1966 Chevrolet Stepside Pickup – $3200

“I have an old 1966 Chevrolet stepside truck for sale. It is a straight 6, 4-speed manual truck. It runs and drives great. It has a good body on it. No issues, just cosmetic. Doesn’t leak… Its a great runner. Drove all the way to Hope and back last week no problem. Good on gas too! Everything works on the truck including the horn, signals, headlights, wipers, tail lights, brake lights, gauges, original am radio, interior dome light. It has nice oak fencing on the box which is fairly new. Professionally done to haul firewood and whatever. it has a plywood sheet for the bed and the original wood for the bed is bad so the plywood sheet does the trick. It gets looks where ever I go. Has a bit of rust on rocker and cab corners, but patch work or replacing doesn’t cost much. Dont want to bother painting it because it is a great work truck that gets a lot of attention. I have extra parts. If you buy this truck, you drive it away. AGAIN NO LEAKS AND SUPER EASY TO WORK ON. It truly is a great driver. $3200 bucks …. call 604-725-8449.”

Well, as anyone that’s up into the wee hours can tell you, Vancouver’s evenings have recently taken on that cold bite of moist air that’s been the harbinger of Fall in this region for eons. Rolling in on the building evening fog each night, Autumn signifies shorter days and colder weather ahead and is sure to be accompanied by an ever present threat of precipitation, be it either of the liquid or solid variety. And so too shall it come to pass that car enthusiasts and collectors all over the lower mainland will nestle their prized possessions away for another year. But that doesn’t mean you need to consign yourself to the crappy taupe Corolla in the driveway, at least not so long as there are vehicles like this available. Representing the first year of the Chevrolet C/K pickup truck, this 1966 Chevrolet stepside is the perfect companion for the terrible weather we’ll soon be facing down, and hails from an era in which Chevrolet pickup trucks saw success on a scale that they’d never known before. Recognizing that custom tailoring was a surefire way to win sales, Chevrolet significantly upped their options list for the ’62 model year, offering a whopping 203 different varieties and combinations of pickup truck. Subsequently, sales rose… a lot. In fact, for the three years of ’64, ’65, and ’66, the Chevrolet pickup truck set all-time sales records for Chevrolet, due in large part to that simple fact that buyers could have it any way they wanted it.

This of course means that now, many decades removed from their heyday, you’re pretty much guaranteed never to see another one just like this. The combination of a straight six, manual gearbox, and stepside box means it was probably ordered as a basic work truck, which in turn makes its good condition all the more appreciable. Of course, there are some issues: there are some dents to be found along the hood and what looks to be some wrinkling along the leading edge of the driver’s door, but if the ad is to be believed, it’s at least mechanically sound.  And should any of those dinged or dented parts prove simply too irksome to withstand, there are all manner of online and mail order companies prepared to sell both reproduction and NOS parts for these particular trucks, and the aftermarket support seems to grow by the day for these early C/K pickups. Rapidly gaining merit as a legitimate collector’s truck (as opposed to the frequently hot-rodded ’67 through ’72 models), more and more of these are being bought up by collectors and restorers. This in turn is making them harder and harder to find in workable condition such as this, which is precisely what landed this particular truck a feature here on CYSB: you wouldn’t feel bad tossing a set of skis, a mountain bike, or a beer keg in the back and heading out for some fun. However, any potential buyer would be well served to address the rust the seller has mentioned before winter truly hits, and would be even better served to spend a few days underneath the truck with a paintbrush and some POR-15 to prevent further rot from taking hold. But, overall, a great old truck that’d really be easy for a first time classic car buyer to hop into and enjoy, without the headaches something rarer or more complex might bring.

