Frugal Friday 10

First…I almost always think that the “truth” lies between extreme positions. However, I must acknowledge that another axiom I hold dear, no thought/behavioral paradigm is always appropriate, is why I must use the qualifier “almost.”

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In the state in which we live car dealerships are only open for service. In my almost daily scan of available cars I have noticed that more dealers are offering walk-around videos of the cars and home delivery. Could this lead to a permanent change in the automotive marketplace? Does this mean a company like Carvana is well-positioned to become a dominant force?

I have to admit that I am not dealing with this coronavirus situation well and, as such, am kind of lost in terms of generating content for Disaffected Musings. Having a stand-by like Frugal Friday is only helpful to a point.

I don’t know if they’re still doing this feature, but Hemmings has run a $5,000 Challenge, looking at cars that are listed for no more than $5,000 and then asking readers to comment and/or to pick a favorite. I will use the Hemmings idea, but modify it so that the cars are listed for between $9,000 and $11,000. Oh, all of these cars are also from 1961 to 1965.

How about this car?

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1961 Metropolitan listed at $9,900. I know many car enthusiasts would call this a Nash Metropolitan, but I am a stickler and the Nash make ended with the 1957 model year. In 1961 the car was an American Motors product.

OK, I admit it; I think these cars are adorable. The Metropolitan was the first car designed by a US car company for sale primarily in North America that was built elsewhere, in this case in Britain. This example has just 43,083 miles and looks good in the photos.

How about this one?

 

 

From Hemmings a picture of a 1963 Buick Skylark with what is believed to be just 47,000 miles. Of course, that qualifier gets the seller off the hook. The asking price is $10,000.

This car has the original 215 cubic-inch aluminum V-8 engine that, when new, produced 200 HP and 240 LB-FT of torque. These cars were not heavy at about 2,800 pounds. Buick produced 32,109 of these for 1963.

Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac all used the novel aluminum engine in the early 1960s, but ceased after the 1963 model year. The engine was then licensed (or sold, can’t find the answer definitively) to Rover of Great Britain who used the basic architecture into the 1990s.

OK, one more:

 

 

Also from Hemmings (and from Country Classic Cars) is a 1965 Ford Galaxie 2-door hardtop. This ad copy is sparse: “…new tires and wheels and paint on good body, good orig int, bucket seats, console v8, 4 speed, runs and drives good.” The asking price is $10,950. The odometer reads 89,376 miles. Ford used four different V-8 engines for model year 1965 so without looking at the VIN and/or having a Ford guy interpret the engine bay photos, I can’t tell you what motor is in this car.

My ever-present quest, no matter how active, for a Z06 companion that can serve as a stylish grocery car is probably why I focused on cars of this vintage. So, do any of these appeal to you? I would very much like to read your thoughts. Thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#1961Metropolitan

#1963BuickSkylark

#1965FordGalaxie

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday, Mecum Glendale 2020 Edition

First…in Where Is Cristy Lee? I noted her absence from the telecast of the Barrett-Jackson auction from Scottsdale, Arizona in January. Well, as some of you may know that was Motor Trend’s last broadcast of a Barrett-Jackson auction, at least for the foreseeable future. When those auctions resume they will be shown on the A&E networks (e.g. History, fyi). As Cristy Lee is under contract to Motor Trend, I assume, given that Motor Trend is part of the Discovery “empire” and that A&E is jointly owned by Hearst and Disney, I don’t think the gorgeous Ms. Lee will be on the broadcasts, anymore.

Of all of the on-air talent only Steve Magnante actually works for Barrett-Jackson. It could be almost an entirely new cast of characters the next time a Barrett-Jackson auction is held and broadcast.

