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Classic Car Watch
Serious And Affordable

NOTE: This column displays cars I have found on the Internet. I am not selling them. Please follow the links if you are interest in a car. Be mindful of the date this article was published. For an explanation why I do this read the original column here.

Month 1, 2016
By Scott Lewis

OK. I am just starting to get back on my feet financially. I over spent on Christmas and such and bought some more photography equipment. And started paying for a trip to Tennessee and paid for a flight for my brother to fly down to SA. So my bank account is taking a beating. Once I do my income taxes I will establish a baseline on my Car Slush Fund.

In the mean time... let's take a look at a few cars I have taken notice of close to my expected budget. Everything below is between $6,000 and $10,000. Some are a little stranger than others (you must see the last car). Some require you to look past the problems.

Also, I started using Search Tempest which allows you to search Craigslist nationwide. Cool. You have to click a lot of links this way, but you can find some gems out there. Of course, the free nature of Craigslist means that the cars you find are usually of a lower caliber than Hemmings or Autotrader Classic. But at the price I am at... it's just about right. The other problem with going national using Craigslist is the sellers usually aren't expecting that. Plus you have to either fly out to see the car, and ship it across the country. Expect about $500 for a round trip airplane ride, and another $1,000-$1,500 to ship it. That would have to come out of the budget for buying the car. Of course, you could pay a service to inspect the car for you and try to save the trip.

Those details are for a couple of months from now. Here is what I am seeing right now.


1966 Ford Mustang - $9,850

Description: looks and drives good. Clean Title must sell

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: Hey... a nice clean Mustang under $10K (barely). Notice the sparse description, typical of Craigslist. The pictures are low resolution but seem to be decent looking. This car happens to be in San Antonio. I should go look at it to gauge how the car compares in person to the ad. In Spring this would be a very likely candidate for a car for my son and I to share.


1973 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ - $6500

Description: We have made the decision to sell our favorite car. This is a Two owner Car with the 2nd owner making the purchase in 1974. This car comes with some nice documentation too. The time has come to clean out the garage...with only one trip per year, she needs to go to a new home. Up for sale is our 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ 455 Big Block. Vinyl graphics are easily removed at time of sale. Very low production numbers are included in the history of this particular car. GM was testing a new ignition system in the time between Points and HEI and chose the 455 Big Block as their test case. This car is one of the few with that system. We have since converted it to HEI, however we have the original components.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: WOW... a 455 Grand Prix for $6,500. What are the odds this car will still be around in Spring? NONE!


1982 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 - $6,950

Description: real Z28 package and decodes that way. Factory peppy small block fuel injected V8, 144K miles so figures to only 4364 miles/yr. Commuted 290 miles/day to work and back for years. Adult driven summers only. Always maintained, garaged and pampered whole life. No salt damage ever, was a southern Nebraska Camaro (they do not use salt there, only sand), but was not driven in winter it was his "baby". Correct factory attractive colors (dark maroon metallic and gold lowers). Shines like new. Color keyed factory rally rims with new radials. Color keyed dual mirrors. Great shifting, auto, PS, power disc brakes, tilt, cruise, power mirrors, power door locks, power windows, cold factory air, electric defrost, factory working hood scoop. Factory rear spoiler. Brand new 2-1/2 stainless dual exhaust sounds sweet (not too loud, not too quiet). Built in LA plant. Excellent tinted glass. Factory AM-FM cassette. Interior shows pride of ownership and excellent no cracks on arm rests. Dark maroon original cloth and beautiful. Factory glass T-tops with pouches. Runs/drives/sounds/looks sweet. Ready to show off and/or just have fun.

Source: Silver Creek Classics

Found: 11/27/2015

Comments: This car was THE car when I was in college. It looks great in the photos. The price seems very reasonable. The mileage is a bit high, but that might not matter much. At this price it could even become a car to modify into a nice performance car with a stock look. How about an LS swap to get about 400 HP. If this car is still for sale when I have some cash... I will call about it and see if I really like it.


1985 Porsche 944 - $4,999

Description: 1985 PORSCHE 944 Here is a very nice example of the 1985 Porsche 944. The car is far above most 944's out there on the market. The carfax is clean and I have it available for inspection.  The car shows 73k miles and has ice cold air conditioning, power windows, 5 speed manual transmission, moon roof, nice paint and graphics, and nice wheels and tires. The interior is bomber jacket brown leather and its in nice shape too. The car runs and drives great, not super fast, but she's a looker. Everything seems to be working except the fuel gauge is not currently. The car has a few dings etc and minor wear on the interior, but again...is far above average. 

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: More from San Antonio. What's wrong with this car. It seems way nicer than $5K should buy. I want to call about this car right now.


