Frugal Friday 11

I guess not too many people are interested in John Unitas, anymore. Too bad…


I really wanted to call this post “Frugal Friday, Aughts Small Displacement Version.” That’s not exactly a title that appeals to the eyes or rolls off the tongue, though. Still, that’s my idea today. I will show a couple of small displacement vehicles built from 2000 to 2010. (OK, so I stretched the aughts a year.) Also, the cars have to have forced induction, supercharging or turbocharging. I mean, I couldn’t care less about some naturally aspirated 4-banger.

Well, whadda ya know?! A whole bunch of cars like this showed up…


Used 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP Convertible PETOSKEY, MI 49770 - 550297641 - 4


From this AutoTrader ad a picture of a 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP convertible. This car in Mysterious Black over Ebony has about 31,000 miles and is listed for $13,000. The transmission is an automatic and, of course, given the GXP designation the car is powered by the turbocharged 2-liter/122 cubic-inch inline-4 cylinder engine that, from the factory, produced 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque. This might still be the highest specific output (power per unit of displacement) of any engine in General Motors history.

Everyone who reads this blog knows I am a big fan of the Solstice/Sky. Everyone knows I think GM made a major mistake in not giving an upgraded version of this car to Buick as a halo car after the demise of Pontiac and Saturn.

I am not a big fan of the car pictured below, but most cars have a price at which they are appealing.


Used 2006 MINI Cooper S Convertible BURBANK, CA 91505 - 545079804 - 1


From this AutoTrader ad, a picture of a 2006 MINI Cooper S convertible. The car in Pepper White over Black has about 41,000 miles and the “no-haggle” price is listed at $6,990. One thing I like about the AutoTrader ads is that for most cars the Kelley Blue Book® value is shown at the bottom. For this car the value range is shown as $5,426 to $6,889. Most cars are listed for prices far above the top of the range. At least this car is close, but no-haggle doesn’t always mean good deal.

This MINI, built by BMW, is powered by a 1.6 liter/98 cubic-inch supercharged inline 4-cylinder engine that generated 168 HP/162 LB-FT of torque. For a car with a curb weight of under 2,900 pounds, that’s not a bad power-to-weight ratio. Remember that these are front-wheel drive cars.

One could buy both of these cars at list price and pay just half of the average transaction price for a new vehicle purchased in the US, at least before the coronavirus. Imagine his and hers convertibles for 20 grand total.

I know Dirty Dingus McGee has had an active career as a car buyer with many of those purchases made online. To all readers, I would like to read about your experiences in buying a car, good or bad, online or in-person.







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10 thoughts on “Frugal Friday 11

  1. I almost bought a Solstice for our “fun” car to knock around in Arizona several years ago. After a test drive and a long chat with Lynn, we decided it was too small. We opted for the Orange Pony, a 40th Anniversary Mustang.


    1. Thanks, sir. I think you have shared that story before.

      As I have already written, the Solstice/Sky is a fail as a grocery car so it’s not a contender for Corvette companion. I think my wonderful wife and I have come to the conclusion that we should buy a car made in the last 20 years. Of course, who knows what we’ll do when the time comes.

      Stay safe and be well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are probably right that I mentioned it at one time. I’ve found in my advanced years that I’ve been known to repeat myself, repeat myself. >grin<


  2. Re car buying, I got a call from the dealer where I got my car serviced; “Mr. X, we need used cars like yours. What if I could get you into a brand new car for the same monthly payments you are paying now?” I bit, knowing that interest rates hadn’t dropped that much and my current vehicle hadn’t appreciated to the point that this made sense.
    They did have a shapely saleswoman who was good at small talk. Two hours later, the manager was disheveled and sweaty when he finally showed me the deal: $220 more per month for a car that had fewer features than my perfectly good car. Ha! I beat feet faster than Fred Flintstone at quitting time! And now, even though this shop is maybe two miles from my house, I won’t go back there even for a free nitrogen fill of my tires.

    Thanks for the info on the Mini Cooper. Even though we each have cars, we want a manual shifting convertible for sh🤬ts and giggles on the weekend. I can do my “Donnie Wahlburg” imitation in it. Now that I’ve hit sixty, I deserve to be frivolous every now and then!


    1. Thanks for sharing, DB. The bad reputation of car salesmen didn’t come out of thin air.

      It is always good to be frivolous now and then. The key is defining “now and then.”


  3. The absolute worst car buying experience I had was 40 years ago. In 1980 I had grown tired of putting patches on patches, and fixing SOMETHING every other week,on the VW Beetle that my at the time wife loved.I finally convinced her it was time to move up and I was willing to trade my 2 year old Datsun pickup on something for her. I was actually needing a larger truck so no big deal for me. One of our stops was at a Buick dealership. When I offered that I would be looking to trade the truck, they sent someone out to look at it. A few minutes later they made an offer of less than 1/3 the value of the truck. I immediately got up and walked away, and loudly proclaimed that I would not do business with them if they were giving away cars.

    Ended up at a Chevrolet dealer, that made a decent trade offer (approx 2/3 the value) and gave us a decent deal on a new Citation(that car is a whole ‘nother story which I believe I mentioned here previously)

    Some of the most pleasant experiences have been from fellow enthusiasts who understand that you will be lucky to get a return of $.50 per hour on work/modifications you have performed on a vehicle yourself. They know it’s mostly a labor of love, and not a profitable undertaking. I myself learned that many years ago on a couple of cars I built from 2-3 different “junkers”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for sharing your story. Again, by and large car salesmen have earned their reputation.

      As I have written before, and firmly believe, except in the rarest of circumstances cars should not be purchased as investments and repairs do not pay for themselves unless you’re restoring a Duesenberg Model J. How’s that for a run-on sentence!

      Liked by 1 person

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