Last week I posed a challenge to you frugal speed freaks to find the cars on eBay - under $15,000 - with the highest top speed, and were the results ever surprising. Here are ten cars that are both stupid fast and stupid cheap.
10. 2004 Mercedes SL55 AMG
This SL55 AMG convertible is something that every red-blooded car enthusiast should experience several times in life, preferably in anger. Derestricted, it can hit 200 miles per hour and it has massaging seats. This particular car isn't on eBay, but here's another one, with less miles, and slightly over budget with a very, very reasonable asking price.
(Suggested by Land_Yacht_225)
9. 1991 BMW 850i
Here's a discontinued BMW grand tourer with a V12 that is a not-so-distant cousin to the world-beating engine in the Mclaren F1. It can achieve upwards of 175 mph, with no mechanical modifications. Yours for under the price of a used Honda Civic.
(Suggested by Doug)
8. 1990 Corvette ZR1
It's a Corvette with a dual overhead cam engine, and more importantly, it's a C4 Vette that can do the better part of 180 mph, with a 0-60 under 4 and a half seconds. Here's an eBay listing that's slightly over budget, and an AutoTrader one that'll give you change to spare. Either one is an awesome get.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
7. 1989 Land Speed Racer
Here's a one-off speed machine built in the late 80s by Van Stohr, and used a Quad-4 Motor, powered by methanol. Although the drivetrain isn't in it, the price is low enough that you'd have a few thousand left over to put whatever crazy powerplant in it and hit the salt flats doing speeds normally reserved for commercial aircraft.
Although this one isn't on eBay, you can find your own insane speed-seeking project here.
6. 1988 Pontiac Trans Am
The third gen Trans Ams have always been popular speed record cars, because they are very slippery and don't make much lift. Kuegel and LeFefers have pushed a stock bodied Trans Am past 300 mph at Bonneville.
They are also popular the less afluent standing mile guys. For aero, you are going to want to get the W68 option groundeffects kit from a w62 option 1992 TA (looks like building a complete set on EBay will be around another 300 bucks), but for purposes of down force, you will want to keep the more aggressive spoiler this older car is equipped with. Then you will want to refresh the suspension, lower it as far as you are comfortable with, and fit narrow but aggressive tires on low drag wheels like Daytona Aerowheels from an 83 Daytona TA, findable for a grand on EBay.
The remaining 13 grand spend on a cage, buckets, harnesses, hans device, fire suppression, built trans, built rear end, and the hottest junkyard turbo LS based truck motor your fabrication and bargin finding skills can fit into the budget. Chose your final drive ratio depending on what you do, top speed or standing mile.
Seems like a pretty damn solid plan.
(Suggested by 7liter12598723)
5. Porsche 928
This is the closest you will ever get to having an American muscle car manufactured by Porsche. Its huge 32 valve V8 will get the car to around 170 mph, all while towing its loud 80s styling with it. Alex Roy had one, and so should every budding gearhead with a few dollars in their pocket.
(Suggested by TFritch)
4. 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12
It's a 4-door ultra-luxury Veedub that shares a chassis and engine (sans turbos) with the Bentley Flying Spur. Without the limiter, it can do 201 miles per hour, as quoted by car culture deity Jeremy Clarkson. And he's never wrong.
3. 2003 Mercedes S600
This car is the most surprising car I've ever driven. It's the epitome of huge car and huger engine. It massages your lower back. It cools your butt. And it does 180+ miles per hour, without a limiter, and even more with a few off-the shelf tuning options for its 5.5 liter biturbo V12. This one is so ridiculously cheap that I'll probably buy it, since they command much more of a premium on this side of the country. Don't be scared of the more expensive maintenance schedules, this one is freaking worth it.
2. 2011 Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 R
I am fully aware that this isn't a car, but if speed is what you're after, it's hard to compete with something that's this cheap and gets a near-200 mph top speed without too much of a fuss. Two wheels very good.
1. 2004 Cadillac CTS-V
This is GM's answer to the M5, and it was actually not a bad alternative. The interior quality was spectacular, and the performance of the LS6 under the hood got the car to a near 170 mph top speed, bone stock. With longer gearing and some key mechanical mods, it could certainly hit that 200 mph top speed, for way less than the price of a current base model CTS.
For more jaw-dropping values on eBay, check these out:
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes 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.