Friday, February 24, 2012

1969 MG Midget

Kid's way too young to handle
that kind of power.
Remember how much fun you had as a kid 'driving' around in your Little Tikes Cozy Coupe spitting motor noises and brake screeches? Neither do I. Remember doing the same thing as an adult? Don't bother denying it; we both know what it's like barreling down a grassy hill, legs sticking out the windows and neck bent in unnatural ways.

Now you can relive that same experience in a much less embarrassing way with this '69 MG Midget. This shining 'black beauty', as the seller describes it, resides in St. Catharines and is ready to be swept off it's tires (seriously, you can probably just pick it up and squeeze it into your jeans pocket) for only $4,900, which, in my opinion, is a steal.

Now, I'm no stranger to small cars. I've lived with a small, cramped sports car for four years now, and can honestly say that I've never had any trouble doing what needs to be done with my '90 Miata. No, you can't take the kitchen sink with you wherever you go, and no, you can't shuttle multiple friends around in it, but hey, that doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Plus, I have, against all odds, figured out a safe and secure* way of transporting two sets of golf clubs with nothing more than a few bungie cords and a little bit of ingenuity.

However, even coming from a Miata, this is a certifiably small car. I dare say anyone over three foot will have a most troublesome time stepping into one while retaining his or her dignity, and there is approximately a 0% chance of exiting the vehicle without necessitating a trip to the physiotherapist. You'll also look like a dork driving it. All people will see will be what appears to be a human head poking out of a child's shoe zipping down the road.

I would suspect some of you have seen, or heard of, the MGB. Picture one of those scaled down to 75%, and what you have is the Midget. Originally based off of the Austin Healy Sprite (of frog-eye fame), the Midget was built and sold from 1961-1980, and was powered by a variety of powerplants, all of which could be deftly out-powered by a Magic Bullet.

But man, what I wouldn't do for the chance to drive that car. The seller describes it as a go-kart, and coming from a Miata, I know exactly what he means. There are few pleasures in life that can compare to the child-like elatedness that comes from tossing around a tiny, nimble roadster. It's a very freeing feeling, and I would commend anyone who's feeling the burdens of daily life weighing down on them like a wet anvil to go out, buy a roadster and rip it through some country roads for a few hours.

Toy car. Full ad

Choice Midget ad for bonus marks:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

1994 Subaru SVX

I do not often enjoy my morning commute. Spending 45 minutes in a rattly old Accord with no heat, listening to Matt Galloway's scratchy voice on the CBC does little to rouse me from the near-comatose state my mind find so comfortable.

The coffee cups that little the desks of my classmates when I get to class bely the fact that I'm not the only one who shares this experience. I, however, have no coffee to perk me up in the morning; I'm too cheap to stop at Tims and too unmotivated to make some myself.

My morning wake-up comes not from caffeine, but rather from a quirky little coupe that passes me on Highway 58 almost every morning. Call me pathetic, but seeing a mostly forgotten '90's GT coupe makes me smile when few other things could.

I'll wager a cup of coffee, and maybe even a donut, that none of you have heard of the Subaru SVX, despite its magnificence. Introduced to North America in 1991, the SVX featured all-wheel-drive, a 3.3 L boxer 6, and its most defining feature, what Subaru called an "aircraft-inspired glass-to-glass canopy".

The sleek Guigaro-designed looks and the freakazoid windows did little to soothe the SVX's high sticker price of $24-28,000 however, and demand for Subaru's GT coupe never got close to its sales targets. As a result, these coolmobiles are fairly hard to find, which makes me all the more attracted to them. I wouldn't buy this one myself, as it looks pretty rough, but were a nice clean one to wend its way into my life, I wouldn't complain.

Those windows must a pain to clean though. Yeesh.