1980 Fiat 124 Spider – $3200

“Fuel injected classic convertible sports car. Designed by Pininfarina (of Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, etc. fame) Red/black 5-speed. Excellent mechanical condition., recent paint on a sound body (ie no rust), good exhaust, near new radials on five Fiat factory mags. Air cared and licensed for reliable daily driving. Money needed for tuition. Serious inquiries only. 604-522-6588”

Well, summer appears to have finally descended on the waterlogged streets of Vancouver, and with it so too have the convertibles. Sliding out from beneath tightly wrapped car covers and dug out from mounds of garage-borne hockey gear, skis, and snowshoes, the Miatas, Alfas, and MGs are out in force these days, giving their owners at least one thing to enjoy about commuting in North America’s second-most congested city. And if you’ve found yourself sitting on Highway 99 northbound and looked over at one such slightly-happier-but-probably-still-miserable fellow commuter in just such a car with even the slightest envy, then Cars You Should Buy has found the car for you: a 1980 Fiat Spider. A car produced under no less than three names for a whopping 19 years (it was known as a Fiat 124 Sport Spider form ’66 to ’79, then as a Fiat 2000 Spider from ’79 to ’82, then as a Pininfarina Spider from ’83 to ’85), it provided the auto-buying public with an Italian counterpoint to the ubiquitous MGB that wasn’t an Alfa Romeo, and by the ’80s had earned a reputation for being a pretty standard-issue, old-school sports car. Granted, its 2.0L inline four cylinder did benefit from Bosch fuel injection, and it was capable of producing 105 horsepower for the North American market (European models made 120 horsepower), but it’s combination of a leaf sprung solid rear axle and a pretty pedestrian powerplant left it largely outclassed and outgunned by the then-new rotary powered RX7, Nissan’s lusty inline sixes, and front-engined Porsches.

But 30-odd years later, in Vancouver’s glowing sunshine, it’s the Fiat’s shapely body that really sets it apart from its contemporary (and largely forgotten) competitors. Looking eminently more “Italian” than the British cars of the same era, the Fiat’s at once restrained, and stylish. Sadly it’s also a Fiat, which means it’s a damn good thing that it looks good sitting still, because it might do that a lot. Not renowned for their reliability, the Spiders are notorious for egregious rust issues; not a good thing on a spritely monocoque such as this. Areas to check include the front shock towers, all four wheelarches, around the trunk, the entirety of the floor, inside the sills, the firewall, and at the suspension mounting points. The engine, although relatively robust internally, is typically only slightly better sealed than a sieve, with oil leaks being a frequent occurrence. Check the low-slung oil pan for dings, as it’s gasket surface is a pretty common culprit for leaks, especially after it’s been bounced off a speed bump or two. Also, the timing belt absolutely must be checked on any Fiat Spider you’re thinking of buying, as engine damage that’s best described as “catastrophic” awaits the buyer that doesn’t ensure his engine timing is spot-on: although fuel injected, the engine retains the lobe that drove the carbureted engine’s mechanical fuel pump on its oil pump drive shaft, and should the timing belt break, the nonexistent fuel pump’s drive lobe will interfere with the crank and can crack the block. Similar thought appears to have been put into the Fiat’s electrical system as well, with crappy grounds and corroded connections oftentimes earning their fair share of swear words and anger whilst trying to diagnose an erratic electrical issue. Thankfully, this particular car claims to be rust-free (although I’d be checking that… bring a magnet along!) and although it certainly won’t be utterly reliable forever, it’s a prime example of a great car for someone looking to dip a toe into car maintenance. Simple, well-supported by a network of enthusiasts, and benefitting from 19 years of car (and parts!) production, it’s a simple vehicle that will reward anyone with a halfway decent set of tools, a workshop manual, and a modicum of patience. And if that sounds like you, contact the seller by clicking the hyperlinked advertisement above! And then take that damned back bumper off…

1960 Vauxhall Victor Super – $1730

“1960 Vauxhall Victor real classic car, this car runs, and every thing works, all original paint, motor. Easy classic plates; cheap to drive and insure. Fun cool ride, this car has been in dry storage 25 yrs. Beautiful in side, get in the classic car game cheap no overseas b/s or pay pay. 778 889 9135 same owner for many years well looked after, no hurry to sell need nothing drive home”

