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Copart Finds: Classics On The Cheap?


Cruising through the Copart site can make you cringe and cry, wondering why what appear to be great cars end up in a glorified salvage yard. In this latest roundup, I chose to lead with a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD here on Copart that is a donation vehicle. From the European headlights to the clean factory floormats to the dealer plate frame, this looks like a very nice car that was donated after a fastidious owner passed away.


In Connecticut, this 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass here bears the badges of the 442 moniker. While primarily a handling and appearance package, you could order up the Rocket 455 / W-30 option for a bit more bite under the hood. Typical of Copart listings, details are limited, so you’ll have to review the engine photos to determine if it has the hot motor.


This 1974 Toyota Celica listed here has the desirable manual transmission and doesn’t look too rusty, as is typical with Japanese cars of this vintage. This one appears to be held by a vendor outside of Copart, so its history is even harder to discern. However, the car retains lots of OEM bits but the seller has listed it with a reserve – which is unmet.


Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This 1980 Chrysler New Yorker has only minor dents and scratches, but is a far cry from examples like the 1960 New Yorker Town & Country or the 1956 convertible model. Still, the hideaway headlights and two-tone paint job make this malaise-era special a bit more interesting. Find it here.


The Mazda RX-7 is a future classic for sure, but many of the models from the 1980s are used up and abused. Examples like this 1990 RX-7 convertible listed here are not fast – their naturally-aspirated twin-rotor engine had to compete with a hefty curb weight – but they were comfortable grand tourers. Convertibles are fairly limited in production as well, and this example has the desirable manual transmission.


  1. Avatar photo Dave Wright

    This is a 300DT, not a TD. A TD is a wagon.

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    • Avatar photo Jeff Lavery Staff

      Thanks Dave – I did not realize that. -Jeff

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  2. Avatar photo randy

    I think on the Olds, the engines all shared the same block, they just had different displacements, so looking at the engine pics won’t help.
    300D sedan, no turbo
    300D-T turbo sedan
    Lots of cool cars there, thanks for the heads-up.
    300TD wagon
    300TD-T turbo wagon

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    • Avatar photo Mr. Smith

      1974 442s had three engine choices, which are coded in the VIN: Code K is 350 single exhaust 180 h.p.; Code M is 350 dual exhaust 200 h.p.; Code U is 455 dual exhaust 230 h.p. The VIN on this car is 3G37K4D149549. You figure it out which it is.

      And a 400-425-455 Olds is 8 inches wider than a 260-307-330-350-403 Olds, because they are NOT in fact the same size block with a different displacement. The 455 has a higher deck height, 10.625 in. vs 9.33 in., to accommodate a 4.25 in. stroke. The smaller engines have a 3.385 in. stroke from 1964 on. The heads are virtually the same outwardly, so the 455 intake is much much wider than the smaller Olds V8 intakes. So, if you know what you are looking at, you can tell easily the diff between the low deck and tall deck motors. If you don’t know what you are looking at, everything’s SBC.

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  3. Avatar photo Dave Wright


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  4. Avatar photo jimbosidecar

    That sold quickly…

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  5. Avatar photo Toast54

    Spotted an air-cooled Porsche 911 donated (by a widow, I am sure) a few months back. The only issue appeared to be mold spots on the upholstery. Sold for north of 18K. I purchased my bargain sports car at Copart and it’s been a wonderful hobby car

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  6. Avatar photo jim s

    an interesting site to surf even if your just looking not buying. the RX7 would be my pick.

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  7. Avatar photo JamestownMike

    Not sure why you featured the 83 MB 300D in an email TODAY (at 1:16am), when it sold YESTERDAY??

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  8. Avatar photo JamestownMike

    That 83 MB 300D was already PRE-BID up to $2,850 the last time I checked before the auction even started. With Copart’s CRAZY HIGH buy fees of about $500 on this sale, PLUS $59 gate fee, PLUS $69 internet fee……..not sure if that qualifies for “Classics on the cheap”?? Does anyone know what the final selling price was (on “approval” none the less)? How much do you think this car was worth?

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  9. Avatar photo Charles H.

    Back in 1979 or’80 I drove a 1974 Old’s Cutlass 442, with the factory Swivel Buckets, was a Teal looking color with the hood stripes and the stripe along the bottom of door with 442 moniker, it wasn’t a bad car performance wise for what is was, had the 350ci. 4bbl. and factory dual exhaust….drove it for a couple of years and traded it to a friend for a ’68 Plymouth GTX 440 Mag. 4speed…..now that’s that’s the one car I wish I’d kept!

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  10. Avatar photo Luke Fitzgerald

    Ahh yes, the Celica = beautiful things – tight, buzzy (read motorcycle revs at highway speed) – but look for rust – the steel disappears like tobacco smoke once its been bit

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  11. Avatar photo Steve

    Anyone here buy through Copart? Did you find a licensed dismantler to work with?

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  12. Avatar photo Toast54

    A license isn’t needed for a good chunk of the vehicles sold. I’m sure there are licensed dismantlers, dealers and such that would work with you… for a fee, of course

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