By on September 7, 2012

 

C.K. writes:

Dear Sajeev Mehta-

First the buttering up – have enjoyed your columns for quite sometime and glad to see a fellow Houstonian have success in the auto journalistic field. Writing you for some vehicle advice and to tell you my own quirky story. And sorry in advance, the email got kind of long. No worries if you want to skim!

Little background – I’m 29 and born and reared in Houston. Graduated from UH in 2005 and been a stew for Continental, now United, since 2006. Own 2 cars and garage a 3rd. I own a 2005 Chrysler Sebring TSi I bought brand new and paid cash for in 2006 and own a 1981 Ford Granada L 2 door with 21,000 first time around miles that I have owned in since 2009. I garage my families 1984 El Camino that has been with us since new and has 58,000 miles. I’m a car nut and a judge for the Keels and Wheels Concours d’elegance.

The dilemma – I am ready for a new car. Not just any new car (wouldn’t be writing you if it was!), but the very last fully loaded 2011 Lincoln Town Car still sitting on the lot. I have had Panther love before the term was ever concocted from all the rides in my Grandmother’s past Vics’ and Marquis’. My dream car has always been the Town Car because of it’s body on frame solidity and it’s modern classic status, but peer pressure always kept me from taking the leap. Even now it has been WW3 with my mother because of her hate of big old fogie cars. Her term! She literally thinks it is disgusting that I would want that car, in white no less. She hates white cars with a passion (I think because her evil stepmother only rode white brooms, i mean white cars!). She on the other hand has a merlot 2004 Thunderbird with less than 2000 miles on it and a candy apple red 2006 Jeep Liberty Limited with 35,000 miles. We just don’t drive a lot I guess!

Now, my Sebring only has 58,000 miles and in nearly new condition. It is my airport car and is mainly highway driven to and from Friendswood to IAH. It is 7 years old, with new tires, is fully loaded and a rare one year only color, Midnight Blue. The TSi was a 2 year only factory limited edition. It is fun, reasonably quick, classy yet sporty car. But, I worry that any day something is going to go wrong. I might just be an automotive hypochondriac! Owning Chryslers kind of makes you that way! I still love the car, but the money from the sale of it and the Granada would go towards the Town Car. Only thing off about the Sebring is the the electroluminescent gauges, exclusive to this model and a Chrysler hallmark, sometimes blackout. All the other lights are fine on the dash, just the gauges.

The Town Car came about one night when I decided to build my own on their website and do a dealer search for that exact car (something every car nut has done a million times just to dream). That is how I found my Sebring. Sure enough, the only TC left in the country with every option and my colors, Vibrant White over Black, is in Pascagoula. I was going to buy it in May, but my mother threatened to jump off the roof. I should have let her, she would have landed in the pool! Now, it has apparently survived Isaac, at least I called today and they said their dealership had no flooding. The sticker is $50980 but they offered it to me for $40980. It still comes with complimentary maintenance and full warranty. And I have bargained till blue in the face, that’s their price. I could have solved all this by buying a CPO Marauder or a 25thh Anniversary TC back in 2006 instead of the TSi.

This is where I hope you come in! What should I do? Kill my mother?! Just kidding. I value my parents opinions and we are close friends, thats why I didn’t buy the car already. I live on my own in a house I remodeled in Friendswood. I have 8 house payments to go. Have zero debt and have always lived in my means. No student loans, no credit card debt, no car payments, only what I spend and my house note. Buying the car will put me in debt, but I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t afford it. It has been my dream car since I was a kid. And yeah, I know the last model isn’t what it use to be, but it is also the last, end of an era for the truly traditional American land yacht, never to be done again. I simply want it for all it stands for and for all that it use to be. I still remember a time when you were somebody if you owned the top of the line Chrysler, Cadillac, Lincoln. It said that you still believed in the American dream, even if you were 90 years old!

I want to sell my Granada as well so I can garage the TC. It has been a great car, with ice cold a/c and mini big boxy looks, and everyone loves it. But again, the sale of it gets me into the TC.

What would be the best way to sell the Granada and Sebring? Would like to get $7k for the Sebring and $4k for the Granada. Am I a fool for wanting to sell 2 perfectly good cars that only cost me gas and insurance? Am I fool for still wanting the TC even though Isaac just came down over that area? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I really am just an old fashioned guy who doesn’t follow most trends. No Facebook, still have a tube tv, don’t even have a camera phone!

