I’ve decided I won’t be buying another beater this fall. It’s an easy decision to make, since I still have four cars under my ownership: the Miata, the 205, the Sierra and the Polo. The Volkswagen is going to be reassembled by someone else, as it’s painfully apparent I won’t be fixing the engine together myself (or haven’t done it over the past two years); the Sierra needs a bit of welding to pass MOT, and then it’ll either perform winterbeater duties or get sold altogether, albeit I’m still tempted to Merkurize it to the best of my abilities. The 205 will stay and get improved on, and the Miata will be taken off the road for the winter so the rusting will be at least slowed down.
Yet, the market is full of AMAZING DEALS for 800 euros, as the summer is inevitably ending and people don’t know where to put their cars. Everywhere I look,
there’s a dead end waiting there’s something that needs rescuing for 800 euros – or less. The Miata was cheaper than that in Germany, originally; the Sierra was cheaper than that, the Xantia I used to own was priced right there: with a loose grand, you can pick something up and even fix one or two of the initial problems. Let’s take a quick look at some of the stuff I’ve seen for sale recently in this beautiful used car country.
That’s right, you can buy a first-year Chevrolet Citation here. It’s probably the only running Citation in the country, and it’s not even in terrible condition. Been in the same family since new, and there has been some recent overhauling done. You get a parts car too, and the only thing holding you, me, or anybody back is the fact the Citation leaks a litre of oil per thousand kilometres, or forty rods to the hoghead in 1979 American terms. Surely that’s only the least worrying thing about buying a very early example, but it’s perfectly likely to only need minor repairs to become the best example available for 800 euros 
ALFA ROMEO 33
Then there’s this maroon/burgundy/dried blood colour Alfa Romeo 33 from 1983, which is also very early production. The seller is offloading it without a parts car, which apparently was the original configuration of this deal. It’s said to be in almost daily driving, and works alright. You get what looks like an aftermarket sunroof, two- or three-tone paint depending what counts, and a lovely tan cloth interior. The 1.5-litre boxer engine should be quite peppy, and for 850 eur it can’t be a bad deal if you don’t spend any money on it.
When’s the last time you’ve seen a clean, early-’80s Accord like this? They’ve been used up, rusted out, smogged, sliced, diced and cubed. The later generation sold more here, but those begun to vanish after the first decade due to rampant rocker rust. This one is for sale in deepest Lapland, which means it shouldn’t have spent too much time on salted roads, and that gives it a good chance of actually being made of metal instead of liberal applications of bondo everywhere. For 800, it’s a steal, even if there’s a mention of one or two small electrical faults (blower motor, central locking).
CITROËN BX TGI
This is the last one, a true joker, a super strong deal candidate if there ever was one. It’s a 1991 facelift BX with a 1.6-litre base engine and fuel injection, producing all of 88 horsepower, and it’s available to be bought for only 300 euros. Sure, there’s no valid inspection, but that’s only due to an exhaust leak. You can spend more on the car if you want more tires, or try to configure out some kind of part exchange deal, but if you just show up and buy the damn car, it’s there for 300. It’s not even too far from where I live, and if I had two less cars, I’d easily have one more.
Out of these
shitboxen unicorns, which one tickles your fancy?
Alfa Romeo 33