1984 Mazda RX-7

#55358. S/N JM1FB331XE0801486. 17k miles. “1.1-liter 12A rotary, 5-speed manual transmission, Tender Blue Metallic, brown leather upholstery, aftermarket body kit and spoiler, sunroof, AM/FM cassette stereo, air conditioning, dual Weber carburetors, Racing Beat header and exhaust system, 15-inch Weds wheels, Tokico shocks, Eibach springs.” Condition: 1. SOLD AT $21,263. Bring a Trailer, 9/16/21

One of the hardest things to value with classic Japanese cars is customized examples like this RX-7. Plenty of these cars include some sort of flair added by an enthusiastic owner to make it “theirs,” but many aren’t well built. The aftermarket body kit on this car fits well and was color-matched. Brand-name performance parts were added, such as the dual Webers and Tokico shocks with Eibach springs. More quality parts were sourced from Racing Beat, a well-known Mazda tuner.

The mesh Weds wheels are period-correct and perfect for the boy-racer look of the rest of the car. The interior is all original, right down to the cassette player. The quality of the work here makes our tasteful subject car the kind of FB RX-7 custom you would want to build and own. As such, the price here was fair to both buyer and seller. For the unfamiliar bidder, however, it might be difficult to know if a car like this is worth the money, and it can be easy to wind up spending too much on a car that was just thrown together. This is where specific marque knowledge is needed before you place your bid. 

1993 Nissan Hardbody King Cab SE

#55014. S/N 1N6HD16S0PC439906. 46,100 kilometers (28,650 miles). “3.0-liter V6, 5-speed manual transmission, Vail White with gray graphics, gray cloth upholstery, 14-inch alloy wheels, Nissan-branded bed liner, tow ball, air conditioning, cruise control, rear jump seats, purchase documents.” Condition: 2+. SOLD AT $10,290. Bring a Trailer, 9/11/21

The Nissan Hardbody is one of the most iconic Japanese pickups of the 1980s and ’90s. A successor to the Datsun line of trucks, the 620 and 720, the D21 Hardbody was the first to be sold under the Nissan name. It would receive many different revisions over its 11-year run, from 1986 to 1997. Both single-cab and King Cab versions were produced. There were early and late hoods and grilles, a tailgate revision, and the square dash changed to a rounded-off design in the ’90s. The 4x4 version had wider fenders. The Hardbody got an early throttle-body-injected motor, while the last versions featured a sensor-laden KA24E to meet OBD-II requirements. While most of the D21s came equipped with an inline 4, there was also a V6. In the 1990–95 trucks, it was similar to the V6 offered in the Z31 300ZX. Ultimately, emission requirements led to the V6 engine being discontinued for the 1996–97 model years. The 4-cylinder KA24E shares a lot with the 240SX engine, making parts easy to find, but had a weak link with its timing-chain guides. The V6 was reliable but a pain to work on in the cramped engine bay, and it was more of a gas hog. Overall, the Hardbody offers good bang for the buck. Many are still living out their lives as work trucks today. Clean examples with low mileage like this one are still really affordable compared to their Toyota pickup counterparts.

1990 Honda CRX

S/N JHMED845XLS005521. 228,400 miles. “Substantially modified, this CRX was built with a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, but it’s now powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 5-speed manual. The long list of aftermarket parts installed on this car is below; it includes 84.5-mm Darton sleeves added to increase displacement, several Endyn components, a water-to-air intercooler from HyTech, GSR camshafts, a Moroso oil pan, a custom-made three-inch exhaust system, Skunk2 lower control arms, 11-inch brake rotors from a Volkswagen Corrado, 15-inch wheels from a 2000 Civic Si, a JDM front end and Corbeau Forza front seats with racing harnesses.” Condition: 2+. SOLD AT $24,819. Cars & Bids, 9/21/21

This CRX was heavily customized by the seller, so much so that the winner should print out the listing just to keep track of everything that was done to it. Nothing was left untouched, starting with the overbuilt, turbocharged “Frankenstein” motor, a Honda B18C5 block with a B16A head. This creates something of a problem for a prospective new owner, as a build like this requires someone extremely knowledgeable to care for it. The engine alone is made up of parts from three different cars, none of them coming from the car in which that engine is now installed. Walking into your local parts store will require you to know exactly which parts interchange, as their computer will have no idea. This makes long-term maintenance a nightmare, unless you have a local Honda performance shop. On top of this, the car will require retuning if anything is changed. Much of the time, cars built up to this level get parted out, as the parts sold individually are worth more than the complete car. Most people who want a car like this also want to build it themselves so they can use a specific selection of parts. You couldn’t build this car for the price, but it’s also difficult to sell a custom and get anywhere close to what was spent. Even though the seller claimed $38k in receipts, this has to be considered well sold.

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