1969 Mazda 1500 – $1700

“Moving, must sell! Any reasonable offers accepted, cash sale. Vintage Mazda 1969 model 1500. The car was originally designed by Italian design-house Bertone. It is a very gorgeous little car, in excellent original condition. All lights original in working order. White with black interior , one small tear in back seat at windshield. 4 cylinder, New Voltage regulator, new rebuilt water pump–well maintained DAILY DRIVER. Minor body rust on front hood. As with all vintage vehicles, will need ongoing work.”

It’s always a little odd when you stumble across old Japanese cars. I mean, when it comes to cars from the summer of love, you always expect to find a Blue Oval or Bowtie on the hood… not a Mazda emblem. Subsequently, they make for intriguing and interesting collector cars that, to be honest, aren’t without their own challenges. And so it is with the Mazda 1500. One of the largest sedans Japan produced during the period, the 1500 served as a good stop gap measure between the smaller import cars like the Mini, and the bigger American-made six-cylinder sedans like the Falcon and Nova. Available in two trim levels, the 1500 could be had in standard and deluxe trims, with the deluxe models receiving folding armrests, a power antennae, and a clock in the dashboard. Performance was middling from the 82 horsepower four cylinder, but the car curried favour with drivers looking for a true mid-size sedan with reasonable fuel economy and good safety features.

Being a very uncommon car, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect when walking up to one such as this. Undoubtedly, being made of Japanese steel circa Creedence Clearwater Revival, there’s going to be some concerns of rust, as evidenced by the ad’s admission that the hood is apparently rusty… although that’s a pretty weird place for rust to appear. However, if the car is indeed used as a daily driver, there shouldn’t be all that much wrong with it… but my concern would be fixing what is wrong with it. Like so many other little known Japanese classics, parts and support will prove the largest hurdle for any potential owner, and all that one can really hope for is to find at least a couple good suppliers. Then again, if the running gear or suspension is one its last legs, perhaps it would be a great vehicle with which to experiment with Miata/rotary parts swaps?


1973 Volvo P1800ES – $3500

“Rare 1973 Volvo P1800 ES wagon for restoration. Was restored in the early 90’s. Complete with registration. Automatic, air cond. Front seats are rough, rest of interior is decent . Good project or parts car. Was running when parked. Asking $3500.00. Email for more details.”

It seems as it Volvo’s been trying to change they brand image since the dawn of time. Having made more than their fair share of reliable and safe brick-mobiles, Volvo’s first attempt to slough off their staid image was a complete and utter flop. Selling just 68 examples, the Volvo P1900 was quickly determined to a be a failure, and just four years after its demise, Volvo released this: the P1800. Immediately taking hold of the market courtesy of its stylish good looks, excellent road manners, and sublime interior, the P1800 sold almost 40,000 units over the dozen years it was made, with the coupe station wagon wagon, the P1800ES selling an additional 8,077 units in the two short years it was made.

With a pleasant 2.0L four pot under the shapely hood, this particular car left the factory with an decent 125 horsepower; five less than the coupe version of the same car. Although the downgrade was as simple as bolting on a thicker head gasket to lower the fuel injected motor’s compression ratio, many contemporary critics felt the change actually improved the car’s performance, making it less peaky and more driveable. Now, as far as this particular P1800ES goes, it obviously looks as if it could use some work. In fact, it looks rough enough that I contemplated keeping it out of the blog on behalf of its condition… but I took heart from the fact that it was the recipient of a recent restoration, which gives me at least a little hope that it may be a decent candidate for someone with a modicum of mechanical know-how. Being a Volvo, these aren’t vehicles renowned for their unreliability (one actually holds the record as the most well-travelled car in the world with over 3 million miles), so with a little bit of elbow grease, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it back on the road in relatively short order. Also, with a very active enthusiast community and even a local club, owning a P1800 in Vancouver is, apparently, very easy.

1974 Volkswagen Thing – $4000

“Don’t miss this one. A cool retro ride; this ’74 VW Thing is in great shape and a BC car to boot. Solid floorpan and a good runner. No rust, just fun in the sun. Rebuilt motor,new muffler, new balljoints and fiberglass fenders. Make this thing a great buy. Won’t find a better Thing at this price! BC car currently insured, it’s my daily driver. Thanks for looking, give a call for details: 250-871-2226 (work) or 250-941-2696 (home).”

There are few vehicles on earth with the cool factor of the Volkswagen Thing. Based on the old Kubelwagon military vehicle, the Thing was the byproduct of a few different Volkswagen assemblies. Borrowing the engine and transmission from the Type 1, the Thing’s unique sheetmetal started with the floorplan of a Karmann Ghia (due to the Ghia’s greater width) and the rear swing axle from the then-discontinued Type 1 Transporter van. However, being a 1974, this particular example should be riding on a double-jointed axles mounted to semi-trailing arms; a setup similar to that found in US-spec Beetles of the same era. A vehicle I’ve actually had the pleasure of driving, operating a Volkswagen Thing is remarkably fun. Like something located between a go-cart and a classic Land Rover, what they lack in power they make up for in exuberance.

