Frugal Friday

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Although some economists don’t believe the absolute magnitude of Chinese GDP data, the fact that data released today showed the lowest quarterly GDP growth rate since 1992 indicates trade issues are affecting the Chinese economy. I refuse to call the current situation a trade “war.” A trade “war” would be something like the nearly complete cessation of trade and the existence of astronomical tariffs. Let me quickly add that I do not necessarily condone (or condemn) the current administration’s stance on trade, but the Chinese economy is experiencing negative effects. As a net exporter, China GDP growth will slow if trade slows.


I was going to use recent results from the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas as the basis for today’s Frugal Friday. However, unlike the Mecum website, I cannot see auction results all on one page, but have to look at each lot to see the hammer/all-in price. That’s simply too inconvenient and time-consuming.

Today’s Frugal Friday cars are the result of a large, free-form search on Hemmings of cars for sale in the US for model years 2004 to 2009, inclusive. I also tried to exclude cars that have previously been featured on Frugal Friday. Here is a picture of a 2006 Nissan 350Z for sale:



The ad copy is almost non-existent and very few pictures are offered. The mileage is not shown, either. However, the asking price is just $6,000.

Hagerty’s website doesn’t seem to be working this morning. Kelley Blue Book “valued” this car at between $5,800 and $7,700 in a “private party” transaction. Of course, I had to make some guesses about mileage and the vehicle condition. Subjectively, $6,000 just doesn’t seem like a lot of money for this car.

Here is a listing for one of my “sleeper” cars, a 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS with a V-8:




2007 was the last model year for the Monte Carlo, which began its run in 1970 although the car was not produced continuously during that period. This is not a low-mileage example with over 103,000 miles, so I would understand wariness on the part of some of you. The seller is asking $9,497.

I think these cars are quite stylish. The 5.3 liter/325 cubic-inch engine had an output of 303 HP/323 LB-FT of torque. Unlike the ad for the 350Z the ad for the Monte Carlo SS is quite expansive, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good car, of course. Still, and almost regardless of the evaluation of “neutral” parties, a car like this listing for under $10,000 seems like a bargain to me.








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10 thoughts on “Frugal Friday

  1. So perusing CarGurus in a 150 mile range from me, I am finding the 350 more in the $8-10,000 range, unless you’re looking at a 120K+miles car. Even still, looks like a fun car for the money. For about $50-60K, a person could have a nice three car garage-sports car, SUV/crossover, and a daily driver. To me, this should be bad news for auto dealers, but no one has made much money betting on rational decision making.


      1. I know someone who owns a dealership. He told me that 80% of dealerships in the U.S., his included, lose money in the new car department. Their profits come mostly from used cars and parts. They no longer make much, if any, money on service. There’s little incentive to be a car dealer.


      2. Thanks, 56packardman. It has long been the case that dealers made money from selling used cars and parts/service as opposed to selling new cars. If their revenues from service fall significantly then a major shakeout could occur.

        Obviously, companies like CarMax and Carvana threaten the used car portion of dealers’ business. Some might say the dealers brought this on themselves through years of less than scrupulous behavior towards customers. I will just write, once again, that the only constant in the world is change.


  2. I was a fan of the early Monte Carlo (though I could never afford one.) The later models lost me, however. I guess I just didn’t think the newer styles had the panache of the earlier designs. FWIW.


    1. Always good to hear from you, sir. I guess I am a fan of all of the Monte Carlo generations and lament its absence from the automobile market. The first generation Monte was quite a good-looking car, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would have personally liked to see the last-gen Monte Carlo live long enough to get the GM LFX 3.6L V6. This engine also had ~300HP and was smaller, lighter and more efficient than the 5.3 in the last-gen (W-body) Impala and Monte Carlo SS cars. My former company car – a 2012 Impala with that engine and six-speed automatic – was a pretty entertaining Q-ship despite its aging platform.


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