Lada Police Car, Saab 900 SPG, Triumph Bonneville: The Dopest Cars I Found for Sale Online
Folks, it’s a Saturday again. I know, this week has felt like it’s taken about six months to finish, but we’re finally here: The weekend. As such, I’m here to bring you your standard Saturday-morning brunch reading fare. But, then, has Dopest ever been standard?
No, we’re here to be exemplary. To bring you the cars that you’re not going to find on any other best-of-Craigslist list, and also inevitably some that you will, if I just feel in the mood. My taste are capricious, and you’re all along for my Department of Transportation-unregulated ride. Welcome, friends, to the internet’s Dopest Cars.
1957 Russian Police Car Lada - $15,000
Usually, I have a system for organizing photos for this slideshow every week. I’ll use the first shot from a given listing for its slide (unless the first shot is truly useless or bad), but find the best possible shot of the bunch to go at the very top. Whichever vehicle that comes from, I choose the second-best shot of that car for its slide. This system has worked without fail for months now, until a Soviet-era Lada police car came and screwed it up.
This Lada only has one photo in its ad, which would make it traditionally ineligible for the top shot. But, it’s a Soviet-era police Lada. What am I gonna do, not put that up top? Absurd.
1996 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution - $22,800
America didn’t get the Lancer Evo until far later in its own evolution, but this Evo IV has been brought in by some tasteful, erudite enthusiast. The Evo IV is a fine vintage of rally motoring, not least because this model shares its production year with my own date of birth. That’s synergy, baby.
This particular Evo claims a freshly rebuilt engine, but done to factory spec — no aftermarket forged pistons or ported heads here. It’s a turn-key rally car that will actually run right as soon as you turn the key. What a concept.
1991 Chevrolet Camaro Z28- $36,000
The sixth-generation Camaro is dead, so here’s my hot take — it wasn’t one of the better-looking generations of the car. No, the top spots don’t fit any chronological order: First place goes to the first generation, second place to Gen 5, and third place goes to the under-appreciated third generation.
The third-gen Camaro is often seen as the second-worst, with last place going to the truly heinous catfish, but I have more time for it. It’s unapologetically eighties, it was available with the word “IROC” down the side (unquestionably one of the cooler four-letter sounds), and it had eyeliner from the factory. Take that, Beetle.
2004 Toyota Tacoma - $5,800
Look, I know, there’s nothing particularly special about a two-door Tacoma, particularly from a rust state like Vermont. Here’s my rebuttal: Look at it. This is the platonic ideal of truck design, truck performance, truck capability. A Taco will go off road, haul your stuff, tow a trailer, and do it all while looking damn good. This is what peak performance looks like.
While this may be a rust-state car, it should have a rust-free frame — the factory one was replaced in 2018 as part of Toyota’s massive recall. Sure, the body is still rotting away, but that’s why it’s cheap. The rust just adds lightness, like Colin Chapman would have wanted.
1950 Mercury M-47 - $26,000
I guess I’m on some kind of Vermont pickup truck kick here, because I keep finding gorgeous vehicles out in America’s best state. You can picture this Mercury just sitting at the end of someone’s driveway out there, watching the world go by, occasionally firing up to keep the fuel from gumming up the carb.
The seller claims this pickup is “solid Original” yet “Upgraded” with all manner of modifications: Paint, bodywork, interior, exterior. One would think these two descriptors would lie in direct contrast, but here they appear to coexist without enmity. This is known in the Hegelian dialectic as synthesis.
2001 Ford Ranger - $2,500
I promise, this is the last green-plate pickup truck in this week’s Dopest. In fact, it’s the last pickup of any plate — it’s all cars and bikes from here on out. But I couldn’t see an early-aughts Ranger bedazzled with flower stickers and not share it with all of you. I’d feel like I was keeping secrets. Secrets you deserve to know.
This seller claims the truck was “only driven in the summer,” which sounds absurd until you notice the garden service sticker on the side — it may well have only been used in-season. The ad also ends with the sentence: “The number,” implying the seller was cut off before they could reveal some terrible truth to us all.
