Editor’s Note: We love scouring the internet for reasons to spend money we don’t have on cars we daydream about owning, and these are our picks this week. All prices listed are bid amounts at the time of publishing.
The push for more SUVs and crossovers in every manufacturer’s lineup is only increasing as the days go on. At the same time, silhouettes of modern vehicles are merging into some common denominator lacking any inspiration — it’s becoming harder to simply find your car in a parking lot without using an app or the ‘find’ button on the fob. A quick way to get around driving a solid chunk of metal monotony is to consider one of these unique cars that’ll definitely stand out on the road.
Safari-Style 1973 Datsun 240Z
Mileage: 61,000 shown
Location: Madill, Oklahoma
What we like: For whatever reason there’s been a rise in Safari-tribute cars, the most popular of which is the Porsche 911. There’s just something incredibly appealing about cars that weren’t originally meant to go off-road modded to hell and back to do so. There’s a sense of humor about the process, but more importantly, it highlights the fact that the car is getting as much use as mechanically possible, both on- and off-road.
From the seller: “This 1973 Datsun 240Z was acquired by the selling dealer in 2017 and subsequently built into a Safari rally tribute car by the selling dealer. The work was completed in-house with components sourced from a local off-road fabrication shop, and highlights include a custom roof rack with spare tire carrier, tubular bumpers, skid plates, Hella lights, Western wheels with General Grabber all-terrain tires, leather racing seats, period graphics and more.”
What to look out for: “Rust is the Achilles’ heel for these cars, but accident damage and previous negligent owners are also on that podium. Datsun sold 148,115 240Zs in the United States, but they were “cheap” sports cars for a long time, and many fell into uncaring or incapable hands.” — Colin Comer, Road and Track
1961 Citroen ID19
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
What we like: If you’re really looking to stand out in a crowd, but in an incredibly stylish and classy way, there are few better ways to accomplish that than an old Citroen. This one is in a beautiful shade of powder blue with a matching interior. That’s where Citroen might win this game, because not only is the exterior a head turner, but its interior design is among the best, too.
From the seller: “The car has been repainted in its original color and was recently acquired by the selling dealer after spending eight years in the Pennsylvania collection of its previous owner. Work performed since included replacement of the headliner and R & R of the hydraulic distribution block as well as a flush of the hydraulic system.”
What to look out for: Rust along the side rails is quite common on these cars. Look for bubbling in the paint — it’s a dead giveaway there’s serious corrosion underneath.
1990 BMW Z1
Location: Neptune, New Jersey
What we like: There are ‘millionaire doors,’ there are ‘billionaire doors‘ and then there are BMW Z1 doors.
From the seller: “The vertically-retracting doors are unique to the design of the Z1, which along with the side panels, were constructed from GE’s Xenoy injection-cast thermoplastic. The panels are mounted to a sub-structure of galvanized pressed steel, from which they can be removed for repair, replacement or simply to change color.”
What to look out for: Since most of the usual rust problem areas are made with fiberglass and plastic that’s not a problem. The unique vertical-opening electric doors might need adjusting as the gears and mechanisms can wear out over time.
2016 Exomotive Exocet Race Turbo
Location: Gardena, California
What we like: Over the past three decades, the Miata has established itself as a fun lightweight sports car and doesn’t need extra power to get the job done. But what if you gave it more power and stripped away even more wight? What the Exomotive Exocet Race Turbo essentially exists as a cartoon version of the Miata, which sounds like a pretty good time.
From the seller: “The tube-frame chassis features welded steel floors and was professionally powder coated in RAL 2008 orange with black fiberglass fairings. Plexiglass side panels from Flyin’ Miata protect the cockpit from debris and a Megan Racing dual-plane adjustable rear wing is mounted on Exomotive brackets.”
What to look out for: This is a kit car built based on a Mazda Miata and has been almost completely rebuilt, so it’s hard to say what to look out for.
1951 Ford Country Squire Wagon
Mileage: 8,000 (TMU)
Location: Costa Mesa, California
What we like: Considering how sharp, edgy and angled modern car design is, it wouldn’t be too hard to stand out in a rounded, soft, wood-paneled two-door wagon. The overall paint scheme is fairly neutral, but a well kept Squire ‘Woodie’ Wagon exudes cool compared to today’s cars.
From the seller: “The car wore a red repaint when acquired by the seller, who proceeded to have it refinished in its present 1947 Mercury Shoal Green Grey. The contrasting wood trim was refreshed under the guidance of Ron Heiden of Heiden’s Woodworking, a project which involved stripping, sanding, and recoating with 22 sanded layers of West Marine spar varnish.”
What to look out for: These were originally meant to be affordable beach cars so while the engine may be a durable workhorse, the body panels and details can be a little shoddy. Be on the lookout for loose bolts, panel gaps and make sure to varnish the wood panels once a year.