Full ad

(Shout-out to the guy who drives a dark green SVX out of Welland every morning. For those who are currently rocking, We (I) salute you.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

1985 Buick Riviera Convertible

Speaking of the 80's, here's another gem that just popped up on my radar. It's an '85 Buick Riviera, and while it's not quite as visually appealing as the stunning '71 boattail, it's still a pretty cool example of the 'personal luxury car' that so personified American auto manufacturers in the 20th century.
Powered by a 125 HP 4.1 L V6, the sixth generation Riv' was significantly lower powered than its predecessors, and is an example of what was then a dying breed of car. small personal cockpits surrounded by acres of good 'ole Detroit iron had been a staple for American auto companies since the 50's, or arguably earlier. They signified the power and dominance of booming America, and all the extravagance and wastefulness it brought with it. But with the first and second oil crises taking their toll on gas prices, Americans could no longer afford personal land barges like the Riviera, and they began to fade into eventual extinction.

This Riviera then shows some of the death pangs of personal luxury cars. With a small wheezy V6 attempting to push around 4,000lbs of America's ego, it was a mere shadow of its  former glory days.

Depressing, isn't it? You too can be reminded of the lost days of American prosperity every day of your life for only $4,900. It's pretty clean, inside and out, and with only 75,000kms on the clock, you'll have plenty of depressing, top-down days of puttering around town showing off how great things used to be. Isn't that worth living for? Isn't that worth dying for?

Full ad

1988 Mercury Cougar XR7

Sometimes I like to pretend that America stopped making cars between 1974 and 1993. It soothes my soul to think that cars like the AMC Eagle were never really brought into this world, but rather reside only in the land of hallucinations and nightmares.

Occasionally, however, I see something that helps me believe that at least one person in the American auto industry was using his brain for more than 10 consecutive minutes.

Today that gem in the junk heap was this '88 Cougar XR7. I'm sure some of you know of the Cougar, Mercury's small-ish coupe. The car has quite a storied history, stretching from way back in 1967, when it was the kin of the Ford Mustang, all the way to its anticlimactic demise in 2002 because of slow sales. The XR7 nameplate has for most of those years signified the high(er) performance version of the Cougar, and is a tad rarer than the base Cougar.

This XR7, for sale in Niagara Falls right now for a cool $4,500 belongs to the sixth rendition of the Cougar, which was based on the Ford Thunderbird and housed a 302ci V8. Yes, it looks weird, but in a good way. The upward kink and vertical rear window that gives the Cougar/Thunderbird its unique greenhouse are symptomatic of the (mostly failed) styling experiments of the 80's, and help the car stand out from the myriad of straight-edged boxes that make up most car designs from that era.

For some reason, clean, low mileage performance cars from the past, even if the performance too is indicative of the past, appeal to my sense of adventure. Would an '88 Cougar be a sensible car for a young family? No. Would it be a wise use of my non-existent money? No. Would it help me save the planet and lower my gas bill? Perhaps, if I drove only down steep hills. But something about it grabs my curiosity and won't let it go. It's big, it's loud, and it's red. And I want it.

Forgotten. Full ad

Creepy Cougar ad from 1987:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

1994 Ski-Doo Formula Z

Okay, okay, it's not a car. Sue me. I'm a snowmobile guy; I've loved them all my life. Mind you, when one spends 12 years of one's life in the Ottawa Valley, one has little choice but to be a snowmobile guy. Up there, it matters not if you have a car. What matters most is not even if you have a sled, but how many sleds you have. We only had two at a time, but we put them to good use, when they were running.

I was kind of a weird kid. When my brother and I were about seven and five, we used to watch video tapes on Saturdays to pass the time. You may think to yourself that this is a fine and normal thing to do, until you learn that those videos were not movies, or TV shows or sporting events. No, on Saturday mornings, we used to watch and re-watch Ski-Doo promotional videos. By the end of the winter, I could have told you so about Ski-Doo's 1995 lineup, I'm surprised Bombardier never hired me as a spokesperson.

Now that I think about it, that would be a fantastic PR move. Brainwash a seven year-old to regurgitate company slogans and information to his seven year-old friends, who would then nag their fathers to go out and buy a new Ski-Doo.

Aside from my Brave New World-esque PR philosophies, I have another thing for you to buy into: this '94 Formula Z.