This being the second Volkswagen in a row for the blog, it almost feels as if I’m repeating myself when I warn of rust, but the reality is that there’s no such thing as a classic VW that’s out of the rusty woods. And when it comes to the Thing, too much rot can be a very bad thing thanks to their relatively uncommon body panels. It doesn’t help that the once-cheap Thing has a long history of abuse, as previous owners tested the bizarre vehicles’ limits off road. And even if there isn’t much rot, any potential owner needs to be aware of the car’s caveats. Being based upon a military vehicle, even the best examples can be a little rough around the edges. The ride isn’t the smoothest, and things like keeping out the weather seems to have not been one of VW’s priorities with the flimsy windshield, doors, and roof… but, the flip side of that equation is an almost undying love to surviving. And as far as value goes, it’s one of the best values on the used car market, being one of those cars in which the cool factor is hugely disproportional to its price. And as they get older, one can expect the prices to only go up.

1979 Volkswagen Transporter – $3800

“Selling my 1979 Wolkswagen Transporter! Runs and sounds great! Also, its great on gas! Tis a Porche engine and is standard, shifting is incredibly easy for those just learning standard. Tis been looked at by a mechanic and is in good shape and ready for cruising! Interior consists of wood panelling, a bed, and a couch that folds up to make the bed bigger! Also, it is aircared until August of next year! And with good results! That which will be provided. This van is more for a cool hip. If interested call me at 6048667484 – asking 3800 obo. Thanks!”

Typically, when prowling Craigslist for a potential classic car for myself, I stop my search halfway through 1972… but perhaps I shouldn’t have, because this 1979 Volkswagen Transporter is one very compelling reason to delve into the mid to late 70’s. Although not a vehicle I’ve ever truly lusted after (not being a big VW fan), I can see the attraction. The last year of the Type 2 Transporter, this particular example may not be as desirable as the Type 1 (which spanned from 1950 to 1967) but the differences are almost entirely cosmetic, with the exception of the powertrain. Housing a Volkswagen Type 4 air-cooled four cylinder displacing 2.0 litres, the 1979 VW Transporter’s engine is quite an improvement over the Type 1’s wheezy mill, and even benefits from the addition of such modern luxuries as self-adjusting hydraulic lifters (!) to keep maintenance demands to at least semi-respectable standards.

But, there is one glaring problem with VW Transporter ownership: rust. Combine the ridiculously large interior cavity of a van with the dubious steel quality of a late-70’s German automobile and you get one of the most rust-prone vehicles on Earth. Due to these van’s spacious construction, there remains a lot of cavities and holes in the bodywork where dirt and moisture can lay dormant for literally decades, slowly working on the thin paint to turn the lower corners of the body into dust. But there is good news: with the exception of the rust issue, they can be pretty reliable vehicles with absolutely excellent parts support. And as far as classic car communities go, it’s hard to beat the sense of fraternity enjoyed by the Volkswagen Tribe.

1969 Ford Galaxie – $3000

“This 1969 Galaxie is in very good condition for it’s age. It has a 390 V8, C6 auto, PS, PDB, & a 9 inch rear end with 78,000 miles. It runs great and is air cared. Was a daily driver for the 2nd owner. The car has it’s original paint & only rust in the left rear quarter panel behind the wheel well. The dark green interior is good except needs front seat recovered & dash is cracked. Comes optioned with a rare 8 track which works great. Please phone Jason at 778-772-3651 if you have any questions or need some other part.”

Even in the as-yet short history of this blog, it already feels like the Ford Galaxie is quickly becoming a favourite. Cheap, robust, plentiful, and obviously long-lasting, the gigantic and quintessential Ford populates Craigslist like a Blue Oval-adorned cockroach, rearing it’s sometimes-ugly head in everything from coupe to sedan to convertible to wagon forms. And why shouldn’t it? One of the most popular vehicles of the late ’60s, the Galaxie was to its contemporary market as the entire Toyota Corolla, Camry, and Solara lineups are to today’s car-buying public: popular and practical in equal measure.

And it was cars like this that made it so. Handsome, useful, and with just the right amount of panache thrown in, this 1969 Ford Galaxie could be a complete pussycat on Sunday morning’s church run, but would prove just as capable at destroying the bias ply rear tires on a Friday night. Refrigerator white with a black vinyl top, it might look the part of the pedestrian appliance, but with a 390 big block under the hood it was anything but. In fact, when ordered in concert with the four barrel carburetor, the 390 big block provided the biggest blast you could have in a Fairlane until midway through 1969, when Ford dropped in the 428 Cobra Jet. This means that one of this cars owners took his (or her) automobile pretty seriously. And given its current shape, I dare say that all the owners since have shown nearly as much care! With just a bit of rust appearing on the quarter panel, it’s in surprisingly good and remarkably unmolested shape. The 390 is a workhorse of an engine that’s longevity is more than matched by the C6 automatic, which means this thing will run itself into the ground. But thankfully, the power steering and power disc brakes (both great additions) will prevent the car from taking you with it. Overall, it looks as if it would make a great daily driver for someone looking for a gradual project that can be tackled one part at a time, and who doesn’t want to make the same concessions to “creative motoring” that an older car will demand.

