What’s the deal with the Citroën 2CV?

whats the deal with the 2cv

A few years ago, I was at a small Italian car show in St. Paul called Under The Crazy Moon which celebrates the grand opening of the Italian restaurant, Pazzaluna. Amidst the throngs of prancing horses and golden bulls blending together like some multi-million dollar traffic jam, I spotted this odd snail shaped commuter car off in the distance. As to not lose Jana, who was 50 feet away and making a mad dash in heels to see this automotive mollusk, I immediately blew off the Ferrari 308 GTB I was looking at and needed to investigate to see what the commotion was about.

autowp.ru_citroen_2cv_6

It was a perfect example of a Citroën 2CV (Deux Chevaux), the most iconic French car of all time. Soon more people were paying attention to the 2CV than the Aventador pictured behind it, and what can be only described as a small mob lead mostly by women and small children descended upon the tin snail. It’s no spoiler to say that it’s design is rather crude and that the car isn’t exactly fast with the best of them putting down a whopping 29 HP. So, we have to ask, why did people get so excited over this? What’s the deal with the Citroën 2CV?

Citroen DS and Traction Avant

To understand how this strange little car came about, we have to look at it’s history. In the 1930’s, Citroën was trying to make a peoples car for the French automotive environment, much like Ford did with the Model T and the Germans had with the Porsche Type 32 for the “Volkswagen” program. Citroën’s first attempt, the wildly over engineered Traction Avant, put the company into bankruptcy. From there they ended up getting bought out by Michelin, the tire company. Luckily, Michelin had the same people’s car mission but preferred a plan that wouldn’t end in bankruptcy so they started back from scratch.

1939-Citroen-2CV-Prototype-lg-1024x734

Citroën’s new head of development courtesy of Michelin, Pierre-Jules Boulanger, created a litany of requirements for the car to achieve. It had to be able to haul four people, along with a sack of potatoes, while getting 80 MPG and be fast enough to get there on time. The maintenance costs had to be as low as possible and the overall price of the car had to be the cheapest in France at the time. Then just for good measure, you also had to be able to drive through a rough field with a basket of eggs without breaking any of them, which was a common occurrence for French farmers at the time. It was supposed to be everything to everyone, including the sizable French farming community.

1948+Citroen+2CV

The R&D started in the late 1930s and, as one would expect with such heady goals, was rife with setbacks. It was as if every piece of the process was having a problem, but by 1939 Citroën was ready to unveil the car at the Paris Motor Show in October. Unfortunately, as we all know, if there was ever a poor year to release a car in Europe, it was 1939. In September, Germany invaded Poland and the Paris Motor Show was cancelled due to the start of WWII.

Soon after Germany was done with Poland, France was next on the chopping block. To keep the car out of the hands of the Nazis, who would most certainly confiscate it for their own use, the 2CV prototypes were stuffed away in a barn where a skeleton crew of engineers would continue development of the car for after the war. While WWII was a devastating tragedy, there was a silver lining as it allowed Citroën’s engineers to perfect their formula for after the war while keeping busy and out of the public.

citroen_195

At the end of the war, nearly all of Europe was reduced to rubble and every manufacturer in the world just went through between 5-7 years with no R&D or new models at all. For the European brands, they were lucky enough to even have a factory to build in. Although Citroën’s factory space was minimal, they did have a fully developed people’s car and a country that needed a people’s car to get back on it’s feet. So upon it’s reveal in 1948, one would imagine that it would be met with endless praise by the press. However, the unveiling of the 2CV was met with nearly universally appalling reviews by the press calling it ugly and crude among many other choice words.

autowp.ru_citroen_2cv_38The opinions of the automotive press were completely disregarded and within months Citroën struggled to keep up with demand. There was a waiting list of three years, it was like trying to buy a Tesla back in 2017. It reached a point in the late 1940’s where the price of a used 2CV was more than that of a new one. Citroën had to give priority to customers who had extremely long commutes and couldn’t afford other cars first.

autowp.ru_citroen_2cv_5

Garnering the endearing name “étain escargot” or “Tin Snail”, the car became a national symbol of strength and the rebuilding of France. Despite it’s crude aesthetic of the most basic form of transportation, the car was endlessly innovative. The production process had been streamlined as much as possible, along with the FWD drivetrain and 8 HP flat-2 engine. Technology like radial tires that we use today debuted on this car, along with a speed dependent windshield wiper system and it also had the most unique suspension system ever fitted to a car. Instead of a leaf spring or any of the normal suspensions you’d see on a car from the 1940’s, the 2CV used a horizontal swinging arm style suspension.

