“Frugal” Friday

I am going to stretch the concept of Frugal Friday, maybe until it breaks. Until now I have focused on a dollar amount and year range for cars. Yesterday’s post that featured a Rolls-Royce Camargue got me thinking about luxury makes that could be acquired for less than luxury money.

Consider that at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee in January a 1988 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur hammered at $13,000 meaning the buyer paid $14,300 all in. A 1999 Silver Seraph hammered at $18,000 meaning the buyer paid $19,800. From bentleygoldcoast.com a picture of the latter:

See the source image

If you’re buying a car like this for status then your friends and neighbors almost certainly wouldn’t know what you paid for the car, just that you’re driving a Rolls-Royce.

So, for today’s Frugal Friday I have picked a couple of luxury makes and then searched for the least expensive example. Sticking with Rolls-Royce, on cars.com one model, a 1976 Silver Shadow with 75,000+ miles, was listed at $3,995, but looked to be in very poor condition. In my very superficial search for one that looked decent I found a 1983 Silver Spur with 59,000 miles listed at…$11,900. In a still from a YouTube video here is an example of this car:

See the source image

OK, so you’re probably still going to have to pay Rolls-Royce prices to have the car serviced. Just think, though, that you can buy a Rolls-Royce for $11,000-$12,000.

 

How about Ferrari? Going back to the Mecum Kissimmee auction a 1986 Mondial, still a Ferrari, hammered for $26,000 meaning the buyer paid $28,600 all in. From bestcarmag.com a picture of a 1986 Mondial:

See the source image

 

On cars.com a 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena was listed for…$4,501. That price and the lack of exposition in the ad copy made me suspicious that the car doesn’t run. Some cars are not worth buying no matter the price. The next “cheapest” 2001 360 Modena was listed at $43,988.

How do you like this car?

See the source image

From dyler.com a picture of a 1997 Ferrari 456 GTA. A car like this is advertised on cars.com for $39,999. That example has about 30,000 miles. Like with the Rolls, you would have to pay Ferrari prices to have the car serviced and $40,000-ish is not cheap, per se. Still, the average price of an average new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. As regular readers know I would MUCH prefer this to an SUV or pickup truck. These cars were powered by a 5.5 liter/333 cubic-inch V-12 rated at 436 HP/398 LB-FT of torque. C’mon! A V-12 Ferrari for the price of a mundane SUV! The 456 and 456 M were produced from 1992 to 2003 with a total output of almost 3,300 units.

I would very much like to read your thoughts on today’s Frugal Friday.

 

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Frugal Friday: It’s March (!) Edition

First, before Frugal Friday (by the way, it’s snowing here on the first day of meteorological Spring)…

Something I like to say when I want to sound clever is to paraphrase/twist Shakespeare: There is nothing good or bad, but context makes it so. This relates to the fact that human beings seldom judge the world on the basis of objective reality, but based on expectations and the status quo.

Disaffected Musings views for February fell just a handful short of a nice round number, but exceeded those of January by 15% despite being, obviously, three days shorter. However, about ten percent of February views came in just one day (the 1st) AND January was a short month in terms of the number of posts.

Extending this pointless exercise even further, February views per day were about 4 percent below those for December and a whopping 45 percent below November. (Both of those months were “normal” in terms of the number of posts.) So, was February a good month for views? Like I keep saying, that depends on the context. I don’t know anything about seasonality in blog viewing on the WordPress platform, what the normal “uptake” or “stickiness” rates are for blogs, or any of a host of factors.

The current administration stated that if its fiscal policies were enacted that the annual growth rate for real GDP would be pushed to 3%+. Yesterday the Federal Government released its first estimate of 4th quarter GDP growth and, therefore, first estimate for overall growth for 2018. Did GDP growth reach 3%? Well, that depends on how you count.

For calendar year 2018, real GDP grew at 2.9% compared to calendar year 2017. So, it seems close, but not quite. However, some economists talk about year-over-year growth for the fourth quarter as a good measure. That figure was +3.1%. In any event, these numbers are usually revised.

As Bill James has written, statistics are not truth; they are an approximation of the truth. Even when we have computers implanted in our brains that can spit out the history of the universe at a billion words a second, there will be things about the world that matter but that cannot be measured precisely, if at all. Remember what Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.”

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Today’s listings for Frugal Friday come from Autotrader. As such, those listings are their property.

