3 vintage rides that prove rare doesn’t have to mean expensive
There’s no stopping the inevitable march of time, and cars that are driven often are susceptible to collisions, wear, and other calamities. Valuable vehicles tend to stick around much longer, because investing in upkeep for something desirable makes a kind of sense. More commonplace cars and trucks tend to hit the scrap heap if routine maintenance turns into major metalwork or, say, an engine rebuild. These are vehicles you used to see on the road or even at car shows, but they’ve been gone so long you haven’t even thought about them in years.
We came across several such vehicles while scanning the listings on Hagerty Marketplace. Of course, if it’s up for sale, it’s not quite extinct. Each of these vehicles are still rarities on the road, but rarity doesn’t always translate to value or widespread popularity, as the following available machines can attest:
1980 Rover SD1
The Rover SD1 was sold in Europe for four years before a version was prepped for U.S. specification and imported to our shores. Our version got unique round headlights as opposed to rectangular, flush-mounted versions on the originals. While Europeans had several engine options, Americans got only the 3.5-liter Rover V-8, the largest engine offering. The all-aluminum V-8 was licensed to Rover from Buick, so you won’t be surprised to learn that the automatic mated to this engine is also from GM—a TH180. Unfortunately, this dent-free Rover isn’t running, although the price certainly reflects that condition. The four-door hatchback earned quite a reputation for racing in its day, taking a number of touring car wins with drivers such as Tom Walkinshaw, Steve Soper, and René Metge, so it would be great to see this one back on the road. Or maybe the track!
1983 Renault/AMC Alliance
Desperate for new products to sell and unable to borrow money to fund their own development, American Motors entered into a deal with Renault to build the Renault 9 sedan and Renault 11 hatchback in AMC’s Kenosha, Wisconsin, factory as the Renault Alliance and Renault Encore. The front-wheel-drive, subcompact Alliance earned Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year honors for 1983 along with heaps of praise from reviewers and owners. This one has been parked since 1995 and its four-cylinder engine seems to have a fuel system problem, as it won’t stay running. For AMC fans, this car might be a bit of a tough pill to swallow, as it’s not really emblematic of the scrappy underdog products that AMC was known for in the ’60s and ’70s. On the other hand, the interior appears to be well preserved and the price is appropriate for a project. Perhaps a fan of early Cherokees—someone who knows their way around Renix electronics—will pick this up and get it back on the road.
This one is more about relative affordability, though a cool truck in decent shape for under $15,000 isn’t highway robbery. While the Scout and Scout II are basking in the collector market’s love for vintage SUVs, International’s bigger, burlier pickup trucks have been seemingly forgotten by collectors at large. These pickups have a great rough-and-tumble reputation, and their engines, in particular, are known for being overbuilt and long-lasting. Considering International Harvester built tractors and heavy-duty trucks, it makes sense that even its “light-duty” trucks would be up to the task.
This example is powered by a 392-cubic-inch V-8—no relation to either of Mopar’s 392 Hemi V-8s—and it’s the largest engine used in these half-ton trucks. The seller notes this one is in need of a valve seat, but otherwise, the truck looks like it’s survived quite well, with only minor rust, some significant sun fading, and some wear and tear on the upholstery. Considering the price of other vintage 4x4s, this might be one to snap up before word gets out.
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