2cv+suspension

A spring mounted horizontally in a tube (marked 4 on the image above) was compressed as the wheel met a bump, a second spring would pull the rear wheel forward preparing it for the same bump in the road. This allowed the car to stick to the road as if it was glued to it despite extremely soft suspension and some truly comical body roll.

autowp.ru_citroen_2cv_2

By the end of the 1950’s, Citroën began to update the car and luxuries like locks on the doors, a metal bootlid (previously cloth) and more powerful engines began showing up. Then in the 1960’s Citroën released a 4WD version, called the Sahara. Being the avant garde company that they are, a conventional engine, transfer case and propeller shaft to the rear wouldn’t do. How would Citroën make their 4WD system?

autowp.ru_citroen_2cv_4x4_sahara_8

The simplest way they could think of, they added a second engine in the back. Although that sounds ridiculously over complicated, it actually made sense. The twin engine Sahara would allow the owner to control power between FWD, RWD or 4WD and if the car broke down, they wouldn’t have to search for some rare part in the middle of nowhere to make it run. Even better, if they had an engine failure in the middle of some inhospitable environment, like the Sahara, they could still limp it on one engine back to a town for repairs.

autowp.ru_citroen_2cv_spot_2

Meanwhile back in the developed world, the standard Citroën 2CV was experiencing immense popularity, even over twenty years after it entered production. Right when sales began to slump for the first time, the 2CV had it’s second windfall in the face of crisis. The first 1970’s Oil Crisis began and overnight the most fuel efficient car on the road was more demanded than ever. A new generation of owners were falling in love with the 2CV throughout the 70’s and a litany of special edition models came out during this timeframe.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, 1981, (c) United Artists/courtesy Everett Collection

The car even made it into the 1981 OO7 Movie For Your Eyes Only and it had arguably one of the best chase scenes in the history of that series. At a twentieth of the price for a Aston Martin DB5, this is possibly the most affordable Bond Car available.

Citroen 2CV rally Car

In addition to performing well for young people driving on poorly maintained urban roads or farm fields, it also did very well in the roughest of terrain. Rally drivers were experiencing great success with 2CVs because what it lacked in speed it made up for in reliability and adaptability. It turns out that extremely long suspension travel allowed the car to have unparalleled off road handling.

5a886806a14ba7bdcd166e08ba334129

With this success, Citroën even created a race series in the 1970’s just for the 2CV called The Citroën Raid series. These were rallies across some of the most inhospitable environments on earth. The routes were epic marathons from Paris to Kabul, Afghanistan (10,252 miles) or Paris to Persepolis, Iran (8,388 miles). The key to this strategy was showing off just how rugged and dependable the Tin Snail was compared to it’s, more advanced, modern compatriots.

IMG_0093

Today it’s racing pedigree continues and there are still 24 hour 2CV endurance races being held on some of the most renown tracks in Europe such as Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Snetterton and Mondello Park. Although they’re held by 2CV owners clubs now, they did originally start with Citroën’s factory sponsorship. It’s still astonishing to see a car designed in the 1930’s being raced in 24 hour races nearly 70 years after first being produced.

citroen_2cv6_charleston_1

On occasion a car company will make a car that is absolutely timeless, a car that has a charm that absolutely transcends time and generations. Citroën’s 2CV embodies this to the fullest. It was meant to be the most basic form of transportation possible but it became the people’s car of France, it possessed a racing pedigree on par with the best and there are even children’s books about the car. The production of the 2CV went on for 42 years until it was finally ended in 1990 and even nearly 70 years later is still beloved by anyone who knows of it’s existence. Next time you see a 2CV be sure to tell it “Merci Monsieur Escargot!” and now you know what’s the deal with the 2CV.

BUY LOW, SELL HIGH: The 2020 Carbitrage Bull and Bear List

Bear Bull Market List Header

We love cars here at Carbitrage and, like for most young people today, it’s hard for us to maintain a hobby if you don’t monetize it in some way, or at least monetize it in your head. With that being said, a lot of us have taken to buying and selling cars that we love in hopes that we’re able to catch them before their value explodes. While a lot of us have missed the boat on some of our favorite cars such as the E30 3-series, Mk IV Supra and Integra Type-R, there are still plenty of great cars to get into before their value reaches for the moon.

We have compiled a list of what we will wager will have a bull market and what will have a bear market in 2020. For those of you who are not up to date on your investment lingo, a bull market is a market that is appreciating in value, or rather making money. A bear market is a market that isn’t making money, it is either breaking even or losing money. A bear market is not inherently a bad thing, in fact, a savvy investor can get a great deal in buying during a bear market.

While some outlets do their valuations based entirely off of analytics of market trends for the most accurate look at where the market is headed, they get it right about 80% of the time, which is extremely accurate for predicting trends. We are not doubting that mathematical analysis of the market is the correct way to predict market forecasts. What we are trying to do is attempt to mix in a metric that money cannot account for, our own personal taste.

