Dismantling a 1986 Corvette Yields a Unique Hot Rod

Here we have an interesting idea. The owner apparently had T-bucket hot rods before and noted (correctly) that they’re not really long-distance cars. We don’t know how, but he ended up with a 1986 Corvette and proceeded to remove most of the body panels, then construct a Model T-type “trunk” and add an old school radiator frame. The result sorta-kinda resembles a hot rod, but maintains Corvette running gear and suspension; so it theoretically is perfectly driveable for the long haul, assuming the lack of a top doesn’t bother you.

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Citroen-Powered Three-Wheeler: Performance Vehicles Trihawk

We’re big fans of odd layouts, and this certainly qualifies. The TriHawk had a short run in the early to mid 1980s and offered super-light weight, low center of gravity and eye-catching style.  Think Slingshot, but way ahead of its time and with the added bonus of being built in Dana Point, California.  Add in a Citroen flat four and we’re in heaven.

The seller claims this example has 84K original miles, which is a lot for something that is basically a really cool toy.  Apparently, only 96 of these were built and this is number 51.  There’s also mention of a frame-off restoration and some indication of new parts.  The result looks basically new to us, and, despite it’s 1980s build, this feels very 70s in gold fiberglass!

Reserve hasn’t been met; so we don’t know what the seller wants, but this seems like a lot of fun anywhere close to the current $5,300 bid.  If it truly runs and drives well and can easily be registered, we think there’s still value in a higher bid.  Supposedly, it registers as a motorcycle, which make things easy, but may require a helmet (?).  That might not be a bad idea, anyway…

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Lodi, CA, USA
$5,300 with 16 bids, reserve not met and 4.5 days to go

It’s fair to say nothing looks quite like this, though it has a lowered dune buggy vibe going on, what with all the gold ‘glass.

Gold is really just royal brown.

Engine is indeed in front, and bonnet tilts for access.

Here’s the head-on view, which few will see, as most rear view mirrors will be aimed too high.

Profile shows side pipe and rear wheel pushed far aft.

Motorcycle much?  Luggage rack probably means there’s no storage under there.

Interior is sporting and very much car like, though we imagine it’s tight.

Machined cluster finish is a cool touch and, again, feels pretty 70s.

Seats appear to offer good lateral support and are in great shape.  The seller says the upholstery is new.

Here’s the Citroen flat for – a conversation piece in and of itself.

Ad text:

Be Sure to See all our Other High Quality Private Party Vehicles up for Auction In See Other Items under Seller Information! No Trades!!
Extremely Rare 1984 Trihawk Model 304 Sports Car
Number 51 Of 96 Manufactured
Citroen 1299cc Four Cylinder, Air Cooled Opposed Flat Four Engine
Citroen Transaxle, 5 Speed Synchromesh Manual Transmission
Renault Front Wheel Drive Independent Suspension and Rear Trailing Arm
1985 Car and Driver Magazine claimed one of the 10 best cars in Road-ability .87g on skid pad test.  (Other independent test show .97g skip pad)
Wide Front Wheel Base and Low Center of Gravity.
Curb Weight with Full Tank of Gas is 1350 lbs.
Mileage reads 84360, Believed Original Miles
California Clean and Clear Title
Call me, Dan at 209-xxx-xxxx with Questions (NO TEXTS)
You are bidding on an Extremely Rare 1984 Trihawk 304 3 Wheeled Convertible Sports Car. This is Number 51 of a total of 96 Manufactured.
This Trihawk Won 1st place in the 2015 65th Annual Sacramento Autorama, February 14-16th at Sacramento Cal Expo and 1st place in 2015 Annual Grand National Roadster Show January 23-25 in Pomona, CA. Show Quality Condition and ready to Show and Drive. Runs and Drives Excellent.
Drivetrain, Accessories and Stock Equipment:
Citroen 1299cc Opposed Four Cylinder Air Cooled Motor developing 67 HP
Citroen Transaxle with 5 Speed Synchromesh Transmission
Renault Independent Front Suspension Front Wheel Drive
Renault Rear Trailing Arm
Adjustable Shocks
Restored Bucket Seats and Complete Interior New Upholstery (Original Style)
New Dash
Gauges Include
Original Rechromed Front Bumper
Original Rechromed Rear Bumper
New Original Front Grill
Custom made Chrome Luggage Rack (Mounts through Body Directly to Frame)
Factory Heater
Roll Bar Chromed
Piper Cub Windows
Ruspa Aluminum Wheels
JVC Stereo AM/FM
Rear Speakers
11 Gallon Fuel Cell
Fire Extinguisher
Convertible Top and Side Curtains
All Lights, Signals and Wiper in proper working order
Owner can furnish Resto Pictures and Receipts.
Frame Off Restoration
Please look over the Photos and Call me, Dan at 209-xxx-xxxx with Questions (NO TEXTS)
Thanks Again and Good Luck!