In 1957, Vauxhall decided that they needed a new large family sedan to replace the aging (but awesomely named) Wyvern. Looking towards their American cousins for inspiration, this was the result: the Vauxhall Victor. Before it’s reinvention in 1961, it would become Britian’s most exported car, earning accolades for its classy 1957 Chevy Bel Air-inspired styling and reputation for robustness. However, there were some key differences that set the Victor and the Bel Air apart, and a huge one was under the hood where drivers would find, instead of a sexy small block V8, a familiar 1.5 litre four cylinder producing 55 horsepower. Borrowed from the Wyvern, General Motors’ engineers outfitted the engine with a higher compression ratio (7.8:1 as opposed to the Wyvern’s 6.8:1), which subsequently required the car run Premium fuel. However, with recorded fuel economy in the 31 mpg realm, it wasn’t exactly an expensive car to run, regardless of what you put in the tank.

Of course, there probably isn’t much in this particular Victor’s tank. Having been in dry storage for 25 years, it looks to be in excellent shape for its age, and although the mechanical components should probably be sorted before driving it any great distance, one cannot stress the value of a complete car quite enough. Although it was a popular export, it isn’t exactly a common car here in North America, and seeing as this is the Super model (which simply denoted extra trim), I imagine that trying to find any of the body cladding, badges, or interior pieces could prove nigh impossible… so it’s a good thing this car has them all! Furthermore, having the original paint is a real boon, as it appears as if it could use little more than a quick scrub with a buffing wheel. Sure, it’ll probably bear a few scuffs and scratches, but don’t we all? In any case, at just $1,730 it’s an absolute steal.

1972 Mercedes Benz 280SE – $1500

“1972 Mercedes Benz 280SE for sale. This is a GREAT city vehicle with a tonne of character. 5spd automatic transmission, gasoline engine, sunroof, and power windows. New battery. Has a bit of rust on the front bumper as well. Car runs well, but would run great if someone wanted to put a little elbow grease into her. Currently in underground storage, covered. “

I will confess, I’ve never been a big fan of Mercedes Benz’ automobiles. With the exception of a few of their classic roadsters, I’ve always found their vehicles, both new and old, to be a bit too Germanic for my British-tuned tastes; when you’ve whetted your appetite on lithe Jaguars, there’s little room for a brand that put out a car who’s styling earned it the moniker “Pagoda,” officially. But, regardless, I must admit that they do have an undeniable presence on the road, especially the late sixties/early seventies sedans. This ’72 280SE is exemplary of the most common Mercedes’ of this era; large, luxurious, and stalwart. Among the first Mercedes Benz vehicles to really be manufactured in any great number, they were available in almost innumerable configurations ranging from spry short wheelbase coupes and convertibles to long wheelbase 6.3L V8 powered monsters destined for the garages of third world despots and dictators. This one, being a sedan endowed with the uber-common 2.8L inline six, is somewhere in the middle of the pack, trading the entry level 280S’ dual downdraft carburetors for fuel injection. This raised the horsepower level to 160 and allowed automatic transmission-equipped cars such as this to hit a surprising 185 kilometres per hour (manual gearboxes pushed that figure to an even 190), with 100 kph being surpassed in just over ten seconds.

Now, whether or not this particular example is capable of that performance is another matter entirely. Being both German, and one of the earlier examples of fuel injection extant means that this is one complicated car. However, that doesn’t necessarily translate into this being an unreliable car. Typically extremely well designed and beautifully executed, older Mercedes Benz’ like this offer a unique challenge for the tinkerer as they often don’t require the same degree of constant maintenance that many other classic cars do… but can prove difficult when things do go south as parts can require some diligence to find. Look for rust around the doors, both on the body and the complex joins that form the rear doors’ shape around the latch (as well as all the usual places around the trunk, floors, sills and fenders), but if the ad is telling the truth, corrosion won’t be a problem. Finally, considering most people that bought these cars were established older folks looking for a good, reliable car, check for issues stemming from disuse rather than abuse. These aren’t Mustangs and Camaros; many lived in covered garages, were cleaned regularly, and kept maintained, but a lack of exercise has led many of these cars requiring some mechanical exorcisms.

