With V8s going the way of Friendster, six-cylinder cars are quickly becoming all the rage, as the #millennials so often say. Last week I asked you bargain-seeking bunch to find the best cars for sale on eBay for less than a $6,000 budget, and here are the ten best examples you found and voted for.
10. 2000 BMW Z3 2.5
Close your eyes and imagine a Mazda Miata with more power and torque, a better look, and a luxury badge. Now imagine that it's available in great condition for less than $1,000 per cylinder. Now open your eyes to a tire-shredding reality: This 2000 Sterling Silver BMW Z3. The 2.5 liter inline six in this drop-top is one of the most heavily used in the period, and definitely makes this car the capable roadster it deserves to be. Buy one, if only for the sweet, sweet donuts.
(Suggested by BenLikesCars)
9. 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SD
In the 1980s and 90s, when GM was working hard to make their cars ticking time bombs of planned obsolescence, Mercedes-Benz was making cars to last until the day they'd have the technology to reanimate Karl Benz's corpse to show him what a $12,000 hydraulic power window switch looks like. This Mercedes S-Class was one of those cars, and became so dependable and ubiquitous that if you asked a six-year old anywhere in the world to draw a Mercedes, they'd probably draw this one. It's the perfect road trip car, and it's cheap enough that you could replace it at every fuel fill-up.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
8. 1998 Ford Contour SVT
During the modern malaise-era of Ford when ovular redesigns were the drug of choice, Ford did occasionally get things right. This Contour SVT had a 2.5 liter Duratec V6 that produced all of 200 horsepower, which was plenty for a 4-door mid-size sedan. For its age, it might as well be a four-door Ford GT, because nothing in its regular lineup was making anywhere near that power. Remember, almost a decade later, Ford made a Mustang with a V6 that was almost twice as big, but produced only 10 more horsepower. The Contour was a winner in every conceivable way, and it's still a serious contender at this kind of budget.
(Suggested by Thunderface)
7. 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel
There's nothing more honest than a standard cab work truck - other than a standard cab work truck with a quarter million miles on it. This '96 Diesel Ram, with a manual five-speed, will go the other 3/4 million without protest, and it'll haul way more than its official payload capacity, happily. Not only is it a great value as an everyday driver, but it's what any honest person should drive at least once in their life.
(Suggested by Jordan-IsWatchingFloridaBurn)
6. 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport
This is something I've never understood. Why do some owners keep cars low mileage if their engines have been tested to last well into the hundreds of thousands of miles? I understand if it's a one-off Ferrari or barn-find Trabant, but when it's the ultra-reliable Jeep XJ platform with its straight-six engine, why keep it all to yourself? Share it with the world and get dirty - really dirty.
(Suggested by PilotMan)
5. 1987 Toyota Supra Turbo
The '80s Toyota Supra will be an appreciating classic. As its successor reaches the stratosphere, its wake will pull gems like this '87 Turbo from the bottom of the Craigslist barrel and place it on the modern classic pedestal, where it so clearly deserves to be. This car is slightly over budget, but for a low-mileage, one-owner example, with many more on the market, it's hard not to hand over your money as quickly as possible. Repeat after me: boost is good. Boost is good.
(Suggested by 1BADSTI)
4. 2002 BMW 530i
One of the best BMW chassis designs ever made was the E39 5-series. Not only was it a remarkably good looking and accommodating car, but it was so stiff that the addition of a strut brace provided no functional benefit - it was simply constructed with quality in mind. That's why this big six-cylinder, five-speed version of the E39 is so special - it's the ultimate bargain as well as the ultimate driving machine. It's not only more cost effective than the Amazing 540i and M5, but with a few off-the-shelf mods, it can look identical and sound spectacular. Get one before they're hooned by people that aren't you.
(Suggested by AntiLag)
3. 1962 AMC Rambler With Boat And Trailer
This 1962 AMC Rambler, equipped with a 195 cubic inch inline six, is a summer vacation on wheels. It looks like what your grandfather would drive because "cars nowadays are made out of cheap crapola," and he's not wrong. For way less than the budget, you can have a running car, and a freaking matching trailer and boat. I'm not sure how much actual value is here, but I'm betting it's a hell of a lot. Haul the family away upstate and show them that not all impulsive financial decisions are dumb.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
2. 1995 BMW 525i
This may in fact be the cleanest and well-taken care of example of an E34 5-series in the world. Everything about this car looks new, despite the near 200,000 mile figure on its odometer. A manual transmission sweetens the already great deal, with literally no perceivable downsides. If no one buys this car, I will.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
1. 1997 Jaguar XJR
Here's a car with every option available to Jaguar at the time, a supercharged inline six cylinder engine, and one hell of an iconic look. It's hand-built luxury for the price of a down payment on robotic monotony. Although the eBay listing has ended, it's still available. Drive one before someone more interesting does. Life's too short to drive boring cars.
(Suggested by Land_Yacht_225)
For more exciting ebay challenges, check these out:
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes 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. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.