VW-Powered Weirdness: L’Automobile Ventura

Here’s a rare one. The L’Automobile was a Brazilian-built, VW-powered coupe which allegedly used some parts from the previous VW do Brasil SP2 and, of course, used a VW chassis, engine and transaxle.

The seller says this car runs and drives well and only has a few minor needs. The key here is that it is complete and the L’Automobile-unique parts are there. Given the VW mechanical bits, mechanical issues should be easy to manage.

The reserve hasn’t been met, but we can’t imagine it’s too much higher. This could be a great little oddball for Cars and Coffee and occasional commuting!

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Hallieford, Virginia, USA
$3,150 with 18 bids, reserve not met and four days to go

If you saw this on the street, would you know be able to identify it?

Here’s a profile, possibly shot through jail bars (?).

We feel a Tatra vibe here.  Quad headlights look pretty good here and lack of flip-up means this has aged better than many 80s cars.  Hood bump is interesting, but there’s no engine there.

Profile is not offensive, but brings to mind many other cars.

Rear looks pretty good for a kit-type car.  Obligatory VW quad tips may give away the power source.

A hatch is present, but the floor is high for reasons that are likely obvious.

Frunk appears to be very large.

Interior looks nice enough and appears to be in really good shape.

The engine sits under the hatch floor.

Here’s a better look.

Here’s documentation that this is indeed a real “L’Automobile.” Surely, the Frenchness adds something.

Ad text:

Nice odd ball air cooled VW. Attractive hand built Brazilian lift back coupe. Looks like a Ferrari insures and drive like a bug. Runs and drive very well , could be an every day driver, but more of a fun weekend driver. Current owner had plans to use for car shows.
New Virginia inspection, engine looks and sounds right, no smoke or leaks pulls strong,not slow, fitted with single choke webers with K and N filters. Clutch action is smooth and 4 speed shifts without any issues. Steers and brakes properly. Electrical is all good, everything works ,charges fine no battery drain issues. Paint has a few minor stress cracks but will polish up and is very presentable. Glass and misc. trim is in good order. Tires are in good shape, front are new. Floor pans are solid. Interior has no rips and dash pad is excellent. New wipers, battery,tires, turn signal switch

Minor issues:
Cassette player is out junk.
Has minor play in steering column bushing (minor).
Speedo reads in kilometers works fine but does not record mileage.

804 xxx-xxxx Carl

car titled a 1989 but ebay would not take the vin number so it a 1989 not a 1980!!!!!!!!!!

“Eco” Ford F-250 Running on Biodiesel

This is an interesting truck, to say the least. The seller made some mods which, in theory, help fuel economy. This is not the usual pitch from the seller of an F-250 diesel, but the bio-diesel/veggie oil crowd is, well, different (and proud of it).

We’re not sure whether this truck is a nightmare or a dream. The seller put in a fair amount of effort trying to get every possible mile (or portion thereof) out of each gallon of bio-diesel. Mods include fender skirts, solid front wheel covers, “seal” between bed and cab, slanted bed cover and, apparently, a closed-off grill. We hope the truck still cool fairly well…  Despite all of that, the upgrade from four-speed to five-speed trans with overdrive probably made the biggest difference.

This truck runs the International Harvester 6.9-liter diesel and, as mentioned, the seller runs bio-diesel – “professionally refined”, in this case, which probably means it’s not harvested directly from Long John Silvers or Popeye’s.

The truck runs right now, but has a miss and air in the radiator, which means, at a minimum, a head gasket. The seller also thinks it might need valve work. Here’s the seller’s statement:

“Valves and headgaskets are not expensive parts, and they are parts that will wear on any engine eventually, but the problem is they are buried deep in the engine, so a lot of pieces have to be removed in order to get to them.  If you were to have this work done by a shop, expect to pay at least $2-3k.”