The criteria for today were convertibles and coupes for sale at US dealers for between $9,000 and $10,000, that are between five and ten years old and have fewer than 60,000 miles. The search unearthed 170 vehicles matching those criteria. Despite that number, not a single car had an 8-cylinder engine.

A lot of these cars were either a Fiat 500, a Smart Car or a Kia Forte. One that was not was this car:

Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible Columbus, IN 47201 - 505578202 - 16

This is a 2009 Pontiac Solstice. I have written about this car and its cousin, the Saturn Sky, before as I am a fan of them. This car is not the GXP turbo version, but is powered by the normally aspirated 2.4 liter, inline 4-cylinder engine that was rated at 173 HP/167 LB-FT of torque. This car has a 5-speed manual transmission and has about 47,000 miles. The list price is $9,998. (Don’t you love those cute retail prices? Not…)

My wonderful wife and I test drove the Solstice and the Sky years ago. Of course both have been out of production a long time (since 2010). Even the naturally aspirated cars are quick and they handle well, but not exceptionally well. However, the interiors feel REALLY small and cheap, to be honest. As I have written before, I believe GM made a big mistake in not upgrading the Solstice/Sky and letting Buick sell it as a halo car.

 

Used 2009 Volvo C70 T5 Convertible Raleigh, NC 27604 - 508046007 - 9

This is a 2009 Volvo C70 T5 convertible (duh!). It has an automatic transmission (5-speed), is front-wheel drive and has the turbo 5-cylinder, 2.5-liter/154 cubic-inch (you’re welcome, Bill Stephens) engine. The engine is rated at 227 HP/236 LB-FT. This car has 53,000 miles and the seller is asking, wait for it, $9,995.

While I’ve always thought the name Volvo (Latin for “I roll” or “I rotate”) was a little weird for a car, Volvo began its life as a manufacturer of ball bearings so the name is probably only weird to me. The make has a reputation for quality and reliability.

Have a good weekend…

 

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#disaffectedmusings

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Here is part of the GDP report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

2018 GDP Real GDP increased 2.9 percent in 2018 (from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2017 [emphasis mine]. The increase in real GDP in 2018 primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending that were slightly offset by a small negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. The acceleration in real GDP from 2017 to 2018 primarily reflected accelerations in nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, federal government spending, exports, and PCE, and an upturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by a downturn in residential investment.

During 2018 (measured from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018), real GDP increased 3.1 percent, [emphasis mine] compared with an increase of 2.5 percent during 2017. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.1 percent during 2018, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent during 2017.”

Both GDP growth measures I cited were on the same page in the same report.

 

 

Frugal Friday With A Side Of Ultimate Garage

Not that they are likely to see this, but thanks to the readers from Finland who clicked on this post today after seeing a link in the Cadillac forum. In my previous blog hosted by the Evil Empire (AKA Google) about 15% of readers were from outside the US. For Disaffected Musings that number is just 6-7 percent.

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David Banner recommended the idea that has become Frugal Friday; he is also the first reader to submit an Ultimate Garage. If you read the comments you would know this, but many readers do not. That’s a loss for those who don’t. Here is his Ultimate Garage:

 

1) Bentley Bentayga: because why not? The Cullinan is just too much, and the Bentley looks just as good in person. The perfect “I have no f**ks to give” vehicle.
2) Landcruiser/LX 450: luxury, durability, ability to carry seven live people or three dead ones. The Swiss Army knife of vehicles.
3) Aston Martin DB 11: because of James Bond, because of how it looks in two tone paint, because of all the other cars I have in my garage.
4) Rolls Royce Ghost: everyone should own a RR at least once in their lives, no?
5) Porsche 9114SC convertible: because my wife wants one…in silver with saddle interior…in manual…ASAP.
6) Ferrari California: because I want a Ferrari, because I want a convertible that’s not a pain in the ass re “rag top”, because it looks like sex on four wheels to me.
7) Chevy Malibu Hybrid: because sometimes you need to go over five hundred miles on a tank of gas in a car with a big trunk that can be fixed anywhere in the country. Trust me.
8) Porsche 928: in memory of a dearly departed friend who got me into cars and who owned one that was beat up but still was the perfect match for him. I tear up now even thinking about the first time I saw him step out of the car.