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Some automotive “experts” advise not to buy a car for less than $15,000 or so at any auction as that is strong evidence, they believe, of a sub-standard car. Well, I think that all depends. Some cars can be purchased for so little money that even if they need work the total cost will still be low. Example #1 from the recently concluded Mecum auction in Glendale, Arizona is a car like this:

 

See the source image

 

From autoblog a picture of a 1999 Cadillac Eldorado. The actual Mecum car was White over Tan with a faux convertible roof. Mecum’s own estimate for the price was $5,000-$10,000, granting that they have incentive to overstate the value. Anyway, the car sold all in for $3,850, which is even slightly less than Hagerty’s estimated value of about $4,500. OK, maybe this is not the best example of a frugal buy, but I think being able to buy a good-looking (IMO) Cadillac for under $4,000 is a good buy.

How many of you know what this is?

 

See the source image

 

From en.wheelsage.org a picture of a 1986 Mercury Capri ASC McLaren convertible. Only 245 of these were made. They were powered by a 5-liter/302 cubic-inch, fuel-injected V-8. The Mecum example, also in Red, had just 28,000 miles. It sold, all in, for $5,775. That’s a rare, good-looking (IMO) convertible that is not a slug for less than six grand! I’m sorry, but that screams “Buy The Car!” to me.

If we weren’t about a year away from moving, which means we would have to store a new car outside and then move it across the country, we might have purchased a car like this.

 

#FrugalFriday

#MecumAutoAuctions

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday 9

Happy Frigal Fruday!

You say you’re having a mid-life crisis? You say you want an exotic car, but you can’t spend more than $40,000? Tell you what I’m going to do…

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi with about 21,000 miles. The seller is asking $39,900. For the nth plus nth time, the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US is about $40,000. Also remember that it’s easy, if you have the money, to spend $300,000 and up for a new Ferrari.

Ferrari introduced fuel injection (the “i” in GTSi) into this line in 1980. Here is the rationale from Ferrari’s website:

 

“The fuel injection system gave both models much smoother power delivery. Unfortunately, meeting anti-pollution regulations meant that a few horses had to go, and the cleaner engines were less powerful than the previous carburettor ones. Aware of this situation and the need to re-establish its cars at the top their class, Ferrari immediately began further development of the V8 engine with the aim of increasing power whilst still keeping exhaust emissions within acceptable levels.”

 

In US spec, the 2.9 liter V-8 (179 cubic inches for Bill Stephens) produced 205 HP/181 LB-FT of torque. This is not a monster performer and it wouldn’t be cheap to maintain, but it’s a beautiful Ferrari for less than the price of a well-equipped Toyota Avalon. That’s a frugal buy in my book.

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From the Classics “division” of AutoTrader comes this car:

 

 

This is a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle two-door post model. Although the ad doesn’t specify the vintage, the car is powered by a 350 cubic-inch V-8, which I will assume is a Chevy small-block. This is not the original engine as that displacement was not available on Chevrolet cars until 1967. The transmission is a Turbo Hydra-Matic 350. The seller is asking $17,995.

Heretic that I am I have always preferred the looks of these GM A-Body cars compared to the style introduced in 1968. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or different strokes for different folks. Anyway, back to this car…even with shipping and a fair amount of work you would probably be in this car for no more than $23,000-$25,000. Yes, one could buy a new turbo-4 or maybe even 6-cylinder Camaro for that price, depending on how it’s optioned. You won’t have any rear quarter vision, though, and to me the new Camaro looks are a little soulless. I think the look of these cars is quite appealing.

Please feel free to offer thoughtful comments.

 

#FrugalFriday

#1982Ferrari308GTSi

#BillStephens

#1966ChevroletChevelle

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday 8

Obviously, I have written far more than seven previous Frugal Friday posts. (The actual number is close to 40.) This is the eighth post with the title of Frugal Friday without any embellishment.

Although I am not strictly a devotee of just one make or one country of origin, my automotive net is still not that large. As I have written many times, I have no interest in SUVs or pickup trucks as objects of affection. I have next to no interest in four-door sedans, apart from the occasional Rover P5B.

