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Tyson’s AutoHunter Picks

Treat yourself to a new toy


Perhaps Santa Claus left a collector car in your driveway Monday with a bright red bow on top of it. In case he didn’t, you might have to take matters into your own hands and buy your own. Luckily, and AutoHunter have some sweet rides up for grabs. In lieu of a traditional AutoHunter Spotlight, today I get to highlight not just one, but three vehicles up for grabs currently at auction. Presented in order from newest to oldest, I felt like each of these warranted some attention:

2005 Chevrolet SSR

We’ll start off with this high-powered pickup that can haul cargo as well as deliver exhilarating performance. This featured muscle-truck blends old-school looks, newer technology, a power-retractable hardtop, and a mileage reading of only 47,000 miles. It is being offered by a dealership in Sarasota, Florida, and the auction ends January 2, 2024 at 12:30 p.m. MST.

Styled after the “Advance Design” Chevrolet trucks from the 1940s and 1950s, the SSR was a modern-day retro-ride. The crazy thing is, the SSR debuted in 2003 – so even it is now 20 years old! On paper, the SSR was referred to as a “roadster utility.” It rode on the General Motors GMT368 platform and shared some of its engineering with the Chevrolet TrailBlazer sport-utility vehicle.

Beginning in 2005, the SSR received power boost courtesy of a Corvette-derived engine – none other than the 6.0-liter “LS2.” It was rated at 390 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. All that power is channeled to the pavement through a Torsen limited-slip differential. There is lots to love about this Redline Red eye-catcher. It would look great in a holiday parade or cruising Main Street in your town.

2002 Ford Thunderbird

The Thunderbird carries a long history in car-culture, dating all the way back to 1955. Eleven generations later, much like the SSR pickup mentioned above, its designers decided to resurrect some of the exterior design elements that dated back to the 1950s. The result was one of the most unique personal luxury cars of the early 2000s. Today’s AutoHunter-featured Thunderbird is a Whisper White low-miler that has accrued only 60,979 miles since new. It is being offered by the same dealership in Sarasota, Florida as the SSR, and the auction will end January 2, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. MST.

One unique thing about this generation of Thunderbird was that its engine was Jaguar-engineered. Power came from the “AJ35” V8 which had a 3.9-liter displacement and was rated at 252 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. The CARFAX looks tidy, and it classifies this as a one-owner car with over 15 service records throughout the life of the vehicle, including replacement of the valve cover gaskets and an air conditioning recharge within the last 2,000 miles at Hampton Ford in New Hampshire.

Adding to the curb appeal of this T-bird is its porthole-equipped removable hardtop and a continental kit in the rear – both of which are clear throwbacks to the first generation. Over the course of four model years between 2002 and 2005, there were about 70,000 units produced. It is hard to believe that this car is reaching classic status, as it is now beyond 20 years old. Now is your chance to snag one for driving enjoyment as well as a collector investment opportunity.

1997 Toyota Estima

At first glance, this minivan will look a lot like the first-generation Toyota Previa which was sold in the United States between model years 1991 and 1997. The Previa was a unique feat of engineering for a number of reasons – among them, it had a mid-engined configuration along with rear-wheel (or all-wheel) drive. The Japanese version of the Previa was called the Estima, and this example was imported to the states by a selling dealership in Freeport, Texas. The auction ends on December 29 at 12:45 p.m. MST.

The deeper you dig, the closer this Dark Blue Pearl van gets. Adding to the niche factor is the fact that it comes with a turbocharged 2.2-liter diesel inline-four mated to a five-speed manual transmission – not to mention the fact that it is a right-hand-drive vehicle. You had better start practicing how to row your gears with your left hand before taking this thing out on the open road!

Best of all, total mileage (or kilometrage, in this case) is only 61,525 kilometers which comes out to 38,229 miles. The dealer has already gone to the effort of procuring a United States title, so you can get on the road with ease and start turning heads with this rare people-mover.

Do any of these rides catch your eye for a post-Christmas gift to yourself? Swing by AutoHunter and give these listings a closer look! Thanks for your readership over this past year. I have enjoyed sharing my love for all-things automotive with you all, and I look forward to continuing the tradition.

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine,, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.


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