Our logic being that, between 3 millennial car enthusiasts with completely different backgrounds, we will be able to find a selection of cars that will trend with what the market is actually doing. So we are throwing caution into the wind and there is a very high probability that we will make ourselves look like fools but, this is our Bull and Bear List of 2020.


Description of the mathematics used in pricing:

We are taking the average price of the cars sold on Bring-a-Trailer.com over the course of the last year from November 2018 to November 2019 in hopes that any other posts about Bear Market lists won’t affect our sales data. Only factory appearing cars will be counted for this metric.

Our second metric to compare average prices of non-collector models is an average price of vehicles being sold on the Los Angeles craigslist at the time this article is written. We chose Los Angeles due to the mild climate so we can account for rust free cars being sold for a premium in northern states and for population density so we can account for faster changes in market prices. The search parameters for our craigslist search was limited to non-modified operational cars being sold by owner for over $600 with under 200,000 miles on the odometer. This was an attempt to weed out as many fake ads and non-operational cars as possible. We will denote any statistic abnormalities we find.


The Carbitrage Bull Market List for 2020

Ryan’s Picks:

bmw_328i_sedan_3

1.) 2000-2006 BMW 3-series (non-M3)

2019 BaT Average Price: $10,612.00*

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $3,109.25**

The E46 generation BMW 3-series is my personal first pick for the 2020 Carbitrage Bull Market List, I should specify that I am listing the entire E46 generation. The reason being that this was the last era of the 3-series golden age before the E90 complicated everything. It is similar to the E30 and E36 but has such a massive improvement in interior quality over the E36 that it almost feels like a different car.

The E46 3-series moved the car upmarket in such a way that the higher trim levels felt like the car was designed with them in mind, what this did to the lower trim levels was profound though, suddenly a base model E46 made you feel like you had purchased something significantly more expensive. Often when a car does this, the maintenance costs and reliability take a hit, but not with the E46, it still had the stellar reliability the previous cars were known for but with just a little bit more padding.

In a world where cars such as the Infiniti G35 are replacing the spot that Honda Civics once held for the young car enthusiast, that extra luxury touch without any of the extra maintenance baggage of a modern BMW should prove to become a major boon to the popularity of the vehicle. Let’s not forget that the predecessor to the E46, the E36, has proven itself a very competent and popular platform for a project car. As a quality E36 is becoming increasingly difficult to find, I would wager that 2020 will see the E46 3-Series see a major increase in average pricing. If you’re in the market for an E46 project car, this is a great time to get in when prices are still cheap.

*Price includes ZHP models which sell for a premium compared to standard trim

**No ZHP models for sale at this point in time in marketplace

Red FD RX7

2.) 1992-2002 Mazda RX-7

2019 BaT Average Price: $28,725.97**

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $21,975.00*

My number two pick coming is the final generation of RX7, the FD chassis. This is the most exquisite road car to have ever been produced from Mazda. The car has simple elegant lines that looked great from it’s release in 1992 to it’s final production year in the Japanese market in 2002 and even today, in 2020, it continues to be a looker. The car is more than a pretty face though, unlike previous generation RX7s where you could make the mistake of specifying lower powered engines, the FD only came in one flavor, turbocharged.

Luckily for Mazda, that turbocharged engine was a hit, it’s specific output beat everything produced in the era. If factory power wasn’t enough, then the power you could coax out of these cars was unreal with cars making over 400 HP with close to factory reliability. Of course, being a rotary engine, it was a bit avant garde and reliability could be questionable if not properly maintained, so for many just putting in a V8 engine made more sense for a project car.

Today, the RX7 is already seeing a lot of interest from the collector community. North American models were available new from 1993 to 1995, and Japanese imported models don’t have a significant variance in pricing, which is good for availability. That being said, the cars that will be leading the trend will be the best examples complete with their factory equipped dorito mill. A numbers matching car will generally be worth significantly more than a V8 swapped car with a salvage title. It isn’t likely that the JDM models will be particularly more expensive due to the most sought after trim levels, the Bathurst R and Spirit R models, not being import legal yet but cars from reputable vendors like Top Rank will likely be on the high end of the valuation scale.

** Includes imported RHD models, although at this time there is very little change in value between RHD and LHD

* Two cars currently in market, not enough for accurate sample size

mitsubishi_gto_3000gt

3.) 1990-2004 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4

2019 BaT Average Price: $16,754.95

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $16,630.00

I will likely be wrong this year, like I have been every year with this car, but I’m willing to take that chance because the 3000GT VR-4 will eventually have it’s day. This car ticked every box that a 90’s era Japanese muscle car could hope to tick. It was laden bumper to bumper with computers, had active aerodynamics, functional vents and seemed to have two of everything. I’m being quite literal when I say it two of everything, it had twin turbos, DOHC heads, a dual-exit active exhaust, front and rear active spoilers, and it even had four wheel steering.

