Last week I asked you treasure seekers to find the rarest and most obscure gems on the market, and you came back with a sack full of goodies. Without further ado, here are the rarest cars on eBay, for a budget of less than $20k, also known as the list of cars guaranteed to make Jay Leno jealous.
Audis in the early ‘90s were not exactly the last word in the automotive experience, but they did have useful and quirky models every once in a while, a great example being this awesome Audi 200 Avant (wagon). On top of being a relatively low production-number model powered by a turbocharged engine with an odd amount of cylinders, this example was converted to use propane, so there’s that. I’m not sure this would be on my personal short list of rare cars, but the purchase of this car would mean that you’d unequivocally be treated like royalty by your local Starbucks baristas, so there’s incentive yet.
(Suggested by BenLikesCars)
No one, apart from nuts obsessed with machinery used during the Vietnam War will have one of these, much less know which side is the front. I’m not saying this 6x6 Gama Goat would be the perfect car around town, but the back looks pretty damn roomy, the front has a roll cage, so it’s safe for the children, and it has a tailgate, so you could easily haul stuff to and from the local Home Depot. It’s probably not the best in terms of fuel economy, but no car is perfect. Slap some plates on it and call ‘er yours.
(Suggested by DMCVegas)
With the ‘70s all but destroying the powerhouse engines of the ‘60s, there was a mad dash by American auto manufacturers to make cars that still looked like they could win on Sunday and sell on Monday. Enter this Pontiac LeMans Can-Am, which had the running gear from the arguably more muscular Trans-Am in a package that made more sense for families, or at least helicopter dads who were only beginning their mid-life crisis.
(Suggested by west-coaster)
What’s that? Didn’t know there was a Saab SUV called the 9-4X? Congratulations, you can join the rest of humanity - present company included. Apparently, this was a car that was designed by a Swedish manufacturer, used parts from American suppliers, and assembled in Mexico. Only 457 were ever made because of the tanking of the Saab brand. It may look like your average SUV, but it’s more rare than a Bugatti Veyron, and that might not be a bad thing.
This Bricklin SV-1 was the Delorean before the DMC-12 was a ever coke-fueled-and-funded dream in John Delorean’s brain. It had a fiberglass body, a Ford V8 in the era when large displacement engines were literally choked by stricter emissions standards, and it was made in the greatest car manufacturing country on the planet - Canada. No wonder the panel gaps were horrendous, spare parts were nonexistent, and the car didn’t sell. Now, though, it’s a different story. Values have risen, and the car is now a collectible time capsule, getting more and more nostalgic and valuable every day.
Yes, this W8 Passat 4Motion Wagon looks identical to your mom’s old VW. No, it isn’t the same car - not by a long shot. This isn’t just any hum-drum base model, it’s a manual, eight-cylinder mechanically complex behemoth of a car that you might see once in your life, if you’re extremely lucky because there were only 136 made. Sure, it has the reliability of a ‘60s lawnmower, but who cares? It’s a German car with a big engine and a manual transmission. Your arguments are invalid.
(Suggested by The World of Vee)
For way under the budget, you’ll have this Isuzu Vehicross, a car that looks like what a 5-year old would draw if they were given the task of drawing a car that they think their parents would hate driving. And they’re not wrong. This thing sold horribly - but the silver lining is that hindsight is 20/20, and what was horrible as a new car now becomes ironically cool years down the line. It’s still not a very good car, but you will be the only one with one, and you’ll be the coolest person on the beach, hopefully not standing in a puddle of your own transmission fluid.
(Suggested by VX0189)
This Cimbria SS was a kit car made right at the end of the ‘70s, when cars were at their heaviest and severely lacking in grunt. This car, with its 175hp VW stroker motor, isn’t the most powerful car on the road. But what it lacks in power it makes up for in weight. It weighs a shade over 1000 lbs, which is golf cart light. The jury’s out on whether this car is a capable performance car, but it’s certainly one of the rarest cars you can buy with your dollar today, especially for so far under budget.
(Suggested by NeonMcGurk)
Yes, Dodge made a Durango hybrid because when you’re an automaker that’s out of ideas, you give your largest people-hauler a small electric range, if only to get those sweet, sweet government incentives. Did it work? No, but it was a worthy effort on Dodge’s part in any case. Now you can buy this Durango at a steep discount, and even as a hybrid, this car seems like a pretty solid value. Plus you’ll have the only one on the block - guaranteed.
(Suggested by themanwithsauce)
Full disclosure, its not in perfect shape. The paint’s cracking on the rear fins and around what appears to be the tail gate and tail section of a Chevy Caprice. But if a 1976 Cadillac Castilian goes for $18,000 and is based upon a Fleetwood, then this 1978 wagon which started it’s life as an astro-roof equipped sedan DeVille will probably go for less. (I don’t want to insult anybody’s intelligence, but if you’re not up on 1970’s GM advertising nomenclature, an Astro-Roof is a moonroof...sunroof? Whichever one is the one made of metal and not glass!) It’s $5,100 right now and that’s $15,000 to get this beauty into localaward winning condition. And that’s all it needs to be, because with a rear facing fold out seat, this thing seats nine. 9. That’s NINE as in one more than eight. 8+1=9. Three rows. Three bench seats. Three wide. 3x3=9. ...oooooh la la. And it wants you to take the kids and their friends out for ice cream.
Oh, and if you’re looking for that ‘fits a sheet of plywood’ kind of practicality, all of the seats fold completely flat up to the front for an entirely level cargo area.
You want rarity? This thing is supposedly 1 of 12. By the current owners own admission, he doesn’t know if that’s exactly true. But I will say that Cadillac wagons are one of my many automotive obsessions, and he can’t be far off.
Other features of this lovely car include a freshly reupholstered front seat in matching Bordeaux red leather and an aftermarket CD player where the factory radio should be, and aftermarket speakers hidden in the doors. Normally I would rant and rave about that but, lets be honest, it’s a ‘78. And it says ‘I am a daily driver, I am a family car.’ And rare as this is, it would be a shame for it to be anything else.
I’m sure your CTS-V wagon is quite lovely and lots of fun. But this is my kind of Cadillac, and my kind of Caddy wagon.
(Suggested by Land_Yacht_225)
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.