Window shopping is a novel experience where you wonder what your life would be like with some expensive unobtainable trinket. This is sort of like that, except you can afford everything on this list. It’s basically a social experiment to see where the true bottom of the running car market lies, so let’s jump down this rusty rabbit hole together, shall we?
5. 1999 Kia Sephia
“Kia” means “coming up in the world from Asia”. At least that’s what it said in the owner’s manual of my mom’s 2000 Kia Sportage - made at the same time as this haggard little 1999 Sephia. Not only was the build quality horrendous, but the car was a huge liability with badly designed parts that had a habit of putting premature wear on bushings. It’s a miracle that this Kia made it 16 years without several fires, but the rule of thumb is that if it can make it a decade without some sort of catastrophic incident, it’s probably fine for life. Or something.
This one isn’t a looker, but it is a runner. At $400, it actually isn’t a bad value - especially for a dual overhead cam car with relatively low miles and a manual transmission. She can be cleaned up pretty cheaply, so why not do it?
4. 1982 Chevrolet C10 Silverado
This Chevy C10 Silverado may just be the rustiest truck I’ve ever seen. It looks as if the car was blasted with oxidizing buckshot, with the whole thing looking like the Taco Bell after Free Bean Burrito Friday. According to the seller, she’ll need a new battery to start, but when she runs, she runs good.
Maybe he’s right and the truck is as dependable as an old cancerous workhorse can be, but I’d get a tetanus shot just in case. For the $600 asking price, it is a lot of car for the money, even if it’ll shed a few pounds by the time you drive it home. Weight reduction, yo.
3. 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager
Grab some nachos and your favorite hat because we’re going on a road trip - the only possible purpose for this adorable Plymouth Grand Voyager. This green blur has second row captain’s chairs, running boards, a front sun visor, and more bygone-era street cred than a thousand trips to Beacon’s Closet. It needs a bit of paint and a good clean, but it may have some life left in it yet.
At a $690 asking price, it’s not a bad people hauler if those people don’t mind sitting in a place that smells like a moldy nursing home. Plan on driving it ‘til the wheels fall off because that may actually be a possibility.
2. 1994 Honda Prelude Si
This Honda Prelude is a time capsule. The wraparound dash, complete with digital display was ahead of its time, and has aged well enough that it’s delightfully retro. There’s no word on whether the engine in this car is the high-horsepower H22 or not, but at the $900 asking price, you can’t really go wrong with any of the engine choices.
I actually bought one at around this price and didn’t regret it for a second.
1. 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport
This Jeep Cherokee Sport is one of the easiest to work on rough-and-ready will-outlast-the-apocalypse trucks money can buy. Dents add to the character of the truck, and as long as the frame isn’t bent, it’ll be reliable as it was when it was new. The 4.0 liter inline 6-cylinder engine couldn’t quit even if wanted to and it’s made of iron with technology that dates back to the early 1960s.
It’s the perfect modern-ish beater truck because it’s the most dependable old-world technology wrapped up in one neat little dented package. At just over a $1,000 asking price, this truck is a bit of a bargain, considering the cosmetic damage is one junkyard trip away from being fixed.
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos 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.