I think it would also be kind of neat to quite possibly be the youngest person to ever buy a new Town Car. Heck, youngest person in decades to buy a Lincoln!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Best,
C.K.

Sajeev Answers:

Thank you for the letter, it’s nice to meet you. And thanks for the kudos, even though I don’t feel nearly as successful as other Houston “social media-blogger influencers” with access to the Media fleets.  There’s no hate there, just a little bit of self-deprecation and a bruised ego.

Well then! Two things, as a Fox body collector and inventor of the #foxbodysnob4lyfe hashtag:

1. The Granada probably needs new door striker bushings if the doors make that noise.  They only come with new door strikers, but that’s not a big deal. I suspect you no longer have bushings on your strikers. Been there, done that many, many times.

2. Would you be interested in a trade for your Granada for a 2004 Marauder, silver, with a 2003 Cobra supercharger set up? There’s one in the Mehta garage, and my brother is willing to take a partial trade for the delicious Chocolate Granada.

C.K. Answers:

Hey man, thanks for the reply. Down in Guatemala right now. Yeah, the Granada does need striker bushings. They were gone before I got the car. The doors don’t make a whole lot of noise, mainly over bumps. Thanks for the Marauder swap offer, but looking to get out of older cars for a while. I’m not a speed demon, so a supercharged Merc would be over kill for me. I’m sure it is a fun car though.

Sajeev Answers:

Well fine, I didn’t want your delicious-chocolately Granada anyway!  It’s not like I’m a crazy Foxbody hashtag creating fool who can’t stand not getting press cars!

Oh wait…yes I am. Self-awareness has to be worth something, since I am one of the founding members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society: a Facebook group that’s now getting far too much attention for my conservative, brown-ish tastes.  I liked it better when there were 10 of us.

No matter, you are on the right track. And kudos on finding a Continental Edition Town Car! The Chrysler should be sold for Private Party value (see KBB or Edmunds) via Craigslist, I doubt it is worth enough on trade in when you get the Town Car (relative to what you’d get on Private Party sale). It sounds like you could swing having three cars at one time, hence my confidence in my assessment.  And maybe you can keep the Granada for a while, as it’s probably a hard sell in this economy. I’ve seen more appealing Foxes (Aero-Thunderbirds) go for that money, even with 10-20k more on the odometer.

Assuming a two car garage: clean it out and put both the Town Car and the Granada in there. If not, leave the Granada in the garage until the right buyer shows up. The Town Car’s been sitting outside for months, a few more months in your driveway won’t matter one bit.

Best of luck and don’t let me drool over the Granada if/when I ever see it.

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71 Comments on “Super Piston Slap: Of Panther Love, and a Fox Love Supreme...”


  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Before you plunk down any money for that Town car, take a new V8 Mustang for a test drive. It’s a lot more fun and lower cost.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, if you like a hard ride, terrible visibility, cheap door panels and the stigma of being every other guy who wants a Mustang.

      This dude is obviously not a Mustang guy.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        You’re right. A loaded Fiesta or Focus is a much better choice.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Sniff… my tender feelings have been hurt.

        Anyways, yeah I dont see C.K. as the Mustang sort which reminds me seeing this Granada stuff, I’d love to stumble on a decent example of a 4th gen LTD LX and give it the fox car aftermarket parts treatment.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        The Mustang is not the right car, but the Town Car isn’t either. A Chrysler 300C Pentastar is a much better car. This guy isn’t going to be curb hopping like a disgruntled cop, and puts no miles on his cars, he doesn’t need an archaic ladder frame live axle car.

        He also needs to keep the sweet Fox body Ford Granada. In my opinion the boxy early ’80s Fox body cars are much cooler than the aero T-Bird and Cougar, and the Mustang.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Two cars and 8 house payments to go.. On a steward’s salary? Damn. You go, son.. Definitely sell the Chrysler and the Grenade-a (haha) before though..

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Follow your dream, son, you seem to be on top of your circumstances. Good for you!

    If you like a Town Car, go for it, otherwise invest in something more up-to-date. What that would be, I have no idea, because I don’t know what else you would like.

    After all, I chose what is viewed as an out-of-date new car myself, a 2012 Impala, but I love it. 300 hp does give me a certain satisfaction…

  • avatar
    patman

    If you were 16 and it was her money I could understand all the fretting but you’re 29 and it’s your money – your mom should be able to handle it.