1969 Toyota Corona – $2500

“1969 Toyota Corona. Two owners since new. Approx. 98,000 miles. 1900cc engine, 2 spd Toyoglide automatic transmission. Runs well, needs some transmission work, but could be driven home. Clean interior with good upholstery. Radial Tires in good condition. This is an early North American Toyota in good original condition. Some rust on the fenders. Also included: complete 1970 Toyota Corona parts car. Same colour, same model. I have papers for this one as well. $2500 for both cars. Located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.”

If it’s something different you’re looking for, but yesterday’s Rolls Royce was a little out of your price range, then this might be the car for you: a 1969 Toyota Corona. Yup, just like the beer. Which is ironic, since much of the early criticism levelled at early Japanese cars was their “beer can” construction… so perhaps Toyota’s decision to name their early sedan after a beer only available in glass bottles was their attempt at pre-empting the criticism. In any case, the Corona needed all the help it could get in the domestic market, where it’s diminutive size, tiny 1.4L to 2.0L engines, and odd styling kept it marginalized.

Which means owning one 42 years after the fact might prove difficult. Although still doing a ridiculous amount of business, Japanese manufacturers typically don’t provide the same support for older models as many of the domestic manufacturers, which means parts availability can be a problem. The only upside is that this being a Toyota, you’re guaranteed a relatively large amount of parts sharing, especially when it comes to the powertrain and running gear. However, the downside is that this being a Toyota, it’s got rust… and the things that are rusting are probably a little less easy to locate. But for the right owner, it will undoubtedly provide interesting, and willing, transportation… and hey, you definitely won’t need to worry about any “unintended acceleration” incidents!

1967 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow – $13,500

“1967 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow with collector plates. Car is in original condition–never restored. One repaint years ago and still looks like new. Interior is immaculate. Wood, leather, rugs, gauges, etc. all in excellent condition. Car runs very well. Original Rolls Royce V8, dual carb., automatic transmission. Air-conditioning blows ice cold. Power steering, power brakes, power seats, power windows, power antennae; with dealer-installed am/fm cassette player. Brakes overhauled this year. Mechanic owned (this is my private vehicle and is just stored at work for convenience–we are a full-service shop, not a dealership!). Car can be viewed at Tokyo Auto at 240 E. 5th Avenue in Vancouver. Ask for Reg or Fish at 604-873-0123 (work) OR for more information, call Fish at home 604-466-0202.”

If you’re a firm believer in making a good first impression, you simply can’t do any better than to be seen stepping out of a classic Rolls Royce. There’s just something about them  that no other car can match. They ooze style and grace in a manner that modern cars just can’t hold a candle to, and if a new BMW 760i or Mercedes S65 makes sure everyone hears you screaming “new money,” an old Roller whispers “so much goddamn money that I don’t even care if you hear me,” and then punctuates the end of that sentence with “Peasant.” And although a 1967 Silver Shadow may not have quite the same panache as a Silver Wraith (which is definitely the coolest car name ever), it’s still at the pinnacle of Rolls Royce styling and engineering, before the 70s brought its chiselled lines and painted/plastic bumpers to the brand, and before crappy electronics started befuddling the glorious swathes of walnut and leather that comprised these cars’ interiors. Perhaps that why, with 16,717 produced, the Silver Shadow remains the most popular Rolls Royce ever.

But, make no bones about it: this isn’t a classic car for the faint of heart. Although the $13,500 price tag may have you thinking it’s a great alternative to the Honda Fit you were eying, the truth is that these vehicles are incredibly complicated, and require someone that’s as much a partner as they are an owner. Although incredibly well designed and constructed of the absolute finest materials, Silver Shadows were entirely hand-built, as a result, you simply must accept that things will not be assembled as they would in a modern, robotically-built car. Certain things may squeak, others may leak, and nearly everything will require constant vigilance to correct these issues and maintain the car. Why? Because although the 6.2 litre V8 isn’t overwrought, and  the dual carburetor setup isn’t afflicted with the mass of pollution controls that you’ll find on later cars, and the three-speed automatic isn’t known for unreliability, the reality is this: when something does break, it will cost a pretty penny to replace. So, do your due diligence: check maintenance records, thoroughly inspect absolutely every nook and cranny (looking specifically for leaks under the car, rust around the body, or corrosion under the bonnet on things like the radiator connections), get a CarProof history (that’ll tell you if the relatively new paint is hiding some dings!), and take it for a drive. The ride should be dead calm, the powertrain should be powerful (reaching 100 mph in these cars should be effortless) and utterly silent, and everything should work. Then, check everything again. And keep this in mind: as daunting as owning an old Rolls may seem, when you consider that such a fantastic vehicle can be had for less than half the cost of a well-equipped Honda Civic, you’ll be leaving plenty of dollars in the bank to deal with the inevitable and still be able to look down on the S65, 760i, and LS600hL crowd with nothing less than complete and utter disdain while you mutter “peons” under your breath.