Another week, another pile of emails filled with Craigslist links to extremely tempting shitboxes. Here are a few of my favorites from readers who know I have a “problem,” but who simply don’t care.
I don’t need any more cars in my life. Seven is enough for a single dude in suburban Michigan—at least, that’s what people keep telling me. Still, it doesn’t matter if I don’t need more machines, the fact is that I want more, and the limit of this desire knows no bounds.
Take this Volkswagen Rabbit built on a Jeep CJ-7 platform that reader Ethan emailed me. Does that rear bumper look terrible? Yes. Would I much rather have a regular old CJ-7? Of course. Did seeing the $8,500 price tag make me vomit all over my keyboard? I’m typing this with the stream-pressure from a can of brake cleaner.
But come on, who doesn’t want a small hatchback off-roader? This thing’s like a weird German-American version of the lovable Lada Niva, except it’s got two solid axles, a Chevy V8 motor and 31-inch BFG all-terrains. What’s not to like? Plus, just look at how surprisingly well done this thing is:
Here’s the interior:
OK, so I’m not a fan of the automatic trans (even if it is a Turbo 400), the price tag is astronomical, and aesthetically, it could be better. But what about this 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief?
Reader Keith sent me this Jeep, which the Oklahoman owner says he got “in a pipe fence trade” and “[doesn’t] want to mess with.” It’s only $2,200, and has the venerable AMC 360 backed by a TH400 and a Quadra-Trac transfer case.
If that doesn’t sound good enough, the deal also includes “an extra AMC 360 and Chrysler 727 transmission.”
Sure, it hasn’t run in a year and a half, and there’s some rust on the fender flares (as usual with these SJs), but damn if that’s not a freaking steal. $2,200 for two motors, two transmissions, a decent body, and a work-able interior? Someone hold me back!
The SJ-platform Jeep deals seem endless this week. Just look at the all-original “egg-crate” 1977 Wagoneer that Bruce sent me along with the message: “David, This is still for sale. Low California miles and a fucking 401 under the hood!”
Bruce has every right to be excited, because my god; only 65,000 miles on an original 401 cubic-inch AMC V8, with a nice, clean body, and an asking price of only $3,200! Someone help me. Tie me to a tree and don’t undo the ropes no matter what I tell you. I cannot be trusted, for it is not I who is talking, it is the Jeep demons within.
There’s another SJ out in Colorado looking to lure me in with its sexy, rust-free body. This one’s a 1972 model that—unlike the two aforementioned SJs—has a manual transmission. Plus, it’s cheaper than the other two at only $1,400, or probably a grand in real money. The reader’s lengthy description is a beautiful and inspirational bit of creative writing: “Runs great 4 speed.”
While we’re on the subject of amazing deals, just look at that 1988 Jeep Comanche “Sportruck” above that reader Heshie sent in. It’s not been on the road since 2015, it currently doesn’t run, and it’s not a 4x4. Plus, it being located near Syracuse, New York, you can bet the whole underbody is rotted out (looks like you can see the insulation poking through the front floorboard).
But still, there’s only one thing that can counteract a laundry list of defects, and that is a dirt-cheap asking price. And on that front, the seller of this little truck—who says the truck is “still completely intact”!—only wants 400 bucks! And we all know 400 Craigslist bucks is equivalent to about $300 in real, physical cash. And I’d buy pretty much anything resembling an automobile for only $300.
The nameless reader who sent that blue Wagoneer also emailed me the 1989 Jeep Cherokee you see in the picture above. I know, it doesn’t look like much; the header panel has been swapped, and the hood is the wrong color, indicating a front-end accident at some point.
But the seller is only asking $1,000 for a 4.0-liter, manual Jeep Cherokee with less than 143,000 miles on the clock. That motor and that AX-115 trans are barely even broken in!
Plus, the interior actually looks decent:
Find a hood and header panel painted the right color, and you could have yourself a dirt-cheap XJ with a long life left ahead of it, especially since the vehicle is in Denver, where rust isn’t particularly prevalent.
So there it is: one week worth of Craigslist temptations. I would legitimately buy all three SJs and the Jeep Cherokee if those were closer—I wouldn’t even think twice. But alas, I live in Michigan, the worst place for Craigslisting.
Maybe that’s a good thing.