I won’t lie and say the 3000GT VR-4 is a perfect car because it’s not; it’s a bear to work on, OEM parts availability is non-existent and finding one that has been properly cared for takes some searching. That being said, if you do manage get a good one, it’s performance is absolutely stellar. For less than half the price you get Supra performance, 0-60 in 4.9 seconds and a 13.5 second 1/4 mile time as tested by Road and Track. I would gladly deal with some annoying maintenance procedures if it means I can get that performance for less than the cost of a fully loaded 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage.

The standard 3000GT is not much of an investment as it’s just a very heavy FWD 90’s GT car, however the VR-4 is such a different beast that it almost deserves a completely different nameplate. Once you get into the Spyder models you get an even more unique vehicle. As Supra, NSX, RX-7 and GT-R prices rocket away from Earth and into the stratosphere, I think people will begin to look at the 3000GT VR-4 as it has always meant to be seen as, an actual investment worth a hell of a lot more than $16,500.

Erik’s Picks:

bmw_m3_coupe_542

1.) 2000-2006 BMW M3 Coupe (Phoenix Yellow, Laguna Seca Blue, Imola Red)

2019 BaT Average Price: $27,378.24

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $27,500.00 **

Interestingly both Erik and I agreed that the E46 market is a powder keg ready to blow at this point. However, while I think that the lower end of the E46 market will be the spark that blows everything up, Erik says his sights are all over the M3 market. While E46 M3s are still exceedingly abundant in the standard-fare greyscales of most teutonic automobiles, Erik says those will likely be the last to appreciate. Erik puts his money on the more vibrant colors of Phoenix Yellow, Laguna Seca Blue and Imola Red to be the choices to lead the E46 wave.

Adding to Erik’s specificity is the prediction that the coupe, in particular, will be the chassis to acquire since it’s sportier form factor will likely play a role in the overall desirability of the car. This makes sense as historically the E30 M3 and E36 M3 coupes lead the market for their respective chassis while the rest of their variants were brought along for the ride. While the E46 coupes did suffer from water intrusion problems that the sedan never had due to their pillarless windows, the more highly sought after cars will have had any leaks cared for well before they became an issue.

We would also be remiss to note that the E46 was also the last chassis of the M3 to be powered by an NA inline-6 instead of a V8 or twin turbo engine. To a sizable portion of BMW enthusiasts the driving experience of the S54 cars outweighs the extra power of the newer M3s. This is increasingly important with the trend of collector cars skewing towards an exciting driving experience over a fancy piece of technology or massive power numbers.

**Only one car for sale in market price

850 rear

2.) 1990-1999 BMW 850i 6-Speed (non-CSI)

2019 BaT Average Price: $24,050.00

2019 Craigslist Average Price: N/A*

Erik’s first choice is the non-CSI E31 chassis BMW 8-series with a manual transmission. We have to be very specific here because while all of the automatic 8-series cars might as well just be an Oldsmobile and all of the 8-cylinder cars have cylinder delamination issues, the 850 with a manual isn’t much of a stretch from an 850CSi.

The 8-series was BMW’s 1990’s halo car, it was a massive Grand Tourer loaded with every piece of tech that BMW had in it’s arsenal. The car was the result of $900 million dollars and a decade of BMW’s R&D time. The modern 8-series really doesn’t do the name justice as it isn’t enough of a departure from the standard BMWs we see today, the E31 was a truly spectacular car.

While the 850CSi is a great car and we are not doubting it, we are certainly doubting if it is really twice the car of an 850i given that they sell for twice the price. That’s no exaggeration, in fact the $50,000 mark is the entry level price for an 850CSi and a well sorted car can easily eclipse $70,000. For what’s effectively a bumper, intake manifold and fancy suspension, that’s quite a premium.

*Only two results found both were automatic cars being sold at an average price of $19,250.00

 

gmc_typhoon_1

3.) 1991-1993 GMC Typhoon/Syclone

2019 BaT Average Price: $15,497.00*

2019 Craigslist Average Price: N/A**

As the Rad era of collector cars gains steam, Erik puts his third bet on a small GMC with an automatic transmission, AWD and a turbocharger. No, it is not a GMC Terrain but rather the much radder GMC Typhoon. The Typhoon, and it’s Syclone pickup truck sibling, came completely out of left field and created the vehicle that nobody asked for but everyone wanted. Taking the 190 HP Vortec V6, that was standard in the GMC Jimmy, and adding 14 PSI of boost from a Borg Warner turbocharger, GMC was able to coax 90 extra horsepower out of the mom-mobile. This allowed the Typhoon to reach 60 MPH in 5.3 seconds and run a 14.1 second quarter mile time.