Is there anything special about it? Not really. It's an okay machine at an okay price. It's for sale in Dunnville (because else is there to do in Dunnville other than snowmobile?) for $1,200, and it would be a reasonably nice machine to get into if one wanted to take up the sport. The real reason I'm posting it, however, is because the moment I saw the ad, it transported me back to those Saturday afternoons of my childhood. I must have watched this video, promoting the 1995 Ski-Doo lineup (albeit, this is just the introduction) about 700 times.

I still love the '95 Ski-Doos. They look so muscular and purposeful, yet lithe and comfortable, and the colour differentiation between the models is a brilliant touch.

Feel free to watch it as many times as I have, and know that right now, I am reliving my childhood, over and over and over again.

Full ad

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1966 Chevy C-Series Pickup

This post is dedicated to my beautiful fiancee Katie, without whom I would never have thought to make a Valentine's day blog post about cars (nor would, I imagine, most normal people).

Old pickup trucks have something of an allure for both of us. Katie's love of country music has spread, without resistance, to me, and as I listen to it more and more, the idea of charging through country roads on warm summer nights, listening to the growl of an old pickup and wearing slightly ridiculous hats is becoming more and more agreeable to me.

So when I happen upon something like this, your quintessential country music video star, it makes me think of her and smile. We both love long road trips, and I truly do value the time we get to spend together doing something we both love: driving. As we're set to be married in barely three months, I look forward to many more road trips and many more country music songs with the girl I love, even if it's not in a vehicle as iconic as this. <3

Full ad

It's Valentine's Day, and love is in the exhaust

It amazes me sometimes how interconnected life can be, and how the most material things can often deeply affect the immaterial. Cars are one of those peculiar material things that somehow have the ability to be quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, players in the grand (or soap) opera that is life.

Blogging about cars for sale on Kijiji may seem like a bit of a mindless endeavour, and that is certainly part of the appeal. Browsing Kijiji is something I like to do to relax and take my mind off of more serious things, and the freedom to write lightly and flippantly helps me de-stress and unwind.

Behind the escapist element in car-blogging, however, lies a much more personal motivation. For me, cars are not simply vehicles of transportation. They are not simply amalgams of steel, plastic and rubber that ferry us to and fro. No, they are much more than that. They are pieces of art; they are hobbies; they are passions; and most importantly, they are storytellers.

Nestled in a dust-laden garage in Grimsby sleeps this '73 VW Karmann Ghia. It doesn't look like much; It's fairly beat-up and the price isn't spectacular for a Ghia in this condition. Cars, however, are often more than the sum of their parts, and for me, this particular one tells a story worth much more than the $3,500 asking price.

The early morning heat could be seen rising in waves from steel hoods as the long line of cars, like a swarm of flies at the sight of fresh meat, gushed through the gates of the Geneva Street GM plant. Among and around the big American pickups, and looking very out of place, zipped a small and sleek sports car. The dusty black beauty neatly ducked into a free spot and its owner, after squeezing his lanky limbs through the small door, sprang out and onto his feet.

Before he had the chance to set off towards the plant however, a noise of rushing wind and squealing brakes made him whirl around to see a red blur squirm its way neatly into the spot next to him. As the familiar-sounding engine ceased its chattering and the driver door clicked open, a short, pretty woman cautiously pulled herself out of the car. Her flowing, yet meticulously styled blond hair whipped about as she nervously fumbled to collect her things, and she barely took notice of the young man sidling around her brand new Ghia, his hands in his pockets and his eyebrows raised in admiration.

My grandmother is, and as far as I know always has been, one of the cleanest people I have ever met, and I can only imagine the difference in appearance of those two almost-identical cars sitting beside each other. She was a house-sitter in Austria before the war drove her and her family to America, and if you've ever met an Austrian, you will know that they treat dust, dirt and disorder as though it were a physical manifestation of sin itself. My grandfather, on the other hand, was a laid-back farm boy, who spent his summers toiling among the fruit trees, a true Niagaran. He loved motorcycles and waterskied across Lake Ontario, backwards, for fun.

