If you’re a casual Craigslister looking to get ahold of a very interesting and good automobile, what terms can you type into the search bar to cut out all the bullshit—and guarantee only awesomeness?

My go-to search terms are “Jeep manual” and “turbo manual.” I know this may surprise you, but it is true.


The results of the first weed out many of the automatics, leaving plenty of older Willys, AMC and Chrysler-era Jeep models (just what I like). It’s not perfect, though, as many owners list their cars as manuals even though they’ve clearly got slushboxes.

It also sucks that Jeep built the Compass and Patriot in manual form, so I have to sift through those crap-cans. What’s worse, though, is that the search results often include owner’s manuals and repair manuals. Don’t get me wrong, the Jeeps that I’m looking to buy will definitely require a repair book, but I’m on Craigslist to stare at beautiful Willys sheetmetal, not at oily Haynes books.

Here’s the best vehicle this search term turned up for me: an absolutely gorgeous 1963 Willys CJ-5. The body looks all original, the interior looks immaculate, and it comes with a power take-off winch! At only $7,000, I’m very tempted to buy this thing:

Photo: Craigslist

The second search term “turbo manual” still has the aforementioned Mislabeled Auto Trans and Owner’s/Repair Manual issues, and it also tends to bring up GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic transmissions, but for the most part, it yields great results.


On the first page of my San Antonio search (I tend to look for new cars down south, as Detroit vehicles are overpriced and rusty), I found the JDM goodness of my dreams, including two Nissan Skylines, a number of Nissan 300ZXs, multiple WRXs, a stock Toyota Supra, a stage four Mazda RX-7, a Mazdaspeed 6 and a whole bunch more.

Plus, there were some great non-JDM gems like a Porsche 944 Turbo, a modded Volvo 240, a slew of cheap VW Golf GTIs and even a 12-valve Cummins Ram.

The search term also brings up cars described as “non-turbos,” which may sound like a bad thing, but often times, “non-turbo” cars are just Less Powerful But Still Awesome versions of cool sports cars. Take this Celica GT-S; sure, it’s not a particularly powerful front-drive liftback, but it looks wonderful, and the seller says it’s “like new.”

I could totally see myself dropping five grand to row through this little beauty’s five-speed, and carve curvy canyon roads with the 135-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four trying its darnedest under hood.

Photo: Craigslist

So those are my go-to search terms. Now it’s your turn to name your favorite words to type into the Craigslist search bar—words guaranteed to send car enthusiasts drooling over something good.