    There’s a difference between a parent offering advice out of the wisdom they’ve accumulated through years of experience and trying to prevent their children from making costly mistakes that will hurt them and affect their future well being and then a parent telling you not to do something just because they don’t like it.

    Your mom doesn’t like old people cars and you do so what’s it to her? You two can take her car if you go somewhere together if she hates it so much.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    “I still remember a time when you were somebody if you owned the top of the line Chrysler, Cadillac, Lincoln. It said that you still believed in the American dream, even if you were 90 years old!”

    Ummm…you’re 29 and you remember that? Son, unless Houston is a separate dimension, that hasn’t been the case in the United States since, oh, about 1980. And I think I’m being generous…

    Anyway, my advice would be not to buy it. As nice a car as it may be, dropping 40K for a car with boat anchor depreciation would not be the best move, unless you plan on keeping it forever. I’d also advice you to rent one first, and drive it for a week to see if you really like it. I’ve given this advice to a lot of people and they’ve thanked me for it.

    Good luck.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Houston is most definitely a seperate dimension when it comes to cars. I got more respect driving a pale yellow 79 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham (mint, of course) in high school there than kids with new Bimmers and Lexi. That was in 99 though. Oh, and I sold it for $8k cash in Houston. Mainly because I was moving out west and the mountains would not have been kind to the car or my wallet, even with the Rockette.

    • 0 avatar

      Roberto, do you live in the American South? Any Gen X or Y kid in this area grew up with people that adored Caddies, Lincolns and Imperials.

      My 7th grade drum instructor’s daily driver was a canary yellow Coupe DeVille. And it was SHARP.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Welcome to the midwest/south, Roberto. I feel sorry that you had to experience one of the ‘coasts.’

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Guys, not knocking on these cars…fact I WISH people had kept on seeing Chryslers, Cadillacs, and Lincolns as aspirational vehicles. It’s just my impression was that this had not been the case in the US for the past 30 years. If these makes were indeed still sought after in the American south in the recent past, excellent. Unfortunately nowadays it seems that wealthy folks or the Gen X’ers and younger would rather be boiled alive than be seen in an American branded car…

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    Dropping 40 large on a new old car? Sounds like the heart has taken over from the head. But hey, it’s your money. If it floats your boat…

    On the other hand, what will it be worth once you have signed all the papers? Your mom may be right about the depreciation thing.

    Why not get a V6 Mustang (hehehe) instead?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I have had a similar dilemma though it didn’t involve a TC.

    I’d dump that Sebring in a New York minute and buy the TC if that’s what you really want. I don’t understand the issue with your mother and why she would have such a strong opinion regarding your choice of car but you’ll need to work through that on your own; family relationships are just that, family, and they are always unique.

    As for the Granada……., it does and does not have appeal. If you’re a staunch Ford guy/gal it probably would have a special value for you. The fact that it is a coupe makes it a bit different too. I’m not sure you would get your proposed $4,000 for it as I believe it has a limited appeal. That being the case, I’d hang on to it. Once it is gone you may regret your action and it’s really a small amount of money (in the scheme of things) that you will realize from the sale. Just see where it goes, you may be glad you kept it. After time passes, if you still feel the same way as you seem to now, then sell it.

    That’s the problem with old cars, we develop love/hate relationships with them too often and then make rash decisions for the sake of expediency.

    Good luck!

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    If the car has been sitting there for a while, give a fair low offer. And walk. They’ll call you in a few days because they’re ready to move that thing out, especially as 2013s are coming onto the lot.

    I just bought an Accord doing that, got an EX-L for $22k OTD. Ironically, I bought it at Spring Branch Honda in Houston and drove it home to Boise. Dealers in the Pac NW wouldn’t come down off invoice ($27k).

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    You’re 29 and have already paid down a house? Holy crap have I squandered my money on useless junk / college loans.

    Get the TC and keep the Granada. Parting with it for that kind of money isn’t worth it. You will surely regret it. That car is freaking sweet and I hope you keep it covered.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Housing is cheap in Houston. A buddy of mine is looking inside the “Loop”, and was complaining about houses being expensive. They’re about $90-110/sq ft. Cheaper than Boise, Idaho!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    If you want the Stink’in Lincoln, go buy it. $10K off is not a horrible deal, why quibble if you can afford it, which you obviously can. Mom will learn to love it. :-)

    I might be inclined to keep the Chrysler to do airport parking duties. I probably leave a car parked at the airport as much as you do, I have a beater Jeep that takes that abuse.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    My elderly parents lease Lincolns for 24 months, and turn them in with around 12,000 miles on the clock. I’m sure they’re not the only ones. Get a CPO Town Car and let someone else handle the initial depreciation.