1986 Porsche 944 - $6,500

Description. 1986 Porsche 944, 75,000 mile, all interior original leather, both in good condition. $6,500 EACH OR MAKE AN OFFER.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: TWO cars in one location. I am not looking for two cars, but one... I should check them out. Also located in the San Antonio area.


1989 Porsche 944 (S Series) - $????

Description: This is very nice Classic Porsche 944 INSIDE &OUT!!! The condition of this car proves it has definitely been cared for by a enthusiasts! 1989 PORSCHE 944 2.7 with S Series equipment. Dark Gray/Black Metallic Color! Rare color GREAT LOW MILES, 112k, THATS ONLY 4K A YEAR!!!! This is a original body, all original glass, and interior car!!! Has had one respray that is very nice! Has had many upgrades very recently: Newer Porsche Thrust Wheels with brand new TOYO TIRES Timing belt replaced and just retensioned to factory specs Clutch replaced with the newer/better 18 mm version with 13 mm still on clutch!! Great!! Oil cooler seals as preventive step New Bosch fuel pump & Mahle fuel filter A/C system flushed, fixed,& refilled/converted to R134A. Freezing cold air! All gauges checked and serviced and accurate  New power steering lines and fluid All Fluids Changed including MOBIL 1 & MAHLE FILTER Newer brakes including drilled and slotted rotors with SUPER BLUE fluid New DME Relay New Battery New Magnoflow exhaust & tip for nice tone New Yellow Koni adjustable shocks and sway bars from the TURBO MODEL!! Handles Awesome!! New Radiator from TURBO MODEL Perfection Plus Porsche serviced the car in Little Rock Car was in at least TWO CLASSIC PORSCHE CLUBS where it was shown and toured in.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: Oops, I forgot to save the price. But I found it searching for cars under $10,000 so I know it was not more than that. This one is still in Texas. Looks amazing in the pictures. Man... I can't wait until I have cash to go shopping.


1966 Ford Mustang - $8,250

Description: Need the car gone!!! I have a 1966 Mustang for sale. I'm asking 8250 I need the car gone as soon as possible  The car has a 302 Ford small block engine, 3 speed tranny, the car runs great.!  A/C works.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: The car looks decent in the one and only picture. I could see taking a trip to Houston to see it if I had the cash in hand.


1969 Pontiac Grand Prix - $9,400

Description: 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix model J, one owner garage kept, 98k miles, original paint, new top, 400 big block, runs great needs some maintenance work , power windows.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: I like it. A nice alternative to a Monte Carlo. It's also located in Texas so practically local.


1972 Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus - $9,850

Description: This is an exceptional car from my personal collection is essentially a survivor 1972 Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus. It is fully optioned and the very desirable TX9 Formal Black exterior, white bucket seat interior and half canopy white vinyl roof. It is 318 V-8, auto/console car with factory AC. The interior is entirely original. The engine compartment is also original with one exception. I replaced the points distributor with an electronic ignition distributor for reliability purposes. I drive this car frequently and it runs and drives perfectly. As with any survivor car there are few minor flaws in the paint and seats that I will point out to anyone actually inspecting the vehicle. This is a very rare car with even rarer options. No build sheet has been located at this time.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: I found this while trying to see if I could find a 73-74 Road Runner. I like the body style and this could be a nice Mopar project car.


1970 Monte Carlo - $10,000

Description: I'm selling my 1970 Monte Carlo. It has the original 400 small block with 57k original miles. Has bucket seats in the front that were custom ordered from the factory. Has rally wheels with new tires. The interior and exterior are in very good condition. This car is a real head turner with lots of power. Has had a recent appraisal from wagners in bonner for $12,000.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: I want this car. At the top of the budget for this column... so it will be a while before I have this much money to spend.


1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $7,800

Description: UP FOR SALE IS A 1970 BIG BLOCK MONTE CARLO WITH FACTORY AIR CONDITIONING. ORIGINAL BIG BLOCK CAR WITH STRONG RUNNING 1970 DATE CODED 402 BBC, TH400 AND 12 BOLT POSI REAR. NICE DRIVER GRADE CONDITION 1ST YEAR MONTE WITH AN OLDER RESTORATION THAT STILL RECEIVES PLENTY OF ATTENTION. POWER DISC BRAKES, QUICK RATIO STEERING, NICE SET OF RALLY WHEELS AND WORKING FACTORY A/C. FINDING A BIG BLOCK LUXURY MUSCLECAR AT THIS PRICE IS A RARE FIND, SO DON`T MISS OUT! 

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: Stop yelling at me with ALL CAPS. Looks interesting. Tan interior is not the best though. But a big block has real appeal.