Apart from their cars, which sparked a conversation, and ultimately more, I cannot fathom how these two personalities would have connected, still less how they would have married and peacefully co-existed for so long. They kept both cars for several years, and eventually sold my grandfather's black one. The red one they kept, and of it I have heard many long-winded stories. From near-deadly highway crashes to bringing my mother home from the hospital, that little red VW was as much a part of my grandparents' early life as were they themselves. 

Karmann Ghias are not rare cars, but they're not particularly common ones either, so whenever I see one up for sale, especially if it's red or black, I get a little tinge of happiness and an eery realization that this car was instrumental in my coming into existence. It reminds me of the extraordinary spot that ordinary items can hold in people's hearts, and makes me value a little more the things we often take for granted.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

1962 Chevrolet Apache?

Maybe all you truck guys out there can help me out on this one. What I've found is described by the seller as a '62 Chevy Apache Panel truck. The ad claims that only 1,100 of these trucks were made, with 700 going to the military and only 400 being sold to the public.

I did a bit of internet sleuthing, which uncovered precious little. I found information on the '55-'59 Apaches, which I knew of, but no mention of these things. I found one other for sale in Medicine Hat, Alberta in pretty rough shape:

If what the seller claims is true, this is an extremely rare and Earth-shatteringly cool vehicle. The Medicine Hat car confirms the engine specs in the ad; it houses a 235cid unit and what looks to be a living room in the back:

If anyone has any information on these guys or can corroborate the claims made in the ad, please share! It's for sale right now in Fort Erie, and I'm thinking of emailing the guy to ask for more info.

Enigma. Full ad

Thursday, February 9, 2012

1964 Ford Econoline Falcon Pickup

Conventional pickup trucks are boring. You, on the other hand, are anything but. You're a super-cool, hip, rad and poppin' fresh trendster, and everyone on the block should know that you're unique. You're a wacky person, and you need a wacky truck to go along with your personality.

You've also got $12,000 burning a hole in your pocket, which is why you need to buy this:

I don't know why we moved away from cab-forward trucks. It could be because a frontal collision would push the engine forward into the cabin, crushing your feet, but we'll ignore that for the time being.They're purposeful and utilitarian, and at the same time are oh-so-chic. Plus, you never have to worry about rear-ending someone because you can't discern the end of your truck's obnoxiously long snout.

This particular example is for sale in St. Catharines, and for the shape it's in, if you want to spend 12 grand on a 60's pickup, there's not a more stylish way to do it.

Cab-forward trucks were kind a strange trend in the 60's. Ford ran with it for a while and so did Dodge, and of course one cannot forget the iconic Volkswagen microbuses that started the shaggin' wagon trend. It was only the VW however, that stuck with the idea and carried it forward.

And now for your viewing pleasure, here are some pretty sweet cab-forwards from this site and elsewhere:

Cute truck. Full ad

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass

DEAL ALERT: For sale right now in St. Kitts is this rather cool-looking '69 Cutlass. The best part: The price, at only $2,500. Tempting? Very.

Is it perfect? No. Does it have issues? Probably. Does it move under its own power? Maybe on a steep hill. But for $2,500 and a buzzcut, you too could be a 40-something bald guy who neglects his wife in order to spend Saturdays drinking beer and tinkering with his 'baby'.

Deal. Full ad

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

1978 Chrysler Cordoba

Soft. Corinthian. Leather. Those three words have echoed through the annals of advertising history like a rusty soup can clattering down an empty Detroit street. When screen legend Ricardo Montalban took to the screen to endorse the 1975 Chrysler Cordoba, it was as if the heavens were rent open to allow a mediocre film star to reach from his moderately high pedestal and display before the world the epitome of America's 1970's auto woes. If any of you are unfamiliar with the ad, here it is in all its glory

Now that you've seen it, I'm sure you're all clamoring to own this spectacular piece of machinery that has Star Trek's Khan Noonien Singh, eugenically-enhanced prince of 1990's Earth, singing its praises. Well right now, a trip to little Port Colborne can indeed fulfill all your half-baked luxury car needs. Witness this model, albeit a few years newer than Montalban's chariot of glory, for sale right now for only $5,000:

It's in great condition for a 33 year-old mid-range Chrysler, and with only 24,000 kms on the clock, it's still got plenty of fuel-sucking, pothole-swallowing life left in it. And yes, it is equipped with the plush, overly mashmallowy sofa-chairs that made the original ad so popular:

You too can own a piece of automotive advertising history. Don't blame me, however, when everyone you meet starts laughing at your car, repeating the words 'rich, Corinthian leather'.