    Or get that Marauder…

  • avatar
    Bangernomist

    “I was going to buy it in May, but my mother threatened to jump off the roof. I should have let her, she would have landed in the pool!”

    *ROFL* Why aren’t you writing comedy, you are missing your calling as a flight attendant. Anyway, as long as you’re not concerned about passengers trying to hail a ride in the arrivals lane at IAH, I’d say go for the TC.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My two cents:

    Your TSI is very sweet, class all the way… but those Sebrings I believe run the 2.7 V6 which is pretty much the anti-christ of modern V6 engines (http://www.oilsludge.com/). That being said, get what you can for it and move on the TC, and keep the Granada as a Sunday car. You only live for so long, be cheerful while you are alive and make happy memories.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      As I understand it, the 2.7 was mostly a problem for the first few years of production, and mostly in the LH cars (and easily made worse by owners who weren’t so fastidious about maintenance). Not that it’s a paragon of reliability, but they were reasonably sorted by ’05.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        From my understanding it was a design issue with the engine, whether it was ever redesigned or improved I can’t be certain. Last year I walked on a pretty cheap loaded 04 with less than 50K after I did some research (that and evidently tune ups are ridiculous on that engine). DaimlerChryler may have been many things but ‘quality’ wasn’t one of them. Time will tell if the current offerings have significantly improved, personally I hope so for the sake of others.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        28-cars:

        Your understanding is wrong. The issue was caused by an inadequate PCV system which was solved within a few years and never afflicted the Stratus/Sebring cars which launched with the engine (and the improved PCV system) in 2001. Like all modern engines, and for emissions reasons (among others), the 2.7L does run hot, so it is not tolerant of people who don’t follow the maintenance schedule.

        Let’s also not forget that the 2.7L was the BASE engine in those early LH cars, and where did most of those BASE cars end up? You guessed it – fleets. So these vehicles were subjected to a variety of abuses from their drivers to their maintenance habits, then they were auctioned off to the general public, many of whom don’t realize that fleet vehicles are often the worst used cars you can buy. Years ago when I worked at Ford, our internal warranty data showed that fleet vehicles (especially rentals) had the highest per-unit warranty expenses of all the vehicles that were in the “car park” of units covered by an active warranty.

        Lastly, another thing that helped ALL manufacturers that had sludging issues (Toyota and VW/Audi I’m looking at you, lest we not forget) was a change to engine oils (I think it came in with API SL oil) that helped with sludge resistance, and the two newer standards, SM and SN improved upon that further.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @Wheeljack A concise answer to say the least!

        While I’m sure many 2.7L issues occurred with the original owner (fleet or not), it was the unfortunate second owner who I felt for and personally saw suffer with a few of those purchases. By MY 2000 anyone should have been able to buy a gently used low mileage vehicle and have its engine not self destruct shortly thereafter, IMO… of course we can’t always have what we want.

        I find your warranty data interesting but I wonder if part of the reason may have been fleets are a business, they have the mindset and capital to use up the warranty to its fullest extent. If a average person buys a Taurus and occasionally the air bag light flashes on and then goes out after a minute, is the average person going to go to the trouble to drive out to the dealership, complain, get the dealer rental, and then drive back out to pick it up… or do they just live with it? The fleet on the other hand may have far more incentive to just send the lot boy to “take it to the dealer” and have one less car in the fleet for a few days while the tech hacks the OBD computer or changes the bulb

        By the by, I have a former fleet Pontiac Grand Prix and have had zero issues with it in the last 2 years/17K (purchased at 53K), although generally I agree ex-fleet isn’t the way to go if you can avoid it… Panthers might be the only exception to that rule as ex-police tend to be strong runners in my experience even if the rest of the car is destroyed.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        While I’m not a fan of fleet vehicles in general, the rental car companies are the worst. Because the vehicles need to be out on the road making money, they tend to ignore small stuff until it becomes big enough to debilitate the car or renters complain about it.

        Other fleets, like big corporations, tend to be a little better on the cars because they are often driven by one driver until the car is turned in. I will say this though, back when most cars had 30,000 mile transmission and coolant change intervals, even the non-rental fleet management companies (like GE Capital and PH&H) would not change those fluids at their recommended interval.

