… E63 BMW 6 series coupes are still trading hands at $10K+.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This is where the domestic manufactures hit their home runs!

    1. Mid 80’s Ford Thunderbird 5.0 or the Turbo Coupe MT thank you very much
    2. 90-93 Notch LX 5.0 FTW
    3. Mid 80’s Monte Carlo SS black (not sure if the T-Top version fits the profile, but I hope so)
    4. Last gen Honda Accord coupe
    5. 78′ Mercury Cougar with all of its PLC goodness

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      This category almost needs to be broken down first for domestic, second for import, and perhaps even one for the big three individually.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @87Morgan is correct. If we moved the years back a bit and/or could find really clean low mileage examples, then D3 PLC’s would rule in this segment.

      Lincoln LSC
      T-Bird Super Coupe or the FILA edition
      75 T-Bird

      Not the ’78 Cougar. Had a T-Bird of that model year. The most disappointing of all my vehicles in regards to reliability.

  • avatar

    1982 Honda Prelude

    In 1988, I just sold my favorite coupe, and wound up buying a 1983 Honda Civic HF. But I looked at a Prelude, too. Even though it was a 3 speed auto, I fell in love with that car on the test drive. But they wanted the same as the Civic, and there was damage on the front fender that needed fixing, so I passed. Ah, what could have been:

    1983 Plymouth Sapporo Technica

    This is the coupe I sold. I loved that car. It didn’t have air, but all 4 windows rolled down and there was no B pillar, so 455 airco had to do. Stereo was great, it had a digital dash, cruise control, it talked to you. The 2.6L I4 had enough power, and the 5 speed was smooth as butter.

    Okay, I may be embellishing here a bit. But this is the one car from my childhood I would play the lottery for in hopes of buying. They had one on Barn Finds with 10k miles, but he wanted $12k. If I could talk him down to $7, that’s what I would get. If not, I would look for a Sapporo/Dodge Challenger from that era in good condition.

    Third Gen (1978-80) Chevy Monte Carlo

    I had a powder blue ’79 with a white Landau top. I would want this in dark blue, and hopefully unmolested by donkers and lowriders who loved this car, too.

  • avatar

    I do like the GM G-bodies, but they never came with good engines with the exception of the GN.

    The 305 in the Monte Carlo SS was such a turd. That car should’ve had the TPI 350.

    I wouldn’t mind a G body Monte Carlo or Olds 442 with a modern LS motor.

  • avatar

    True Crap Wagon…
    Camry Solara

    Not so Crap…
    90s Buick Riviera

  • avatar

    Legend coupe, with a manual!

    Volvo coupe, with a manual!

    You’re welcome, Corey.

    On to my choices:

    1998 Honda Prelude SH
    1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC
    1983 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Royale (swap the 307 for an Olds 350 or maybe a earlier Olds big block)

    I’d include a mid 1980s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, 1992 Ford Tempo GLS manual, and a 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 with 3.3L I-6 and manual trans as alternates.

    • 0 avatar

      That ad copy on the Volvo is so priceless I can’t resist reprinting it here:

      “2 door 1989 Volvo. Doesn’t run. I don’t know anything about cars to tell you what’s wrong with it. It was my exes car he gave to me to sale. I have the title you can come look at it if you would like. I heard it’s rare and worth way more but I’m just trying to get bills paid and get it out of my yard.”

      • 0 avatar

        That is one sad Bertone. Not even the lace wheels can make it feel better.

      • 0 avatar

        For $300 if it was local to me I would buy it just to part it out – lots of unobtanium parts for 780s these days, and the sheet metal looks straight – the front fenders alone would turn a tidy profit. VERY rare with a manual transmission too (if it really has one).

        Heck, I’d buy it just for the wheels – they would look great on my ’91 940 once refinished.

        • 0 avatar

          Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the 780 was ever sold with a manual in this country. I’m sure the Euro diesels had them, but if this car actually has one, it’s a swap or a gray import.

          I know all about the unobtainium parts, personally, as my real-life crapwagon driveway includes an ’88 780.

      • 0 avatar

        Ikr, but I’d get it if I could. I had some unexpected stuff come up that wiped out my “extra car” money, so its a no-go right now.

    • 0 avatar

      Correction, I meant Regency instead of Royale, the Royale was the Delta 88.

    • 0 avatar

      Jack’s article on the Maxipad reminded me, I’d love a Datsun 810 coupe.

  • avatar

    —Dodge Neon R/T manual. Cheap and fun.

    —Any Mopar A body. A Duster with a 318 is actually attainable.

    —‘87 or newer Honda Prelude w/manual and the most motor available.