1985 Porsche 944 - $9,995

Description: The Porsche 944 is quite possibly the biggest bang for the buck in sports cars, and this ultra-clean 1985 944 has a lot going for it, not the least of which is its outrageously affordable price tag. With lots of recent maintenance and a look that still turns heads, you probably can't have more fun than this for so little cash. Guards Red is the penultimate Porsche color and few Porsches wear it better than the 944. A distinct change from the rear-engined, air-cooled 911, it still carries all the Porsche hallmarks: impressive performance, great build quality, and iconic looks. The wedge shape has aged well and thanks to Porsche's attention to detail, it still looks great. Sure, the paint is showing some age but people are still going to think you inherited some cash when you show up in this car. Body gaps are excellent, as is typical with these cars, and things like the urethane bumpers and deep front air dam are still in good shape. Details like the black bumper overriders, door handles, and rear spoiler are a bit faded, but that's because this car spent most of its life in a warm, dry climate where the sun was out all the time, which is only good news for the steel underneath. It's been used as a daily driver, which is not a problem for these ultra-reliable machines, but it has also been properly maintained and it shows. The black leather interior has an inviting, purposeful look that's a hallmark of Porsche design. If it didn't make the car work better, they didn't bother. As a result, you get supportive high-back bucket seats, well-positioned controls, a fat leather-wrapped steering wheel, and arguably the best shifter ever built. There's some wear on the driver's chair, surely commensurate with the car's age and mileage, but it still holds you in place and has a handsome look. Big, clear gauges are easy to read at a glance, although in typical Porsche fashion, many of the secondary controls are kind of cryptic. No worries, though, because once you figure it out, you'll discover that the A/C still blows cold, the power windows go up and down, and the sunroof lets in plenty of light. The stereo has thankfully been upgraded to a modern AM/FM/CD head unit with big speakers in the rear hatch area, and it sounds great. The back seat is reasonably sized, and you can always drop the seats to make the trunk area truly cavernous. The 944's naturally aspirated 2.5 liter inline-four doesn't make big horsepower numbers, but it's plenty potent enough to make the lightweight 944 a ton of fun when the road starts to twist. This car isn't about sheer speed (although it's plenty quick), but rather the balance between acceleration, handling, and braking that make it one of the most consistently beloved cars of all time. The engine has been properly maintained, which is obviously critical on a Porsche, and had its timing belt changed just 5000 miles ago. The list of new equipment includes the A/C compressor and condenser, clutch, radiator, water pump, motor mounts, master cylinder, and fuse panel, so it's all sorted and ready to rock. It's not detailed under the hood, but it's fully functional, and the same is true underneath, where there are no nasty surprises awaiting you. The brakes remain powerful and confidence-inspiring and the handsome "phone dial" wheels carry new tires all around. Documented with maintenance records and an owner's manual, you can drive this 944 with confidence and nobody will ever guess how little you actually paid.

Source: Streetside Classics

Found: 11/27/2015

Comments: Sorry, I was too lazy to shorted the description. Nice car... I really like it and if it is for sale in the spring I will go take a look at it.


1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - $8,500

Description: Two door hard top, 350 V8 bored .030 over, Holley carb, Edelbrock intake/cam, headers, dual exhaust, automatic with shift kit, torque converter, 3.90 posi-traction 12 bolt rear end, always garaged.

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: Another Monte worth looking at... if it weren't half way across the country. Make sure the mods are done well. Those 3.90 gears are going to make this a bear on the highway. It will likely be running at at least 3500 at 70 mph. So an overdrive tranny swap would be in order.


1979 Fiat X1/9 - $9,750

Description: Exceptionally restored and fully sorted X1/9. Rust-free body finished in flawless Anthracite Dark Gray metallic. New brown and tan interior upholstery. Rebuilt engine with new clutch and brakes. New rubber throughout. Everything works, and car drives like new. 80,500 miles. Must be seen to be appreciated.

Source: Hemmings

Found: 11/27/2015

Comments: I am going to watch this car. I actually like these a lot. But these are cheap cars. I have seen really nice ones for sale for under $5K. There is no way I would pay nearly $10K. If this car is still available when I have my income tax and bonus checks in hand... I might offer this guy $6,000... assuming it is as good as he claims. UPDATE: Just as I went to press this car shows sold. Wow... I can't imagine who paid that much for it.


1970 Chevrolet Nova - $8,000

Description: I have for sale a very solid 1970 Chevy Nova that would be perfect for a restoration. It is very straight and needs little body work to make it ready for paint, sanding, and priming should do the trick.  It has the ORIGINAL small block 350 with the original th350 3 speed automatic transmission, it is a numbers matching car. It runs and drives beautifully, and like I said it would be perfect for a project. there is no rust on the Frame, no frame damage, and the body is very straight. It currently has an elderbrock intake and k&n filter on it, also a holley 600 cfm carburetor (will come with 5 additional carbs if interested) everything else however is exactly what came on it from the factory. 

