By on July 5, 2018

1986 Dodge 600 Convertible (K), Image: ChryslerOver the past seven weeks, we’ve spent time filling the various sections of our Crapwagon Garage with the sort of vehicles only a true connoisseur of cheap can appreciate. This eighth edition in the series is the last we have planned, unless one of you enterprising members of the commentary can think of some style of vehicle the series missed.

Otherwise, we wrap up the series with some convertibles. Many of you have been holding onto your convertible selections for about three weeks, as when we covered coupes all drop-tops were specifically off-limits. Now’s your chance to let loose and take off your top talk about convertibles.

But first, the Forgettable Favorite from last week’s full-on van party.

Tonyola wins the award for a second time in this series. He likes the Nissan Van (Vanette elsewhere), and I agree. Nissan modified the Vanette for U.S. customers, giving in to their larger engine demands. Said larger engines didn’t fit too well into their allotted space under the floor, creating quite a lot of heat. Fires ensued. All vans were subject to a buyback and destroy effort by Nissan after four different standard recalls did not eliminate the engine fire issue. Time to cool off a bit, with convertibles.

Here are the ever-present rules:

  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.

Image: 1991 Infiniti M30Here’s a convertible — an Infiniti M30. Available from the inception of the Infiniti brand, the M30 coupe and convertible occupied the space between the entry-level G20 and the flagship no-grille Q45. Typically, the M30 is found only in white, this red, or silver. Underneath the ruched leather and wood paneling resides a Nissan Leopard with the engine from a 300ZX. I’d rather have a coupe, but that’s not what we’re about today. I’ll live.

Since I don’t have to drive it every day, it doesn’t need to be extra-reliable. My second convertible Crapwagon is the angular Saab 900. Fun paint colors and an upscale Euro image distract from the cowl shake and somewhat sketchy build quality. An attainable and unique ride within budget. This press image is simultaneously dated and excellent.

Let’s hear which convertible Crapwagons you’d select.

[Images: FCA, Youtube, seller, Saab]

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102 Comments on “QOTD: Can You Build an Ideal Crapwagon Garage? (Part VIII: Convertibles)...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Hmm. We’ll make it really crappy.

    – Daily-driver: Saturn Sky (any)
    – Special occasions: 1980s Buick Riviera Convertible (like the one Ryan Gosling’s character drives in La La Land).

    And I saw one of those M30 Convertibles tooling around last month, too. It was in really good shape.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The Sky/Solstice is among my list of cars I wish had been more successful. I think it was a neat concept, just introduced at the wrong place/wrong time.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        but why?
        these are two cars that really look sharp.
        never driven one, but they don’t seem to be liked.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

          I’m probably biased (although I no longer have one) but the Solstice/Sky seem like great little roadsters until you drive a contemporary Miata.

          Then, you notice the Kappa twins’ comparatively ponderous nature thanks to their 200-300 lbs. of extra weight and their clunky corporate underpinnings. They also have a near-total lack of storage space. In typical GM fashion, they could have been great cars, but were bean-counted down to mere also-rans.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve just realized there should have been a luxury version of the Sky/Solstice, marketed as the Buick Reatta.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            The Kappas were about as close to a skunkworks project as GM ever got. They were designed at a torrid (for GM) pace by a team directly supervised by Lutz. The drivetrains and many of the smaller bits came straight from the GM parts shelf. The end result was a car that was generally good on its own merits, but didn’t get the extra attention to detail that went into the Miata and S2000.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            There should indeed have been a Reatta Kappa. In fact, if Pontiac had been axed, the extra roadster probably *would* have been given to Buick. Then again, I doubt they would resurrect the Reatta name. It was sort of a stodgy car.

            My cousins’ grandparents even had his and hers Reattas back when they were new.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        And without the commitment to make it a true Miata/S2000 contender. But GM’s flawed specialty cars have always been sort of endearing to me.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Well, had they at least been somewhat successful, you’d think they would have gone all-in on a second generation.