        I’m not saying all fleets are bad, but it does help that the manufacturers are minimizing maintenance needs through improvements in lubricants, platinum plugs, etc. so there is a greater liklihood that modern cars can survive their fleet “life” with less wear and tear than in the past.

  • avatar
    Ltd783

    What an interesting assortment of cars. I’ve never even heard of the Sebring TSi, looks like a Sebring version of the 300M Special Edition, very sharp, but like you and everyone else has said, it seems like sort of a time bomb.

    I respect the Town Car decision too, as a fellow 29 year old who put many miles behind the wheel of a 1997 Lincoln Continental, I understand the appeal of the “old fogie” car. Your friends will talk some crap, until its time to pick who’s car we’re taking…

    MY only issue is, $40K!!!! That’s crazy money. Look on autotrader for lightly used Town Cars in Florida. For less than half that you can get an essentially new Town Car, and keep that sweet Granada.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    If you have your heart set on a Town Car, it doesn’t mean you have to buy a new one. Unless it was used by some sort of livery service, most of them are elderly owned, low mileage, garaged and well take care of.

    Whatever is left of that new car warranty is certainly not worth the $20k-$30k premium versus buying used. Just put the money you would have spent on a “new” car aside, and I doubt you’ll even use 5% of that for maintenance.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Skip the TC and buy a used Marquis, you’ll save a ton of money that you can pool into repair costs and you’ll get more money back when you sell it.

    Keep the Granada, Fox’s don’t command much money in the craiglist land of lowballers, and they’re neat cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Nah, get the Town Car. I’ve got a Grand Marquis, and have rented TCs while traveling, the Mercury has a shorter wheelbase and a noticeably rougher ride. The Lincoln is worth the extra money.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If a new Town Car is what you want, now is the time to get in there. You sound like the kinda guy who can afford to reward himself with something nice every decade and that Town Car will last you a heck of a lot longer than that.

    What are you waiting for? Send pics post purchase. Preferably doing burnouts in it.

    Also, you should probably take jeev’s advice and hang onto the Granada. You’re dreaming if you think it’ll fetch anywhere near 4k.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      2nded re the Grenade, er, Granada. Everybody hated those things back in the day, so finding a clean example now is nearly impossible. And you’ll be lucky to get a decent price for it. If you like it, hang on to it. I have to say those lines have aged better than I’d have expected, it may be worth something some day.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Can’t imagine how you keep your mileage so low living in Friendswood and commuting to IAH . What is it , 45 miles each way ? Might make more sense living there if you flew out of Hobby .

  • avatar
    ArBee

    Young man, I admire your taste in cars and the way you manage your affairs. And yes, we Southerners do have interesting taste in cars. So my advice would be to ditch the Chrysler, keep the Ford, buy the Lincoln and tell Mother, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

  • avatar
    skor

    Oh, man! I’m really digging that brown Fairmont/Granada thing. It’s just “ironic” enough to attract every hipster chick in NYC. Case of PBR in the back, and it would be heaven.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Constantly shuffling cars is a great way to waste money. You have 2 perfectly fine newish vehicles. Take a vacation and save money, one doesn’t have to constantly be spending.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good point Mandalorian, saw a yahoo article that said something to the effect of the upper class (millionaire but not quite billionaire) were surveyed and they spent the bulk of their money on vacations/leisure travel and home improvements and were more likely to drive (presumably new) plebeian automobiles than top shelf exotics.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      The guy seems to be really fiscally responsible. A new car every seven years doesn’t seem irresponsible or shuffling to me to me. Besides, he should get free flights and good vacation deals from his employer.
      I know a lot of rich guys who order their ride, make the dealer find one with all accessories they want, and write a check. Huge difference between them and the guys leasing/making huge car payments. One the other hand, if you want to splurge on a ride; go for it. Hearses don’t have bumper hitches.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I suppose that depends on your loan terms and situation, if he did the traditional 60 months, he’d get two years free after all payments and warranties are up, and then go back into debt for another five (more like six anymore) years. This isn’t someone who drives much due to his job, so to me its foolish to lease/buy new, not drive it (and not use the warranty), and eat 50% depreciation in the period… esp when CPO or 5+ yo models can be had for much less. Panther’s don’t seem to be much of a draw, everybody is chasing CUVs and Camcords these days, prob get a clean Panther for a song.

