Craigslist Detroit: 10 Classic Cars From the Big Three

The Detroit skyline.
The Detroit skyline | Source:

Detroit has always sat astraddle the American automotive manufacturing industry. Its pivotal role within the automotive industry was cemented when automotive pioneer Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. He was quickly followed by the likes of William Durant, the Dodge Brothers, James Packard, and Walter Chrysler. The increased focus on high-paying industrial jobs brought an influx of people from around the world, and Detroit grew to be the fourth largest city in the United States by 1920. The city was at its most populous in 1950 when the federal census showed it to be home to 1.849 million residents.

Today, the city is a shadow of its former self. Federal estimates place the city’s 2016 population at 677,000, with a population of 4.275 million within the Metro Detroit area. With that many people in an area known for its automotive history, there are bound to be many cars for sale from the heyday of the Big Three automakers, but where to find them? Craigslist Detroit, of course.

Craigslist Detroit: Where old cars go to find new life

Craigslist is a playground for buyers looking to find just about anything imaginable. If you look deep enough, you will find alien artifacts, fur-lined boots, drinking goblets made from skulls (plastic skulls, but skulls nonetheless), and all sorts of dinosaur-related material. Move into the car and truck section, and you will find plenty of sports cars, everyday drivers, and classic vehicles. The car and truck section of Craigslist Detroit is a hotbed of everything you would expect; however, the most exciting finds may be from Detroit’s pre-1950 production pinnacle. The sheer beauty of many of the cars listed from that era is enough to thrill many car enthusiasts for hours on end. Often, the fun of the hunt for the right collectible car or street rod is more stimulating than the actual purchase.

Restored, original condition, or rat rod — no matter your preference, Detroit is an excellent place to find the right car or truck. As for some of the more interesting? Keep reading.

1. 1937 Ford Truck Custom Street Rod

1937 Ford Truck Custom Street Rod
1937 Ford Truck Custom Street Rod | Source: Craigslist Detroit

In 1937, a Ford truck was a very basic vehicle. Driving one was a challenge. With no power steering, minimal amenities, and a ride that could beat you up, an early truck was a bear to ride in. This custom street rod is another matter entirely. Its upgrades include a custom body by Downs, air conditioning, power windows, and a Mustang front-end. The list goes on!

2. 1935 Plymouth

1935 Plymouth
1935 Plymouth | Source: Craigslist Detroit

Another custom build, the car features an unspecified Ford small block engine and a Mustang II front-end. With such mild mods, a buyer could return this car to original condition or turn it into a true street rod. The $13,000 asking price makes either option affordable.

3. 1936 Cadillac Series 60

Cadillac Series 60
Cadillac Series 60 | Source: Craigslist Detroit

The Cadillac Series 60 was the manufacturer’s mid-level entry when it debuted for the 1936 model year. Featuring a 322-cubic-inch engine that produced 125 horsepower, the Series 60 became the company’s best-selling model during its first year of production. According to the seller this offering has undergone an “extensive restoration,” making the $29,900 asking price understandable.

4. Custom 1937 Dodge Truck

Custom 1937 Dodge Truck
Custom 1937 Dodge Truck | Source: Craigslist Detroit

The Dodge Brothers got their start working with Henry Ford. Eventually becoming restless, they ventured out on their own. The resulting cars and trucks are things of beauty to behold. This custom-built truck is a hodgepodge of automakers. The body is by Dodge, power is provided by Chevrolet, and the underpinnings are courtesy of Ford. Hodgepodge or not, this is a spectacular build!

5. Elo’s 1938 Ford

Elo's 1938 Ford
Elo’s 1938 Ford | Source: Craigslist Detroit

Who is Elo, and why is this Ford so special? Elo is the host of the Discovery Channel’s Ultimate Wheels series, and he owns the London Motor Museum and the Miami Supercar Rooms, giving him serious automotive cred. For $45,000, buyers have a chance to buy a truly unique car.

6. 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan
1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan | Source: Craigslist Detroit

The 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan features the rare fastback design. Lincoln only offered it for one production year, making it one of the hardest to find editions around. The best thing the seller can say is that it runs, so this is a mechanic’s special to say the least.

7. 1935 Oldsmobile Sedan

1935 Oldsmobile Sedan
1935 Oldsmobile Sedan | Source: Craigslist Detroit

Ransom E. Olds sold quite a few cars under his Oldsmobile and REO brands before his companies were absorbed by GM. Early models were known for luxury that bordered on opulence. In 1901, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first mass-produced car, a feat often wrongly credited to Henry Ford. This model is a wonderful example of what was normal during the automotive gilded age.

8. 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe

1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe
1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe | Source: Craigslist Detroit

This is a great example of American steel. Huge by today’s standards, the Chevrolet Master Deluxe was built to transport a large family in comfort and style. This car features the original steel body, but just about everything else has been upgraded. For $26,500, a buyer can get an eight-time show winner.

9. 1940 Cadillac LaSalle

1940 Cadillac LaSalle
1940 Cadillac LaSalle | Source: Craigslist Detroit

The picture above is one the seller offers as a reference for what the car can look like when the restoration is finished. This model is a true project for the mechanics out there. There are plenty of parts and the original Flathead 8 is intact, so this could be restored to original condition or turned into a custom rod. At $4,990, the price is right, whatever direction you want to go in.

10. 1950 Ford F-100

1950 Ford F-100 for sale on Craigslist Detroit
1950 Ford F-100 | Source: Craigslist Detroit

The F-series trucks marked the first time Ford had built a pickup on a truck-specific frame. All previous models had been built on car frames. Part of the first generation of the F-series, this 1950 Ford F-100 is a great example of a truck that has been restored to its prime, making the $22,000 asking price very reasonable.

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