          I for one am glad Buick didn’t get a chance at it. I’d like to have seen Chevrolet market the twin to the Pontiac. Saturn was ruined by that point, and Buick wouldn’t have been happy until it was as soft as warm butter.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        As the former owner of both a Kappa and 2 generations of Miata, the problem with the Kappa was not timing or quality or anything else…It is that you couldn’t use it as a real, primary car. Both of my Miatas were good in this respect. Heck I could get golf clubs in the trunk. Grocery store trips…road trips…no problem the trunk was usable and as such, it was easy to live with and in fact made a nice commuter.

        Enter the Kappa (a Sky). It is like they did a wonderful job designing it and got to the end and said “oh crap, we forgot to put in a gas tank”. Then they all looked at each other, realized they were out of money, and decided to just order a fuel cell from JEGS and drop it in the middle of the trunk. Seriously, I had to empty grocery bags and carefully arrange the content around the gas tank and hope you aren’t shopping for the week.

        Combine that with the little voodoo rain dance to get the top up and down (The Miata could be done from the drivers seat with one hand) and it was doomed. These type of cars already have a limited clientele. You make it tinny when you simply make it a toy car. It just wasnt livable as a daily driver. Enter my NB.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        I always wondered why GM would produce TWO roadsters, which would naturally cannibalize each other, but not build the semi-different, unique Chevy Nomad.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        John, the sky/solstice roof folds into the trunk. Makes things awkward. Mazda did a better job with their 2 seater.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          You can rob some of the trunk space for the drop top but don’t rob *all* of it! Even in a tiny two seater, people want a metal trunk where they can lock up a bit of stuff while they’re at the beach, at dinner, at the opera, at the whatever…

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I guess they figured it would exclusively be a Sunday driver, on Sundays where you don’t have to stop at a store for anything, LOL.

          I’m surprised nobody on here has mentioned the (converted post-factory) drop top CRX. Of course, it’s likely to be well beyond budget.

          http://www.superstreetonline.com/features/htup-0805-1985-straman-convertible-honda-crx/

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    No Fox Body 5.0 convertible? I’d drive that for nostalgia alone.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Since the Saab 900 droptop has been mentioned already, how about the craptastic Chrysler’s TC by Maserati… or the higher-value LeBaron GTC convertible?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ah ragtops, about time, agree 100% on the Saab, I have had one or another Saab ragtop for about 20 years a great summer car. Many here will toss in a Mazda product so I will go in a different direction and say RX7 drop top. I would love to add a late 90’s E class vert to my garage but I can not afford it on the 7K budget, really 7K does not go far in the summer searching for a vert, My last 7K will be spent on a roll of the dice a Jag drop top either a late 90’s , early turn of the century XK8 with higher mileage and hope I got one after Ford put some QC in Jag. My first 2 choices will be a stick, I doubt I could fine a Jag w a 3rd pedal .

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    Convertibles are ostensibly all about having fun. With that in mind why limit it to the street?

    With an International Harvester Scout II you can have a blast on the highway (if you’re okay with unnerving wheel shimmy), at the campsite, or on the beach (if you’re okay with watching sheet metal rust away before your eyes).

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Or you can get a replacement fiberglass tub for the Scout. Of course, it won’t provide any sort of crash protection, but neither would have the original body.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Cadillac Allante!

    Does the tracker/sidekick/sunrunner fit this category?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Jeep Wrangler, because nothing says fun on a hot summer day then a top off, doors off Jeep just cruising around town. I must have seen a dozen or more yesterday. The want was strong

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Rule #1

    Welp… so much for Renault Alliance convertible. It’s old enough you can get the “classic/collectible” plates is some jurisdictions which can also mean no emissions testing :D

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Another selling feature to the R9 convertible- not only an you chop the top, but for and even more airy driving experience you can also remove the rear clip, as 007 demonstrated.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      If it makes you feel better there is always the Le Car vert , great name and a great example of the French Auto business.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My first thought was one of those mid-70s Olds Delta 88s, but those have gotten expensive. Therefore:

    1) Late ’80s – early ’90s VW Cabriolet
    2) Miata
    3) Wrangler – would do double duty when it snows.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      People laughed at my Miata’s as a “chick car”, but even I who shrugged that off wouldn’t drive a VW Cabriolet. I have only ever seen High School girls from 20 years ago driving one and as I remember from the girl I was trying to date back then, they were miserable even by my 18 year old trying to get with a girl standards.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The answer of course is Mazda Miata. However in order to add some drama:
    1) A VW Karmann Ghia.
    2) A Jaguar XJ-S.
    3) A Buick Reatta.
    4) An MG B.
    And since you could probably buy it for next to nothing.
    5) Not truly a convertible but a large ‘canvas’ canopy Le Car.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    My convertible garage would be complete with zero cars in it. I don’t get convertibles; I feel like I’d look like an idiot driving one and I don’t get the wind in your hair thing.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I’ve never owned a convertible – I feel like I’m in a parade car when I’m riding in one. Heck even t-tops in my departed ’86 Monte Carlo left me feeling “exposed”.

      I guess I like a little metal/glass around me.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I like the feeling of structure surrounding me, I’ve never wanted to ride a motorcycle (but I’ll happily ride a bicycle), but I do “get” convertible driving and it is very relaxing and enjoyable… more like cruising than simply getting from A to B and it’s most fun when you aren’t focused on getting to B.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      When I owned a somewhat scruffy ’65 Mustang convertible in college during the mid-’70s, girls liked to ride in it. That was good enough for me. Though I haven’t owned a convertible since, I still like riding in them and I’m glad they’re around.

    • 0 avatar
      bking12762

      A drop top is a bit of a novelty. They are fun initially, but the newness wears off quickly. I suspect many owners like the “look at me” effect with the top down.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      There’s nothing…NOTHING(!) like driving a sporty convertible in late October after the temperature cools off down a two-lane road on your way to some obscure place.

      I find myself taking an hour drive sometimes just to get a beer at a gas station and a cup of boiled peanuts.

      Also, bking…
      That “look at me” novelty can probably characterize ANYONE who customizes a brodozer or buys a premium car brand. Some things we do in life don’t make any sense, but we do them because they’re fun.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @e30gator….Agreed ! Top down, heater on. Yeah !!!

        I would choose a 94-95 GM “J” . A Miata, and a Sebring. I would of course like to include the mid 90s Mustangs and GM “F” body.. Though I doubt I could touch a nice one under 10 -11K (Canadian)

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          My Dad always loved convertibles – his first car was an early 60s Impala convertible, total beater that his Mom made him sell because she didn’t think he was safe in it. Dad did the “top down heater cranked” thin a few times, according him even in the middle of a snowstorm.

          I on the other hand don’t care for convertibles. The 67 Mustang convert I have is because it is a family heirloom. I wish it had just been a hardtop.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Dan, I’m similar with my 1969 F-100, its far from my favorite bodystyle, but it has been owned my multiple members of my family, most of whom are gone. So, there’s no way I’d part with it.

            I did get it running yesterday, I hooked up a temporary gas tank and it cranked and ran pretty good. I let it idle for about 10-15 minutes. It had a slight lifter tick when first cranked, but it went away quickly. Nothing unheard of for an engine that has been sitting for several years.

            It isn’t drivable yet. I got to have some help bleeding the brakes, and I need to clean out its fuel tank. All in due time, but I’m very happy with how the old 351 runs.

          • 0 avatar
            TR4

            @JohnTaurus: Get one of these for brake bleeding:

            https://www.motiveproducts.com/collections/domestic-bleeder-kits/products/power-bleeders-single-adapter-bleeder-kit-domestic-adapter-bleeder-kits-power-bleeders-single-adapter-bleeder-kit-classic-car-and-marine-kits-power-bleeders-domestic-bleeder-kits-power-bleeders-classic-car-and-marine-kits

            Make sure you get the correct adapter(s) for your vehicle(s). Much less hassle than using a helper!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            @TR4, thanks man! I’ll check it out.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            You can also gravity bleed it. Takes longer, but works just as well.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Have the VW Eos sunk to 7K yet? I doubt a Audi TT would be bought at the price range give but they were greta cars.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      You could probably find a “fixer upper” TT within budget. I found a 2001 hardtop in Nola for $1k, needs timing chain, which is included. I’m guessing its just noisy, because there is a pic of the instrument cluster and the engine is running.

      https://neworleans.craigslist.org/cto/d/audi-tt-2001/6629516266.html

      Neat cars. I remember after reading an article on them when they first came out, I had a dream later on that sometime in the future, I found one sitting idle and I was going to fix it. I remember seeing the round vents on the dash and looking out of the windshield, which was covered in a thick layer of morning dew. I know, a broken German car that was in need of love and repair? Yeah, what a reach that was.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    To continue the series _ Targe top cars ?

