No Reserve Castaways: Cheap Projects on eBay

One of my favorite sellers on eBay tends to get a lot of donated, abandoned and tax write-off vehicles in their yard, and while most of the cars are completely forgettable, there’s always a few that look like compelling projects. Take, for example, this 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450SL here on eBay: sure, rats have been living in the engine compartment, but the body looks clean and it’s currently bid to just over $700! Take a look at some of the other finds below. 

Believe it or not, this 1986 Winnebago LeSharo comes equipped with a diesel 4-cylinder paired to a manual transmission! More than that, the inside is actually quite clean – downright livable, even – which is shocking for a donated or otherwise relinquished motorhome. Now, it has the typical water damage in the roof areas that campers of this generation always seem to have, but it runs and drives and looks like it was cared for before ending up here on eBay, where bidding is just over $1,500.

OK, I know this Suzuki Samurai is rough. In fact, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if it was parked somewhere that the Pacific Ocean washed over it daily. But if you’re handy with a welder, surely this Suzuki can be saved! Now, it also is leaking some oil and coolant, and the lifters are noisy, but none of that is terminal. The bigger issue is the rust, which looks most ugly in the b-pillar area and the hood. I’d weld some new metal into the b-pillars, find a replacement hood on, and possibly own this Samurai here on eBay for under $500.

Now, here’s the belle of the ball if you ask me: this is the hyper rare Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited. This is the grandfather to the SRT family of super trucks, but it is often forgotten, likely because aside from some badges and different wheels, it was hard to tell that this was Jeep’s early answer to AMG’ized Mercedes. It did have hood louvers that aided in heat extraction, but other than the swift run to 60 (7.1 seconds), this is a total sleeper of a hot-rod Jeep Cherokee. They made less than 15,000 units for one year only; shouldn’t this one be saved? Find it here on eBay where bidding is barely over $200!

Fast Finds


  1. ccrvtt

    We bought our son a 2004 Grand Cherokee and my only regret is that it has the 4.0 6cylinder. Real power would be nice. His car is SOLID. Naturally he’s had some issues but he would like to keep the GC forever and I can’t blame him. It rides surprisingly well and is fairly quiet. This looks like a good prospect and it is my favorite body style of this American icon.

    • JamestownMike

      I wouldn’t buy an older Grand Cherokee UNLESS it had the 4.0 6 cylinder engine! It’s a legendary engine. Hard to kill!

      • ccrvtt

        Not disparaging the engine at all. I believe it’s the one lasting legacy from AMC that is universally admired. I guess I’m a little jaded – going from a 400hp sports car to driving the Jeep is a real paradigm shift. FWIW my son drools over the SRTs.

  2. John D.

    I sold a 5.9 to a customer who was a doctor. When the 4.7 came out, he sold the 5.9 to his son. When the 5.7 gen 3 hemi came out, I took the 5.9 on trade. Before he took delivery, he and his son had an illegal speed contest and determined the 4.7 was faster than the 5.9.

    After delivery, he was in for maintenance and proudly told me the new hemi was faster than his old 4.7. We had some great and interesting conversations over coffee those mornings. That is the biggest part of not having the dealership, I miss the most.

  3. Todd Zuercher

    I’d love to have one of the 5.9s. As you note – a total sleeper. I’ve seen a few in the pickies over the years.

  4. Tony S

    There is an M117 engine alone on eBay for sale for more than this SL!

  5. Chris In Australia

    Is there such a thing as a cheap Benz project? LS swap anyone?

  6. Mike H. Mike H

    A Cherokee 5.9L is the first car I ever did an AWD burnout in. Far more power than it needed, unless it was schlepping a 24′ trailer around; then it was just right.

    And they really weren’t so great for towing, truth be told. A little too small, a bit too light to really get the job done, but at least the motor had the torque to bring a boat out of the water.

    The SL is actually a tempting project, but I’d bastardise it with a non-MB powertrain.

    • Jeff Staff

      At this point, I think it would welcome the bastardization!

  7. JamestownMike

    JEFF, How is this “one of my favorite sellers on eBay”?? Did you read ALL the details and fine print to their auctions?? They charge a super high doc fee, private parties get a salvage title and you only have 3 days to pick it up, or pay $20 a day storage! UNREAL!

    • Jeff Staff

      Never said I’d buy anything from them – just that I enjoy the vehicles they post up at no reserve. The cars seem realistically priced for what they are, which is a nice change of pace from most sellers. As per the doc fees and getting the cars removed – well, they are running a business with lots of inventory. I’d imagine many of the more average cars sell for $500 or less and some buyers can likely become a nuisance if they don’t bother to pick up – which I could see happening for cars with a low sale price. Just my two cents having dealt with tons of losers on craigslist over the years….helps to keep people honest/committed.

      • Mike H. Mike H

        Amen, brother!

        Similar (yet different) problems on The Flea-Bay also; someone commits to buy then doesn’t bother to pay. They will do so when it’s convenient, or when they actually have the money (I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!).

        I worked in the towing business for a number of years here in suburban Minneapolis, MN, and also in the car repair business with a similar complaint from people: you want to charge me for daily storage? Yes, I do, and I don’t do it because it’s easy money, I do it because space is limited and some people will view impound or the service lot as indefinite free parking if they don’t get charged for it.

        As far as this seller, their document fee may be reasonable for their locality. Costs vary from place-to-place, and at least they’re completely up front about it. There may be a municipal code which prevents re-issue of a clean title for vehicles sold in this manner to the general public for this seller? Could be inspection based, but it could also be to eliminate operating their business as a “laundromat” (laundering branded titles into clean, clear titles by cycling them through municipal or police auctions/sheriff sales), which has been known to happen in some places.

    • C Carl

      I knew a car lot in Santa Paula similar to this place. Lots of forgotten yard art looking for one more owner. Way before the internet so the prices were in the mid-three figures and the better cars just over a grand.
      Great place

  8. tirefriar

    This is the second year of the R107 on the US market and the first of the 450SL, the first year being 350SL although the engines were identical. Being model year prior to 1976, this is a great car to get in California as it can be registered without smog. However, be forewarned that these rust in all the wrong areas. I had an ’85 380SL that had rust in the front rails! I thought this could be a deal, if only in parts alone (hard top, pre-74 bumpers, etc) but there’s even rot in the hardtop. Restored these are now starting to bring some serious $$ now that completely restored W113 are starting to approach 6 digits. I think I’ll hold out for a C107 with a manual, but I might be holding out for a very long time….

  9. whippeteer

    The LeSharo is a speed demon with that 75 HP diesel! Does that rating mean it is (or was) a turbo?

  10. David Miraglia

    always liked the Benz.

  11. Black Cat

    The Winnie is cute, and could be a lot of fun.

    But after noticing that the diesel is from Renault, I noticed that the speedo is likewise a Jaeger from the Renault parts bin. My mother’s Renault Alliance had the same gauge, and the speedo needle and sun are not friends. The top half of the needle eventually fell off, as the plastic became brittle. The needle on this one has a curve, so it won’t be long before it, too, falls off. Not a knock on the Winnie, just plan to replace it, if you buy this little rig.

    Nice find.

    • John T

      SOLD less than a couple of hours ago … Winning bid: $3010. May never see one like this again with a manual stick shift!

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