Famous. Full ad

For bonus marks, here's a sweet Trek-related spoof of the ad:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

1963 Sunbeam Alpine

I love small, flirty, fling-able sports cars. I'm on my second white '90 Miata, and after driving one for four years, it's going to take at least a 10-minute Mrs. Geddie-approved speech to persuade me to drive anything else. Driving on an open highway with the top down on a starry summer night is a pleasure not easily replicated, even though it might mean leaving your luggage at home.

Being an addict to old small sports cars then, I just about flipped my lid when this '63 Alpine popped up on Kijiji. It's mind-achingly beautiful; so simple in its design, yet so elegantly purposeful, the very sight of it conjures up visions of twisting narrow mountain paths and carefree adventures into nowhere.

The Alpine was born in 1953 to British manufacturer Sunbeam-Talbot. Originally based on Sunbeam's saloon platform, the Alpine served for 3 years as a mildly sporty touring car before it was redesigned in '56 to the form you see before you. Targeting specifically toward the American market, the Alpine was fairly successful sales-wise, eventually giving birth to the somewhat more well-known V8 Tiger.

This particular model, a Series III, houses an 80hp 1.6L inline-four and features a removable hardtop, another little quirk that reminds me of the Miata. It looks to be in fine condition, and $11,000 for such a beautiful specimen of a pure sports car is a downright steal (compare with this Triumph TR6 at $18,000, another of my favourite British sports cars). Rest assured, this car will be racing through my dreams for a few nights, and I may or may not spend an absurd amount of time trying to find an extra $11,000 under the couch cushions.

Oh, and just to make you salivate over it a little more, it may interest you to know that James Bond's first car, featured in Dr. No, was a Series II Alpine.

Ignore the silly music. Or just go here to watch the real video that YouTube won't let me attach to this blog (curse you, Google-Youtube integration). Dr. No Sunbeam Alpine Chase

Delicious. Full ad

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

1994 Ford Mustang SVO

I've had a few requests from people to post some nice Mustangs for sale in the area. I have thus far refrained from doing so, for the simple reason that there's no point. You don't need to search for old Mustangs; all you have to do is ask any man over the age of 35 and he'll be able to refer you to at least five or six '67 fastbacks. Besides, Mustangs, on account of their annoying ubiquity, simply aren't interesting enough to post.

But to appease you all, I will bow in submission and post a Mustang, albeit it's one you probably haven't heard of. It's not your typical big engine, glossy paint garage queen that inhabits four of every five spaces at your local car show. It's not from the boomer era and it doesn't have a V8; it doesn't even have a V6.

I present to you, in all of it's mid-90's glory, this 1994 Ford Mustang SVO.

Like I said, this is not the typical rip-roaringly loud Mustang that bald men in the 50's fawn over in mall parking lots. The SVO was the range-topping Mustang from 1984-86 and contrary to the Mustang's current trend of hosting big V8 power, the SVO housed a turbocharged 2.3L inline four-cylinder powerplant that sent 175hp to the rear wheels.

The car was the first product of Ford's new Special Vehicle Operations department, instituted to find new ways to sportify Ford after the 70's oil crisis. the SVO was marketed as a new, lithe, and more efficient Mustang. It never really caught on, and as a result, no one knows about them. They're rare to find, so happening on a nice clean one like the one listed here is something to raise an eyebrow about.

The car is starting to gain more traction in the public mind now as rumours circulate about Ford introducing a new turbo-four 'Stang in 2013.

For $8,900, the asking price is a little high, but if you're looking for a Mustang that will stand out from the slew of boomer-mobiles that define the iconic pony car, you'd be hard-pressed to do better.

Unknown. Full ad