    Or

    Fill your garage with one of each of the crap wagon series but from one manufacturer .

  • avatar
    tonyola

    1. Geo Metro convertible – Small, sorta cute, sorta dorky.
    2. 1990s Olds Cutlass Convertible – Bigger, but still sorta dorky.

    I would have included a Yugo convertible but amazingly they’ve attained collector status and now sell for over the $7,000 limit.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Like the Metro idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Dear lord, a friend of mine had a Metro Convertible in San Diego back when I first came in the Navy. We drove it up to LA to see the Dodgers play the Braves and I have never been so scared in a vehicle in all my life to include 4 years in Naples and clearing routes in Baghdad. Terrible.

      I used to want to get a Yugo and do it up Mini style but with the hammer and sickle on the roof instead of the Union Jack.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I knew one lady with a Metro (LSi none the less) Convertible when I was working on my bachelors (1995-1999) the car was bright yellow with a black top and she was a very big gal. It was a pretty humorous sight.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I kinda want to swap in a MulitAir Turbo and manual out of a 500 into a Yugo, upgrade the suspension, and dispense with the rear seats. But, I’m also the guy who wants to swap a 1.8L from an Escort GT into an Aspire, so pay no attention.

        I like the hammer and sickle idea tho.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Boom.

    ebay.com/itm/1994-Cadillac-Eldorado-convertible-/142854584248

  • avatar
    ajla

    1. 1992 Cadillac Allante 4.5L
    2. 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati. It looks like the 16V Getrag-equipped versions are over $7K these days so I’ll have to go with the base turbo.
    3. 1980 Triumph TR7
    4. 1989 Alfa Romeo Spider
    5. 2006 Pontiac G6 GTP

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I still see quite a few LeBaron convertibles around town, lots of Camry Solaras too.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    and a quick look at cars .com the newest vert you can get in this series a 2012 Fiat 500 c Pop priced at 5k

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Being a man of exquisite tastes, my choices are:

    1. The Le Baron – needs to be a Marc Cross Town and Country edition with the fake wood paneling

    2. Cadillac Cimarron Convertible

    3. 90’s Pontiac Sunfire Convertible

    4. Early 80’s c4 corvette convertible

    5. Chrysler PT cruiser convertible

    I’m gonna go chainsmoke some Camel unfiltereds now.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “2. Cadillac Cimarron Convertible”

      When did this happen? Cimarron was never available new from any dealer as a convertible

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        Build your own!

        http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1988-cadillac-cimarron-convertible-so-many-questions/

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Lol, yes, I’ve seen these before, they are actually Chevy Cavaliers with Cimarron bits to make it appear as though the sought after classic Cadillac was available as a convertible, but it is a FAKE

          • 0 avatar
            Sanman111

            Well, I just learned something new. I recalled the one listed above. If I can’t have me a Cadillac, a 1992 Firebird convertible courtesy of ASC would fill that space nicely.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I remember seeing in a auto magazine during the Cimmaron era that GM had plans for one. The picture showed a dressed up Cavalier with a pseudo rollbar.
        Apparently a droptop Chevrolet Beretta was also considered.

      • 0 avatar

        Lie2me I have not seen you in YEARS! Where ya been since… April 2015?!

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Hi, Corey, been around, but the politics around here finally drove me nuts, I see nothing’s changed, but there’s a lot about this site I DO like, so I thought I’d give it another go around.

          Wow, I’m really impressed with Corey the big time automotive writer, congrats!

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      “I’m gonna go chainsmoke some Camel unfiltereds now.”

