Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Rare, Non Stock, or Odd vehicles you have owned or driven

I have only owned a couple. First was heavily modified. Second was more factory experimental. I have also driven a few kit cars, factory test cars, and a couple of dealer modified cars. If anyone responds I will post details.

We need to see some details, sounds interesting.

  1. I have driven an Excalibur, not really my thing, but interesting. I believe it was based on a corvette running gear. I do not remember the year, it was from the 70’s I think.

  2. I have seen and driven a Manual transmission caravan, those are fairly rare.

  3. My parents owned 93 Corsica with a factory Gauge package which included a volt, oil pressure, temp and tach. I haven’t seen to many Corsicas with full gauges.

I think thats about it…

No cars but if a bike is a vehicle, I used to re assemble bikes for my kids, myself and neighbors, some nearly from scratch with parts from the junk yard. In addition to what I scavenged, my neighbor owned a land fill and one day dropped a dump truck load of bikes thrown away at his dump. Kept me busy all summer that year cranking out bikes for the kids, young and old in the neighborhood. Funny, the adult neighbors benefited most and loved the free bikes but the kids were often too good to be caught riding a “new” junk yard bike. Yuppy kids !

In the “odd” category…I once bought a Nash Metropolitan to fix up. A year and a half later…I was too tall to fit inside it so I sold it to a friend who is 5’6". He is now a surgeon and still has the car along with several Karmann Ghia’s.

1989 Corvette ZR-1 (Lotus engine) GM prototype, drove 3 of the first 5 in the country. The model wasn’t offered for sale until 1990 because of production delays. 1988 Cadillac Cimmaron V6 with a 5-speed manual transmission (GM prototype). 1985 Merkur XR4Ti, owned it 13 years, not many were sold. 1993 Taurus SHO manual trans owned 9 years, 1980 Chevy Monza with the California emissions 350 V8 and 4-speed manual modified to 450 Hp (a buddy’s car), Cadillac CTS-V boosted from the factory 552 Hp to 695 Hp (a buddy’s car - yee-haaaww), 502 Big-block 1985 Impala with a full roll cage running 11.5 in the 1/4 mile with me in the back seat (GM police car chassis mule).

Might Mites and Mules are quite rare I would guess. They were quite unique 45 years ago.

If you’re talking bikes, I bought a non-working Wizard motor bike for $10 when I was about 15. This was the conversion kit to add a motor to a regular bike. Never did figure it out. Had fuel, spark, timing OK, but never could get it started. My BIL and I would push it around the yard trying to get it started. Finally just went to the dump. Still wonder what was wrong-maybe compression/valve but too late now. Woulda been fun.

@missileman Back in the 60s and early 70s there were cars that I thought were cool when my peers thought the were crap. The Nash Metropolitan was one of them. I never owned one but my father gave me a 1960 Rambler American 2 door for my 16th birthday. He had purchased it a few months earlier for $75. I fell in love with it then. If the Nash Metro was a baby it was an adolescent. Bigger but still small with a similar style. It was sky blue with a white roof. It was a flathead 6 cylinder, 3 speed manual, with a continental kit spare tire. It was in near perfect condition. I kept and occasionally drove it for over 3 years as I went through many other vehicles.

@Mustangman Where are the Mustangs? Just kidding. Wow! what a bunch of more than rare cool vehicles! When I moved in 1994 My neighbor had a 1990 ZR-1. I had to check it out. He turned out to be a rock musician. Drummer for Bad English, Ozzie Ozzborn, and as far as I known still with Journey. When he found out I was a car guy I had to test drive his cars. After the Corvette he acquired an Accura NSX, Viper Roadster, and Viper Coupe. I have had a few “pavement bucklers” but ended up appreciating what I call balanced vehicles. Good power and good handling. Therefore my favorite was the NSX. My dream Mustang is the 1965 Shelby 350. Unfortunately they have gone far out of my price range. Most of your odd cars have manual transmissions. You are definitely on my team.

I’ve driven a Factory Five Cobra replica with a 500+ HP 408W stroker under the hood. It was stupid fast. That was the probably the fastest roadgoing car I’ve ever been in. The oddest would a Lamborghini LM002, which a friend of a friend’s friend had in the early 2000’s. I didn’t get to drive it, but I got to ride in it for a few minutes.

Weirdest car I’ve ever driven is an Isetta. Google Isetta images for a look-see.