        In 2011 I got a new job very close to home (< 3 miles) and all of my real driving is going 35 miles up north once or twice a week to hang out with my old friends and I still don't crack 7K in a year. Bought a 2yo/53K loaded model in 2010 for $11,450 that's now paid off and I bank $300 a month from owning it. In my mind this was a wise move because 1) it saves money, 2) I am happy with the car and 3) I don't plan on buying anything newer for myself possibly ever, esp given the sad things that are passing for cars in the 2013 MY.

        If you make the argument I have this money and I want it to bring me pleasure/happiness whatever, then spend it as you will. I just don’t see the rich buying severely depreciating assets, maybe they are on to something.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      28-Cars-Later You sir, make perfect sense, enjoy your weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I buy a nice new car and keep it 10-20 years. Best running costs. But I always get a nice car like my Q7 because I know I will have it a long time.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If you are going to keep it, you should get what you want and load it up… my parents used to paradoxically buy the cheapest model and then keep it for 10-12 years, later passing them on through the family. My mother probably won’t be buying too many more cars beyond since her 07 is paid off (shes going to be 60) but I just never understood their logic.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    Have you actually driven a 2009-2011 Lincoln Town Car? You should really rent one and live with it for a few days. Drive it on the highway – in the rain. Please, do it before dropping 40 grand for one.
    Some background. I am 33 and a huge Lincoln fan. Growing up we had lots of Lincolns. My first car ride was in a Versailles. My first car was a 79 Continental Town Coupe. I have had a Mark V Collectors Series and a really sweet 79 Town Car I sold at Barrett Jackson Palm Beach (Never do that – I got robbed – another story) this year. So I appreciate big Lincolns in the old school tradition. My current ride ride, however, is a CPO 2010 MKZ. My wife has an 08 MKZ. Before I bought the ’10, She brought hers in for service one day and they gave her a 11 Town Car. She refused to drive it so I took it and let her drive my car. I thought I was going to fall in love with it – for all of the same reasons you want one. Reality was much different, however. It was a throw-back alright; not to the heyday of Lincoln but to 1998. Beauty is subjective, but my eyes tells me that the people who dreamed up the 96 Taurus were in on the design. I live in South Florida and it was TERRIFYING in the rain – I was white knuckled on the turnpike in a thunderstorm. Felt like it was going to spin out. There is NOT EVEN AN AUX JACK to plug in an iPhone or MP3 player. The doors sounded like a Ranger when you closed them. The interior looked SO cheap. Ugly 90’s sick green Ford truck backlit gauges. Even has that 90’s Ford binging bell. Shiny, cheap plastic wood, mouse fur carpet and leather seats that felt like I was sitting in a vinyl covered bucket. I am serious – and I really wanted to like this car. In June, I paid 20K for the certified 2010 MKZ. Beautiful instrument panel, heated and cooled Bridge of Weir leather seats. Beautiful blonde wood trim. Let me tell you, once you have a car with air conditioned seats, you will never want anything less. The Sync system bluetooth integration of the cellphone works awesome. (No touch screen) I stream Pandora all day long with it. You can even change songs on the iPhone and make calls through the steering wheel or voice commands. This is in contrast to holding your cell phone up to your ear and listing to CD’s in a 40,000+ Town Car. The Duratec 35 Cyclone and 6 speed trans feels way more powerful and shifts smoother than even my wife’s 08 with the same engine and trans combo. The Town Car was downright pokey and the 4 speed auto was obnoxious. Every time I let off the gas pedal, the transmission would make a bashing/clunking sound. It had less than 10,000 miles on it, by the way. Also, the Town Car was quiet, but my 10-12 MKZ is much quieter. And it is amazing and surefooted in the rain.
    I am not saying “go buy an MKZ”. And I don’t think I will be impressed with the 2.0L 4 Turbo and electric steering in the upcoming ’13. If I had your kind of budget however I would be in a 2013 MKS. If you were talking about picking up a clean ’07 (Wixom Made) Townie for 10K for kicks and the nostalgia, I would say go for it. But 40K is a lot of money for a current era Town Car. New or otherwise. Please do more research put some miles on one, and drive the MKZ and MKS too!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I find your experiences about the adverse weather driving behaviour of the TC interesting. Having owned several Panther vehicles, I have always found them extremely capable in the rain and snow, as long as the tires are decent.

