We started the Japan section of our Used Engines Countdown with a rare find that only came in one car, and these aren’t much better. Used engines of the Wankel variety are most commonly found in models that we didn’t get in the US. Score one point for eBay.
The hatchback first appeared in Europe during the early sixties, and some examples even date back to the late thirties and pre-WWII. It took them a while and a little bit of good fortune, but they finally migrated to North American markets in the early seventies. Of course, global downsizing in the car industry imposed by the oil crisis of 1973 played a major role in that; suddenly, the practical yet cumbersome station wagon (mostly powered by V8 engines) became a heavy burden on the average car owner’s budget.
Of course, no good list of crazy cheap cars would be complete without some American muscle. Of course, the Ford Mustang is iconic as any of its counterparts, so we sprung for the 1996-98 SVT Cobra. Unfortunately for the purists, this is the first model Mustang that saw Ford retiring its 5.0L V8 in place of a new 4.6L Modular unit. The Crown Victoria actually shares the same engine, albeit in a slightly different configuration that makes about 100 fewer hp.
To be clear, power isn’t the thing that sets this car apart from the base model, though there was an optional exhaust offered that upped the output by 6 hp and makes the car that much rowdier. You’ll get the stock 6.2L V8 (which is no joke) making 430 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque. You’ll also enjoy a new appearance package which, while cool, is also functional, and was reported to reduce aero lift by around half. It also has big brakes from the Z06, special wheels, and a fantastic list of optional features. Look for a model with magnetic ride control and you won’t be sorry.