      With that taste? Pssh. You get Pall Malls. :P

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    From the grooveyard of Golden Oldies- convertibles that I have owned- 1972 Chevrolet Impala brown with tan top, 1968 Cadillac DeVille Triple black, and a 1969 Cadillac DeVille baby blue with a dark blue top.
    I recently drove a Pontiac G6 convertible hardtop and liked it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Like catour above, I am not a fan of convertibles. That said, I’ll try to play along.

    1980s/90s Bronco. What? The top comes off. You can find a runner/driver within budget, I’m sure. It won’t be anything to show off, but that’s all the better for mud slinging.

    Suzuki Samuri. Same deal as Bronco

    Okay, on to non SUVs…

    M30 is an excellent choice, I’ll make it one of mine as well.

    First one I thought of was a 5.0 Fox body, and it was mentioned, but it still fills a spot for me.

    1995 Chrysler LeBaron. I’d drive it around on rainy/snow days as if its sunny and warm, just to make people do double takes. Then I’ll die of pneumonia, but it’ll be fun in the meantime.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I haven’t seen it listed yet, but the BMW Z3 Roadster is a fun and cheap ride. I have a ’96 that I bought CHEAP as a third car for weekends, and it’s a joy to own and drive.

    Also, these are some other favs…

    ’83-93 Fox body Mustang GT vert
    Any well-preserved K-Car convertible (for nostalgia)
    ’90-01 Mercedes SL
    Jaguar XK8
    C4 Corvette vert

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    1) 88-93 Chrysler LeBaron turbo and GTC
    2) 83-87 Dodge 400/600 turbo
    3) 88-93 Mustang 5.0 or the Capri based McClaren.
    4) 99-07 Saab 9-3 5) 78-80 Triumph TR-7; the wedge was ahead of its time.

  • avatar
    MLS

    Chrysler Crossfire?

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=chrysler+crossfire+convertible

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Miata of course. Aside from that…

    Lexus SC430
    Honda del Sol Si
    Nissan 240SX
    and because why not, Chrysler Crossfire

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Del Sol is a good one. I also think its a prime candidate for building a mini El Camino/Ranchero type vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      I shall have to disagree with at least one of these. The Del Sol is more of a targa, and its removable roof panel does not qualify it as a convertible. There’s still a roof structure present when that panel is removed.

      Didn’t think there were 240SX factory convertibles but I might be wrong about that.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Well, the roof does convert into an open cockpit. You should have been more specific.

        The 240SX convertibles were “factory” ASC conversions.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper

        I’d say they delSol would still count. As it occupies a unique position, once you both remove the “targa” panel and drop the power rear window all you are left with is a windshield and a rollbar. And lots of others on this list have rollbars as well.
        + Civic platform equals the availability of many parts

    • 0 avatar
      richthofen

      The SC430 holds its value oddly well as it’s already something of a collector car–even this long after they went out of production finding one under $7k would be a tall order. A quick autotrader check in my region reveals that the majority of them are listed in the vicinity of $15k, and the lowest price I can find for one that isn’t a wrecked parts car is $8750. That’s with 200k miles.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    1) 1990-92 Lebaron V6 with auto or 5 spd;
    2) 1990-91 Chrysler TC V6;
    3) 1991-93 Cavalier RS V6;
    4) 1990-97 Miata 5 spd;
    5) 2001-06 Sebring 4 cyl.

    BTW, I own or have owned all of these cars.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    2001 Mercedes 500SL – last year of the 90’s body style.

  • avatar
    mjg82

    1975 Buick Lesabre, triple white (or any colour if that makes it satisfy rule 1.)

    If that doesn’t satisfy rule 1 regardless of colour, I’ll go early ’00’s Saab 9-3, in one of those pretty pastel blue or green colours

    +1 on the 90’s Cutlass Supreme, I’ve always loved the look of them and look them up regularly.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    Mx5 Is Always The Answer

    But, to play along:

    Mercury Capri Third Gen (1991-94)

    With the… wait for it… 1.6l I4 Turbo from the Mazda 323 GTX.

    Lotus/KIA Elan M100

    For a FWD, it handled well, but it was a Lotus. Has a Turbo Isuzu engine to boot.

    Nissan Pulsar T-Top convertible

    It’s not a ragtop, and it may not actually be a convertible but one can dream.

    Honda del Sol

    See above.