      • 0 avatar
        npbheights

        I was surprised as well. It is a big, heavy car shod with good Michelins – what could go wrong, right? In Florida, on the highways when it rains, water fills the ruts in the road. If just felt like it could go sideways on me at any time. I owned my Grandma’s 86 LTD Crown Victoria for a time and I don’t remember it feeling like that either. The 70’s Lincoln’s I have had were totally unfazed with trivial things like water in the road, however. The 91 Town Car Limo I had back in 2001-2002 was good in the rain. Like I said, I was disappointed.
        Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to like the car, and I am not a “Panther Hater”. It is just not a good way to deploy $40,000 in my opinion, and C.K. wanted our opinion.- Every other product in the Lincoln stable is a much better choice.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed, 40K can put you in a nice Vette or vintage E-type.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Thanks for your input on the MKZ. My local Lincoln dealer has one every 2-3 months, coming in off a lease. Usually that bright shiny red Lincoln got right. Air conditioned seats when it’s 95 with 90% humidity would be sweet.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have thought a little about MKZ myself, my thing is for what they are they seem *way* too expensive.

        Case in point, a 2011 base MKZ I just pulled up on Manheim’s website for the heck of it… shiny red as you had specified almost 13K on the clock, and the dealer has “buy it now” at $21,800 (I doubt the thing will crack 21 going through the block). Maybe its just my inner cheapskate, but that seems like alot for a warmed over Fusion with a better drivetrain and cute bells and whistles.

        The Lincoln LS used to do the same thing at auctions, they always went for *way too much* money (V6s no less)… I’m talking 02s north of 70K were still doing $11K-$14K at the auction in 2009, and the LS model had alot of problems year to year. Panthers and the old Continentals seemed free in comparison… in 2006 the dealer I was still working for at the time picked up a clean 2000 Continental with under 50K for… $5,000 (I had to go pick it up, I think he retailed it for 8). Granted, nobody outside of the Northeast wanted a Continental, but air ride aside that was a very well done ride for little money. Flash forward to 2012, could you pickup a similar ’06 MKZ wholesale for 5? How about 10?

        I’m eying an 07 now, very clean, 45K, they want 13,400 evidently the opening bid was 12,600 and they didn’t get what they wanted for it.

        Crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        npbheights

        Cool! I try not to rant to much online, but your question really spoke to me. The current gen MKZ’s are a really nice car. The improvement over the 2008 is dramatic. I think you could even get a new one for less than 30K OTD as they get ready for the new model. That Red Candy Metallic Tint is an awesome color, I agree. Mine is Smokestone Metallic. It’s a bit conservative for my taste but it actually a cool color that changes with the light. As soon as I decide it is silver, it looks gold and as soon as I tell myself its gold, it starts to look silver. I think it was a ’10 only color. It was SO immaculate, I scooped it up. Good Luck!

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I know this is kind of subjective, but I have never seen a young or attractive person driving an “MK” Lincoln. Just old fat people from Iowa wearing socks with sandals. An A4 seems much better in mosts aspects.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Glad to know you are enjoying yours, just a few years ago Lincoln, and to a lesser extent Buick, were your solid luxury car bargains… stylish, luxurious, powerful, comfortable, reliable, and American so they would take a nice wholesale price dive between years three and five. They were the sort of car you could retail at nice margin but there usually wasn’t much action on them so they might sit for weeks or months on your floorplan. Thus, you didn’t have ten other dealers bidding them up on the block unlike say, certain Lexus or BMW models.

        Evidently this is no longer the case which is good for owners like you and I suppose Ford, and I too visually at least have enjoyed the facelift, sets them apart more from Fusion/Milan. Maybe I’ll see one for a song one day and have to have it. Have a nice weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @Mandalorian I saw a very well done somewhat customized 06ish Zephyr at our local casino last year… silver with blacked out windows, gunmetal aftermarket wheels, and an aftermarket grille. I was quite impressed it really “brought out” the car more if that makes any sense.

        I have to agree though, the cute faux yuppie sluts around here prefer A4 or the small Infiniti (its name escapes me) I assume for their $399 leases Mommy and Daddy buy/help pay for which they think are good deals.

        Actually I’m starting to crave one now, and I don’t mean the car…

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Mandalorian:
        I drove a 2011 black MKS with the white baby soft leather interior for 1.5 years as a company car (OEM fleet). I would get compliments on my car all. The. Time. I was 27/28 when I had it and would like to think I’m not ugly. Every time I filled it up, I would have someone strike up a conversation, which usually turned into me showing off the vehicle.

