We all have websites we visit when we’re killing time. If you’re a Deadhead, it’s some semi-legal site in Finland where you can download Aug. 12, 1968 at Winterland. If you’re a political junkie, it’s the ticker at CNN.com. For me, it’s BringaTrailer.com. Here’s a site run by obsessives who comb the Internet for the coolest auto ads, featuring both bargains and oddball offerings.
There once was a time when used cars were bought either at local lots run by sharpies who made you check to see if your wallet was still there, or at smudgy "shoppers" like Bargain News. But now it’s all online, and you can surf the world for great deals. Taking delivery if the car’s in Bulgaria might be a problem, but even that can be arranged.
Here are a few personal choices from Bring a Trailer, but I’m sure you can find your own:
Historical Honda. All the way from Medicine Hat, Alberta, (I loved writing that) is this rare-as-hen’s-teeth 1971 Honda N600. These were never numerous in North America, and I’m not sure they were ever officially sold in the U.S. This was the earliest days of the Japanese conquest of America. Around this time, I had a job working in a Dodge dealer, which (as an afterthought) sold Toyotas. The Corollas were tiny, and completely out of step with 30-cent-a-gallon gasoline, but I saw something there….The car, reportedly a “gem” with “everything working,” is for sale at $5,000. And that’s Canadian.
Keep on Truckin’. The 1964 Ford Falcon is an icon to me, with basically the same mechanicals as the Mustang, but it’s not nearly so numerous. And even harder to find is a clean example of the always-rare Ranchero truck version. This one has a 200-inch six-cylinder engine under the hood, but a 302 V8 from a Lincoln Town Car is included. There are a ton of performance parts on this Ranchero, including Shelby upper control arms, ’65 V8 steering, KYB shocks and a Mustang instrument cluster. Plus, a Kenwood stereo! It’s on Craigslist in rust-free Concord, Calif., asking $7,750 or best offer.
Iconic Z. The Datsun 240Z was a real coming of age for the company that became Nissan, a break-the-mold sports car from a Japanese auto industry thought capable of producing only bread-and-butter sedans. The Z, introduced in 1969, is so iconic that there’s a battle over who designed it. The car was long attributed to Count Albrecht Goertz, who also penned the BMW 507. But this article casts that in doubt — it may have been an all-Japanese effort. What is indisputable is that the 240Z was a huge hit in the U.S. Before it was replaced by the 260Z in 1974, it sold a great-for-a-sports-car 135,000 units here. The 1972 car for sale on eBay is mechanically sound, and it’s an Arizona car, so it doesn’t suffer from the Achilles Heel of these cars — rust. This car isn't not that great otherwise, though in good running condition. The auction ends Oct. 10, and it was up to only $2,413 with no reserve, so hurry.
Gettable Goat. Would you buy a $29,950 for a 1966 Pontiac GTO on Craigslist? Someone probably will. This is a highly desirable and very presentable muscle car in the San Francisco area, with a factory tri-power 389 engine (albeit with some matching number issues). It’s a four-speed manual car with all kinds of high-performance options, and it “runs good and strong.” If you can just find some high-octane fuel, you’re all set. Muscle cars are valued totally out of proportion to their usability, but that’s just the way things are. I remember when this was a used car worth, at most $2,500, but now they fetch top dollar at auctions. I prefer the less aggressive lines of the first-year ‘64, but maybe that’s because the teenage girl living next door to me had one. Bring a Trailer says, “We like the fact that this car is light on options and has just those that add to the driving experience. Though the seller says the car isn’t perfect, it certainly presents well and looks like it would be both fun to drive and the center of attention wherever it goes.” The car is marked down from $33,995.
Christine Lives. Stephen King’s killer car was actually a ’58 Plymouth Fury hardtop, but this is something even rarer, a Belvedere convertible from that same year. They weren’t big sellers, and many succumbed to rust and indifference. This one is a total restoration and will probably end up in a large collection, maybe parked next to a reproduction "Happy Days" soda fountain. They’re looking for $25,000 to start on eBay Motors, and no one’s even bid yet. The auction ends Oct. 9. Oddly enough, there was a nearly identical blue car here (but the bidding’s ended). Here's what they looked like when they were brand new in '58:
Bring a Trailer is frequently updated, so visit often — you never know what cool bargains will pop up.