We’re a bit concerned about the impression that valves and head gaskets are “buried deep”, considering this is an overhead valve engine; but, if that’s what the seller thinks, we’re glad he or she didn’t try to fix it!
Bottom line on this one: it’s a real oddball built out of something mundane.  We love it…

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Richmond, CA, USA
$2,125 with ZERO bids and five days to go

Note that fender skirts, bed “seal”, grill cover and, possible, clear tape over lights! Definitely no exterior sun visor here!

The rear fender skirt is especially glorious from this angle, as is the bed cover.

Overload much?  We’re not sure whether the right outside bed side is painted or in primer – maybe this is an older photo?

This manual bed lift is included in the sale! Note also the various biodiesel decals.

We wonder about the aero vs. mass tradeoff here.

The seller highlighted so many things with red boxes that the emphasis is lost. Like we said, this truck is a bit of a hot mess. It’s all there, though.

Here’s the mighty diesel.  No turbo here.

Ad text:

One of a kind machine.

I made some custom mods to improve fuel economy

Read more about it here: 

and here: 

or watch the video here: 

Now for the big caveat: this truck needs some work.
It is running currently.  It starts right away and has decent power.  I’m still driving it regularly.
However, it is running uneven, with a slight tapping sound and smoking more than normal when it’s cold.  
It has all new injectors, all cylinders are firing, and there is very little blow-by, so I suspect (at least) one exhaust valve (or seat) isn’t totally closing.
It is also getting pressurized air in the radiator, which means the head gasket is probably going bad.  It is possible the head gasket is causing both issues.

Valves and headgaskets are not expensive parts, and they are parts that will wear on any engine eventually, but the problem is they are buried deep in the engine, so a lot of pieces have to be removed in order to get to them.  If you were to have this work done by a shop, expect to pay at least $2-3k.

However, if you have the knowledge and time (2-4 days if you are experienced) to do the work yourself, you end up with an otherwise strong truck for a great price.  

It has the original International Harvester 6.9L IDI (non-turbo) diesel engine.
For the last 12 years I have run it professionally refined biodiesel.  

I replaced the stock 4speed transmission with a 5 speed (ZF5) (from the same model truck a few years newer) for better highway fuel economy.

Other mods include 
– angled bed cover and wheel well covers for better aerodynamics, 
– removed most engine belt loads (has manual steering, electric fan, electric brake boost and electric fuel pump) 
– alternator cut-off switch and added solar panel and on-board 120V charger (plug it in at home, leave the alternator off, and get ~5-10% better MPGs), 
– starter and kill switch on the shift lever (making it easier and safer to shut the engine in stop and go traffic and at long lights).
– LED driving and brake lights

All together I was able to raise MPG from about 15 to between 25 and 30 (depending on driving habits and loads)

Also included:
– Detachable manual liftgate (lift up to 500lbs to bed height, using a drill or ratchet) 
– all sizes of hitch ball including a full load leveling tow system
– sheet quick unloader system (for unloading soil etc) plus reversible bedliner mat (slick on one side, friction on the other)
– chilton manuals 
– spare parts inc. the original brake booster vacuum and a full size spare tire
– big ol lugnut wrench and giant hubnut socket (for bearing/brake maintenance)
– Garmin GPS (with traffic updates)
– 15W solar panel and dual battery charger for its two (deep cycle) batteries

Old school quality and simplicity.  The old Ford International Harvester IDI diesels were some of the most durable engines ever built, with many going half a million miles or more before a rebuild, and a few reported cases of a million.
How many miles are in this one, no one will ever know, because previous owners didn’t keep track of how many times the odometer turned over, and now it isn’t even hooked up.  
It is an over 30 year old truck, so of course it has its share of quirks and issues, but when anything does have a problem, it is relatively easy to find and fix without a mechanic, as it has no computer, no turbo, no power anything (manual steering, manual locks, manual windows).  

misc issues include:
– the synchros being somewhat worn on 3rd (doesn’t really matter if you shift slowly, and at the correct speed),
– the speedometer doesn’t work (I never got the adapter for the ZF5, I just use the one built in to the (included) GPS),
– the fuel gauge doesn’t work (its a dual tank, so when one gets low I just switch, and then I have ~400 miles to get around to filling the empty one), 
– drivers seat is very worn, needs at least a seat cover, a new bench seat from pick’n’pull would be better

For over a decade I’ve used this truck to haul loads of furniture, building supplies, piles of soil, tons of broken concrete, and tow boats and trailers, including a 7500lb 35ft RV trailer (that I lived in at the time), and it has held its own, but I’m shifting gears in my business and don’t need something so large anymore.