I like two-door cars that look good to me and have at least decent performance, even if not a performer like my Corvette Z06. However, as cars like that are not being made in large numbers anymore, my universe of interest shrinks in comparison to the auto world at large.

It might seem as if this car appears way too often on Disaffected Musings, but it hasn’t been featured in a Frugal Friday post for almost a year. (This is also the first post with this specific year/model tag.) Here is a 1993 Cadillac Allante:

 

 

This car, with 89,000+ miles, is listed on Hemmings with an asking price of $8,500. I passed on some 1989-93 Allantes priced even lower because I am not a fan of cars with white exteriors.

1993 was the last year for the Allante and the only year it was equipped with a 295 HP/290 LB-FT of torque NorthStar V-8. Cadillac produced 4,670 Allantes for model year 1993, which was actually more than the combined number for 1991 and 1992. In fact, 1993 was the best-selling year for the car that was produced from 1987 to 1993. At this distance, it’s not clear why the car was discontinued at that particular time even though it had been a major disappointment from the beginning. By the way, the MSRP for a 1993 Allante was $61,675, $110,106 in 2020 dollars according to this site.

Scarcity doesn’t guarantee future value. The Allante has sunk to the bottom of the depreciation curve and stayed there. While one man’s meat is another man’s poison, for me this car is almost the definition of good value in a collector car. The body was designed and built by the legendary Pininfarina, designer of so many Ferrari bodies. It’s not such an old car that service would be especially difficult. It is certainly less expensive to service a Cadillac than a Ferrari. Of course, I think the Allante is stunning in appearance and always have.

If it weren’t a “fail” as a grocery car, an Allante might very well have been the car I would have chosen as my Z06 companion. No, I am not thinking about a companion for my companion.

 

#FrugalFriday

#1993CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday

First…even though their market share in the US was less than two percent, in the third quarter of 2019 electric cars still outsold cars equipped with…manual transmissions. (Sorry, can’t remember where I read this, but I’m virtually certain this is correct.) I believe that 1.8% of new cars sold in the US in that quarter were electric and 1.1% had manual transmissions. The latter figure has to be an all-time low.

I will offer the opinion, somewhat heretical in some corners, that at least in the US the manual transmission is already dead on its feet, but no one has had the decency to knock it over and to give it a proper burial. I will also offer the opinion that many of those, but not all, with a stated preference for manual transmissions are actually engaging in signaling.

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The last Frugal Friday car of 2019 was a Buick and so the first Frugal Friday cars of 2020 will also be Buicks. First, the current Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida offered a car like this for sale yesterday:

 

See the source image

 

This is not the actual car—Mecum does not allow the online photos of current and recent lots to be captured—but it is a car offered at a Mecum auction in 2011. This is a 1990 Buick Reatta convertible, of which only 2,132 were built. While I prefer the coupe in appearance, I have always liked the way these cars look. When I moved to California in the mid-1990s I wanted to buy one, but the Buick/GMC/Pontiac dealer from whom I eventually purchased my Pontiac Grand Prix did not seem to want to find me a used Reatta. Production of the Reatta ended in 1991.

Anyway, the Reatta convertible offered yesterday sold, all in, for $3,850. Yep, $3,850. Even if you needed to put that much in it after purchase and had to spend $1,500 to ship the car (I paid much less than that to have my 2016 Corvette Z06 shipped to me from Oklahoma), you’d only be in the car for about $9,000. Everyone from Mecum to Hagerty to Barrett-Jackson is telling us that cars from the 1980s and 1990s are becoming more popular and should continue to do so. While except in rare instances like a 1930s Duesenberg I would never recommend buying a car as an investment, buying something like this could prove to be a money-making endeavor. Even if it doesn’t, you would own a fun, good-looking car (IMO) that is probably not too bad on gas and that could probably still be serviced by Buick dealers for less than ten grand up front.

