Late summer through the fall is always the best time of year for car bargain-hunters. That’s the time when dealers put discontinued models on sell-out mode to clear their decks for the upcoming model year.

This year should present a veritable feast.

With Chrysler and General Motors in and out of bankruptcy court, and rival Ford selling off Volvo, there are more “orphan” models than ever, and even entire orphan brands.

After all, GM is selling Saturn and Hummer and closing the Pontiac brand. It looks like Saturn and Hummer will stay in business, but it puts a question mark on the future of those brands, and that’s likely to be reflected in slower sales, and in discounts on their products.

Most of these orphans still deserve a good home. In many cases — like the Hummer H3, which is based on the same platform as the Chevy TrailBlazer — they have a lot in common mechanically with products and brands that continue in business.

Some lame ducks, like the Hyundai Entourage minivan, are fine for what they are, but they’re in product segments that are out of favor with car buyers, so they’re not worth the trouble and expense for the automakers to renew.

Some are simply due for phaseout in the normal course of business. For example, the Mercedes-Benz CLK was simply up for renewal. Instead of replacing it with a new CLK, Mercedes-Benz decided to upgrade its replacement to the bigger and more expensive E-Class.

Here are 9 automotive orphans that are worth a look while supplies last:

1. Honda S2000

Sporty convertible
Starting price: $35,705
Orphan cause: Discontinued

Honda won’t replace the Honda S2000 convertible when 2009 models run out. That could take a long time. Honda sold fewer than 100 in June, 67 percent below a year ago. That seems to be OK with Honda, since it’s not advertising any discounts. Enthusiasts like the Honda S2000, but it’s pricey, and it has to be revved high to get the best performance.

2. Hummer H3

Midsize SUVStarting price: $34,170
Orphan cause: GM is selling Hummer

GM has an agreement to sell Hummer to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd., a heavy-equipment manufacturer. GM says Hummer manufacturing will stay in America. The H3 shares a platform with the Chevy TrailBlazer. It’s Hummer’s best-selling model, but Hummer sales are down more than 60 percent this year overall. GM currently is offering almost $8,000 cash off the H3.

3. Hyundai Entourage

MinivanStarting price: $24,745
Orphan cause: Discontinued

Hyundai is offering up to $4,000 off its Entourage minivan, which is being discontinued once existing stocks are sold. In a sinking market, the minivan segment is down more than most, and the exterior styling of the Entourage is bland, even by minivan standards. Like most cars from Korean brands, it has a lot of features for the money, like a five-speed automatic transmission.

4. Kia Spectra

Entry-level sedan, and hatchback wagon
Starting price: $14,245

Orphan cause: Discontinued

Kia is replacing its best-selling model, the Kia Spectra, with the all-new Kia Forte, even though Spectra sales have been good in a slow U.S. market overall. Kia dropped the Spectra name because it didn’t mean much to people, said Michael Sprague, the company’s vice president of marketing. Kia is offering a $3,000 cash rebate on the Spectra, or zero-percent financing plus $600 cash.

5. Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabrio

Luxury convertibleStarting price: $56,975
Orphan cause: Discontinued

An all-new E-Class convertible will replace the Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabrio. The entire CLK class — positioned between the entry-level C-Class and the mid-level E-Class — has been discontinued. The CLK Coupes are virtually gone off dealer lots but the Cabrio remains on sale until spring 2010. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is offering 1.9 percent financing on the CLK Cabrio.

6. Pontiac Vibe

Small four-door hatchbackStarting price: $16,735
Orphan cause: Discontinued/GM closing Pontiac

GM is phasing out Pontiac entirely by the end of 2010. The Pontiac Vibe is an early casualty. The Pontiac Vibe is a twin to the Toyota Matrix. Toyota and GM jointly developed them to save costs. Under its bankruptcy reorganization, GM will stop building the Pontiac Vibe in August 2009, and end its partnership with Toyota. Currently, GM is offering a $2,500 cash rebate.

7. Saab 9-7X

Luxury SUVStarting price: $43,390
Orphan cause: GM selling Saab

The Saab 9-7X has three strikes against it, in terms of a future. Even before GM went bankrupt, the 9-7X was due to be replaced soon by an all-new crossover. Second, the 9-7X, based on the Chevy TrailBlazer, doesn’t fit the Saab brand. Third, GM intends to sell Saab to Koenigsegg, a Swedish sports carmaker. GM is offering $1,000 cash on the 9-7X.

8. Saturn Astra

Small two- or three-door hatchbackStarting price: $16,495
Orphan cause: Discontinued/ GM selling Saturn and spinning off Opel

The Saturn Astra is a rebadged version of the Opel Astra, from Germany. GM is dropping it in part because importing it is too expensive. In addition, as part of GM’s bankruptcy, GM is selling the Saturn brand. GM is also looking for a partner to take over Opel. While supplies last, GM is offering $2,000 off the Astra.

9. Volvo S60

Sporty luxury sedanStarting price: $33,625
Orphan cause: Discontinued/Ford selling Volvo

Volvo is discontinuing the S60 sedan after a nine-year run. At the same time, parent Ford is shopping the Volvo brand, with no takers after more than a year on the market. As part of the sell-down of the S60, Volvo has been advertising $7,500 off on its Web site. S60 sales were down 44 percent in the first half, but up 60 percent in June.