I had considered getting one of these instead of my Suzuki Sidekick. They're small, capable off road, and not terribly expensive. I'm told the V-6 is preferred, since it doesn't have the four cylinder's wonky carburetor.
The rear-drive Starlet hatchback would be a lot of fun.Throw on some sticky tires, a taught suspension, a built 3TC or 4AGE engine, and boom: fun. I keep seeing the same few reappear here in the Portland area, and they look pretty beaten by the drift crowd.
Honestly, I'm not sure I really want to own a Daihatsu Charade or Rocky. However, they're rare, and have have that odd factor going for them. I would, however, rock a 4WD Daihatsu kei truck with some nobby tires, which would be for off-highway use only.
The Expo LRV was my first ride. I still have a fantasy of getting a FWD version of these tall wagons and throwing in a 4G63 turbo engine from an Eclipse. Major sleeper potential with this one. They're rare, but come up regularly on craigslist.
Late '70s/early '80s RWD Toyota CorollasI've dug these rides for a long time. While I really like the small two-door coupe, just about any of these rear-drive Toyotas would be cool. Again, built 3TC or 4AGE engine would be a hoot. Again, being RWD, lightweight, and popular with the drift crowd, they're had to find at good prices (or hard to find that haven't been beaten).
Here's another rarity, but unlike the Daihatsu, I'd own one of these. Really hard to find in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm guessing other parts of the country, too. I'd like the model above or the 1988-1996 version, too.
Another real rarity on craigslist, especially in good shape. Described by Car and Driver as "The ultimate gridlock brawler," the Sprint turbo was made by Suzuki, sold by Chevrolet, and had a 1.0-liter turbo engine. Parts might be difficult, but I still dig 'em and would own one.
I fell in love with these cars when they first came out in the 1990s, and swore I'd own one someday. Powered by a 1.3-liter DOHC four cylinder, it's a Geo Metro with more power, some better bodywork, and lots of cool subcompactness. There always seems to be one Swift GT or GTi on craiglist for whatever reason.