A boss owned anAston Martin from the late 50s; probably a DB4. I got a ride in it. Cool car. I rented a Mercur XR4Ti in Detroit once.

Had a '68 Firebird 400 H.O. with Muncie 220 4 speed (shifter on the floor), as I recall the tranny being termed. I’m not sure how stock it was (how much it had been modified before got it about 35 years ago).

An acquaintance had an AMC Pacer that he’d squeezed a Corvette motor into. I rode in it-- it was scary. It was a bad combination of understeer and oversteer and you could spin the tires and get it sideways at 50 MPH on dry pavement. I would not have been wanting to drive it on even damp roads.

I briefly got to drive a Lamborghini Countach (pretty much just around the block and a large parking lot) I remember how notchy the shift gate was–it would be hard to get used to this as a daily driver. Very cool car though.

In '72 I needed a wagon type vehicle to haul equipment that i was selling. I found a '61 Ford Falcon (or that era it had the rounded shape) that was a panel van (no side windows, an a 2 door model) that was a rare car. It was painted bright yellow and the panel roof was black vinyl. The standard 6 had been replaced with a 289 V8 and a 3 speed manual transmission. The shift linkage was kind of loose and clunky but it shifted fine and the motor ran great. I don’t think the guy who dropped in the motor had upgraded the front springs because it looked a bit lowered in the front, but no so much as to be unsafe. The exhaust had dual small glass pack mufflers and it was loud, but had a sweet tone. It was a pretty fun ride, but got poor gas mileage only had 2 bucket seats so it was not a good family car. In a year or so I sold it and got a '68 full sized Ford wagon, but I had no real trouble with that car and it could really haul, literally and figuratively.

@sgtrock21 Yes, I like manuals. The SHO was my wife’s car! It had a clutch like a dump truck. We had to get her an automatic because her left knee was giving her problems, not caused by the clutch but it sure wasn’t helped. Since I worked for GM, there weren’t many Mustangs around. My current Mustang is a 2007 GT, with a 5 speed. Not rare, but lots of fun!

OK I’m ready to attempt a couple of mine. In 1970 I had sold my 1955 Chevrolet BelAir sport coupe for $900. I was interested in a 1961 Ford Econoline Pick up that I had been familiar with for 5 years. When I first saw it I was 14 years old. It was a popular drag strip wheel stand exhibition vehicle, Similar to the Dodge “Little Red Wagon”. It would do 1/4 mile wheel stands. It ran a 427 cu in Chevy with Hillborn injection. 900+hp. By 1970 It had retired and a Buddy’s older Brother owned it. The 427 was sold for about what he paid for the vehicle. He bought a wrecked 1965 Corvette Stingray and inserted the 327 cu in 340 hp engine. He kept the B and M 4 speed Hydramatic Plus the Corvette seats. The engine was mounted with the air cleaner stud directly under the rear window and enclosed in an aluminum box. Throttle linkage was Moon hydraulic. The rear half of the engine and the 100lb Caterpiller battery behind it were also enclosed in an aluminum box. The exhaust headers went straight down as there was nothing in the way. They had 2 1/2 inch dumps that could be easily opened up. The main exhaust pipes curved forward so the 20 inch glass packs could exit ahead of the rear wheels. The differential was Ford 9 inch 4.10 Detroit Locker at the end of the 18 inch driveshaft. G-70-15 Goodyear tires on ET mag wheels. I purchased it for $500! I drove it for more than 3 years and the only repair was a starter replacement.

Back in 1989, a co-worker had a 1978 Olds Cutlass station wagon euqipped with a V8 and a factory 4 speed. VERY rare, but he liked that car and would not part with it.

I’m pretty bland about autos. The oddest one for me was a Merkur XR4 that I built up with a 302 Ford and dual 4-barrels.

Some years ago a friend bought a 1936 Ford pickup survivor in western KS and drove it back to OK. It took a long, long time to get here because speed wasn’t a strong point back in the day.
It’s not something I would have done, but he dropped a 401 nailhead Buick with a Powerglide into that truck and it would smear the eyeballs back.
His brother one-upped him by dropping a 401 nailhead into a 1960 VW Bug. That VW was a terror.

Most of my oddities involved throwing together custom bikes rather than cars.

I had a friend that had a late 50s Vauxall Victor. He broke his leg and I had to drive him around for a while. I had to take the front seat out and drive it from the back seat with a pillow behind me.

Yes they were imported here in the us for a few years.