Source: Craigslist

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: Yea, I know... this car looks like crap. Or does it? It has patina!!! If he is telling the truth, and the car is solid -- except for a bunch of surface rust -- this car could make a great sleeper. Clean up the interior and leave the exterior exactly like it is. Then modify the engine, suspension and brakes. Turn the car into something that can haul ass and drive anywhere and everywhere, and never worry about it. Of course, I could be wrong and the car is a piece of crap. So tread carefully.


1994 Jaguar XJS Convertible - $9,994

Description: 1 owner clean CarFax convertible that is mostly original Beautiful color combination of dark green and tan 4.0 liter 6 cylinder fuel injected motor with overhead cam Smooth shifting 4 speed automatic transmission Nice original body with original paint that still shows well Very nice Connally leather bucket seat interior Power everything AM/FM CD Air conditioning Burl Walnut dash and trim Factory Allow wheels with radial tires Super clean motor and trunk compartments There are very few cars out there more classy than a XJS convertible. They are sleek and sexy with all the British flair you can find. This is a very original car with 129,400 total miles. Not bad at all for a 21 year old car! It runs, rides, and handles very well and the AC blows COLD! The power operated top works just like it should. The leather interior is still very nice and is quite comfortable. These cars are becoming harder to find in good condition and restoring one is very expensive. If you have always wanted a Jaguar but did not have the dough back in the day, now is the time to enjoy a true luxury sports car like never before.

Source: Hemmings

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: Yea... this is way out of left field. But think about it. This could make a really nice Sunday driver. A luxury cruiser. The 6 cylinder is far less complicated than teh 12, so it might be a more reliable car. I would do a little research before buying, but this car would look great driving it to Cars & Coffee. 


1981 Datsun 280ZX - $8,500

Description: 1981 Nissan Datsun 280ZX Classic ONLY 108K miles Engine 2.8L Inline 6 Transmission - Manual 5-speed Runs and Drives absolutely perfect! Beautiful Paint and Body! Very Nice Condition! A Must See! These cars are super fun to drive with plenty of power and superb sports car handling! Interior is in very nice condition but not perfect. Does have a split in the dash and a worn spot in the drivers seat which are shown in the pictures. Paint is excellent with NO RUST!

Source: AutoTrader Classics

Found: 12/23/2015

Comments: I really like these cars. I would love to see this car in person.


Here are a few honorable mentions. These cars were up for auction on Bring A Trailer. I would have loved to bid on the RX-7. If I saw a car this clean for this kind of money I would consider it seriously. The Prelude is just quirky at this point in time. It is a truly cheap way to get into the car collecting hobby. As a friend of mine says, "you can get into car collecting at any price." And who doesn't LOVE the idea of a Pacer with a 500 cubic inch Caddy motor.


Original Owner 1982 Mazda RX-7 GSL - Sold For $7,351

Description: This 1982 Mazda RX-7 GSL has just over 60K miles and was purchased new by the seller in Kingston, PA for $13k. The car is stock and unmodified, always garage kept, never driven in the winter, and has received regular maintenance since new. It presents well with good Renaissance Red Metallic paint over a matching red interior. The GSL trim added a removable sunroof, power windows and mirrors, limited slip differential and four-wheel disc brakes.

Source: Bring-A-Trailer

Comments: I would totally have bid on this car had I had the cash to do so.


No Reserve: 1980 Honda Prelude - Sold For $2,850

Description: This 1980 Honda Prelude is a nice example of a first-generation model in rare, rust-free condition. The car features a sunroof and the original gold metallic paint presents well with straight body panels, nice trim, and a very original beige cloth interior. The Weber carburetor helps the car run very well, and is the only modification other than a Kenwood stereo. Period details like the factory stickers on the underside of the hood and stock steel wheels show that the car has been cared for over the years.

Source: Bring-A-Trailer

Comments: This is just so cute. And at this price you truly can get into car collecting at a bargain price. Nice!


1978 AMC Pacer w/ 500 cid Cadillac Engine - $6,000

Description: I built that Pacer about 10 years ago, now I'm old and need a more tame ride.. Too many details for print.. call for details Car has COSMETIC rust at 1/4s and bottom doors.. Car sat for years under a carport and water gathered from non -use. ( 48,000 miles approx).. I chose not to fix any body problems to enhance the sleeper image.. under side of car is fine.. sub-frame tied with 2x2 box tubing.  Also included in price is a PU load of sheet metal and dash panels & misc parts from other parted out Pacer.

Source: Craigslist

Comments: How can you NOT like something as strange as this.

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