Whenever I post an article saying that yes, you should buy a used AMG Mercedes for the price of a new toaster oven, I get a barrage of comments harping on about reliability. Well, I finally asked you dependable lot for help, and deliver you did.
This Lexus IS300, also known in the JDM scene as the Altezza and the car that ruined taillights for everyone 15 years ago, is actually a quite good buy if you’re looking for an a-to-b car that will give you a-to-a thrills every once and again.
This example has the elusive five speed manual transmission and 2JZ-GE engine that, while not the strongest in the world, can be replaced with the mammoth potential powerhouse GTE version without much modification. As is, it’s a great buy. With mods, it’ll be unstoppable.
If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not have heard that old trucks are now cool, and none are a better bargain than the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 because of its unconventional looks and its not-quite-classic-yet age bracket. It’ll run forever with a few steps for rust prevention necessary on the relatively thin steel.
Other than that, this is one of the most solid trucks money can buy, even if it isn’t as well equipped as something made in the last two decades. Who needs power-everything anyway?
(Suggested by Patrick Frawley)
It has the bullet proof 4L straight 6, paired with a 6spd manual. It will take you any where. To wash it just hose it out. It looks like the only option is AC.
(Suggested by The Crazie Kanuck)
The Lexus SC300 is one of the most underrated cars on the market today. Not only is it mechanically identical to the unobtainium MK4 Toyota Supra, but it has a more contemporary and timeless look, in my opinion. It’ll run forever with its 2JZ-GE engine delivering an adequate amount of power through its rear wheels.
This example has a manual transmission, which was an extremely rare option. I liked this car so much that I currently have two, with zero regrets.
(Suggested by Brian Silvestro)
This Mercedes-Benz 300D is the car that would likely outlive whatever impending natural disaster is next on the list for mother Earth, but only if you know how to fix things yourself.
These are on constant transport duty in resource-poor sub-Saharan Africa, so that enough should tell you everything you need to know about this overbuilt and overworked automobile. Keep it from rusting and it’ll outlive your grandchildren.
(Suggested by Patrick Frawley)
This Volvo 940, despite its brethren being sold on Craigslist for under $1000 all day every day under the heading “runs great needs transmission”, is a tribute to the deities of reliability, according to Ike B:
Those are among the most reliable, unbreakable, you-only-have-to-change-the-timing-belt-one-time-in-its-lifetime-and-nothing-else cars. They’re ludicrously reliable. You can drive a redblock powered Volvo through the damn apocalypse and you’d never need a spare part. Behold your Fjordic god.
(Suggested by Ike B)
The Lincoln Town Car, even with its cheap-looking interior switches and dials, is based on a platform that has been driving the Earth for damn near 20 years.
This is the Executive L version, which means that it has a longer wheelbase for those high profile clients you’ve been courting for the last few months. You’ll get the Jenkins account yet!
(Suggested by BigNSlow EH)
The Lexus LS400 is a car that not only redefined reliability in luxury in cars, but made it the standard for all Lexus cars from that point on. Hell, I drove one with over 900,000 miles across the country without issue and it’s doing it again as we speak, on its way to one million. This is the car you get when you think a brand new car is just too maintenance-intensive.
(Suggested by 1973Porsche)
This Lada 1300S is a little outside the box as far as conventional reliability, so don’t try and find parts at your local Autozone. But there’s a reason why they’re still in production today. I’ll let For Canada - Secretly rusts for a Lada explain:
Absolutely mint Signet/Riva/1500/1600/whatever the hell. Built for Soviet Siberia, where there are no mechanics to fix your car. If it broke, you fixed it yourself with the little tools the common Soviet citizen would have. Rust and the fact everyone thought they were huge turds when it came to basically everything but running. Keep it somewhere road salt isn’t very prevalent and you’ve got a car that will last until Hell freezes over.
Or just get a Volvo 240, or a Mercedes 240, if you’re boring and a decadent capitalist.
(Suggested by For Canada - Secretly rusts for a Lada)
This Toyota Land Cruiser will make you forget what you knew about dependability. Honda Accord? Camry? Mercedes diesel? HA! This truck gets broken in at half a million miles.
It will rock crawl. It will get your groceries. It will also carry your entire family until they’re old enough to multiply without a hiccup. It’s the most reliable car in the world, maybe for any price.
(Suggested by TrueBull69)
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata.