Found On Craigslist: Loving The Unloved

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It’s hard out there for the unloved cars – the formerly mainstream models that now only a tiny slice of buyers would consider. I was reminded of this when the seller of that 1982 Pontiac Phoenix contacted me to give me another shot at it. He still has it because, as he said, “No one wants it.”


To the seller’s credit, he does keep trying to re-home it. But it’s been a long road of little interest, and so he’s thinking about taking the California Clean Air Board buyback cash – $1,000 or $1,500 if you’re of a low income – after which the state will crush it. That would be a terrible shame for any rust-free car with less than 30K miles.

Especially with that interior.


But that’s how it is when you have the Phoenix’s unfortunate combo of ungainly styling and a reputation for shoddiness. Not even those totally-1982 orange seatbelts can overcome it, even though the Phoenix is a roomy hatchback with four-cylinder economy, and it’s an automatic – there’s no stick shift to limit the market further.


The Phoenix’s pending untimely demise got me looking for other cars that are falling through the cracks, like this perfectly usable 1980s Escort, which its owner can’t seem to give away. Back in the day, these little Fords did a great job of advertising that you were of modest means, with hackneyed styling and a tinbox feel. It may be that it’s just too low on the automotive status scale for anyone to want it.


If a running Escort hatchback is having a hard time avoiding the junkyard, then we should probably all say our goodbyes to this decent-looking Escort wagon and its blown transmission.


The Dodge Omni occupied a similarly low status rung, but that’s not stopping this seller from seeing if he can get ALMOST FOUR GRAND for it. “Still needs some brake work!” At these prices, it’s a good thing he’s not in a hurry to sell.


This K-car-based Plymouth Caravelle has a shot at a new owner if the price comes down a bit. Another perfectly usable car, and this one is also sourced from a senior citizen, like the Phoenix and Omni.


Then there’s this rarity that’s being sold with assistance from the Chrysler K-Car Club – a stretched limousine version of the humble LeBaron. You can see videos of it here, here, here and here. The scrapper is invoked in the ad, but here’s hoping that this one among the unloved finds its way home.


Which of these unloved cars would you choose? Tell us in the comments!