    —Chrysler LeBaron (since I can’t have a Daytona) with the Turbo II and manual:

    —Cordoba LS or Mirada with the 360 engine.

    Honorable mentions: any Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. Pontiac G6 GTP with the V6/manual.

    Crap wagon coupe I actually owned: ‘02 Chrysler Sebring coupe bought for a song with 76K from the original owners, an older couple. This was the most sensible least ridiculous vehicle I’ve ever owned, this bright red low slung 2-door with the biggest engine available and a manual. It was dead reliable, quiet (even with magnaflow and CAI) a total fuel miser…basically a good cheap daily beater. But then, it basically WAS just a Mitsubishi Galant 2 door sedan…

  • avatar

    1990-1992 Infiniti M30 – when was the last time you saw one?
    1988-1991 Buick Reatta – looks better with each passing year.
    1994-1996 Toyota Camry two-door – all but forgotten these days.
    1987-1988 Buick Electra coupe – very scarce even when new. Identified from the slightly more numerous ’85-’86 cars by flush headlights.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    1992-94 Acura Legend Coupe
    1995-99 Buick Riviera-the supercharged 3800. Some had the rare front bench seat.
    2000-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS the supercharged 3800 or the sideways 5.3 V8. Just no Dale stickers.
    1988-94 Chrysler LeBaron Coupe turbo
    1994-97 Ford Thunderbird LX 4.6
    1983-91 Honda Prelude Si
    1990-92 Lincoln Mark VII LSC
    1994-98 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC
    1972-76 Mercedes Benz 280CE
    1988-91 Volvo 780 Coupe turbo
    1986-1992 Oldsmobile Toronado

  • avatar

    -1988 Lincoln Mark VII LSC
    -1992 Lincoln Mark VIII
    -Mercedes SLC/SEC
    -BMW 633csi

    And my favorite…
    ’81 Chrysler Imperial. In black.

  • avatar

    Let’s see:-

    BMW E30 coupe (I had a 1987 320i coupe in the UK)
    5th gen Honda Prelude
    Mazda RX-8

  • avatar

    Going to have to pass on this one. Came up with four entrants immediately, only to realize they’re all hatchbacks.

  • avatar

    One of my favorite cars of all time, one that I drove for many years- 1975 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham 2-door. 455 V-8. Midnight Blue w/ white top and dark blue pillow upholstery. Gave the car to GF’s son, which I REGRET !

  • avatar

    Any Cadillac Coupe de Ville PRIOR to adoption of the HT4100 and AFTER the introduction of the 4.5 ltr V8.

    Big Block 1970s models and late 80s/Early 90s models should be just about at the bottom of their depreciation curves.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d rather the C-body’s Sixty Special than the DeVille, just for those Italdesign seats and the unique 5-spoke wheel design.

      They also had a more tidy looking vinyl roof.

      • 0 avatar

        I want slick roofs.

        Although it is not a COUPE the mandatory half vinyl roof is one of the things that keeps me from truly lusting after a 1985-1989 Town Car. (picking 85 as a starting point because fuel injection)

        • 0 avatar

          What am I saying? Sixty Special was sedan only. I’m thinking Fleetwood Coupe.

          But anyway the Fleetwood seems to have vinyl mandatory.

          Perhaps an ETC of similar vintage then, the little square one.

  • avatar

    1986 Audi Coupe Quattro
    1997-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
    4th gen Accord

  • avatar

    Proper coupes for $7K that interest me are thin on the ground. I guess an e36 or e46 BMW would be OK. 2dr e30s are 2dr sedans, not coupes, and a good one is more than that anyway. Ditto Volvo 242s, though the 262C is a coupe. But ugh.

    You really can’t get a Volvo 780 that is worth having for $7K anymore. And that interior is Italian, not Swedish. They were built in Turin, and the interior shares almost nothing with other Volvos beyond the instrument panel and switchgear.

    • 0 avatar

      Define worth having. I paid 1800 for mine in 2014. It needs some seeing to at the present time, but when I bought it everything worked except the radio (which was missing), the interior was and is in good shape, paint was presentable with minimal fading, one small rust spot which had been repaired, and the only thing that needed replacing was a driveshaft bushing. If I wanted it to go from its current “delayed project” status to “very nice 780” it would still require far less than $5200.

  • avatar

    Can’t believe nobody has mentioned it yet, best coupe of the 90’s

    1992-2000 Lexus SC300/SC400 Beautiful design, especially when you consider how boxy cars were from the 80’s, this was a revelation. Also very reliable if you buy one that isn’t ragged out, I had one for 7 years and just sold it, never gave many any serious grief.

    1992-1996 Honda Prelude- Gotta be 5 speed, once again I like the look and the digital gauges/swept dash was pretty cool looking IMO.