While, these numbers sound tame to the uninformed, it was all about how the power was delivered. The typical rattliness of a GM interior of the era with all the turbolag of early 90’s turbocharging made it quite an event to get one of these up to speed. Today, those who grew up in the era of minitrucking and muscle cars have fond memories of the Typhoon and the Syclone while the younger generation love the looks and story of these ridiculous little trucks.

Between these two trucks, there is more interest in them than in a subprime auto loan, and the total number of people interested in them vastly outweighs the total production numbers. That market scarcity will likely drive the value of the truck up, much like the Porsche market had a few years ago and if you are looking to get onboard before the Typhoon ship leaves port, 2020 might be the last year that they’re affordable.

*Pricing is average of Typhoon as not enough Syclones were sold in the last year to create average.
**Only one vehicle for sale in marketplace at this time at $12,500, not enough vehicles for average price.

Jana’s Picks:

mercedes-benz_g_500_us-spec_1

1.) Mercedes Gelandewagen

2019 BaT Average Price: $35,242.00

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $35,400.00

There are few people living a more tragic life right now than the offroad enthusiast. While sedans and wagons are being axed in favor of various trucks, it’s not XJ Cherokees and Mercedes G-Wagens leading the wave rather its Ford Escapes and Hyundai Santa Fes, its a wave of crossovers with open differentials, extra tall springs and compact car suspension. While this is a nuisance, it is also watering down the crop real-deal off-roaders. Luckily, until 2019, the Mercedes Gelandewagen was a rare holdout.

The G-Wagen represented Mercedes at it’s best, it was bulletproof reliable, comfortable, could be driven literally anywhere and, most importantly, relied on perfecting technology instead of packing the vehicle full of widgets. The truck was originally the replacement of the Volkswagen Iltis for the German military but has extended far beyond that role proving itself as much of a capable off-roader as it is a civilized daily driver.  The truck began it’s cult following during the 1980’s and 1990’s in America as a grey market import before Mercedes had even begun to import them directly in 1997.

The G-wagen lies in that sweet spot between the CJ Jeep and the Range Rover, both luxurious and reliable but still capable of winning the Paris-Dakar rally. In an era where families default to crossovers as their family cars, actual solid axle off-roaders are quickly becoming the collector car of choice for many people as they begin to wonder what they’re missing. While the vast quantities of existing G-Wagens does hurt it’s collectability, the trucks that are at the top of the auction totem pole right now are the cabriolet models and AMG models, however the grey market 3-door models are proving to be very desirable as well. If you want to get in on the Gelandwagen before the weenies do, the time is nigh!

 

mercedes-benz_200_d_1

2.) Mercedes W110/W111 Fintails

2019 BaT Average Price: $14,891.67

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $5,950**

The big body W111 Fintails are already gaining a lot of attention within the Mercedes collector community. While they’re a shoe in for collectability and are rather undervalued currently, we think that the often forgotten W110 little fintail will see its day as well. We aren’t just taking a shot in the dark by including the little fintail models, we’re including it because with millennial interest in everything vintage and European 60s era cars being the bedrock of the collector world right now, the odds are in the W110’s favor.

The W110 was the entry level of Mercedes in the mid-1960s and were all examples bulletproof Mercedes engineering from their peak of reliability. Utilizing the best technology in the world at the time to create a car that drove every bit as well as it looked. The W111 however, was something to behold, timeless 1960’s styling coupled with the drivability of Mercedes at their peak made for something truly special. Add the 3.5L V8 option in the 280SE Coupe and you have a sleeper of a bavarian autobahn missle.

One of the biggest items of note in the fintail market is the price disparity between the Fintail sedans and the W111 coupe. While the sedans all sell for around the same prices under $20,000, a decent example of a W111 coupe starts in the $50,000 range with prices ranging well over $100,000 for a V8 car. That being said, the fintail is one of the few cars that appeals to both millennials who can barely afford to eat and the pebble beach-type baby boomers.

** Not enough vehicles in marketplace for accurate average price

Citroen+2CV+Front1

3.) Citroen 2CV

2019 BaT Average Price: $13,380.50

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $15,750.00*

What isn’t to love about the 2CV, it is a bizarre little French peoples car with Bauhaus styling, an aircooled 2 cylinder engine and suspension that moves front to back in lieu of up to down. This car has won the hearts of everyone from The Greatest Generation to Generation Z in a typical avant garde French fashion and it even became a Bond car. Why do we think it will appreciate in value though?

The 2CV lies in a sweet spot for millennial buyers, it is cheap, quirky and retro. Millennials are collectively reaching a point of financial stability where they can make small luxury purchases and at $13-15k average price, the 2CV has a price point that is just within reach of the average 30 year old car enthusiast. While other cars exist in that price range, the 2CV is able to attract more attention per dollar than anything else in its price range. It is more unique than an aircooled Beetle, more usable than a Fiat 500 and most importantly, with the 1920’s officially 100 years behind us, the Bauhaus styling of the 2CV allows the pre-war look but without the pre-war price point.