1973 Dodge Dart – $900

 

“1973 Dodge Dart Slant 6 – 225, runs well but not aircared at the moment. Low km as I can tell (80,000). Only 1000km on tires. Some spare parts included.”

If the Ford Fairlane was the darling poster child of the American sedan before 1970, the Dodge Dart has to be numbered among the same in the post-fuel crisis era of the early ’70s. Currying much favour with American car buyers thanks to its relatively small stature and thrifty, reliable, and famous slant six engines, the ’73 Dart was the perfect car for an America starving for fuel and buried under excessive insurance costs. As if that wasn’t enough hardship for the contemporary car buying public, an increased level of safety awareness led the American government to require all passenger vehicle be fitted with bumpers the size of small boats, and the result was the complete and utter ruination of the entire American auto industry’s various styling departments. A step that would even ugly up the indomitably attractive Jaguar E-type, the poor Dodge Dart never stood a chance. But, even with an overture to safety hanging off the front end, it wasn’t a bad car. Revised disc brakes, electronic ignition, a better starter motor, and a new engine subframe meant the cars were easier to maintain, while a different rear end kept costs down. Under the hood, the 225 cubic inch slant six made an advertised 105 horsepower and 185 foot pounds of torque; figures that were artificially deflated due to the then-new requirement that engines be tested with all ancillary accessories attached. Just two years prior, before the passage of that particular law, the same engine had been producing 145 horsepower and 215 foot-pounds of torque.

Undoubtedly, however, the passage of a few years’ time will have let a few ponies out from this particular Dart’s stable. Looking like one of the lower-spec trim levels (clicking through to the ad will undoubtedly surprise many new car owners who didn’t know seats could look so spartan!), potential buyers shouldn’t be dissuaded by the cars age, these things run forever. The ad doesn’t specify which transmission is behind that little slant six, but the smart money’s on an automatic, which will make for one easily maintained ride. Additionally, as long as rust hasn’t taken a hold in the trunk, floors, or quarter panels, most of these old Dodge’s come with a pretty thick coat of paint that, although typically heavily oxidized, will come up to a pretty good sheen with a little polish and wax. And although it’s once-handsome visage might have been pillaged by the safety police, a cleaned up ’73 Dart sedan would still be a pretty slick looking ride… especially when it’s just $900!

1940 LaSalle – $2300

“1940 Cadillac Lasalle for sale by owner, needs some love and attention…see pictures and email for more information. $2300.00 OBO” 

First off, I feel like I must apologize for neglecting the blog as of late. It’s been pretty hectic, but to make a long story short, things have finally gotten squared away and regular readers can once again look forward to regular updates.

So, to breathe a little like back into the blog, I thought I’d start with something pretty special: a 1940 LaSalle. A brand created to fill a perceived gap in the General Motors lineup, LaSalle became Cadillac’s companion, conceived by styling magnate Harley Earl as a more lithe-looking and agile counterpoint to the big Cadillacs of the day. By 1940, they had grown a wee bit, and although being universally praised as excellent vehicles, suffered the same fate as Pontiac and Saturn have as of late… and for the same reason. Never quite recovering from the recession that slowed sales in 1938, LaSalle was officially pronounced dead in 1941, when it was replaced by the then-new Cadillac Series 61. But with 130 horsepower and great styling, the 1940 LaSalle made sure the brand went out with a bang.

It also ensures that although it may be one of the older cars to appear here, this 1940 LaSalle will be more than capable of handling the daily chores demanded of it by its contemporary owner. However, it’s impossible to make much of an informed decision with such a spartan advertisement. But, if the pictures are any indication, it seems as if it’s in relatively good shape.

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.