When you think of Phoenix, you may still think of a rugged Wild West town. That attitude is hard-earned; born in 1867, it was a true desert settlement. In fact, when Maricopa County held its first elections in 1871, the Sheriff’s race was a close three-way contest until one candidate killed another and had to withdraw from the race. Needless to say, things have calmed down a bit since then.
Today, Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the U.S. As home to a number of international companies, professional sports franchises, and thanks to the dry desert air, some incredible cars. A quick Craigslist search turns up clean, well-preserved runners dating back as far as the 1930s — pretty impressive stuff, especially if you aren’t a native of the Southwest.
We all know that Craigslist is the place to find just about anything you want. Depending on the day, you may find skunk pelt purses, dinosaur poop, or that perfect vehicle you’ve been looking for. And to celebrate the rugged, unique attitude of Phoenix and its citizens, we decided to take a look at the most individualistic, do-it-yourself type of vehicles — those equipped with manual transmissions. While there were a great many to choose from, we thought these 10 show show Phoenix’s unique, iconoclastic automobile landscape.
1. 2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello
Introduced in 1996, the 550 Maranello was Ferrari’s return to front-engined, V12-powered grand tourers. For fans of the company’s mid-engined supercars, these GTs have always been polarizing, but they’ve aged beautifully, and this car looks especially great in California Blue. The good news: This 12K mile car just had a recent comprehensive engine service, has beautiful rare “Daytona” seats, and most importantly, has the ultra-desirable six-speed manual transmission. The bad news? According to the seller, the car was in a car transporter that flipped over, requiring extensive restoration work that landed it with a rebuilt title. But with later manual Ferraris getting more valuable by the day, if this one checks out, it could be a wise investment at its $125,000 asking price.
2. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
At first glance, this iconic ’57 Chevy ticks all the right boxes. A top-of-the-line Bel Air convertible, the seller says it’s “not a show car,” but benefits from a brand new interior, top, and brakes. The asking price is $72,900, which isn’t bad considering concourse-level examples fetch well over six figures nowadays. If the asking price is too steep for you though, the seller will give you the car for free — provided you buy their house for a cool $1.29 million.
3. 2010 Aston Martin Vantage
Aston Martin’s hand-built grand tourers are unlike any other car in the world, and this 2010 V8-powered Vantage is probably one of the nicest examples you can find for the money. With just 50,000 miles on the odometer, this Vantage has Aston’s slick paddles mounted behind the steering wheel for precise shifting, though we’re bending our rules a bit, as there is an automatic drive mode too. The seller claims it’s been adult-owned and fully maintained at Scottsdale Aston Martin. It can be all yours for $58,000 — over $60,000 less than what it cost new.
4. 1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo
Fun fact: Toyota’s second generation MR2 was heavily inspired by the design of the Ferrari 348, and in Turbo trim, it’s almost as much fun. Experts have long been predicting that the mid-engined MR2 Turbo will be at the forefront of the next wave of classic cars, and as a result, cheap examples have been hard to find for some time now. This rare blue car (most seem to have been black or red) seems to be a steal at $4,500, and despite its high 172,000 miles, benefits from an engine refresh and performance upgrades. It has a few minor issues that need to be addressed, but with a little reconditioning, you could drive it for a few years, and still make a profit once values for these things start to take off.
5. Dune Buggy
What’s a desert town without a dune buggy? The seller doesn’t provide much info on this one, but they do confirm that it’s a classic Volkswagen Beetle-based model. Benefitting from newer brakes, tires, and shocks, this buggy also comes with a spare muffler, tow bar, and tow lights. For $4,995, it looks like a lot of fun.
6. 1979 UAZ 469
Launched in 1971, the UAZ 469 was an update of the Soviet Union’s military vehicle, but was mostly still mechanically identical to a model introduced in 1953. The UAZ 469 was available in civilian and military versions, and is still in limited production today in places like Vietnam and Azerbaijan. But they’re a rare sight in the U.S., and this 6,800 mile example would make for a unique alternative to Jeeps and buggies on Arizona’s many off-road trails. It isn’t cheap at $15,000, but with low miles and a reputation for being un-killable, it’s probably ready for years of abuse.
7. 1952 Chevrolet Suburban
At $135,000, this is likely the most expensive ’52 Suburban on the planet, but it’s just too cool not to mention. On top of benefitting from a frame-off restoration, this Chevy is paired with a color-matching 1948 Palace Royale trailer. With a few subtle mechanical upgrades in the truck, and modern amenities in the trailer (bathroom, outlets, running water, A/C), this duo is making us wish we had the funds to make them ours, and had a long road trip to go on.
8. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS
To a great many Camaro fans, the 1969 model is the pinnacle of the nameplate. This Camaro in Lemans Blue with black racing stripes didn’t leave the factory as an SS car, but it’s badged as one, and has a correct 350 cubic inch V8 under the hood too. We love the color combo, and the four-speed manual’s Hurst shifter is period correct and very cool. Claiming that it needs no work, the seller is asking a cool $29,999, though they’re open to offers too.
9. 1983 Jeep CJ-7 Laredo
The seller claims that this CJ-7 is ready for a full restoration, but we like it as is. A claimed original Jeep with an impressive 288,000 miles on the clock, it benefits from a number of new engine and electrical components, new carburetor, new brakes, and recently refreshed A/C. Inside, it has new carpeting, and a fresh dash cap, which should keep things as comfortable as possible. A $12,500 asking is steep for such a high mileage truck, but its originality is more than worth it. Make sure the engine is strong, then try to see how many more miles you can get out of that ancient straight-six.
10. 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Oddly enough, many classic Porsche 911s are worth more than newer examples. Case in point is this 60,000 mile Carrera 4S: Described as “incredibly maintained” in the short ad, this all-wheel drive 911 with a six-speed manual transmission can be yours for a firm $27,500. For world-class performance at the price of a well-equipped Toyota Camry, this seems like a great buy.