Hooniverse Asks Bonus: What's a Good Car to Flip?

bmw 2002 for sale I’m in the final stages of finishing up a round of preposterously easy fixes on a co-worker’s car that’ll take it from “get this basket case out of my driveway” to completely usable high mileage commuter. We made a deal were I “bought” it from her for the “get it out of here” price and we’re slitting the difference between that and the new sale price. The end result will be between $1-2k in my pocket. Being ever the enabler of endless projects, The_Missus is encouraging me to roll that cash forward into another “opportunity”. I already know the best options when flipping cars are 10-20 year old compact imports from the tow auctions, but they aren’t what I want to spend my time working on. I’d rather stick to something old pre-smog (<1975) or something I understand decently, namely Jeeps, Toyota trucks and BMWs of the 80s and early 90s. The goal is to find something I’d be happy to get, fix and drive over the course of 3-6 months, then unload, so it can’t be something I fall so in love with I never want to part with it. More recreational scheming and a few candidates after the jump. Among my proudest moments was getting the non-starting Uberbird running in all of one day of poking around. My strengths seem to lie in taking something from wretched and near-worthless to passably usable rather than finishing something from good to great. With that in mind, this field-sitting BMW 2002 seems like it’s got potential. The body doesn’t look too bad (unless that’s the ground I see through the floorboards on the interior shot) and these were simple cars to begin with. I’m assuming it needs every hose and fluid replaced, along with a carb rebuild. The seller’s asking $1500 and it looks like running ’02s start around $3500 and go up from there around me. Assuming my labor’s worthless, is there less than $2,000 in parts between this one and driving condition? This Volvo 145 looks like hell from the outside, but maybe with the addition of some sprucing and copious amounts of rubbing compound the minty longroof could have some interested buyers. Between its flat hood and pre-smog age, it could be a hit with someone who appreciates a classic (or a 5.0 swap), hopefully more than the current $850 asking price. Lastly, we’ve got an ’83 Jeep Cherokee (fullsize) that “idols fast”, has no title and no pictures of the car in the ad. But hey, $650 is pretty near the scrap value for the whole thing, so…why not? Maybe something with a more finite “to-do” list would be a better route. It seems head gaskets are the most common “I give up” mechanical failure that motivates a motivated seller. I’ve never done a head gasket, but part of the purpose of this adventure is to learn on a car I don’t actually care about, so why not? This 1980 528i needs one, but seems to be in otherwise great shape. The paint and interior look awesome for its age. I’d like to believe the addition of a $40 head gasket (plus the multiples of that required to complete the job) is still less than the spread between the current $1500 and an issue-free sale price. I have a soft (though still sore) spot for 4Runners new and old. The 3VZE V6 bucked the trend of Toyota reliability in favor of near-certain head gasket failure at roughly 75k mile intervals. Were I to get good at that job (or just swapping motors), there’s a neverending supply of V6 4Runners like this one that “need to go ASAP“. I know I’m flirting hard with Project Car Hell with a few of these, but it’s not like 1999 Corollas make for good reading material. Have any of you ever intentionally bought, fixed and sold a car for the purpose of making money? What about parting out? How’d it work out for you?  

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