        I would pick one up over a 3 series / A4 in a heart beat. Both can be had for roughly the same price CPO. The difference is the cocoon the MKS shrouds you in and it’s a luxury experience to your back passengers (real leg room with heated/cooled seats for them, too). If the pre 2013 MY’s had the fit and finish the 13’s and on have, they would have been quite the competitive luxury sedan.

        You buy a car because you want it, whether it’s for status, enthusiasm or utility. But stereotyping a buyer is you just being the Market Department’s annoying megaphone. Fight the man. You obviously didn’t get that this contributor isn’t anyone’s tool. Get the A4 because the engine block is high Al content and polished. The door closure effort is light and crisp. Attention to detail on an Audi is superior. Not because you’re attractive neighbor is mc-leasing one. An A4 to TC is like comparing a grape to a watermelon, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I’m wondering if it’s just a tire type issue (maybe a super hard compound to improve fuel economy)or perhaps the change they made to the wheel offset a number of years back (just look at how odd the police interceptor steelies look).

      Back in January 1999 I drove a ’98 TC Signature Series with the Touring package (body color grille, minimal chrome except for the chrome clad wheels) through some of the worst snow I’ve ever experienced in western Michigan and central Ohio. I literally lost count of the number of cars I saw go off the road right before my eyes or in my rear view mirror. If I hadn’t been worried about getting stuck myself, I would have tried to stop and help. While the tail would occasionally feel a little loose with some throttle appliacation, that TC soldiered on and I never ran off the road or got stuck, unlike so many other unfortunate souls that storm.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    No matter what else you do … keep that Granada!

  • avatar
    npbheights

    I knew the “warmed over Fusion” comment would come up. Not only do MKZ’s feel so much different than Fusions, but the 10-12 MKZ’s drive and feel dramatically different from the 07-09 MKZ’s they are based on. They appear to be a slightly facelifted update, but they feel like completely different cars. My mom has a 07 and wife has an 08. Since I got mine I don’t even enjoy driving them anymore, they are noisier, the ride is harsher, the drivetrain thrashier, the steering is heavier and they feel old fashioned. (still nicer than a Town Car though)I am not sure what it is like in the rest of the country, but in Palm Beach, high end cars like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, et al are so common that a young person driving a late model Lincoln has the look of someone who can make his own choice and not just be a follower.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    As a Town Car owner (2005 Signature Limited), of course I am biased toward saying “get that TC now!” but I do have a question. What the devil is a “fully loaded” 2011 TC? My memory of what I saw on the Lincoln website in 2011 was virtually no options available at all! I am assuming the car pictured is the one in question. It doesn’t even have very much aftermarket bling on it (for comparison, you can see my car at http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/piston-slap-the-real-swagger-wagon/).

    Personally, I would look for the best low mileage Wixom built (2007 or earlier) TC you can find. Back then, there were actually some options including a navigation system. Back then, if you went for a higher trim line you got nice touches like the Continental star on the seatbacks, which I think was dropped entirely the last couple of years of production in Canuckistan. If you really want to go for the gusto, seek out a 2003 Cartier L (last year of the Cartiers). It’s my impression that the Wixom cars are put together better and back then Ford was still making an effort to sell TC’s to non-fleet customers.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Get a Jaguar XJ, the last year of the retro-look car before the current one came out. And always wear a suit when you drive it, but loosen the tie.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    $10k off a BRAND NEW Town Car? Hell, if I made your money i’d already have it. The blue oval just don’t build ‘em like that anymore…

  • avatar

    TEXN3 congrats on paying off the house! It’s a major financial milestone I’m hoping to reach before 30 ( knock on wood )

    I’ve only been in the backseat of the current Town Car, but I find it appealing for the same reasons you do. I even asked the B&B for advice about a comfortable cruiser a few years back. It doesn’t have the same history and heritage, but the new Cadillac XTS has the same goals as the old panther. Namely, to cocoon the passengers in plushy isolation. It starts at 45k, which is a chunk or change more than the TC, but you also get a considerably more contemporary interior, better fuel economy, and probably a better and more hushed ride.

    Whatever you choose, I’m sure I’ll be very jealous.


    @rockyroadblog

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Buy the Town Car. Meanwhile, a fool and his money…


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