A car similar to this next one was featured in my Ultimate Garage 2.0. While not a 1965 model, this Hemmings ad shows a car in which I would have interest, especially at the asking price of $16,950: a 1963 Buick Riviera:

 

 

While I wax nostalgic for cars like a 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk or a 1956 Packard Four Hundred, if/when I buy a companion to my Z06 the practicality of having the car serviced could steer me away (see what I did there…) from a car like that to a car like this. I am not a mechanic and don’t know if I want to start wrenching in my 60s. In addition, if I were ordered to limit my Ultimate Garage to five cars, this generation Riviera would definitely make the cut.

As always I welcome thoughts from you. Have a good weekend…

 

#FrugalFriday

#1990BuickReatta

#1963BuickRiviera

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Last Frugal Friday Of 2019

First, a story…about two weeks after I submitted my Masters thesis the “institution” I had attended informed me in a letter that they were not going to accept the paper. The reason? The margins on three or four pages were an eighth of an inch off, only on the right side of the pages. As I had not typed the paper and, instead, had paid a secretary in the department to type it and given that the department knew this, I was shocked by the letter.

What did I do? I threatened to sue the university, the same university that would—about 25 years later—bestow upon me an “Alumni Award of Excellence.” What do you know…a couple of weeks later I received a letter informing me that the paper was accepted and I would be receiving my Masters degree.

Why am I writing about this? Sometimes a person or institution has to threaten in order to get results. This Hemmings article is titled, “After SEMA files lawsuit, NHTSA drafts replica car rules.” I wrote about this situation here. By the way, I have only filed a lawsuit once and, in general, think the US is too litigious.

ANYONE who thinks that people are always good-hearted and always have good intentions needs an operation to have their head removed from their rectum. Some people, and institutions are just collections of people, are ornery or mean-spirited or have to show they’re in charge. Counting on the goodwill of people to always do the right thing is naive and foolish. Besides, much disagreement exists about what “the right thing” is, anyway.

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The last Frugal Friday car of the year is sentimental to me. I was actually surprised, upon reviewing the list of Frugal Friday cars, that this one had not been included. From Hemmings:

 

 

This is a 1956 Buick Century four-door hardtop sedan, of which 35,082 were made. One of these was the first car I really remember and the first car I ever drove. My father purchased one in 1961 and owned the car for more than 20 years.

One of the pictures accompanying the ad shows 210 miles on the odometer; the only thing we don’t know is if the car has 100,210 miles or 200,210 miles. The seller is asking $16,950. While pictures can be misleading (and often are), the car looks like it’s in good condition.

I believe this is the 34th Frugal Friday post. For at least the 33rd time I will offer that I would much rather have this car at $16,000-$17,000 than the vast majority of today’s new vehicles for which the average “transaction price” in the US is about $40,000.

I would very much like to read about your first car or a car that holds a special place in your memory. Happy Frugal Friday!

 

#FrugalFriday

#Don’tBeAfraidToStandUpForYourself

#1956BuickCentury

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday and Goodbye, Twitter

After thinking about doing so for a couple of months I deleted my Twitter account yesterday. With the exception of two days, the platform was useless in driving traffic to this blog in the 14 months I was “on” Twitter, which was the only reason I established the account in the first place.

I will miss not being able to communicate with people like Dominic Chu of CNBC, but I will not miss the large number of Twitter users whom I call Twidiots. Excessive profanity is the refuge of ignorance and lends no credence to one’s position. Making statements without facts to back those statements proves nothing. Oh, people in America can no longer spell worth a damn.

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My wonderful wife suggested today’s car for Frugal Friday. It was a car she owned and drove without incident for six years.

The fellows of the original Top Gear named this car as the worst car in the history of the world. Top Gear was entertaining at times, but like many car show hosts, the boys forget that people live in the real world, that the price of the car matters to 99% of the population and that reliability is important.

Without further ado:

 

Used 2003 Lexus SC 430 Convertible SYKESVILLE, MD 21784 - 532622115 - 3

 

From this AutoTrader ad a picture of a 2003 Lexus SC 430. The story of how my wonderful wife wound up buying a car like this (a 2006 model purchased new in March of 2007) is very interesting, but I’ll save it for another day.

