Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thrifter Approved: The World's Best Thrifting Cars

[My Suzuki Aerio's trunk, full of vintage finds. The Suzuki Aerio is not a good thrifting car!]

What's the perfect thrifting car? I've surveyed thrifting professionals on Twitter to get the scoop on which car is ideal for thrifting and curbside treasure stops. (You know, the ones that make you say, "Hurry, pull over! We will make that table fit in this car, I tell you! We will make it fit!")

If I had things my way, I would thrift in any of the following dream Thrifting-mobiles: Optimus Prime (Storage!), Batmobile (Sexy), Mach Five (All-in-One!), the Turtle Van (More Storage), Ecto-1 (Exorcize the ghosts from your thrifted stuff!) and the ultimate thrifter car, a time-traveling DeLorean (get authentic vintage from the source)... but I can't.

Until we find a way to thrift in the vehicles from our childhood dreams, here are some recommendations from vintage resellers and other thrifting professionals:

Toyota Matrix

Honda Element

Ford Focus Hatchback

Honda Fit 

Kia Rondo

Toyota RAV4

More Thrifting Car Tips and Talk:

If you're a thrifter and you're looking to trade in your vehicle anyway (like me!) you should get a thrifter-friendly car that will accommodate your finds with ease.

What car do you recommend for thrifting? What vehicle do you use for thrifting and junking?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I love my Chevy HHR. It is retro looking, gets good gas mileage, and can haul a ton!

  2. What timing! I'm researching cars now with the hope of buying one in the next few months, and I admit that the issue of stuffing my treasures into the next car has been at the top of my things to consider. Thanks!

  3. a ute definetely...don't know what you call them in the States, but the perfect car for thrifting. We need one, it would save on hiring a trailer every time we find treasure too big for our car (or sadly the alternative, which is leaving it behind)

  4. I have a Honda Ridgeline truck. It is the perfect thrifting and tailgating machine. It has a trunk in the bed (yes, a trunk)that holds tons of stuff and a bed to put the big items in. It also has a back seat with fold down (or up) seats to hold even more treasures. It gets decent gas mileage and is not so cumberson as a regular truck. It's a nice ride! ;-)

  5. Kylie: We call utes "pick-up trucks" or "trucks" in the US. :) I need befriend a fellow treasure hunter that has one, they are the ultimate thrifting machines. Other than perhaps, a giant van...

    Denise: Glad it was helpful! I'm hunting for a good little car too, time to trade mine in...

    Hunting Tigress & Tanya: I love the car/truck hints, thank you!

    Keep 'em coming folks, what do you drive? What do you recommend for thrifting?

  6. Turtle van with TMNT to carry my heavier things would be the best option!

  7. I'm with Modernthrifter - I have a '95 Explorer that I paid cash for back in '06. But because of the price of gas lately :-( I mostly drive my '95 Jetta. I can fit anything in there except for large furniture.....that car was practically a thrift purchase, I only paid $700 for it and it had 35k miles on it at the time. Wahoo!

  8. I can't believe you left out the trusty old Yaris! Not only can you cram a ton of stuff into it but it's also gets some of the best gas mileage out there. Just the other day I was unloading it after a yard sale spree and my husband laughed at me as I kept pulling stuff out - old trunks, chairs, etc - and he said it was looking like a magician's hat.

    I do have to say though, my ideal thrifting car (if gas mileage wasn't an issue) would be a huge old military truck with the open back. http://image.jpmagazine.com/f/9241767/154_0605_03_z+m35a2_military_truck+cruising.jpg

    Fill 'er up!

  9. LOVE this post (especially the word bubbles!). They'd all be great picks for you. Can't wait to see what you get!

  10. I drive a 2000 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport Wagon. Lot's of room for treasures with the seats down and it has a roof rack. It's smaller than the regular Outback, but I can cram a ton of stuff in there. I love it. It's also a great all weather car, which probably isn't a big concern for Florida. : )

    Once I run Scooter into the ground I want to upgrade to a Forester. (I wanted one at the time I bought the Impreza but it was out of my price range.) Though I wouldn't say no to a Honda Element either, if snow wasn't an issue.

  11. I like the Ford Sport Trac - little 4-door pickup with a short bed. Roomy enough for a family car, but still with plenty of room for furniture finds.

  12. i think i would drive around in a vw bus :D that way i had the most room ever to pile in my treasures!

  13. Christine: I'm also with Modern Thrifter. My new car will be paid in CASH!

    Lynn: Oh agreed, the turtles would be great vintage treasure carriers...if you don't mind some stuff getting broken! :)

    The Vintage Cabin: This post definitely calls for a Part II. My mom's hatchback Yaris is badass, it puts my car to shame and costs $5-$10 less to fill up!

    CB: They need to pimp out a vintage VW bus to be fuel efficient. The ultimate thrift wagon...

    Monogirl: Great tips! Thank you!

  14. Well, as a Brooklyner, my vehicle only comes with two wheels. So if I can't fit the find in my bike basket, it's not coming home. Luckily, I also have the strong arms of my husband who likes curb-side thrifting as much as I do!

  15. we drive a mazda protoge 5 and we LOVE it. we've driven mazdas now for 20 years: that's two mazdas in 20 years, so that should tell you something. they're great on mileage and drive forever. the reason we went with the protoge 5 is because it's cross between a car and a station wagon - a 5 door - AND it's a standard transmission( a must for me.) the seats fold down and you can get just about anything in it. it's a great car for thrifting!

  16. I drive a Ford Escape SUV, which is great for thrifting. The back seat lays down so there is plenty of cargo room. The only problem is that it occasionally breaks down on my when I'm on my way to an estate sale! So overall, I'd give it a failing grade for a thrifting vehicle.

  17. Besides the carrying room issue you have to be sure it turns on a dime - for when you catch a sale sign at the last minute. You need excellent brakes for fast stops to pick up curbside treasures. Roofracks and a hitch are a bonus. Maybe a sun or moon roof for tall items to stick up through. I like a split back seat or all buckets for those times you do have a third person along. And either a liner or very washable interior.

  18. Jessica: I wish going car-free was an option in much more rural North Florida :) Well, besides that, I try to drive somewhere crazy in this kitsch wonderland we live in every weekend...

    I need a car that can take a mileage beating! Suzukis...not so much.

    Flo: Eek, thanks for the warning of sorts!

    Angelika: Love the hint, I'm going to look up this car!

    Dogsmom: Excellent observations!

  19. I have an Isuzu rodeo and its great to stuff it specially random stuff one might find!!

  20. Miss Lou: Thank you for the tip :)

  21. My 2004 (paid for) Toyota Echo hatchback...have thrifted a long, low mid century daybed into the back. Bonus is it's so easy on gas!

  22. We have a Fit and an Element. Both are excellent thrifting cars!

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