1988 Saab 900 SPG - $19,000
I understand, logically, that SPG stands for Special Performance Group. My mind is aware of this fact, it knows that those three letters stand for performance. I am, however, Italian, and I cannot read this car as anything but the Saab 900 Spaghetti.
The Saab 900 SPG is like spaghetti in many ways. It’s hot, first off, the way spaghetti is meant to be served. It’s flexible, adapting from family hatchback to boost-fueled raucous ride just the way spaghetti can go from cacio e pepe to carbonara without ever feeling out of place. Also, I want both this Saab and some spaghetti after writing this.
1930 Avon Standard Special- $52,000
As the local Car Enthusiast, I’m often tasked with helping friends figure out what car they should buy. Time after time, I hear the same story: “Steve, can you help? I want a Morgan three-wheeler, but I just don’t think three wheels is enough. Is there any car out there for me?”
There is, and it’s right here. You don’t see too many Avons hitting Craigslist, but this one appears legit — if it doesn’t sell there, it’s headed to Bring A Trailer. The seller seems to know the car’s full history, so don’t take the lack of photos as an immediate disqualifier. There may be more to see once you talk to the seller.
1998 BMW 318Ti - $6,800
Do you want to cosplay the sweetest member of our staff? One of the kindest, nicest, most supportive human beings I have ever grown to know? Do you want to be seen as a person with good taste, by which I mean bad taste, but in a very good way?
Then you need a 318Ti, because you’re aiming to be Jalopnik’s own Jose Rodriguez Jr. Jose is a good guy, it makes sense that you’d want to be him, and this 318 is your first step. The second is getting really into camera gear, which may actually be pricier than the Bimmer.
1997 Alfa Romeo 164 Q4 - $17,000
Speaking of bad taste in a good way, we have a late-nineties Alfa. I have no illusions that this will be an incredibly fun car, an incredibly interesting car, or even a passably reliable car. I do, however, know that it’s a unique car, and that alone earns it a spot here.
You don’t see too many Alfas of this vintage on American roads, and that’s a shame. That triangular grille will always look good to me, especially when paired with these almost Renault-looking headlights. It’s so off in some slight way, so weird. I love it.
1989 Ford Mustang - $22,500
We’re reaching a point, with this Mustang, where you start to question what a Mustang actually is. At some point, sure, this was a 1989 Ford Mustang. It had Mustang headlights, Mustang fenders, a factory Mustang engine. Now, it lacks all of those.
But that’s not a bad thing. This Mustang of Theseus has been fully worked over for the track, built to dominate competition. Sure, you can’t take it on the street, but what’s the fun in that? This car isn’t meant to do legal speeds anyway, and you know it.
2014 Triumph Bonneville T100 - $5,900
As the weather improves here in Brooklyn, I’ve been frequently riding my motorcycle to the neighborhood of Red Hook — the Land the Subways Forgot. It’s frustrating to get to and from Red Hook on public transit, so it seems every single resident of the area has a modified Bonneville to use instead.
When the bikes look this good, wouldn’t you? I’m not sure I approve of that stubby exhaust, but the rest of this bike looks fully vintage-correct — despite being less than a decade old.
1981 Suzuki GS - $1,600
For the true cafe effect, though, you’ll have to go a little older. This is the bike that that Triumph wants to be, a classic standard stripped down for speed and style. Sure, the GS may not have the cylinder count of a UJM, but neither does a Triumph.
No one ever said a Bonnie wasn’t a real authentic cafe bike, so why not this GS? It’s likely more fun, more nimble, than any Bonneville you can buy. I’ve long eyed these Suzukis, and maybe I’ll have one in my future. This one, however, could be in yours.
1980 Honda Dio - $1,850
You thought it was an Elite, but it was me!
2021 Indian Scout - $11,000
I’m no cruiser guy, I’ll say that out of the gate. Or at any opportunity, really, no matter the context or relevance to the conversation at hand. But something about Indian’s more modern-looking Scout, admittedly, gets to me.
Maybe it’s the engine, bereft of pushrods like a Harley V-twin. Maybe it’s the low-slung frame. Maybe it’s just the matte finish, unlike every West Coast Choppers cruiser I’ve ever seen. Whatever it is, it works.
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