This car rode with a smoothness unmatched by any other car she had ever driven and with a 4.3 liter/262 cubic-inch V-8 producing 288 HP/317 LB-FT of torque the car was not slow. The SC430 did not give her one day of trouble in the six-plus years my wonderful wife owned it.

The SC430 pictured above has about 51,000 miles and is being offered at $13,995. My wife’s 2006 model stickered at about $67,000, but because it was a new 2006 still unsold in March of 2007 she received a significant discount from MSRP.

If owning a reliable convertible that is not a slug appeals to you then you could do a lot worse than buy a used SC430. Remember that Lexus finishes at the top of the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study almost every year and was recently named the most reliable car brand in America by Consumer Reports.

 

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#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday, Sort Of

Until now, virtually all Frugal Friday posts have shown cars being offered for significantly less than the average “transaction price” for a new car in the US, about $40,000. On March 8th I did show a Ferrari 456 GTA with a list price of $39,999. However, with the news that Alfa Romeo will cease making interesting cars I decided to show at least one automobile from them.

 

Used 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe Chicago, IL 60611 - 534178609 - 4

 

From this Autotrader listing a picture of a 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe. Yes, I am not a big fan of white cars, but I think the color is a reason the asking price is only $39,841.

This 4C has been driven quite a bit, almost 40,000 miles, which is another reason the ask is under $40,000. I like the car mainly because it looks like nothing else on the road; it is also quite a good performer. The 4C is powered by a turbocharged, 1.7 liter/106 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine with a maximum output of 237 HP/258 LB-FT of torque. For a car weighing just 2,500 pounds, that is a lot of oomph. The 4C can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under five seconds.

This is not a practical car. For one thing it is quite small with a wheelbase of just 94 inches. As a comparison, a C7 Corvette, not a big car by any means, has a wheelbase of just under 107 inches. It is loud inside a 4C while driving as well. However, if you want something fun and unique you can do a lot worse than this. Kelley Blue Book estimates a car like this should be worth between $42,000 and $45,000. Arrivederci, Alfa Romeo!

 

Another desirable car, while not inexpensive, priced within the range of many buyers:

 

Used 2013 Maserati GranTurismo Sport ORLANDO, FL 32809 - 505621117 - 5

 

This 2013 Maserati GranTurismo coupe, also listed on AutoTrader, is being offered at $38,498. Unlike the 4C shown above, this Maserati has reasonable mileage for its age, almost exactly 20,000. Once again, I think the color holds the price down as do, most likely, the potential maintenance costs. These cars were about $130,000 when new depending on options.

This car is powered by a Ferrari-built 4.7 liter/286 cubic-inch V8. I have seen different output ratings, seemingly odd for such a recent automobile, but I will show HP/Torque at 433/361 LB-FT. These cars were equipped with a six-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission.

These have a less idiosyncratic look than the 4C; I think the Maserati GranTurismo is quite stunning. Stating my well-known opinion, I would MUCH rather buy one of these for $35,000-$40,000 than some generic SUV. It’s too bad that is becoming more and more difficult.

 

#FrugalFriday

#2017AlfaRomeo4C

#2013MaseratiGranTurismo

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday and The One That Got Away

First, is it really November, 2019?

Second, can “it” be “The One That Got Away” if you are unaware of “it” at the time. I’m going to rule Yes.

 

 

From Bring a Trailer a picture of an almost perfect 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. This is how I envision my GT Hawk looking if/when I buy it. Maybe I would want a slightly darker green, but this car just looks awesome to me. It even has both the clock and tach on the instrument panel. Fewer than 1,800 of these were built for model year 1964 before Studebaker closed its South Bend facility and the Gran Turismo Hawk (and Avanti) were no more.

