Today’s Bad Idea: 1990 Renault Alpine GTA V6 Turbo

As I’ve lamented before, French automakers have never really found much success in the United States. Lackluster dealer networks, questionable corporate acquisitions, and ultimately the assassination of Renault’s CEO Georges Besse (!) kept some truly interesting vehicles out of the hands of American consumers; this Renault Alpine GTA is one such example. The awful timing of Renault’s American operations collapsing just as these went to production leaves one wondering if the Alpine GTA could have been the product that turned it all around. While we will never know, now it’s at least possible to get a taste of what we missed out on. In this case, anyone with $9500 burning a hole in their pocket can grab this scruffy Alpine GTA on Craigslist in Seattle and finally experience the joy of a rear-engined, turbocharged V6 French sport coupe leaving them stranded on the side of the road.

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Project 535i update: The many gifts of previous owners

When I went to pick up the 535i from Indianapolis, I knew it was going to need a significant amount of work. Any car that has sat outside for 2+ years will, especially when they are old and German, and with something like 340,000 miles (seriously!) I knew that I was going to find some interesting handiwork. I immediately began tearing into the car in late September with the hope of completing a solid chunk of maintenance before winter gets here; and indeed, it didn’t take long for the issues to come out of the woodwork.

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The one that got away: 1985 BMW 528i (Euro-market)

As evidenced by the sheer number of vehicles I’ve bought and sold, I’m not very sentimental when it comes to letting them go. Typically, if I’m being offered a reasonable sum of money in excess of my investment, I’m happy to see it go. There are a few exceptions, though; none more significant than my 1985 BMW 528i, which was a rare Euro-market import with the tidier non-US bumpers and high compression engine.

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CCG Project: 2000 Ford Ranger

As hard as it is to believe in the post-Cash For Clunkers era, there are still people out there giving away running and driving vehicles for cheap or free. This beat-up 2000 Ford Ranger is the first “just get it out of here” acquisition I’ve made in a long time, and it should be a good little truck for a few months’ worth of household projects before I flip it for a profit and pick up a more interesting project.

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My Automotive New Year’s Resolution

As 2015 draws to a close, I realize it was not a terribly great year for automotive projects. Attempting the “project daily driver” thing with a high-mileage BMW E39 ended up being a massive failure, and my Renault project didn’t stick around long, although I did successfully rescue it and accomplish everything I set out to do with it. Now that I have a reliable-as-gravity Honda Fit as a daily driver, I’ve thought about what my automotive goals for 2016 should be. And I’ve decided that goal should be to get back out to some track days after my two-plus year absence!

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Project BMW update: I fought the car…

…and the car won. Some time ago, actually. It was mid-September when I finally said “enough is enough” with this rare BMW touring. In my case, realizing I’d be lucky to get $3500 out of a car I had nearly $10k dumped into incentivized me to walk away the next time something went wrong. I continues losing the faith when it was discovered that the behemoth was loo long to fit in the garage of our rented urban cottage…and then stuff happened.

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