 

Of course, regular readers know I am not a fan of SUVs, no matter how luxurious, so none will appear in Ultimate Garage 2.0, but different strokes for different folks. The Ferrari California was included in my original Ultimate Garage and is a strong contender for 2.0.

I would love to post more of these from Disaffected Musings readers so don’t be shy!

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I haven’t written of this in awhile, but I still have an unhealthy obsession with defunct American makes. I mean, look at my garage:

 

What does that have to do with Frugal Friday? This week, still using Hemmings, I searched for cars being sold by US dealers, but this week the car could be from any year and I lowered the price range to $5,000-$6,000. Look what showed up:

A 1955 Studebaker Champion listed at $5,450. Country Classic Cars has a large percentage of the listings in today’s search. They have suffered quite a bit in recent years being the victim of a large fire AND a tornado.

Anyway, back to the Studebaker…supposedly it has only 46,000-ish miles and is powered by the base 186 cubic-inch inline 6-cylinder engine. Studebaker built about 50,000 Champions in 1955, about 38% of their total output of approximately 134,000. Stude fans would think this a sacrilege, but if I were so inclined to buy it that purchase would be for the purpose of resto-modding. Anyone else with me? Of course, the car would end up costing WAY more than the list price.

 

Sorry about the small picture…in honor of my wonderful wife who owned one of these, here is a 1990 Nissan 300ZX. The dealer is asking $5,600 and claims that a new transmission was installed a year ago. This is not the Twin-Turbo model, but is powered by a naturally-aspirated V-6 engine of 3.9 liter/181 cubic-inch displacement rated at 222 HP/198 LB-FT of torque. The twin-turbo engine was rated 280 HP/283 LB-FT.

My wonderful wife has owned a lot of cars including a Mach 1 Mustang, a Pontiac Trans Am, a Chevrolet Camaro, and a Jaguar XK-8 convertible. I think her current car, a 2015 Corvette, is her favorite but she speaks highly of some of her previous automobiles.

 

Any comments from readers on today’s Frugal Friday choices? Anybody there?

 

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Frugal Friday

At today’s end an eighth of 2019 will already be gone. Carpe Diem!

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From today’s Friday Funnies by 56packardman:

gas $1.39

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Reader “David Banner” suggested writing about collector cars for “the average Joe/Jill.” I think that’s a good idea although defining “average” and “collector car” is subjective.

Today’s selections are from Hemmings and, as such, the listings belong to them. As today’s Frugal Friday is the first I am kind of winging it. If I continue the feature I will probably not rely solely on Hemmings.

For today I chose cars listed at between $9,000 and $10,000, inclusive, and cars that were made between 1989 and 2004. The criteria are arbitrary, I admit. That reminds of me what I used to say about salary arbitration in baseball. Salary arbitration is well-named because the results are completely arbitrary. I also only included cars sold at US dealers and not by individuals as well as including only those ads with photos. I will try to avoid cars about which I have written before, but it is inevitable that some of them will be included. Without further ado:

Here is a 1991 Chevrolet Camaro RS:

It’s in Red Metallic over Gray and has only 56,000-ish miles. It’s not an overly powerful car; the engine is a 305 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 170 HP/255 LB-FT of torque, which is not a high output for a 3,300 pound car. It has a 4-speed automatic transmission. The asking price is $9,500.

About 101,000 Camaros were produced for the 1991 model year. I think if you want a nice driver with a little flair for not a lot of money you could do a lot worse than this car. ALL used cars come with risk.

 

A Jaguar for under $10,000?! Yep…

This gorgeous burgundy over beige 2001 Jaguar XK-8 coupe with about 56,000 miles is listed for $9,900. My wonderful wife had an XK-8 convertible and it was not without its issues, but they are beautiful cars and are nice GT cruisers. Bill Stephens, one of the hosts of Mecum Auto Auctions on NBCSN, has an XK-8 about which he speaks very highly.

This car has a 4-liter (244 cubic inches for the aforementioned Bill Stephens) V-8 engine rated at 290 HP/290 LB-FT of torque. The XK-8 has a five-speed automatic transmission. Even if you had to put $2,000-$4,000 into the car after purchase, you would still have a Jaguar that cost you less than $15,000.

Please let me know what you thought of the first Frugal Friday post.

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Had to include a link to this CNBC article about Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. The title is, “Charlie Munger says California, Connecticut have been ‘stupid’ for driving rich people away.”

 

#frugalfriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.