While there are literally millions of 2CVs in the world, there are also no shortage of special editions. The Cocorico, Perrier, SPOT, OO7 Edition, Bamboo and Charleston are just a handful of the special edition options. These special editions will likely lead the pack, as those with more money can likely spend a bit more to get a more unique 2CV. So far the trend is holding true with the top 3 prices on Bring-a-Trailer being held by a Bamboo edition and two Charlestons respectively. We may be wrong on the 2CV for 2020 but it will certainly see its day soon, so why not get it while it’s hot?

*Only 2 cars for sale in marketplace, not enough for average price

Carbitrage Choice:

Tonys EF

1.) 1988-2000 Honda Civic and variants

2019 BaT Average Price: $10,813.52

2019 Craigslist Average Price: $2,383.90

This is it, the one car that every one of us here at Carbitrage concurred about, this is the car that we will bet the farm on, the Golden Age Honda Civic.

The 1988 through 2000 Honda Civic and its variants are actually 3 different bodystyles known as the EF, EG and EK chassis as denoted by the VIN designation of the top trim levels. Together they account for what is often referred to as Honda’s golden age, where instead of producing automatic CUVs with questionable styling, Honda was busy making some of the best FWD cars in history.

These cars crept their way into the car enthusiast lexicon in the late 1990s where street racers began to take notice of their enormous potential as a racer. The lightweight chassis combined with indisputably the best 4 cylinder engine in the world at that time gave the car an enormous leg up in motorsport. The Civics of this era were the most successful FWD cars in quite some time and properly captured the ethos of both the hot hatch craze and, later, the sport compact movement.

The trouble in finding a golden age Civic is not in finding one but in finding one that hasn’t been robbed a dozen times, engine swapped with a hammer and slathered in bondo. The highest priced USDM models are easily the EM1 Si and CRX Si with prices well into the $30k range, however across the board they are all getting hot. A smart buy might be to get an ’88-’91 Civic Si hatchback or EX sedan, ’88-’91 RT4WD Wagovan, a ’92-’95 EH3 Civic Si hatchback or a Midori Green EJ6 Civic hatchback, as those particular cars all have their own cult followings. Average price for a collector model will be much higher than that of the average Craigslist find but that is due to the poor quality examples bringing down the average price.


The Carbitrage Bear Market List for 2020

porsche_911_carrera_4_coupe_us-spec_9

Ryan: 1997-2006 Porsche 911 996 (non-GT3)

Ryan: Porsche 996 non-gt3

BaT Average Price: $24,896.90

Craigslist Average Price: $20,015.78

If you want to get into a Porsche 911 for as little as possible, you’re in luck because the standard 996 Porsche 911 shows no sign of going anywhere at all. This is not a bad thing by any means because the 996 is a very good car but it gets a bad wrap as it was the first generation of watercooled Porsches. It’s price point and performance are exactly why this is the default entry-level track car for many and why most cars and coffee European sections are seas of endless 996s.

bmw_m3_coupe_us-spec_42

Erik: 1992-1999 BMW M3 E36 (USDM-spec only)

BaT Average Price: $14,322.00

Craigslist Average Price: $11,616.67

Much like the 996, the American market E36 M3 is a perfectly fine car that is bookended by two significantly better variants. On one end the E30 M3 is beloved by all and affordable to few, on the other end the E46 M3 exists and by existing it suppresses the value of its older sibling to a price point permanently within it’s shadows. As the E46 wave starts in 2020, we bet that there will be plenty of examples for sale making you ask if an E36 is really worth $20,000 when you can just get into an E46 for the same price.

honda_accord_4

Jana: 1986-1989 Honda Accord CA Chassis

BaT Average Price: $1,900*

Craigslist Average Price:$2,450

These cars are the secret of the Honda community, it is a bargain cheap version of the golden age Hondas that doesn’t get stolen as much. That being said, it seems that even to Honda people, the CA chassis Accord is a sleeper. These are quite fun cars with just a little more space than a Civic without significantly higher curb weight. That being said, parts availability is atrocious, the aftermarket is almost entirely hand-me-downs adapted from other chassis and may god help you if you are unfortunate enough to have one of the PGM-carb models. Our advice, buy the CA Accord to love it but not to make money off it.

*only one car sold in 2018, outside of date ranges, 7/2018 sales price was $5,800.

z8 alpina

Carbitrage Pick: 2000-2003 BMW Z8

BaT Average Price: $161,678.57

Craigslist Average Price: N/A

The BMW Z8 is another car that we all love but is still being placed on the bear market list. With the exception of a couple of very expensive sales in the last year, the Z8 has been very stagnant in recent years when viewed on Bring-a-Trailer. While this would normally pique our interests, it’s six figure price range is holding the car back with economic uncertainty becoming a factor at such lofty prices. In the long run we do expect to see the Z8 grow in price so it might not be a bad buy as a long term investment if you suddenly found yourself with $150,000 burning a hole in your pocket.

