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

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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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.

 

#FrugalFriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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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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Frugal Friday

If you are a regular reader of Disaffected Musings and have not commented recently or ever, please consider sending thoughtful comments. I welcome an intelligent dialogue. I don’t want to rely on two or three readers for all of the comments, even though I enjoy theirs.

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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.

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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.

 

#FrugalFriday

#ChinaGDPSlowdown

#2006Nissan350Z

#2007ChevroletMonteCarloSS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Mecum Auction Edition

As a change I decided to look at cars that have already been sold, in this case at the Mecum auction conducted in Louisville on September 20-21, instead of cars that are offered for sale. First, how many of you like Frugal Friday? Second, would any of you like to see it offered once a month instead of every week?

 

See the source image

 

From, obviously, gtcarlot.com a picture of a 2006 Jaguar XKR convertible. The XKR designation means the car is powered by a supercharged V-8 engine. For the nth time, Mecum does not allow the online photos of its lots to be captured from its website. The actual Mecum car was Black over Black.

According to Hagerty the average value of this car is $17,600. The Mecum lot sold, all in, for $11,550. Even ignoring for a moment the difference between the auction price and the Hagerty value, $11,550 just seems inexpensive, IMO, for a beautiful, 390-HP convertible built not much more than 10 years ago. In addition, if you had to put $3,000-$4,000 in it after purchase you would still be below the Hagerty value.

OK, how about another European high-performance convertible from the first decade of this century?

 

See the source image

 

This is a Mecum auction photograph of a 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG convertible, but not of the lot sold in Louisville in September, which was Black over Gray. These cars were powered by a supercharged V-8 that generated 493 HP/516 LB-FT of torque. (I am using the most conservative torque rating I have seen; some sources put the torque output at 590 LB-FT.) The Louisville car is said to have had fewer than 54,000 miles.

Hagerty values an average example at $24,900. All in, the car sold for $20,350. Once again, subjectively that just seems like not a lot of money for a car like this.

Many people believe that all auction cars are overpriced. While it is true that in the excitement of the moment bidders can bid up a car past what seems to be a reasonable price, it is also true that some bargains are available.

Now, a downer: I am very disappointed by the dramatic decrease in views/visitors over the past 7-10 days. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to complain about such things, especially to people who are reading the blog. Has this blog run its course? Is it just too difficult, in a sea of millions of active blogs, to gain traction without using Fack Fucebook? Any thoughts anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#MecumAutoAuctions

#2006JaguarXKRConvertible

#2004MercedesBenzSL55AMG

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday Friday Funny

56packardman posts a weekly feature called Friday Funnies, like this. It is usually very funny.

People often tell me I’m very funny, to which I usually reply, “Looks aren’t everything.” My wonderful wife sent me this picture that I think is quite funny:

 

 

I am not making light of diabetes; I am a Type 2 diabetic although my sugars are very much under control. I just thought this was hysterical.

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What is not hysterical is the disgusting smell of the compost used to grow mushrooms. We live in a mushroom growing region; in fact, we are not far from the self-proclaimed “Mushroom Capital Of The World” although we live in a different state. My wonderful wife and I went out for breakfast this morning and were greeted by the revolting smell of the aforementioned compost. Another reason Arizona sounds (and smells) better to me all the time.

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My wonderful wife gave me the idea for this week’s Frugal Friday.

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1969 AMC Javelin. According to the ad copy the car only has 10,000 miles and has always been garage-kept.

I’m not crazy about the wheels and also not crazy that the seller claims the price is “firm” at $20,000. One item that is suspicious is that the ad states the car comes with a 401 cubic-inch engine, but in 1969 the largest displacement offered by AMC was 390 cubic inches. The 401 engine wasn’t offered until 1971. Advice to would-be car collectors: fill your library before you fill your garage.

Still, it’s a great-looking car, IMO. I wouldn’t pay $20,000 for it, but I would pay $15,000-ish. According to Hagerty, the “average” value for a 1969 Javelin (given the appraisal is for a car with the 343 V-8) is less than $14,000. Once again, do your research before buying a car.

Even at somewhere between $14,000 and the asking price of $20,000 I think this Javelin qualifies as a Frugal Friday car. What do you think?

 

#FrugalFriday

#StinkyMushroomCompost

#1969AMCJavelin

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday; Clash Of Rights

Cars in a bit…this CNBC article is about Japan Airlines showing the seats where passengers will be traveling with children age 2 or younger, presumably so other passengers can choose to sit somewhere not near those seats. AirAsia X has introduced a “Quiet Zone” on all of its flights, eight rows that cannot be occupied by children under the age of 10. IndiGo, a “budget” airline, calls its premium extra leg room areas “quiet zones” that cannot be occupied by children younger than 12.

Any thoughts from any of you on this? How about if I told you, in a somewhat related story, that over 90% of airline employees who are in “customer-facing” positions report having suffered verbal and/or physical abuse from passengers?

This is just my opinion, of course, but I think people are more rude, more selfish and more self-absorbed than ever before. This is also just my opinion, but I think that, in public spaces, the rights of people with children do not supersede the rights of people without. I have long thought that airlines should have certain flights that are entirely kid-free when possible.

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Six months ago today (!) my 2016 Corvette Z06 was delivered. Just as it is difficult for me to believe I’ve already had the car for six months, it is hard to believe that I’ve only driven it about 1,800 miles. That is very similar to my usage of the 2009 BMW Z4 I owned; I drove the Z4 8,500 miles in 29 months. Although I was sure I would drive the Z06 more I guess the nature of my life is such that I drive my primary car only about 300 miles a month.

Some minutia about the Z06: in this post I showed the build sheet for my car. I questioned why the interior color was shown as “BLK” when the color is really Dark Gray. Well, the code on the build sheet for the interior color, “12i,” was the code for Dark Gray. Live and learn…

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Before I present today’s Frugal Friday car, I ask that readers feel free to submit such cars. These submissions can either be requests for me to find inexpensive cars of a certain make or can be actual cars that you have found.

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 2006 Maserati coupe in Blue Metallic over Beige. This car has about 68,000 miles on the clock. The seller is asking…$19,995.

This car is powered by a Ferrari-built 4.2-liter V8 producing 401 HP/333 LB-FT of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. I mean, c’mon, a high-performance GT for less than 20 grand! I also happen to think the car is drop-dead gorgeous.

Yes, the car is not expensive to buy, but will probably be costly to maintain. The cost of ownership might explain why the car will sell for less than $20,000. Still, it’s a Maserati and it’s less than 20 grand! It even has four seats although I suspect the rear seats are for groceries only. Well, groceries and insurance. All other things being equal, it costs less to insure a car with more than two seats than one with only two seats.

 

#FrugalFriday

#TheRudeSociety

#2006MaseratiGT

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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