Like an old pair of jeans that got back in style, when gas prices are stratospheric, so are "classics" like the Honda Civics and Geo Metros of the 80's and 90's.
Ken Bensinger of The Los Angeles Times has a neat article on the next "it" cars, those old tiny sedans you couldn't wait to get rid of for SUVs when gas was $1.25!
Another favorite among hypermilers is the Geo Metro, a bare-bones car sold by GM in the late '80s and early '90s that came in an extremely efficient XFi version. That car, powered by a tiny, 1-liter, three-cylinder engine, had no air conditioner and came in one pony short of 50 horsepower. But it was rated at 55 mpg, it's a snap to work on and parts are readily available.
This spring, Stephen Mills, a mechanic in Midland, N.C., spotted a surge in demand and began buying up Geo Metros to restore and sell on EBay.
His first restoration, a 1993 model with low mileage, sold in June for $8,075, an amazing price considering the car sold for little more than $6,000 when new. Since then, he's sold one for $7,200 and another for $6,500 and has eight more Metros he's sprucing up for sale.
"I started to think these would go out of sight once the price of gas went up," says Mills, whose first customer was an attorney tired of pumping gas into a 16-mpg Honda Pilot.
According to Experian Automotive, 11,318 XFi models were registered in the U.S. in the first quarter of this year, a high number for a car that's been out of production for nearly 15 years.
(Photo: Lori Shepler/LA Times)