What cars do you think would be on the Bear or Bull list for 2020? Let us know and tell us why and we may talk about your answers on the Carbitrage podcast.

EVENT: InterMarque 2019 Part 1

Sometimes I really dread going to a car show. I find myself having dubstep blasted in my earhole and having my olfactory system assaulted by Haggis and Watermelon vape smoke. Meanwhile I’m trying find some way out of that asphalt hell before I develop melanoma.

InterMarque Vintage Foreign Car Show is not one of those shows.

Morgan Morgan Land Rover.jpg

Sometimes I really dread going to a car show. All too often I find myself standing in a boiling hot parking lot while some mouthbreather babbles on about some grievance they have with the show. Meanwhile I’m having dubstep blasted in my earhole and having my olfactory system assaulted by Haggis and Watermelon vape smoke. Honestly, some shows could be nothing but vintage Japanese cars and Group B rally cars, yet I still find myself trying find some way out of that asphalt hell before I develop melanoma. InterMarque Vintage Foreign Car Show is not one of those shows.

Citroen DS and Traction Avant

In fact, I have to say that my first visit to an InterMarque show was the farthest thing from the scenario I mentioned above. It was a perfect combination of factors that all came together in just the right way. A car show like a real estate investment, while the house itself is important, you can always improve that, you can also improve the yard but the hardest part to improve is the location. If you nail all of those aspects, it is a perfect house, and InterMarque certainly nailed it. It really wouldn’t be out of place at Monterey Car Week, not only are the cars on caliber of some of the crop that you see at Car Week, but the character of the show and it’s location would fit in just as well.

Beat Street1.jpg

Every spring, InterMarque car club and the City of Osseo shut down 4 blocks of the quaint downtown area of the city for an annual spring car show. The cars range from RHD Honda BEATs to European rarities like a Borgward Isabella. The true beauty of the show however is the location. You have the cars lining down 4 blocks of the city, allowing for easy foot traffic and lots of space to take pictures and gawk. There is a plaza in the middle of the show where small businesses sell their wares and, more importantly, there is plenty of shade and places to sit. You really feel comfortable at this show and that’s something that a lot of shows miss the boat on.

Isetta Gyros.jpg

It’s the small businesses along the street make the show feel like something magical. If you tire of constantly walking and baking in the sun, you can just pop into an antique shop or stop for a gyro. It makes you feel like you’re actually benefiting the community rather than being a nuisance, the constant anxiety of having to cut the show short because someone decided to flex their rev limiter skills is non-existent. When you leave the show, you feel happy, rather than drained. On the way home we were actually remarking about how much we loved the show, rather than complain about who did what.

Volvo 145

There is a sense of camaraderie amongst fans of the show. These are the people who represent what Carbitrage is all about, it’s for people who love the automobile in all of it’s forms. It’s a place where you find a Triumph 2000 owner talking to the owner of an S2000 and instead of belittling each other or talking at each other, they are just enjoying each others company. I even had deeply enlightening conversations about the various coachbuilt variants of the Citroen DS and about the Bosch Jetronic fuel injection system.

Triumph TR3As

It isn’t just the Carbitrage staff and a group of our fans that love the meet. You’re just as likely to see a 17 year old kid losing their mind over a Honda BEAT as you are to find a white haired man with a beard doing the same thing over these Triumph TR3s. It reminds me of when I was a kid going to Hot Import Nights for the first time and getting jacked up on all of the free cups of NOS energy drink. Every car is something special, you feel like you need to look at every single thing.

Type 3 Front.jpg

That is another piece of the of the mosaic that makes this show so good, everything pays off to look at. Some cars that are obviously cool, like this Volkswagen Type 3. They immediately draw your attention and reward you when you get to the details. You go in expecting something excellent and you aren’t disappointed.

Humbler Super Snipe.jpg

Other cars in the show pay off once you get up close to them. To be entirely honest, I was even thrown off by this car and I pride myself on knowledge of the most obscure cars I can fathom. Richard Halkyard spotted it from half a block away, it is a Humbler Super Snipe. While it looks like an upscale Checker Marathon from the outside, under the hood it gets really interesting.

Humbler Engine

It sports an overhead valve inline six, which on it’s own doesn’t sound like much to write home about, but if you consider that it has hemispherical combustion chambers and a crossflow head design, it suddenly becomes very interesting. Now add that this was designed in the UK in 1958 and was put into a slightly upscale but still largely affordable car, it becomes even more noteworthy.