This car was auctioned on BaT last July/August selling on August 2 for $15,250. I think that’s $16,012.50 with the buyers commission. Even though I have had the idea to buy one of these for quite some time, I wasn’t explicitly looking when this car was available. Had I known who knows what I might have done. I still had the BMW Z4 at the time and that could have been an obstacle. By the way, in the comments the seller claimed he had more than twice the sale price in the car and that the car was “all there.”

Money is important, but it isn’t everything. Albert Einstein once remarked, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” I don’t ever want to be the type of person who knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. Car restorations should be a source of satisfaction for the person involved above and beyond the value of the build. By the way, I did not grow up with money and, as the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”

 

Perhaps inspired by my friend Joe’s very recent purchase of a 2016 Corvette Z06 convertible, I have decided to show an affordable C6 Corvette. From Car Gurus:

 

 

This is a 2010 Corvette in 2LT trim plus navigation with about 46,000 miles in Crystal Red Metallic over Cashmere. The seller is asking $21,995. These cars are powered by a 6.2 liter/376 cubic-inch V-8 that generates 430 HP/424 LB-FT of torque. The NPP “two-mode” exhaust option would raise the maximum output slightly to 436 HP/428 LB-FT.

A beautiful, modern Corvette with more than 400 HP for a little more than $20,000…that’s a great deal, in my opinion. What do you think?

 

#FrugalFriday

#TheOneThatGotAway

#1964StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#AlbertEinstein

#2010ChevroletCorvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Frugal Friday, Among Other Things

Going back to yesterday’s post for a moment…a lot of people have asked me why I don’t do more commercials. Well, that’s another endeavor that has been corrupted by credential-ism. Ad agencies and their clients want “proven” talent and/or, I kid you not, people who have taken acting lessons. What a bunch of f*ck*ng b*llsh*t! Just because life isn’t fair doesn’t mean we should just keep our mouths shut.

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From my WONDERFUL wife, a Friday Funny:

 

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I have to admit that it is increasingly difficult for me to find cars for Frugal Friday. I have compiled the list of all Frugal Friday cars so I won’t repeat myself, at least not too much. Still, this is not a blog about SUVs or Ford Taurus four-door sedans.

For some reason I hear the words of the late Dennis Hopper in my head, “If you can remember the sixties then you weren’t there.” Hey, look at this:

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of what seems to be a very nice 1966 Pontiac Bonneville:

 

 

The seller claims the car has only 64,000 original miles and is a two-owner vehicle. The ad also states that the car has new tires, new shocks and a new exhaust system. The asking price is $18,000.

Of course, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for Pontiac. I also think this seems to be quite a nice car. About 42,000 Bonneville hardtop coupes (called Sport Coupes by Pontiac) were produced in 1966 at an asking price of $3,354. Pontiac was in the middle of its eight-year run (1962-1969) as the third best-selling make in the US.

From the year before America lost much of its innocence, 1962, here is another car from Hemmings:

 

 

This is a 1962 Ford Thunderbird listed at $9,850. 1962 was the middle of the three-year run of the third-generation Thunderbird, often called the Bullet Bird. The ad copy is sparse, but hey, they’re asking less than ten grand for the car.

Just under 70,000 Thunderbird hardtop coupes, both with and without the Landau roof, were sold in 1962. The list price for the non-Landau version was $4,321. The standard engine was Ford’s 390 cubic-inch V8 rated at 300 HP/427 LB-FT of torque. That’s not a weak engine, but the car weighed about 4,100 pounds.

This is well-worn territory, but I think it bears repeating that although it’s the first-generation Thunderbirds that are revered today, the subsequent generations sold much better. Remember that about 70,000 T-Bird hardtop coupes were sold in 1962; only 53,166 cars were produced for the entire first-generation (1955-1957). It is the automobile business, after all.

Once again, I ask for Frugal Friday suggestions from you. I will also ask, once again, if you want Frugal Friday to continue as a weekly feature. Thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#FridayFunny

#1962PontiacBonneville

#1962FordThunderbird

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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