    Those are good drivers, these are good garage queens:

    1980’s Mercedes SEC- The ultimate Miami Vice/cocaine cowbody ride. Prices for these seem to be all over the place on Hemmings, some were sub 7k, some were like 20k+ Just make sure you have another 7k lying around to fix the thing.

    I don’t think you can buy anything 2 door Detroit from the 1960’s that isn’t a total basket case now days. But you can buy some interesting stuff from the malaise era in really nice shape.

    1974-1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville. Bigger than a Suburban, 500 cubic inch V8, best find it in some vulgar 70’s color like orange, gold, baby blue, with matching velour interior.

    1977-1979 Lincoln Mark V- Love the knife blade styling and the different designer editions. Make mine the Blue/white Bill Blass edition, very nautical theme for such an exquisite boat.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Coupe time…but first I’m going to amend my sedan entry to replace the B13 Sentra with the P10 Infiniti G20.

    Already have:
    ’92 B13 Sentra SE-R
    ’91 S13 240SX

    ’90s Lexus SC(300 or 400; can’t go wrong either way)
    AE92 Corolla GT-S

    And for something completely different: 1963 Oldsmobile Starfire hardtop (probably have to take a patina’d survivor for $7k)

  • avatar

    Coupes? That all depends on what one defines as a coupe versus a sedan. If the only parameter is 2 doors versus 4 then that really opens up the field.

    • 0 avatar

      That reminds me: Future QOTD, What cars were 4 door coupes before there was such a thing as 4 door coupes?

      My nominations:
      Infiniti J30
      1996-1999 Mercury Sable
      1995-1999 Oldsmobile Aurora

      • 0 avatar

        Only 2 vehicles come to mind as legitimate ‘4-door coupes’ and that’s the Mazda RX-8 and Saturn Ion. A faster rear window rake but with 4 completely obvious front hinged doors, handles and all is one thing, and one thing only: A four door sedan. Period.

      • 0 avatar

        “4dr coupes” have been a thing since the 1930s, just like 2dr sedans are a thing. Doors have nothing to do with whether a car is a coupe or a sedan.

        • 0 avatar

          ” “4dr coupes” have been a thing since the 1930s”

          What vehicles from the past were called “4dr coupe” in any official capacity?

          The only pre-CLS “four door coupe” I can find is from Wikipedia in reference to a late 60s Rover. There were a thousand body styles offered in the 30s and 40s but I can’t find that one called out anywhere.

          The ISO standard also specifically defines a “coupe” as having 2-side doors.

          • 0 avatar

            All of the definitions I looked at refer to 2 doors but some talk about vestigial back seats i.e. Mustang or Camaro.

    • 0 avatar

      IMO, any 2 door car with a trunk is fair game for this thread.

      Companies don’t really delineate between coupe and 2 door sedans these days….there is no Civic 2 door with or without a window frame and/or b pillar post.

      Same deal with hatchback vs liftbacks. They’re pretty much the same thing, only difference is the slope of the back window…..and all liftbacks are also hatchbacks.

  • avatar

    1987 gnx

  • avatar

    I think that ‘liftbacks’ should count as coupes. The reasoning is a ‘hatchback’ is practicality on a small footprint first (and it can even have 4 side doors), style and sportiness are optional. With liftbacks, its style and various degrees of sportiness first BUT they slide some functionality in under the radar. Coupes have always been about style and sportiness first. Now, your PLC type cars are just 2 door sedans which are still more stylish than 4 doors but comfort and some usability completely eclipse an sense of sportiness. Different animal.

  • avatar

    Five picks you can find in Seattle CL right now:

    1968 Ford Galaxie (A driver, a tank, real head turner)
    1977 Mercedes Benz 450 SLC (looks amazing)
    1989 Toyota MR2 Supercharged (bright arrest-me red, no rust)
    1976 Toyota Celica GT (looks good, modded, potential)
    1965 Ford Mustang (Abandoned project, lots of parts, anxious seller)

    If I had the garage space, I would snap up the Celica and the Galaxie in a heartbeat.

  • avatar

    Toyota Camry Solara

  • avatar

    96 Lincoln MarkVIII
    94 Mercury Capri XR2
    91 Buick Reatta
    92 Ford Thunderbird SC
    98 Nissan Silvia 240SX

  • avatar

    I owned a ’96 Lincoln Mark VIII and would love another, so that’d be at the top of my list. Currently have a 780 so I guess that takes a spot too.

    I’d give the other 3 spaces to:
    -1999 Lexus SC400
    -1995 Acura Legend coupe (I love the 1st-gen too, but the 2nd-gen really gets me going)
    -1980 Dodge Mirada (only year for the 360)

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