Super Snipe Badge

In 1958, outside of Chrysler’s Firepower V8 engine, a hemispherical OHV cylinder head could only really be found in upscale marques such as Jaguar, Porsche or the incredibly rare MG MGA Twin Cam. The crossflow design, where the intake is opposite of the exhaust on the head, is something we take for granted today but it wasn’t a common design on six cylinder engines until the 1980s, and it was still usually only seen on high performance vehicles for another decade.

Celica Supra Front.jpg

As great as cars like the Humbler Super Snipe were, going through a completely esoteric show full of things most car enthusiasts have never heard of can feel like it isn’t relatable sometimes. InterMarque wasn’t just completely bizarre European classics, cars like this Mk2 Celica Supra and NA Miata were in show as well. The Japanese representation is still small at InterMarque but it has been growing year over year. What is lost in quantity is made up for with quality though because not only were the cars like these two cars mere examples of great Japanese cars, but they were among two of the best examples I’ve seen yet in Minnesota. This Supra on it’s own could contend at Japanese Classic Car Show out in California and the Miata was no slouch either. Lining the block you could still find the occasional Datsun or Mazda tucked away in other spots as well and they were welcome just as much as the British roadsters were, it honestly felt really good seeing a show that didn’t discriminate one brand over another.

2CV Spitfire Rear

There was so much to see at this show, it could have not been any better, we will be updating with a second part that is more focused on the cars in show. It was just pertinent that we talk about what really made InterMarque great. The location, the attitude, the community, it isn’t just one aspect that makes a show great but everything put together. Like our real estate reference in the beginning said, the house, the yard and the location all make for perfection.  If you’ve never been to InterMarque, you’re missing out on one of the best shows of the year and you owe it to yourself to check it out next year.

FORMULA E: IS THIS THE MOST EXCITING MOTORSPORT?

FORMULA E PRIX PADDOCK
Photo Credit: Formula E, FIA

Formula One isn’t what it once was, it’s entering the realm of boring, or has entered, depending on your point of view. It wasn’t always this way, F1 used to be serious wheeling at insane speeds, massive crashes, a technological arms race and rivalries between drivers. Now days it’s more a matter of how exactly will Louis Hamilton win this race after qualifying for pole position. You can watch the first corner then go about your business for the day now that you’ve seen the whole race. This isn’t much of an exaggeration either, do you know how many passes there were in all of Formula 1 last year? 435. Between 20 races and 20 cars on the grid, that means that only about half of the cars do anything during each race.

If you were hoping to find entertainment elsewhere in F1 you will be sadly dispirited since crashes rarely happen, any actual drama that occurs is in the backroom politics, and the technology is stagnating. F1 truly has become Bernie Ecclestone’s jejune dream come true.

_als7001.jpg
Photo Credit: Formula E, FIA

What if I told you that there is a race series out there that is as exciting as the 1500 HP turbocharged glory days of Formula 1? A series where the names Prost and Piquet still ring true, and what if I added that you don’t require an 88 MPH DeLorean to see it? Madness, I know, but it really does exist.

Formula E offers everything we would all want from Formula 1 that the powdered wigs of Formula One Group refuse to let us have. I know that everyone has universally been singing the praises of Formula E but, I personally don’t pay much mind to that. You can’t really tell how much is genuine and how much is noise from the hype train. I do have to say that this is real hype though.

I popped on Race 1 of the 2018 Hong Kong E Prix a while back on a whim only to be pleasantly surprised. It is a bit cheeky to call their grand prix the E Prix but don’t let that dissuade you from actually watching it because this is some of the best actual racing I’ve seen in quite some time.

hong_kong_e-prix
Photo Credit: Formula E, FIA

Some of this might be a by-product of the track since the Hong Kong harborside street course is very narrow and technical, even F1 would have a hard time making boring. That being said, these cars were being flung around a track by mad men and women. That made for a good race with some really spectacular mid-corner passing and least a half dozen spin outs.

With Formula E you get a relatively short races of only 43 laps, a break, then some more racing, which means you can sit down, watch it then get on with your life. You also get a sense that these races matter, these cars are test beds for manufacturers to experiment with EV technology. Brands like Mahindra, Renault, Citroën’s DS brand and Jaguar all have a stake in this series, in addition to other racing only brands such as Penske and Venturi. As much of a touring car and drag racing fan as I am, you don’t get the technology trickling down to standard cars like you do with these top tier motorsport ventures.

03417009_372
Photo Credit: Formula E, FIA

With the traditional big names in racing, namely NASCAR and Formula 1, becoming excruciatingly boring these days it’s refreshing to sit down and be legitimately vested in motorsport again. Yes, I know we have WRC Rallycross and Stadium Trucks which are just as exciting but there is something to proper asphalt racing without having off road sections or a bunch of jumps along the track. This is pure driving in anger and it feels good to have it back again. So the next time you have a chance to pop on a Formula E race, I highly recommend doing so because you will not regret it.