    AMC Eagle Sundancer Convertable (1980-81)

    It was a thing. AMC got the Griffith Company to design and build it, and it looks good.

  • avatar
    richthofen

    1)Jaguar XJ-S 4.0 — the V12 is best avoided
    2)Audi TT — A scruffy one can be had for under $7k. Yeah, it’d function well as a bank account drain, but that design though…
    3)Chrysler LeBaron GTC Turbo — ’92 or earlier, the hidden headlamps were crucial
    4)Volvo C70 T5 — mmmm, retractable. 2006-08 examples can be had for right around the magic $7k.
    5)1985 Toyota Celica GT-S — 4250 made in drop-top format. Angular old-school Toyota goodness.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    When I was in High School someone cut the roof off of a boxy 80’s Impala and put a “Pimp City” Licence plate on it. I bet I could get that for 7 large and feel like Kid Rock driving it.

  • avatar

    What?? Not one mention of the Fiat 850?? I dated a girl that had one in college, though it was in the shop most of the time!

  • avatar
    Funky D

    VW Cabrio(let)s would be an ideal candidate. My oldest has one of the last 96s imported from Osnabruk. They were well built and are quite durable with proper maintenance. And above all, it still delivers an authentic Teutonic driving experience.

  • avatar
    Acd

    1. Chrysler’s TC by Maserati, any year, any engine or transmission combination. Drive train doesn’t matter because they’re all going to feel like a K-car going down the road.
    2. Chrysler LeBaron, 1982-1984. I prefer the original crisp tarted up K-car look to the more rounded facelift from 1985-1986, preferably in white with Mark Cross leather interior and fake wire wheel covers.
    3. Maserati Biturbo Spyder. You’ll long for the reliability of a K-car when you have one of these that fits the budget.
    4. Cadillac Allante, preferably a non-4.1 litre. Aside from the fussy interior this car looks better with age.
    5. BMW Z3. These haven’t become collectible yet and are still just old cars so they are plentiful and cheap as long as you don’t mind a few extra miles or are picky about a few blemishes.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Off-topic alert (but was mentioned in the article, at least).

    Speaking of a no-grille Q45, I saw one today, it was at a glass shop (was there getting my dad a new windshield for his new-to-him ’13 F-150, sort of a belated father’s day). Did not look too bad for a well-used luxury car. Sometimes I think mainstream cars have it easier than old luxury cars, or maybe they just die off quicker and are scrapped sooner.

    Corey, I have very much enjoyed this series, as I’m sure many others have. In that spirit, I had an idea for a new one, which could be presented under the same heading as this series (“Can you build the ultimate crapwagon garage?”).

    Give us:
    a budget
    a class of car (bodystyle and market segment)
    a time frame

    So, say, $3,000 budget, 1990s time frame, mainstream (so, Toyota and Ford, not Lexus and Lincoln) coupe as category. Bonus points for showing an actual example found on craigslist, eBay, etc. (Hint to those who live in the salt belt, expend your searches southward and/or westward.)

    Say you want a 1994 Camry LE V-6 or a 1996 Thunderbird V-8 for this example? Find one and show us. I see no reason why you can’t find a “needs work” example, as long as it can be reasonably repaired within budget to be made to run/drive. Finding a car with a blown engine for $150 under budget isn’t feasible, in other words, unless you just want it as a lawn ornament.

    Just to prove it can be done (plenty left in budget to make it presentable):

    https://boise.craigslist.org/cto/d/beloved-1994-toyota-camry-for/6611065734.html

    Or the T-bird (either live with the minor hail damage or negotiate it down a grand to allow a paint-less dent repair guy some business)

    https://nashville.craigslist.org/cto/d/1996-ford-thunderbird-lx-or/6635150678.html

    Just an idea.

  • avatar
    Flipper

    Dakota pickup?

  • avatar
    jhefner

    101 responses and not one mention of the last generation Ford Thunderbird? There are a couple of those still around in my community.

    1. Chrysler TC by Maserati — loved these since they first came out, in the light tan color
    2. 2002 Ford Thunderbird
    3. Fox body Mustang convertible. When to a car show last week that had a couple of them
    4. First generation LaBaron convertible

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