I warned you that I was going to show a lot of pictures of the scenery around here.
Even though I found both of our Corvettes using Car Gurus, for the type of search I wanted to do today I used AutoTrader. The latter is better at searches by multiple types of cars.
I did a nationwide search of vehicles with a max price of $10,000 and no more than 75,000 miles. The cars had to have an 8-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, and be a convertible or coupe. Oh, the cars also could not have ever had a reported accident.
It will be absolutely no surprise to regular readers of Disaffected Musings which car I picked. This picture is from Barrett-Jackson as picture links to AutoTrader have a way of breaking quickly.
This is a 1993 Cadillac Allanté. The one available on AutoTrader, also in Red, has 53,499 miles and the asking price is $7,990. AutoTrader classifies that as a “Great Price.”
This was the fifth least expensive of the 19 results in the search. The four that were less expensive were also Cadillacs, either Eldorados or Allantés, but were of model years I wouldn’t buy.
IF the car fit our needs (it doesn’t) or IF I had space for a fourth car (I don’t), I would have already contacted the dealer about this car. If my aunt had had balls, she would have been my uncle. I first heard that line, which I have been using for more than 40 years, from Tim Whittie. He was a star athlete at my high school, earning 10 varsity letters in football, wrestling and track. (It could have been football, wrestling and lacrosse, but 10 varsity letters is still 10 varsity letters.)
He did play major college football, but was never more than a complementary player at that level. I had a friend, Jim F (we have drifted apart over the years), who was the city defensive player of the year in our senior year. He was not successful at making the jump to college football at the 1-AA level. It’s great to have dreams, but almost everyone should have a fallback position. People like LeBron James are literally one in a million.
OK, back to the car…as every edition of Frugal Friday shows, an enjoyable car can be purchased for not a lot of money. I believe it was Keynes who said that the desired end result of all economic activity is consumption. In other words, one acquires wealth with the idea it will or could be spent, even if that spending is in the future.
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6 thoughts on “Frugal Friday, Cheapest Car I Would Buy Edition”
Over the years I have gotten some excellent deals on cars/trucks/motorcycles. Sometimes it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, sometimes it was a vehicle that was “flying under the radar.” Sometimes the latter was due to a misspelling in the ad title by the seller (usually on eBay), sometimes for reasons unknown.
Case in point; around 8 years ago I was able to purchase a 1974 Dodge Dart Swinger, minor rust (no rot) with 318 and A/C, on eBay for less than $900. I had a 360 engine I had built that would drop right in where the 318 was, which is why I wanted it. At the time I bought it, other offerings in the same year model range and condition, were selling for around $2,000-3,000. No idea why this one didn’t get the same attention, but I wasn’t going to argue.
Another would be the 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger I “won” in an auction on Bring a Trailer. 39,000 original miles, from the second owner for $3,000 plus the BaT fee.It was probably not the best venue for this car as on eBay and other sites they were selling for $5,000 and higher Drove from Ga to Minn with my car hauler to pick it up, total investment of less than $4,000.
If I were to really think about it, I could probably come up with 10 more. But there were also a bunch that I walked away from because there was something about the deal that didn’t pass the “smell test,” be it a seller that didn’t want to answer questions, didn’t want to supply additional pictures, didn’t want to negotiate on the price, or sometimes just a “gut” feeling. There are also some I bought, albeit years ago before I became more knowledgeable, that I SHOULD have passed on. Can’t win every time, no matter how hard you try.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, DDM. As I have commented to you before, I envy your automotive history. More power to you…
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It’s funny how sometimes a deal just happens. I may have told the story before but…
I looked for years for a car. Something would come up, I’d have to put it off. At work I’d have Auto Trader and kijiji open. I finally made a plan to see 4 cars one day, a road trip really, with a friend to help me inspect the cars.
Picked up Dan in Mississauga and headed to London ON, about 250kms (150 miles) to see a 1972 Lemans Sport Sedan, asking $4000. Guy picked the car up from an estate. The previous owner did body and paint but underneath was rough. Skip that.
Next stop was to see a 1977 Córdoba. Guy says “oh I sold it last night, sorry”. Ok.
Next stop Dunnville, north shore of Lake Erie, 170km (100 miles) from London. I was excited to see a 1965 Ford Country Sedan. The guy selling was a Ford guy, and a drag racer. Driveway full of F series trucks and an Anglia drag car. I was disappointed in the wagon though. It seemed solid, the 352 started no problem. It was on a trailer so I couldn’t drive it. But, while the body seemed good, the paint was trash. Guy says he rescued it from a barn in New Brunswick, the owner had smeared Vaseline all over the car. It kept out the moisture but ate the paint. The seller was going to rat rod it, so he’d stripped all the brightwork off it, even the driver side mirror. He wanted $7500. More than I wanted to spend on a car that needed… something. Still, being a wagon I was intrigued.
It was getting late. I made a call to Port Colborne not far from Niagara Falls to see this 1976 Grand Prix. The daughter of the original owner was trying to sell it. Her father died in 1977 and her mother barely drove it, mostly around town to church, shopping and the bank. We meet where it’s stored, it starts right up. Dan tells me it’s been under coated, looks pretty solid. The rear bumper is pushed in, the lady tells me she mistook the gear shift for the wiper and accidentally ran it into her Subaru in the driveway. Asking $3000. I tell her I have some things to consider.
Dan and I head home, but we stop for dinner, I decide that the Grand Prix at $3000 I really can’t go wrong. Call the lady back and told her I’d take it. I hadn’t even driven it. I told her to get her mechanic to do the safety.
The mechanic replaced front springs, total to safety $800. The seller says she feels bad, knocks $300 off her asking price. By the time I was done, I paid $4021, taxes and license included. She told me she’d been trying to sell the car for 3 years.
I’ve had it since May 2017. I’ve put about 9000 miles on it. As far as further repair, the front springs were too stiff and the resulting rake caused a (basically new) rear brake line to rub against something and wear thru. Doing the repair at home I accidentally damaged my gas tank. I ended up spending $1000 to get a new tank and heavier rear springs put in to level the car. In 2019 I got a used set of Rally II rims and had them refinished, and replaced the (likely 15 year old) tires, total cost $1900. Oh and 2 ignition modules replaced at about $300 each.
It’s not a pristine car, it has some scars and some rusty spots. The interior is like new, it rides smooth. I’ve seen cars up here in pieces listed for more than what I paid.
Sorry long post but I love telling the story lol
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Don’t apologize for the “length” of the comment. I thoroughly enjoyed it and suspect many readers will also.
Persistence is often a virtue and so is luck, but we have no control over the latter. As you know I have a soft spot in my heart for Pontiacs. As you may also know, I too owned a Grand Prix, but about 20 years newer than yours. It’s still the car I’ve owned the longest, 9 years.
Thanks for reading and for commenting.
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Not being any kind of an expert at automobiles (except in that I know what I like to look at in a car), I’ve been shy at buying used vehicles. I always seemed to get stuck with a vehicle with hidden problems, even after taking them to a mechanic for a pre-buy inspection.
I must admit that I enjoy looking at used cars, and have done well on occasion, but I admire those who can go into a used vehicle deal with a lot more confidence than I have.
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No question that buying any used car comes with risk. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different.
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